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The Secular Stagnation as an Immanent Feature of Post-2008 Neoliberalism

Image courtesy of Koren Shadmi (What’s Behind a Rise in Ethnic Nationalism? Maybe the Economy - The New York Times, Oct 14, 2016)
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Introduction

Secular stagnation is a term proposed by Keynesian economist Alvin Hansen back in the 1930s to explain the USA dismal economic performance during this period. The period in which sluggish growth and output, and employment levels well below potential, coincide with a problematically low (even negative) real interest rates even in the face of the extraordinarily easy monetary policy. Later a similar phenomenon occurred in Japan. that's why it is often called called Japanification of the economy.  Secular stagnation returned to the USA in full force after the financial crisis of 2008 (so called The Long Recession), so this is the second time the USA society experience the same socio-economic phenomenon. 

Formally it can be defined as any stagnation that lasts substantially longer then the business cycle (and dominates the business cycle induced variations of economic activities), the suppression of economic performance for a long (aka secular) period. It also can be viewed as the crisis of demand, when demand became systemically weak (which under neoliberalism is ensured by redistribution of wealth up).

The global stagnation we are experiencing is the logical result of the dominance of neoliberalism and a sign of its crisis an a ideology. It is somewhat similar to the crisis of Bolshevik's ideology in the USSR in 60th when everybody realized that the existing society cannot fulfill the key promise of higher living standards. And that over centralization of economic life naturally leads to stagnation.  The analogy does not ends here, but this point is the most important.

Neoliberalism replaced over-centralization (with iron fist one party rule) with over-financialization (with iron fist rule of financial oligarchy), with generally the same result as for the economy ( In other words neoliberalism like bolshevism is equal to economic stagnation; extremes meet).  The end of cheap oil did not help iether. In a sense neoliberalism might be viewed as the elite reaction to the end of cheap oil, when it became clear that there are not enough cookies for everyone.

This growth in the financial sector's profits has not been an accident; it is the result of  engineered shift in the elite thinking, which changed government policies. The central question of politics is, in my view, "Who has a right to live and who does not".  In the answer to this question, neoliberal subscribes to Social Darwinism: ordinary citizens should be given much less rather than more social protection. Such  policies would have been impossible in 50th and 60th (A Short History of Neo-liberalism)

In 1945 or 1950, if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today's standard neo-liberal toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage at or sent off to the insane asylum. At least in the Western countries, at that time, everyone was a Keynesian, a social democrat or a social-Christian democrat or some shade of Marxist.

The idea that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given much less rather than more social protection--such ideas were utterly foreign to the spirit of the time. Even if someone actually agreed with these ideas, he or she would have hesitated to take such a position in public and would have had a hard time finding an audience.

And this change in government polices was achieved in classic Bolsheviks coup d'état way, when yoiu first create the Party of "professional neoliberal revolutionaries". Who then push for this change and "occupy" strategic places like economics departments at the universities, privately funded think tanks, MSM, and then subvert one or both major parties.  The crisis of "New Deal Capitalism" helped, but without network of think tanks and rich donors, the triumph of neoliberalism in the USA would have been impossible:

...one explanation for this triumph of neo-liberalism and the economic, political, social and ecological disasters that go with it is that neo-liberals have bought and paid for their own vicious and regressive "Great Transformation". They have understood, as progressives have not, that ideas have consequences. Starting from a tiny embryo at the University of Chicago with the philosopher-economist Friedrich von Hayek and his students like Milton Friedman at its nucleus, the neo-liberals and their funders have created a huge international network of foundations, institutes, research centers, publications, scholars, writers and public relations hacks to develop, package and push their ideas and doctrine relentlessly.

Most economists are acutely aware of the increasing role in economic life of financial markets, institutions and operations and the pursuit of prifits via excotic instruments such as derivatives (all this constituted  financialization). This dominant feature of neoliberalism has huge the re-distributional implications, huge effects on the US economy, international dimensions and monetary system, depth and longevity of financial crises and unapt policy responses to them.

They have built this highly efficient ideological cadre because they understand what the Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci was talking about when he developed the concept of cultural hegemony. If you can occupy peoples' heads, their hearts and their hands will follow.

I do not have time to give you details here, but believe me, the ideological and promotional work of the right has been absolutely brilliant. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars, but the result has been worth every penny to them because they have made neo-liberalism seem as if it were the natural and normal condition of humankind. No matter how many disasters of all kinds the neo-liberal system has visibly created, no matter what financial crises it may engender, no matter how many losers and outcasts it may create, it is still made to seem inevitable, like an act of God, the only possible economic and social order available to us.  

Neoliberalism naturally leads to secular stagnation due to redistribution of wealth up. which undermines purchasing power of the 99%, or more correctly 99.9 of the population. In the USA this topic became hotly debated theme in establishment circles after Summers speech in 2013.  Unfortunately it was suppressed in Presidential campaign of 2016. Please note that Sanders speaks about Wall Street shenanigans, but not about ideology of neoliberalism.  No candidates tried to address this problem of "self-colonization" of the USA, which is probably crucial to "making America great again" instead of continued slide into what is called "banana republic" coined by American writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter 1862–1910). Here is how Wikipedia described the term:

Banana republic or banana state is a pejorative political science term for politically unstable countries in Latin America whose economies are largely dependent on exporting a limited-resource product, e.g. bananas. It typically has stratified social classes, including a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy of business, political, and military elites.[1] This politico-economic oligarchy controls the primary-sector productions to exploit the country's economy.[2]

... ... ...

In economics, a banana republic is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by a collusion between the State and favoured monopolies, in which the profit derived from the private exploitation of public lands is private property, while the debts incurred thereby are a public responsibility.

This topic is of great importance to the US elite because the USA is the citadel of  neoliberalism. It also suggest that the natural way neoliberal economic system based on increasing of the level of inequality (redistribution of wealth up) should behave: after the initial economic boom (like in case of steroids use) caused by  financialization of economy (as well as dissolution of the USSR), helped by off-shoring of manufacturing, the destructive effects of this temporary boost come into foreground. Redistribution of wealth up increases inequality which after a certain delay starts to undercuts domestic demand. It also tilts the demand more toward conspicuous consumption (note the boom of luxury cars sales in the USA).  

But after  inequality reaches certain critical threshold  the economy faces extended period of low growth reflecting persistently weak private demand (purchasing power of lower 90% of population).  People who mostly have low level service economy jobs (aka MC-jobs) can't buy that much.  Earlier giants of American capitalism like Ford understood that, but Wall Street sharks do not and does not want.  They operate under principle "Après nous le déluge" ("After us, the deluge").

An economic cycle enters recession when total spending falls below expected by producers and they realize that production level is too high relative to demand. What we have under neoliberalism is Marx's crisis of overproduction on a new level. At this level it is intrinsically connected with the parasitic nature of complete financialization of the economy. The focus on monetary policy and the failure to enact fiscal policy options is the key structural defect of neoliberalism ideology and can't be changed unless neoliberal ideology is abandoned. Which probably will not happen unless another huge crisis hits the USA. That might not happen soon.  Bolshevism lasted more then 70 years. If we assume that the "age of neoliberalism" started at 1973 with Pinochet coup d'état in Chile, neoliberalism as a social system is just 43 years old (as of 2016). It still has some "time to live"(TTL) in zombies state due to the principle first formulated by Margaret Thatcher as TINA ("There Is No Alternative") -- the main competitor, bolshevism, was discredited by the collapse of the USSR and China leadership adoption of neoliberalism. While Soviet leadership simply abandoned the sinking ship and became Nouveau riche in a neoliberal society that followed, Chinese elite managed to preserved at least outer framework of the Marxist state and the political control of the Communist party (not clear for how long). But there was a neoliberal transformation of Chinese economy, initiated, paradoxically, by the Chinese Communist Party.

Currently, no other ideology, including old "New Deal" ideology can  compete with neoliberal ideology, although things started to change with Sanders campaign in the USA on  the left and Trump campaign on the right. Most of what we see as a negative reaction to neoliberalism in Europe generally falls into the domain of cultural nationalism.    

The 2008 financial crisis, while discrediting neoliberalism as an ideology (in the same way as WWII discredited Bolshevism), was clearly not enough for the abandonment of this ideology. Actually neoliberalism proved to be remarkably resilient after this crisis. Some researchers claim that it entered "zombie state" and became more bloodthirsty and ruthless.

There is also religious overtones of neoliberalism which increase its longevity (similar to Trotskyism, and neoliberalism can be called "Trotskyism for rich"). So, from a small, unpopular sect with virtually no influence, neo-liberalism has become the major world religion with its dogmatic doctrine, its priesthood, its law-giving institutions and perhaps most important of all, its hell for heathen and sinners who dare to contest the revealed truth.  Like in most cults adherents became more fanatical believers after the prophecy did not materialized. The USA elite tried partially alleviate this problem by resorting to military Keynesianism as a supplementary strategy. But while military budget was raised to unprecedented levels, it can't reverse the tendency. Persistent high output gap is now a feature of the US economy, not a transitory state.

But there is another factor in play here: combination of peak (aka "plato" ;-) oil and established correlation of  the speed of economic growth and prices on fossil fuels and first of all on oil. Oil provides more than a third of the energy we use on the planet every day, more than any other energy source (How High Oil Prices Will Permanently Cap Economic Growth - Bloomberg). It is dominant fuel for transport and in this role it is very difficult to replace. 

That means that a substantial increase of price of oil acts as a fundamental limiting factor for economic growth. And "end of cheap oil" simply means that any increase of supply of oil to support growing population on the planet and economic growth now requires higher prices. Which naturally undermine economic growth, unless massive injection of currency are instituted. that probably was the factor that prevented slide of the US economy into the recession in 2009-2012.  Such a Catch-22.

Growth dampening potential of over $100-a-barrel oil is now a well established factor. Unfortunately, the reverse is not true. Drop of oil price to below $50 as happened in late 2014 and first half of 2015 did not increase growth rate of the USA economy. It might simply prevented it from sliding it into another phase of Great Recession. Moreover when  economies activity drops, less oil is needed.  Enter permanent stagnation.

Also there is not much oil left that can be profitably extracted at prices below $80. So the current oil price slump is a temporary phenomenon, whether it was engineered, or is a mixture of factors including temporary overcapacity . Sooner or later oil prices should return to level "above $80", as only at this level of oil price capital expenditures in new production make sense. That des not mean that oil prices can't be suppressed for another year or even two, but as Herbert Stein aptly noted   "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,"

 The alien spaceship landing

Imagine the alien spaceship landed somewhere in the world. There would be denial, disbelief, fear, and great uncertainty for the future. World leaders would struggle to make sense of the events. The landing would change everything.

The secular stagnation (aka "end of permanent growth") is a very similar event.  This also is the event that has potential to change everything, but it is much more prolonged in time and due to this less visible ("boiling frog effect").  Also this is not a single event, but a long sequence of related events that probably might last several decades (as Japan had shown) or even centuries. The current "Great Recession" might be just a prolog to those events. It is clearly incompatible with capitalism as a mode of production, although capitalism as a social system demonstrated over the years tremendous adaptability and it is too early to write it down completely.  Also no clear alternatives exists. 

A very slow recovery and the secular stagnation is characteristic of economies suffering from a balance-sheet recession (aka crisis of overproduction), as forcefully argued by Nomura’s Richard Koo and other economists. The key point is that private investment is down, not because of “policy uncertainty” or “increased regulation”, but because business-sector expectations about future profitability have become dramatically depressed — and rationally so — in a context characterized by heavy indebtedness (of both households and corporations). As businesses see the demand falls they scale down production which creates negative feedback look and depresses demand further. 

The key point is that private investment is down, not because of “policy uncertainty” or “increased regulation”, but because business-sector expectations about future profitability have become dramatically depressed — and rationally so — in a context characterized by heavy indebtedness (of both households and corporations). As businesses see the demand falls they scale down production which creates negative feedback look and depresses demand further.   

Five  hypothesis about the roots of secular stagnation

There are at least five different hypothesis about the roots of secular stagnation:

Summers’s remarks and articles were followed by an explosion of debate concerning “secular stagnation”—a term commonly associated with Alvin Hansen’s work from the 1930s to ’50s, and frequently employed in Monthly Review to explain developments in the advanced economies from the 1970s to the early 2000s.2 Secular stagnation can be defined as the tendency to long-term (or secular) stagnation in the private accumulation process of the capitalist economy, manifested in rising unemployment and excess capacity and a slowdown in overall economic growth. It is often referred to simply as “stagnation.” There are numerous theories of secular stagnation but most mainstream theories hearken back to Hansen, who was Keynes’s leading early follower in the United States, and who derived the idea from various suggestions in Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936).

Responses to Summers have been all over the map, reflecting both the fact that the capitalist economy has been slowing down, and the role in denying it by many of those seeking to legitimate the system. Stanford economist John B. Taylor contributed a stalwart denial of secular stagnation in the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, Paul Krugman, who is closely aligned with Summers, endorsed secular stagnation on several occasions in the New York Times. Other notable economists such as Brad DeLong and Michael Spence soon weighed in with their own views.3

Three prominent economists have new books directly addressing the phenomena of secular stagnation.4 It has now been formally modelled by Brown University economists Gauti Eggertsson and Neil Mehrotra, while Thomas Piketty’s high-profile book bases its theoretical argument and policy recommendations on stagnation tendencies of capitalism. This explosion of interest in the Summers/Krugman version of stagnation has also resulted in a collection of articles and debate, edited by Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin, entitled Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes and Cures.5

Seven years after “The Great Financial Crisis” of 2007–2008, the recovery remains sluggish. It can be argued that the length and depth of the Great Financial Crisis is a rather ordinary cyclical crisis. However, the monetary and fiscal measures to combat it were extraordinary. This has resulted in a widespread sense that there will not be a return to “normal.” Summers/Krugman’s resurrection within the mainstream of Hansen’s concept of secular stagnation is an attempt to explain how extraordinary policy measures following the 2007–2008 crisis merely led to the stabilization of a lethargic, if not comatose, economy.

But what do these economists mean by secular stagnation? If stagnation is a reality, does their conception of it make current policy tools obsolete? And what is the relationship between the Summers/Krugman notion of secular stagnation and the monopoly-finance capital theory?

... ... ...

In “secular stagnation,” the term “secular” is intended to differentiate between the normal business cycle and long-term, chronic stagnation. A long-term slowdown in the economy over decades can be seen as superimposed on the regular business cycle, reflecting the trend rather than the cycle.

In the general language of economics, secular stagnation, or simply stagnation, thus implies that the long-run potential economic growth has fallen, constituting the first pillar of MISS. This has been most forcefully argued for by Robert Gordon, as well as Garry Kasparov and Peter Thiel.6 Their argument is that the cumulative growth effect of current (and future) technological changes will be far weaker than in the past. Moreover, demographic changes place limits on the development of “human capital.” The focus is on technology, which orthodox economics generally sees as a factor external to the economy and on the supply-side (i.e., in relation to cost). Gordon’s position is thus different than that of moderate Keynesians like Summers and Krugman, who focus on demand-side contradictions of the system.

In Gordon’s supply-side, technocratic view, there are forces at work that will limit the growth in productive input and the efficiency of these inputs. This pillar of MISS emphasizes that it is constraints on the aggregate supply-side of the economy that have diminished absolutely the long-run potential growth.

The second pillar of MISS, also a supply-side view, goes back at least to Joseph Schumpeter. To explain the massive slump of 1937, Schumpeter maintained there had emerged a growing anti-business climate. Moreover, he contended that the rise of the modern corporation had displaced the role of the entrepreneur; the anti-business spirit had a repressive effect on entrepreneurs’ confidence and optimism.7 Today, this second pillar of MISS has been resurrected suggestively by John B. Taylor, who argues the poor recovery is best “explained by policy uncertainty” and “increased regulation” that is unfavorable to business. Likewise, Baker, Bloom, and Davis have forcefully argued that political uncertainty can hold back private investment and economic growth.8

Summers and Krugman, as Keynesians, emphasize a third MISS pillar, derived from Keynes’s famous liquidity trap theory, which contends that the “full-employment real interest rate” has declined in recent years. Indeed, both Summers and Krugman demonstrate that real interest rates have declined over recent decades, therefore moving from an exogenous explanation (as in pillars one and two) to a more endogenous explanation of secular stagnation.9 The ultimate problem here is lack of investment demand, such that, in order for net investment to occur at all, interest rates have to be driven to near zero or below. Their strong argument is that there are now times when negative real interest rates are needed to equate saving and investment with full employment.

However, “interest rates are not fully flexible in modern economies”—in other words, market-determined interest rate adjustments chronically fail to achieve full employment. Summers contends there are financial forces that prohibit the real interest rate from becoming negative; hence, full employment cannot be realized.10

Some theorists contend that there has been demographic structural shifts increasing the supply of saving, thus decreasing interest rates. These shifts include an increase in life expectancy, a decrease in retirement age, and a decline in the growth rate of population.

Others, including Summers, point out that stagnation in capital formation (or accumulation) can be attributed to a decrease in the demand for loanable funds for investment. One mainstream explanation offered for this is that today’s new technologies and companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, require far less capital investment. Another hypothesis is that there has been an important decrease in the demand for loanable funds, although they argue this is due to a preference for safe assets. These factors can function together to keep the real interest rate very low. The policy implication of secular low interest rates is that monetary policy is more difficult to implement effectually; during a recession, it is weakened and can even become ineffectual.

Edward Glaeser, focusing on “secular joblessness,” places severe doubt on the first pillar of MISS, but then makes a very important additional argument. Glaeser rejects the notion that there has been a slowdown in technological innovation; innovation is simply “unrelenting.” Likewise, he is far less concerned with secular low real interest rates, which may be far more cyclical. “Therefore,” contends Glaeser, “stagnation is likely to be temporary.”

Nonetheless, Glaeser underscores secular joblessness, and thus the dysfunction of U.S. labor markets constitutes a fourth pillar of MISS: “The dysfunction in the labour market is real and serious, and seems unlikely to be solved by any obvious economic trend.” Somehow, then, the problem is due to a misfit of skills or “human capital” on the side of workers, who thus need retraining. “The massive secular trend in joblessness is a terrible social problem for the US, and one that the country must try to address” with targeted policy.11 Glaeser’s argument for the dysfunction of U.S. labor markets is based on recession-generated shocks to employment, specifically of less-skilled U.S. workers. After 1970, when workers lost their job, the damage to human capital became permanent. In short, when human capital depreciates due to unemployment, overall abilities and “talent” are “lost” permanently. This may be because the skills required in today’s economy need to be constantly practiced to be retained. Thus, there is a ratchet-like effect in joblessness caused by recessions, whereby recession-linked joblessness is not fully reversed during recoveries—and all this is related to skills (the human capital of the workers), and not to capital itself. According to Glaeser, the ratchet-like effect of recession-linked joblessness is further exacerbated by the U.S. social-safety net, which has “made joblessness less painful and increased the incentives to stay out of work.”12

Glaeser contends that, if his secular joblessness argument is correct, the macroeconomic fiscal interventions argued for by Summers and Krugman are off-base.13 Instead, the safety net should be redesigned in order to encourage rather than discourage people from working. Additionally, incentives to work need to be radically improved through targeted investments in education and workforce training.14 Such views within the mainstream debate, emphasizing exogenous factors, are generally promoted by freshwater (conservative) rather than saltwater (liberal) economists. Thus, they tend to emphasize supply-side or cost factors.

The fifth pillar of MISS contends that output and productivity growth are stagnant due to a failure to invest in infrastructure, education, and training. Nearly all versions of MISS subscribe to some version of this, although there are both conservative and liberal variations. Barry Eichengreen underscores this pillar and condemns recent U.S. fiscal developments that have “cut to the bone” federal government spending devoted to infrastructure, education, and training.

The fifth pillar of MISS necessarily reflects an imbalance between public and private investment spending. Many theorists maintain that the imbalance between public and private investment spending, hence secular stagnation, “is not inevitable.” For example, Eichengreen contends if “the US experiences secular stagnation, the condition will be self-inflicted. It will reflect the country’s failure to address its infrastructure, education and training needs. It will reflect its failure to…support aggregate demand in an effort to bring the long-term unemployed back into the labour market.”15

The sixth pillar of MISS argues that the “debt overhang” from the overleveraging of financial firms and households, as well as private and public indebtedness, are a serious drag on the economy. This position has been argued for most forcefully by several colleagues of Summers at Harvard, most notably Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.16 Atif Mian and Amir Sufi also argue that household indebtedness was the primary culprit causing the economic collapse of 2007–2008. Their policy recommendation is that the risk to mortgage borrowers must be reduced to avoid future calamities.17

As noted, the defenders of MISS do not necessarily support a compatibility between the above six pillars: those favored by conservatives are supply-side and exogenous in emphasis, while liberals tend towards demand-side and endogenous ones. Instead, most often these pillars are developed as competing theories to explain the warrant of some aspect of secular stagnation, and/or to defend particular policy positions while criticizing alternative policy positions. However, the concern here is not whether there is the possibility for a synthesis of mainstream views. Rather, the emphasis is on how partial and separate such explanations are, both individually and in combination.

Neoliberal economy actually needs bubbles to function

As Krugman said "We now know that the economic expansion of 2003-2007 was driven by a bubble. You can say the same about the latter part of the 90s expansion; and you can in fact say the same about the later years of the Reagan expansion, which was driven at that point by runaway thrift institutions and a large bubble in commercial real estate." In other words blowing bubbles is the fundamental way neoliberal economy functions, not an anomaly.

As much as the USA population is accustomed to hypocrisy of the ruling elite and is brainwashed by MSM, this news, delivered to them personally by the crisis of 2008 was too much for them not question the fundamentals (A Primer on Neoliberalism):

Of course, the irony that those same institutions would now themselves agree that those “anti-capitalist” regulations are required is of course barely noted. Such options now being considered are not anti-capitalist. However, they could be described as more regulatory or managed rather than completely free or laissez faire capitalism, which critics of regulation have often preferred.

But a regulatory capitalist economy is very different to a state-based command economy, the style of which the Soviet Union was known for. The points is that there are various forms of capitalism, not just the black-and-white capitalism and communism. And at the same time, the most extreme forms of capitalism can also lead to the bigger bubbles and the bigger busts.

In that context, the financial crisis, as severe as it was, led to key architects of the system admitting to flaws in key aspects of the ideology.

At the end of 2008, Alan Greenspan was summoned to the U.S. Congress to testify about the financial crisis. His tenure at the Federal Reserve had been long and lauded, and Congress wanted to know what had gone wrong. Henry Waxman questioned him:

[Greenspan’s flaw] warped his view about how the world was organized, about the sociology of the market. And Greenspan is not alone. Larry Summers, the president’s senior economic advisor, has had to come to terms with a similar error—his view that the market was inherently self-stabilizing has been “dealt a fatal blow.” Hank Paulson, Bush’s treasury secretary, has shrugged his shoulders with similar resignation. Even Jim Cramer from CNBC’s Mad Money admitted defeat: “The only guy who really called this right was Karl Marx.” One after the other, the celebrants of the free market are finding themselves, to use the language of the market, corrected.

Raj Patel, Flaw PDF formatted document, The Value of Nothing, (Picador, 2010), pp.4, 6-7

Now for the second time in history, the challenge is to save capitalism from itself

Now for the second time in history, the challenge is to save capitalism from itself: to recognize the great strengths of open, competitive markets while rejecting the extreme capitalism and unrestrained greed that have perverted so much of the global financial system in recent times. It took such a statesman as Franklin Delano Roosevelt to rebuild American capitalism after the Great Depression. New Deal policies allowed to rebuild postwar domestic demand, to engineer the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe and to set in place the Bretton Woods system to govern international economic engagement.

With the abolishment of those policies blowing of one bubble after another, each followed by a financial crisis  became standard chain of the events. Since 1973 we already have a half-dozen bubbles following by economic crisis. It started with  Savings and loan crisis which partially was caused by the deregulation of S&Ls in 1980, by the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act signed by President Jimmy Carter on March 31, 1980, an important step is a series that eliminated regulations initially designed to prevent lending excesses and minimize failures.

To hide this unpleasant fact neoliberals resort to so called the Great Neoliberal Lie:

What is neoliberalism

The fallacious and utterly misleading argument that the global economic crisis (credit crunch) was caused by excessive state spending, rather than by the reckless gambling of the deregulated, neoliberalized financial sector.

Just as with other pseudo-scientific theories and fundamentalist ideologies, the excuse that "we just weren't fundamentalist enough last time" is always there. The neoliberal pushers of the establishment know that pure free-market economies are as much of an absurd fairytale as 100% pure communist economies, however they keep pushing for further privatizations, tax cuts for the rich, wage repression for the ordinary, and reckless financial sector deregulations precisely because they are the direct beneficiaries of these policies. Take the constantly widening wealth gap in the UK throughout three decades of neoliberal policy. The minority of beneficiaries from this ever widening wealth gap are the business classes, financial sector workers, the mainstream media elite and the political classes. It is no wonder at all that these people think neoliberalism is a successful ideology. Within their bubbles of wealth and privilege it has been. To everyone else it has been an absolute disaster.

Returning to a point I raised earlier in the article; one of the main problems with the concept of "neoliberalism" is the nebulousness of the definition. It is like a form of libertarianism, however it completely neglects the fundamental libertarian idea of non-aggression. In fact, it is so closely related to that other (highly aggressive) US born political ideology of Neo-Conservatism that many people get the two concepts muddled up. A true libertarian would never approve of vast taxpayer funded military budgets, the waging of imperialist wars of aggression nor the wanton destruction of the environment in pursuit of profit.

Another concept that is closely related to neoliberalism is the ideology of minarchism (small stateism), however the neoliberal brigade seem perfectly happy to ignore the small-state ideology when it suits their personal interests. Take the vast banker bailouts (the biggest state subsidies in human history) that were needed to save the neoliberalised global financial sector from the consequences of their own reckless gambling, the exponential growth of the parasitic corporate outsourcing sector (corporations that make virtually 100% of their turnover from the state) and the ludicrous housing subsidies (such as "Help to Buy and Housing Benefits) that have fueled the reinflation of yet another property Ponzi bubble.

The Godfather of neoliberalism was Milton Friedman. He made the case that illegal drugs should be legalised in order to create a free-market drug trade, which is one of the very few things I agreed with him about. However this is politically inconvenient (because the illegal drug market is a vital source of financial sector liquidity) so unlike so many of his neoliberal ideas that have consistently failed, yet remain incredibly popular with the wealthy elite, Friedman's libertarian drug legalisation proposals have never even been tried out.

The fact that neoliberals are so often prepared to ignore the fundamental principles of libertarianism (the non-aggression principle, drug legalisation, individual freedoms, the right to peaceful protest ...) and abuse the fundamental principles of small state minarchism (vast taxpayer funded bailouts for their financial sector friends, £billions in taxpayer funded outsourcing contracts, alcohol price fixing schemes) demonstrate that neoliberalism is actually more like Ayn Rand's barmy (greed is the only virtue, all other "virtues" are aberrations) pseudo-philosophical ideology of objectivism  than a set of formal economic theories.

The result of neoliberal economic theories has been proven time and again. Countries that embrace the neoliberal pseudo-economic ideology end up with "crony capitalism", where the poor and ordinary suffer "austerity", wage repression, revocation of labor rights and the right to protest, whilst a tiny cabal of corporate interests and establishment insiders enrich themselves via anti-competitive practices, outright criminality and corruption and vast socialism-for-the-rich schemes.

Neoliberal fanatics in powerful positions have demonstrated time and again that they will willingly ditch their right-wing libertarian and minarchist "principles" if those principles happen to conflict with their own personal self-interest. Neoliberalism is less of a formal set of economic theories than an error strewn obfuscation narrative to promote the economic interests, and  justify the personal greed of the wealthy, self-serving establishment elite.
 

Bubbles as the neoliberal tool for wealth redistribution

The 1930s, a well researched period of balance-sheet recession, provides some interesting perspective despite large historical distance.  Roosevelt was no socialist, but his New Deal did frighten many businesses, especially large business which BTW attempted a coupe to remove him from is position. Fortunately for Roosevelt CIA did not exist yet.  And New Deal  government projects has been much bigger and bolder, then anything Obama ever tried, because Obama administration was constrained in its action by dominant neoliberal thinking. Like regulatory capture, which is an immanent feature of neoliberalism,  there is also less known and less visible ideological capture of the government. Which also makes neoliberalism more similar to bolshevism as this ideological capture and related inability of the USSR elite to modernize the economy on some "mixed" principles, when over-centralization stopped working. It, along with the collapse of the ideology,  probably was one of the main reasons of the collapse of the USSR.  Chinese leadership managed to do this and introduced "new economic policies"(NEP). 

Uner New deal regime when public investment and hence aggregate demand expanded, the economy started to grow anyway. Roosevelt did have a vision and he did convince the electorate about the way to go. Cheap optimism of Reagan, or even audacity of hope "Obama style" were not enough. After all, as Francis Bacon may remind us: “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper” (Apophthegms, 1624).

Obama/Bernanke-style attempts to stimulate growth by pure injection of cheap money in this environment not only inflate new bubbles instead of old one, with which the fighting starts. They also lead to massive redistribution of wealth that makes the problem even worse:

Paul Krugman tells us that Larry Summers joined the camp concerned about secular stagnation in his I.M.F. talk last week, something that I had not picked up from prior coverage of the session. This is good news, but I would qualify a few of the points that Krugman makes in his elaboration of Summers' remarks.

First, while the economy may presently need asset bubbles to maintain full employment (a point I made in Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy), it doesn't follow that we should not be concerned about asset bubbles. The problem with bubbles is that their inflation and inevitable deflation lead to massive redistribution of wealth.

Larry Summers was the first establishment economist who conceded that this is the fact (Wikipedia)

... Larry Summers presented his view during November 2013 that secular (long-term) stagnation may be a reason that U.S. growth is insufficient to reach full employment: "Suppose then that the short term real interest rate that was consistent with full employment [i.e., the "natural rate"] had fallen to negative two or negative three percent. Even with artificial stimulus to demand you wouldn't see any excess demand. Even with a resumption in normal credit conditions you would have a lot of difficulty getting back to full employment."[13][14]

Robert J. Gordon wrote in August 2012:

"Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative 'exercise in subtraction' suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades".[15]

One hypothesis is that high levels of productivity greater than the economic growth rate are creating economic slack, in which fewer workers are required to meet the demand for goods and services. Firms have less incentive to invest and instead prefer to hold cash. Journalist Marco Nappolini wrote in November 2013:

 "If the expected return on investment over the short term is presumed to be lower than the cost of holding cash then even pushing interest rates to zero will have little effect. That is, if you cannot push real interest rates below the so-called short run natural rate [i.e., the rate of interest required to achieve the growth rate necessary to achieve full employment] you will struggle to bring forward future consumption, blunting the short run effectiveness of monetary policy...Moreover, if you fail to bring it below the long run natural rate there is a strong disincentive to increase fixed capital investment and a consequent preference to hold cash or cash-like instruments in an attempt to mitigate risk. This could cause longer-term hysteresis effects and reduce an economy's potential output."[13] 

Cost of energy as a defining new factor

The cost of energy is probably another reason of secular stagnation along with excessive public and private debt. Rising cost of energy is deadly for capitalism.  Here are some comments that might clarify the situation:

raskolnikov:

This is the biggest crybaby column Krugman's ever written. He should be ashamed of himself and return his Nobel prize immediately. Has he ever put down Keynes long enough to read a little Marx?  Here's Robert Brenner summing it up in 2009:

 What mainly accounts for the long-term weakening of the real economy is a deep, and lasting, decline of the rate of return on capital investment since the end of the 1960s.

The failure of the rate of profit to recover is all the more remarkable, in view of the huge drop-off in the growth of real wages over the period.

The main cause, though not the only cause, of the decline in the rate of profit has been a persistent tendency to overcapacity in global manufacturing industries."

 There's more, too. Instead of siding with crackpot Summers, Krugman should expand his research and be of some use to us all.

Kievite

I am not sure that it is correct to think about public debt as internal debt. It's all about energy.

That means that public debt is to a large extent foreign due to unalterable oil consumption (and related trade deficits). And that completely changes the situation unless you are the owner of the world reserve currency.

But even in the latter case (exorbitant privilege as Valéry Giscard d'Estaing called it ) you can expect attacks on the status of the currency as world reserve currency. The growth is still supported via militarization, forced opening of foreign markets (with military force, if necessary) and conversion of the state into national security state. But as Napoleon admitted "You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them"

One positive thing about high public (and to a large extent foreign owned) debt in the USA is that it undermines what Bacevich called "new American militarism" (http://www.amazon.com/The-New-American-Militarism-Americans/dp/0195173384). Bacevich argues that this is distinct political course adopted by the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and the neocons. And they will never regret their failed efforts such as Iraq invasion.

From Amazon review:

=== Quote ===

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

=== End of Quote ==

Heinberg's Five Axioms of Sustainability

As Heinberg explained fossil fuels, primarily oil, permeate every aspect of our modern culture - from agriculture to cities and a long-term perspective. In the age of almost 7 billion people demanding more and more of limited resources, the media, politicians and governments tend to only report short-term perspectives and ignore Heinberg's Five Axioms of Sustainability to the extent that these concepts are taboo to be spoken, discussed or thought (Heinberg, Richard (2007) Five Axioms of Sustainability):

1. (Tainter’s Axiom): Any society that continues to use critical resources unsustainably will collapse.

Exception: A society can avoid collapse by finding replacement resources.

Limit to the exception: In a finite world, the number of possible replacements is also finite.

...

2. (Bartlett’s Axiom): Population growth and/or growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained.

...

3. To be sustainable, the use of renewable resources must proceed at a rate that is less than or equal to the rate of natural replenishment.

...

4. To be sustainable, the use of non-renewable resources must proceed at a rate that is declining, and the rate of decline must be greater than or equal to the rate of depletion.

The rate of depletion is defined as the amount being extracted and used during a specified time interval (usually a year) as a percentage of the amount left to extract.

...

5. Sustainability requires that substances introduced into the environment from human activities be minimized and rendered harmless to biosphere functions.

In cases where pollution from the extraction and consumption of non-renewable resources that has proceeded at expanding rates for some time threatens the viability of ecosystems, reduction in the rates of extraction and consumption of those resources may need to occur at a rate greater than the rate of depletion. 

Archaeologist Joseph Tainter, in his classic study The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988), demonstrated that collapse is a frequent if not universal fate of complex societies and argued that collapse results from declining returns on efforts to support growing levels of societal complexity using energy harvested from the environment.  Jared Diamond’s popular book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005) similarly  makes the argument that collapse is the common destiny of societies that ignore resourse constraints. This axiom defines sustainability by the consequences of its absence—that is, collapse.

Historical periods of stagnation in the United States

Adapted from Wikipedia

Excluding the current, there were two period of stagnation in the USA history:

Construction of structures, residential, commercial and industrial, fell off dramatically during the depression, but housing was well on its way to recovering by the late 1930s.[17]

The depression years were the period of the highest total factor productivity growth in the United States, primarily to the building of roads and bridges, abandonment of unneeded railroad track and reduction in railroad employment, expansion of electric utilities and improvements wholesale and retail distribution.[17]

The war created pent up demand for many items as factories that once produced automobiles and other machinery converted to production of tanks, guns, military vehicles and supplies. Tires had been rationed due to shortages of natural rubber; however, the U.S. government built synthetic rubber plants. The U.S. government also built synthetic ammonia plants, aluminum smelters, aviation fuel refineries and aircraft engine factories during the war.[17] After the war commercial aviation, plastics and synthetic rubber would become major industries and synthetic ammonia was used for fertilizer. The end of armaments production free up hundreds of thousands of machine tools, which were made available for other industries. They were needed in the rapidly growing aircraft manufacturing industry.[18]

The memory of war created a need for preparedness in the United States. This resulted in constant spending for defense programs, creating what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex.

U.S. birth rates began to recover by the time of World War II, and turned into the baby boom of the postwar decades. A building boom commenced in the years following the war. Suburbs began a rapid expansion and automobile ownership increased.[17]

High-yielding crops and chemical fertilizers dramatically increased crop yields and greatly lowered the cost of food, giving consumers more discretionary income. Railroad locomotives switched from steam to diesel power, with a large increase in fuel efficiency. Most importantly, cheap food essentially eliminated malnutrition in countries like the United States and much of Europe.

Many trends that began before the war continued:

Researchers who contributed to understating secular stagnation

One of the first researchers who clearly attributed secular stagnation problem to neoliberalism was Alan Nasser, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. In his September 22, 2005 paper  ECONOMIC LAWS, STRUCTURAL TENDENCIES, SECULAR STAGNATION THEORY, AND THE FATE OF NEOLIBERALISM  he pointed out the key features of secular stagnation long before Summers started to understand the problem  and even befor the economic crash of 2008 ;-)

September 22, 2005 | alannasser.org

Alan Nasser Invited presentation, University of Lille,

"We have now grown used to the idea that most ordinary or natural growth processes (the growth of organisms, or popu- lations of organisms or, for example, of cities) is not merely limited, but self-limited, i.e. is slowed down or eventually brought to a standstill as a consequence of the act of growth itself. For one reason or another, but always for some reason, organisms cannot grow indefinitely, just as beyond a certain level of size or density a population defeats its own capacity for further growth."

Sir Peter Medawar, The Revolution of Hope

"A business firm grows and attains great strength, and afterwards perhaps stagnates and decays; and at the turning point there is a balancing or equilibrium of the forces of life and decay. And as we reach to the higher stages of our work, we shall need ever more and more to think of economic forces as those which make a young man grow in strength until he reaches his prime; after which he gradually becomes stiff and inactive, till at last he sinks to make room for other and more vigorous life."

Alfred Marshall, Principals of Economics (1890)

"Though Keynes's 'breakdown theory is quite different from Marx's, it has an important feature in common with the latter: in both theories, the breakdown is motivated by causes inherent to the working of the economic engine, not by the action of factors external to it."

Joseph Schumpeter, Ten Great Economists

In this paper I shall address two major issues. Firstly, I shall discuss the implications for economic theory of a conception of economic laws widely at variance with the empiricist and/or positivist account of what laws are, how they are discovered, and how they are related to theory. At the same time, I will reject one cornerstone of anti-positivist thought, namely the idea that one cannot provide an account of laws that is fundamentally the same for the natural and the social sciences. Thus, I shall argue that an anti-positivist account of laws is entirely compatible with a conception of scientific laws that applies to both the "hard" (natural) and the "soft" (social) sciences. I shall defend this position by showing its application to economics and economic laws. In doing so, I will compare and contrast both natural-scientific (primarily physical) laws and social-scientific (primarily economic) laws. Secondly, I will argue that perhaps the most significant economic law descriptive of mature capitalism is the law of secular stagnation. The latter states that it is the natural tendency of a developed, industrialized capitalist economy to default to a state of chronic excess capacity and underconsumption. And this is itself a result of the tendency in advanced capitalism for the economic surplus (roughly, the difference between the Gross Domectic Product and the cost of producing the GDP) to grow at a rate more rapid than the growth of profitable industrial investment opportunities. In the course of my discussion I will use the United States as a paradigm case, Much as Marx attempted to identify the underlying features of the accumulation process by reference to England during the Industrial Revulution.

This has in fact been the state of global capital since the end of the "Golden Age" and the commencement of the age of globalized Reaganism/Thatcherism, i.e. the Age of Neoliberalism. I date the transition as commencing in 1973, the last year of post-War Keynesian growth rates in the USA. In fact, I will argue, neoliberal economic policy exacerbates capitalism'a tendency to stagnation. Let me begin with an account of economic laws.

LAWS, GENERATIVE MECHANISMS AND TENDENCIES

On the Humean or radical empiricist (positivist) account of laws, the latter are descriptions of observed regularities. Presumably, the scientist observes a "constant conjunction" of different kinds of happening, and infers from the regularity of the conjunction that the latter could not be merely accidental, and so concludes that the observed pattern of regularities must be nomological or law-like. 'Sodium chloride dissolves in water' and 'Metal expands when heated' would be simple examples of the results of this account of how laws of nature are discovered.

