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|Is it really necessary for every economist to be brain-dead apologist for the rich and powerful and predatory, in every damn breath?|
|Smith briskly takes a sledgehammer to any number of plaster saints
cluttering up the edifice of modern economics:
"assumptions that are patently ridiculous: that individuals are rational and utility-maximizing (which has become such a slippery notion as to be meaningless), that buyers and sellers have perfect information, that there are no transaction costs, that capital flows freely"
And then...papers with cooked figures, economists oblivious to speculative factors driving oil prices, travesty versions of Keynes's ideas that airbrush out its most characteristic features in the name of mathematical tractability.
And then...any number of grand-sounding theoretical constructs: the Arrow-Debreu theorem, the Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model, the Black-Scholes option model, Value at Risk, CAPM, the Gaussian copula, that only work under blatantly unrealistic assumptions that go by high falutin' names - equilibrium, ergodicity, and so on.
The outcome of this pseudo-scientific botching is an imposing corpus of pretentious quackery that somehow elevates unregulated "free markets" into the sole mechanism for distribution of the spoils of economic activity. We are supposed to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum indulgence of human greed results in maximum prosperity for all. That's unfair to alchemy: compared with the threadbare scientific underpinnings of this economic dogma, alchemy is a model of rigor.
|How many others are being paid for punditry? Or has the culture of corruption
spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?
"MIT and Wharton and University of Chicago created the financial engineering instruments which, like Samson and Delilah, blinded every CEO. They didn't realize the kind of leverage they were doing and they didn't understand when they were really creating a real profit or a fictitious one."
When you see this "neoclassical" gallery of expensive intellectual prostitutes (sorry, respectable priests of a dominant religion) that pretend to be professors of economics in various prominent universities, it is difficult not to say "It's political economy stupid". Those lackeys of ruling elite are just handing microphone bought by financial oligarchy. Here is am Amazon.com review of ECONned How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism eBook Yves Smith that states this position well:
kievite:Neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy
There are many good reviews of the book published already and I don't want to repeat them. But I think there is one aspect of the book that was not well covered in the published reviews and which I think is tremendously important and makes the book a class of its own: the use of neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy. I hope that the term "econned" will became a new word in English language.
Neoclassical economics has become the modern religion with its own priests, sacred texts and a scheme of salvation. It was a successful attempt to legitimize the unlimited rule of financial oligarchy by using quasi-mathematical, oversimplified and detached for reality models. The net result is a new brand of theology, which proved to be pretty powerful in influencing people and capturing governments("cognitive regulatory capture"). Like Marxism, neoclassical economics is a triumph of ideology over science. It was much more profitable though: those who were the most successful in driving this Trojan horse into the gates were remunerated on the level of Wall Street traders.
Economics is essentially a political science. And politics is about perception. Neo-classical economics is all about manipulating the perception in such a way as to untie hands of banking elite to plunder the country (and get some cramps from the table for themselves). Yves contributed to our understanding how "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, economics professors from Chicago, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and some other places warmed by flow of money from banks for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping Wall Street to plunder the country. The rhetorical question that a special counsel to the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, asked Senator McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency?" applies.
The main effect of neoclassical economics is elevating unregulated ( "free" in neoclassic economics speak) markets into the key mechanism for distribution of the results of economic activity with banks as all-powerful middlemen and sedating any opposition with pseudo-mathematical mumbo-jumbo. Complexity was used as a powerful smoke screen to conceal greed and incompetence. As a result financial giants were able to loot almost all sectors of economics with impunity and without any remorse, not unlike the brutal conquerors in Middle Ages.
The key to the success of this nationwide looting is that people should be brainwashed/indoctrinated to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum level of greed results in maximum prosperity for all. Collapse of the USSR helped in this respect driving the message home: look how the alternative ended, when in reality the USSR was a neo-feudal society. But the exquisite irony here is that Bolsheviks-style ideological brainwashing was applied very successfully to the large part of the US population (especially student population) using neo-classical economics instead of Marxism (which by-and-large was also a pseudo-religious economic theory with slightly different priests and the plan of salvation ;-). The application of badly constructed mathematical models proved to be a powerful tool for distorting reality in a certain, desirable for financial elite direction. One of the many definitions of Ponzi Scheme is "transfer liabilities to unwilling others." The use of detached from reality mathematical models fits this definition pretty well.
The key idea here is that neoclassical economists are not and never have been scientists: much like Marxist economists they always were just high priests of a dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the benefit of the sect (and indirectly to their own benefit). All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: state support was and still is here, it is just working more subtly via ostracism, without open repressions. Look at Shiller story on p.9.
I think that one of lasting insights provided by Econned is the demonstration how the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the neoclassical economic school that has dominated the field at least for 30 or may be even 50 years. And that this ideological coup d'état was initiated and financed by banking establishment who was a puppeteer behind the curtain. This is not unlike the capture of Russia by Bolsheviks supported by German intelligence services (and Bolshevics rule lasted slightly longer -- 65 years). Bolsheviks were just adherents of similar wrapped in the mantle of economic theory religious cult, abeit more dangerous and destructive for the people of Russia then neoclassical economics is for the people of the USA. Quoting Marx we can say "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce".
That also means that there is no easy way out of the current situation. Ideologies are sticky and can lead to the collapse of society rather then peaceful evolution.
So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.
|So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.|
The cult which served as a Trojan horse for bankers to grab power and wealth by robbing fellow Americans. In a way this is a classic story of a parasite killing the host. The powers that be in academia put their imprimatur on economic ‘theory,’ select and indoctrinate its high priests to teach it, and with a host of media players grinding out arguments pro and con this and that, provide legitimacy sufficient for cover of bankers objectives. Which control the disposition and annuity streams of pension fund assets and related financial services. In his new documentary Inside Job, filmmaker Charles Ferguson provides strong evidence of a systematic mass corruption of economic profession (Yahoo! Finance):
Ferguson points to 20 years of deregulation, rampant greed (a la Gordon Gekko) and cronyism. This cronyism is in large part due to a revolving door between not only Wall Street and Washington, but also the incestuous relationship between Wall Street, Washington and academia.The conflicts of interest that arise when academics take on roles outside of education are largely unspoken, but a very big problem. “The academic economics discipline has been very heavily penetrated by the financial services industry,” Ferguson tells Aaron in the accompanying clip. “Many prominent academics now actually make the majority of their money from the financial services industry, not from teaching or research. [This fact] has definitely compromised the research work and the policy advice that we get from academia.”
... ... ...
Feguson is astonished by the lack of regulation demanding financial disclosure of all academics and is now pushing for it. “At a minimum, federal law should require public disclosure of all outside income that is in any way related to professors’ publishing and policy advocacy,” he writes. “It may be desirable to go even further, and to limit the total size of outside income that potentially generates conflicts of interest.”
The dismantling of economic schools that favor financial oligarchy interests over real research (and prosecuting academic criminals -- many prominent professors in Chicago, Harvard, Columbia and other prominent members of neo-classical economic church) require a new funding model. As neoliberalism itself, the neoclassical economy is very sticky. Chances for success of any reform in the current environment are slim to non existent.
Here is one apt quote from Zero Hedge discussion of Gonzalo Lira article On The Identity Of The False Religion Behind The Mask Of Economic Science zero hedge
"They analyze data for Christ sakes"
Just like Mishkin analyzed Iceland for $120k? a huge proportion in US [are] on Fed payroll, or beneficiaries of corporate thinktank cash; they are coverup lipstick and makeup; hacks for hire.
Like truth-trashing mortgage pushers, credit raters, CDO CDS market manipulators and bribe-fueled fraud enablers of all stripes -- they do it for the dough -- and because everybody else is doing it.
It's now a common understanding that "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, professors of neoclassical economics from Chicago, Harvard and some other places are warmed by flow of money from financial services industries for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping financial oligarchy to destroy the country. This role of neo-classical economists as the fifth column of financial oligarchy is an interesting research topic. Just don't expect any grants for it ;-).As Reinhold Niebuhr aptly noted in his classic Moral Man and Immoral Society
Since inequalities of privilege are greater than could possibly be defended rationally, the intelligence of privileged groups is usually applied to the task of inventing specious proofs for the theory that universal values spring from, and that general interests are served by, the special privileges which they hold.
