Q: What kind of web site is this, anyway?

I think of it as a manuscript and a work in progress.

You could say this is a book disguised as a web site, but that would be somewhat misleading, as it really is a web site, and really is not a book.

Q: Who or what is behind this web site and this

My name is Kirby Urner, and I'm the guy in charge of this domain. I have a strong interest in Bucky Fuller's philosophy, which is why you see so many references to it here (I also appreciate Ludwig Wittgenstein's).

This domain, is one of those references, in that Grunch of Giants was the last book Fuller published while alive. It's also my favorite of his more storytelling tomes, because it's short, succinct, and to the point -- and even somewhat funny.

I'm responsible for the content at this site, not anyone else, even though I collaborate with a lot of others in the course of an average business day.

Q: Isn't this just another left-wing, anti-corporate, propaganda site?

A: Good question; answer: no. Because “corporate”, in and of itself, isn't sufficiently defined, in my lexicon, to mean anything either good or evil.

In Quakerism, for example, “corporate worship” simply means to worship “as a body” -- which is about all we should glean from the Latin cognate, “corpus”, as in corpse, corporeal and corps.

That being said, the legalized stories or narrative accounts whereby mythic personas or personalities are endowed with certain inalienable rights, as affirmed in the case of actual human beings in the United States Declaration of Independence, should, in principle, be subject to the same methods of deconstructive analyses as any text, psychoanalytic methods included.

According to Merriam-Webster Online, corporate means “formed into an association and endowed by law with the rights and liabilities of an individual.”

But I question this definition, in light of the suffixes “Inc.” and/or, more recently, “LLC” (limited liability corporation). Are we really to believe that corporations are held to the same standards of accountability as actual humans, when it comes to assessing liability?

A core purpose of shareholder status is to provide venture capitalists with an acceptable level of risk: loss of investments in case of a venture's failure, certainly, but no direct personal accountability for management's profit-maximizing strategies, however exploitative and misanthropic (even if legal) these behind-the-scenes moves may turn out to be.

Legalese, as a special-purpose language, as a source of templates, or “boilerplates,” is neither immune nor exempt from being probed, translated, interrogated or otherwise dissected and/or debugged. As present-time humans, we do not surrender our right to review, amend, retract and/or revise the “readings” (a.k.a the “legislation”) developed by earlier generations. Or so I would contend.

Q: Isn't this just another right-wing, pro-corporate, propaganda site?

Let's be clear: design science, a new field of endeavour so-named by Bucky Fuller and company in order to clear some new ground in which to pioneer a positive future, recognizes the increasing potency of human technologies over time. The focus here is less on ideology and more on tools and artifacts, which artifacts may well, in turn, encourage/foster or inhibit/deter particular mentalities or gestalts.

The power to do well, or ill, has only increased. This is not simple-minded, naïve enthusing about technological “progress” in that the power, sophistication and efficiency of our technology may be ultimately most manifest in how it goes about terminating the temporally fleeting (in geological terms) human scenario.

On the other hand, corporations provide vehicles whereby humans exercise a critically important ability to collaboratively self-govern or steer (Greek root: “cyber” or “kybernan”).

This function is not, in principle, inimical to the best interests of humanity, despite the fact that humans may use this capacity to head off in perversely self-destructive directions.

Anti-globalization, anti-WTO riots in Seattle and elsewhere notwithstanding, the ability of humans to collaborate on a large scale is critical to our survival, and to the welfare of fellow non-human species as well. In this sense, I am not “anti-corporate,” even as I question some of the programming decisions made by my predecessors when coming up with some of the current templates, i.e. class and object definitions.

Q: So what's this Grunch business again?

Bucky Fuller had a long-standing habit of using abbreviations for the abstract meme-complexes or legislative regimes used to conduct business on a large scale. In his book Nine Chains to the Moon he coined FINCAP, for “finance capitalism,” which, according to his telling, reached an apex under J.P. Morgan, and essentially ended with the New York stock market crash of 1929, followed by bank closures and the Great Depression.

However, FINCAP was ressurrected in a new form following WWII and FDR's lengthy tenure, when Wall Street began taking over the tax-funded assets developed during war time (e.g. atomic energy), and using the government's national security apparatus (i.e. the CIA, or "Capitalism's Invisible Army") to assist in the deployment of its major corporations overseas.

This new capitalism Bucky termed LAWCAP, for “lawyer capitalism,” in his 1970s book Critical Path, and its meaning is roughly synonymous with what president Eisenhower termed the “military-industrial complex,” which he'd experienced first hand, and warned against upon leaving office. LAWCAP's Cold War (what Fuller calls WWIII) ensured a growing net worth to its shareholders.

By the 1980s, the supranational corporations have become so large and invisibly powerful, that Bucky declares the USA we have known “bankrupt and extinct,” the very concept of national sovereignty having been superceded by the behind-the-scenes machinations of these gigantic, post-national organizations.

Whereas the giant corporations may fly the American flag and promote their policies in the name of the American people, the lines of ownership and control suggest that neither political leaders nor their voter-consituents are accountable for the Grunch. Subsequent to publishing this analysis, Bucky was awarded the Medal of Freedom by president Ronald Reagan.

What was once world-around high credit for American ingenuity and friendliness is no longer existent. On February 1, 1982, the United States ambassador to the United Nations stated to the media that all the “United Nations now hate the U.S.A.” What they hate is Grunch, but Grunch is able to deceive the world into blaming the very innocent people of the United States. (from Grunch of Giants)

Fuller ended his story on a note of hope, however, suggesting that the Grunch might ultimately prove benign, as the underlying reality was increasing human know-how, which by the 1970s had tipped the global balance sheet in humanity's favor, such that taking care of all people at high-enough living standards to stabilize population and obviate major warfare was a newly realistic goal, not just so much pie-in-the-sky, utopian science fiction. Pursuing a “success for humanity” global agenda would have to be good for the bottom line, were Grunch's accounting system at all reflective of underlying realities.

In Fuller's experience, humans were designed to succeed, because of their access to the generalized principles (i.e. “natural laws”). The challenge would be to avert pre-emptive panic and self-inflicted disaster (e.g. a nuclear holocaust) until such time as a critical mass of humans were sufficiently informed regarding their option to succeed, at which point the Grunch would no longer be able to underwrite a status quo which permitted millions of humans to perish through starvation and neglect.

Obviously, as of this writing, such a happy outcome has not yet been achieved, although we have so far managed to stave off a major conflagration. Perhaps there's still time.