That this empiricist account is flawed becomes evident when we consider full-fledged laws of a genuine natural science, e.g. physics. I emphasize that laws are components of theories, which themselves are constitutive of established scientific disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, and biology. In fact, the two "laws" mentioned at the end of the preceding paragraph are not laws of physics at all. Among the genuine laws of physics is, e.g., 'Falling bodies near the surface of the earth accelerate at a constant rate.' This law is certainly not established by the observation of repeated conjunctions of events. On the contrary, actually observed falling bodies in "open systems", that is, in the circumstances of everyday life, conspicuously fail to conform to this law. Yet this is not taken to refute the law. For the law describes the behavior of bodies in a vacuum, that is to say, in a "closed system", one created by the scientist, typically in a laboratory situation. Philosophers of science have tended to ignore the distinction between regularities observed only in closed systems, and conjunctions observed in everyday life, which, as such, have no value as contributions to scientific knowledge. These philosophers have, accordingly, written as if the regularities in question were features of open systems, of nature. This confusion impedes our understanding of all types of laws, from physical to economic.

This failure –until relatively recently- of philosophers of science to properly attend to the importance of laboratory work in the acquisition of scientific knowledge is due to the fact that these philosophers have focused almost exclusively on science as established theory, i.e. as a way of representing the world. They had ignored how these theories were actually established. That is, they paid little attention to experiment, which is a way of intervening in the world. This inattention to what happens in closed systems created in the laboratory led thinkers to miss the importance of the concept of tendencies or dispositions in grasping the concept of a law of science. Let us dwell on this point and its relation to economic laws.

It is not that our knowledge of natural laws is not based on observed regularities. The point, rather, is that these regularities are not found in nature. They are found in closed systems, elaborately designed experimental circumstances found in laboratories. Yet, we correctly believe that what we learn in experimental situations gives us knowledge that is not confined to these situations. We believe that what we learn from observations of repeated patterns in experiments gives us not only knowledge of the behavior of objects in laboratory circumstances, but also knowledge of these same (kinds of) objects as they behave in nature, in the open systems of everyday life. But scientifically significant repeated patterns are not found in the world of daily life. This raises profound epistemological and ontological questions.

The most significant epistemological question arises from the following consideration: Were it not for the intervention of the experimenter, closed-system regularities would not obtain. Hence, the experimenter is a causal agent of the pattern of regularities observed in the laboratory. It is these contrived conjunctions which we invoke to justify our belief in (usually causal) laws. And while these regularities are the (partial) result of the intervention of the experimenter, we do not believe that the experimenter in any way originates the laws whose existence is attested to by the contrived regularities. The question therefore arises: What justifies our (correct) belief that knowledge obtained in closed laboratory systems designed by an agent applies also in open systems, i.e. in nature, which of course is not designed by scientists and does not evidence the regularities found under designed experimental circumstances?

I want to suggest that this question comes to the same as the following question: What must nature be like, and what must experiment reveal, in order for experimental knowledge to be able to be legitimately extended to the world outside of the laboratory, i.e. to nature? Note that this is a Realist question: it asks what we must presuppose about the constitution of the world in order that our experimentally-based scientific beliefs be justified. This is the precise Realist counterpart to Kant's Idealist question: What must we presoppose our minds –as opposed to nature or the world- to be like in order for scientific knowledge to be possible? I will argue that the answer to our Realist question provides the conceptual resources to elucidate the general nature of economic laws and economic theory, and the nature of the subject matter investigated by economists.

I will argue that since we believe that what we learn by experimental observation justifies our claim to knowledge of the experimental objects as they behave in nature, we must assume that these objects possess natural structures, similar to what Aristotle and the scholastics called "natures" or "essences." A natural structure must be conceived as what Critical Realists call a generative mechanism (hereafter, GM). The latter is a specific mode of material organization. What GMs generate are tendencies or dispositions to behave in characteristic ways. The statement that a physical thing or a social institution or structure tends to generate characteristic regularities is a statement of a law. The natural structure of salt, expressed in chemistry as HCl, is such that when it is mixed with water, whose natural structure or organization is expressed as H2O, it tends to dissolve. Gases tend to expand when heated and falling bodies near the surface of the earth tend to accelerate at a constant rate. These are statements of chemical and physical laws. We shall see that precisely the same kind of analysis can be made of laws in economics.

Tendencies are not the same as trends. The latter are merely observed regularities; there need be no implication that an underlying structural feature of the thing in question generates the regularity. This feature of laws is reflected in ordinary language in non-scientific contexts: we might say "He has a tendency to exaggerate." We mean that a disposition to exaggerate is a natural expression of his underlying character. We do not usually mean that he exaggerates whenever it is possible for him to exaggerate. This is part of the meaning of 'tendency.' Thus, tendencies can exist without being exercised. This happens when, e.g. salt is not mixed with water. Salt's nomological tendency to dissolve in water remains its categorical property even in the absence of circumstances in which its tendency to dissolve can be exercised. In addition, tendencies can be exercised without being realized. This is the case in the natural sciences when we observe, in non-laboratory situations, falling bodies accelerating at different rates. Indeed, no falling body in open systems is observed to accelerate at a constant or the same rate. But of course this is not taken to falsify the law of falling bodies. In nature, GMs continue to act in their characteristic ways without producing the patterned outcomes observable in closed experimental systems. This is so because in nature a multiplicity of GMs combine, interact and collide such as to result in the (scientifically irrelevant) flux of phenomena of the everyday world. The realization of a natural tendency can, in other words, be offset by counteracting forces. Thus, empiricism's mistake is to fail to recognize that GMs operate independent of the effects they generate. That is, GMs endure and go on acting (in the way that experimental closure enables us to identify) in nature, i.e. in open systems, where patterned regularities do not prevail. Statements about tendencies are not equivalent, salva veritate, to statements about their effects. Laws may exist and exercise their tendencies or powers even though no Humean "constant conjunctions" are observed. (This would be the case if it happened that the practice of creating closed experimental conditions had never been engaged in, i.e. in a world without science.)

LAWS, GENERATIVE MECHANISMS AND TENDENCIES IN ECONOMICS

GMs are not confined to the natural world. Natural structures are not the only structures there are. Plainly, there are humanely constructed structures. Capitalism is one such structure. Structures of this kind, GMs, that are dynamic by nature, i.e. which are characteristically diachronic, be they natural or socially constituted, share the same ontology. This should not be confused with the radical empiricist (positivist) claim that the natural and the social sciences share the same method. Clearly they do not: closed experimental situations exist but are not typical i istic outcomes ceteris paribus, ie. other things being equal, i.e. ceteris absentibus, other things being absent. When we identify the tendency of a thing, we specify what will happen, as a matter of course, if interfering conditions are absent. That is the point of vacuums in the closed systems created in laboratory experiments: they permit exercised tendencies, i.e. tendencies in operation, to be realized. If we want to know what gases tend to do when acted upon by heat, we eliminate all potential counteracting forces by creating a vacuum in the chamber, so that both gas and heat can express their natures unimpeded.

Thus, implicit in both physical- and social-scientific practice is the crucial distinction between the exercise and the realization (or manifestation) of a tendency. This distinction is essential to structural analysis in economics because of the impossibility of creating the social equivalent of a vacuum in the social sciences, which deal with the open systems of everyday life, where a great many forces and tendencies collide. Accordingly, just as the law of the tendency of falling bodies to accelerate at a constant rate is not falsified by the failure of falling bodies to behave accordingly in open systems, so too, e.g., the law of the tendency of the growth of productive capacity to outpace the growth of profitable investment opportunities -the thesis of secular stagnation theory- is not undermined by the remarkable growth rates of the Golden Age. In both cases, the presence of offsetting factors prevents the structurally generated tendency from being realized or manifested. I argue that the same can be said for any putative economic law.

In social science –and this is most conspicuous in economics, the most theoretically developed of the human sciences- we compensate for the absence of experimentally closed systems by constructing their functional equivalent, which we might call, in terms redolent of Weber, an ideal-typical theoretical model. It is an unfortunate habit (perhaps a tendency in the above-elaborated sense…) of mainstream economists to employ these models as if they described the open-system observable facts of economic life. This is, I suspect, a consequence of the economic empiricist's mistake referred to above, namely to think that GMs, if they must be spoken of at all, are to be conceived as reducible to their effects. (Recall Hume's claim, inspired by his reading of Newton, to expunge all notions of "power", "generation" and "production" from his analyses.) But, as noted above, GMs in both the social and the natural sciences employ unrealistic models, i.e. models which do not pretend to offer the equivalent of a photographic representation of the world. In both natural-scientific experiments and social-scientific ideal-type models, an attempt is made to abstract from the nonessential. We seek to place the spotlight of theory on what is necessary to the situation, system or institution under investigation, and to prescind from the arbitrary and accidental. In economics we seek to identify those features of capitalism that make it what it is. This enables us to identify capitalism's distinct and characteristic tendencies, and to describe what will happen as a result of the exercise of these tendencies, ceteris absentibus.

That there are such tendencies seems to me to be uncontroversial. We all know, for example, that cyclical downturns are not mere empirical contingencies of capitalist development, but structurally generated tendencies which follow inexorably from the specific mode of organization (structure) of capitalism. And like all tendencies, their realization can be offset, as we have seen above, by counteracting factors, such as fiscal and monetary policy. Other examples would be what Marx called the tendencies of capital to concentrate and centralize. The tendency, and corresponding law, with which I will be primarily concerned in this paper is constitutive of the theory of secular stagnation, and is far more likely than the immediately foregoing examples to generate controversy. I refer to the tendency of mature capitalism to suffer from a chronic paucity of profitable industrial investment opportunities, relative to the great magnitude of its investable surplus. Let us look more closely at this tendency.

THE THEORY OF SECULAR STAGNATION

It is worth mentioning that the view that the continuous accumulation of capital is both essential to the normal development of capitalist societies and essentially self-limiting was held by virtually all of the major modern political economists, in the form of one version or another of the doctrine of the falling rate of profit. Adam Smith explained the secular decline of the profit rate by the increasing abundance of capital in a developing capitalist society. Ricardo and Mill believed that the rate of profit would be depressed by the diminishing productivity of the land which would drive up the price of wage goods and therefore of the wages of labor, and so drive down the profits of capital. Marx pointed to the increasing capital-intensity of industry and the paucity of working-class purchasing power relative to the productive capacity of the economy, as the principal threat to the profit rate. And Keynes held that in mature capitalist economies the "marginal efficiency of capital", i.e. the expected rate of return (over cost) on an additional unit of a given capital asset, would tend to decline. All these thinkers had an at least intuitive appreciation of the fact that the growth of capital tends to be terminally self-limiting. (It is worth citing a remark of Joseph Shumpeter at this point:

"Though Keynes's 'breakdown theory is quite different from Marx's, it has an important feature in common with the latter: in both theories, the breakdown is motivated by causes inherent to the working of the economic engine, not by the action of factors external to it.")

In my estimation, no one understood the underlying dynamics of the tendency to stagnation better than the Polish economist Michal Kalecki, who is known to have developed the essentials of Keynes's General Theory before Keynes himself (and to have produced far more elegant mathematical formulations thereof). Perhaps the best way to understand Kalecki's thought is to see him as having argued that certain features of a not-yet-mature industrializing economy persist after the process of industrialization has been accomplished, with the effect that the developed capitalist economy is saddled with a problem of chronic excess capacity. Let me sketch this train of thought.

In the course of their natural growth capitalist economies reach a level of industrial development characterizable as maturity, a point beyond which growth must either cease, or be sustained by exogenous (in a sense to be elucidated below) means. Straight away we are confronted with a rejection of an assumption that is implicit in mainstream neoclassical theory, viz. that both the supply and the demand curves shift, virtually automatically, to the right. On the stagnationist conceptualization of growth or development, the process of development is not everlasting, but rather is at some point accomplished. There is the period, industrialization, during which the economy is developing, and which culminates in a (finally) industrialized or developed infrastructure. At this stage there will have been built up, or "accumulated", a complement of plant and equipment in steel production, machine tools, power stations, transport systems, etc., that is capable of satisfying a level of consumption demand consistent with the moral limits of a reasonably civilized style of life, the constraints imposed by a finite fund of natural resources, and, most importantly for stagnation theory, the limited possibilities of what Marx called "expanded reproduction" imposed by the accumulation process itself.

This account point can be expanded as follows. During any period of industrialization, the growth of the capital goods industry (hereafter, following Marx, Department I, or DI) must outpace the growth of the consumption goods industries (hereafter, again following Marx, Department II, or DII). Indeed, it belongs to the nature of the process of industrialization that the demand for the output of DI cannot be a function of the behavior of consumption demand; during industrialization, investment demand is both rapid and relatively autonomous. For if the principal project is to develop the means of production, then a disproportionate share of national wealth must be devoted to investment/accumulation at the expense of consumption. Strategic capital goods such as transport and communications networks and steel mills cannot be built bit by bit. This is clear with respect to railroads (Recall Keynes's remark that "Two pyramids are better than one, and two masses for the dead better than one; but two railroads from London to York are not necessarily better than one."), but perhaps not as clear with respect to steel facilities.

Suppose 1) that the efficient production of steel requires equipment with the capacity to produce 200,000 tons of steel, and 2) that demand turns out to be for 300,000 tons. The investor has two alternatives, either to forgo an extra market or to take a chance and add another 200.000 tons. On the second alternative, the one virtually assured in a period of (rapid) industrialization, the manufacturer is left with a surplus capacity of 100,000 tons. Here we see, writ small, a crucial source of two basic tendencies of capitalist development, the unrelenting pressure to expand markets, and the tendency to overproduction of a specific kind, namely the overproduction of capital goods, the tendency to overaccumulation. Each of these tendencies is the basis of a corresponding law of economics: Wherever we find a competitive, profit-driven market economy, we must also find a system-driven tendency to expand markets, and: Wherever we find a competitive, profit-driven market economy, we must also find a system-driven tendency for the growth of productive capacity to outpace the growth of effective demand.

As we have seen, all the major classical political economists anticipated the stationary state; they all assumed that the period of development or industrialization would come to an end. Basic industries would be in place, and DI would be capable of meeting all the replacement and expansion demands of DII. Prescinding for the moment from the emergence of new industries, DI would no longer be a source of substantial expansion demand for its own output; most of DI's internal expansion demand would be extinct.

But this is not th hread of classical (and perhaps neoclassical) theory contains the assurance that the capitalist economy provides a mechanism that in the long run counteracts the tendency of the demand for the products of DI to peter out. As one might expect, this is the price mechanism, which brings about, in the circumstances described above, a falling rate of profit (or interest) and thereby a simultaneous check on accumulation and spur to consumption. The causal chain is simple: the fall of the profit rate would lower capital's share of national income, i.e. it would transfer income from capital to labor. Thus, the demand gap created by the sharp waning of DI's expansion demand would be made up by the increase in consumption demand, which would of course mean an expansion in the demand for the output of DII. Moreover, an immediate expansion of DII at the expense of DI in order to assure a rapid transition out of the stationary state would be entirely feasible given the adaptability of certain key industries in DI to new market conditions resulting from the newly-expanded purchasing power of the working class. The construction of new factories could, for example, yield to the construction of new homes.

The theoretical elegance of this scenario is impressive -almost inspirational- but, alas for illusions, the price mechanism does not work this way. For the above-mentioned transfer in national income from capital to labor is supposed to happen when industrialization comes to an end by virtue of its having been accomplished. But from the capitalists' perspective, it is as if nothing counts as industrialization coming to an end. New industries, for example, can create a situation functionally equivalent to industrialization. "Accumulate, accumulate, that is Moses and the prophets."

We have at this point arrived at a picture of a developed capitalist economy which is in a state of permanent industrialization. Excess capacity prevails and working-class income is stagnant or declining. Interestingly, this has in fact been the state of both the U.S. and the global economy since 1973. According to the foregoing analysis, this reflects the fact that the U.S. and global economies are now instances not merely of the exercise of the law of the tendency of mature capitalism to stagnate, but of its realization. To put it differently: these economies are now in their natural state.

But important questions immediately arise. Why are these economies in their natural state now? And if there is a structurally generated tendency for capitalist economies to stagnate, how shall we account for the historically unprecedented growth rates of the Golden Age? I have barely sketched an outline of a response to these challenges above: if there is indeed a tendency for capitalism to stagnate, then there must have been in operation during the Golden Age what I called "counteracting forces and tendencies" which had spent themselves by the mid-1970s. In the absence of new offsetting forces, the tendency to stagnate has, as we should expect, re-asserted itself. These claims require further elaboration, and it is to this task that I now turn.

SECULAR STAGNATION AND TRANSFORMATIONAL GROWTH

In order to account for the actual pattern of capitalist growth in the context of stagnation theory, we must reflect on the kind of growth required by capitalist economic arrangements. Mainstream theory does not distinguish between kinds of growth if and when it addresses the specific requirements of capitalist growth at all. This is, I believe, a serious error. I will begin by introducing the notion of transformational growth, which transforms the entire way of life of society and absorbs exceptionally large amounts of the investible surplus. My point shall be that a capitalist economy cannot sustain growth merely by producing more and more different types of widgets, in the absence of pervasive structural change. Growth sustained in the latter manner is transformational growth.

We are forced to introduce the concept of transformational growth for reasons related to my earlier discussion of the structural features of mature capitalism which generates a chronic tendency to stagnation. I will now embellish this analysis. It should be clear that capitalism cannot grow in the way in which a balloon grows: its growth cannot leave its proportions intact, i.e. such that there are no new products and no new processes of production. This is to say that a capitalist economy either undergoes transformational growth or it stagnates. The argument is as follows.

Investment expands productive capacity, which in turn requires that demand increase at the same rate as potential production. Without the required rate of demand growth, underutilization/excess capacity will discourage further investment or capital accumulation and the result will of course be stagnation. Let us not address this issue in the manner of the neoclassical economist, who seems to assume that both supply and demand curves can be counted on to perennially shift to the right (absent, of course, undue government interference). But this quaint assumption is belied by the enormous literature on the development and indispensability to capitalism of the marketing and advertising industries, which we might view as massive efforts to counteract Keynes's declining marginal propensity to consume by deliberately creating among the consuming masses a full panoply of "manufactured" consumption desires. These considerations point to the need constantly to exogenously stimulate consumption demand in order to narrow the demand gap generated by the tendency to overaccumulation. But they do not yet establish the need to generate a broad, nation-wide pattern of demand required by structural change and transformational growth.

What is needed at this point are concrete examples of the generators of transformational growth, and of exactly how these generators accomplish one of the fundamental features of transformational growth, the mobilization and coordination of the economic resources of the entire country into a grand national project which stimulates demand not merely for this and that consumption good, but for crucial commodities and institutions such as oil, steel rubber, and other primary products, and communication and transportation facilities. What this requires are what Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy termed, in their influential Monopoly Capital (Monthly Review Press, 1966), "epoch-making innovations". Edward Nell and Robert Heilbroner have characterized these same innovations as "transformative innovations". Let me approach transformative innovations by looking at the tendency to stagnation from yet another perspective, one which focuses on the role of competition as a major force behind the growth of both investment and consumption.

Competition reduces the need for investment by tending to increase both productivity and savings. Let us see how this happens. As a result of competition business is under continuous pressure to cut costs and produce more efficiently. To the extent that business succeeds in these respects, productive potential is increased. At the same time, competition also requires business to hold down wages and salaries and to pay out dividend and profit income relatively sparingly. Together, these pressures hold back both worker and capitalist consumption. The result is a tendency for productive capacity to expand faster than consumption. This means that there is no reason for investment to grow, for capital to achieve the required rate of accumulation, unless there are major pressures transforming the way people live. In the absence of such pressures, we may expect stagnation.

There are two dimensions of transformative innovations which are in fact two aspects of the same phenomenon. One dimension is solely technological, and the other points to changes in a population's entire way of life. Neither of these is part of a process of steady, balloon-like growth, nor is either automatically, or normally, generated by the fundamental capitalist dynamics identified by the mainstream textbooks. For this reason I have called the stimulus imparted by these innovations 'exogenous'. Let us look first at the technological dimension of transformative innovation.

This can be identified, after the owl of Minerva has spread its wings, by reflecting on some of the requirements of ideal-typical capitalism. Neoliberals correctly remind us that the bottom line is of course "freedom", primarily the freedom of capital to roam the world seeking markets, sources of cheap labor and investment opportunities. Microecenomic textbooks in fact tend to assume the perfect mobility of both capital and labor.

Let us focus on sources of power, which became especially important after the industrial revolution. Technological development resulted in the virtually total replacement of human and animal muscle power by inanimate sources of power, mainly water and steam. But reliance on water as a source of power places extreme limits on the mobility of capital, and hence on the possibilities of capitalist growth. Water power is site-specific, and the number of rivers and streams is limited. Moreover, the water had to be fast-running and productive facilities had to be located as far downstream as possible. And of course water power is only seasonally available. These restraints alone place an intolerable obstacle to the free and ongoing accumulation of capital. Here we find an overwhelming incentive to switch from water to steam power. This constitutes a huge stimulus to the accumulation of capital on a national scale.

Capitalism requires sources of power that are independent of nature and can be applied constantly wherever they are needed. And these are precisely what steam power made possible. It was now possible to set up productive facilities virtually anywhere; a major fetter to the accumulation of capital was removed. The universal mobility required by capital was now much more fully realized. At this point I want to emphasize that this technological /economic transformation was necessarily accompanied by profound social and cultural changes. For the steam engine's reduction of the seasonality of water power made possible a feature of work that is increasingly common on a global scale: the emergence of modern year-round work habits. With this change comes a dramatic transformation of our notions (and practices) of work and leisure, with all the consequences these have for the felt experience of everyday life. That is an instance of the second dimension of transformative innovation, i.e. its introduction of dramatic cultural changes, changes in the way populations live.

Much the same can be said for the subsequent shift to electrical power, which makes possible trolley cars, refrigerators (as opposed to what used to be called, in the U.S., "ice boxes"), ranges, toasters, radios, washing machines, fans, et al.

The railroad too is a transformative innovation par excellence. Consider the spectacular effects of railroad expansion: internal transport costs are sharply reduced; both new products and new geographical areas are brought into commercial markets; it is now possible to deliver exports to port with unprecedented efficiency, thereby encouraging the extensive development of the export sector; and impetus is provided to the development of the coal, iron and engineering industries. As with the steam engine, these technological and economic benefits wee necessarily accompanied by profound social and cultural changes. The railroads changed the way of life of the people by binding them as never before. The possibility now existed for mass production, mass consumption and indeed mass culture.

And of course the establishment of a national rail network absorbed massive amounts of investible capital, thereby spurring sustainable growth and offsetting the realization of the economic law that capitalist economies tend to stagnate. Apropos: in the latter third of the nineteenth century, railroad investment in the U.S. amounted to more than all investment in manufacturing industries.

And who can doubt that the transformative effects of the introduction of the automobile were epoch-making? The expansion of the automobile industry was the single most important force in the economic expansion of the 1920s. Car production increased threefold during this decade. (The automobile industry produced 12.7% of all manufactured output, employed 7.1% of all manufacturing workers, and paid 8.7% of all industrial wages.) Immediately after World War II the auto industry continued what was to be its breakneck expansion, and the possibilities created thereby constituted what was perhaps the most extensive transformation of the country's way of life in its history.

Consider the stimulus to capital accumulation and employment constituted by the following, each and all a consequence of the increasing automobilization of American society and culture: the migration of the population from the central city to the suburbs and exurbs (first made possible by the streetcar, before the major streetcar operations were bough and then quickly dismantled by the auto companies); the need for surfaced roads, road construction and maintenance, highway construction and maintenance (which had already accounted for 2% of GDP in 1929); the suburbanization of America, with the attendant construction of housing, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and more; the growth of shopping malls; the expansion of the credit industry; the spread of hotels and motels; and of course the growth of the tourism/travel industry. Never before had any population's way of living been transformed so profoundly in so short a period of time. And of course no one has failed to recognize that Americans' main symbol of their most precious possession, their personal freedom/liberty, is their ability to drive, solo, cars that have increasingly come to resemble tanks. Americans' liberty, embodied in the automobile, has become, literally, a commodity.

The long-term growth of the U.S. economy cannot be adequately explained or described without reference to these transformative innovations. None of these are required by the models of capital accumulation found in neoclassical, Keynesian or Marxian growth theory. After the civil war, growth in the last third of the nineteenth century was spurred primarily by the railroads. This stimulus fizzled, as railroad expansion began to slow down, around 1907, when, in spite of extensive electrification of urban (and even some rural) areas, the U.S. economy began a stretch of slow growth, which lasted until the outbreak of World War I. After the end of the War, the economy experienced a brief slump, which was followed by a period of fairly sustained expansion in the 1920s. The latter, as we have seen, was spurred mainly by the growth of the automobile industry. But the rate of growth of the automobile industry slowed down after 1926, and with it the rate of growth of almost all other manufacturing industries. And wages and employment had not risen as rapidly as production, productivity or profits.

In fact, the economic situation in the U.S. at the end of the 1920s bore a remarkable resemblance to the current economic situation in America. After 1926 overcapacity emerged in many key industries, the most significant of these being automobiles, textiles, and residential construction. Contractionary forces are cumulative: excess capacity caused business confidence to decline, with resulting cutbacks in spending on productive capacity in the consumer durables and capital goods industries. The economy was intensely unsound at the end of the 1920s, and the indications at the time were clear. Consumer demand was held down by a steadily growing inequality of income. Thus, an increasing percentage of total purchases were financed by credit in order to foster purchases of consumer durables. About seventy-five percent of all cars were sold on credit. Accordingly, both home mortgages and installment debt grew rapidly. This was the extension of a trend that had begun as early as 1922, when total personal debt began rising faster than disposable income. Thus, underconsumption and traces of excess capacity, key indicators of stagnationist forces, were in effect from the very beginning of the "roaring '20s". These tendencies became increasingly foregrounded over the course of the decade.

Excess capacity in key manufacturing industries was displacing workers from capital-intensive, technologically advanced sectors to industries relatively devoid of technological advance, i.e. service industries such as trade, finance and government. With capital unable to find sufficiently profitable investment opportunities in high-productivity industries, rampant speculative activity ensued, fostered by the growing concentration of income and therefore savings during the decade. More than two thirds of all personal savings was held by slightly over two percent of all families. The wanton optimism of the 1920s led those with substantial savings to want to get richer quickly, and with little effort. The stock market bubble that materialized at the end of the decade seemed to justify the expectations that fortunes could be made overnight in real estate and the stock market. When investors acted on these expectations, the existing bubble became bigger and hence more fragile. To those familiar with the current state of the U.S. economy, the present situation presents itself as history repeating itself -contra Marx- yet again as farce.

FROM GREAT DEPRESSION TO GOLDEN AGE TO NEOLIBERALISM

The mounting instabilities of the economy of the 1920s led to a Depression that was unresponsive to the Roosevelt administration's elevenfold increase in government spending. When U.S. entry into World War II finally brought about a resumption of growth, there was nonetheless an abiding fear among economists that once War spending ceased, the forces and tendencies that had generated the Depression might reassert themselves and exceptionally slow growth could resume. Instead, much to the surprise of many economists, American capitalism began the most sustained period of expansion in its entire history. The period from 1947 to 1973 has come to be called "The Golden Age", and appears, on the face of it, to be a fatal anomaly with respect to secular stagnation theory. After all, if the causes of the Great Depression were structural, and the exogenous stimulus provided by the War was what produced a resumption of growth, how was it possible that the economy, in the absence of powerful exogenous stimulus, exhibited an historically unprecedented period of long-term growth?

I have suggested that sustained national (as opposed to intra-national regional) growth has been engendered by the emergence of transformative innovations, and it is this kind of consideration that I believe offers the most plausible explanation both of Golden-Age expansion and of the petering out of this growth period and the resumption of (global) stagnation. Five stimuli to long-term growth were set in motion after the War, and these were for the most part exogenous in the sense indicated, and essentially limited. I will construe these stimuli as forces counteracting the tendency to stagnation. Once most of these stimuli had spent their potential, stagnationist tendencies re-asserted themselves, and overinvestment became evident once again. With profitable industrial investment opportunities in short supply, the economic surplus was invested instead in what became a vast proliferation of financial instruments. When the bubble created by this process finally burst, it was replaced with a housing bubble. Indeed a variety of bubbles, in financial assets, in housing, in credit, and a substantially overvalued dollar now threaten an historically unparalleled reassertion of the tendency to stagnation. But let us look first at the counteracting forces.

After the War, and as a result of wartime rationing, Americans had accumulated a very large fund of savings, and the time had come when these could finally be spent. This accounted for an immediate surge of consumption spending which temporarily averted the onset of recession. But the effectiveness of this source of spending was soon spent. What truly impelled the sustained growth of the Golden Age was 1) the resumption of a vast expansion of the automobile industry, and with it the stimulation of the broad range of investment and employment opportunities discussed above in connection with automobilization; 2) large-scale economic aid to Europe, which stimulated export demand; 3) a nationwide process of suburbanization, which, in tandem with the expansion of auto production, expanded significantly the demand for the output of every other major industry; 4) the emergence of what president Eisenhower christened the "military-industrial" complex, which provided additional stimulus to the industries most vulnerable to economic instability, the industries of DI, the capital goods sector; and finally 5) the steady and growing expansion of business and especially consumer credit, which in recent years has assumed elephantine proportions.

Three of these factors bear the two most important features of epoch-making innovations. The expansion of the auto industry, suburbanization, and the ever-increasing expansion and extension of credit all absorb massive amounts of investible surplus, and transform the mode of life of the entire population. In so doing they impart a massive push to the macro-growth process. The first two of these have their initial direct effect on investment. The third factor, the growing importance of credit, affects both investment and consumption, but the long-term trend of the credit industry in the U.S., evident now in hindsight, is much more significant in relation to consumption. There is now in the States a credit bubble of menacing proportions, with consumers now in debt to the tune of about107% of disposable income. The Marshall Plan (number 2 above) affected mainly and directly investment and employment, with boosts to consumption following thereupon. By the mid- to late-1970s, the employment-generating capacity of the military had declined. Washington determined, in the light of the defeat in Vietnam, that hi-tech warfare, which is of course technology- rather than labor-intensive, must replace traditional forms of subversion and aggression, in order to render less likely a repeat of the "Vietnam Syndrome."

It is worth mentioning that the military-industrial complex and the vast extension of consumer credit were what constituted what Joan Robinson called "bastard Keynesianism" in the United States. Recall that Keynes had insisted that fiscal and monetary policy were necessary but not sufficient conditions for avoiding stagnation. The tendency to stagnation could be offset for the long run only if some key industries were nationalized, and income redistributed. Nationalization would allow the State to offset lagging demand by providing cheap inputs to the private sector, thereby enabling lower prices. And redistributing income would transfer liquidity from those who had more than they could either consume or invest to those whose consumption demand was severely constrained.

American policymakers saw it as their challenge to reap the effects of nationalization and redistribution without actually nationalizing industries or redistributing income. The solution was ingenious: the military-industrial complex would be the functional equivalent of state-owned industries, and would, as noted above, stimulate the demand for the output of those very firms that produced capital goods. And the extension of consumer credit would allow working people to mortgage future years' incomes and spend more without a corresponding increase in either their private or their social wage.

As mentioned earlier, these forces counteracting the tendency to stagnation were all inherently limited and temporary. By the late 1960s, the automobile industry had achieved maturity, suburbanization had been accomplished, and aid to Europe had not only long ended, but had apparently created for America the economic equivalent of Frankenstein's monster. Europe and Japan were now formidable threats to U.S. economic hegemony. (Germany, for example, has overtaken the U.S. as an exporter of capital goods.) These three colossal absorbers of surplus were now no longer in operation. In the mid-1960s social spending had overtaken military spending as the larger share of government spending. And credit had begun to function as a supplement to declining real income, rather than a further addition to growing income.

These combined developments rendered the post-War counters to the realization of the tendency to stagnation obsolete. The result was the onset of stagnation not only in the U.S. but also worldwide. In America there has been overcapacity in autos, steel, shipbuilding and petrochemicals since the mid- to late-1970s.

This general picture is widely reflected in the business press. Business Week noted that "..supply outpaces demand everywhere, sending prices lower, eroding corporate profits and increasing layoffs" (Jan. 25, 1999, p. 118). The former chairman of General Electric claimed that "..there is excess capacity in almost every industry" (The New York Times, Nov. 16, 1997, p. 3). The Wall Street Journal noted that "..from cashmere to blue jeans, silver jewelry to aluminum cans, the world is in oversupply" (Nov. 30, 1998, p. A17). And The Economist fretted that " the gap between sales and capacity is "at its widest since the 1930s" (Feb. 20, 1999, p. 15). At this time excess capacity in steel is exceeding twenty percent, in autos it has fluctuated around 30%. And these figures look good in comparison to unused capacity numbers in the "industries of the future" of the "New Economy", semiconductors and telecommunications. Not long ago, ninety-seven percent of fibre optic capacity was idle.

MAINSTREAM ECONOMICS AND STAGNATION THEORY

Let us begin with the indisputable fact that the regime of neoliberalism has brought with it a substantial decline in economic growth. The most widely cited study on this issue, produced for the IECD by Angus Maddison, shows that the annual rate of growth of real global GDP fell from 4.9% in 1950-1973 to 3 % in 1973-1998, a drop of 39 %. Theoretical commitments can guide perception: neoliberal economists either denied or ignored the decline in global growth because of their reliance on Say's Law, that it is not possible for total demand to fall below full-capacity supply over the long run. In my earlier remarks I offered an explanation of sluggish growth rates since 1973. Many orthodox economics have done something similar: they have offered explanations of the initial rise in excess capacity. But what has not been explained is why global supply did not eventually adjust itself to the slower rate of demand growth, with the result that in the mid-1970s the global economy would enter a period of sluggish expansion. And it is worth mentioning that even Keynesian macro-theory is inadequate in this regard. It assumes that slow growth in aggregate demand will result in a proportionate decline in the growth of aggregate supply through its effect upon investment and therefore productivity.

An adequate explanation of the sustained character of excess capacity can be constructed from insights from Schumpeter, Marx and the contemporary economist James Crotty. The analysis that follows should be understood within the framework of the version of secular stagnation theory sketched above.

Before the shift to neoliberal policies by Jimmy Carter, Reagan and Thatcher, the global economy was already subject to downward pressures on demand growth resulting from two oil price shocks and the restrictive macro policy imposed in response to oil-price induced inflation. These impediments to demand growth were exacerbated by neoliberal policies. In combination, these forces led to a sharp rise in excess capacity in globally competing industries. At the same time competitive pressures were further intensified by the reduction of the market power of national oligopolies caused by the removal of protectionist barriers to the free movement of goods and money across national boundaries. Accordingly, competitive pressures between nations rose dramatically. In this context, normal stagnationist tendencies operated to further constrain global demand growth and further reproduce industrial capacity faster than either neoclassical or Keynesian theory could comprehend.

The Achilles Heel of neoclassical theory with respect to its inability to account for the persistence of overcapacity during the neoliberal period is its account of competition. So-called "perfect competition" is alleged to lead to maximum efficiency and the elimination of excess capacity. This claim appears inconsistent with the history of real-world, pre- and post-oligopolistic competition. Textbook-like competition has led to periodic market gluts or overproduction crises, price wars, plummeting profits, unbearable debt burdens and violent labor relations. Neoclassical theory banishes these demons with the aid of two assumptions which appear designed explicitly to make them impossible. The first assumption claims that production cost per unit rises rapidly as output increases, and the second that exit from low-profit industries is free or costless. If these assumptions were indeed true, then pure competition could not be shown to have stagnation- or depression-inducing effects. But these assumptions are, I shall suggest, false.

I will begin with the least plausible of these two assumptions. It states that there is free or costless exit from low-profit industries. But productive assets are typically immobile or irreversible, i.e., they are not liquid, and this forces a sizeable loss in the value of a firm's capital should it choose to leave an unprofitable industry. Whether they are sold on a second-hand market or reallocated to a different industry, productive assets will lose substantial value. Capital flowing out of the aerospace industry has been found to sell for one third of its replacement cost. Insolvent telecom firms in the U.S. have sold their assets for 20 cents on the dollar. And isn't this what one would expect? For it is usually poor profit prospects and/or great excess capacity that heighten a firm's incentive to leave an industry. But it is precisely those circumstances which deeply depress the price of industry-specific assets on the second-hand market, since the supply of these assets grows even as the demand for them has collapsed.

Before I turn to the slightly more plausible (yet still false) assumption -that unit production cost rises dramatically as output increases- I will outline the corollary of neoclassical theory itself which neoclassical economists seek to evade by introducing this assumption. The theory tells us that pure competition will force price down until it covers marginal cost. Now if unit production cost remained constant irrespective of the output level, then marginal production cost and average production cost per unit would be equal. When perfect competition forces price to equal marginal cost, total revenue will be equal to total production cost. But in this case there will be no revenue left over either to pay the "fixed" cost of maintaining capital stock in the face of depreciation or obsolescence, or to pay interest and/or dividends to investors. Thus, perfect competition is seen to cause the representative firm to suffer, in each production period, a loss that is equal to fixed costs. Keeping in mind that most important global industries have huge fixed costs, no industry could long survive the consequences of intense competition.

We seem to have found a tendency to stagnation or complete system breakdown where we would least expect to find it - in neoclassical theory itself. But the theory claims to have a response to this embarrassment. It simply denies the claim that appears to entail the undesired consequence, namely the claim that unit production cost remains constant no matter what the output level. Armed now with the (false) assumption that unit production cost rises rapidly as production increases, the conclusion is drawn that marginal cost and price are greater than average unit production cost. Thus, in equilibrium, the gap between price and average production cost is sufficiently large to cover all fixed costs. Let competition be as fierce as you wish, the typical firm will not lose money. Voila!

I have claimed that each of the rescuing assumptions discussed above is false. What would realistic assumptions about marginal cost and the reversibility of invested capital look like? To answer this question we must recognize the distinctive character of the dominant industries of global trade and investment. These industries include steel, autos, aircraft, shipbuilding, petrochemicals, consumer durables, electronics, semiconductors and banking. Studies of this type of industry suggest that marginal cost does not typically rise with output, with the rare exception of cases when the industry is producing near full capacity output. Marginal cost behaves as we would expect in cases of economies of scale: it remains constant or declines as capacity utilization rises. It follows that if free competition forces price to equal marginal cost in these industries, we should count on an ensuing wave of bankruptcies. Here again we see that neoclassical theory, corrected for unrealistic assumptions, seems to commit us to conceptualize mature capitalism as subject to the law of an inherent tendency to stagnation or worse.

The issue I am focusing on here turns on the dynamics of unrestricted competition among oligopolies in the context of economies of scale. The importance of economies of scale underscores the crucial similarity of all the dominant industries, including the new information-technology and telecommunications (ITC) industries. I stress this point because influential neoclassical economists have wanted to claim a significant difference, with respect to overcapacity problems, between the ITC industries and the other dominant industries. For purposes of explaining the persistence of excess capacity under neoliberalism, we want to remember that as scale economies grow, marginal costs fall as fixed costs per unit rise. Thus, the greater the economies of scale, the more destructive becomes the marginal cost pricing required by intense competition. With this in mind, we can more easily see that 1) these dynamics in especially conspicuous operation in the ITC industries, and 2) that such differences as there are between ITC and the other dominant oligopolies are insignificant for the analysis of secular stagnation theory, and of capitalist growth in general.

The key issue right now, recall, is the highly destructive consequences of the tendency of free competition among dominant industries to force price to equal marginal cost. That this is the case is easier to see in the ITC sector than in the other dominant industries. This is because in ITC marginal cost is often close to zero. Producing another copy of software or adding another customer to eBay is virtually costless. This has led many mainstream economists to argue that ITC industries are exempt from the laws of the neoclassical theory of perfect competition. Since ITC firms have marginal costs much lower than their large fixed costs, the argument goes, the possession of at least temporary monopoly power is the only guarantee of an incentive to produce anything at all. Without monopoly pricing power prices will be competed down to marginal cost and fixed costs will be unable to be covered. Thus, the motor of the "new economy" is said to be the constant pursuit of monopoly power. But, contrary to the neoclassical claim, none of this distinguishes significantly between ITC and other key industries. The drive to monopoly power is characteristic of all large corporations in the present age.