I would like to stress it again: they are not and never have been scientists: they are just high priests of dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the sect (and that means their own) benefits. Fifth column of financial oligarchy. All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: at some point state support became obvious as financial oligarchy gained significant share of government power (as Glass-Steagall repeal signified). It is just more subtle working via ostracism and flow of funding, without open repressions. See also Politicization of science and The Republican War on Science
Like Russia with Bolsheviks, the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the Chicago economic school that has dominated the field for approximately 50 years ( as minimum over 30 years). Actually the situation not unlike the situation with Lysenkoism is the USSR. It's pretty notable that the USA suffered 30 years of this farce, actually approximately the same amount of time the USSR scientific community suffered from Lysenkoism (1934-1965)
|"Over the past 30 years, the economics profession—in economics departments, and in business,
public policy, and law schools—has become so compromised by conflicts of interest that it now
functions almost as a support group for financial services and other industries whose profits
depend heavily on government policy.
The route to the 2008 financial crisis, and the economic problems that still plague us, runs straight through the economics discipline. And it's due not just to ideology; it's also about straightforward, old-fashioned money."
Peter Dormat noticed amazing similarity between medical researchers taking money from drug companies and economists. In case of medical researchers widespread corruption can at least be partially kept in check by rules of disclosure. Universities are being called out for their failure to disclose to public agencies the other, private grants researchers are pulling in. This is not perfect policing as the universities themselves get a cut of the proceeds, so that the conflict of interest exists but at least this is theirs too.
But there is no corresponding policy for economics. So for them there are not even rules to be broken. And this is not a bug, this is feature. In a sense corruption is officially institualized and expected in economics. Being a paid shill is the typical career of many professional economists. Some foundations require an acknowledgment in the published research they support, but that's all about “thank you”, not disclaimer about the level of influence of those who pay for the music exert on the selection of the tune. Any disclosure of other, privately-interested funding sources by economists is strictly voluntary, and in practice seldom occurs. Trade researchers can be funded by foreign governments or business associations and so on and so forth.
In this atmosphere pseudo-theories have currency and are attractive to economists who want to enrich themselves. That situation is rarely reflected in mainstream press. For example, there some superficial critiques of neo-classical economics as a new form of Lysenkoism (it enjoyed the support of the state) but MSM usually frame the meltdown of neo-classical economic theory something like "To all you corrupt jerks out there: shake off the old camouflage as it became too visible and find a new way misleading the masses...". At the same time it's a real shocker, what a bunch of toxic theories and ideologies starting from Reagan have done to the US economy.
That suggests that neo-economics such as Milton Friedman (and lower level patsies like Eugene Fama ) were just paid propagandists of a superficial, uninformed, and simplistic view of the world that was convenient to the ruling elite. While this is somewhat simplistic explanation, it's by-and-large true and that was one of the factors led the USA very close to the cliff... Most of their theories is not only just nonsense for any trained Ph.D level mathematician or computer scientist, they look like nonsense to any person with a college degree, who looks at them with a fresh, unprejudiced mind. There are several economic myths, popularized by well paid propagandists over the last thirty years, that are falling hard in the recent series of financial crises: the efficient market hypothesis, the inherent benefits of globalization from the natural equilibrium of national competitive advantages, and the infallibility of unfettered greed as a ideal method of managing and organizing human social behavior and maximizing national production.
I would suggest that and economic theory has a strong political-economic dimension. The cult of markets, ideological subservience and manipulation, etc. certainly are part of neo-classical economics that was influenced by underling political agenda this pseudo-theory promotes. As pdavidsonutk wrote: July 16, 2009 16:14
Keynes noted that "classical theorists resemble Euclidean geometers in a non Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight --as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions. Yet in truth there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. SOMETHING SIMILAR IS REQUIRED IN ECONOMICS TODAY. " [Emphasis added]
As I pointed out in my 2007 book JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (Mentioned in this ECONOMIST article as a biography "of the master") Keynes threw over three classical axioms: (1) the neutral money axiom (2) the gross substitution axiom, and (3) the ergodic axiom.
The latter is most important for understanding why modern macroeconomics is dwelling in an Euclidean economics world rather than the non-Euclidean economics Keynes set forth.
The Ergodic axiom asserts that the future is merely the statistical shadow of the past so that if one develops a probability distribution using historical data, the same probability distribution will govern all future events till the end of time!! Thus in this Euclidean economics there is no uncertainty about the future only probabilistic risk that can reduce the future to actuarial certainty! In such a world rational people and firms know (with actuarial certainty) their intertemporal budget constrains and optimize -- so that there can never be an loan defaults, insolvencies, or bankruptcies.
Keynes argued that important economic decisions involved nonergodic processes, so that the future could NOT be forecasted on the basis of past statistical probability results -- and therefore certain human institutions had to be develop0ed as part of the law of contracts to permit people to make crucial decisions regarding a future that they "knew" they could not know and still sleep at night. When the future seems very uncertain, then rational people in a nonergodic world would decide not to make any decisions to commit their real resources -- but instead save via liquid assets so they could make decisions another day when the future seemed to them less uncertain.
All this is developed and the policy implications derived in my JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (2007) book. Furthermore this nonergodic model is applied to the current financial and economic crisis and its solution in my 2009 book THE KEYNES SOLUTION: THE PATH TO GLOBAL PROSPERITY (Palgrave/Macmillan) where I tell the reader what Keynes would have written regarding today's domestic crisis in each nation and its international aspects.
Paul Davidson ghaliban wrote:July 16, 2009 15:34
I think you could have written a shorter article to make your point about the dismal state of economics theory and practice, and saved space to think more imaginatively about ways to reform.
A bit like biology, economics must become econology - a study of real economic systems. It must give up its physics-envy. This on its own will lead its practitioners closer to the truth.
Like biological systems, economic systems are complex, and often exhibit emergent properties that cannot be predicted from the analysis of component parts. The best way to deal with this is (as in biology) to start with the basic organizational unit of analysis - the individual, and then study how the individual makes economic decisions in larger and larger groups (family/community), and how groups take economic decisions within larger and larger forms of economic organization. From this, econologists should determine whether there are any enduring patterns in how aggregate economic decisions are taken. If there are no easily discernable patterns, and aggregate decisions cannot be predicted from a knowledge of individual decision-making preferences, then the theory must rely (as it does in biology) on computer simulations with the economy replicated in as much detail as possible to limit the scope for modeling error. This path will illuminate the "physiology" of different economies.
A second area of development must look into "anatomy" - the connections between actors within the financial system, the connections between economic actors within the real economy, and the connections between the real and financial economies. What are the precise links demand and supply links between these groups, and how does money really flow through the economic system? A finer knowledge of economic anatomy will make it easier to produce better computer simulations of the economy, which will make it a bit easier to study economic physiology.
In her interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism Wendy Brown advanced some Professor Wolin ideas to a new level and provide explanation why "neoclassical crooks" like Professor Frederic Mishkin (of Financial Stability in Iceland fame) still rule the economics departments of the USA. They are instrumental in giving legitimacy to the neoliberal rule favoured by the financial oligarchy:
"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."
"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."
"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."
"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."
"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."
"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."
"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."
|I find an attempt to elevate academic finance and economics to sciences by using the word "scientism" to be bizarre. Finance models like CAPM, Black-Scholes and VAR all rest on assumptions that are demonstrably false, such as rational investors and continuous markets.|
Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Trump revoked Brennan's clearance for what he called "unfounded and outrageous allegations" against his administration, while also announcing that the White House is evaluating whether to strip clearances from other former top officials.
Trump later told the Wall Street Journal his decision was connected to the ongoing federal probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegedly collusion by his presidential campaign.
"I call it the rigged witch hunt, (it) is a sham," Trump said in an interview with the newspaper on Wednesday. "And these people led it."