As Paul Sweezy argued in his Marshall Lectures, the typical firm in an oligopolized industry strives to be a monopolist. Each firm does this individually, and they all do it collectively. Individual firms seek monopoly status through the sales effort, where the firm's product is put forth as the best in the industry and as different from all the others. Firms within the same industry seek to approach monopoly status by collusion with respect to pricing policy, especially by agreeing to refrain from cutthroat price competition. For reasons developed at length above, therefore, all dominant firms, whether old- or new-economy operations, will tend to achieve monopoly status and to be chronically saddled with excess capacity.

A SCANDALOUSLY BRIEF LOOK AT SLOW-GROWTH CAPITALISM

We are in the midst of another unparalleled period of historical capitalism. Since the onset of stagnation, the median wage in the States has not changed at all for the vast majority of wage workers. Over the past six quarters the gowth of wage income has been negative. A brief sketch of the state of the U.S. economy toward the end of last year highlights features whose most plausible explanation may lie in the fact of secular stagnation. If stagnation theory is accurate, what follows is precisely what we would expect to find. The current state of the U.S. and the global economy is best understood, I believe, against the background too briefly elaborated above. Here is a picture of the U.S. economy today. The key to a healthy economy is job- and income-creating investment in capital goods, which in turn generates a virtuous cycle of further growth in investment, jobs and income. Ominously, the investment, growth, employment and income pictures are unprecedentedly dismal.

Compared to cyclical recoveries between 1949 and 1973, recoveries during the neoliberal period have been weak. Indeed, one or two of the post-1973 upturns has been weaker than some downturns during the Golden Age. Since the stock market collapse of four years ago, the situation has worsened. Growth rates since 2000 have been half their previous average. Even this weak performance required historically unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus: 13 rate cuts, three tax cuts, massive government deficits and record growth in money and credit.

Official figures mask the economy's most serious problems. Growth figures are annualized by U.S. statisticians. Thus, the much-touted 7.1% growth rate in the third quarter of 2003 was the one that would emerge after twelve months if the current trend were to continue. The same growth rate would have been reported in the eurozone as 1.8%. This is an uncommonly weak performance.

Investment data are equally misleading. Since the mid-1990s the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has adjusted upward actual business dollar outlays on computers and related equipment to take into account quality improvements (faster processors, bigger hard drives, more memory). BEA calls this "hedonic adjustment." Accordingly, the BEA estimates that business high-tech investment quadrupled between 1996 and 2002, from $70.9 to $283.7. But in actual dollars spent, the increase was only from $70.9 billion to $74.2 billion, very low by historic standards. The high-tech boom was both greatly exaggerated and misleading. After all, neither profits nor wages are taken in "hedonically adjusted" dollars.

The difference between real and hedonic outlays explains what would otherwise be a paradoxical feature of the years 2000-2003: government was reporting big increases in high-tech investment, while manufacturers were bemoaning declining sales.

Hedonic pricing has accounted for a steadily rising percentage of all reported capital investment. But if we look at actual dollars spent, we find that since 1998 the growth rate of business fixed investment has actually been declining. Real capital investment has in fact not been this weak since the Great Depression.

The fudging of investment figures also obscures the sorry state of the jobs market. The Commerce Department's figures on nonresidential investment for the third and fourth quarters of 2003 reported increases of, respectively, 12.8 and 9.6%. A closer look reveals that the "adjusted" hi-tech sector is the only bright spot, with production and capacity rising, respectively, 24.6% and 11.1% over the past year. But hi-tech is not where significant jobs increases are found. Employment in hi-tech has declined steadily through the so-called "recovery" since its 2001 peak.

In non-hi-tech manufacturing, where investment figures are not adjusted, production from January 2003 to January 2004 rose only 0.9%, while capacity actually declined -0.2%. This represents a record nineteen-straight-month decline in mainline manufacturing capacity. Since it is mainline manufacturing which employs almost 95% of all manufacturing workers, it comes as no surprise that for the first time since the Great Depression the economy has gone more than three years without creating any jobs.

The jobs crisis is even worse than it appears. Here again statistical sleight-of-hand, this time by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), obscures economic reality. Based on data gathered employing the "net birth/death adjustment," BLS announced in April, 2004, that the long-awaited jobs recovery had finally arrived. Nonfarm payrolls had allegedly surged by a whopping 308,000 in March, 2004. The birth/death model uses business deaths to "impute" employment from business births. Thus, as more businesses fail, more new jobs are imputed to have materialized through business births. This improbable statistical artefact accounts for about half of the reported 308,000 March, 2004 payroll increase.

The birth/death model is based on statistics covering 1998-2002. This was a period of explosive telecom and dot.com startups, quite unlike today's flat economic landscape. Thus, two thirds of the 947,000 new jobs BLS "imputed" for March-May, 2004, were never actually counted by BLS and never reported by any firm.

BlS's household and establishment surveys tell a more sobering story. March employment by private industry actually fell by 175,000, and the number of self-employed workers declined by 288,000. Without the simultaneous increase of 439,000 government jobs, the March job announcement would have been a calamity. And both average weekly hours and total hours worked declined markedly, even as (according to the dubious birth/death findings) the work force increased. This is the first time in U.S. history that net job growth has been negative 26 months into a recovery.

The wage and salary picture has also set grim records. During the current recovery, wage and salary growth has actually been negative, at -0.6%, in contrast to the average increase of 7.2% characteristic of this point into each of the other eight post-War recoveries. In fact, median family income in the post-War period exhibits an ominous trend. From 1947 to 1967, real median family income rose by 75%. But since 1967, it has grown by only 30%.

Labor's losses have been capital's gain: since the peak of the last recovery, in the first quarter of 2001, corporate profits have risen 62.2%, compared to the average of 13.9% at the same point in the last eight recoveries. Never in American history has any recorded recovery had such a lopsided balance in the distribution of income gains between labor and capital.

Given the dismal investment, wage/salary and employment pictures, how has it been possible for consumption to have risen to 71% of GDP in the early nineties, from its prior post-War average of 66%? The answer is a growth rate of consumer debt never seen before in America. For the first time ever, in March 2001, overall debt levels (mortgage debt plus consumer debt, mainly credit card debt and car loans) rose above annual disposable income. And from 2001 to 2004 consumer debt rose from 101% to 116% of disposable income. In the first half of 2004, consumer borrowing has been at its highest ever. It has declined slightly in the meantime. So has consumer spending. Should Americans decide to significantly increase their saving and service debts, while lowering correspondingly their consumption expenditures, the global economy could experience a major disruption.

Up until very recently, consumers had stepped up their borrowing to compensate for slowing income growth. Thus, such growth as the U.S. has experienced in recent years has been almost entirely consumption- and debt-driven. More fundamentally, it has been bubble-driven, fueled principally by bubbles in home values and credit.

Since the collapse of stock market/hi-tech bubbles in 2001, the illusory "wealth effect" has been sustained, and consumer spending thereby encouraged, by another bubble, the enormous inflation of house prices. The biggest increase in household debt came from home mortgage debt, especially home mortgage refinancing. With mortgage rates low and home prices rising, households' home equity ballooned. Bloated home equity then provided rising collateral to underwrite still more borrowing.

What makes this especially problematic is that over the last ten years, the average family has suffered under large increases in health premiums, housing costs, tuition fees and child care costs. As a result, households' and individuals' margin of protection against insolvency has dramatically declined. Filings for personal bankruptcy are approaching a record high.

There are indications that these weaknesses and imbalances in the economy are reaching a critical mass. The mortgage refi boom has fizzled, and consumer spending is beginning to decline. Two years ago the Fed's quarterly Beige Book reported a disturbing shift in the composition of credit spending: more and more families are using their credit cards to finance spending on essentials, such as food and energy.

It is no exaggeration to say that both the U.S. economy and the global economy are hugely dependent on the American consumer's increasing willingness to spend more than (s)he makes. (Imported goods have been a rising proportion of all goods purchased here.) Thus, a decline in U.S. consumer spending portends further declines in investment, jobs and income. From January to July of 2004, consumer spending rose at an annual rate of 2.8%, down from 3.3% in 2003 and 3.1 % in 2002. For perspective, during the boom years 1999-2000, growth rates were 5.1% and 4.7%.

Spending on consumer durables is the most significant indicator of healthy growth, and the drastically lower spending in this area is cause for alarm: spending for consumer durables was down to $23.5 billion in the first seven months of this year, in contrast to $71 billion on 2003 and $58 billion in 2002.

Should consumer spending continue to decline, the economy faces the genuine likelihood of a severe recession. Of course not a single American politician addresses this issue.

What is required is a shift from bubble-, debt-, and consumption-driven growth to investment- and income-driven growth. This in turn necessitates a decline in Americas principal export, jobs. Domestic job growth, a higher minimum wage, tax cuts aimed predominantly at low- and middle-income families, a sharp reduction in defense spending and a redirection of these funds to long-neglected and pressing social needs such as health care reform, the provision of universal pre-school, and across-the-board repair and upgrading of America's deteriorated infrastructure of roads, highways,tunnels and bridges, all these should be at the forefront of a Democratic administration's agenda. The restoration of infrastructure is especially labor intensive, and would generate an enormous number of productive jobs. And as a national project spearheaded by government initiative, government would emerge as a major employer.

All this si entirely incompatible with the overwhelming neoliberal bent of even the most "liberal" political leaders. It was after all Bill Clinton who urinated on the grave of Franklin Roosevelt when he proclaimed "the end of welfare as we know it".

As unfashionable as it is to suggest such a thing at a conference of economists, the only hope for the world's majority seems to be the revival of the kinds of mass movements witnessed here in May of 1968, and throughout the world during the 1960s. And time may be short.

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Alan Nasser is Professor emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. His book, The “New Normal”: Persistent Austerity, Declining Democracy and the Globalization of Resistance will be published by Pluto Press in 2013. If you would like to be notified when the book is released, please send a request to nassera@evergreen.edu

Thomas Palley » Blog Archive » Explaining Stagnation Why it Matters

John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff clearly identify stagnation in their 2009 book The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (HERE). They conclude with a section titled “Back to the real economy: the stagnation problem” and they write:

“It was the reality of economic stagnation beginning in the 1970s, as heterodox economists Ricardo Belliofiore and Joseph Halevi have recently emphasized, that led to the emergence of “the new financialized capitalist regime,” a kind of “paradoxical financial Keynesianiasm” whereby demand in the economy was stimulated primarily “thanks to asset-bubbles” (Foster and Magdoff, p.129).”

My own 2009 New America Foundation report, “America’s Exhausted Paradigm: Macroeconomic Causes of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession”, concluded (HERE):

“The bottom line is macroeconomic failure rooted in America’s flawed economic paradigm is the ultimate cause of the financial crisis and Great Recession…. Now, there is a grave danger that policymakers only focus on financial market reform and ignore reform of America’s flawed economic paradigm. In that event, though the economy may stabilize, it will likely be unable to escape the pull of economic stagnation. That is because stagnation is the logical next stage of the existing paradigm.”

That report became a core chapter in my 2012 book, From Financial Crisis to Stagnation, the blurb for which reads (HERE):

“The U.S. economy today is confronted with the prospect of extended stagnation. This book explores why…. Financial deregulation and the house price bubble kept the economy going by making ever more credit available. As the economy cannibalized itself by undercutting income distribution and accumulating debt, it needed larger speculative bubbles to grow. That process ended when the housing bubble burst. The earlier post–World War II economic model based on rising middle-class incomes has been dismantled, while the new neoliberal model has imploded. Absent a change of policy paradigm, the logical next step is stagnation. The political challenge we face now is how to achieve paradigm change.”

The big analytical difference between Foster and Magdoff and myself is that they see stagnation as inherent to capitalism whereas I see it as the product of neoliberal economic policy. Foster and Magdoff partake of the Baran-Sweezy tradition that recommends deeper socialist transformation. I use a structural Keynesian framework that recommends reconstructing the income and demand generation mechanism via policies that include rebuilding worker bargaining power, reforming globalization, and reining in corporations and financial markets.

Larry Summers’ story of serial bubbles delaying stagnation has substantial similarities with both accounts but he avoids blaming either capitalism or neoliberalism. That is hardly surprising as Summers has been a chief architect of the neoliberal system and remains committed to it, though he now wants to soften its impact. Instead, he appeals to the black box of “secular stagnation” as ultimate cause and suggests fiscal policies that would ameliorate the demand shortage problem. However, those policies would not remedy the root cause of stagnation as they leave the economic architecture unchanged.

Though Summers and Krugman are relative late-comers to the stagnation hypothesis, they have still done a great public service by drawing attention to it. Now that stagnation has been identified, the real debate can begin.

The questions are what caused stagnation and what must be done to restore shared prosperity? There is no guarantee we will answer those questions correctly (my prior is mainstream economists will continue their track record of getting it wrong). But it is absolutely certain we will not get the right answer if we do not ask the right question. So thank you Larry Summers and Paul Krugman for putting stagnation on the table. Let the debate begin.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Economics, U.S. Policy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Summers makes the idea of secular stagnation mainstream

Larry Summers (“Why Stagnation May Prove To Be The New Normal,” The Financial Times, December 15, 2013)  suggested the current "lack of demand" is not anomaly but a feature of the current sociao-economic system.  He suggested that we have been in the throes of stagnation for a long while, but that has been obscured by years of serial asset price bubbles. His article produced great public debate and marked the point when the idea became mainstream. The debate began with Summers’ speech to the IMF’s Fourteenth Annual Research Conference in Honor of Stanley Fisher. Summers noted that the panic of 2008 was “an event that in the fall of 2008 and winter of 2009 … appeared, by most of the statistics—GDP, industrial production, employment, world trade, the stock market—worse than the fall of 1929 and the winter of 1930. …”

Tha means the major defeat for “stabilization policies” that were supposed to smooth the capitalist industrial cycle and abolish panics. And the problem preceeds the 2008 panic itself.

The highly misleading unemployment rate calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor notwithstanding, there has been a massive growth in long-term unemployment in the U.S. in the wake of the crisis, as shown by the declining percentage of the U.S. population actually working.

The current situation also refute the key tenet of neoclassical economy (which is pseudo-religious doctrine, so that only increase fanatic devotion of its well-paid adherents). Neoclassical economists insisted that since a “free market economy” naturally tends toward an equilibrium with full employment of both workers and machines, the economy should should quickly return to “full employment” after a recession. This is not the case. See also Secular Stagnation Lawrence H. Summers

There were several uncessful attempts to explaint his situation from neoclassical positions. In Secular Stagnation, Coalmines, Bubbles, and Larry Summers - NYTimes.com Paul Krugman  emphasized the liquidity trap – zero lower bound to interest rates which supposedly prevents spending from reaching a level sufficient for full employment.

Larry’s formulation of our current economic situation is the same as my own. Although he doesn’t use the words “liquidity trap”, he works from the understanding that we are an economy in which monetary policy is de facto constrained by the zero lower bound (even if you think central banks could be doing more), and that this corresponds to a situation in which the “natural” rate of interest – the rate at which desired savings and desired investment would be equal at full employment – is negative.

And as he also notes, in this situation the normal rules of economic policy don’t apply. As I like to put it, virtue becomes vice and prudence becomes folly. Saving hurts the economy – it even hurts investment, thanks to the paradox of thrift. Fixating on debt and deficits deepens the depression. And so on down the line.

This is the kind of environment in which Keynes’s hypothetical policy of burying currency in coalmines and letting the private sector dig it up – or my version, which involves faking a threat from nonexistent space aliens – becomes a good thing; spending is good, and while productive spending is best, unproductive spending is still better than nothing.

Larry also indirectly states an important corollary: this isn’t just true of public spending. Private spending that is wholly or partially wasteful is also a good thing, unless it somehow stores up trouble for the future. That last bit is an important qualification. But suppose that U.S. corporations, which are currently sitting on a huge hoard of cash, were somehow to become convinced that it would be a great idea to fit out all their employees as cyborgs, with Google Glass and smart wristwatches everywhere. And suppose that three years later they realized that there wasn’t really much payoff to all that spending. Nonetheless, the resulting investment boom would have given us several years of much higher employment, with no real waste, since the resources employed would otherwise have been idle.

OK, this is still mostly standard, although a lot of people hate, just hate, this kind of logic – they want economics to be a morality play, and they don’t care how many people have to suffer in the process.

But now comes the radical part of Larry’s presentation: his suggestion that this may not be a temporary state of affairs.

2. An economy that needs bubbles?

We now know that the economic expansion of 2003-2007 was driven by a bubble. You can say the same about the latter part of the 90s expansion; and you can in fact say the same about the later years of the Reagan expansion, which was driven at that point by runaway thrift institutions and a large bubble in commercial real estate.

So you might be tempted to say that monetary policy has consistently been too loose. After all, haven’t low interest rates been encouraging repeated bubbles?

But as Larry emphasizes, there’s a big problem with the claim that monetary policy has been too loose: where’s the inflation? Where has the overheated economy been visible?

So how can you reconcile repeated bubbles with an economy showing no sign of inflationary pressures? Summers’s answer is that we may be an economy that needs bubbles just to achieve something near full employment – that in the absence of bubbles the economy has a negative natural rate of interest. And this hasn’t just been true since the 2008 financial crisis; it has arguably been true, although perhaps with increasing severity, since the 1980s.

One way to quantify this is, I think, to look at household debt. Here’s the ratio of household debt to GDP since the 50s:

There was a sharp increase in the ratio after World War II, but from a low base, as families moved to the suburbs and all that. Then there were about 25 years of rough stability, from 1960 to around 1985. After that, however, household debt rose rapidly and inexorably, until the crisis struck.

So with all that household borrowing, you might have expected the period 1985-2007 to be one of strong inflationary pressure, high interest rates, or both. In fact, you see neither – this was the era of the Great Moderation, a time of low inflation and generally low interest rates. Without all that increase in household debt, interest rates would presumably have to have been considerably lower – maybe negative. In other words, you can argue that our economy has been trying to get into the liquidity trap for a number of years, and that it only avoided the trap for a while thanks to successive bubbles.

And if that’s how you see things, when looking forward you have to regard the liquidity trap not as an exceptional state of affairs but as the new normal.

3. Secular stagnation?

How did this happen? Larry explicitly invokes the notion of secular stagnation, associated in particular with Alvin Hansen (pdf).  He doesn’t say why this might be happening to us now, but it’s not hard to think of possible reasons.

Back in the day, Hansen stressed demographic factors: he thought slowing population growth would mean low investment demand. Then came the baby boom. But this time around the slowdown is here, and looks real.

Think of it this way: during the period 1960-85, when the U.S. economy seemed able to achieve full employment without bubbles, our labor force grew an average 2.1 percent annually. In part this reflected the maturing of the baby boomers, in part the move of women into the labor force.

This growth made sustaining investment fairly easy: the business of providing Americans with new houses, new offices, and so on easily absorbed a fairly high fraction of GDP.

Now look forward. The Census projects that the population aged 18 to 64 will grow at an annual rate of only 0.2 percent between 2015 and 2025. Unless labor force participation not only stops declining but starts rising rapidly again, this means a slower-growth economy, and thanks to the accelerator effect, lower investment demand.

By the way, in a Samuelson consumption-loan model, the natural rate of interest equals the rate of population growth. Reality is a lot more complicated than that, but I don’t think it’s foolish to guess that the decline in population growth has reduced the natural real rate of interest by something like an equal amount (and to note that Japan’s shrinking working-age population is probably a major factor in its secular stagnation.)

There may be other factors – a Bob Gordonesque decline in innovation, etc.. The point is that it’s not hard to think of reasons why the liquidity trap could be a lot more persistent than anyone currently wants to admit.

4. Destructive virtue

If you take a secular stagnation view seriously, it has some radical implications – and Larry goes there.

Currently, even policymakers who are willing to concede that the liquidity trap makes nonsense of conventional notions of policy prudence are busy preparing for the time when normality returns. This means that they are preoccupied with the idea that they must act now to head off future crises. Yet this crisis isn’t over – and as Larry says, “Most of what would be done under the aegis of preventing a future crisis would be counterproductive.”

He goes on to say that the officially respectable policy agenda involves “doing less with monetary policy than was done before and doing less with fiscal policy than was done before,” even though the economy remains deeply depressed. And he says, a bit fuzzily but bravely all the same, that even improved financial regulation is not necessarily a good thing – that it may discourage irresponsible lending and borrowing at a time when more spending of any kind is good for the economy.

Amazing stuff – and if we really are looking at secular stagnation, he’s right.

Of course, the underlying problem in all of this is simply that real interest rates are too high. But, you say, they’re negative – zero nominal rates minus at least some expected inflation. To which the answer is, so? If the market wants a strongly negative real interest rate, we’ll have persistent problems until we find a way to deliver such a rate.

One way to get there would be to reconstruct our whole monetary system – say, eliminate paper money and pay negative interest rates on deposits. Another way would be to take advantage of the next boom – whether it’s a bubble or driven by expansionary fiscal policy – to push inflation substantially higher, and keep it there. Or maybe, possibly, we could go the Krugman 1998/Abe 2013 route of pushing up inflation through the sheer power of self-fulfilling expectations.

Any such suggestions are, of course, met with outrage. How dare anyone suggest that virtuous individuals, people who are prudent and save for the future, face expropriation? How can you suggest steadily eroding their savings either through inflation or through negative interest rates? It’s tyranny!

But in a liquidity trap saving may be a personal virtue, but it’s a social vice. And in an economy facing secular stagnation, this isn’t just a temporary state of affairs, it’s the norm. Assuring people that they can get a positive rate of return on safe assets means promising them something the market doesn’t want to deliver – it’s like farm price supports, except for rentiers.

Oh, and one last point. If we’re going to have persistently negative real interest rates along with at least somewhat positive overall economic growth, the panic over public debt looks even more foolish than people like me have been saying: servicing the debt in the sense of stabilizing the ratio of debt to GDP has no cost, in fact negative cost.

I could go on, but by now I hope you’ve gotten the point. What Larry did at the IMF wasn’t just give an interesting speech. He laid down what amounts to a very radical manifesto. And I very much fear that he may be right.

Supplement 1: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (reprint)

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - The Baffler

David Graeber

A secret question hovers over us, a sense of disappointment, a broken promise we were given as children about what our adult world was supposed to be like. I am referring not to the standard false promises that children are always given (about how the world is fair, or how those who work hard shall be rewarded), but to a particular generational promise—given to those who were children in the fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties—one that was never quite articulated as a promise but rather as a set of assumptions about what our adult world would be like. And since it was never quite promised, now that it has failed to come true, we’re left confused: indignant, but at the same time, embarrassed at our own indignation, ashamed we were ever so silly to believe our elders to begin with.

Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now? Even those inventions that seemed ready to emerge—like cloning or cryogenics—ended up betraying their lofty promises. What happened to them?

We are well informed of the wonders of computers, as if this is some sort of unanticipated compensation, but, in fact, we haven’t moved even computing to the point of progress that people in the fifties expected we’d have reached by now. We don’t have computers we can have an interesting conversation with, or robots that can walk our dogs or take our clothes to the Laundromat.

As someone who was eight years old at the time of the Apollo moon landing, I remember calculating that I would be thirty-nine in the magic year 2000 and wondering what the world would be like. Did I expect I would be living in such a world of wonders? Of course. Everyone did. Do I feel cheated now? It seemed unlikely that I’d live to see all the things I was reading about in science fiction, but it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t see any of them.

At the turn of the millennium, I was expecting an outpouring of reflections on why we had gotten the future of technology so wrong. Instead, just about all the authoritative voices—both Left and Right—began their reflections from the assumption that we do live in an unprecedented new technological utopia of one sort or another.

The common way of dealing with the uneasy sense that this might not be so is to brush it aside, to insist all the progress that could have happened has happened and to treat anything more as silly. “Oh, you mean all that Jetsons stuff?” I’m asked—as if to say, but that was just for children! Surely, as grown-ups, we understand The Jetsons offered as accurate a view of the future as The Flintstones offered of the Stone Age.

Surely, as grown-ups, we understand The Jetsons offered as accurate a view of the future as The Flintstones did of the Stone Age.

Even in the seventies and eighties, in fact, sober sources such as National Geographic and the Smithsonian were informing children of imminent space stations and expeditions to Mars. Creators of science fiction movies used to come up with concrete dates, often no more than a generation in the future, in which to place their futuristic fantasies. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick felt that a moviegoing audience would find it perfectly natural to assume that only thirty-three years later, in 2001, we would have commercial moon flights, city-like space stations, and computers with human personalities maintaining astronauts in suspended animation while traveling to Jupiter. Video telephony is just about the only new technology from that particular movie that has appeared—and it was technically possible when the movie was showing. 2001 can be seen as a curio, but what about Star Trek? The Star Trek mythos was set in the sixties, too, but the show kept getting revived, leaving audiences for Star Trek Voyager in, say, 2005, to try to figure out what to make of the fact that according to the logic of the program, the world was supposed to be recovering from fighting off the rule of genetically engineered supermen in the Eugenics Wars of the nineties.

By 1989, when the creators of Back to the Future II were dutifully placing flying cars and anti-gravity hoverboards in the hands of ordinary teenagers in the year 2015, it wasn’t clear if this was meant as a prediction or a joke.

The usual move in science fiction is to remain vague about the dates, so as to render “the future” a zone of pure fantasy, no different than Middle Earth or Narnia, or like Star Wars, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” As a result, our science fiction future is, most often, not a future at all, but more like an alternative dimension, a dream-time, a technological Elsewhere, existing in days to come in the same sense that elves and dragon-slayers existed in the past—another screen for the displacement of moral dramas and mythic fantasies into the dead ends of consumer pleasure.

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Might the cultural sensibility that came to be referred to as postmodernism best be seen as a prolonged meditation on all the technological changes that never happened? The question struck me as I watched one of the recent Star Wars movies. The movie was terrible, but I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the quality of the special effects. Recalling the clumsy special effects typical of fifties sci-fi films, I kept thinking how impressed a fifties audience would have been if they’d known what we could do by now—only to realize, “Actually, no. They wouldn’t be impressed at all, would they? They thought we’d be doing this kind of thing by now. Not just figuring out more sophisticated ways to simulate it.”

That last word—simulate—is key. The technologies that have advanced since the seventies are mainly either medical technologies or information technologies—largely, technologies of simulation. They are technologies of what Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco called the “hyper-real,” the ability to make imitations that are more realistic than originals. The postmodern sensibility, the feeling that we had somehow broken into an unprecedented new historical period in which we understood that there is nothing new; that grand historical narratives of progress and liberation were meaningless; that everything now was simulation, ironic repetition, fragmentation, and pastiche—all this makes sense in a technological environment in which the only breakthroughs were those that made it easier to create, transfer, and rearrange virtual projections of things that either already existed, or, we came to realize, never would. Surely, if we were vacationing in geodesic domes on Mars or toting about pocket-size nuclear fusion plants or telekinetic mind-reading devices no one would ever have been talking like this. The postmodern moment was a desperate way to take what could otherwise only be felt as a bitter disappointment and to dress it up as something epochal, exciting, and new.

In the earliest formulations, which largely came out of the Marxist tradition, a lot of this technological background was acknowledged. Fredric Jameson’s “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” proposed the term “postmodernism” to refer to the cultural logic appropriate to a new, technological phase of capitalism, one that had been heralded by Marxist economist Ernest Mandel as early as 1972. Mandel had argued that humanity stood at the verge of a “third technological revolution,” as profound as the Agricultural or Industrial Revolution, in which computers, robots, new energy sources, and new information technologies would replace industrial labor—the “end of work” as it soon came to be called—reducing us all to designers and computer technicians coming up with crazy visions that cybernetic factories would produce.

End of work arguments were popular in the late seventies and early eighties as social thinkers pondered what would happen to the traditional working-class-led popular struggle once the working class no longer existed. (The answer: it would turn into identity politics.) Jameson thought of himself as exploring the forms of consciousness and historical sensibilities likely to emerge from this new age.

What happened, instead, is that the spread of information technologies and new ways of organizing transport—the containerization of shipping, for example—allowed those same industrial jobs to be outsourced to East Asia, Latin America, and other countries where the availability of cheap labor allowed manufacturers to employ much less technologically sophisticated production-line techniques than they would have been obliged to employ at home.

From the perspective of those living in Europe, North America, and Japan, the results did seem to be much as predicted. Smokestack industries did disappear; jobs came to be divided between a lower stratum of service workers and an upper stratum sitting in antiseptic bubbles playing with computers. But below it all lay an uneasy awareness that the postwork civilization was a giant fraud. Our carefully engineered high-tech sneakers were not being produced by intelligent cyborgs or self-replicating molecular nanotechnology; they were being made on the equivalent of old-fashioned Singer sewing machines, by the daughters of Mexican and Indonesian farmers who, as the result of WTO or NAFTA–sponsored trade deals, had been ousted from their ancestral lands. It was a guilty awareness that lay beneath the postmodern sensibility and its celebration of the endless play of images and surfaces.

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Why did the projected explosion of technological growth everyone was expecting—the moon bases, the robot factories—fail to happen? There are two possibilities. Either our expectations about the pace of technological change were unrealistic (in which case, we need to know why so many intelligent people believed they were not) or our expectations were not unrealistic (in which case, we need to know what happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects).

Most social analysts choose the first explanation and trace the problem to the Cold War space race. Why, these analysts wonder, did both the United States and the Soviet Union become so obsessed with the idea of manned space travel? It was never an efficient way to engage in scientific research. And it encouraged unrealistic ideas of what the human future would be like.

Could the answer be that both the United States and the Soviet Union had been, in the century before, societies of pioneers, one expanding across the Western frontier, the other across Siberia? Didn’t they share a commitment to the myth of a limitless, expansive future, of human colonization of vast empty spaces, that helped convince the leaders of both superpowers they had entered into a “space age” in which they were battling over control of the future itself? All sorts of myths were at play here, no doubt, but that proves nothing about the feasibility of the project.

Some of those science fiction fantasies (at this point we can’t know which ones) could have been brought into being. For earlier generations, many science fiction fantasies had been brought into being. Those who grew up at the turn of the century reading Jules Verne or H.G. Wells imagined the world of, say, 1960 with flying machines, rocket ships, submarines, radio, and television—and that was pretty much what they got. If it wasn’t unrealistic in 1900 to dream of men traveling to the moon, then why was it unrealistic in the sixties to dream of jet-packs and robot laundry-maids?

In fact, even as those dreams were being outlined, the material base for their achievement was beginning to be whittled away. There is reason to believe that even by the fifties and sixties, the pace of technological innovation was slowing down from the heady pace of the first half of the century. There was a last spate in the fifties when microwave ovens (1954), the Pill (1957), and lasers (1958) all appeared in rapid succession. But since then, technological advances have taken the form of clever new ways of combining existing technologies (as in the space race) and new ways of putting existing technologies to consumer use (the most famous example is television, invented in 1926, but mass produced only after the war.) Yet, in part because the space race gave everyone the impression that remarkable advances were happening, the popular impression during the sixties was that the pace of technological change was speeding up in terrifying, uncontrollable ways.

Alvin Toffler’s 1970 best seller Future Shock argued that almost all the social problems of the sixties could be traced back to the increasing pace of technological change. The endless outpouring of scientific breakthroughs transformed the grounds of daily existence, and left Americans without any clear idea of what normal life was. Just consider the family, where not just the Pill, but also the prospect of in vitro fertilization, test tube babies, and sperm and egg donation were about to make the idea of motherhood obsolete.

Humans were not psychologically prepared for the pace of change, Toffler wrote. He coined a term for the phenomenon: “accelerative thrust.” It had begun with the Industrial Revolution, but by roughly 1850, the effect had become unmistakable. Not only was everything around us changing, but most of it—human knowledge, the size of the population, industrial growth, energy use—was changing exponentially. The only solution, Toffler argued, was to begin some kind of control over the process, to create institutions that would assess emerging technologies and their likely effects, to ban technologies likely to be too socially disruptive, and to guide development in the direction of social harmony.

While many of the historical trends Toffler describes are accurate, the book appeared when most of these exponential trends halted. It was right around 1970 when the increase in the number of scientific papers published in the world—a figure that had doubled every fifteen years since, roughly, 1685—began leveling off. The same was true of books and patents.

Toffler’s use of acceleration was particularly unfortunate. For most of human history, the top speed at which human beings could travel had been around 25 miles per hour. By 1900 it had increased to 100 miles per hour, and for the next seventy years it did seem to be increasing exponentially. By the time Toffler was writing, in 1970, the record for the fastest speed at which any human had traveled stood at roughly 25,000 mph, achieved by the crew of Apollo 10 in 1969, just one year before. At such an exponential rate, it must have seemed reasonable to assume that within a matter of decades, humanity would be exploring other solar systems.

Since 1970, no further increase has occurred. The record for the fastest a human has ever traveled remains with the crew of Apollo 10. True, the commercial airliner Concorde, which first flew in 1969, reached a maximum speed of 1,400 mph. And the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144, which flew first, reached an even faster speed of 1,553 mph. But those speeds not only have failed to increase; they have decreased since the Tupolev Tu-144 was cancelled and the Concorde was abandoned.

None of this stopped Toffler’s own career. He kept retooling his analysis to come up with new spectacular pronouncements. In 1980, he produced The Third Wave, its argument lifted from Ernest Mandel’s “third technological revolution”—except that while Mandel thought these changes would spell the end of capitalism, Toffler assumed capitalism was eternal. By 1990, Toffler was the personal intellectual guru to Republican congressman Newt Gingrich, who claimed that his 1994 “Contract With America” was inspired, in part, by the understanding that the United States needed to move from an antiquated, materialist, industrial mind-set to a new, free-market, information age, Third Wave civilization.

There are all sorts of ironies in this connection. One of Toffler’s greatest achievements was inspiring the government to create an Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). One of Gingrich’s first acts on winning control of the House of Representatives in 1995 was defunding the OTA as an example of useless government extravagance. Still, there’s no contradiction here. By this time, Toffler had long since given up on influencing policy by appealing to the general public; he was making a living largely by giving seminars to CEOs and corporate think tanks. His insights had been privatized.

Gingrich liked to call himself a “conservative futurologist.” This, too, might seem oxymoronic; but, in fact, Toffler’s own conception of futurology was never progressive. Progress was always presented as a problem that needed to be solved.

Toffler might best be seen as a lightweight version of the nineteenth-century social theorist Auguste Comte, who believed that he was standing on the brink of a new age—in his case, the Industrial Age—driven by the inexorable progress of technology, and that the social cataclysms of his times were caused by the social system not adjusting. The older feudal order had developed Catholic theology, a way of thinking about man’s place in the cosmos perfectly suited to the social system of the time, as well as an institutional structure, the Church, that conveyed and enforced such ideas in a way that could give everyone a sense of meaning and belonging. The Industrial Age had developed its own system of ideas—science—but scientists had not succeeded in creating anything like the Catholic Church. Comte concluded that we needed to develop a new science, which he dubbed “sociology,” and said that sociologists should play the role of priests in a new Religion of Society that would inspire everyone with a love of order, community, work discipline, and family values. Toffler was less ambitious; his futurologists were not supposed to play the role of priests.

Gingrich had a second guru, a libertarian theologian named George Gilder, and Gilder, like Toffler, was obsessed with technology and social change. In an odd way, Gilder was more optimistic. Embracing a radical version of Mandel’s Third Wave argument, he insisted that what we were seeing with the rise of computers was an “overthrow of matter.” The old, materialist Industrial Society, where value came from physical labor, was giving way to an Information Age where value emerges directly from the minds of entrepreneurs, just as the world had originally appeared ex nihilo from the mind of God, just as money, in a proper supply-side economy, emerged ex nihilo from the Federal Reserve and into the hands of value-creating capitalists. Supply-side economic policies, Gilder concluded, would ensure that investment would continue to steer away from old government boondoggles like the space program and toward more productive information and medical technologies.

But if there was a conscious, or semi-conscious, move away from investment in research that might lead to better rockets and robots, and toward research that would lead to such things as laser printers and CAT scans, it had begun well before Toffler’s Future Shock (1970) and Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty (1981). What their success shows is that the issues they raised—that existing patterns of technological development would lead to social upheaval, and that we needed to guide technological development in directions that did not challenge existing structures of authority—echoed in the corridors of power. Statesmen and captains of industry had been thinking about such questions for some time.

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Industrial capitalism has fostered an extremely rapid rate of scientific advance and technological innovation—one with no parallel in previous human history. Even capitalism’s greatest detractors, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, celebrated its unleashing of the “productive forces.” Marx and Engels also believed that capitalism’s continual need to revolutionize the means of industrial production would be its undoing. Marx argued that, for certain technical reasons, value—and therefore profits—can be extracted only from human labor. Competition forces factory owners to mechanize production, to reduce labor costs, but while this is to the short-term advantage of the firm, mechanization’s effect is to drive down the general rate of profit.

For 150 years, economists have debated whether all this is true. But if it is true, then the decision by industrialists not to pour research funds into the invention of the robot factories that everyone was anticipating in the sixties, and instead to relocate their factories to labor-intensive, low-tech facilities in China or the Global South makes a great deal of sense.

As I’ve noted, there’s reason to believe the pace of technological innovation in productive processes—the factories themselves—began to slow in the fifties and sixties, but the side effects of America’s rivalry with the Soviet Union made innovation appear to accelerate. There was the awesome space race, alongside frenetic efforts by U.S. industrial planners to apply existing technologies to consumer purposes, to create an optimistic sense of burgeoning prosperity and guaranteed progress that would undercut the appeal of working-class politics.

These moves were reactions to initiatives from the Soviet Union. But this part of the history is difficult for Americans to remember, because at the end of the Cold War, the popular image of the Soviet Union switched from terrifyingly bold rival to pathetic basket case—the exemplar of a society that could not work. Back in the fifties, in fact, many United States planners suspected the Soviet system worked better. Certainly, they recalled the fact that in the thirties, while the United States had been mired in depression, the Soviet Union had maintained almost unprecedented economic growth rates of 10 percent to 12 percent a year—an achievement quickly followed by the production of tank armies that defeated Nazi Germany, then by the launching of Sputnik in 1957, then by the first manned spacecraft, the Vostok, in 1961.

It’s often said the Apollo moon landing was the greatest historical achievement of Soviet communism. Surely, the United States would never have contemplated such a feat had it not been for the cosmic ambitions of the Soviet Politburo. We are used to thinking of the Politburo as a group of unimaginative gray bureaucrats, but they were bureaucrats who dared to dream astounding dreams. The dream of world revolution was only the first. It’s also true that most of them—changing the course of mighty rivers, this sort of thing—either turned out to be ecologically and socially disastrous, or, like Joseph Stalin’s one-hundred-story Palace of the Soviets or a twenty-story statue of Vladimir Lenin, never got off the ground.

After the initial successes of the Soviet space program, few of these schemes were realized, but the leadership never ceased coming up with new ones. Even in the eighties, when the United States was attempting its own last, grandiose scheme, Star Wars, the Soviets were planning to transform the world through creative uses of technology. Few outside of Russia remember most of these projects, but great resources were devoted to them. It’s also worth noting that unlike the Star Wars project, which was designed to sink the Soviet Union, most were not military in nature: as, for instance, the attempt to solve the world hunger problem by harvesting lakes and oceans with an edible bacteria called spirulina, or to solve the world energy problem by launching hundreds of gigantic solar-power platforms into orbit and beaming the electricity back to earth.

The American victory in the space race meant that, after 1968, U.S. planners no longer took the competition seriously. As a result, the mythology of the final frontier was maintained, even as the direction of research and development shifted away from anything that might lead to the creation of Mars bases and robot factories.