"It's something that had to be done," Trump added. - Reuters
Dundalk , , August 13, 2018 at 5:01 am
Aug 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.comTwo big Washington think tanks have teamed up to defend democracy against an 'assault on the transatlantic community.' For several months, an alliance has been forming between the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP). It's the sort of kumbaya not witnessed since wartime Washington a decade ago.
A press release from CAP on May 10 blares: "CAP and AEI Team up to Defend Democracy and Transatlantic Partnership." The same joyous tidings accompanied a public statement issued by AEI on July 31, which stressed that the alliance was meant to resist "the populist assault on the transatlantic community" for the purpose of "defending democracy."
Although, according to Vikram Singh, a senior fellow at CAP, the two partners "often disagree on important policy questions," they have been driven together "at a time when the character of our societies is at stake." This burgeoning cooperation underscores that "our commitment to democracy and core democratic principles is stronger than ever." Since both documents fling around the terms "democracy" and "liberal democracy" to justify a meddlesome foreign policy, we may safely assume that the neocons are behind this project. Neocons for some time now have prefixed their intended aggressions with "democracy" and "liberal democracy" the way the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs during the 16th and 17th centuries stuck the word "holy" into the names of their wartime alliances. Closer to our time, communist governments favored the use of "people's democracy" to indicate that they were the good guys. Presumably the neocons have now picked up this habit of nomenclature.
Ironically, the new neocon-shaped think tank alliance is no more interested in what it claims to want, namely democracy, than its former Soviet rulers were. AEI has attacked Britain's decision to leave the European Union as symptomatic of "populist attacks on traditional structures of international affairs such as the EU and international trade regimes." It is in this context, we are told, that NATO has "appeared to be a second-rate concern" and that the globalization that "ushered in unprecedented worldwide growth" has been placed in peril. Leaving aside other critical analyses of globalism that call into question AEI's enthusiasm for neoliberal economics, the more relevant question is: why is it "undemocratic" for a nation to vote in favor of leaving the EU? And for that matter, why is it "undemocratic" for countries to reconsider their membership in NATO?
Moreover, who are these "authoritarian" bad guys that CAP now has in its crosshairs and plans to rid the world of with its new neocon pals? Presumably it's the right-of-center governments in Eastern and Central Europe, as personified by favorite leftist whipping boy Viktor Orban . Although CAP doesn't want to be especially "confrontational" in dealing with its villains, or so it claims, it also proclaims that "authoritarian regimes pursue different objectives than societies with governments that are accountable to the people and respect the rule of law." It might be useful for CAP to tell us how exactly Hungary, Poland, and other right-of-center European governments have not been democratically elected and have disrespected their countries' legal traditions.
Fortunately our think tank alliance is in still in no position (heaven be thanked!) to impose its will. The most these hysterical complainers can do is air their grievances and misrepresent them as somehow "preserving democracy." All AEI and CAP have done is to take a multitude of grievances -- e.g., America's failing to oppose adequately China's cyberthreats, putting up with Russia's aggression, "security threats" in general, and nuclear proliferation -- and mixed them together with standard leftist boilerplate about Orban's "illiberalism" and "sharing our values." This, of course, is indicative of the neocon tactic of linking whatever its advocates see fit to address to a supposed common purpose, which is saving democracy from whatever is defined as "antidemocratic."
For those who wonder what AEI, as a supposedly right-of-center foundation, is doing hanging out with CAP, such hobnobbing between Republican policy foundations and left-of-center tanks has been going on for a while. In December 2015, AEI and Brookings both proudly announced their cooperation in drafting a poverty program that emphatically diverged from the one proposed by then-candidate Trump. Both foundations called for, among other reforms, raising the minimum wage and greater government guidance for poor families.
What's new about the AEI/CAP "partnership of peril," however, is the degree of collaboration taking place and the unmistakable whiff of "never Trump" among their scholars and writers. It would also appear that as the price of collaboration, AEI has been required to join its more leftist partner in going after democratically elected right-of-center political leaders in Europe. This recalls all too vividly the Soviet practice of purging "undemocratic" -- that is, uncongenial -- governments while taking over Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War. Today it's an establishment think tank world where governments elected fairly by their people are declared not democratic enough.Remaking the World in the Neoconservative Image A Neoconservative of Conviction
Paul Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale Ph.D. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents . 20 Responses to Neocons and Liberals Join Forces to Fight Populism
E. J. Worthing August 12, 2018 at 11:20 pmIt is anti-democratic to try to shut down a university because of a disagreement with the founder's political views.
Furor , , August 13, 2018 at 5:53 am"Moreover, who are these "authoritarian" bad guys that CAP now has in its crosshairs and plans to rid the world of with its new neocon pals?"
Curiously, they don't find mass surveillance by the NSA, militarization of the police, permanent war, or the kind of government-imposed humiliations we experience in airports these days to be the least bit "authoritarian", all of them byproducts of incompetent or treacherous neocon and neoliberal control-freaks.
Which is why the normal mind guffaws at the though of neocons and neoliberals banding together to fight "authoritarianism".
They're still pretending they don't get it. Populists aren't the problem. Populists reacted to the problem. The problem is the staggering damage that neocons and neoliberals have done to the West. The problem is how to rid ourselves of them.
I am not really surprised. What goes on in Eastern Europe is controversial and it will catch attention of all sides. Hungary and Poland are peripheries of a bigger political-economic area, so they will have to take this into accountFrank D , , August 13, 2018 at 7:35 am
The author seems to be complaining about something that will not have any effect on the thing he is complaining about.Oleg Gark , , August 13, 2018 at 8:09 am
The Little People use the internet to conspire against us, the Important People.Michael Kenny , , August 13, 2018 at 9:45 am
That's not Democracy, that's Insolence!
What's at stake for both think tanks is the continuance of US global hegemony, whether for its own sake or as an essential tool to prop up Israel. Ironically, the same US ideological "family" promoted the very populism they are now condemning for the purpose of breaking up the very same EU whose possible demise they now regard as a disaster! Equally, Professor Gottfried and his VDare friends themselves peddle the anti-EU/pro-Putin line and are therefore in no position to criticize the two think tanks for promoting "a meddlesome foreign policy". Indeed, the way in which Professor Gottfried takes a position in the article for or against this or that European government is a perfect example of his belief in a "meddlesome foreign policy". He just doesn't like the particular form of meddling that the think tanks are proposing.Ken Zaretzke , , August 13, 2018 at 11:35 am
Foreign affairs and domestic policy are intertwined in the hostility to populism. AEI supports quasi-open borders, so no surprise that they view populism as a scourge.Ron Pavellas , , August 13, 2018 at 11:42 am
A pro-populist strategy, specifically on the immigration front, suggests itself if we distinguish between Deep State-compatible immigration *restrictionism* and Deep State-incompatible immigration *patriotism*. The latter is a form of populist nationalism. (That phrase isn't redundant because there can surely be non-populist forms of nationalism.) For the former, note that the Deep State can, if anything, operate better in a society without continual ethnic minority- pleading.
Jeff Sessions is an immigration restrictionist; Stephen Miller is an immigration patriot.
The think tank anti-populism is part of the Deep State's effort to ensure that the Mueller investigation go forward as the best way of hindering Trump's populist instincts and the policies that it fears will flow from them.
My initial reaction to the headline and first few sentences was: "They are frightened. Good!" Since the first order of any organization is to survive, no matter what, each is now abandoning its original (stated) purpose to align with the other. "The Populists are coming! The Populists are coming!"Kent , , August 13, 2018 at 11:52 am
I think it's funny using terms like "liberal", "neo-liberal", "neo-conservative". They are all ideologies whose fundamental motive is to maximize corporate profits at the expense of the working American. There's no reason to distinguish between them.John S , , August 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm
This is an unfair critique.Patricus , , August 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm
" why is it "undemocratic" for a nation to vote in favor of leaving the EU? And for that matter, why is it 'undemocratic' for countries to reconsider their membership in NATO?"
The documents don't say these things are undemocratic. The documents claim that authoritarian populists attack international cooperation.
"It might be useful for CAP to tell us how exactly Hungary, Poland, and other right-of-center European governments have disrespected their countries' legal traditions."
They have. If you put "Viktor Orban" and "Poland" in the search box on their website you'll find it.