The standard line is that all this was a result of the triumph of the market. The Apollo program was a Big Government project, Soviet-inspired in the sense that it required a national effort coordinated by government bureaucracies. As soon as the Soviet threat drew safely out of the picture, though, capitalism was free to revert to lines of technological development more in accord with its normal, decentralized, free-market imperatives—such as privately funded research into marketable products like personal computers. This is the line that men like Toffler and Gilder took in the late seventies and early eighties.

In fact, the United States never did abandon gigantic, government-controlled schemes of technological development. Mainly, they just shifted to military research—and not just to Soviet-scale schemes like Star Wars, but to weapons projects, research in communications and surveillance technologies, and similar security-related concerns. To some degree this had always been true: the billions poured into missile research had always dwarfed the sums allocated to the space program. Yet by the seventies, even basic research came to be conducted following military priorities. One reason we don’t have robot factories is because roughly 95 percent of robotics research funding has been channeled through the Pentagon, which is more interested in developing unmanned drones than in automating paper mills.

A case could be made that even the shift to research and development on information technologies and medicine was not so much a reorientation toward market-driven consumer imperatives, but part of an all-out effort to follow the technological humbling of the Soviet Union with total victory in the global class war—seen simultaneously as the imposition of absolute U.S. military dominance overseas, and, at home, the utter rout of social movements.

For the technologies that did emerge proved most conducive to surveillance, work discipline, and social control. Computers have opened up certain spaces of freedom, as we’re constantly reminded, but instead of leading to the workless utopia Abbie Hoffman imagined, they have been employed in such a way as to produce the opposite effect. They have enabled a financialization of capital that has driven workers desperately into debt, and, at the same time, provided the means by which employers have created “flexible” work regimes that have both destroyed traditional job security and increased working hours for almost everyone. Along with the export of factory jobs, the new work regime has routed the union movement and destroyed any possibility of effective working-class politics.

Meanwhile, despite unprecedented investment in research on medicine and life sciences, we await cures for cancer and the common cold, and the most dramatic medical breakthroughs we have seen have taken the form of drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Ritalin—tailor-made to ensure that the new work demands don’t drive us completely, dysfunctionally crazy.

With results like these, what will the epitaph for neoliberalism look like? I think historians will conclude it was a form of capitalism that systematically prioritized political imperatives over economic ones. Given a choice between a course of action that would make capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and one that would transform capitalism into a viable, long-term economic system, neoliberalism chooses the former every time. There is every reason to believe that destroying job security while increasing working hours does not create a more productive (let alone more innovative or loyal) workforce. Probably, in economic terms, the result is negative—an impression confirmed by lower growth rates in just about all parts of the world in the eighties and nineties.

But the neoliberal choice has been effective in depoliticizing labor and overdetermining the future. Economically, the growth of armies, police, and private security services amounts to dead weight. It’s possible, in fact, that the very dead weight of the apparatus created to ensure the ideological victory of capitalism will sink it. But it’s also easy to see how choking off any sense of an inevitable, redemptive future that could be different from our world is a crucial part of the neoliberal project.

At this point all the pieces would seem to be falling neatly into place. By the sixties, conservative political forces were growing skittish about the socially disruptive effects of technological progress, and employers were beginning to worry about the economic impact of mechanization. The fading Soviet threat allowed for a reallocation of resources in directions seen as less challenging to social and economic arrangements, or indeed directions that could support a campaign of reversing the gains of progressive social movements and achieving a decisive victory in what U.S. elites saw as a global class war. The change of priorities was introduced as a withdrawal of big-government projects and a return to the market, but in fact the change shifted government-directed research away from programs like NASA or alternative energy sources and toward military, information, and medical technologies.

Of course this doesn’t explain everything. Above all, it does not explain why, even in those areas that have become the focus of well-funded research projects, we have not seen anything like the kind of advances anticipated fifty years ago. If 95 percent of robotics research has been funded by the military, then where are the Klaatu-style killer robots shooting death rays from their eyes?

Obviously, there have been advances in military technology in recent decades. One of the reasons we all survived the Cold War is that while nuclear bombs might have worked as advertised, their delivery systems did not; intercontinental ballistic missiles weren’t capable of striking cities, let alone specific targets inside cities, and this fact meant there was little point in launching a nuclear first strike unless you intended to destroy the world.

Contemporary cruise missiles are accurate by comparison. Still, precision weapons never do seem capable of assassinating specific individuals (Saddam, Osama, Qaddafi), even when hundreds are dropped. And ray guns have not materialized—surely not for lack of trying. We can assume the Pentagon has spent billions on death ray research, but the closest they’ve come so far are lasers that might, if aimed correctly, blind an enemy gunner looking directly at the beam. Aside from being unsporting, this is pathetic: lasers are a fifties technology. Phasers that can be set to stun do not appear to be on the drawing boards; and when it comes to infantry combat, the preferred weapon almost everywhere remains the AK-47, a Soviet design named for the year it was introduced: 1947.

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The Internet is a remarkable innovation, but all we are talking about is a super-fast and globally accessible combination of library, post office, and mail-order catalogue. Had the Internet been described to a science fiction aficionado in the fifties and sixties and touted as the most dramatic technological achievement since his time, his reaction would have been disappointment. Fifty years and this is the best our scientists managed to come up with? We expected computers that would think!

Overall, levels of research funding have increased dramatically since the seventies. Admittedly, the proportion of that funding that comes from the corporate sector has increased most dramatically, to the point that private enterprise is now funding twice as much research as the government, but the increase is so large that the total amount of government research funding, in real-dollar terms, is much higher than it was in the sixties. “Basic,” “curiosity-driven,” or “blue skies” research—the kind that is not driven by the prospect of any immediate practical application, and that is most likely to lead to unexpected breakthroughs—occupies an ever smaller proportion of the total, though so much money is being thrown around nowadays that overall levels of basic research funding have increased.

Yet most observers agree that the results have been paltry. Certainly we no longer see anything like the continual stream of conceptual revolutions—genetic inheritance, relativity, psychoanalysis, quantum mechanics—that people had grown used to, and even expected, a hundred years before. Why?

Part of the answer has to do with the concentration of resources on a handful of gigantic projects: “big science,” as it has come to be called. The Human Genome Project is often held out as an example. After spending almost three billion dollars and employing thousands of scientists and staff in five different countries, it has mainly served to establish that there isn’t very much to be learned from sequencing genes that’s of much use to anyone else. Even more, the hype and political investment surrounding such projects demonstrate the degree to which even basic research now seems to be driven by political, administrative, and marketing imperatives that make it unlikely anything revolutionary will happen.

Here, our fascination with the mythic origins of Silicon Valley and the Internet has blinded us to what’s really going on. It has allowed us to imagine that research and development is now driven, primarily, by small teams of plucky entrepreneurs, or the sort of decentralized cooperation that creates open-source software. This is not so, even though such research teams are most likely to produce results. Research and development is still driven by giant bureaucratic projects.

What has changed is the bureaucratic culture. The increasing interpenetration of government, university, and private firms has led everyone to adopt the language, sensibilities, and organizational forms that originated in the corporate world. Although this might have helped in creating marketable products, since that is what corporate bureaucracies are designed to do, in terms of fostering original research, the results have been catastrophic.

My own knowledge comes from universities, both in the United States and Britain. In both countries, the last thirty years have seen a veritable explosion of the proportion of working hours spent on administrative tasks at the expense of pretty much everything else. In my own university, for instance, we have more administrators than faculty members, and the faculty members, too, are expected to spend at least as much time on administration as on teaching and research combined. The same is true, more or less, at universities worldwide.

The growth of administrative work has directly resulted from introducing corporate management techniques. Invariably, these are justified as ways of increasing efficiency and introducing competition at every level. What they end up meaning in practice is that everyone winds up spending most of their time trying to sell things: grant proposals; book proposals; assessments of students’ jobs and grant applications; assessments of our colleagues; prospectuses for new interdisciplinary majors; institutes; conference workshops; universities themselves (which have now become brands to be marketed to prospective students or contributors); and so on.

As marketing overwhelms university life, it generates documents about fostering imagination and creativity that might just as well have been designed to strangle imagination and creativity in the cradle. No major new works of social theory have emerged in the United States in the last thirty years. We have been reduced to the equivalent of medieval scholastics, writing endless annotations of French theory from the seventies, despite the guilty awareness that if new incarnations of Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, or Pierre Bourdieu were to appear in the academy today, we would deny them tenure.

There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As a result, in one of the most bizarre fits of social self-destructiveness in history, we seem to have decided we have no place for our eccentric, brilliant, and impractical citizens. Most languish in their mothers’ basements, at best making the occasional, acute intervention on the Internet.

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If all this is true in the social sciences, where research is still carried out with minimal overhead largely by individuals, one can imagine how much worse it is for astrophysicists. And, indeed, one astrophysicist, Jonathan Katz, has recently warned students pondering a career in the sciences. Even if you do emerge from the usual decade-long period languishing as someone else’s flunky, he says, you can expect your best ideas to be stymied at every point:

You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.

That pretty much answers the question of why we don’t have teleportation devices or antigravity shoes. Common sense suggests that if you want to maximize scientific creativity, you find some bright people, give them the resources they need to pursue whatever idea comes into their heads, and then leave them alone. Most will turn up nothing, but one or two may well discover something. But if you want to minimize the possibility of unexpected breakthroughs, tell those same people they will receive no resources at all unless they spend the bulk of their time competing against each other to convince you they know in advance what they are going to discover.

In the natural sciences, to the tyranny of managerialism we can add the privatization of research results. As the British economist David Harvie has reminded us, “open source” research is not new. Scholarly research has always been open source, in the sense that scholars share materials and results. There is competition, certainly, but it is “convivial.” This is no longer true of scientists working in the corporate sector, where findings are jealously guarded, but the spread of the corporate ethos within the academy and research institutes themselves has caused even publicly funded scholars to treat their findings as personal property. Academic publishers ensure that findings that are published are increasingly difficult to access, further enclosing the intellectual commons. As a result, convivial, open-source competition turns into something much more like classic market competition.

There are many forms of privatization, up to and including the simple buying up and suppression of inconvenient discoveries by large corporations fearful of their economic effects. (We cannot know how many synthetic fuel formulae have been bought up and placed in the vaults of oil companies, but it’s hard to imagine nothing like this happens.) More subtle is the way the managerial ethos discourages everything adventurous or quirky, especially if there is no prospect of immediate results. Oddly, the Internet can be part of the problem here. As Neal Stephenson put it:

Most people who work in corporations or academia have witnessed something like the following: A number of engineers are sitting together in a room, bouncing ideas off each other. Out of the discussion emerges a new concept that seems promising. Then some laptop-wielding person in the corner, having performed a quick Google search, announces that this “new” idea is, in fact, an old one; it—or at least something vaguely similar—has already been tried. Either it failed, or it succeeded. If it failed, then no manager who wants to keep his or her job will approve spending money trying to revive it. If it succeeded, then it’s patented and entry to the market is presumed to be unattainable, since the first people who thought of it will have “first-mover advantage” and will have created “barriers to entry.” The number of seemingly promising ideas that have been crushed in this way must number in the millions.

And so a timid, bureaucratic spirit suffuses every aspect of cultural life. It comes festooned in a language of creativity, initiative, and entrepreneurialism. But the language is meaningless. Those thinkers most likely to make a conceptual breakthrough are the least likely to receive funding, and, if breakthroughs occur, they are not likely to find anyone willing to follow up on their most daring implications.

Giovanni Arrighi has noted that after the South Sea Bubble, British capitalism largely abandoned the corporate form. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, Britain had instead come to rely on a combination of high finance and small family firms—a pattern that held throughout the next century, the period of maximum scientific and technological innovation. (Britain at that time was also notorious for being just as generous to its oddballs and eccentrics as contemporary America is intolerant. A common expedient was to allow them to become rural vicars, who, predictably, became one of the main sources for amateur scientific discoveries.)

Contemporary, bureaucratic corporate capitalism was a creation not of Britain, but of the United States and Germany, the two rival powers that spent the first half of the twentieth century fighting two bloody wars over who would replace Britain as a dominant world power—wars that culminated, appropriately enough, in government-sponsored scientific programs to see who would be the first to discover the atom bomb. It is significant, then, that our current technological stagnation seems to have begun after 1945, when the United States replaced Britain as organizer of the world economy.

Americans do not like to think of themselves as a nation of bureaucrats—quite the opposite—but the moment we stop imagining bureaucracy as a phenomenon limited to government offices, it becomes obvious that this is precisely what we have become. The final victory over the Soviet Union did not lead to the domination of the market, but, in fact, cemented the dominance of conservative managerial elites, corporate bureaucrats who use the pretext of short-term, competitive, bottom-line thinking to squelch anything likely to have revolutionary implications of any kind.

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If we do not notice that we live in a bureaucratic society, that is because bureaucratic norms and practices have become so all-pervasive that we cannot see them, or, worse, cannot imagine doing things any other way.

Computers have played a crucial role in this narrowing of our social imaginations. Just as the invention of new forms of industrial automation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had the paradoxical effect of turning more and more of the world’s population into full-time industrial workers, so has all the software designed to save us from administrative responsibilities turned us into part- or full-time administrators. In the same way that university professors seem to feel it is inevitable they will spend more of their time managing grants, so affluent housewives simply accept that they will spend weeks every year filling out forty-page online forms to get their children into grade schools. We all spend increasing amounts of time punching passwords into our phones to manage bank and credit accounts and learning how to perform jobs once performed by travel agents, brokers, and accountants.

Someone once figured out that the average American will spend a cumulative six months of life waiting for traffic lights to change. I don’t know if similar figures are available for how long it takes to fill out forms, but it must be at least as long. No population in the history of the world has spent nearly so much time engaged in paperwork.

In this final, stultifying stage of capitalism, we are moving from poetic technologies to bureaucratic technologies. By poetic technologies I refer to the use of rational and technical means to bring wild fantasies to reality. Poetic technologies, so understood, are as old as civilization. Lewis Mumford noted that the first complex machines were made of people. Egyptian pharaohs were able to build the pyramids only because of their mastery of administrative procedures, which allowed them to develop production-line techniques, dividing up complex tasks into dozens of simple operations and assigning each to one team of workmen—even though they lacked mechanical technology more complex than the inclined plane and lever. Administrative oversight turned armies of peasant farmers into the cogs of a vast machine. Much later, after cogs had been invented, the design of complex machinery elaborated principles originally developed to organize people.

Yet we have seen those machines—whether their moving parts are arms and torsos or pistons, wheels, and springs—being put to work to realize impossible fantasies: cathedrals, moon shots, transcontinental railways. Certainly, poetic technologies had something terrible about them; the poetry is likely to be as much of dark satanic mills as of grace or liberation. But the rational, administrative techniques were always in service to some fantastic end.

From this perspective, all those mad Soviet plans—even if never realized—marked the climax of poetic technologies. What we have now is the reverse. It’s not that vision, creativity, and mad fantasies are no longer encouraged, but that most remain free-floating; there’s no longer even the pretense that they could ever take form or flesh. The greatest and most powerful nation that has ever existed has spent the last decades telling its citizens they can no longer contemplate fantastic collective enterprises, even if—as the environmental crisis demands— the fate of the earth depends on it.

What are the political implications of all this? First of all, we need to rethink some of our most basic assumptions about the nature of capitalism. One is that capitalism is identical with the market, and that both therefore are inimical to bureaucracy, which is supposed to be a creature of the state.

The second assumption is that capitalism is in its nature technologically progressive. It would seem that Marx and Engels, in their giddy enthusiasm for the industrial revolutions of their day, were wrong about this. Or, to be more precise: they were right to insist that the mechanization of industrial production would destroy capitalism; they were wrong to predict that market competition would compel factory owners to mechanize anyway. If it didn’t happen, that is because market competition is not, in fact, as essential to the nature of capitalism as they had assumed. If nothing else, the current form of capitalism, where much of the competition seems to take the form of internal marketing within the bureaucratic structures of large semi-monopolistic enterprises, would come as a complete surprise to them.

Defenders of capitalism make three broad historical claims: first, that it has fostered rapid scientific and technological growth; second, that however much it may throw enormous wealth to a small minority, it does so in such a way as to increase overall prosperity; third, that in doing so, it creates a more secure and democratic world for everyone. It is clear that capitalism is not doing any of these things any longer. In fact, many of its defenders are retreating from claiming that it is a good system and instead falling back on the claim that it is the only possible system—or, at least, the only possible system for a complex, technologically sophisticated society such as our own.

But how could anyone argue that current economic arrangements are also the only ones that will ever be viable under any possible future technological society? The argument is absurd. How could anyone know?

Granted, there are people who take that position—on both ends of the political spectrum. As an anthropologist and anarchist, I encounter anticivilizational types who insist not only that current industrial technology leads only to capitalist-style oppression, but that this must necessarily be true of any future technology as well, and therefore that human liberation can be achieved only by returning to the Stone Age. Most of us are not technological determinists.

But claims for the inevitability of capitalism have to be based on a kind of technological determinism. And for that very reason, if the aim of neoliberal capitalism is to create a world in which no one believes any other economic system could work, then it needs to suppress not just any idea of an inevitable redemptive future, but any radically different technological future. Yet there’s a contradiction. Defenders of capitalism cannot mean to convince us that technological change has ended—since that would mean capitalism is not progressive. No, they mean to convince us that technological progress is indeed continuing, that we do live in a world of wonders, but that those wonders take the form of modest improvements (the latest iPhone!), rumors of inventions about to happen (“I hear they are going to have flying cars pretty soon”), complex ways of juggling information and imagery, and still more complex platforms for filling out of forms.

I do not mean to suggest that neoliberal capitalism—or any other system—can be successful in this regard. First, there’s the problem of trying to convince the world you are leading the way in technological progress when you are holding it back. The United States, with its decaying infrastructure, paralysis in the face of global warming, and symbolically devastating abandonment of its manned space program just as China accelerates its own, is doing a particularly bad public relations job. Second, the pace of change can’t be held back forever. Breakthroughs will happen; inconvenient discoveries cannot be permanently suppressed. Other, less bureaucratized parts of the world—or at least, parts of the world with bureaucracies that are not so hostile to creative thinking—will slowly but inevitably attain the resources required to pick up where the United States and its allies have left off. The Internet does provide opportunities for collaboration and dissemination that may help break us through the wall as well. Where will the breakthrough come? We can’t know. Maybe 3D printing will do what the robot factories were supposed to. Or maybe it will be something else. But it will happen.

About one conclusion we can feel especially confident: it will not happen within the framework of contemporary corporate capitalism—or any form of capitalism. To begin setting up domes on Mars, let alone to develop the means to figure out if there are alien civilizations to contact, we’re going to have to figure out a different economic system. Must the new system take the form of some massive new bureaucracy? Why do we assume it must? Only by breaking up existing bureaucratic structures can we begin. And if we’re going to invent robots that will do our laundry and tidy up the kitchen, then we’re going to have to make sure that whatever replaces capitalism is based on a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth and power—one that no longer contains either the super-rich or the desperately poor willing to do their housework. Only then will technology begin to be marshaled toward human needs. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and the CEOs—to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations once again become a material force in human history.


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[Feb 19, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard kills New World Order bloodbath in thirty seconds

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi Gabbard has recently launched a new attack on New World Order agents and ethnic cleansers in the Middle East, and one can see why they would be upset with her ..."
"... Gabbard is smart enough to realize that the Neocon path leads to death, chaos, and destruction. She knows that virtually nothing good has come out of the Israeli narrative in the Middle East -- a narrative which has brought America on the brink of collapse in the Middle East. Therefore, she is asking for a U-turn. ..."
"... The first step for change, she says, is to "stand up against powerful politicians from both parties" who take their orders from the Neocons and war machine. These people don't care about you, me, the average American, the people in the Middle East, or the American economy for that matter. They only care about fulfilling a diabolical ideology in the Middle East and much of the world. These people ought to stop once and for all. Regardless of your political views, you should all agree with Gabbard here. ..."
Feb 19, 2019 | www.veteranstoday.com

Tulsi Gabbard has recently launched a new attack on New World Order agents and ethnic cleansers in the Middle East, and one can see why they would be upset with her. She said:

" We must stand up against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in their ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage, new places for people to die, wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives and undermining our economy, our security, and destroying our middle class."

It is too early to formulate a complete opinion on Gabbard, but she has said the right thing so far. In fact, her record is better than numerous presidents, both past and present.

As we have documented in the past, Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran, and she knew what happened to her fellow soldiers who died for Israel, the Neocon war machine, and the military industrial complex. She also seems to be aware that the war in Iraq alone will cost American taxpayers at least six trillion dollars. [1] She is almost certainly aware of the fact that at least "360,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have suffered brain injuries." [2]

Gabbard is smart enough to realize that the Neocon path leads to death, chaos, and destruction. She knows that virtually nothing good has come out of the Israeli narrative in the Middle East -- a narrative which has brought America on the brink of collapse in the Middle East. Therefore, she is asking for a U-turn.

The first step for change, she says, is to "stand up against powerful politicians from both parties" who take their orders from the Neocons and war machine. These people don't care about you, me, the average American, the people in the Middle East, or the American economy for that matter. They only care about fulfilling a diabolical ideology in the Middle East and much of the world. These people ought to stop once and for all. Regardless of your political views, you should all agree with Gabbard here.


[Feb 19, 2019] Warmongers in their ivory towers - YouTube

Highly recommended!
This is a powerful political statement... Someaht similar to Tucker Carlson stance...
Feb 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com

"We must stand up against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in their ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage, new places for people to die, wasting trillions of our taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives and undermining our economy, our security, and destroying our middle class."

[Feb 17, 2019] Carlson is saying Trump's not "capable" of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy

Notable quotes:
"... Carlson is saying Trump's not "capable" of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

kees_popinga , December 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Tucker Carlson: "Trump is not capable" Weltwoche (Anita)

Carlson is saying Trump's not "capable" of sustained focus on the sausage-making of right-wing policy.

The clickbait (out of context) headline makes it sound like a more general diss. I'm not supporting Trump here [standard disclaimer], but these gotcha headlines are tiresome.

[Feb 17, 2019] Tucker correctly called out Boot and Kristol for their advocacy of war while possessing no real-world experience when it comes to fighting war. Thos MIC peddlers need to be despised and ignored. But he supported Bush administration in its push for Iraq war as well

While we should thank Tucker for this takedown of these two warmongering know-nothings, he himself is not without a blame... Also while Max Boot and Bill Kristol have Twitter feeds and occasional MSNBC appearances, neocons John Bolton and Eliott Abrams are running American foreign policy.
Iraq invasion mainly benefitted Israel and MIC
Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Scott Ritter February 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm

While I was entertained by Tucker's take down of Mssr's Boot and Kristol, I can't help but recall when he was carrying the water for the Bush administration during its build up for the invasion of Iraq. I offer up my encounter with him while he co-hosted CNN's Crossfire in July 2002. My answers, and facts, have withstood the test of time. Tucker's have not, and to see him calling out Boot and Kristol for their advocacy of war while possessing no real-world experience when it comes to fighting war when Tucker did the same thing is very much like the pot calling the kettle black. http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0207/31/cf.00.html

[Feb 16, 2019] Libya was a war crime.

Max Boot along with other neocons should be in jail.
Feb 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Stephen J. , February 15, 2019 a t 1:43 pm

The article states: " but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. 'Qaddafi Must Go,' Boot declared in The Weekly Standard. In Boot's telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland." -- -- - There is reported evidence that Libya was a war crime. And the perpetrators are Free. See info below:

"They Speak "

"The destruction of Libya by NATO at the behest of the UK, the US and France was a crime, one dripping in the cant and hypocrisy of Western ideologues " John Wight, November 27, 2017. https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/27/libya-chose-freedom-now-it-has-slavery/

They speak of "The Rule of Law" while breaking the law themselves They are the dangerous hypocrites that bombed Libya, and created hell Thousands upon thousands are dead in this unfortunate country Many would still be alive, if our "leaders" had not been down and dirty

Libya is reportedly a war crime and the war criminals are free Some of them are seen posturing on the world stage and others are on T.V. Others have written books and others are retired from public office And another exclaimed: "We came, we saw, he died" as murder was their accomplice

They even teamed up with terrorists to commit their bloody crimes And this went unreported in the "media": was this by design? There is a sickness and perversion loose in our society today When war crimes can be committed and the "law" has nothing to say

Another "leader" had a fly past to celebrate the bombing victory in this illegal war Now Libya is in chaos, while bloody terrorists roam secure And the NATO gang that caused all this horror and devastation Are continuing their bloody bombings in other unfortunate nations

The question must be asked: "Are some past and present leaders above the law? Can they get away with bombing and killing, are they men of straw? Whatever happened to law and order in the so- called "democracies"? When those in power can get away with criminality: Is that not hypocrisy?

There is no doubt that Libya was better off, before the "liberators" arrived Now many of its unfortunate people are now struggling to exist and survive The future of this war torn country now looks very sad and bleak If only our "leaders" had left it alone; but instead hypocrisy: They Speak

"The cause of the catastrophe in Libya in Libya was the seven month US-NATO blitzkrieg from March to October 2011 in which thousands of bombs and rockets rained down on that unfortunate land which was governed by President Muammar Ghaddafi whom the West was determined to overthrow by assisting a rebel movement." Brian Cloughley, 12.02.2019 https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/12/in-libya-we-came-saw-he-died-will-there-repeat-in-venezuela.html

[More info on all of this at link below] http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/02/they-speak.html

[Feb 16, 2019] Why has the Democratic party turned into the party of the upper class

Feb 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kurt Gayle , February 15, 2019 at 9:44 am

Last night on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Tucker interviewed J.D. Vance. The interview is called "Why has the Democratic party turned into the party of the upper class" (February 14, 2019)

Carlson: Well for generations everybody in America knew what the stereotypes were for the two political parties. Democrats were the party of the working class: Coal miners, factory workers, your local beat cop. Republicans were the party of lawyers, and doctors, and they spent a lot of time at country clubs. Remember? Things have changed a lot. Now Democrats have become the party of the elite professional class. They're consultants, i-bankers, socialites eager to lecture you about open borders, global warming, from their gated communities. Nobody knows that change better, or has watched it more carefully than the author of "Hillbilly Elegy," J.D. Vance. We spoke to him recently about it:

Carlson: J.D. Vance: Thanks for joining us. Because you don't live in Washington and you think bigger thoughts than the rest of us who are completely consumed by this dumb new cycle, I want to ask you a broader question: The parties have re-aligned. They don't represent the same people they thought they represented, or that they've represented for the last 70 years. I'm not sure their leaders understand this, but you do. Who do the parties represent as of right now?

Vance: Well, at a big level the Democratic Party increasingly represents professional class elites and Republicans represent middle and working class wage earners in the middle of the country. Now I will say I think Democratic leaders kind of get this. If you look at the big proposals from the 2020 presidential candidates: Universal child care, debt-free college, even medicare for all which is framed as this lurch to the left, but is really just a big hand-out to doctors, physicians, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. The sort of get that they're the party of the professional class and a lot of their policies are geared towards making life easier for professional class Americans. The problem I have is that my party, the Republican Party, hasn't quite figured out that we basically inherited a big chunk of the old FDR coalition: The middle of the country, working and middle class blue collar folks, the sort of people who work, pay their taxes, send their kids into the military -- that's increasingly the base of the Republican Party, but the Republican donor elites are actually not aligned with those folks in a lot of ways and so there's this really big miss-match, big-picture, within the Republican Party.

Carlson: So I'm completely fascinated by what you just said -- something I've never thought of in my life -- that medicare for all is actually a sop for the professional class. That's a whole separate segment and I hope you'll come back and unpack that all. But more broadly what you're saying I think is that the Democratic Party understands what it is, and who it represents, and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters. But the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.

Vance: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean look at who the Democratic Party is -- and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies; most of the time I disagree with them -- but I at least admire that they know who their voters are and they actually -- just as raw, cynical politics -- do a lot of things to serve those voters. Now look at who Republican voters increasingly are: They're people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They're disproportionately folks who want to have more children, they're people who want to have more single-earner families, they're people who don't necessarily want to go to college, but they want to work in an economy where, if you play by the rules, you could actually support a family on one income. Have Republicans done anything for those people, really, in the last 15 or 20 years? I think you can point to some policies of the Trump administration -- certainly instinctively the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks -- but at the end of the day the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think-tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are. Now the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters a lot.

Carlson: Well, that's it. So, I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there's a substantial block within it -- it's this unstable coalition of all these groups that have nothing in common -- but the one thing they have in common is that the Democratic Party will protect them. You criticize a block of Democratic voters and they're on you like a wounded wombat -- they'll bit you! The Republicans watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement: Yeah, these people should be attacked.

Vance: That's absolutely right. If you talk to people who spent their lives in DC -- I know you live in DC, I've spent a lot of my life here -- the people who spend their time in DC, who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think-tanks -- now this isn't true of everybody -- but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days. And if you ultimately boil down the Never Trump phenomenon -- what is the Never Trump phenomenon? -- I was very critical of the President during the campaign -- but the Never Trump phenomenon is primarily not about the President. It's about the people who are most excited about somebody who was anti-elitest effectively taking over the Republican Party. They recognize that Trump was -- whatever his faults -- a person who instinctively understood who Republicans needed to be for. And at the end of the day, I think they don't think they necessarily want the Republican Party to be for those folks. They don't like the policies that will come from it, they don't like necessarily the country that will come from it, and so there's a lot of vitriol directed at people who voted for Donald Trump, whether excitedly or not.

Carlson: If the Republican Party has a future, it'll be organized around the ideas you just laid out -- maybe led by you or by somebody who thinks like you, I'm serious. That's what it needs. I think. J.D. Vance. Thank you.

Vance: Thanks, Tucker.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fK2-wmwI5gU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Feb 16, 2019] Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Pundits like Max Boot and Bill Kristol got everything after 9/11 wrong but are still considered experts. by Tucker Carlson

Notable quotes:
"... As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. ..."
"... Boot's stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper's announcement cited Boot's "expertise on armed conflict." ..."
"... Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that. Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character. ..."
"... Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled "Saddam Must Go." If the United States didn't launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should "get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf." ..."
"... Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it's not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he's said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump. ..."
"... Trump's election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump. ..."
"... By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he'd learned nothing at all. ..."
"... Creating complex and convincing false narratives to support demonic purposes is HARD WORK, and requires big pay. ..."
"... Lots of spilled ink here that's pretty meaningless without an answer to the following: Why does Trump employ John Bolton and Elliot Abrams? Explain Trump and Pence and Pompeo's Iran obsession and how it's any better than Kristol/Boot? ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. Standards decline, the edges fray, but nobody in charge seems to notice. They're happy in their sinecures and getting richer. In a culture like this, there's no penalty for being wrong. The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans.

Max Boot is living proof that it's happening in America.

Boot is a professional foreign policy expert, a job category that doesn't exist outside of a select number of cities. Boot has degrees from Berkeley and Yale, and is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written a number of books and countless newspaper columns on foreign affairs and military history. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, an influential British think tank, describes Boot as one of the "world's leading authorities on armed conflict."

None of this, it turns out, means anything. The professional requirements for being one ofthe world's Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict do not include relevant experience with armed conflict. Leading authorities on the subject don't need a track record of wise assessments or accurate predictions. All that's required are the circular recommendations of fellow credential holders. If other Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict induct you into their ranks, you're in. That's good news for Max Boot.

Boot first became famous in the weeks after 9/11 for outlining a response that the Bush administration seemed to read like a script, virtually word for word. While others were debating whether Kandahar or Kabul ought to get the first round of American bombs, Boot was thinking big. In October 2001, he published a piece in The Weekly Standard titled "The Case for American Empire."

"The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition," Boot wrote. "The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation." In order to prevent more terror attacks in American cities, Boot called for a series of U.S.-led revolutions around the world, beginning in Afghanistan and moving swiftly to Iraq.

"Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul," Boot wrote. "To turn Iraq into a beacon of hope for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East: Now that would be a historic war aim. Is this an ambitious agenda? Without a doubt. Does America have the resources to carry it out? Also without a doubt."

In retrospect, Boot's words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to 20 years in. For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.

Things haven't gone as planned. What's remarkable is that despite all the failure and waste and deflated expectations, defeats that have stirred self-doubt in the heartiest of men, Boot has remained utterly convinced of the virtue of his original predictions. Certainty is a prerequisite for Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict.

In the spring of 2003, with the war in Iraq under way, Boot began to consider new countries to invade. He quickly identified Syria and Iran as plausible targets, the latter because it was "less than two years" from building a nuclear bomb. North Korea made Boot's list as well. Then Boot became more ambitious. Saudi Arabia could use a democracy, he decided.

"If the U.S. armed forces made such short work of a hardened goon like Saddam Hussein, imagine what they could do to the soft and sybaritic Saudi royal family," Boot wrote.

Five years later, in a piece for The Wall Street Journal , Boot advocated for the military occupation of Pakistan and Somalia. The only potential problem, he predicted, was unreasonable public opposition to new wars.

"Ragtag guerrillas have proven dismayingly successful in driving out or neutering international peacekeeping forces," he wrote. "Think of American and French troops blown up in Beirut in 1983, or the 'Black Hawk Down' incident in Somalia in 1993. Too often, when outside states do agree to send troops, they are so fearful of casualties that they impose rules of engagement that preclude meaningful action."

In other words, the tragedy of foreign wars isn't that Americans die, but that too few Americans are willing to die. To solve this problem, Boot recommended recruiting foreign mercenaries. "The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times . When foreigners get killed fighting for America, he noted, there's less political backlash at home.

♦♦♦

American forces, documented or not, never occupied Pakistan, but by 2011 Boot had another war in mind. "Qaddafi Must Go," Boot declared in The Weekly Standard . In Boot's telling, the Libyan dictator had become a threat to the American homeland. "The only way this crisis will end -- the only way we and our allies can achieve our objectives in Libya -- is to remove Qaddafi from power. Containment won't suffice."

In the end, Gaddafi was removed from power, with ugly and long-lasting consequences. Boot was on to the next invasion. By late 2012, he was once again promoting attacks on Syria and Iran, as he had nine years before. In a piece for The New York Times , Boot laid out "Five Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now."

Overthrowing the Assad regime, Boot predicted, would "diminish Iran's influence" in the region, influence that had grown dramatically since the Bush administration took Boot's advice and overthrew Saddam Hussein, Iran's most powerful counterbalance. To doubters concerned about a complex new war, Boot promised the Syria intervention could be conducted "with little risk."

Days later, Boot wrote a separate piece for Commentary magazine calling for American bombing of Iran. It was a busy week, even by the standards of a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Boot conceded that "it remains a matter of speculation what Iran would do in the wake of such strikes." He didn't seem worried.

Listed in one place, Boot's many calls for U.S.-led war around the world come off as a parody of mindless warlike noises, something you might write if you got mad at a country while drunk. ("I'll invade you!!!") Republicans in Washington didn't find any of it amusing. They were impressed. Boot became a top foreign policy adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008, to Mitt Romney in 2012, and to Marco Rubio in 2016.

Everything changed when Trump won the Republican nomination. Trump had never heard of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He had no idea Max Boot was a Leading Authority on Armed Conflict. Trump was running against more armed conflicts. He had no interest in invading Pakistan. Boot hated him.

As Trump found himself accused of improper ties to Vladimir Putin, Boot agitated for more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Boot demanded larger weapons shipments to Ukraine. He called for effectively expelling Russia from the global financial system, a move that might be construed as an act of war against a nuclear-armed power. The stakes were high, but with signature aplomb Boot assured readers it was "hard to imagine" the Russian government would react badly to the provocation. Those who disagreed Boot dismissed as "cheerleaders" for Putin and the mullahs in Iran.

Boot's stock in the Washington foreign policy establishment rose. In 2018, he was hired by The Washington Post as a columnist. The paper's announcement cited Boot's "expertise on armed conflict."

It is possible to isolate the precise moment that Trump permanently alienated the Republican establishment in Washington: February 13, 2016. There was a GOP primary debate that night in Greenville, South Carolina, so every Republican in Washington was watching. Seemingly out of nowhere, Trump articulated something that no party leader had ever said out loud. "We should never have been in Iraq," Trump announced, his voice rising. "We have destabilized the Middle East."

Many in the crowd booed, but Trump kept going: "They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none."

Pandemonium seemed to erupt in the hall, and on television. Shocked political analysts declared that the Trump presidential effort had just euthanized itself. Republican voters, they said with certainty, would never accept attacks on policies their party had espoused and carried out.

Republican voters had a different reaction. They understood that adults sometimes change their minds based on evidence. They themselves had come to understand that the Iraq war was a mistake. They appreciated hearing something verboten but true.

Rival Republicans denounced Trump as an apostate. Voters considered him brave. Trump won the South Carolina primary, and shortly after that, the Republican nomination.

Republicans in Washington never recovered. When Trump attacked the Iraq War and questioned the integrity of the people who planned and promoted it, he was attacking them. They hated him for that. Some of them became so angry, it distorted their judgment and character.

♦♦♦

Bill Kristol is probably the most influential Republican strategist of the post-Reagan era. Born in 1954, Kristol was the second child of the writer Irving Kristol, one of the founders of neoconservatism.

The neoconservatism of Irving Kristol and his friends was jarring to the ossified liberal establishment of the time, but in retrospect it was basically a centrist philosophy: pragmatic, tolerant of a limited welfare state, not rigidly ideological. By the time Bill Kristol got done with it 40 years later, neoconservatism was something else entirely.

Almost from the moment Operation Desert Storm concluded in 1991, Kristol began pushing for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In 1997, The Weekly Standard ran a cover story titled "Saddam Must Go." If the United States didn't launch a ground invasion of Iraq, the lead editorial warned, the world should "get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf."

After the September 11 attacks, Kristol found a new opening to start a war with Iraq. In November 2001, he and Robert Kagan wrote a piece in The Weekly Standard alleging that Saddam Hussein hosted a training camp for Al Qaeda fighters where terrorists had trained to hijack planes. They suggested that Mohammad Atta, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was actively collaborating with Saddam's intelligence services. On the basis of no evidence, they accused Iraq of fomenting the anthrax attacks on American politicians and news outlets.

Under ordinary circumstances, Bill Kristol would be famous for being wrong. Kristol still goes on television regularly, but it's not to apologize for the many demonstrably untrue things he's said about the Middle East, or even to talk about foreign policy. Instead, Kristol goes on TV to attack Donald Trump.

Trump's election seemed to undo Bill Kristol entirely. He lost his job at The Weekly Standard after more than 20 years, forced out by owners who were panicked about declining readership. He seemed to spend most of his time on Twitter ranting about Trump.

Before long he was ranting about the people who elected Trump. At an American Enterprise Institute panel event in February 2017, Kristol made the case for why immigrants are more impressive than native-born Americans. "Basically if you are in free society, a capitalist society, after two, three, four generations of hard work, everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled, whatever." Most Americans, Kristol said, "grew up as spoiled kids and so forth."

In February 2018, Kristol tweeted that he would "take in a heartbeat a group of newly naturalized American citizens over the spoiled native-born know-nothings" who supported Trump.

By the spring of 2018, Kristol was considering a run for president himself. He was still making the case for the invasion of Iraq, as well as pushing for a new war, this time in Syria, and maybe in Lebanon and Iran, too. Like most people in Washington, he'd learned nothing at all.

Tucker Carlson is the host of Fox News 's Tucker Carlson Tonight and author of Ship of Fools: How A Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (Simon & Schuster). This excerpt is taken from that book.


Patrick Constantine February 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Trump isn't the only one hated by useless establishment Republicans – with essays like this so will Tucker. Thanks for this takedown of these two warmongering know-nothings. I wish Trump all the time was like he was at that debate in S Carolina where he said what every American knows: the Iraq invasion was stupid and we should not have done it!
Anne Mendoza , says: February 15, 2019 at 2:10 am
So why are these professional war peddlers still around? For the same reason that members of the leadership class who failed and continue to fail in the Middle East are still around. There has not been an accounting at any level. There is just more talk of more war.
polistra , says: February 15, 2019 at 3:54 am
Well, the headline pretty much answers its own question if you know the purpose of Experts. In any subject matter from science to economics to politics, Experts are paid to be wrong. Nobody has to be paid to observe reality accurately with his own senses and rational mind. Every living creature does that all the time. It's the basic requirement of survival.

Creating complex and convincing false narratives to support demonic purposes is HARD WORK, and requires big pay.

snake charmer , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:49 am
""The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition," Boot wrote. "The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation.""

In other words, if we had only squandered even more blood and treasure, why, everything would have been fine.

Why do so many true believers end up with some variation on the true believer's wheeze: "Communism didn't fail ! It was never tried!" Then again one can't be sure that Boot is a true believer. He might be a treacherous snake trying to use American power to advance a foreign agenda.

Mike , says: February 15, 2019 at 6:55 am
This is an Exocet missile of an article. Both hulls compromised, taking water. Nice.
John S , says: February 15, 2019 at 7:11 am
This is beautiful, Boot has been rewarded for every horrible failure...
Tom Gorman , says: February 15, 2019 at 8:36 am
Mr. Carlson,

Max Boot has indeed been an advocate of overseas intervention, but you fail to point out that he has recanted his support of the Iraq War. In his 2018 book "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I left the American Right," he states:

". . . I can finally acknowledge the obvious: it (The Iraq War) was all a big mistake. Saddam Hussein was heinous, but Iraq was better off under his tyrannical rule than the chaos that followed. I regret advocating the invasion and feel guilty about all the lives lost. It was a chastening lesson in the limits of American power."

I'm glad to see that Boot, along with yourself and other Republicans, realize that American use of force must have a clear objective with reasonable chance of success. I suggest you send this article to John Bolton. I'm not sure he agrees with you.

Dawg , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:29 am
Great article, Mr. Tucker. I hope folks also read Mearsheimer & Walt on the Iraq War. From chapter 8 of their book: http://mailstar.net/iraq-war.html
David LeRoy Newland , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:34 am
Excellent article. It's a shame that the Bush era GOP took Boot and Kristol seriously. That poor judgment led Bush to make the kinds of mistakes that gave Democrats the opening they needed to gain power, which in turn led them to make even more harmful mistakes.
Collin , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:55 am
Being against the Iraq 2 I find this populist arguing very 'eye-rolling' as you were pimping this war to death back in the day. (In fact I remember Jon Stewart being one of the few 'pundits' that questioned the war in 2003 & 2004.) And has dovish as Trump as been, his administration is still filled with Hawks and if you are concerned about wars then maybe use your TV show for instead of whining for past mistakes:

1) The administration action in Iran is aggressive and counter-productive to long term peace. The nuclear deal was an effective way of ensuring Iran controlling behavior for 15 years as the other parties, Europe and China, wanted to trade with Iran. (Additionally it makes our nation depend more on the Saudia relationship in which Washington should be slowly moving away from.)

2) Like it or not, Venezuela is starting down the steps of mission creep for the Trump Administration. Recommend the administration stay away from peace keeping troops and suggest this is China's problem. (Venezuela in debt to their eyeballs with China.)

3) Applaud the administration with peace talks with NK but warn them not to overstate their accomplishments. It is ridiculous that the administration signed big nuclear deals with NK that don't exist.

John In Michigan , says: February 15, 2019 at 9:59 am
I find it amazing that Boot is considered one of the "world's leading authorities on armed conflict,"yet never appears to have served in any branch of the armed forces, nor even heard a shot fired in anger. He is proof that academic credentials do not automatically confer "expertise."
Packard Day , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:26 am
Any war, anytime, any place, and cause just so long as American boys and girls can be in the middle of it.

Welcome to the American NeoCon movement, recently joined by Republican Never Trumpers, elected Democrats, and a host of far too many underemployed Beltway Generals & Admirals.

Joshua Xanadu , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:46 am
From a reformed Leftist, thank you Tucker for calling out the stank from the Republicans. The detailed compilation of lowlights from Max Boot and Bill Kristol (don't forget Robert Kagan!) should be etched in the minds of the now pro-war Democratic Party establishment.
Taras 77 , says: February 15, 2019 at 10:57 am
Being a neocon war monger means that you will never have to say you are sorry. The press will give them a pass every single time.

It is all about Israel-being wrong 100% of the time means it is all good because it was in the service of Israel.

Paul Reidinger , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:07 am
Yet another reason not to read the Washington Post.
Anja Mast , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:13 am
Tucker!!! When did you start writing for TAC?!?!

I laughed out loud while reading this, and continued laughing through to the end, until I saw who had the audacity to tell the truth about these utter incompetent failures (who have failed upwards for more than a decade now) who call themselves "foreign policy experts." Yeah -- "experts" at being so moronically wrong that you really start wondering if perhaps the benjamins from another middle eastern nation, that can't be named, has something to do with their worthless opinions, which always seem to do made for the benifit of the nameless nation.

So hurrah for you!!! Let the truth set us all free! Praise the Lord & Sing Songs of Praise to his Name!!!! Literally that's how great it is to hear the pure & unvarnished TRUTH spoken out loud in this publication!

I hope you get such awesome feedback that you are asked to continue to bless us with more truths! Thank you! You totally made my day!

And thank you for your service to this country, where it used to be considered patriotic to speak the truth honestly & plainly!

Joe , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:14 am
Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? Simple, leaders like Trump keep them around, e.g. Pompeo, Bolton and Abrams.
David Biddington , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
John Bolton and Eliot Abrams on Team Trump, gearing up with Bibi to attack Iran is of no concern to sir?
George Crosley , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
"Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul," Boot wrote.

To which the reader might reasonably reply, "What do you mean we , Paleface?"

When I see Max Boot or Bill Kristol in uniform, carrying a rifle, and trudging with their platoon along the dusty roads of the Middle East, I'll begin to pay attention to their bleats and jeremiads.

Until that day, I'll continue to view them as a pair of droning, dull-as-ditchwater members of the 45th Word-processing Brigade. (Company motto: "Let's you and him fight!")

Frank Goodpasture III , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
It is my understanding that HRC led the charge to overthrow and hang Gaddafi in spite of a reluctant Obama administration. Did Boot, in fact, influence her?
marku52 , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
"Most Americans, Kristol said, "grew up as spoiled kids and so forth."" Unintentional irony, one must presume. Still it is astonishing that it took someone as addled as DJT to point out the obvious–Invading Iraq was a massive mistake.

Where were the rest of the "adults"

Jimmy Lewis , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:41 am
Boot, Kristal, Cheney, and Rumsfeld should all be in jail for war crimes.
jk , says: February 15, 2019 at 11:53 am
Just like Eliot Abrams, John McCain, GWB, Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld or any other neocon, there is no justice or punishment or even well deserved humiliation for these parasites. They are always misinformed, misguided, or "well intentioned."

The US can interfere with sovereign governments and elections at will I guess and not be responsible for the the unintended consequences such as 500k+ killed in the Middle East since the Iraq and Afghan debacle.

There are sugar daddies from the MIC, the Natsec state (aka the Swamp), AIPAC, and even Jeff Bezos (benefactor of WaPo) that keep these guys employed.

You need to be more critical of Trump also as he is the one hiring these clowns. But other than that, keep up the good work Mr. Carlson!

Allen , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm
These Chairborne Rangers in Washington know nothing about war. They are the flip side of the radical Dems. "Hey, we lost in 2016. Let's do MORE of what made us lose in the first place!"
D , says: February 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm
Would've been nice if you wrote this about Bolton, Adams, Pompeo, Pence, or any of the other sundry neocon lunatics in the Trump administration.

Nonetheless, always good to see a takedown of Boot and Kristol.

J Thomsen , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm
The GOP is as much an enemy to the Trump revolution as the left. The Bush/Clinton/Obama coalition runs DC – controls the federal workforce, and colludes to run the Federal government for themselves and their pet constituents.

Trump should have stuck it out on the shutdown until those federal workers left. I think it was called RIF wherein after 30 days, he could dump the lot of em.

THE GOP IS NOT THE PARTY OF LESS GOVERNMENT. That's there motto for busy conservatives who don't have the time or inclination to monitor both sides of the swamp.

THEY ALL HAVE GILLS . we need to starve em out.

Joe from Pa , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm
Lots of spilled ink here that's pretty meaningless without an answer to the following: Why does Trump employ John Bolton and Elliot Abrams? Explain Trump and Pence and Pompeo's Iran obsession and how it's any better than Kristol/Boot?

What's going on in Yemen?

sanford sklansky , says: February 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm
Funny how when liberals said it was wrong to be in Iraq they were vilified. Yes some conservatives changed their minds. Trump however is all over the map when it comes to wars. http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176527/

[Feb 15, 2019] Consumption of liquid fuels grows over the next decade, before broadly plateauing in the 2030s

Highly recommended!
How they can claim that US tight oil will be produced in larger quantities if they predict stagnant oil prices and at those price the US production is unprofitable.
So from now on it's all condensate, and very little heavy and medium oil.
I like BP propaganda: "The abundance of oil resources, and risk that large quantities of recoverable oil will never be extracted, may prompt low-cost producers to use their comparative advantage to expand their market share in order to help ensure their resources are produced." That's not only stupid but also gives up the intent...
Notable quotes:
"... In the ET scenario, global demand for liquid fuels – crude and condensates, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and other liquids – increases by 10 Mb/d, plateauing around 108 Mb/d in the 2030s. ..."
"... All of the demand growth comes from developing economies, driven by the burgeoning middle class in developing Asian economies. Consumption of liquid fuels within the OECD resumes its declining trend. ..."
"... The increase in liquid fuels supplies is set to be dominated by increases in NGLs and biofuels, with only limited growth in crude ..."
www.bp.com

In the ET scenario, global demand for liquid fuels – crude and condensates, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and other liquids – increases by 10 Mb/d, plateauing around 108 Mb/d in the 2030s.

All of the demand growth comes from developing economies, driven by the burgeoning middle class in developing Asian economies. Consumption of liquid fuels within the OECD resumes its declining trend. The growth in demand is initially met from non-OPEC producers, led by US tight oil. But as US tight oil production declines in the final decade of the Outlook, OPEC becomes the main source of incremental supply. OPEC output increases by 4 Mb/d over the Outlook, with all of this growth concentrated in the 2030s. Non-OPEC supply grows by 6 Mb/d, led by the US (5 Mb/d), Brazil (2 Mb/d) and Russia (1 Mb/d) offset by declines in higher-cost, mature basins.

Consumption of liquid fuels grows over the next decade, before broadly plateauing in the 2030s

Demand for liquid fuels looks set to expand for a period before gradually plateauing as efficiency improvements in the transport sector accelerate. In the ET scenario, consumption of liquid fuels increases by 10 Mb/d (from 98 Mb/d to 108 Mb/d), with the majority of that growth happening over the next 10 years or so. The demand for liquid fuels continues to be dominated by the transport sector, with its share of liquids consumption remaining around 55%. Transport demand for liquid fuels increases from 56 Mb/d to 61 Mb/d by 2040, with this expansion split between road (2 Mb/d) (divided broadly equally between cars, trucks, and 2/3 wheelers) and aviation/marine (3 Mb/d). But the impetus from transport demand fades over the Outlook as the pace of vehicle efficiency improvements quicken and alternative sources of energy penetrate the transport system . In contrast, efficiency gains when using oil for non-combusted uses, especially as a feedstock in petrochemicals, are more limited. As a result, the non-combusted use of oil takes over as the largest source of demand growth over the Outlook, increasing by 7 Mb/d to 22 Mb/d by 2040.

The outlook for oil demand is uncertain but looks set to play a major role in global energy out to 2040

Although the precise outlook is uncertain, the world looks set to consume significant amounts of oil (crude plus NGLs) for several decades, requiring substantial investment. This year's Energy Outlook considers a range of scenarios for oil demand, with the timing of the peak in demand varying from the next few years to beyond 2040. Despite these differences, the scenarios share two common features. First, all the scenarios suggest that oil will continue to play a significant role in the global energy system in 2040, with the level of oil demand in 2040 ranging from around 80 Mb/d to 130 Mb/d. In all scenarios, trillions of dollars of investment in oil is needed Second, significant levels of investment are required for there to be sufficient supplies of oil to meet demand in 2040. If future investment was limited to developing existing fields and there was no investment in new production areas, global production would decline at an average rate of around 4.5% p.a. (based on IEA's estimates), implying global oil supply would be only around 35 Mb/d in 2040. Closing the gap between this supply profile and any of the demand scenarios in the Outlook would require many trillions of dollars of investment over the next 20 years.

Growth in liquids supply is initially dominated by US tight oil, with OPEC production increasing only as US tight oil declines

Growth in global liquids production is dominated in the first part of the Outlook by US tight oil, with OPEC production gaining in importance further out. In the ET scenario, total US liquids production accounts for the vast majority of the increase in global supplies out to 2030, driven by US tight oil and NGLs. US tight oil increases by almost 6 Mb/d in the next 10 years, peaking at close to 10.5 Mb/d in the late 2020s, before falling back to around 8.5 Mb/d by 2040. The strong growth in US tight oil reinforces the US's position as the world's largest producer of liquid fuels. As US tight oil declines, this space is filled by OPEC production, which more than accounts for the increase in liquid supplies in the final decade of the Outlook.

The increase in OPEC production is aided by OPEC members responding to the increasing abundance of global oil resources by reforming their economies and reducing their dependency on oil, allowing them gradually to adopt a more competitive strategy of increasing their market share. The speed and extent of this reform is a key uncertainty affecting the outlook for global oil markets (see pp 88-89).

The stalling in OPEC production during the first part of the Outlook causes OPEC's share of global liquids production to fall to its lowest level since the late 1980s before recovering towards the end of the Outlook.

Low-cost producers: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Iraq and Russia

Oil demand
Download chart and data Download this chart pdf / 64.6 KB Download this data xlsx / 10.1 KB
Excluding GTLs and CTLs

The abundance of oil resources, and risk that large quantities of recoverable oil will never be extracted, may prompt low-cost producers to use their comparative advantage to expand their market share in order to help ensure their resources are produced.

The extent to which low-cost producers can sustainably adopt such a 'higher production, lower price' strategy depends on their progress in reforming their economies, reducing their dependence on oil revenues.

In the ET scenario, low-cost producers are assumed to make some progress in the second half of the Outlook, but the structure of their economies still acts as a material constraint on their ability to exploit fully their low-cost barrels.

The alternative 'Greater reform' scenario assumes a faster pace of economic reform, allowing low-cost producers to increase their market share. The extent to which low-cost producers can increase their market share depends on: the time needed to increase production capacity; and on the ability of higher-cost producers to compete, by either reducing production costs or varying fiscal terms.

The lower price environment associated with this more competitive market structure boosts demand, with the consumption of oil growing throughout the Outlook.

Growth in liquid fuels supplies is driven by NGLs and biofuels, with only limited growth in crude oil production

The increase in liquid fuels supplies is set to be dominated by increases in NGLs and biofuels, with only limited growth in crude.

[Feb 15, 2019] True KSA reserves are very likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 billion barrels.

Feb 15, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/14/2019 at 4:37 pm

I had to google the link, but it was not hard to find.

How Much Oil Does Saudi Arabia Really Have?

Okay, you will have to read the article to see how Robert arrived at his conclusion. But his conclusion is:

So, I have no good reason to doubt Saudi Arabia's official numbers. They probably do have 270 billion barrels of proved oil reserves.

I find his logic horribly flawed. Robert compares Saudi's growing reserve estimates with those of the USA.

First, the US Securities and Exchange Commission have the strictest oil reporting laws in the world, or did have in 1982. Also, better technology has greatly improved reserve estimates. And third, the advent of shale oil has dramatically added to US reserve estimates.

Saudi has no laws that govern their reserve reporting estimates.

From Wikipedia, US Oil Reserves: Proven oil reserves in the United States were 36.4 billion barrels (5.79×109 m3) of crude oil as of the end of 2014, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The 2014 reserves represent the largest US proven reserves since 1972, and a 90% increase in proved reserves since 2008.

Robert says US reserves are 50 billion barrels. I don't know where he gets that number but it really doesn't matter. Oil production, along with reserve estimates, are growing in the US for one reason and one reason only, the advent of shale oil. Reserve estimates before 2008 were based on conventional oil. Onshore conventional oil production in the USA is in steep decline.

Robert Rapier is brillant oil man, but a brilliant downstream oil man. Refineries are his forte. He should know better than the shit he produced in that article.

100 percent of Saudi Arabia's reserves are based on conventional oil. Their true reserves are very likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 billion barrels.

[Feb 15, 2019] Mankind probably has another trillion barrels at best to consume in the future in addition to the 1.3 trillion already consumed.

Which means around 30 years at the current consumption rate
Feb 15, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/14/2019 at 5 :39 pm

Food for thought

I just did a little math using OPEC's estimate of OPEC and Non-OPEC World proven oil Reserves.

OPEC says they have 1214.21 billion barrels of proven reserves. And they say non-OPEC has 268.56 billion barrels of proven reserves. Average OPEC C+C production, over the last four years, has been 12.78 billion barrels per year according to the EIA. The EIA says the average non-OPEC C+C production over the last four years has been 16.8 billion barrels per year.

Okay, here is the killer. If those numbers are correct then the average non-OPEC nation has an R/P ratio of 16 while the average OPEC nation has an R/P ratio of 95. If you think those R/P ratio numbers are even remotely correct then I have a bridge I would like to sell you.

Ravi x Ignored says: 02/14/2019 at 11:05 pm
Ron,

I agree that the R/P numbers seem very suspicious. But if this is true then OPEC reserves are closer to 400-500 billion barrels not 1.2 trillion barrels. That would give us another trillion barrels at best to consume in the future in addition to the 1.3 trillion already consumed. This brings the URR to 2.2-2.5 trillion barrels at best including extra heavy. What do you think of the URR of 3.1 trillion barrels that is commonly assumed? Also canadian tar sands and venezuelan heavy oil have very low EROI which brings down the extractable oil reserves further. Do you think that is taken into account?

[Feb 13, 2019] It is hard not to wonder just how neoliberal ideas and values, which uphold the rationality of the market and exclude notions of the common good, came to shape the conduct of individuals and institutions.

From: Books That Challenge the Consensus on Capitalism
Notable quotes:
"... Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, who recently posed the once-blasphemous question: "What comes after capitalism?" ..."
"... He rightly described a global impasse: "Given the political constraints on redistribution and the constraints from capital mobility, we may just not be able to alleviate inequality and insecurity enough to prevent populism and revolutions." ..."
"... Martin Wolf, respected columnist for the Financial Times, recently concluded, if "reluctantly," that "capitalism is substantially broken." This year, many books with titles such as "The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition" and "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World" blamed an unjust economic system and its beneficiaries for the rise of demagogues. ..."
"... Reading Mazzucato's book, it is hard not to wonder just how "neoliberal" ideas and values, which uphold the rationality of the market and exclude notions of the common good, came to shape the conduct of individuals and institutions. ..."
"... Neoliberals, he argues, are people who believe that "the market does not and cannot take care of itself," and indeed neoliberalism is a form of regulation -- one that insulates the markets from vagaries of mass democracy and economic nationalism. ..."
Dec 24, 2018 | news.yahoo.com

...A Western consensus quickly formed after the collapse of communist regimes in 1989. It was widely believed by newspaper editorialists as well as politicians and businessmen that there was no alternative to free markets, which alone could create prosperity. The government's traditional attempts to regulate corporations and banks and redistribute wealth through taxes were deemed a problem. As the economist Milton Friedman put it, "The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests." Neither individuals nor companies needed to worry much about inequality or social justice. In Friedman's influential view, "There is one and only one social responsibility of business -- to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits."

Political fiascos in the West, following its largest financial crisis -- events accompanied by the emergence of China, a Communist-run nation-state, as a major economic power, as well as an unfolding environmental calamity -- have utterly devastated these post-1989 assumptions about free markets and the role of governments.

Confessions to this effect come routinely from disenchanted believers. Take, for instance, Olivier Blanchard, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, who recently posed the once-blasphemous question: "What comes after capitalism?"

Blanchard was commenting on the recent demonstrations in France against President Emmanuel Macron. He rightly described a global impasse: "Given the political constraints on redistribution and the constraints from capital mobility, we may just not be able to alleviate inequality and insecurity enough to prevent populism and revolutions."

... ... ...

Thus, Martin Wolf, respected columnist for the Financial Times, recently concluded, if "reluctantly," that "capitalism is substantially broken." This year, many books with titles such as "The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition" and "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World" blamed an unjust economic system and its beneficiaries for the rise of demagogues.

It is becoming clear that the perennial conflict between democracy, which promises equality, and capitalism, which generates inequality, has been aggravated by a systemic neglect of some fundamental issues.

... ... ...

Her targets range from pharmaceutical companies, which uphold a heartless version of market rationality, to internet companies with monopoly power such as Google and Facebook. Her most compelling example, however, is the workings of the financial sector, and its Friedman-style obsession with "shareholder value maximization," which has infected the corporate sector as a whole.

Reading Mazzucato's book, it is hard not to wonder just how "neoliberal" ideas and values, which uphold the rationality of the market and exclude notions of the common good, came to shape the conduct of individuals and institutions.

In the conventional account of neoliberalism, Friedman looms large, along with his disciple Ronald Reagan, and Britain's Margaret Thatcher. Much has been written about how the IMF's structural adjustment programs in Asia and Africa, and "shock-therapy" for post-Communist states, entrenched orthodoxies about deregulation and privatization.

In these narratives, neoliberalism appears indistinguishable from laissez-faire. In "Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism," Quinn Slobodian briskly overturns this commonplace view. Neoliberals, he argues, are people who believe that "the market does not and cannot take care of itself," and indeed neoliberalism is a form of regulation -- one that insulates the markets from vagaries of mass democracy and economic nationalism.

... ... ...

Pankaj Mishra is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. His books include "Age of Anger: A History of the Present," "From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia," and "Temptations of the West: How to Be Modern in India, Pakistan, Tibet and Beyond." For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion

[Feb 13, 2019] Stephen Cohen on War with Russia and Soviet-style Censorship in the US by Russell Mokhiber

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia. ..."
"... Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate." ..."
"... "When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media." ..."
"... "And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything." ..."
"... "That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that." ..."
"... Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On stage at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. this past week was Princeton University Professor Emeritus Stephen Cohen, author of the new book, War with Russia: From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate.

Cohen has largely been banished from mainstream media.

"I had been arguing for years -- very much against the American political media grain -- that a new US/Russian Cold War was unfolding -- driven primarily by politics in Washington, not Moscow," Cohen writes in War with Russia. "For this perspective, I had been largely excluded from influential print, broadcast and cable outlets where I had been previously welcomed."

On the stage at Busboys and Poets with Cohen was Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation magazine, and Robert Borosage, co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future.

During question time, Cohen was asked about the extent of the censorship in the context of other Americans who had been banished from mainstream American media, including Ralph Nader, whom the liberal Democratic establishment, including Borosage and Vanden Heuvel, stiff armed when he crashed the corporate political parties in the electoral arena in 2004 and 2008.

Cohen said the censorship that he has faced in recent years is similar to the censorship imposed on dissidents in the Soviet Union.

"Until some period of time before Trump, on the question of what America's policy toward Putin's Kremlin should be, there was a reasonable facsimile of a debate on those venues that had these discussions," Cohen said. "Are we allowed to mention the former Charlie Rose for example? On the long interview form, Charlie would have on a person who would argue for a very hard policy toward Putin. And then somebody like myself who thought it wasn't a good idea."

"Occasionally that got on CNN too. MSNBC not so much. And you could get an op-ed piece published, with effort, in the New York Times or Washington Post ."

"Katrina and I had a joint signed op-ed piece in the New York Times six or seven years ago. But then it stopped. And to me, that's the fundamental difference between this Cold War and the preceding Cold War."

"I will tell you off the record – no, I'm not going to do it," Cohen said. "Two exceedingly imminent Americans, who most op-ed pages would die to get a piece by, just to say they were on the page, submitted such articles to the New York Times , and they were rejected the same day. They didn't even debate it. They didn't even come back and say – could you tone it down? They just didn't want it."

"Now is that censorship? In Italy, where each political party has its own newspaper, you would say – okay fair enough. I will go to a newspaper that wants me. But here, we are used to these newspapers."

"Remember how it works. I was in TV for 18 years being paid by CBS. So, I know how these things work. TV doesn't generate its own news anymore. Their actual reporting has been de-budgeted. They do video versions of what is in the newspapers."

"Look at the cable talk shows. You see it in the New York Times and Washington Post in the morning, you turn on the TV at night and there is the video version. That's just the way the news business works now."

"The alternatives have been excluded from both. I would welcome an opportunity to debate these issues in the mainstream media, where you can reach more people. And remember, being in these pages, for better or for worse, makes you Kosher. This is the way it works. If you have been on these pages, you are cited approvingly. You are legitimate. You are within the parameters of the debate."

"If you are not, then you struggle to create your own alternative media. It's new in my lifetime. I know these imminent Americans I mentioned were shocked when they were just told no. It's a lockdown. And it is a form of censorship."

"When I lived off and on in the Soviet Union, I saw how Soviet media treated dissident voices. And they didn't have to arrest them. They just wouldn't ever mention them. Sometimes they did that (arrest them). But they just wouldn't ever mention them in the media."

"Dissidents created what is known as samizdat – that's typescript that you circulate by hand. Gorbachev, before he came to power, did read some samizdat. But it's no match for newspapers published with five, six, seven million copies a day. Or the three television networks which were the only television networks Soviet citizens had access to."

"And something like that has descended here. And it's really alarming, along with some other Soviet-style practices in this country that nobody seems to care about – like keeping people in prison until they break, that is plea, without right to bail, even though they haven't been convicted of anything."

"That's what they did in the Soviet Union. They kept people in prison until people said – I want to go home. Tell me what to say – and I'll go home. That's what we are doing here. And we shouldn't be doing that."

Cohen appears periodically on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News. And that rankled one person in the audience at Busboys and Poets, who said he worried that Cohen's perspective on Russia can be "appropriated by the right."

"Trump can take that and run on a nationalistic platform – to hell with NATO, to hell with fighting these endless wars, to do what he did in 2016 and get the votes of people who are very concerned about the deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia," the man said.

Cohen says that on a personal level, he likes Tucker Carlson "and I don't find him to be a racist or a nationalist."

"Nationalism is on the rise around the world everywhere," Cohen said. "There are different kinds of nationalism. We always called it patriotism in this country, but we have always been a nationalistic country."

"Fox has about three to four million viewers at that hour," Cohen said. "If I am not permitted to give my take on American/Russian relations on any other mass media, and by the way, possibly talk directly to Trump, who seems to like his show, and say – Trump is making a mistake, he should do this or do that instead -- I don't get many opportunities – and I can't see why I shouldn't do it."

"I get three and a half to four minutes," Cohen said. "I don't see it as consistent with my mission, if that's the right word, to say no. These articles I write for The Nation , which ended up in my book, are posted on some of the most God awful websites in the world. I had to look them up to find out how bad they really are. But what can I do about it?"

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Russell Mokhiber

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

[Feb 13, 2019] Declining GOM output in 2019 is a more likely scenario then IEA prediction of increase of production

Notable quotes:
"... they expect maybe 200 kb/d higher output in the GOM and my interpretation of George Kaplan's and SouthLaGeo's recent comments is that flat or possibly declining GOM output is a more likely scenario. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News, 02/12/2019 at 2:29 pm

The EIA's STEO released today.
https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/
They forecast US C+C production to increase +0.79 million barrels per day during 2019
From Dec 2018 11.93 million barrels per day
To Dec 2019 12.72 million barrels per day
Dennis Coyne, 02/12/2019 at 4:12 pm
The EIA's forecast might not be too far off, but I think they expect maybe 200 kb/d higher output in the GOM and my interpretation of George Kaplan's and SouthLaGeo's recent comments is that flat or possibly declining GOM output is a more likely scenario.

[Feb 12, 2019] Social anger at neoliberalization as a material force in 2002 elections

Feb 12, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, February 12, 2019 8:11 pm

Daniel,

For decades we have heard about the loss of industrial production throughout what is called the "Rust Belt". It's presented, even as recent as the prior presidential election as a relative regional problem that only began post-Reagan.

With all due respect, it looks like you forgot that at some point quantity turns into quality, so making simple extrapolations might well result in an oversimplification of the current situation.

You essentially ignore the current reality of rising popular anger, and the fact of breaking of the social contract by neoliberal (and first of all financial) oligarchy, which is as detached from "deplorable" as French aristocracy ("let them eat cakes" mentality.)

In 2019 it is clear that the USA completely and irreversibly moved from an economy based on high wages and reliable benefits to a system of low wages and cheap consumer prices, to the detriment of workers, which means that social contract was broken ( https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/12/the-past-and-future-of-americas-social-contract/282511/ ).

While less dangerous for the oligarchy then when the USSR used to exist, the level of social anger comes into play as never before. In 2016 became a material factor that decided the elections. I do not see that 2020 will be different.

The most detrimental effects from outsourcing and offshoring will come to the forefront probably in 10 years or so when the oil price might be well over $100 per barrel. But even now this huge social experiment on live people in redistribution of wealth up turn out to be detrimental for the unity of the country (and not only to the unity).

The current squabble between globalist, Clinton wing of Democratic Party allied with the corporatists with the Republican Party (with supporting intelligence agencies) and rag-tag forces of the opposition is a good indication of the power of this resentment.

Spearheaded by intelligence agencies (with material support from British government ) attack on Trump (aka Russiagate) is the attack on the idea of an alternative for neoliberal globalization, not so much on the personality or real or perceived Trump actions; the brutal, Soviet-style attack on the deviation from neoliberal status quo directed on the political elimination of the opposition by elimination of Trump from the political scene. Much like Show Trials were in the USSR (in this case people were charged to be British spies ;-)

There are two countries now co-existing within the USA borders. Which often speak different languages. One is the country of professionals, managers, and capital owners (let's say top 10%). The other is the country of common people (aka "deplorable", or those who are below median wage -- ~$30K in 2017; ratio of average and median wage is now around 65% ).

With the large part of the latter living as if they live in a third world country. That's definitely true for McDonald, Wall-mart (and all retail) employees (say, all less than $15 per hour employees, or around half of US workers).

I think the level of anger of "deplorable" will play the major role in 2020 elections and might propel Warren candidacy. That's why now some MSM are trying to derail her by exploiting the fact that she listed her heritage incorrectly on several applications.

But when the anger of "deplorable" is in play, then, as Donald Trump aptly quipped, one could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody and do not lose any voters. I think this is now true for Warren too.

Here are some old, but still interesting, facts circa Nov 2011 ( https://www.businessinsider.com/sad-facts-deindustrialization-america-2011-11 ):

-- The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001
-- The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000
-- From 1999 to 2008, employment at the foreign affiliates of US parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million
-- In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent
-- As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941. The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000
-- As of 2010 consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70 percent, over half is spent on services
-- In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadband Internet use. Today it ranks 15th
-- Asia produces 84% of printed circuit boards used worldwide.
-- In September 2011, the Census Bureau said 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty, which is the highest number of poor Americans in the 52 years that records have been kept

NOTE: Programming jobs in the USA are expected to shrink in 2019 ( -21,300 ) so it is incorrect to look at IT industry as a potential compensating industry for manufacturing layoffs. ( https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/rankings/best-technology-jobs )

[Feb 12, 2019] Blain The Current Iteration Of 'Capitalism' Has Spawned Increased Global Poverty, Income Inequality, Urban Deprivation, Squal

Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Blain's Morning Porridge, submitted by Bill Blain

What a fascinating world we live in.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos exposing himself, and exposes the National Inquirer for attempted blackmail. A young senator, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, snaring the headlines and proposing a preposterous New Green Deal – while further splitting the Democrats. Europe plunging back into recession. The UK no closer to a Brexit Deal (hang-on, that's not a headline that's just normal..) Deutsche Bank paying up to demonstrate it can borrow in markets. Santander facing a Euro 50 bln breach of promise lawsuit from Andreas Orcel (proving the Spanish banking adage: At Santander – you are either a Botin or a.. servant..) So much out there

Are all these things linked? Yes – the world we live in determines the functionality of global markets. You might believe Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was the victim of an Inquirer effort to "catch and kill" a story the paper has on Mr Trump's activities in Moscow, or you might believe Deutsche Bank's problems are part of a deeper malaise across European banking. Whatever the news changes our perceptions.

... ... ...

It's a difficult one: the current iteration of capitalism has spawned increased Global Poverty, Income Inequality, Urban Deprivation, Squalor and Filth. Yet, somehow, such iniquity isn't actually bad for markets? Should I therefore hurrah the continuation of low rates as good for markets and ignore the bad for people thing? What's to worry about when share-buybacks push up stock prices, and the Fed is keeping rates artificially low to i) placate the president, and ii) counter the president's trade policies.

Long term – even my most hardened sink or sink free-market capitalist critics admit we face a disruptive inequality crisis. We can address it sooner or later. The imbalances are growing and the rules of mean reversion apply as much to society and politics as they do to markets ! Long-term markets would probably function better if everyone is positively motivated. Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism and economics got it. So do most people – but the sad reality is Change is Difficult – especially when the market leads opinion!

I've been thinking about the "hows" of making the world a better place all weekend, but I don't know enough 'ologys or medicine to cure drug abuse, chronic greed, urban mental illness, virtue-signaling philanthropy, or how to reform out education systems and society to improve everyone's opportunities.

What I do suspect is markets are building up great long-term underlying weaknesses, but in the short-terms low interest rates for longer is a distortion, but positive for financial asset prices That can't be a good thing?


silverwolf888 , 20 minutes ago link

Shallow people and trolls are fond of saying, of capitalism, "this is not capitalism." In 1964 Professor Quigley (Tragedy And Hope) identified 5 stages of capitalism, and we have come a long way since then, for the worse. But, like the current communist Chinese, it is all capitalism, stock markets, banks and all. I believe Marx was right when he said communism and capitalism are the same thing, at a different stage. We need some kind of free market. But as to this capitalism thing, it is still a new phenomenon in history, and it is not working.

jutah , 57 minutes ago link

for all you keyboard commando defenders of Adam Smith one thing you fail to comprehend is that life is about more than what you can just buy and sell, that is the point. Failing to recognize this fact will only hasten your demise. On top of that, if 'true capitalism' is not what we have now you say, which is a valid point, then how did we get here? That is how it started out and now look where it ended up. It was flawed from the start because of the power of greed in order to purchase influence and infiltrate your 'pure system'.

Caloot , 2 hours ago link

Where's Capitalism? This country is more fascist than Italy during Mussolini. So again. This itineration ? This what, version? There aren't flavors to freedom , fknut.

itstippy , 3 hours ago link

There's something amiss in our money system and it's killing us. Why, in a system of Fractional Reserve Banking, do the banks no longer need or want savers to deposit savings with them? What happened?

For decades the various commercial banks courted depositors like eager suiters. They offered competing interest rates on savings accounts, promoted their 5 and 10 year CDs, even offered free toasters for opening a new savings account. Something fundamental changed with the repeal of Glass-Steagal in November, 1999. Banks now promote their "services" - which cost money - and their loans. Mortgage loans, HELOCs, car loans, student loans, credit cards, all manner of loans. We're inundated with offers from banks to loan us money.

Prior to the repeal of Glass-Steagal the saying was, "The only way to get a loan is to prove you don't need one."

HaveDream , 3 hours ago link

Long term speaking, global 'capitalism' is really an alliance between global bankers and one strong country at a time, to use that country's government to blow a national money and asset bubble. ('Imperial' is probably better than 'national.')

First it was the Dutch Empire, then it was the British, and then it was America. When one top country's strength is spent by debt, corruption and easy living, the bankers move on to the next one.

Things look bad today because we're near the end of one global empire but the next one (India) is still some way off. The elites have to do whatever ad hoc trickery to keep the current charade going, absent real strength and growth from a new national bubble.

[Feb 12, 2019] Angry Bear Hey Rustbelt and beyond, Losing factories is not new

Feb 12, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 11, 2019 3:03 pm

Until neoliberal elite stops its brutal squeeze of workers, expect collapsing of the social contract. The country was already in a pre-revolutionary state in 2016 with the net result of election of Trump over Clinton (and, given a chance, people would have chosen Sanders over Trump).

The color revolution against Trump, which is underway, is, as s side effect, undermining of influence of neoliberal MSM (aka "fake news" ) and social unity of the nation. When the President calls WaPo "Bezos blog" that's delegitimization (and naked Bezos photos does not help either) When FBI is compared to STASI and Mueller investigation is called a witch hunt that points on the deeply divided country with the fractured neoliberal elite experiencing the crisis of legitimacy.

But the basic problem is that it costs a lot of money to cultivate a segment of the market now as it involves creation of a group of new consumers. And the more sophisticated the segment is, the more expensive it is. If workers are squashed (good jobs are displaced by McJob and/or permatemps) you face stagnation as top 10% can't replace bottom 80% as consumers.

That's probably why the US economy can't escape secular stagnation and reported growth is within the error margin of measurements and heavily depends on the inflation metric and "expansive" treatment of GDP (gambling, financial industries, military expenses, etc)

Paul Krugman said the US economy may be heading into a recession On the positive side that might end Trump run and give Warren a chance. On the negative it will amplify the current inequality problems and might provoke social unrest.

Bert Schlitz , February 11, 2019 3:13 pm

Sorry, Lilbez, Trump didn't win anything and was a neoliberal invention which coincides with evangelical voters. Why you keep on missing that point? Don't you want to admit that?

Another little fact, Sprague's growth peaked in 1959. It actually was bleeding jobs by the late 60's which triggered the real strikes. Maybe, just maybe that growth was a illusion of the war driven destruction.

spencer , February 11, 2019 4:20 pm

Bert -- the first death of manufacturing was the New England textile and shoe industries in the 1920's–1940s. Those industries finally became too small to have a significant negative impact in New England in the 1960s and 1970s. Boston and other New England areas started rebounding in the 1960s, largely on the back of aerospace and other technology intensive industries. But the 1970 recession was lead by the fall in those industries. So the Massachusetts Miracle appeared to start with the recovery from the 1970 recession. What made Mass different. One by the 1960s shoes and textiles has become so small that they were no longer a significant drag on the economy. Second, Massachusetts continued its very large investment in education, and it was not only MIT, but throughout the public secondary and college level schools. So it had the educated population to move into the very early stages of the emerging information technology industries that later came to be known as the Massachusetts Miracle. So Mass went through the death of its key manufacturing industries earlier than other regions, but continued to invest heavily in education, something I'm afraid I do not see in the Midwest. Moreover, in the Midwest the traditional industries are still large enough that weakness in them still has a significant negative impact on GDP. Moreover, the growth we do see in autos and other Midwestern industries is occurring in the South and does not help the Midwest much -- Alabama is now the second most important manufacturer of cars and light trucks.

There is a certain validity to your analysis, but it is off by enough to be misleading.

Kaleberg , February 11, 2019 7:53 pm

Spencer is right about manufacturing vanishing over a much longer time frame. Manufacturing jobs have been vanishing since the early 20th century. A lot of this is increased efficiency. It used to take over 100 work-hours to build a car. Now it's down to 20 and still falling. New England industrialized early, and by the 1970s the dead/dying shoe industry was a major item in the presidential debates. In 'Still the Iron Age', Smil points out that the steel industry has probably gained an order of magnitude in efficiency over the last 30 years, but this kind of thing never gets press coverage. Basic oxygen furnaces and direct reduction or iron don't make good news stories.

The places that have recovered first emphasized education and having a broad portfolio. Who would have imagined how important furniture design and manufacturing would be to Los Angeles recovery from the aerospace collapse after the Cold War? The big difference with our "Rust Belt" is the overall massive level of denial combined with vicious racism and antisemitism: "If we could just kill enough blacks and Jews, they'll start making washing machines here again."