There has been no significant difference between Democrats and Republicans in my six decades. Trump was a breath of fresh air although he hasn't moved far enough to repudiate the establishment.EliteCommInc. , , August 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Laughing. Sure, until they want to adovcate for another regime change campaign, then it will about people, for people all day long to get them on board.Jeeves , , August 13, 2018 at 4:30 pm
Until then they won't be happy until the US reflects asian caste systems of social polity.
Viktor Orban is the "left's favorite whipping boy"? Oh, I think he's a little more than that, Mr. Gottfried.cka2nd , , August 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm
In addition to putting Mr. Orban's "illiberalism" in mocking quotes, this melange of conspiracy mongering finds yet more sinister neocon plotting in the AEI/Hudson connection -- which, if you follow Gottfried's link, turns out to surprisingly free of Soviet-era purges, even though it departs from anything proposed by The Stable Genius in Chief.
If the author doesn't think left-wing critics of globalism (Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Latin American "pink" revolutionaries -- well, reformists -- and the anti-WTO/IMF/World Bank anti-globalists, among others), he's fooling himself. It was the farther left, after all, and the unions who often led the fights to vote against joining first the Eurozone and then the EU, and who have opposed the American elite's various free trade deals, forcing previous deals between neo-liberals and free market conservatives (e.g., NAFTA, Clinton and the GOP).Black , , August 13, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Soooo You think White Identitarian populism is good for the WEST see History. Ha! Whats coming down the PIKE is more wars, conflicts, tribalism, and DEATH. And this is just the Western Nations (Whites). Populism is not Racial Idealism. Poor whites CONNED again, like always. Good Fences make better neighbors, and NIMBY!Q , , August 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm
Neocons and liberals have always had a lot in common. They both want:Learned Foot , , August 13, 2018 at 9:42 pm
-- open borders
-- anti-Russia, Iran
-- American hegemony which means endless wars
-- support for gay marriage
-- anti-Nationalism hence anti-Trump
The only thing that separated them were gun control and abortion, but even those issues aren't as clearcut anymore.
Two sides of the same bad penny. Question is, how do we get rid of it?Wow. Just Wow. , , August 14, 2018 at 1:06 am
So the people who gave us an America of 'Your Papers, Please!!' and 'Shut Up and Bend Over' are getting worried about the threat of authoritarianism.Ken Zaretzke , , August 14, 2018 at 11:21 am
They want their "democracy" back, don't you know, with its black sites, endless wars, its torture and fiat assassination regime, its hate speech laws, its warrantless surveillance programs, and the highest incarceration rates in the world.
@Black,Tom Cullem , , August 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm
I suspect you're an academic with tenure already in the bag notwithstanding your way of talking. So tell me, how is the anti-White identitarianism going in South Africa, for the average non-white South African? And why is the anti-White government failing so miserably?
Legacy of colonialism, eh?
@Dundalk -- Second all that, perfectly put.
They aren't worried about democracy: they're worried about global corporatist power, which is what "transatlantic partnerships" really translates to.
"Populism" is another name for the Great Unwashed trying to regain some control of their environment. Bloody cheek, eh?
Aug 12, 2018 | pravdoiskatel77.livejournal.com
The US is preparing a new package of sanctions aimed not only against Russian banks, corporations, businessmen, but also against those who do business with them. The full list of Russian companies is in print, and I do not want to retell for the hundredth time what everyone already knows almost by heart: the names of companies and people's names. The main thing is that all of them are cut off from dollar payments, including financing of new Russian government bonds.
For senior managers of these companies, sitting between two chairs now ended in disaster. Poor Gref (Sberbank chairman) in vain so many years showed loyalty to the USA by not recognizing the Crimea. It did not help. He is in the list. The USA cut Gref with his Bank from the American financial market and does not care one bit that they hurt a deeply pro-American neoliberal comprador.
The Russian financial system, the core of which was that it is a part of world neoliberal financial system run from New York and London, the severing of its connection to the dollar market is a knockdown, if not knockout. And the question is not whether the sanctions will be approved "as is" or somewhat soften, it is clear what size of the suspended axe. Which can sooner or later fall on the heads of our neoliberals, because they are not neoliberal enough and did not depose President Putin. The neoliberal establishment of the USA can press, twist and simultaneously emasculate Trump even more. Trump is very weak, in spite of all the bravado and somewhat improved popularity ratings.
The neoliberal establishment of the USA proved that it can eats even popular presidents. If Trump survives the November midterm Congressional elections, he is highly likely will face even more fierce opposition at the next Presidential election. The "deep state" does not make the same mistake twice.
And then the successor will finish all that Trump failed to finish as for Russian suctions. Russia is facing the complete financial isolation with a ban on the import of modern equipment and export of oil and gas. Ahead drugs and consumer electronics, computers and other products. Those who do not believe in it, do not understand what is happening. Neoliberalism is wounded and like wounded animal attack on its enemies or even detractors with fierce force and determination.
How strong is the shock in the Russian elites from what is happening, shows the performance of Peskov. His reaction reminds us the beginning of the Patriotic war: everyone was waiting for it, but preparations are actually blocked "not to provoke Germans" and no one want to believe when it is started. Remember our pre-war military doctrines? "Fight in a foreign land and with little blood! " In life it turned out a little differently. And only thanks to the fact that sobering up happened quickly, the enemy was stopped near Moscow six months later.
Peskov looks like Molotov of our time. He spoke cautiously in the sense that we do not yet see the react to premature actions. Somebody in the USA really spoke in favor of severe sanctions. When (on August 22) there will be an official decision of our "American partners", then we will talk. And he added that should reassure everyone: "Russia's Financial system is quite stable, it is well known. It has proved its stability in quite difficult times. Against the background of the continuing unpredictability of our overseas partners, of course, we must and we keep our financial system in good condition. It's obvious". It would be better if he said another, very simple idea -- that Russia will adequately respond on all the attacks on its financial system.
Because the tense optimism does not bring calm. What is financial stability, when the rubble dropped more then 10% on the news. Just waiting for the sanctions? Essentially threat to impose those from the State Department on August 22. The ruble as a part of international financial system considerably dropped on the news. Speculators, dominant on the stock exchange and holding this market, began to massively withdraw from ruble assets.
Of course Peskov is still not Putin, he just is the spokesman for the President. Everyone understands that Russian financial system was stable until it was seriously hit. The" tough times" in the past about which Peskov talked were in comparison not that thought. Now we are facing a complete blockade similar to imposed on Japan before Pearl harbor. the design is to provoke us while Russia is still weak after the economic rape of 1990th. The same type of ideas that were behind operation Barbarossa. With the color revolution instead of armed invasion. So why there are people who do not understand this?
Sanctions are just one piece of the puzzle. Background of other action by CIA and NGO. The goal was voiced by some members of the US political elite. Rabid ex-head of the CIA Michael Morell of course behaves much like Zhirinovsky in Russia. With far less originality. But those reservations aside, he probably voiced real intentions of the USA ruling class when he called for "orange revolution" Russia in a manner of EuroMaydan in Ukraine. Which supposedly can be provoked by anti-Russian economic sanctions and economic blockade, which the Congress is in a hurry to adopt.
Everything is very open: sanctions will affect standard of living including decline of real value of pensions (and increase of pension age, already planned), increase is some taxes and prices of staples and communal services. Kind of Ukraine "after-Maydan" scenario without Maydan. At some point this really might take people to the streets. Unpopular reforms are often a desperate reaction of the government to sanctions. All sanctions since Obama's time are aimed at raising the middle class to revolt, and Morell is sure that this is what "Putin is afraid of most." He writes about it in the newspaper the Washington Post in the article "Putin is afraid of one single thing. Let's make him think it can happen." The uprising in Russia might also followed by establishing of another Yeltsin-style puppet regime. Round two of what happened after the dissolution of the USSR. One real problem here is that Putin will last just another six years. Then what? There is no clear mechanism of succession in Russian elite and it can step on the same rake.
That is, the US openly uses the attack on the Russian financial system to organize a coup, a yet another color revolution and bring to power Yeltsin-style puppets. The assurance that our financial system is reliable is an attempt to hide for us the fact how unreliable it is if hit by the USA hard. But if Putin spokesman Peskov does not say it right now, it does not mean that Putin does not see and does not take some actions.
The first step in right direction, forced by the previous round of sanctions was creation of a payment system MIR and an analogue of the SWIFT system. The second is a sharp drop of holding of US treasures. I think that the third necessary step will be the transition step-by-step manner to the nationalization of the top level banks of the Russian financial system -- a measure completely forced by the USA behavior and quite obvious. this can be hidden operation about which nobody should speak too loudly.
I recently wrote that the main feature of the Soviet budget was that it was formed as a result of the confiscation of the free retained earnings balance that arose after the distribution of the planned profit of enterprises, according to the established standards. Thanks to this system, the Soviet budget pulled not only the USSR and its republics, but also half of the world including a dozens of vassals and semi or temporary allies. And the collapse of the USSR happen due to betrayal of the elite, not because of financial problems, although they did existed and at the end of Brezhnev rule became acute. Still it happened mainly because the Soviet nomenklatura wanted privatization, wanted to change sides. It they did not became turncoats, despite all weakness and warts of the Soviet system we probably would still be living in the USSR.
The Soviet financial system was really very stable, because it was protected from the influence of sabotage of the West. Inflation did exist and ruble gradually lost it value during Brezhnev's reign, but that was it. Of course, famous Soviet "deficit" was also a form of inflation, but it was mainly visible in the area of "conspicuous consumption" -- luxury good, electronics and such. With the exception of meat (but not fish) staples were "mostly" available, although "real" prices on "black market" for them often did no correspond to the official prices. The Soviet Union has always, throughout its history lived under the sanctions, if not blockade by the West, but since 1960th population felt the effects only indirectly with severely limited access to Western consumer electronics, low quality and availability of domestic electronics, and such. I am not defending the Soviet system here, I just try to understand the situation.
Unlike the current situation with the ruble in the USSR, the current sanctions are instantly felt, as the exchange rate of the ruble changed and people see that: they feel that they became more poor even if consumer prices did not react. Also the fluctuations of the ruble cause price hikes on imported goods and the risk of bankruptcy of banks. The country's budget to a considerable extent depends on revenues from exports of raw materials such as oil and gas as well (to much lesser extent) as sales of Russian bonds to finance large infrastructure projects. It is wrong to believe that the new US sanctions will hit only the pockets of bankers and top managers. Real economy will also be hit. We are too dependent on imports and the dollar.
I write this to stress that the fact that the nationalization of financial system can take various forms, including the return to the Soviet style limitations on profit of financial institutions and some branches of economics. One step in this direction would be taking 500 billion rubles from the metallurgical and chemical businesses to the state budget. Just like that, no taxes. Advisor to the President Andrei Belousov wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin, in which he pointed out that in metallurgy and chemistry for 2017, super-profits have accumulated due to the price situation, and not as a result of the actions of the management of companies. The market excess over the average price was 20.8%. Since similar excessive profits in oil industry are withdrawn to the budget in the form of super-income rents, why not do the same with metallurgists and chemists? Putin agreed in writing with Belousov by put a resolution "I Agree" on his memo. This is a socialist redistribution of the state profits of private capitalist enterprises. The NEP in its purest form.
Neoliberals are sad -- not good, they say, not the way "market economy" should work. F*ck them. Shareholders will receive less dividends. But what dividends consideration should be when the country is at war? During the war it should be war economics and it might make sense to return to some USSR practices, as the USSR economics was close to war economics all the time (and it was one on the major drawbacks of "socialist economy").
It is possible, as in the USSR, to take money from business in the form of confiscation by the state of the all of the profits, as many countries do during the war. Of course, this can be only temporary solution, but for several years it will definitely work.
In war, the country, one way or another, puts its economic wagon on the rails of the socialism. First of all, it is the principle of priority of national goals over personal ones. Neoliberals and financial oligarchy during the war are removed from power and, if they resist, of property. So far, they have been removed from part of the profits in two industries. The financial oligarchy is still intact. That needs to change.
But back to neoliberal financial system and banks. Those who are cut off from the dollar-or threaten to cut off with a high degree of probability of this event are now screaming. Let then scream. Sooner or later, but this should happen anyway, and that was clear to anybody expect to comprador financial oligarchy themselves, who enjoyed buying castles, football teams at the West and move their families. Now west will confiscate all those goodies without hesitation as assets created by stealing property in Russia and they can do nothing about it. In the famous film " Liberation " at the end there is a question: "What did fascism bring to the world?". We should also ask ourselves, "What has neoliberalism brought to Russia?".
Neoliberalism impoverished the majority of the Russian population and created a tiny strata of loyal to the USA Russian elite and professionals -- Russian compradors, which preferred to store money in the Western banks. Which currently should be bribed by Putin regime with some possibilities of continued unfair enrichment to keep them quite, so that they do not ally with the USA in case of color revolution, like some Ukrainian oligarchs such as Poroshenko and Kolomoysky did. But this bribery has not turned compradors from fifth column of the West in Russia, into Russian nationalists. They did refrain from revolt in 2011-2012, the USA attempt to stage "white color revolution" in Russia, but they do hate Russia. The problem is that they reproduce themselves, taking control in the field of education, training and placement of personnel in the economy. They also control media.
Neoliberalism has brought Russia's dependence on the export of oil and gas and import of sophisticated production technologies. The raw material elite despises mechanical engineering. Controlling raw materials and finances, she buys equipment in the West, sharing with him part of national resources for the technologies they need. And they take out loans in the West. And move their families to the West. And try to transfer the companies outside Russian jurisdiction. They believe that the elite of the West will be so closely tied to themselves -- here, they say, we will not only share in oil and gas, but we will use your money, your technologies, and we will support your engineering we will not try to replicate them domestically.
Neoliberalism has made Russia dependent on the supply of equipment even for space industry. The dependence is decreasing, but it has become so great that it is not yet possible to get rid of it. Nevertheless, our corporations and key banks for some reason are stuck to the ears in the schemes of pumping money through the United States. What are our military-industrial enterprises doing in the USA? Why they have offshore accounts? What part of this is played by our major banks? As we have recently learned, RosCosmos was stealing money from the state on a truly cosmic scale, and not only money. A lot of components were also bought from Western corporations and sometimes from shady dealers with low quality. And this situation lasts two decades during which it would be possible to create import substitution productions for major components, if desired.
Our civil airliner Superjet, includes a lot of Western components including engines. They can cut supply of them anytime. And no matter how the Ministry of industry and trade is trying to avoid this trap, the neoliberal financial model of Russia does not allow to quickly maneuver resources. It was easy to cut whole plants for scrap metal during economic rape of Russia in the 1990s. But to built a new factory, especially for producing high technology components is much more difficult, especially operating on the destroyed technical and personnel base and brain drain to the West. In the budget formed within the neoliberal paradigm, money for new technologies that is imported from the Wast are never allocated, as this situation is considered "normal". And its normal until the USA decided to put sanctions. After that it nothing close to normal. Also different industries are treated by the state differently. There is huge preference for extractive industries as they bring currency to the budget. When our oil and gas companies suffered financially in 2014-2017, the state came to their aid. Machine builders are not so lucky.
this technological dependence on the west is the most humiliating thing that neoliberals do with the country, that managed to put a man in space just 12 years after the end of the most terrible war. And the USSR did produce some "high-tech" components that now we are buying from the West such as large turbines. Add to this the the US defense specialists freely grazed on our military industrial complex, the crown jewels of Soviet technology, like sheep on a grass common for more then a decade (from 1991 till 2001)
Conversion to Neoliberalism now can turn be very expensive for Russia. How now to buy spare parts for imported aircraft ? How we can lease new aircraft? We have a country in six time zones. All that Putin can now-it is administrative measures to support the remnants of the industry, giving them orders from the Ministry of defense and helping with loans to produce narrow body passenger jets.