[Feb 11, 2019] Blain The Current Iteration Of 'Capitalism' Has Spawned Increased Global Poverty, Income Inequality, Urban Deprivation, Squal

Feb 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Blain's Morning Porridge, submitted by Bill Blain

What a fascinating world we live in.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos exposing himself, and exposes the National Inquirer for attempted blackmail. A young senator, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, snaring the headlines and proposing a preposterous New Green Deal – while further splitting the Democrats. Europe plunging back into recession. The UK no closer to a Brexit Deal (hang-on, that's not a headline that's just normal..) Deutsche Bank paying up to demonstrate it can borrow in markets. Santander facing a Euro 50 bln breach of promise lawsuit from Andreas Orcel (proving the Spanish banking adage: At Santander – you are either a Botin or a.. servant..) So much out there

Are all these things linked? Yes – the world we live in determines the functionality of global markets. You might believe Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was the victim of an Inquirer effort to "catch and kill" a story the paper has on Mr Trump's activities in Moscow, or you might believe Deutsche Bank's problems are part of a deeper malaise across European banking. Whatever the news changes our perceptions.

The trick is too separate the chaos of new flow from the tau of markets . Markets are linear functions of buy/sell – they are not necessarily about common sense. To illustrate: last week I wrote about Italy, pointing out just how hopelessly its ensnared and entrapped within the straight-jacket of the Euro, with little prospect of growth, employment or upside.

Yet Italian bonds are one of the top performing assets – AND WILL REMAIN SO – because the ECB can't afford to let Italy go, and Europe sliding back into downturn pretty much ensures they'll continue to bailout Italy and likely resurrect QE in some form – watch out for something like long-term repos. An article in one weekend paper says the EU is now turning a blind eye to European governments spending their way out of austerity driven recession.

Therefore, smart investors might agree with my analysis of Italy as unsustainable, yet keep buying Italy, and will keep on buying right up to the moment the arbitrage cracks. (According the theory of flight bumble-bees can't fly – but they do.) That's why the smart hedge fund bosses are watching the succession for Draghi's job at the ECB so carefully, and weighting populism in Germany so carefully – as it requires a complicit German electorate to keep the Euro illusion going. I suspect they care considerably less about the current spat betwixt France and Italy – entertaining as it is.

On a purely common sense Macro perspective, you should probably ignore Europe completely. Who cares about counties with sub 1% growth, demographic time-bombs ticking away, and a hopeless mish-mash of unpredictable populist politics coming to the fore? Go invest in the fast growing economies of Africa and Asia instead.. Yet, it still makes sense to arb the European game.

Such things are just facets of the six-impossible things before breakfast approach to investment.

Using the same logic, you might see US stock and bond markets as a screaming buy!

US growth remains robust – despite the FED clearly indicating its dialing back rate hikes. Essentially rates will remain flat. Is that a problem? From the market's perspective – get out the party hats! There is no long term inflation threat because there is zero wage pressure. Despite "full employment" US companies pay as little as they can. Wages aren't rising.

Low rates will fuel yet more share buy-backs for Bernie Sanders to fulminate against. Share buybacks are great for the market and excellent for senior executives and owners of businesses – converting equity into massively underpriced debt and handing more capital back to them. More highly levered companies don't actually build anything more, or create new jobs but the rich get richer – and, heck, isn't that what capitalism is all about? In the short-run .

Last week I commented in the Morning Porridge about Squalor and Creeping Poverty in San Francisco. It was an eye-opener. It got about a quarter of a million views on Zerohedge , I got trolled and called a communist /socialist /democratic no-nothing stooge. (On the plus side, I got over 300 comments from porridge readers, and only one was nasty. The rest ranged from supportive to constructively critical.)

It's a difficult one: the current iteration of capitalism has spawned increased Global Poverty, Income Inequality, Urban Deprivation, Squalor and Filth. Yet, somehow, such iniquity isn't actually bad for markets? Should I therefore hurrah the continuation of low rates as good for markets and ignore the bad for people thing? What's to worry about when share-buybacks push up stock prices, and the Fed is keeping rates artificially low to i) placate the president, and ii) counter the president's trade policies.

Long term – even my most hardened sink or sink free-market capitalist critics admit we face a disruptive inequality crisis. We can address it sooner or later. The imbalances are growing and the rules of mean reversion apply as much to society and politics as they do to markets ! Long-term markets would probably function better if everyone is positively motivated. Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism and economics got it. So do most people – but the sad reality is Change is Difficult – especially when the market leads opinion!

I've been thinking about the "hows" of making the world a better place all weekend, but I don't know enough 'ologys or medicine to cure drug abuse, chronic greed, urban mental illness, virtue-signaling philanthropy, or how to reform out education systems and society to improve everyone's opportunities.

What I do suspect is markets are building up great long-term underlying weaknesses, but in the short-terms low interest rates for longer is a distortion, but positive for financial asset prices That can't be a good thing?

[Feb 11, 2019] Has neoliberal mirage become apparent by Dr Khisa

Notable quotes:
"... Dr Khisa is assistant professor at North Carolina State University (USA). ..."
"... moses.khisa@gmail.com ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | monitor.co.ug
No country or region of the world has ever broke out of the chains of poverty through the magic of the market. And no country has developed because of the benevolence of foreign capital. None. The consistent historical record has entailed growth and development anchored in highly nationalist economic agendas with heavy involvement of public institutions.
In fact, for much of medieval and early modern Europe, with England leading the way, national economies were built around mercantilism. This was a system that directly employed state power for national economic accumulation. Merchants and rulers drunk from the same teacup.
This system of mercantilism is in fact still alive today: For example, American military power is intricately tied to business interests for national accumulation and when American politicians talk about 'our national interest,' they primarily mean economic.
With a terribly disappointing record of modest growth, at best, without transformation, the neoliberal creed has come under increasing doubt from the front-runner converts of the 1980s, including our own NRM regime in Uganda. There has been a striking turnaround in rhetoric though not practice.
It is instructive to hear the Ugandan ruler belatedly lamenting the dubious practices of multinational telecom companies that evade taxes and repatriate all their profits: That is precisely what we signed up for. Sorry Mr President. With rapidly growing and disproportionately young populations, African countries are increasingly seen as the main frontier for product innovation and experimentation. So, China's aggressive penetration of the continent, seductively using infrastructural projects, has to be viewed in that light – to capture markets and raw materials for the long-term.
The raw end to Africa's place in the global economy, and for which African governments show little concern, is the one-way traffic of an unlimited open policy in Africa, but not for African products out of Africa, not in China or India and not in the West.
Part of the problem, we are often told, is not having competitive products for the so-called global markets, but how on earth is this ever going to happen when local producers are overrun on the home turf by cheap Chines goods? Much the same way we hunger for foreign investors, there is a rather misleading obsession with exporting to foreign markets. But the immediate, domestic market provides the necessary testing ground for breaking into the distant consumer.
African governments, more so the one of Mr Museveni, will do well to fully concede to the neoliberal mirage. Markets can theoretically do many things, but they have never on their own, delivered robust and sustained growth or brought about economic transformation. There is now wide consensus in academic circles that fiscal coercion, to direct credit and investment to certain critical sectors of a poor economy, is crucial to propel and sustain high growth.
For Uganda, the greatest obstacle to a radical rethink and turnaround of national economic policy is the powerful cabal, comprising local comprador class and foreign speculators, who have profiteered enormously from the laissez faire system, including commandeering public property and using state power for economic predation.
In that regard, the struggle for political change is also, in fact, most importantly in concrete terms, a struggle for economic revolution, to embark on a wholly different approach to a long-term national economic strategy.
Without an internally coherent and clearly articulated long-term plan for economic transformation, away from the orthodoxy of the IMF and the World, Uganda will remain trapped in poverty 50 years down the road. Dr Khisa is assistant professor at North Carolina State University (USA).
moses.khisa@gmail.com

[Feb 10, 2019] Neoliberalism is dead. Now let's repair our democratic institutions by Richard Denniss

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement. Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form. ..."
"... While the hypocrisy is staggering, at least voters can now see that politics, and elections, matter. Having been told for decades that it was "global markets" that shaped our society, it's now clear that it is actually the likes of Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott who decide whether we get new coal mines or power stations. Luckily, millions of voters now realise that if it's OK to subsidise new coal mines, there's no reason we can't subsidise renewables instead. ..."
"... So, what to nationalise? What new machinery of state should we build first? Should we create a national anti-corruption watchdog, replace the productivity commission with a national interest commission, or abolish the failed network of finance sector regulators and build a new one from scratch? ..."
"... The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build. ..."
"... class warfare (by the rich against the 99%, though I should not need to say that) is still very much alive. ..."
"... The rise of nationalism is indeed worrying situation.. but its clear that mass discontent is driving a 'shift' away from the status quo and that opportunists of every creed are all trying to get in on the action.. ..."
"... the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is population growth and lack of natural resources and meaningful 'employment' .. which self serving politicians are exploiting via playing the fear card and creating further division in society in order to embrace and increase their own power. Further more, no one, it seems, has any valid answers as regards resolving the division and creating a path forward.. thereby making more conflict an inevitability. ..."
"... Like Octopus, the globalists have every one of their eight legs in a different pot of gold. On their arms, suction cups maintain an iron grip. Trying to pull those suckers out, leaves us raw and bleeding. To release their grip, without hurting ourselves, we must aim for the brain. ..."
"... Murdoch's media empire has arms in every Democracy on earth. As his poisonous ink spread across our lands, we wallowed in the dark. ..."
"... The Oil and Coal Tycoons have arms in every black hole on earth. As their suckers pull black gold from the land beneath our feet, we choke on the air we breathe. ..."
"... The Financial Tyrants have arms in our buildings, factories, farms and homes. Their suckers stripped our pockets bare and we ran out of money. ..."
"... The False Prophets spread their arms into our private lives. Their suckers turned our modest, humble faiths into global empires filled with mega-churches, televangelists, jet-setting preachers and evangelical armies Hell bent on disruption and destruction. ..."
"... Neoliberalism may be dead but the former Trotskyites who invented it are still alive and they still have an agenda. ..."
"... Neo Liberalism was a project cooked up back in the late 1970s by the Capital owning classes & enacted by successive govts of "right" or "left" ever since. They feared the growing power of the working & middle classes which they felt threatened their own power & wealth. So they set out to destroy any ability of the working class to organise & to gut the middle class. ..."
"... Key to this was decoupling wages from productivity & forcing us all into debt peonage. Deregulation of the financial markets & the globalization of capital markets, disastorous multilateral trade deals & off shoring jobs, slashing state social programmes, Union busting laws all part of the plan. All covered with a lie that we live in meritocracies & the "best & brightest" are in charge. The result has been evermore riches funneled to the wealthiest few percent & a wealth gap bigger than that of the gilded age ..."
"... The majority press are so organised around the idea that neoliberalism in the sense captured economically and to some extent socially as construed in the article above; ..."
"... Rumours of neoliberalism's death have been somewhat exaggerated. Its been on life support provided by the LNP since John Howard and there are still a few market fundamentalists lurking in the ranks of the ALP, just waiting for their chance to do New Labor MkII in memory of Paul Keating. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's lasting legacy will not be the ludicrous economic programs, privatizations and deregulation, those can all be rolled back if some party would grow a spine. The real damage was caused by the aping of the US and UK's cult of individual responsibility, the atomizing effects of neoliberal anti-social policy and demonization of collective action including unionism. ..."
Oct 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement. Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

While the hypocrisy is staggering, at least voters can now see that politics, and elections, matter. Having been told for decades that it was "global markets" that shaped our society, it's now clear that it is actually the likes of Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott who decide whether we get new coal mines or power stations. Luckily, millions of voters now realise that if it's OK to subsidise new coal mines, there's no reason we can't subsidise renewables instead.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world Read more

The parliament is filling with people of all political persuasions who, if nothing else, decry the neoliberal agenda to shrink our government and our national vision. While there's obviously quite a distance between MPs who want to build the nation, one new coal mine at a time, and those who want to fill our cities with renewable energy, the whole purpose of democracy is to settle such disputes at the ballot box.

The Liberals want to nationalise coal-fired power stations and pour public money into Snowy 2.0 . The ALP want much bigger renewable energy targets and to collect more revenue by closing billions of dollars in tax-loopholes . The Greens want a publicly owned bank and some unions are pushing to nationalise aged care. It's never been a more exciting time to support a bigger role for government.

So, what to nationalise? What new machinery of state should we build first? Should we create a national anti-corruption watchdog, replace the productivity commission with a national interest commission, or abolish the failed network of finance sector regulators and build a new one from scratch?

... ... ...

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build. But we need to do more than talk about tax and regulation. Australia is one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world, and we once helped lead the world in the design of democratic institutions and the creation of an open democratic culture. Let's not allow the legacy of neoliberalism to be a cynical belief that there is no point repairing and rebuilding the democratic institutions that ensure not just our economy thrives, but our society as well. A quick look around the world provides clear evidence that there really are a lot of alternatives.

Richard Denniss is chief economist for the Australia Institute


R_Ambrose_Raven , 1 Nov 2018 16:38

Mmmm, well, class warfare (by the rich against the 99%, though I should not need to say that) is still very much alive.

Globalisation-driven financial deregulation was commenced here by Hawke Labor from 1983 as a Laberal facade for the Australian chapter of the transnational ruling class policy of self-enrichment. It was sold to the aspirationals as the ever-popular This Will Make You Rich - as ever-rising house prices did, for home-owners then (paid for now through housing unaffordability for their descendants). Then, transnational capital was able to loot both aspirationals' productivity gains (easily 10% of GDP) plus usurious interest from the borrowings made by the said aspirationals (easily 6% of GDP) to keep up with the Joneses. Now, it loots 90% of all increases in GDP, leaving just 10% in crumbs from the filthy rich man's table for 15 million workers to share.

We don't notice as much as we should, because the mainstream (mainly but not only Murdoch) media is very good at persuading us - then and now - that there is nothing to see. It is a tool of that transnational class, its role being to manufacture our consent to our own exploitation. Thus they play the man because it is politically easier than open demands that the public be robbed. In the case of penalty rates, thus adopting the obvious hypocrisy of which "The Australian" accuses Shorten. Or they play the woman, in the case of the ferocious, relentless media vilification of Julia Gillard and Gillard Labor – five years after the demonization of Gillard Labor's Great Big New (Carbon) Tax, the need for one is now almost universally accepted. Or they play the players, hence a focus on Dutton's challenge that pretends that he has meaningful policies.

Labor's class traitors clearly intended to aggressively apply the standard neoliberal model – look at how it helps their careers after politics (ask Anna Blight)! Shorten is not working to promote some progressive agenda, he is doing as little as possible, and expects to simply be voted into The Lodge as a committed servant of transnational capitalism.

Colinn -> bushranga , 1 Nov 2018 16:14
Wait till the revolution comes and we get the bastards up against the wall.
Colinn , 1 Nov 2018 15:53
I stopped voting 40 years ago because the voting system is mathematically rigged to favor the duopoly. Until a large number of minor parties can share their preferences and beat the majors, which is now starting to happen. This is not just voting for a good representative, but voting against the corrupt parties. A minority government should lead to proper debate in parliament. More women will lead to lower levels of testosterone fuelled sledging and better communication. A "Coalition of Representative Independents" could form government in the future, leading by consensus and constantly listening to the community.
tjt77 -> BlueThird , 1 Nov 2018 11:35
The rise of nationalism is indeed worrying situation.. but its clear that mass discontent is driving a 'shift' away from the status quo and that opportunists of every creed are all trying to get in on the action..

The big nut to crack is HOW do we collectively find sane and honest leadership ? A huge part of the problem is the ongoing trend of disdain for government in favor of embracing private monopolies as the be all and end all for solving the ongoing societal rift. .. which has created a centralization of wealth and the power that that wealth yields.. allied to the fact that huge swaths of the population in EVERY nation were hiding when the brains were allocated.. and hence are very easy to dupe..

the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is population growth and lack of natural resources and meaningful 'employment' .. which self serving politicians are exploiting via playing the fear card and creating further division in society in order to embrace and increase their own power. Further more, no one, it seems, has any valid answers as regards resolving the division and creating a path forward.. thereby making more conflict an inevitability.

MeRaffey , 1 Nov 2018 08:05
Like Octopus, the globalists have every one of their eight legs in a different pot of gold. On their arms, suction cups maintain an iron grip. Trying to pull those suckers out, leaves us raw and bleeding. To release their grip, without hurting ourselves, we must aim for the brain.

Murdoch's media empire has arms in every Democracy on earth. As his poisonous ink spread across our lands, we wallowed in the dark.

The Oil and Coal Tycoons have arms in every black hole on earth. As their suckers pull black gold from the land beneath our feet, we choke on the air we breathe.

The Financial Tyrants have arms in our buildings, factories, farms and homes. Their suckers stripped our pockets bare and we ran out of money.

The False Prophets spread their arms into our private lives. Their suckers turned our modest, humble faiths into global empires filled with mega-churches, televangelists, jet-setting preachers and evangelical armies Hell bent on disruption and destruction.

Denniss offers us the cure! Start thinking fresh and new and starve the globalists to death. They fed us BS, we ate BS and now we are mal-nourished. We need good, healthy ideas.

Land. Infrastructure. Time.

Time - "WE" increased productivity and the globalists stole the rewards. Time to increase our FREE time. 32 hours is the NEW full time. Pay us full time wages, give us full time benefits, and reduce our work days by 20% and suddenly we have 20% more jobs. As the incomes of billionaires drop, the money in circulation will increase. We are the job creators - not globalists.

21st Century Infrastructure is about healthy human beings - not the effing economy. Think healthcare, education, senior care and child care. If we find out you have sent your money off-shore, your local taxes will increase by ten. So please, do, send your money off-shore - our cities and towns would love to increase taxes on your stores, offices and real estate by ten.

No more caps on taxes. If you are a citizen, you pay social taxes on every dime you get. In America you will be paying 15.3% of every dollar to social security. That's $153,000.00 a year for every million dollars you take out of our economy.

Land is not something you put in a museum, lock away in a vault, or wear on your neck. Think fresh and new. If you own land, you are responsible for meeting community rules.

No more empty, weed filled lots allowed. If you have empty land, you better put in a nice garden, pretty trees and walkways or we will do it for you and employ "eminent-domain" on your bank accounts to pay for it.

No more empty buildings. If you own an empty building you will put it to good use, or we will do it for you - and keep the profits to fund our local governments, schools, hospitals, and senior/child care centers.

No more slumlords allowed. We have basic standards, for everyone. If we catch you renting a slum to anyone, we will make repairs for you, and if you do not pay the bill, we will put a lien on your building and wait until you sell it to pay ourselves back.

We do not trust you big-box types anymore. If you want to build your mega-store in our cities, towns or communities, you must, first, deposit the entire cost of tearing it down, and landscaping a park, or playground when you leave. While you stay, we will invest your deposit in index funds and assure ourselves enough money down the road.

Sorry you BIG guys and gals, but you will find our countries are very expensive places for you to invest. We put our families, our neighborhoods and our lives first.

Proselytiser -> FarmerDave , 1 Nov 2018 07:30
That would be fantastic.

However - and it's a big however - there is a very real danger that at the next election the libs will again win by default due to the fact that many traditional labour voters are defecting to the greens instead. Sadly, LNP supporters are a lot less likely to vote green. Our best hope is to wipe the LNP out at the next election by voting labour, and then at the election after that establishing the greens in opposition. It is unfortunatly unlikely to happen at the next election....and I just hope that voters in certain seats understand that by voting for the greens they might be in fact unwittingly handing the reins back to the least green party of all: the LNP.

childofmine , 1 Nov 2018 04:04
Neoliberalism may be dead but the former Trotskyites who invented it are still alive and they still have an agenda.
Idiotgods , 1 Nov 2018 03:25
Neo Liberalism was a project cooked up back in the late 1970s by the Capital owning classes & enacted by successive govts of "right" or "left" ever since. They feared the growing power of the working & middle classes which they felt threatened their own power & wealth. So they set out to destroy any ability of the working class to organise & to gut the middle class.

Key to this was decoupling wages from productivity & forcing us all into debt peonage. Deregulation of the financial markets & the globalization of capital markets, disastorous multilateral trade deals & off shoring jobs, slashing state social programmes, Union busting laws all part of the plan. All covered with a lie that we live in meritocracies & the "best & brightest" are in charge. The result has been evermore riches funneled to the wealthiest few percent & a wealth gap bigger than that of the gilded age

Phalaris -> fabfreddy , 1 Nov 2018 03:18
The essential infrastructure to ensure a base level quality of life for all. Really it's not difficult. What are you afraid of?
Phalaris , 1 Nov 2018 03:15
The majority press are so organised around the idea that neoliberalism in the sense captured economically and to some extent socially as construed in the article above; as normal and natural that nothing can be done. As the system folds we see in its place Brexit, neoconservatism, Trump.

This is not new found freedom or Liberatarianism but a post liberal world where decency and open mindedness and open nuanced debate take a a back seat to populism and demagoguery.

Citizen0 , 1 Nov 2018 00:52
The whole purpose of Anglophone liberal democracy has been twofold: 1. to establish and protect private property rights and 2. TO guarantee some individual liberties. Guess who benefits from the enshrinement of private property rights as absolute? Big owners, and you know who they are. ... Individual tights are just not that sacred, summon the latest bogeyman, and they can be shrunken or tossed.
Alan Ritchie , 31 Oct 2018 22:24
Neoliberalism, the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology . Dual streams of bull shit to confuse the citizens while the Country's immense wealth is stolen.
PaulC_Fitzroy -> Bearmuchly , 31 Oct 2018 22:19
I certainly agree with you.

It seems there's been a turning point recently though in the ideas of neoliberalism, as pointed out by Denniss that suddenly it's okay for all and sundry to talk about nationalising industries and infrastructure. It will probably take a couple of decades to turn things around in practical ways. And there are surely plenty of powerful supporters of the ideas of neoliberalism still around.

HonestQuestion , 31 Oct 2018 19:00
Is neo-liberalism really dead or is it wishful thinking?
If neo-liberalism really is on the decline in Australia, all i can say is bravo to Australia, use this opportunity to build a stronger government and regain the terrain that was lost during the TINA (there is no alternative) years.
Here in Canada neo-liberalism is stronger than ever, maybe because of the proximity to the cancerous tumor at the south, so when i read this article, i did it with a bit of skepticism but also with a bit of envy and a bit of hope for the future.
MrTallangatta , 31 Oct 2018 18:58
Neoliberalism is *not* dead, and it is counter-productive to claim that it is. It is clearly the driver of what passes for policy by the LNP government. Just as trickle-down economics remains as the basis of the government's economic actions.
sangela -> mikedow , 31 Oct 2018 18:50
I love it!!
Nintiblue , 31 Oct 2018 18:48
It will look like it's dead when back bone services and infrastructure utilities are returned to public ownership.

Those things are not fit for market style private ownership for a few big reasons:

They are by their nature natural monopolies (so a market private ownership won't work and will rapidly creep up prices of reduced service precisely because they not in a natural market context.

These core services and utilities are mega scale operations beyond a natural market ROI value.

These core sovereign services and utilities, are nation critical to the national economy and political stability. The last thing we want to do is hand that sovereign power over to private control.

PaulMan , 31 Oct 2018 18:47
Australia is a very fortunate country. It enjoys national sovereignty, unshackled by crippling bonds to anything like the neoliberal EU. It is thus able to concentrate on solving its own issues.
StephenO -> ildfluer , 31 Oct 2018 18:47
When The Guardian's editorial staff goes down to Guatamala City, they can stand on a soap box in front of Subway sandwich or McDonalds or Radio Shack.

Europe doesn't do socialism. It's a capitalist system with a high rate of taxes to support a generous social welfare.

sangela -> Matt4720 , 31 Oct 2018 18:46
Jane is too radical and progressive for Warringah...maybe they don't know that?
sangela , 31 Oct 2018 18:45
Great article. Must say that we do have more than one vote per electorate. They're called preference votes. Kerryn Phelps get 23% of the primary PLUS a heap of preferences! But a proportional system would change a whole lot of results
ildfluer -> Matt4720 , 31 Oct 2018 18:41
Yes. But only if she relinquishes her British citizenship in time.
Fred1 -> Alpo88 , 31 Oct 2018 18:38
Firstly we are not in America. America is a basket case and has been since, well, forever.

Secondly the so called "housing crisis" is a simple consequence of a growing population. In the 1950s there were just 8m people in Australia, there 10m in the 1960s and 12m in the 1970s. And, no, neo-liebralism didn't cause the growing population. People having sex and living longer caused the growing population. It is therefore all the more remarkable that we have actually built enough houses to house a population which has doubled in size.

Thirdly, in the last 30 years 1 billion people have been lifted out of poverty. When you talk about huge, unprecedented, un-fucking-believable levels of poverty, super-massive inequality, dissatisfaction (Really? This is now a measure?), unemployment/sub-employment and casualization, collapse (collapse?) of public services, high(er) costs of living.....do you think you're being a little overly dramatic?

Do you really think it all comes to back to one silly economic theory?

Nothing to do with the reality of automation, globalisation, growing populations and the realities of living in 2018 rather than 1978?

Are voters around the world going hard against Neoliberalism? (I note it's now a capitalised term).

In the US they voted for a billionaire who blamed immigrants for people's problems while promising tax and spending cuts.....sounds like an even more extreme version of neo-liberlaism to me.

In Britain they voted for Brexit to....oh that's right....kick out immigrants and burn "red tape".

In Brazil, yep, more neo-liberalism on steroids.

In fact, looking around the world it's actually the far right which are seizing power.

And this is the issue with the obsessive preoccupation with community decline. It feeds directly into the hands of fascism and the far right.

I'm not saying things are perfect. I would prefer to see much more government investment. The only way we'll get that is to educate ourselves about how government finances work so that we're not frightened off by talk of deficits.

However, by laying this all on the door of one rather silly economic theory is to ignore that economics is nothing without human beings. It is human beings who are responsible for all of the good and bad in the world. No theory is going change that. If the world is the way it is it's because humans made it like this.

The "deterioration of the environment"? We did that not neo-liberalism .....

JustInterest , 31 Oct 2018 18:37
In answer to the headline article question, yes WE citizens should collectively strive to think radically, bigger and better than the existing status quo.

PAY CITIZENS TO VOTE!

We must bypass the vested interests and create a new system which encourages active, regular participation in democracy.... lest we wake up one day and realise too late that, by stealth and citizen apathy, the plutocrats and their corporate fascist servants have usurped our nation state, corrupted our law and weakened our institutions, to such a point that our individual rights are permanently crushed.

Change is coming, like it or not. This century - there is great risk to society that advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and lifespan enhancing genetic engineering will be used by ultra-rich plutocrats to make the vast majority of humanity redundant (within a couple of generations).

Citizens should advocate for DIRECT DEMOCRACY in which citizens are PAID on a per vote per issue basis (subject to verification checks that support the rewarding of effort- citizens should be asked to first demonstrate that they have made effort to obtain sufficient knowledge on a particular topic, prior to being rewarded for their service of voting. Such a process can be opt-in, those who want to be paid, work to do so by learning about the governance issue which is to be voted upon. In this way, a minimum wage can be obtained by direct citizen participation in the governance of communities and our nation). We have the technologies TODAY to undertake open-ledger, smart-phone enabled, digital/postal voting on a per issue basis... which can be funded by EFFECTIVE taxation on large multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy (foreign) shareholders. Citizen will is needed to influence change - the major political parties did not want a Federal ICAC and they certainly will not support paid direct citizen democracy unless voters overwhelming demand it.

Citizens already accept that politicians are paid to vote (and frequently "rewarded" for their "service" to large corporations and wealthy (foreign) shareholders by unethical, corrupt means). Thus, in principle, why can society not collectively accept direct payment to citizens for their individual vote upon an issue? Why do citizens continue to accept archaic systems of democracy which have clearly FAILED to meet the needs of our population in the 21st century?

Citizens are not sufficiently politically engaged in democracy and their civic responsibilities BECAUSE they are not incentivised to do so and because they are economic slaves without the luxury of time to sort through deliberate overload of disinformation, distortion, distraction and deception. Citizens are struggling to obtain objective understanding and to think critically because these crucial functions of democracy are innately discouraged by our existing 20th century economy (that is, slaves are busy support the systems of plutocrats in order that they may live, ants to a queen).

We must advocate for change in the systems of democracy which are failing our communities, our nation, our planet. For too long, plutocrats and their servants have maintained control over economic slaves and the vast majority of the population because citizens have accepted the status quo of being governed by the powerful.

Technology has permanently changed our species. We must all collectively act before innate human greed, lust for power and fear of loss of control (by the wealthy few) lead the majority on an irrational path toward destruction - using the very technologies which helped set us free from the natural world!

JustInterest -> NoSoupforNanna , 31 Oct 2018 18:35
In answer to the headline article question, yes WE citizens should collectively strive to think radically, bigger and better than the existing status quo.
PAY CITIZENS TO VOTE!

We must bypass the vested interests and create a new system which encourages active, regular participation in democracy.... lest we wake up one day and realise too late that, by stealth and citizen apathy, the plutocrats and their corporate fascist servants have usurped our nation state, corrupted our law and weakened our institutions, to such a point that our individual rights are permanently crushed.

Change is coming, like it or not. This century - there is great risk to society that advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and lifespan enhancing genetic engineering will be used by ultra-rich plutocrats to make the vast majority of humanity redundant (within a couple of generations).

Citizens should advocate for DIRECT DEMOCRACY in which citizens are PAID on a per vote per issue basis (subject to verification checks that support the rewarding of effort- citizens should be asked to first demonstrate that they have made effort to obtain sufficient knowledge on a particular topic, prior to being rewarded for their service of voting. Such a process can be opt-in, those who want to be paid, work to do so by learning about the governance issue which is to be voted upon. In this way, a minimum wage can be obtained by direct citizen participation in the governance of communities and our nation). We have the technologies TODAY to undertake open-ledger, smart-phone enabled, digital/postal voting on a per issue basis... which can be funded by EFFECTIVE taxation on large multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy (foreign) shareholders. Citizen will is needed to influence change - the major political parties did not want a Federal ICAC and they certainly will not support paid direct citizen democracy unless voters overwhelming demand it.

Citizens already accept that politicians are paid to vote (and frequently "rewarded" for their "service" to large corporations and wealthy (foreign) shareholders by unethical, corrupt means). Thus, in principle, why can society not collectively accept direct payment to citizens for their individual vote upon an issue? Why do citizens continue to accept archaic systems of democracy which have clearly FAILED to meet the needs of our population in the 21st century?

Citizens are not sufficiently politically engaged in democracy and their civic responsibilities BECAUSE they are not incentivised to do so and because they are economic slaves without the luxury of time to sort through deliberate overload of disinformation, distortion, distraction and deception. Citizens are struggling to obtain objective understanding and to think critically because these crucial functions of democracy are innately discouraged by our existing 20th century economy (that is, slaves are busy support the systems of plutocrats in order that they may live, ants to a queen).

We must advocate for change in the systems of democracy which are failing our communities, our nation, our planet. For too long, plutocrats and their servants have maintained control over economic slaves and the vast majority of the population because citizens have accepted the status quo of being governed by the powerful.

Technology has permanently changed our species. We must all collectively act before innate human greed, lust for power and fear of loss of control (by the wealthy few) lead the majority on an irrational path toward destruction - using the very technologies which helped set us free from the natural world!

exTen , 31 Oct 2018 17:13
Richard went off the rails in his opening sentence: "The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement."

I say this because economically misinformed democratic engagement is a shackle around democracy, at best, if not fatal to democracy. And the biggest and most fundamental misinformation, spouted every bit as much by ALP and Greens as the Libs, is that we must strive for a "sustainable surplus".

As Richard rightly observes, "Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more." But that doesn't stop them, or Labor, or the Greens from guaranteeing the continuance of the neoliberal cut & privatise mania by insisting that they believe in "budget repair" and "return to surplus" - an insistence which their economically illiterate or misled supporters accept. If you believe in the obviously ridiculous necessity for a currency issuer to run balanced budgets, you are forced into invalid neoliberal thinking, into accepting a false "necessity" for cuts and privatisations, or economy-sedating taxation increases.

Thorlar1 , 31 Oct 2018 08:13
Rumours of neoliberalism's death have been somewhat exaggerated. Its been on life support provided by the LNP since John Howard and there are still a few market fundamentalists lurking in the ranks of the ALP, just waiting for their chance to do New Labor MkII in memory of Paul Keating.

Neoliberalism's lasting legacy will not be the ludicrous economic programs, privatizations and deregulation, those can all be rolled back if some party would grow a spine. The real damage was caused by the aping of the US and UK's cult of individual responsibility, the atomizing effects of neoliberal anti-social policy and demonization of collective action including unionism.

All of which have hastened the atrophy of our democracy.

First things first lets get rid of the neo-liberal national dinosaurs still wallowing in parliament unaware of the mass extinction awaiting them in March next year. At the same time vote in a minority Labor government with enough independent cross benchers, including a preponderance of Greens to keep the bastards honest.

Then just maybe we can start looking at the wider project of repairing Australian society and democracy while we try and reverse the near-decade of damage the LNP have done with their dangerous pro-fossil fuel stance, their insane climate change denial and hypocritical big business friendly economic policies.

Should be a snap!

exTen -> Loco Jack , 31 Oct 2018 08:05
The irony is that it's simple. It's the Heath Robinson contraptions that the economic priesthood for the plutocracy snow us with that are complicated, that turn us off economic thinking because they are impenetrable and make no sense. The simplicity comes from accepting the blinding obvious truth, once you think about it. The federal government is the monopoly issuer of the AUD. The rest of the world are users, not issuers. Its "budgets" are not our budgets. Nothing like them. Kind of the opposite. Its surpluses are the economy's deficits. Its deficits are the economy's surpluses.

[Feb 10, 2019] Neoliberalism's great strength is its ability to divide and rule effectively via its emphasis on individual responsibility and its insistence (as Thatcher cynically thundered) that there is no such thing as society.

Feb 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

KiwiInStraya , 16 Oct 2018 22:14

Neoliberalism is about maintaining success to the successful. As such, the policy has delivered as promised.
Runerunner -> Fred1 , 16 Oct 2018 22:08
No fred but I've seen a lot of places with the 9 billion and there isn't much there now, just ruined deserts.

Just seeing the chaos in Egypt in 2012 was enough and that huge population fighting over fuel, water and food is around 75% under the age of 25.

I don'r believe we do have bigger problems than the population explosion.

CaptainFlacid , 16 Oct 2018 22:06
Neoliberalism has been a spectacular failure that has seen the rich get richer and the poor more indebted to them.
20thcenturycoyote , 16 Oct 2018 21:55
Show me a neoliberal and I'll show you a self-serving prick with an over-inflated sense of self-entitlement.
Mikey70 , 16 Oct 2018 21:36
Former RBA governor says "Coalition pursues low-tax road to jobs and growth despite lack of evidence to support it"

The incumbent political cabal of grifters and leaners aren't interested in evidence, for the self righteous it has always been inconvenient & unnecessary.

Bearmuchly , 16 Oct 2018 21:34
Neo liberal capitalism is based on the premise that the Govt. sector
has a minimal role to play in the economy in a regulatory manner
, in the provision of goods/services and in redistributing wealth
........basically, the less Govt. the better.

As a starting point, it is best to consider what level of services
society expects from Govt. and to cost these, that then gives
you an amount of revenue required to fund these.......in Australia
our figure in 2017 was 28.2% of GDP (which also allowed for a
$6.2b. deficit and for some debt repayment)...the Federal share of this
was 21.6 % of GDP. In the world of wealthy countries (the OECD)
we sit at 27th of 35 ie: we are a low taxing country....the OECD average
is 34.3%.

The next part of any debate is what range and quality of services we expect
...in the US their social services/$'s provided by Govt. has plummeted by 50%
since neo liberalism was introduced (the Reagan era) whilst, for example Defence/
Security has risen by 5% of GDP and is by far the highest proportion in the world.
In Australia our proportions have changed far less......even with Medicare,
PBS, Child care subsidies, Education spending etc. our revenue rate has
dropped from an average of 33.5% of GDP to an average of 26.2% since the
1980's. (NDIS is too recent to be included but will up the ante).

The next step to consider is WHERE will the revenue come from and this
is where we have NOT followed the US in their lunacy.......since Reagan
their tax take from corporate profits and income taxes from the rich have
plummeted (and their deficits risen inexorably).

Putting it simply, Australia has indeed swallowed the neoliberal pill, but
has largely preserved its social amenity and the size of its Govt. sector.
It has privatised much but kept many aspects in public hands eg; much
of our healthcare. The pressures continue to privatise more, however
it still sees the Govt. being the funder but not the provider.....THAT has
been our massive change. Our reality has also been that household
incomes have been stagnant for years for at least 50% of our population
(it is worse in the US) as have been our income support payments ie:
Pensions and benefits (especially the latter that have gone backwards).
and our social mobility ie: the support/opportunity for people to move
from low to higher incomes (mostly via higher educational achievement)
have also stagnated in many cohorts.......in other words neoliberalism
has changed Australia, it has allowed the affluent and rich to improve
their situations but has seen stagnation for everyone else .......not
exactly a success after > 35 years, but at least not as bad as the US !

LovelyDaffodils , 16 Oct 2018 21:32
Neo-liberalism and it's form of capitalism is obviously not working; it's more of a Ponzi scheme, and causes societal division and inequality to an extreme. These intransigent politicians will keep taking us down the road of destruction unless we stop them.

Morrison and his cohort are dangerous, very dangerous, and will become even worse because what they do is transparent, and we let them get away with it. To them, they see their positions of power, and their actions, as being approved by the voting public to keep the unethical behaviour going.

Cosmo_Wilson , 16 Oct 2018 21:32
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Bewareofnazihippies , 16 Oct 2018 21:32
Neo-liberalism = Failed Democracy/Corrupt government/Corporate feudalism.
Really no other way to describe it, and it's consequences.
And more and more people are waking up to this fact.
It's the 'what to do about it' that is the problem.
Overturn the government?
Revolution?
Bring back the tumbrils?
Personally, I'd think an aware, involved, and empowered citizenry would be the best solution.
Runerunner -> happylittledebunkera , 16 Oct 2018 21:30
Capitalism has brought lots of debt to the masses. $4 trillion of it in fact and that will lead to poverty and misery if it can't be paid back readily.
Capitalism is fine until it enters this debt binge stage and then it needs a great big correction to get it back on an even keel.
leon depope -> HellBrokeLuce , 16 Oct 2018 21:29
Since the 1980's and Thatcher and Reagan, the dominant political and economic rational has been neo-liberalism. Even under Blair and Brown (labour PM's in the UK) the thinking was neo-liberalism, as it largely was under Rudd and Gillard in Australia.
It is decades of right wing thinking which has been all pervasive in western societies and it will take decades to correct the faults that have been created in society; starting with changing the perceived accepted idea that govts do not exist to create jobs and that we exist, as individuals, to serve the economy (as is evidenced by the punishing of the unemployed and the drive to get women back into work as soon as possible after having children).
Thorlar1 , 16 Oct 2018 20:24
Its not so much polarisation as atomisation.

Neoliberalism's great strength is its ability to divide and rule effectively via its emphasis on individual responsibility and its insistence (as Thatcher cynically thundered) that there is no such thing as society.

In the absence of any kind of inspirational narrative or indeed hope, the morally bankrupt LNP have actually come to believe their own TINA propaganda. Their impoverished imaginations just can't imagine any other way of maintaining the status quo for their constituency than by keeping as much of the population as possible undereducated but surviving sufficiently to be jealous of what they have and fearful of the state taking it away.

An atomised population is one in which daily life, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, is a 'war of all against all'. How pathetic that conservative governments in 2018 remain intent on driving us back to a 'state of nature' Hobbes was condemning in 1651.

While our governments continue to be run by and for the benefit of big business and the wealthy at the expense of the rest of society, low-taxing neoliberal dogma will remain the order of the day.

Oneron , 16 Oct 2018 20:19
Dear Bernie, when have ideologues of any persuasion ever, ever relied on evidence...

The Neo-liberal project was conceived as an ideology- a way to hollow out the democratic legitimacy, and replace it with a Corporatocracy... This was based less on an economic rationale but more as a reaction to the democratization of voices and the challenges they posed to the 'old world' spheres of authority and power that emerged front he 60's and early 70's.
The Washington Consensus was the ideological product of this reaction- so vigorously championed by Reagan and Thatcher- who could forget her silly remark that there is no such thing as a society...
That's why the electorate in today's democratic countries seem to be only left with "rhetorical" Leaders- windbags, whose pronouncements signify nothing.

Fred1 , 16 Oct 2018 20:08
I'm not a conspiracy theorist but* if was I would say that the lizard people introduced the word "neo-liberalism" to distract people from the real issues......

But seriously, what the hell do people even mean by this term? darkbluedragon bless his/her/their/its cotton socks has done his/her/their/its best to explain what it is. In fact, if in 2019 we no longer identify along the lines of traditional gender roles why does anyone think we can agree on a over-arching economic theory which apparently is responsible for all of the woes in the world?

And actually the premise of all of this is of course how shit everything is today. People love talking about how the world was so much better 40 years ago or whenever. You know when women and minorities were discriminated against and so there were more jobs for white men. Good times I say.

The reality is that the world is the way it is because of people. If neo-liberalism is all about greed and meanness then frankly it's because people are greedy and mean. 100 years ago we were killing each other with bayonets. Bankers screwing vulnerable customers is an improvement compared to that shit.

Many people who talk about "neo-liebralism" in the political sense instead of the economic sense are also terrified of government deficits and think government finances are like a households. So what are you going to do?

If we're all going to become economists overnight (which I would strongly advise against) then we may as well go the whole hog and understand the other side of the coin i.e. the different monetary theories. But no side of the coin is going to be perfect because....because....people, people. People in the shit sense and a people in the glorious sense. People in all senses....

*Why does "I'm not.....but" always mean "I am"? I'm not racist but...I don't mean to be rude but........

JustAnotherPenguin , 16 Oct 2018 20:06
During their undergraduate years future politicians and business people learn about ideas that then form the foundations of their understanding of the world and how it works. Unfortunately, while the scholarship moves on, the politicians and business people don't, having dedicated their lives to their careers. So we end up with governments of people operating on principles some decades out of date, and often discredited. And when they want advice, who do they turn to? Not academia (and if they do they usually ignore it), but to business people, who are working off the same base.
It is often noticed that politicians in the twenty-first century seem to be applying nineteenth century solutions to twentieth century problems. What can be done?
Foxlike , 16 Oct 2018 19:55
Bring on the royal commission into privatisation!

In the absence of an RC, then at least a twenty-year comparative analysis of the economic and social 'benefits' (few) and costs (incalculable) of privatisation to the taxpayers of Australia, and the 'benefits' (massive) and costs (none) to the private sector. Surely someone has his data at their fingertips?

1908kangaroos , 16 Oct 2018 19:48
Neoliberalism is usually just a term to justify selfish arseholes making more money, usually by ripping off workers..
Bho Ghan-Pryde , 16 Oct 2018 19:33
At long freaking last some sanity is creeping back into the discussion of economics amongst those who have run the economy. Neo-liberal capitalism has run its course. It ended ten years ago in the GFC and probably before. Whatever good it has done is being undone in its extremes.


Even the capitalists at capitalist central do not believe in capitalism. When broke during the GFC they declared they were "too big to fail" and so market forces no longer applied to them. The people who own and run the capitalist system have long abandoned it but the Corporate State and its serfs - such as the liberal party - want to foist it on the peasants as a means of control.


The "too big to fail" capitalists park their business risk in the treasuries of the West and pocket the profits and then blame the poor for the lack of public money. It would be funny if it wasn't doing so much damage.

On climate change capitalism has failed. It has no way to deal with such an emergency. Capitalism has always taken such things as clean air, water and land from others without compensation and turned them into massive profit for the few. It can never tackle climate change as it means paying for environmental damage and other public resources and that contradict centuries of capitalist exploitation.
The answer for the right-wing neo-liberal capitalist is what it has always been when confronted with the contradictions of capitalism. Racism and division. Exactly what the IPA-liberal party has been about this last week big time. It is all normal for this system.

Isitruegoodoruseful , 16 Oct 2018 19:21
Because its based on Neo-Classical economics. A universally enforced scam economic dogma designed by and for the rich landowning classes to destroy any attempt at land value taxation.
https://www.prosper.org.au/2007/11/07/the-corruption-of-economics /

[Feb 10, 2019] The future of capitalism in emerging markets

Feb 10, 2019 | www.brookings.edu

Following the twin shocks of 2016 -- the U.K. Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. -- right-leaning nationalism and populism appear to be gaining steam, buoyed by the public's dissatisfaction with globalization. At the same time, the political left is also growing more ambitious and confident; for instance, according to one recent poll, Americans aged 18-29 have a more positive view of socialism than of capitalism. Overall, the elite consensus surrounding the neoliberal economic model -- which advocated a relatively small role for government, deregulating markets to encourage competition, and liberalized international trade and financial policies -- is teetering.

In emerging markets, meanwhile, a related series of debates are unwinding, and have been for many years. Among these countries, the neoliberal economic model peaked in popularity sometime in the 1990s, in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and amidst optimism in an accelerating globalization, epitomized in the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Even at its peak, however, the neoliberal reform program was always implemented unevenly across countries and adapted to local contexts. Since then, a number of alternative models have been proposed in response to a series of economic and political shocks, from the Asian financial crisis to the "Pink Tide" in Latin America to the Arab Spring. These experiences provide a fertile ground for assessing the possible futures of capitalism, across both emerging and developed markets.

Neoclassical economics' focus on individual incentives and utility maximization misses much bigger questions about structural power relations, which play a central role in determining economic outcomes. Similarly, individuals' desires for status, happiness, and identity are first order concerns, and cannot be easily incorporated into neoclassical models based on assumptions of rationality. Alternative, heterodox approaches to economics -- which had flourished in earlier eras but lost ground to neoclassical approaches in recent decades -- are due for a revival. Such approaches could, for example, pay more attention to crises, tipping points, and transitions rather than equilibria outcomes; provide a richer treatment of power and politics; and study how governments create and shape markets, rather than simply respond to market failures.

[Feb 10, 2019] A stake through the heart of neoliberalism

So what's next? The return to New Deal capitalism? But coalition of workers a management that was at the core of the New Deal Capitalism does not exits. Look whom Democratic Party represents today: they represent Wall Street and intelligence agencies.
Notable quotes:
"... Private Wealth or Public Good ..."
Feb 10, 2019 | newsroom.co.nz

The problem is that almost every authority figure - in economics, politics and the media - tells us otherwise. You will hear plenty this week, as the global elite converge on the Swiss mountain resort of Davos to discuss the challenges facing our economies and our world. Yet, I can guarantee that despite all the talk, there will be no substantive questioning of the immoral foundation of our modern economies.

The current inequality crisis is the direct result of this moral failure. Our exclusive, highly unequal society based on extreme wealth for the few may seem sturdy and inevitable right now, but it will collapse. Before long, the pitchforks will come out and the ensuing chaos will benefit no one. Not wealthy people like me - and certainly not the poorest people who have already been left behind.

To avert this existential crisis, we must drive a stake through the heart of the neoliberal religion that instantly rewards greed at the expense of our future. We must replace it with a new economic framework that recognises that justice and inclusion are not the result of economic prosperity, but rather the cause of economic prosperity.

Only a society that seeks to include all its people in the economy can succeed in the long term: no company, and certainly no billionaire is an island. We owe our wealth to society - to the millions working each day for us at home and across the world, often for poverty wages. We owe our fortunes to governments, who provide the education, the infrastructure, and the research investment on which we build our empires. None of the companies I have invested in would have been able to function without this.

A fundamental prerequisite for a more just society is that the wealthiest should pay their fair share of tax. However, as Oxfam's inequality report, Private Wealth or Public Good , demonstrates, this is not happening. Here in the United States, the richest in society – people like me – have just benefited from one of the biggest tax cuts in decades. Meanwhile our public schools are crumbling, and our healthcare system continues to exclude millions, leading to huge pain and suffering. The top rates of tax on the wealthiest people and corporations are lower than they have been for decades. Unprecedented levels of tax avoidance and evasion ensure that the super-rich pay even less.

There can be no moral justification for this behaviour beyond a discredited neoliberal dogma that if everyone maximises their selfishness, the world will somehow be a better place: that ever-lower taxation on the richest will somehow benefit us all; that health and education left to the mercy of the free market, available only to those who have the money to pay for them, is somehow more efficient. It has no economic justification, either. As Henry Ford famously identified, you can't grow a business or an economy if people are impoverished.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the richest in our society can and should pay a lot more tax to help build a more equal society and prosperous economy. As Oxfam shows, a fairer tax system could help ensure that every child gets an education, and that no one lives in fear of getting sick because they can't afford their medical bills.

Ultimately it is our humanity, not the absence of it, that is the true source of economic growth and a flourishing civilisation. This is not just an imperative for activists and academics but for all of us – including every billionaire. It is no longer a question of whether we can afford to do this but rather whether we can afford not to.

[Feb 09, 2019] I understand that you do not like neoliberalism, fine. I understand you do not like nationalism of Trump and Salvini, of Le Pen and BNP, fine. But what do you like?

Notable quotes:
"... The elite thinkers who penned this manifesto need to wake up. Any chance of holding onto Western Civilization and "the legacy of Erasmus, Dante, Goethe and Comenius (Comenius?)" lies with the nationalist right. The academic left no longer gives a shit about the Western Canon, they're all just dead privileged white guys to them. Book burnings to follow. ..."
"... Did Cook and other so called Geniuses ever consider our nations are failing apart because we finance and fight wars for Israel. What would the trillions spent in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East have fixed in our own country. ..."
"... "The first is the status-quo cheerleaders like the European writers of liberalism's latest – last? – manifesto. With every utterance they prove how irrelevant they have become, how incapable they are of supplying answers to the question of where we must head next. They adamantly refuse both to look inwards to see where [neo]liberalism went wrong and to look outwards to consider how we might extricate ourselves." ..."
"... "Action makes propaganda's effect irreversible. He who acts in obedience to propaganda can never go back. He is now obliged to believe in that propaganda because of his past action. He is obliged to receive from it his justification and authority, without which his action will seem to him absurd or unjust, which would be intolerable. He is obliged to continue to advance in the direction indicated by propaganda, for action demands more action." ..."
"... Much the same could have been said about the last days of the USSR, or for that matter the last phase of the 30 Years War or the Napoleonic Wars. As back then, so now: The old elite and new authoritarians actively crushing the new group, well, they are are actively crushing _themselves_ at an even greater rate than they are crushing the new group. ..."
"... Example: Decay of Democratic leadership -- which is now, apparently, two old crazy people, one of which has active dementia. Waiting in the wings we see various groups that hate each other and propose what is pretty clearly a loot and burn approach to governing the US. They vary only in whom they will loot and what they will burn. ..."
"... Example: Decay of the media, which now knows it is as ineffective as Russian propaganda towards the USSR's end, and apparently either doesn't care or is unable to change. ..."
"... If resource scarcity prompts armed response, well, humanity has enough shiny new weapons _and untried weapons technologies_ to produce destruction as surprising in its extent as WW I and WW II were for their times [1] (or as the self supporting tercio was during the 30 Years War). ..."
"... However, that classical liberalism has absolutely nothing to do with what this author labels "liberalism'. The modern so-called "neoliberalism" he talks about is a complete reversal of the original ideals of the classical liberals. ..."
"... In medieval times, the "nobles" could throw peasants who revolted too much off their land, impoverishing them in the process. The monarchies of the time could exert much control on the nobles, and indirectly on the peasants, BUT they had to be careful themselves, as there were a lot more peasants than nobles or royalty. Pushing too hard could initiate revolts, almost all of which would not bode well for the nobles or royalty. ..."
"... They are responsible for the islamization of Europe as well as destruction of the European "social fabric", for the longest time, which was based on ethnicity and commonality of purpose. ..."
"... The EU switched to open external frontiers, Asian outsourcing and the free international flow of capital (i.e. the full Neo-Liberal agenda), and it was when the consequences (de-industrialization, unemployment, mass non-European immigration) became apparent, that the public turned against the EU. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Giuseppe says: February 3, 2019 at 5:42 am GMT 100 Words

Unless the tide can be turned, elections across the European Union will be "the most calamitous that we have ever known: victory for the wreckers; disgrace for those who still believe in the legacy of Erasmus, Dante, Goethe, and Comenius; disdain for intelligence and culture; explosions of xenophobia and antisemitism; disaster".

The elite thinkers who penned this manifesto need to wake up. Any chance of holding onto Western Civilization and "the legacy of Erasmus, Dante, Goethe and Comenius (Comenius?)" lies with the nationalist right. The academic left no longer gives a shit about the Western Canon, they're all just dead privileged white guys to them. Book burnings to follow.

Replies: @anon

niteranger , says: February 3, 2019 at 6:15 am GMT

Thirty Elite ..really how about fucking Communists. Social media is a cancer on society run by Jews for the Deep State. Meanwhile in Israel they murder Palestinians, bulldoze their homes, build a wall and throw blacks out. Did Cook and other so called Geniuses ever consider our nations are failing apart because we finance and fight wars for Israel. What would the trillions spent in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East have fixed in our own country.

To put it bluntly: Does anyone have John Wick's phone number? We can take care of these problems very quickly.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 3, 2019 at 6:29 am GMT
I would omit B.H. Levi and I would add Shakespeare, Virgilius, Cornelius, And most important Hugo for his work of Geniuses also Hegel and Kant.

Also: Carthage must be destroyed plus US system of sanctions must be destroyed.

Wally , says: February 3, 2019 at 7:00 am GMT
"The first is the status-quo cheerleaders like the European writers of liberalism's latest – last? – manifesto. With every utterance they prove how irrelevant they have become, how incapable they are of supplying answers to the question of where we must head next. They adamantly refuse both to look inwards to see where [neo]liberalism went wrong and to look outwards to consider how we might extricate ourselves."

Indeed, once they lie they must continue to lie, even they admit it:

"Action makes propaganda's effect irreversible. He who acts in obedience to propaganda can never go back. He is now obliged to believe in that propaganda because of his past action. He is obliged to receive from it his justification and authority, without which his action will seem to him absurd or unjust, which would be intolerable. He is obliged to continue to advance in the direction indicated by propaganda, for action demands more action."

– from ' Propaganda ', by French communist, Jacques Ellul

eah , says: February 3, 2019 at 9:37 am GMT
@apollonian and ethnic nationalism , which is the only workable nationalism.

A Nation of Widgets: The Wall Street Journal and Open Borders

Henryk Broder (also a Jew) recently spoke (on invitation) before the AfD faction of the Bundestag -- one theme of his talk was: Seit die Menschen nicht mehr an Gott glauben, glauben sie allen möglichen Unsinn -- since people stopped believing in God, they believe in all kinds of nonsense.

sentido kumon , says: February 3, 2019 at 10:17 am GMT
'Liber' in Latin means:
1) free (man)
2) free from tribute
3) independent, outspoken/frank
4) unimpeded
5) void of

The author needs to recheck his definitions. Voluntary exchange, consent, free markets, free will, etc are just some of the concepts at the heart of the true libertarian thought. The ruling class has successfully ruled out any concept of consent. Keep bringing consent up and their philosophies will be shown to be the same as gang rapists.

"The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!" – Ludwig Von Mises

Stephen Paul Foster , says: Website February 3, 2019 at 11:08 am GMT
"What is needed to save us is radical change. Not tinkering, not reform, but an entirely new vision that removes the individual and his personal gratification from the centre of our social organisation."

I feel Cook's scorn for the hypocrisy of Levy and his self-infatuated band of scribblers and talkers, but when I hear someone proposing to "save us" with "radical change" my reaction is: I don't want anyone trying to "save" me, particularly someone who wants to do it in a "radical" way, which usually means a lot of coercion and often killing. He never gets to the specifics of what that salvation will look like, but if the past is any indication, being saved by radicals means, learning-to-love the radicals as they coerce you to do what they think is best for you and being happy to see your "personal gratification" eclipsed by theirs.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of our "radicals" in Congress wants to put that "new vision" into place. I'll go with reactionaries instead.

http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2019/02/lone-ranger-hmm.html

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 3, 2019 at 11:40 am GMT
Bernard Henry Levy is a Sephardic jew born in Algeria , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard-Henri_L%C3%A9vy , He lives in France and is always warmongering for Israel , demanding that the " west " intervenes and bombs all the countries that he orders Libia, Syria , Iraq , Ukraine , Russia , Venezuela , Afghanistan , Iran , Yemen , Cuba , you name it .

https://www.stalkerzone.org/vladimir-kornilov-bernard-henri-levy-and-the-correct-mutiny/

Bernard Henry Levi is a bloody prophet of death , he is an enemy of the "West " pretending to be a friend . Very sinister guy .

Counterinsurgency , says: February 3, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT

The third trend is the only place where hope can reside. This trend – what I have previously ascribed to a group I call the "dissenters" – understands that radical new thinking is required. But given that this group is being actively crushed by the old liberal elite and the new authoritarians, it has little public and political space to explore its ideas, to experiment, to collaborate, as it urgently needs to.

Much the same could have been said about the last days of the USSR, or for that matter the last phase of the 30 Years War or the Napoleonic Wars. As back then, so now: The old elite and new authoritarians actively crushing the new group, well, they are are actively crushing _themselves_ at an even greater rate than they are crushing the new group.

Example: Decay of Democratic leadership -- which is now, apparently, two old crazy people, one of which has active dementia. Waiting in the wings we see various groups that hate each other and propose what is pretty clearly a loot and burn approach to governing the US. They vary only in whom they will loot and what they will burn.

Example: Decay of the media, which now knows it is as ineffective as Russian propaganda towards the USSR's end, and apparently either doesn't care or is unable to change.

Example: Reaction to yellow vests in France, which drew the reactions described in Cook's article (at the root of this comment thread). "Back to your kennels, curs!" isn't effective in situations like this, but it seems to be the only reply the EU has.

New groups take over when the old group has rotted away. At some point, Cook's third alternative will be all that is left. The real question is what will be happening world wide at that point. If resource scarcity prompts armed response, well, humanity has enough shiny new weapons _and untried weapons technologies_ to produce destruction as surprising in its extent as WW I and WW II were for their times [1] (or as the self supporting tercio was during the 30 Years War).

Counterinsurgency

1] To understand contemporary effect of WW I on survivors, think of a the survivors of a group playing paintball who accidentally got hold of grenade launchers but somehow didn't realize that until the game was over. WW II was actually worse -- people worldwide really expected another industrialized war within 20 years (by AD 1965), this one fought with nuclear weapons.

RVBlake , says: February 3, 2019 at 12:42 pm GMT
I fail to see where ethnonattionalists are disingenuous and are "new authoritarians."
onebornfree , says: Website February 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
"[neo]Liberalism, like most ideologies, has an upside. Its respect for the individual and his freedoms, "

Yes, that was an ideal of the original , 19th century classical liberalism. Other features of the classical liberal ideal were:

1] small governments tightly constrained to particular functions [ defense, courts only]

2]freedom of trade between individuals.

However, that classical liberalism has absolutely nothing to do with what this author labels "liberalism'. The modern so-called "neoliberalism" he talks about is a complete reversal of the original ideals of the classical liberals.

... ... ...

anarchyst , says: February 3, 2019 at 2:24 pm GMT
Many people have an erroneous concept of the relationships between "leaders" and their "subjects".

In medieval times, the "nobles" could throw peasants who revolted too much off their land, impoverishing them in the process. The monarchies of the time could exert much control on the nobles, and indirectly on the peasants, BUT they had to be careful themselves, as there were a lot more peasants than nobles or royalty. Pushing too hard could initiate revolts, almost all of which would not bode well for the nobles or royalty.

It is entirely possible that our "leaders" are fearful of losing control with the proliferation of the internet and social media, and the ability for every person with an internet connection to be a seeker of truth and a "true" journalist, free of the constraints of the "old systems, the "powers that be" are running scared. They no longer control the narrative, as much as they would like to the jewish "brainwashing" of the masses is starting to wear off.

They are responsible for the islamization of Europe as well as destruction of the European "social fabric", for the longest time, which was based on ethnicity and commonality of purpose. That has pretty much been lost, with the introduction of immigrants who don't even know how to read or use flush toilets. Add to that, the prohibition on criticism of many practices of these immigrants, as well as making excuses for their criminality. The debasement of European societies is deliberate. The elites want destruction, period they want their "new world order"

no nationalism before ours. Apparently, only Jewish Identity is real while all others are false identities no better than false idols.

wayfarer , says: February 3, 2019 at 4:26 pm GMT

Cultural Marxism : Its central idea is to soften up and prepare Western Civilization for economic Marxism after a gradual, relentless, sustained attack on every institution of Western culture, including schools, literature, art, film, the Christian religious tradition, the family, sexual mores, national sovereignty, etc. The attacks are usually framed in Marxist terms as a class struggle between oppressors and oppressed; the members of the latter class allegedly include women, minorities, homosexuals, and adherents of non-Western ideologies such as Islam. Cultural Marxism has been described as "the cultural branch of globalism."

source: https://www.conservapedia.com/Cultural_Marxism

Trotskyism : The political, economic, and social principles advocated by Trotsky especially the theory and practice of communism developed by or associated with Trotsky and usually including adherence to the concept of worldwide revolution as opposed to socialism in one country.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trotskyism

Who Made the Useful Idiots of the Left?

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 3, 2019 at 5:31 pm GMT
Bernard Henry Levy is like a vulture, he was in the Yugoslavian wars also , in the Georgian invasion of Russia wherever he goes there will be war , blood and misery , soon

The Guardian ( of the British Empire ) like other " prestigious " " liberal " journals has to be read the other way around . If they praise a lot someone , it means that this someone is a servant of the western System , and if they critizise sistematically someone , it means that he probably is a patriot ,that defends his country from western greed .

Colin Wright , says: Website February 3, 2019 at 5:43 pm GMT
'A Liberal Elite Still Luring Us Towards the Abyss'

That'd be the wrong metaphor. I don't feel lured at all. Fish are lured. I feel poked, prodded, and driven. Those'd be cattle.

Asagirian , says: February 3, 2019 at 6:07 pm GMT
If the attitude of the nation's Elites is "You the National Folk are NOT our people and, if anything, we globo-homo elites side with the foreign masses who shall replace you" , then the attitude of the National Folk should be "You the globo-homo pseudo-national elites are not OUR leaders, and if anything, we patriotic folks side with foreign elites who shall subvert you."
Sean , says: February 3, 2019 at 6:09 pm GMT

[neo]Liberalism, like most ideologies, has an upside. Its respect for the individual and his freedoms, its interest in nurturing human creativity, and its promotion of universal values and human rights over tribal attachment have had some positive consequences

Nazi Germany was beaten, so was the USSR. Liberalism wins actual and cold wars, it's stronger because it creates a larger more powerful economy. The only trouble is it sows the seeds of long term future dissolution.

More immediately pertinent, Liberalism, in its current self correcting theory of the free market mutation is not working against China because the entry of a billion Chinese into the globalized labour market is eroding the basis for indigenous labour in Western countries along with their productive capacity.

The problem is that the business class are strongly incentivized to like a hagfish eating up the economic and demographic core of Western countries from the inside.

Commentator Mike , says: February 3, 2019 at 6:43 pm GMT
If the EU were by the Europeans for the Europeans and not promoting anti-European policies like population replacement by non-Europeans then there would be no need to call for the various exits.
Anon [795] Disclaimer , says: February 3, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT
Bernard-Henri Levy is (((liberal elite)))? Why the unnecessary occlusion? His position precisely reflects the Jewish Tanakh politics of foreign nation destruction. These politics are not vague in their book, nor do they differ in the slightest from his politics. See his simultaneous support of both Jewish nationalism and liberalism for non-Jews that is the marker of Jewish Supremacy.

Re: Dante

Although Guelph by ethnicity, Dante was a Ghibelline imperialist, that is a monarchist, who supported the Holy Roman Empire. The HRE was the nobility or land-owner faction. The Papacy was the supporter of the merchant class. Dante was the opposite of everything that Bernard Levy is espousing, and his most famous work, the Inferno, was an allegory that reflected those politics. Levy's invocation of Dante is strange in that it either reveals a curious lack of knowledge in regard to Dante or a disingenuous co-opting of his illustrious name for political purposes.

http://www.dantemass.org/html/guelphs-and-ghibellines.html

the White Guelphs became disaffected and eventually threw in their lot with the Ghibellines.

israel shamir , says: February 3, 2019 at 7:09 pm GMT
Excellent piece, as always, Jonathan! What is missing is your vision of the doctrine you approve of. I understood you do not like neoliberalism, fine. I understand you do not like nationalism of Trump and Salvini, of Le Pen and BNP, fine. But what do you like? Give us a hint. Is it Corbyn's Labour and Sanders' Dems? Or more radical Communism?
Sollipsist , says: February 3, 2019 at 7:39 pm GMT
I absolutely agree with the necessity of restoring value and focus to the family/tribe/community, but I'm deeply suspicious of any blanket indictment of individualism. Individualism is not inherently destructive selfishness, any more than using the resources of the state to benefit its people is inherently "socialist."

Any plan for moving forward that starts by bad-mouthing individualism is simply riding history's baby-with-the-bathwater pendulum to the opposite extreme – a sad and hollow caricature of communitarianism immediately made suspect by the coercive abuses baked into systems such as communism, theocracy, faceless bureaucracy, homogenizing consumerism, etc

geokat62 , says: February 3, 2019 at 8:06 pm GMT
@Asagirian

According to a book I read, How Sweden Became Multicultural , a man named (((David Schwarz))) almost singlehandedly spearheaded the changes that led to Sweden becoming a multicultural country, one in which they are destined to become a minority.

(((Emanuel Celler))) also made it his lifelong mission to get the restrictionist Immigration Act of 1924 repealed and replaced by the non-restrictionist Immigration Act of 1965.

Thanks to George Soros and the work of his Open Society Foundations, this story has been replicated in almost all Western nations.

As George W Bush once infamously claimed, Mission Accomplished !

buzzwar , says: February 3, 2019 at 8:08 pm GMT
The letter was penned by Bernard Henry Levy a French jew. this guy, an Israeli firster, is a warmonger of the worst kind. he was behind the destruction of Libya. Actively supports the aggression on Syria, Yemen; Calls for aggression on Iran. He opposes the planned US withdrawal from Syria and thinks that trump is a danger to the "Jewish people" . The fact that he is sponsoring the letter speaks volumes. He doesn´t like politicians who favor nationalist policies; he calls them populists. He doesn't like criticism of Israeli racist policies, he calls it anti-Semitism, etc. I wonder how he managed to secure so many signatures.
Colin Wright , says: Website February 3, 2019 at 9:13 pm GMT
@DaveLeeDee ' He's a f+++ing idiot.'

Yes, but he's attacked for other reasons entirely. As matters stand, if you join in the vilification of Jeremy Corbyn, you're helping to establish Zionism as unassailable.

It's a bit like if you were Labour, and this were 1940. You might not like Churchill, but the alternative is to accede to appeasing Hitler. That was in fact the choice Labour faced, and they had to swallow Churchill -- for the time being.

It's no longer a matter of liking Corbyn. It's a matter of who would rather have to put up with: Corbyn or Zionist domination?

Christopher Black , says: February 3, 2019 at 10:44 pm GMT
Excellent article. Here is my take on Brexit and that poseur BHL in support. https://journal-neo.org/2016/07/02/brexit-a-different-democracy-a-different-future/
Seraphim , says: February 4, 2019 at 3:40 am GMT
@Anon Because BHL is himself a multimillionare: "His father, André Lévy, was the founder and manager of a timber company, Becob, and became a multimillionaire from his business In 2004, his fortune amounts to 150 million euros. Owner of seven companies, his fortune comes essentially from the inheritance of his parents, then completed by stock exchange investments (he is in 2000 suspected of insider trading by the Commission des opérations de bourse) "
Miro23 , says: February 6, 2019 at 7:45 am GMT
@Christopher Black ts of European people. The EU switched to open external frontiers, Asian outsourcing and the free international flow of capital (i.e. the full Neo-Liberal agenda), and it was when the consequences (de-industrialization, unemployment, mass non-European immigration) became apparent, that the public turned against the EU.

The ideal solution would be a return to the original EEC (with its closed external frontier and removal of internal barriers to the internal movement of people and goods), but it's probably too late for that, as the whole Europe idea will probably be trashed in the counter reaction with a return to all the inter-European trade hassles of the 1950's and 60's.

[Feb 09, 2019] Large Excess Reserves and the Relationship between Money and Prices - FRB Richmond

Notable quotes:
"... But otherwise, quite correct. Raise payments on deposits and get more deposits. Raise charges on loans and get fewer loans. I might note that the Fed has supposedly paused rate hikes, but deposits are still exiting the system faster than loans. This result can be had via Fred. Thus the curve is getting more3 inverted. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Joe , February 06, 2019 at 04:54 PM

Large Excess Reserves and the Relationship between Money and Prices - FRB Richmond

At the same time that it has been normalizing its balance sheet, the Fed also has been raising its target for interest rates. The ability to pay interest on reserves has been crucial to allowing the Fed to raise its target rate while there are still significant excess reserves in the banking system. Despite these rate increases, due to various secular reasons, interest rates are expected to remain historically low for a long time.

--------------

I sample the current expectation, and it is a bit more detailed. The expectation is that the curve will remain inverted, generally with a zero near the five yer mark, if I judge from the Treasury curve where the curve has been inverted with a zero near the five yer mark.

The ten year rate will remain historically higher than the five year rate for some time, evidently. If we measure interest rate as the per annum percent of Real GDP devoted to nominal federal interest charges, then the interest rate was higher than it has ever been going back to 1972, briefly (four months ago) , and now occupies the second highest level since just before the 92 recession, at about 3.5% of GDP. These result can be had in Fred by dividing nominal interest payments by real GDP.

But otherwise, quite correct. Raise payments on deposits and get more deposits. Raise charges on loans and get fewer loans. I might note that the Fed has supposedly paused rate hikes, but deposits are still exiting the system faster than loans. This result can be had via Fred. Thus the curve is getting more3 inverted.

Why do we know the curve will invert? It is the law, when the Fed loses deposits, loan charges drop, not rise as would be normal. That is why we all expect the curve to remain inverted, the law. The law is specifically designed so the Fed holds the current low rate as long as possible, then does the sudden regime change. The law, written into the law, a rule requires that we spend time with an inverted yield curve before price adjustment. I emphasis the law because it is actually typed out, signed and enforced publicly.

The law requires the Fed hold the curve as long as possible, mainly so the pres and Congress have time to react to changes in term of trade. So, like under Obama, we hold the line on rates until Obama and the Repubs agree on a tax and spending plan going forward, then the treasury curve gains traction again. Te law, it is not under debate unless you want to be arreswted.

[Feb 09, 2019] Tucker Carlson A Buckley for Our Time Intercollegiate Studies Institute Educating for Liberty

Notable quotes:
"... National Review ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Justin Raimondo is the author of ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | home.isi.org

The Bill Buckley of the paleoconservatives has arrived, and just in time for the Trump era. While Tucker Carlson's rhetorical reach may not stretch as far and wide as Buckley's, he evokes the same gaily combative spirit that young conservatives of the 1960s admired in the founder of National Review . Both emerged as symbols of a new and rising movement, an insurgency on the right that delighted in confronting and demolishing the mythology of modern liberalism -- "owning the libs" as we say nowadays -- as Buckley regularly did on his PBS-aired TV show Firing Line and as Carlson does five times a week on Fox News.

Yet that is where the resemblance ends. The "fusionism" of Buckley and National Review was a far cry from the unreconstructed America First-ism of an earlier American right, so ably reconfigured by Carlson for the twenty-first century. The original Buckley program brought together the three contending factions of the conservative movement: the anti-communists, the social conservatives, and the nascent libertarian movement. The America First coalition personified by Carlson connects the paleoconservatives, long thought to be the least influential of the right's many factions, with millions of radicalized middle Americans, the inhabitants of "flyover country" -- that is, the least influential people in the nation, the "forgotten people" Trump directly appealed to.

The revolution in conservative thought represented by Carlson sets many of what Buckley would have recognized as the central principles of modern conservatism on their head. Beyond that, however, is the fundamental difference in their respective positions: Buckley came to be part of the political class, the coastal elite that has ruled the nation since its earliest days: Carlson targets those people as the hapless captains of a "ship of fools," the title of his new book.

A decadent and self-isolated elite elected Donald Trump, says Carlson. Yes, somewhat tiresomely, Carlson launches his polemic with the eternal search for whom to "blame" for the victory of the "unappealing," "vulgar and ignorant" Trump. Once we get past this boilerplate, however, Carlson homes in on the real problem: the bicoastal oligarchy that dominates the rest of the country and is determined to hold on to power no matter what the cost.

They invaded Iraq on a pretext, bailed out Wall Street, lowered interest rates to zero, unleashed an unprecedented tide of immigration, and stood by while the country's manufacturing foundation was eaten away and the middle class collapsed. Yet still, the oligarchs felt entitled to rule, and they certainly expected to continue their rule beyond that November night in 2016, despite the fact that they were lording it over a population with which they had almost nothing in common.

In a phrase that will surely earn him howls of outrage from the guardians of political correctness, Carlson describes the "Latin Americanization" of the U.S. economy, where the income distribution curve is coming to resemble what one might find under a new form of feudalism. The Democrats, once the party of the working class, now advance the interests of the progressive bourgeoisie in D.C., New York, and Silicon Valley.

This Latin Americanization process is not defined merely by the isolation of the ruling class, its arrogance and indifference to the fate of its own people, but also by a major demographic project: the wholesale substitution of more pliable subjects for the voting population. When the East Germans of the German Democratic Republic rose up in rebellion and the communists solicited ideas to get back in the workers' good graces, the Stalinist poet/playwright Bertolt Brecht opined, "Would it not be easier in that case for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?" That is precisely what is happening. The American people never voted for it. Indeed, at every chance they have been given to express their opinion on mass immigration and open borders, the result has been an overwhelming and unmitigated rejection of both.

Carlson raises a question that no one else dares ask, for fear of the answer: Are we a country anymore? Or are we a sprawling borderless empire that simply expands and spreads, unbidden, like some mindless amoeba? "Again and again, we are told that these changes are entirely good," Carlson writes. "Change itself is inherently virtuous, our leaders explain. Those who oppose it are bigots." We have no common language, culture, history -- so why should we remain a country?

Our rulers cannot and will not answer this question. It violates everything they believe, everything they hold sacred: it strikes at the very heart of their worldview. Carlson points out that this country is in the midst of a disorienting, alienating, and potentially dangerous transformation that is changing the kind of country we were into something that may not be a country at all. If you oppose this, you're an enemy of diversity -- which is now our highest value.

We are not allowed to debate this: like all religious dogmas, it is beyond dispute, and any questioning of its wisdom is apt to get you run out of town on a rail. The penalty is so high because the policy is so unpopular, except with the bicoastal oligarchy, which imports cheap computer nerds from India to run their companies and Guatemalan nannies to raise their children. Mexican gardeners order their landscapes, while robbers, rapists, and drug dealers in this country illegally spread disorder in the neighborhoods on the other side of the railroad tracks. Not that the elites care: it isn't happening in the leafy suburbs they inhabit, which haven't changed since 1956.

And they wonder why the peasants with pitchforks are on the march. Not even the Bourbons were this indifferent to reality. How could they not have seen Trump and the upsurge of right-wing populism coming? How could they not have realized that, as Carlson puts it, "virtually none of their core beliefs had majority support from the population they governed. It was a strange arrangement for a democracy. In the end, it was unsustainable."

Right down the line, from immigration to foreign policy to the economic policies that enriched Silicon Valley and impoverished Middle America, the Davos crowd's agenda is the polar opposite of what most Americans want. Indeed, if a single phrase embodies the new conservative dispensation's view of the elite's policy agenda, and its conservative doppelgänger, Trump's supporters on the right often repeat it with ill-concealed contempt: Invade the world, invite the world.

This was the policy of the George W. Bush administration, and, with only slight rhetorical modifications, the mind-set that animated the Obama administration, not to mention most of the 2016 would-be Republican aspirants. Yet Americans of both parties were sick and tired of being lied to about the most disastrous war in their history, so they ignored the establishment outcries when Trump denounced the Iraq War as based on a lie. Trump was supposed to lose the South Carolina primary due to this "faux pas," but as usual the conventional wisdom was wrong: he won overwhelmingly.

Carlson's chapter on our "Foolish Wars" does something I have seen no other conservative work do: it documents the betrayal of the neoconservatives and their attempted reentry into the legions of the left. Max Boot, formerly a minor neocon known for advocating an "American empire," has now become one of many competing gurus of the NeverTrumpers and is busily trying to convince his newfound leftist comrades that he's really one of them. Carlson's mere listing of all the countries Boot has demanded we hit underscores the sheer craziness and lack of accountability that has dominated our discourse for years.

One almost feels sorry for Bill Kristol -- almost! -- as Carlson documents the trail of failed predictions ("They'll greet us as liberators!") and disastrous policies initiated by the little Lenin of the neocons. It's a virtually unbroken record of failed bets, miscalculations, and outright lies spelled out over decades -- a record that would doom any other pundit to irrelevance, instead of gifting him a prime spot on the cable networks and the op-ed pages.

Buckley made room for the neoconservatives when they defected from a pacifistic Democratic Party in the 1960s. Now Carlson is formalizing their unceremonious exit from the right by giving them a good shove. They'll land on their feet: they always do, like a hobo jumping off a boxcar. Let Tucker's book serve as a warning to the next train they try to hitch a ride on. ♦

Justin Raimondo is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (ISI Books).

[Feb 09, 2019] The reality of neoliberal dominatin is not pretty: What we are experiencing today is the worst and most extreme form of predatory and parasitic financialised monopoly crony capitalism (crapitalism), allied with blatant aggressive jingoistic militarism and the crudest form of imperialist exploitation

Feb 09, 2019 | off-guardian.org

mark says Feb, 7, 2019

What we are experiencing today is the worst and most extreme form of predatory and parasitic financialised monopoly crony capitalism (crapitalism), allied with blatant aggressive jingoistic militarism and the crudest form of imperialist exploitation.

I'm not sure even Marx envisaged anything this corrupt and degraded. This must be the terminal stage of crapitalism's death throes. It can only end in war and complete collapse.

It comes as no surprise to see the Faux Left Blairite Backstabbers and the Oh-So-Right-On-Politically-Correct Trudeau Regime leading the charge for a bog standard Pinochet style US coup behind the likes of Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and recycled neocon war criminal and death squad queen Abrams.

They have taken off the mask and showed their true colours. The final outcome is uncertain but the fall out will extend way beyond Venezuela. It may well sound the death knell of our current system.