But small volumes of narrow body midrange passenger planes are not very profitable and always lose to foreigners who dominate the international market and control most of its volume. Add to this the possibility of kickbacks, corruption, unwillingness to use our own components such as engine. Although we do have aircraft engines are as reasonably quiet and as economical as those we buy in the West.
for example, the newspaper "Argumenty Nedeli" for years writes about the bitter fate of our aircraft engine NK-93, which is competitive with best Western engines and which at all exhibitions are always carefully hidden from Putin somewhere in the distant hangars. The reason is simple -- it is cheap. When you put on a Superjet imported engine you not only simply maintenance of those place in foreign airports, you can launder large sums of budget money. The scheme is simple: the money from the budget -- a contract with a foreign partner via some offshore company and some amounts are rolled back. Minimum of persons involved, maximum benefit. This way from budget to offshore is the shortest. What will happen now with Superjet is unknown. The lion's share of the components are French. It is logical to think about the fate of the Mistral. Or at least supply disruptions.
It is clear that no matter how heavy the costs of us sanctions are for the country, Russian financiers will not give up power they got due to neoliberalization. They will go out of their way to prove that their fate is the fate of Russia, and their death is the death of Russia. And it is necessary to first save them and then Russia. We have seen it many times and we will see it this scenario again and again.
Our largest sectors -- oil, gas, aviation and rocket industry -- also will suffer from the imposition of sanctions. Certainly shipbuilding will suffer. One thing is good that equipment to produce them still can bought in china. But some western technologies are out of reach. China itself buys technologies in America. So we are facing difficult times.
... ... ...
America with its sanctions directly pushes Russia even out of colonial peripheral capitalism. Let's hope that the new unique mixture of capitalism and socialism that will arise in Russia as a result of American sanctions will be a completely different system with completely different elites, whose hatred and distrust of everything Anglo-Saxon will be inherited through genes. And any attempt to bring unnnesary western technologies or products into Russia will be despised. It is reasonable to expect that the new generation of Russian elite is acutely anti-American. Every action generates a reaction. Hopefully sanctions will destroy the "neoliberal intelligentsia" and "neoliberal business elite" in Russia. First of all, the neoliberal financial system will be reformed.
As China under socialist slogans builds capitalism with the Chinese specifics, so Russia under neoliberal slogans will begin to build state capitalism with some socialist component -- with the Russian specifics. And it's not a matter of taste, it's a conscious necessity. Otherwise we simply might not survive. The foundations of the new system will be laid by Vladimir Putin in the struggle for the implementation of the May decrees in conditions for acute geopolitical tension.
I hope that from now on we should not pay any attention to the neoliberal rhetoric of the authorities -- it is the rhetoric of the smoke screen. The usual smoke screen to calm those who will be gradually removed from power and property. Whether they want it or not, Russia has already embarked on this path and hopefully will not be able to get off the neoliberal track. The collapse of neoliberalism in the form of the collapse of its financial system is probably inevitable, and ithe repretition of 2008 is coming. this might help gradually dismantled and change the financial system in the coming years. The global crisis will only help us in this task. The trend is clearly indicated and it can only change speed, but not the direction. Until this moment we need to accept the reality which the USA created with new round of sanctions and do our best to defeat them. They are no longer our partners. They are something else.
Aug 17, 2018 | www.rt.comGet short URL Anti-capitalist protesters in Washington DC © David S. Holloway / AFP Support for capitalism among younger voters has dropped drastically, a new Gallup poll reveals. The US establishment's refusal to see this shift has resulted in Trump's election, philosopher Slavoj Zizek tells RT. According to the poll , 57 percent of Democrats view socialism positively. Only 47 percent view capitalism positively, down from 56 percent in 2010.
Across political lines, young Americans (aged 18-29) in general are split on capitalism and socialism. 51 percent of Americans aged 18-29 view socialism positively, while 45 percent view capitalism positively, down 12 points in just two years.
Slavoj Zizek sees the shift as a realization that for some, the American Dream just isn't real.
"The roots of this disappointment can be easily identified" he told RT. "The working class, but also the middle class feels betrayed. Generally, there's widespread awareness that the American system doesn't function the way people expected it to function."
Curiously, the drop in satisfaction comes at a time when the US economy is booming. Unemployment is at its lowest point in half a century at just over three percent, wages are increasing, and if President Trump is to be believed, all manner of companies are clamoring to bring their manufacturing operations back to the USA from overseas.
In 2010, when more Democrats still trusted capitalism, things were objectively worse. Unemployment stood at a dismal nine percent, wages had stagnated since the great recession, and recovery was still a distant glimmer.
"The message is very hopeful," Zizek said about the poll, which he said shows that quite a large part of the US population "no longer identifies with the American dream." He described the drop in support for Capitalism as the "beginning of the end of what in learned terms we call ideological hegemony."
TV Anchor: It is inexplicable that so many voters have a problem with capitalism considering that for so many Americans
[pauses to check stats]
housing is unaffordable, student debt is skyrocketing & you need a GoFundMe page to afford medical care https://t.co/JxIIZYZ2Du-- David Sirota (@davidsirota) August 13, 2018
With more Americans feeling left behind, the only candidate who capitalized on this dissatisfaction in 2016 was Donald Trump. However, Zizek doesn't see Trump as the solution to America's problems. Even as the economic good times roll, recovery has not touched everyone equally. 40 million US citizens still live in poverty, and five million of these live in "third world conditions," according to a UN report released this June.
"The only thing that can save the US is a stronger, more radical left," Zizek claims.
Where is the left?
The radical left Zizek talks about exists, but has been muscled out by the Democratic party's more centrist establishment. The establishment, he argues, "should look at their own Democratic Party, how they totally ignored a clear, more leftist, anti-capitalist signal from Bernie Sanders and his movement."
Sanders was a popular figure, particularly with young voters. By running Hillary Clinton instead, the centrist establishment "failed the expectations of the American people"
However, since Clinton's miserable performance in 2016, the 'progressive' movement championed by Sanders has slowly seeped into the mainstream. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the Bronx this June, when self-professed 'democratic socialist' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez snatched a stunning primary victory, ousting ten-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, a more centrist, suit-and-tie Democrat.
Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform that includes Medicare for all, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement – some of these points the Clinton camp of the Democrat party would have considered anathema.
Ocasio-Cortez' victory appeared to lay out a clear roadmap for Democrats in the Trump age: embrace the public's demand for a more radical left and win elections, or continue to blame Russia and continue to lose. The Democratic establishment didn't listen however, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) playing down her victory, reminding voters that it happened in "one district" and warning people not to get "carried away" with progressive ideas.
Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (South Carolina) embodied the establishment mentality when he said in an interview that Ocasio-Cortez needs to wait her turn before joining the Democratic party's leadership.
"I would ask her to remember how long I had to wait to get here," the 78-year-old Congressman said.
After her victory, Ocasio-Cortez jetted around the country to drum up support for like-minded progressive candidates ahead of primary elections. Her stumping fell short however, as four out of the six candidates endorsed by the socialist upstart lost their elections.
Some critics put this failure down to an inbuilt 'fear of socialism' among Americans. Zizek disagrees emphatically.
"I don't think that even those who spread this fear, that they take it seriously," he said, adding that the US is unlikely to turn into Venezuela any time soon. "That's pure fear-mongering" and "panicky reaction" at the newfound popularity of socialism, he said.
If the trend revealed by the latest Gallup poll is correct, embracing a socialist message could soon be the Democratic party's only means of survival.
Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.
Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Meanwhile going back to the ongoing escalation in political tensions between the US and Turkey, one day after Erdogan vowed to boycott US electronics products, including the iPhone, Ankara slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of American goods. Turkey announced it would impose an additional 50% tax on U.S. rice, 140% on spirits and 120% on cars.
There are also additional charges on U.S. cosmetics, tobacco and some food products. The was Erdogan's latest retaliation for the Trump administration's punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing an American pastor.
Bloomberg calculated that the items listed in the decree accounted for $1 billion of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week.
The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American "attacks" on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in tweets this morning.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,
No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.
For decades, the globalists have subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) been moving us toward a world in which national borders have essentially been made meaningless . The ultimate goal, of course, is to merge all the nations of the world into a "one world socialist utopia" with a global government, a global economic system and even a global religion.
The European Union is a model for what the elite hope to achieve eventually on a global scale . The individual nations still exist, but once inside the European Union you can travel wherever you want, economic rules have been standardized across the Union, and European institutions now have far more power than the national governments.
Liberty and freedom have been greatly restricted for the "common good", and a giant horde of nameless, faceless bureaucrats constantly micromanages the details of daily life down to the finest details.
With each passing day the EU becomes more Orwellian in nature, and that is why so many in Europe are completely fed up with it.
Rich Monk Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalinktaketheredpill Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink
The (((Money Changers))) have always been Humanity's greatest threat!
I would support TERM LIMITS on Congress and Senate...
Aug 14, 2018 | www.independent.org
Societies marked by oligarchy, that is, rigged to help the privileged elites at the expense of everyone else, require more than merely the removal of anti-competitive rules and regulations. The reason, according to Martinez, is that not all forms of economic liberalization are equally good: some reforms can be so inadequately designed as to harm the interests of the poor, especially in the short term.
This raises the questions: Are the poor better off under a market economy? Is the invisible hand conducive to giving people a hand? Pope Francis's assessment is often negative. "[U]nbridled capitalism," he has claimed, "has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to receive, of exploitation without looking at the person."
...Although the pope is on target in his admonition against worshipping the false god of a "deified market," according to Waterman, his encyclical Laudato si' is flawed, due in no small measure to its failure to acknowledge the good that markets do by channeling self-interest to serve the common good.
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike.
We are in a very peculiar ideological and political place in which Democracy (oh sainted Democracy) is a very good thing, unless the voters reject the technocrat class's leadership. Then the velvet gloves come off. From the perspective of the elites and their technocrat apparatchiks, elections have only one purpose: to rubberstamp their leadership.
As a general rule, this is easily managed by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and bribes to the cartels and insider fiefdoms who pony up most of the cash.
This is why incumbents win the vast majority of elections. Once in power, they issue the bribes and payoffs needed to guarantee funding next election cycle.
The occasional incumbent who is voted out of office made one of two mistakes:
1. He/she showed a very troubling bit of independence from the technocrat status quo, so a more orthodox candidate is selected to eliminate him/her.
2. The incumbent forgot to put on a charade of "listening to my constituency" etc.
If restive voters can't be bamboozled into passively supporting the technocrat status quo with the usual propaganda, divide and conquer is the preferred strategy. Only voting for the technocrat class (of any party, it doesn't really matter) will save us from the evil Other : Deplorables, socialists, commies, fascists, etc.
In extreme cases where the masses confound the status quo by voting against the technocrat class (i.e. against globalization, financialization, Empire), then the elites/technocrats will punish them with austerity or a managed recession. The technocrat's core ideology boils down to this:
1. The masses are dangerously incapable of making wise decisions about anything, so we have to persuade them to do our bidding. Any dissent will be punished, marginalized, censored or shut down under some pretext of "protecting the public" or violation of some open-ended statute.
2. To insure this happy outcome, we must use all the powers of propaganda, up to and including rigged statistics, bogus "facts" (official fake news can't be fake news, etc.), divide and conquer, fear-mongering, misdirection and so on.
3. We must relentlessly centralize all power, wealth and authority so the masses have no escape or independence left to threaten us. We must control everything, for their own good of course.
4. Globalization must be presented not as a gargantuan fraud that has stripmined the planet and its inhabitants, but as the sole wellspring of endless, permanent prosperity.
5. If the masses refuse to rubberstamp our leadership, they will be punished and told the source of their punishment is their rejection of globalization, financialization and Empire.
Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike. My two favorite charts of the outcome of technocrats running things to suit their elite masters are:
The state-cartel-crony-capitalist version: the top .1% skim the vast majority of the gains in income and wealth. Globalization, financialization and Empire sure do rack up impressive gains. Too bad they're concentrated in the top 1.%.
The state-crony-socialist version: the currency is destroyed, impoverishing everyone but the top .1% who transferred their wealth to Miami, London and Zurich long ago. Hmm, do you discern a pattern here in the elite-technocrat regime?
Ideology is just a cover you slip over the machine to mask what's really going on.
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Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.comAuthored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
"Only the weak hit the fly with a hammer."
– Bangambiki Habyarimana
Anyone who tells you the recent escalation of censorship by U.S. tech giants is merely a reflection of private companies making independent decisions is either lying or dangerously ignorant.
In the case of Facebook, the road from pseudo-platform to willing and enthusiastic tool of establishment power players is fairly straightforward. It really got going earlier this year when issues surrounding egregious privacy violations in the case of Cambridge Analytica (stuff that had been going on for years ) could finally be linked to the Trump campaign. It was at this point that powerful and nefarious forces spotted an opportunity to leverage the company's gigantic influence in distributing news and opinion for their own ends. Rather than hold executives to account and break up the company, the choice was made to commandeer and weaponize the platform. This is where we stand today.
Let's not whitewash history though. These tech companies have been compliant, out of control government snitches for a long time. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we're aware of the deep and longstanding cooperation between these lackeys and U.S. intelligence agencies in the realm of mass surveillance. As such, the most recent transformation of these companies into full fledged information gatekeepers should be seen in its proper context; merely as a dangerous continuation and expansion of an already entrenched reality.
But it's all out in the open now. Facebook isn't even hiding the fact that it's outsourcing much of its "fake news" analysis to the Atlantic Council, a think tank funded by NATO, Gulf States and defense contractors. As reported by Reuters :
Facebook began looking for outside help amid criticism for failing to rein in Russian propaganda ahead of the 2016 presidential elections
With scores of its own cybersecurity professionals and $40 billion in annual revenue in 2017, Facebook might not seem in need of outside help.
It doesn't need outside help, it needs political cover, which is the real driver behind this.
But the lab and Atlantic Council bring geopolitical expertise and allow Facebook to distance itself from sensitive pronouncements. On last week's call with reporters, Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, said the company should not be expected to identify or blame specific governments for all the campaigns it detects.
"Companies like ours don't have the necessary information to evaluate the relationship between political motivations that we infer about an adversary and the political goals of a nation-state," said Stamos, who is leaving the company this month for a post at Stanford University. Instead, he said Facebook would stick to amassing digital evidence and turning it over to authorities and researchers.
It would also be awkward for Facebook to accuse a government of wrongdoing when the company is trying to enter or expand in a market under that government's control.
Facebook donated an undisclosed amount to the lab in May that was enough, said Graham Brookie, who runs the lab, to vault the company to the top of the Atlantic Council's donor list, alongside the British government.
Facebook employees said privately over the past several months that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to outsource many of the most sensitive political decisions, leaving fact-checking to media groups and geopolitics to think tanks. The more he succeeds, the fewer complications for Facebook's expansion, the smaller its payroll, and the more plausible its positioning as a neutral platform. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
With that in mind go ahead and check out the Atlantic Council's donor list and all the shady characters on its board .
Now that it's been established that Facebook is in fact censoring based on advice provided by former spooks and other assorted establishment charlatans, let's talk about what this means. I think there are two major takeaways.
First and foremost, the entire push to make arbitrary de-platforming by tech giants the new norm proves the establishment is scared to death. The very powerful folks accustomed to manipulating and shaping the world via narrative creation aren't terrified about what Alex Jones says, they're terrified that it's popular. The establishment "elites" are in such denial about the consequences of the world they created, all they can do is spastically attack symptoms. Trump didn't divide U.S. society and Alex Jones didn't cause our widespread (and entirely justifiably) distrust in institutions; the status quo system did that via its spectacular failures. Trump's election and Alex Jones' popularity are merely symptoms of an incredibly corrupt and failed status quo paradigm, the stewards of which continually refuse to take a look in the mirror, accept blame and reform.
The way I see it, two key events of the 21st century directly led to the situation we find ourselves in currently. The launching of the Iraq war based on false evidence spread by intelligence agencies, politicians and the media, and the decision to bail out bankers and protect them from jail in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Combined, these two things created an environment of anger and distrust in which nearly anything becomes possible politically and socially. Trump and Alex Jones are symptoms of a failing society, not the root causes of it.
If I'm right about this, censorship of such voices by SilIcon Valley billionaires will backfire spectacularly. Alex Jones has now been made a martyr by tech oligarchs and deep state think tanks, which gives him more street cred than he had before. De-platforming does nothing to the demand side of the equation when it comes to his content, as we saw with his Infowars app soaring in the charts soon after the purge. If people want to find Alex Jones and Infowars, they will find it. Moreover, other communities are beginning to wake up to how dangerous all of this is. For example, last week we witnessed a growing number of Bitcoiners create accounts at decentralized Twitter-alternative Mastodon in case Jack Dorsey decides to step up censorship there.
Ultimately, it's safer for society to have open public forums where all ideas -- whether you consider them dangerous and crazy or not -- can be openly expressed alongside each other. That way we can see what's out there and debate or debunk them in front of large and diverse audiences.
This is 2018 and de-platforming popular content won't make it go away. It'll just shift it over into areas of the internet you can't see, where it'll fester and grow stronger over time in even more intense and radicalized echo chambers. You'll think it's gone from society because it's been safely cleansed from your corporate-government Facebook timeline, but it may grow even stronger in the shadows. This is particularly the case in a nation dominated by an entrenched, corrupt and unaccountable elitist class. One that refuses to confront the reality of its monumental failures, and instead chooses to self-interestedly obsess over what are just symptoms of a decadent empire in decline.
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Kan Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:12 Permalinkhedgeless_horseman -> wildbad Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:23 Permalink
HighImpactFlix on youtube was first, and nobody sounded the alarm... Then Infowars...Expendable Container -> cheka Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:16 Permalink
2. Read, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-06/hedgelesshorsemans-revolutionAdolfsteinbergovitch -> lisaroy728 Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:52 Permalink
"BLOCKED LIVES MATTER TOO!"
"There is also international fury over Facebook's denial of a platform of Infowars and Alex Jones. One of the self-proclaimed media Masters of the Universe is facing anger from multiple groups. One report says that to appease the hard-left, Israeli-controlled Facebook pulled the plug on 40 million users in July alone .
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and internet providers abuse their monopoly by deciding who and what information should be available to the public. It is a sinister reminder of life in the past when corporate-owned media, in alliance with government, manipulated minds by spinning news and information
As well as Alex Jones, Ron Paul, David Icke, SGT report and ex-CIA Michael Scheuer, hundreds of sites critical of Zionism or Globalism have been denied access to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms . YouTube allows promotion of abortion; even provide recipes for abortion food but remove academic opinions being aired....."gmrpeabody -> Last of the Mi Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:20 Permalink
BTW, did Google fire you recently? You no longer have your fancy car...cheka -> gmrpeabody Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:32 Permalink
" ... as if their echo chamber somehow extended onto the internet... yea.... right... "
Actually, their echo chamber IS the internet... (and social media)Brazen Heist II -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:07 Permalink
this crap shifted into high gear after the unite the right fiasco. been going on a long time. web hosting companies banned many MANY of the best websites right after that productionBrazen Heist II -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:50 Permalink
What the surveillance technocracy is doing right now is a trial run... Too little too late.Karl Marxist -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:51 Permalink
The plebs will be demanding their chains.EcoJoker -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:05 Permalink
But CIA and Pentagon have bought off all platforms, all mainstream media. When I say CIA and Pentagon I mean Israel. Whose idea was it for the NSA and mass surveillance? Israel. Whose idea is it to implement SWAT as S.O.P. of all police in the entire country and world? Israel. Whose idea is it to jail someone into solitary confinement long before any charges are filed (Michael Coen, Tommy Robinson, Assange)? Israel. Who is Silicon Valley, all tech? Israel Inside. Israel manufactures Intel chips and set exploits specifically for surveillance on anyone's personal device. Yet Congress just voted for $38 billion to Israel over the next 10 years. Here at home -- TV, Rachael Maddow and the rest making double digit millions to propagandise and foment madness, normalize child sex abuse and torture and protect Israel from all real and true scrutiny.Southern_Patriot -> EcoJoker Tue, 08/14/2018 - 14:08 Permalink
We deserve everything we get. Period. We don't hold anyone accountable, either by court or by assassination. We're pathetic citizens of a usurped nation.conraddobler -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 13:20 Permalink
Sadly, this is the truth. As a peoole we have become pathetic and weak. Not by choice mind you, but by design. People lived long before vaccines and fluoride in the water.
If you must use social media, as we all should, its a great source for information and discussion, try the new app called Mumblit.DuneCreature -> conraddobler Tue, 08/14/2018 - 14:23 Permalink
Same battle as it ever was.
The father of lies vs the rest of the spiritual world whatever that is to you.
It really is just good vs evil and it's funny what teammates you end up with but in the grand scheme of things even if Trump is doing someone else's bidding there is a greater plan.
I think too many don't understand that Trump was part of a marketing plan put there by the same people he's just a change of management style.
They were never going to put Hillary in there she's not a like able enough person, her husband was, she's not, and that's a terrible flaw for a national level politician.
It was simply a management change to buy time.
Everything to me is a matter of divide and conquer, they are splitting the population right down the middle for a reason to buy more time.
Well obviously to finish implementing the control grid of course and I think it's at the stage now they are confident they can move on it.
AI is scheduled to be our new overlord and we'll all be powerless to defend ourselves from it when it's fully engaged.
The primary defenders of our civilization come complete with an entire mythos that even predicts all this conveniently allow certain folks to rapture out of it and leaving the rest of us to deal with the wickedness on our own.
It's a matrix of control but who's doing the controlling? Why?
We are indoctrinated that this world is not our ultimate reward, this world is Satan's world and our ultimate reward comes in heaven not the earth.
Maybe that's true, maybe that's just the lie they tell you to keep you in line?
The only hope humanity has is a war among elites, only that is going to save us, we need division among our adversaries what's good for the goose is good for the gander type of thing.Expendable Container -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:58 Permalink
Good post. Yeah it all gets deep and takes serious reflection. Then you have to eat. And defend yourself. And keep yourself from just wanting to pull the ejection handle.
... ... ...Space_Cowboy -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:50 Permalink
Yes. The article says "The very powerful folks accustomed to manipulating and shaping the world via narrative creation..."
This Zionist Communist Global Dictatorship have done just that - they have set ethnic-European females against our wonderful males by turning them into feminazis who love pseudo victimhood and the blame game. And look what is the UNTOLD STORY OF OUR MEN:
"SUICIDE KILLS MORE MEN THAN WAR"
https://europeansworldwide.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/suicide-kills-more-purdySun -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:55 Permalink
Here in the SF Bay area,
I still have the privilege of having a neighbor who went through the Great Depression, and fought in WWII.
He's traditionally an old school Democrat, but even he admitted society out here has lost it.
He's also about the only person I truly relate to, and can have a pleasant, high-cognitive, logical conversation with these days.
Now imagine being him (in his 90's), fully coherent, and seeing these spoiled, brainwashed little shits out here, and those in NYC and DC, run amuck actively tearing down the American society along with older Western values that were built in the modern age by his generation, damn.purdySun -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:56 Permalink
Maybe Boomers were distracted. Viet Nam and "free" sex. And now they're under-the-jackboot, like everyone else.BlackChicken -> hedgeless_horseman Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:31 Permalink
Sorry, Boomers aren't the Perpetrators, only the Pawns. And generational conflict is just another divisive issue for the livestock.philipat -> BlackChicken Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:33 Permalink
The left is scared, and rightly so. They are actually drawing more attention to the voices they wish to cancel out. Typical liberal/leftist cluelessness.William Dorritt -> philipat Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:42 Permalink
The left is the other side of the same coin as the right. And they are all promoted by the "Elites", who ARE scared.samsara -> William Dorritt Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:09 Permalink
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk3sURDS4IAGrouchy-Bear -> samsara Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:30 Permalink
The spirit was freedom and justice
And it's keepers seem generous and kind
It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won't pay it no mind
'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it's all just an echo of what they've been told
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin'
Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner
We can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching
America where are you now?
Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
Don't you know we need you now
We can't fight alone against the monster
Read more: Steppenwolf - Monster Lyrics | MetroLyrics
It should be our national anthem...