Archie1954 says Feb, 7, 2019
Isn't it amazing how the scum of the Earth arrange to get into high places? I am totally outraged that Canada had anything to do with fostering a coup in Venezuela! It disturbs my sense of national sovereignty and I rue the day that Trudeau made this apostosy a member of his cabinet. What a poor choice for a Minister of Foreign Affairs! Just consider Canada's recent problems with Saudi Arabia, the Meng problem with /China, the chastising of Russia because it protected its sole military base on the Black Sea and now this foolish interference in Venezuela's internal affairs brought on by US sanctions. Canada's stupidity in all these matters makes me bilious.
Michael says Feb, 7, 2019
Trudeau made Soros' protege Chrystia Freeland part of his cabinet because it was on that condition that Soros generously funded and otherwise caused Trudeau's election bid to be well supported. Billionaires make "democratic" politics so very easy. Canadians, naive, unquestioning, insouciant, swayed by very well rewarded PR & media and with the transacted aquiesence of the other two warmongering neoliberal parties (Conservative & NDP) voted their hopes and Justin Trudeau to PM. But positioning Chrystia Freeland on the global stage and creating a neoliberal path to imperious fascist globalization is the assigned purpose of the swish disposable Canadian Dauphin. Harper played his Soros assigned role, Trudeau will play his and Chrystia hers and they, as quislings all, will exit rewarded as pet functionaries of Soros and his overly entitled ilk. We authorize Soros by wishing & believing this coup is at worst simply a flawed democracy. Ukraine was a Soros coup, Canada is a Soros coup and Venezuela is a Soros coup. All very, very profitable. Don't look, this is how omelettes are made. Our political parties are always for rent by billionaires –that is the main function of political parties. Being corrupt is a design characteristic not a flaw. Buying political parties in supposed democracies is easier, less risky and much more profitable than stealing candy from babies. Canada is undefended against billionaires, invest here, concentrated public assets and resources are available and the quaint people are professionally deactivated. m\\

[Feb 09, 2019] Neoliberalism's collapse is probably inevitable but what will come next is completely unclear

Notable quotes:
"... Unfettered individual creativity may have fostered some great – if fetishised – art, as well as rapid mechanical and technological developments. But it has also encouraged unbridled competition in every sphere of life, whether beneficial to humankind or not, and however wasteful of resources. ..."
"... At its worst, it has unleashed quite literally an arms race, one that – because of a mix of our unconstrained creativity, our godlessness and the economic logic of the military-industrial complex – culminated in the development of nuclear weapons. We have now devised the most complete and horrific ways imaginable to kill each other. We can commit genocide on a global scale ..."
"... Those among the elites who understand that neoliberalism has had its day are exploiting the old ideology of grab-it-for-yourself capitalism while deflecting attention from their greed and the maintenance of their privilege by sowing discord and insinuating dark threats. ..."
"... The criticisms of the neoliberal elite made by the ethnic nationalists sound persuasive because they are rooted in truths about neoliberalism's failure. But as critics, they are disingenuous. They have no solutions apart from their own personal advancement in the existing, failed, self-sabotaging system. ..."
"... This trend – what I have previously ascribed to a group I call the "dissenters" – understands that radical new thinking is required. But given that this group is being actively crushed by the old neoliberal elite and the new authoritarians, it has little public and political space to explore its ideas, to experiment, to collaborate, as it urgently needs to. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ok neoliberalism is bad and is collapsing. We all understadn that. The different in opinions here is only in timeframe of the collapse and the main reason (end of cheap oil, WWIII, etc). But so far no plausible alternative exists. Canwe return to the New Deal, if top management betrayed the working class and allied with capital owners in a hope later to became such capital owners themselves (and many did).

The experience of the USSR tells as that each Nomenklatura (technocratic elite with the goal of "betterment" of people) degrade very quickly (two generations were enough for Bolshevik's elite for complete degradation) and often is ready switch sides for the place in neoliberal elite.

So while after 2008 neoliberalism exist in zombie states (which is more bloodthirsty then previous) they issue of successor to neoliberalism is widely open.

In one sense, their diagnosis is correct: Europe and the [neo]neoliberal tradition are coming apart at the seams. But not because, as they strongly imply, European politicians are pandering to the basest instincts of a mindless rabble – the ordinary people they have so little faith in.

Rather, it is because a long experiment in Neoliberalism has finally run its course. Neoliberalism has patently failed – and failed catastrophically.

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, like most ideologies, has an upside. Its respect for the individual and his freedoms, its interest in nurturing human creativity, and its promotion of "universal values" over tribal attachment have had some positive consequences.

But neoliberal ideology has been very effective at hiding its dark side – or more accurately, at persuading us that this dark side is the consequence of neoliberalism's abandonment rather than inherent to the neoliberal's political project.

The loss of traditional social bonds – tribal, sectarian, geographic – has left people today more lonely, more isolated than was true of any previous human society. We may pay lip service to universal values, but in our atomised communities, we feel adrift, abandoned and angry.

Humanitarian resource grabs

The neoliberal's professed concern for others' welfare and their rights has, in reality, provided cynical cover for a series of ever-more transparent resource grabs. The parading of neoliberalism's humanitarian credentials has entitled our elites to leave a trail of carnage and wreckage in their wake in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and soon, it seems, in Venezuela. We have killed with our kindness and then stolen our victims' inheritance.

Unfettered individual creativity may have fostered some great – if fetishised – art, as well as rapid mechanical and technological developments. But it has also encouraged unbridled competition in every sphere of life, whether beneficial to humankind or not, and however wasteful of resources.

At its worst, it has unleashed quite literally an arms race, one that – because of a mix of our unconstrained creativity, our godlessness and the economic logic of the military-industrial complex – culminated in the development of nuclear weapons. We have now devised the most complete and horrific ways imaginable to kill each other. We can commit genocide on a global scale .

Meanwhile, the absolute prioritising of the individual has sanctioned a pathological self-absorption, a selfishness that has provided fertile ground not only for capitalism, materialism and consumerism but for the fusing of all of them into a turbo-charged neoliberalism. That has entitled a tiny elite to amass and squirrel away most of the planet's wealth out of reach of the rest of humanity.

Worst of all, our rampant creativity, our self-regard and our competitiveness have blinded us to all things bigger and smaller than ourselves. We lack an emotional and spiritual connection to our planet, to other animals, to future generations, to the chaotic harmony of our universe. What we cannot understand or control, we ignore or mock.

And so the neoliberal impulse has driven us to the brink of extinguishing our species and possibly all life on our planet. Our drive to asset-strip, to hoard resources for personal gain, to plunder nature's riches without respect to the consequences is so overwhelming, so compulsive that the planet will have to find a way to rebalance itself. And if we carry on, that new balance – what we limply term "climate change" – will necessitate that we are stripped from the planet.

Nadir of a dangerous arrogance

One can plausibly argue that humans have been on this suicidal path for some time. Competition, creativity, selfishness predate neoliberalism, after all. But neoliberalism removed the last restraints, it crushed any opposing sentiment as irrational, as uncivilised, as primitive.

Neoliberalism isn't the cause of our predicament. It is the nadir of a dangerous arrogance we as a species have been indulging for too long, where the individual's good trumps any collective good, defined in the widest possible sense.

The neoliberal reveres his small, partial field of knowledge and expertise, eclipsing ancient and future wisdoms, those rooted in natural cycles, the seasons and a wonder at the ineffable and unknowable. The neoliberal's relentless and exclusive focus is on "progress", growth, accumulation.

What is needed to save us is radical change. Not tinkering, not reform, but an entirely new vision that removes the individual and his personal gratification from the centre of our social organisation.

This is impossible to contemplate for the elites who think more neoliberalism, not less, is the solution. Anyone departing from their prescriptions, anyone who aspires to be more than a technocrat correcting minor defects in the status quo, is presented as a menace. Despite the modesty of their proposals, Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US have been reviled by a media, political and intellectual elite heavily invested in blindly pursuing the path to self-destruction.

Status-quo cheerleaders

As a result, we now have three clear political trends.

The first is the status-quo cheerleaders like the European writers of neoliberalism's latest – last? – manifesto . With every utterance they prove how irrelevant they have become, how incapable they are of supplying answers to the question of where we must head next. They adamantly refuse both to look inwards to see where neoliberalism went wrong and to look outwards to consider how we might extricate ourselves.

Irresponsibly, these guardians of the status quo lump together the second and third trends in the futile hope of preserving their grip on power. Both trends are derided indiscriminately as "populism", as the politics of envy, the politics of the mob. These two fundamentally opposed, alternative trends are treated as indistinguishable.

This will not save neoliberalism, but it will assist in promoting the much worse of the two alternatives.

Those among the elites who understand that neoliberalism has had its day are exploiting the old ideology of grab-it-for-yourself capitalism while deflecting attention from their greed and the maintenance of their privilege by sowing discord and insinuating dark threats.

The criticisms of the neoliberal elite made by the ethnic nationalists sound persuasive because they are rooted in truths about neoliberalism's failure. But as critics, they are disingenuous. They have no solutions apart from their own personal advancement in the existing, failed, self-sabotaging system.

The new authoritarians are reverting to old, trusted models of xenophobic nationalism, scapegoating others to shore up their own power. They are ditching the ostentatious, conscience-salving sensitivities of the neoliberal so that they can continue plundering with heady abandon. If the ship is going down, then they will be gorging on the buffet till the waters reach the dining-hall ceiling.

Where hope can reside

The third trend is the only place where hope can reside. This trend – what I have previously ascribed to a group I call the "dissenters" – understands that radical new thinking is required. But given that this group is being actively crushed by the old neoliberal elite and the new authoritarians, it has little public and political space to explore its ideas, to experiment, to collaborate, as it urgently needs to.

Social media provides a potentially vital platform to begin critiquing the old, failed system, to raise awareness of what has gone wrong, to contemplate and share radical new ideas, and to mobilise. But the neoliberals and authoritarians understand this as a threat to their own privilege. Under a confected hysteria about "fake news", they are rapidly working to snuff out even this small space.

We have so little time, but still the old guard wants to block any possible path to salvation – even as seas filled with plastic start to rise, as insect populations disappear across the globe, and as the planet prepares to cough us out like a lump of infected mucus.

We must not be hoodwinked by these posturing, manifesto-spouting liberals: the philosophers, historians and writers – the public relations wing – of our suicidal status quo. They did not warn us of the beast lying cradled in our midst. They failed to see the danger looming, and their narcissism blinds them still.

We should have no use for the guardians of the old, those who held our hands, who shone a light along a path that has led to the brink of our own extinction. We need to discard them, to close our ears to their siren song.

There are small voices struggling to be heard above the roar of the dying neoliberal elites and the trumpeting of the new authoritarians. They need to be listened to, to be helped to share and collaborate, to offer us their visions of a different world. One where the individual is no longer king. Where we learn some modesty and humility – and how to love in our infinitely small corner of the universe.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .


Rational , says: January 31, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT

SAVAGES IN SUITS.

Democracy = populism = nationalism and patriotism are the pinnacles of a civilized society. We evolved towards these.

These people are just savages in suits, asking us to back into the gutter.

We refuse. They are refuse.

peter mcloughlin , says: February 1, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
'We can commit genocide on a global scale.'

With the growing movement towards nuclear war, we have indeed reached the nadir. It is important to see how humanity got here, for the signs are ominous.

The pattern of history is clear. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war.

Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war.

https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

AWM , says: February 1, 2019 at 6:08 pm GMT
We are predators.
But Christ gave us an option.
Some people need to think about it.
MarkinLA , says: February 2, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT
Maybe it is just me but I didn't see any actual solution or much of anything in his third group. You know, the one with all the "correct" answers. All I saw was that it was a glorious vision without all the failings of the other two while rejecting all the badthink.

Every major tragedy in human history starts out with people thinking they have a system better than all the previous that ever occurred. It too soon becomes a religion that needs to defend itself by executing all the blasphemers.

peterAUS , says: February 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm GMT

Maybe it is just me but I didn't see any actual solution or much of anything in his third group. You know, the one with all the "correct" answers. All I saw was that it was a glorious vision without all the failings of the other two while rejecting all the badthink.

Exactly.

I've been waiting for the author, or some from his "group", to post here at least a LINK to that solution, even a suggestion, of theirs. Hell, even the proper analysis of what's not right. A foundation of sort.

So far, as you said, nothing.

Anon[248], February 3, 2019 at 5:29 am GMT

Levy another Jewish "intellectual" shilling for globalization and open borders - for Western nations only, to hasten their demise. What else is new?

[Feb 08, 2019] The US dollar is used for the international oil and gas trade and a wide part of global trade. This gives the US an exorbitant privilege to sanction countries it opposes and impose its conditions for oil trading

Feb 08, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Narrative says Feb, 1, 2019

Nations should explore better system to break US hegemony

"The US dollar is used for the international oil and gas trade and a wide part of global trade. This gives the US an exorbitant privilege to sanction countries it opposes.
..
The latest sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company aim to cut off source of foreign currency of Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro's government and eventually force him to step down.
..
A new mechanism should be devised to thwart such a vicious circle"

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1137847.shtml

crank says Feb, 1, 2019
Francis Lee; Big B,

OK I phrased that badly.

My question is really about those at the top of the power pyramid (those few hundred families who own the controling share of the wealth of the world) -- those who position idiots like Bolton to do their work, do they comprehend 'exergy' decline ?

If we can, then can they not? I agree with Parenti that they are not 'somnambulists'. They are strategists looking out for their own interests, and that means scrutinising trends in political movements, culture, technology and, well, just about everything. I find it hard, the idea that all these people -- people who have seen their businesses shaped by resource discovery, exploitation and then depletion, have no firm grasp on the realities of dwindling returns on energy.

The models were drawn up 47 years ago. I think that some of them at least, do understand that economic growth is coming to a halt, and have understood for decades. If true then they are planning that transition in their favour.

These hard to swallow facts about oil are still on the far fringes of any political conversation. The neoliberal cultists are deaf to them for obvious reasons; the socialist idealists believe that a 'New Deal' can lead us off the death train, but mostly ignore the intractable relationship between energy decline and financial problems; even the anarchists want their work free utopia run by robots and AI but stop short of asking whether solar panels and wind turbines can actually provide the power for all that tech. It's the news that nobody wants to think about, but which they will be forced to thinking about in the very near future.

The Twitter feed 'Limits to Growth' has less than 800 followers (excellent though it is).

BigB says Feb, 1, 2019
Crank

I do not want to get into the mind of the Walrus of Death Bolton! I do not want to know what he does, as he does. But at lower levels of government, and corporatism, there is an awareness of surplus energy economics. And as Nafeez has also pointed out, the military (the Pentagon) are taking an interest. And though it could rapidly change, who really appreciates the nuances of EROEI? I'm guessing at less than a single percent of all populations? And how many include its effects in a integrated political sense?

Its appreciation is sporadic: ranging from tech-utopia hopium to a defeated fatalism of the inevitability of collapse. Unless and until people want to face the harshness of the reality that capitalism has created: we are going to be involved in a marginal analysis. There are very few people who have realised that capitalism is long dead.

Dr Tim Morgan estimates that world capitalism has conservatively had $140tn in stimulus since 2008 -- without stimulating anything or reviving it at all. In fact, that amounts to the greatest robbery in history -- the theft of the future. Inasmuch as they can, those unrepayable debts -- transferred to inflate the parasitic assets of capitalists -- will be socialised. Except they cannot be. Not without surplus energy.

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/145-fire-and-ice-part-two/

Brexit, gilets jaunes, Venezuela, unending crises in MENA, China's economic slowdown, etc -- all linked by EROEI.

It is a common socio-politico-economic energy nexus -- but linked together by whom? And the emergent surplus energy-mind-environmental ecology nexus? All the information is available. The formation of a new political manifesto started in the 1960s with the New Left but it seems to have been in stasis since. Perhaps this might stimulate the conversation.

According to Nate Hagens: there is 4.5 years of human muscle power leveraged by each barrel of oil. We are all going to be working for a very long time to pay back the debts the possessing classes have built up for us -- with absolutely no marginal utility for ourselves.

We are subsidising our own voluntary slavery unless we develop an emergent ecosocialist and ecosophical alternative to carbon capitalism. We cannot expect paleoconservative carbon relics like Bolton -- or anyone else -- to do it for us. The current political landscape is dominated by a hierarchical, vested interest, carbon aristocracy. We can't expect that to change for our benefit any time ever. Expect the opposite.

BigB says Feb, 2, 2019
Graeber has a point, though. We could already have a post-scarcity, post-production society but for the egregious maldistribution of resources and employment. Andre Gorz said as much 50 years ago (Critique of Economic Reason). Why do we organise around production: it makes no sense but for the relations of production are, and remain, the relations of hierarchical rule. So long as we assign value to a human life on the basis of meritocratic productivity -- we will have dehumanisation, marginalisation, and subjugation (haves and have nots). So why not organisation around care, freedom and play?

Such a solution would require the transversalistion of society and not-full-employment: so that no part of the system is subordinate, and no part is privileged. All systems and sub-ordinate (care) systems would be co-equal, of corresponding value and worth. So, without invoking EROEI, that would go a long way to solve our exergy, waste, pollution, and inequality problems. It is the profligate, unproductive superstructure: supporting rentier, surplus energy accumulating, profit-seeking suprasocieties -- that squanders our excess energy and puts expansive spatio-temporal pressures on already stretched biophysical ecological systems that engenders potential collapse. It is their -- the possessing classes -- assets that are being inflated, at our environmental expense. When it comes to survivability, we cannot afford a parasitic globalised superstructure draining the host -- the ecologically productive base. Without the over-accumulation, overconsumption, and wastage (the accursed share) associated with the superstructure of the advanced economies -- and their cultural, credit, military imperialisms I expect we could live quite well. Without the pressures of globalised transportation networks, and unnecessary military budgets -- the pressure on oil is minimised. It could be used for the 1001 other uses it has, rather than fuelling Saudi Eurofighters bombing Yemeni schoolchildren, for instance. The surplus energy could be used to educate, clothe and feed them instead. That would be a better use of resources, for sure.

If we took stock of what we really have, and what we really are -- a form of spiritual neo-self-sufficiency, augmented and extended into co-mutual care and freedom valorising ecologies we wouldn't need to chase the perceived loss all over the globe, killing everything that moves. The solutions are not hard, they are normative, once we are shocked out of this awful near-life trance state of separationism. Thanks for the link.

crank says Feb, 2, 2019
It seems to me that there are two parallel arguments going on.
One is about social organisation, attitudes towards and policies determining work, money, paid employment, technological development and the distribution of weath.
The other is fundamentally based on the laws of thermodynamics and concerns resource limits, energy surpluses, the role of 'stored sunlight' in producing things and doing work for each other, pollution and projections about these into the future.

I am surprised that Graeber (just as an example) seems to basically ignore the second of these even though he clearly is an incisive thinker and makes good points about the first. It is taken as a given that, theoretically at least, human civilisation could re-organise around a new ethic, transform the economy into a 'caring economy', re-structure money, government and do away with militarism. In terms of what to do now, as an individual, what choices to make, it is disconcerting to me when talk of these ideals seems to ignore those latter questions about overshoot.

I wonder if the egalitarian nature of much of indiginous North American society was inescapably bound with the realities of a low population density, low technology, intimate relationship with the natural world and a culture completely steeped in reverence for Mother Earth.
The talk I hear from Bastani or Graeber along the lines of 'we could be flying around in jet packs on the moon, if only society was organised sensibly' rings hollow to me.

BigB says Feb, 2, 2019
Crank

Welcome to my world! Apart from as a managerial tool, systems thinking has yet to catch on in the wider population. According to reductive materialism: there are two unlinked arguments. According to Dynamic Systems Theory (DST) there is only one integrated argument -- with two inter-connected correlative aspects. We can only organise around what we can energetically afford. Consequently, we cannot organise around what we cannot afford -- that is, global industrialised production with a supervenient elitist superstructure.

Let's face it : ethical arguments carry little weight against organisation around hierarchical rule. The current talk of an ethical capitalism -- in mixed economies with 'commons' elements -- is an appeasement. and distractional to the gathering and ineluctable reality.

The current (2012) EROI for the UK is 6.2:1 -- barely above the 'energy cliff' of 5:1. The GDP 'growth' and bullshit jobs are funded by monetised debt (we borrow around £5 to make every £1 -- from Tim Morgan's SEEDS). From the Earth Overshoot Day website: the UK is in economic overshoot from May 8th onward.

These are indicators that we will not be "flying jetpacks on the moon": even if we reorganise. Everyone, and I mean everyone, will have to make do with less. A lot less. Everything would have to be localised and sustainable. Production would be minimised, and not at all full. Two major systems of production -- food (agroecology) and energy -- would have to be sustainable and self-sovereign. And financialisation and the rentier, service economy? Now you can see why no one, not even Dave the crypto-anarchist, is talking about reality. Elitism, establishment and entitlement do not figure in an equitable future. We can't afford it, energetically or ethically.

So when will the debate move on? Not any time the populace is bought into ideational deferred prosperity. All the time that EROEI is ignored as the fundamental concept governing dwindling prosperity -- no one, and I mean no one, will be talking about a minimal surplus energy future. The magic realism is that the economic affordances of cheap oil (unsustainably mimicked by debt-funding) will return sometime, somehow (the technocratic superfix). The aporia is that the longer the delay, the less surplus energy we will have available to utilise. Something like the Green New Deal -- that has been proposed for around two decades now -- may give us some quality of life to sustain. Pseudo-talk of a Customs Union, 'clean' coal, and nuclear power, will not.

An integrated reality -- along the model of Guattari's 'Three Ecologies' -- of mind, economy, and environment is well, we are not alone, but we are ahead of the curve. The other cultural aporia is that we need to implement such vision now. Actually, about thirty years ago but let's not get depressive!

We are going to need that cooperative organisation around care and freedom just to get through the coming century.

crank says Jan, 31, 2019
As mentioned elsewhere here, Venezualan oil deposits are not all that the hype cracks them up to be. They are mostly oil sands that produce little in the way of net energy gain after the lengthy process of extraction.The Venezuala drama is about the empire crushing democracy (i.e. socialism), not oil. [not that this detracts from Kit's essential point in the article].
The Left (as well as the Right), by and large have not come to terms with the realities of the decline in net surplus energy that is unfolding around the world and driving the political changes that we see. So they still view geopolitics in terms of the oil economy of pre-2008.
The productive economies of Europe are falling apart (check Steve Keen's latest on Max and Stacy -- although even i he doesn't delve into the energy decline aspect).
The carbon density of the global economy has not changed in the 27 years since the founding of the UNFCCC.

The Peak Oil phenomenon was oversimplified, misrepresented and misunderstood as a simple turning point in overall oil production. In truth it was a turning point in energy surplus.
I predict that by the end of this or next year, everyone will be talking about ERoEI. Everyone will realise that there is no way out of this predicament. Maybe there are ways to lessen the catastrophe, but no way to avert it. This will change the conversation, and even change what 'politics' means (i.e. you cannot campaign on a 'new start' or a 'better, brighter future' if everyone knows that that physically cannot happen).
Everyone will understand that their civilisation is collapsing.
Does Bolton understand this?

I dunno.
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/brexit-stage-one-in-europes-slow-burn-energy-collapse-1f520d7e2d89

Francis Lee says Jan, 31, 2019
"Does Bolton Understand this/? I think this might qualify as a rhetorical question.
BigB says Feb, 1, 2019
Crank

If you were referring to my earlier comments about Venezuelan extra heavy crude: it's still massively about the oil. The current carbon capitalist world system does not understand surplus energy or EROEI, as it is so fixated on maximal short term returns for shareholders. It can't comprehend that their entire business model is unsustainable and self cannibalising. Which is bad for us: because carbon net-energy (exergy) economics it is foundational to all civilisation. The ignorance of it and subsequent environmental and social convergence crises threatens the systemic failure of our entire civilisation. The Venezuelan crisis affects us all: and is symptomatic of a decline in cheap oil due to rapidly falling EROEI.

I can't find the EROEI specifically for Venezuelan heavy oil: but it is only slightly more viscous than bitumen -- which has an EROEI of 3:1. Let's call it 4:1: the same as other tight oils and shale. Anything less than 5:1 is more or less an energy sink: with virtually no net energy left for society. The minimum EROEI for societal needs is 11:1. Does Bolton understand this? Francis hit the nail on the head there.

Do any of our leaders? No. If they did, a transition to decentralisation would be well under way. Globalised supply chains are systemically threatened and fragile. A globalised economy is spectacularly vulnerable. Especially a debt-ridden one. Which way are our leaders trying to take us? At what point will humanity realise we are following clueless Pied Pipers off the Seneca Cliff -- into globalised energy oblivion?

The rapid investment -- not in a post-carbon transition -- but in increased militarisation, and resource and market driven aggressive foreign intervention policies reveal the mindset of insanity. As people come to understand the energy basis of the world crisis: the fact of permanent austerity and increased pauperisation looms large. What will the outcome be when an armed nuclear madhouse becomes increasingly protectionsist of their dwindling share? Too alarmist, perhaps? Let's play pretend that we can plant a few trees and captive breed a few rhinos and it will all be fine. BAU?

The world runs on cheap oil: our socio-politico-economic expectations of progress depend on it. Which means that the modern human mind is, in effect, a thought-process predicated on cheap oil. Oleum ergo sum? Apart from the Middle East: we are already past the point where oil is a liability, not a viability. Debt funding its extraction, selling below the cost of production -- both assume the continual expansion of global GDP. Oil is a highly subsidised -- with our surplus socialisation capital -- negative asset. We foot the bill. A bill that EROEI predicts will keep on rising. At what point do we realise this? Or do we live in hopium of a return to historical prosperity? Or hang on the every word of the populist magic realism demagogue who promises a future social utopia?

If it's based on cheap oil, it ain't happenin'.

BigB says Feb, 1, 2019
Erratum: less viscous than bitumen.
wildtalents says Feb, 1, 2019
Is it no longer considered a courtesy to the reader to spell out, and who knows maybe even explain, the abbreviations one uses?
Jen says Feb, 1, 2019
EROEI = Energy Returned on Energy Invested (also known as EROI = Energy Return on Investment)

EROEI refers to the amount of usable energy that can be extracted from a resource compared to the amount of energy (usually considered to come from the same resource) used to extract it. It's calculated by dividing the amount of energy obtained from a source by the amount of energy needed to get it out.

An EROEI of 1:1 means that the amount of usable energy that a resource generates is the same as the amount of energy that went into getting it out. A resource with an EROEI of 1:1 or anything less isn't considered a viable resource if it delivers the same or less energy than what was invested in it. A viable resource is one with an EROEI of at least 3:1.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested

The concept of EROEI assumes that the energy needed to get more energy out of a resource is the same as the extracted energy ie you need oil to extract oil or you need electricity to extract electricity. In real life, you often need another source of energy to extract energy eg in some countries, to extract electricity, you need to burn coal, and in other countries, to extract electricity you need to build dams on rivers. So comparing the EROEI of electricity extraction across different countries will be difficult because you have to consider how and where they're generating electricity and factor in the opportunity costs involved (that is, what the coal or the water or other energy source -- like solar or wind energy -- could have been used for instead of electricity generation).

That is probably why EROEI is used mainly in the context of oil or natural gas extraction.

BigB says Feb, 1, 2019
wildtalents: Yes, I normally do. But the thread started from, and includes Crank's link that explains it.
Thomas Peterson says Feb, 1, 2019
That's true, Venezuela's 'oil' is mostly not oil.

[Feb 07, 2019] Bernie arrived on the scene like a time traveler from an era before the unbreakable stranglehold of neoliberalism

If Trump runs of the defense of neoliberalism platform he will lose. But Trump proved to be a bad, superficial politician, Republican Obama so to speak, so he may take this advice from his entourage. Trump proved to be a puppet of MIC and Israel, his tax cuts had shown that he is a regular "trickle down" neoliberal. So he attraction to voters is down substantially. Now
Polling is unambiguous here. If you define the "center" as a position somewhere between those of the two parties, when it comes to economic issues the public is overwhelmingly left of center; if anything, it's to the left of the Democrats. Tax cuts for the rich are the G.O.P.'s defining policy, but two-thirds of voters believe that taxes on the rich are actually too low, while only 7 percent believe that they're too high. Voters support Elizabeth Warren's proposed tax on large fortunes by a three-to-one majority. Only a small minority want to see cuts in Medicaid, even though such cuts have been central to every G.O.P. health care proposal in recent years.
Notable quotes:
"... Insiders have suggested that Trump plans to explicitly run against socialism in 2020. In fact, in playing up the dangers of socialism, he may be positioning himself to run against Bernie Sanders in 2020. ..."
"... Sanders's rebuttal to Trump's address gave us a preview of how he plans to respond to the mounting attacks on socialism from the Right. President Trump said tonight, quote, "We are born free, and we will stay free," end of quote. Well I say to President Trump, people are not truly free when they can't afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. People are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they desperately need. People are not truly free when they are unable to retire with dignity. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages. People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families. ..."
"... As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said in 1968, and I quote, "This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor." What Dr. King said then was true, and it is true today, and it remains absolutely unacceptable. ..."
"... In essence what we're seeing here is Bernie Sanders challenging the popular equation of capitalism with democracy and freedom. This is the same point Bernie has been making for decades. "People have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech," he said in 1976. This Cold War dogma swept the pervasive reality of capitalist unfreedom - from the bondage of poverty to the perversions of formal democracy under the pressure of a dominant economic class - under the rug. In a 1986 interview, Bernie elaborated: ..."
"... All that socialism means to me, to be very frank with you, is democracy with a small "d." I believe in democracy, and by democracy I mean that, to as great an extent as possible, human beings have the right to control their own lives. And that means that you cannot separate the political structure from the economic structure. One has to be an idiot to believe that the average working person who's making $10,000 or $12,000 a year is equal in political power to somebody who is the head of a large bank or corporation. So, if you believe in political democracy, if you believe in equality, you have to believe in economic democracy as well. ..."
"... The rise of neoliberalism and the fall of the Soviet Union relieved the capitalist state's elite of the need to keep shoring up the equation between capitalism and freedom. Capitalists and their ideology had triumphed, hegemony was theirs, and socialism was no real threat, a foggy memory of a distant era. But forty years of stagnating wages, rising living costs, and intermittent chaos caused by capitalist economic crisis remade the world - slowly, and then all at once. When Bernie Sanders finally took socialist class politics to the national stage three years ago, people were willing to listen. ..."
Feb 06, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. , February 06, 2019 at 01:36 PM

https://jacobinmag.com/2019/02/trump-state-of-union-socialism

02.06.2019

Trump Is Right to Be Afraid of Socialism
BY MEAGAN DAY

... I think he's scared," said Ocasio-Cortez of Trump's socialism remarks. "He sees that everything is closing in on him. And he knows he's losing the battle of public opinion when it comes to the actual substantive proposals that we're advancing to the public." Given the remarkable popularity of proposals like Bernie's Medicare for All and tuition-free college and Ocasio-Cortez's 70 percent top marginal tax rate, she's probably onto something.

Insiders have suggested that Trump plans to explicitly run against socialism in 2020. In fact, in playing up the dangers of socialism, he may be positioning himself to run against Bernie Sanders in 2020. That would be a smart move, since Bernie is the most popular politician in America and could very well be Trump's direct contender in the general election, if he can successfully dodge attacks from the establishment wing of the Democratic Party in the primary.

Sanders's rebuttal to Trump's address gave us a preview of how he plans to respond to the mounting attacks on socialism from the Right. President Trump said tonight, quote, "We are born free, and we will stay free," end of quote. Well I say to President Trump, people are not truly free when they can't afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. People are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they desperately need. People are not truly free when they are unable to retire with dignity. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages. People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families.

As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said in 1968, and I quote, "This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor." What Dr. King said then was true, and it is true today, and it remains absolutely unacceptable.

In essence what we're seeing here is Bernie Sanders challenging the popular equation of capitalism with democracy and freedom. This is the same point Bernie has been making for decades. "People have been brainwashed into thinking socialism automatically means slave-labor camps, dictatorship and lack of freedom of speech," he said in 1976. This Cold War dogma swept the pervasive reality of capitalist unfreedom - from the bondage of poverty to the perversions of formal democracy under the pressure of a dominant economic class - under the rug. In a 1986 interview, Bernie elaborated:

All that socialism means to me, to be very frank with you, is democracy with a small "d." I believe in democracy, and by democracy I mean that, to as great an extent as possible, human beings have the right to control their own lives. And that means that you cannot separate the political structure from the economic structure. One has to be an idiot to believe that the average working person who's making $10,000 or $12,000 a year is equal in political power to somebody who is the head of a large bank or corporation. So, if you believe in political democracy, if you believe in equality, you have to believe in economic democracy as well.

For more than four decades, Bernie made these points to relatively small audiences. In 2016, everything changed, and he now makes them to an audience of millions.

The rise of neoliberalism and the fall of the Soviet Union relieved the capitalist state's elite of the need to keep shoring up the equation between capitalism and freedom. Capitalists and their ideology had triumphed, hegemony was theirs, and socialism was no real threat, a foggy memory of a distant era. But forty years of stagnating wages, rising living costs, and intermittent chaos caused by capitalist economic crisis remade the world - slowly, and then all at once. When Bernie Sanders finally took socialist class politics to the national stage three years ago, people were willing to listen.

Bernie has been so successful at changing the conversation that the President now feels obligated to regurgitate Cold War nostrums about socialism and unfreedom to a new generation.

Good, let him. Each apocalyptic admonition is an opportunity for Bernie, and the rest of us socialists, to articulate a different perspective, one in which freedom and democracy are elusive at present but achievable through a society-wide commitment to economic and social equality. We will only escape "coercion, domination, and control" when we structure society to prioritize the well-being of the many over the desires of the greedy few.

Mr. Bill said in reply to anne... February 06, 2019 at 03:29 PM

A lot of the opinion part of what Paul Krugman says, in this article, maybe, doesn't ring quite true, although I don't dispute the facts.

Poll after poll show that 75% of us agree on 80% of the issues, regardless of which political tribe we identify with.

I tend to think that the real problem is that neither the GOP, which represents the top 1% of the economically comfortable, nor the Democrats who represent the top 10%, are representative of the majority of Americans.

Frantically trying to slice and dice the electorate into questionably accurate tranches, ignores the elephant in the room, Paul.

[Feb 05, 2019] Money's true nature is law. When a country collapses, then its money collapses.

Feb 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

MEFOBILLS , says: February 3, 2019 at 8:07 pm GMT

@nsa Sorry, not true.

The original bronze disks of Rome circulated as currency. The metal money of U.S. Confederacy circulated that is until the Confederacy became no more.

The point? Money's true nature is law. When a country collapses, then its money collapses.

Paper money that was good? Lincoln's greenbacks circulated at par. Massachusetts Bills circulated as money and prevented Oligarchs from England and their attempted takeover. The colony used the money to make iron goods (like Cannons) and do commerce.

The real statement is this: Money when it becomes unlawful, always collapses.

Massive money printing can happen when too many loans are made, as in the case today as all private bank credit notes come into being with loan activity -- a little more that 98%.

Driving a currency down with shorts causes new money to be loaned into existence, which in turn is the underlying cause of hyperinflations. The new credit creation covers the short. This mechanism always goes along with exchange rate pressures, where your country has to pay a debt in a foreign currency.

If you had an internal gold currency, which is recognized internationally, then your debts would be paid in gold, which would collapse your country into depression instead of inflation.

Bottom line is that money's true nature is law, and making claims about "paper" or "metal" obscures this fact.

cassandra , says: February 3, 2019 at 8:38 pm GMT
@eah

Since both the Fed and your local bank create money from nothing

They also impose some obligations: repayment of principle and interest. Since we can't create money from nothing, this payback has to come from money somehow created by the banks as well.

I'm less worried about "disappearing" tax money than I am about misallocated spending and its consequences -- eg the 'black budget' of the NSA and 'deep state' generally.

Can't we worry about everything ?

Good point about the 'black budget'. But the last time some sort of DOD audit was attempted the Pentagon accountants' offices got hit by a missile, I mean airliner, on 911.

[Feb 05, 2019] A good analogy on US policy is Syria

Feb 05, 2019 | www.youtube.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9QOVk0x1Vw

JJL90 , 1 month ago (edited)

The emergency room visits are lower when you have bombed all the emergency rooms :D

So when you stop bombing the hell out of them, they can actually rebuild an emergency room, and visits go up :DDDD

[Feb 05, 2019] Tucker Carlson Dismantles Pro-War Stooge

Notable quotes:
"... Tucker is an interesting thinker who doesn't tow a party line. We need more people like Jimmy and Tucker in the news. This is easily the 10th video of Jimmy taking Tucker's side ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | www.youtube.com

j g , 1 month ago

I don't agree with Jimmy Dore on much, but he and Tucker are 100% right about Syria. There is a segment of the left and right that aren't that far apart, but we keep getting manipulated to hate each other.

The Fatty McGee , 1 month ago

My boy is a marine. He was deployed to Syria and even he said that the troops never got a clear reason for being there

grwizy , 1 month ago

Creating terrorists means more money for military industrial complex.

John Donne Show , 1 month ago

MSM is cancer Propagandist on the Payroll of the Ruling Class 1% "The Fed."

Ben Briggs , 1 month ago

Jimmy, Just admit that you like and agree with Tucker. Every Tucker video has the premise of, "I disagree with 99% of what Tucker says" or "If Tucker sees this then everyone should see it." Tucker is an interesting thinker who doesn't tow a party line. We need more people like Jimmy and Tucker in the news. This is easily the 10th video of Jimmy taking Tucker's side .

clamp down , 1 month ago

come on jimmy acknowledge that tucker is doing a GREAT job, moderate conservative or not

dlhoyes , 1 month ago

Sounds like some liberals are waking up to what the conservatives have been saying for decades. We have to work together for freedoms sake.

TBG_ Dies_1st , 1 month ago

Tucker Carlson is the only one I deem worthy of my attention on Fox News. I guarantee it, I stand by that, that's a brand name.

mads max , 1 month ago

Why are we there? To destabilize and baulkanize the remaining Middle East Who are we there for? For the greater 1srae1 project. Who is isis? Massads people. What is our objective? Oil pipelines for 1srae1. Who are we going after next? Iran

dlhoyes , 1 month ago

Sounds like some liberals are waking up to what the conservatives have been saying for decades. We have to work together for freedoms sake.

TBG_ Dies_1st , 1 month ago

Tucker Carlson is the only one I deem worthy of my attention on Fox News. I guarantee it, I stand by that, that's a brand name.

mads max , 1 month ago

Why are we there? To destabilize and baulkanize the remaining Middle East Who are we there for? For the greater 1srae1 project. Who is isis? Massads people. What is our objective? Oil pipelines for 1srae1. Who are we going after next? Iran

Guardiano , 1 month ago

Jimmy Dore: the only leftist journalist with any integrity. I legitimately believe that while he's wrong all the time (to my far-right view), he's not lying.

Rio Rin , 1 month ago

Most important part in my opinion is comment about christians celebrating Christmass in Damascus. They wouldn't celebrate under Al Nusra or Isis or other wahabi supported fractions, but they are celebrating under Assad. By the way US government is in some way protecting HTS in Idlib wich is rebranded Al Nusra, Syrian ofshoot of Al Kaida so Assad army is not attacking them.

oleeb , 1 month ago

Pro war people don't just want to be there for the sake of it. They want to have US forces on the ground there for a whole host of reason all related to maintaining US hegemony wherever they can. We have forces deployed throughout the middle east because we want to be the primary hegemon in the middle east. Our primacy is threatened by no one nation but by a coalition of anti US nations particularly Iran, Syria and Syria's longstanding alliance with Russia.

Loves Chocolate , 1 month ago (edited)

I find it a shame that the western nations are vilifying Russia as Putin hates the globalists and is fighting against the terrorists. It appears that Russia should be our allies rather than Isra Hell and the Saudi regime. Putin was invited by Assad to help him rid his country of the terrorists but the US weren't asked and just illegally invaded. Out of interest why does the US support Isra hell when it has over 300 nukes but it thinks Iran is a problem? Isn't it more that Iran doesn't have a central (Rothschild) bank? Just like North Korea, Cuba and now, Russia due to paying them off and ridding his country of the Rotschilds! They don't own Russia like they do the US. Edited as I forgot to say I love Tucker and his common sense.

Jay Bui , 1 month ago (edited)

The best part by far of this was when Jimmy yelled, we are in these countries ILLEGALLY!! Jimmy I love you bc you are unbiased but for you to complain we are somewhere illegally is rich considering how much you defended ILLEGAL immigration in America. Must have been a freudian slip.

Jay Bui , 1 month ago (edited)

The best part by far of this was when Jimmy yelled, we are in these countries ILLEGALLY!! Jimmy I love you bc you are unbiased but for you to complain we are somewhere illegally is rich considering how much you defended ILLEGAL immigration in America. Must have been a freudian slip.

Reckless Abandon , 1 month ago (edited)

This guy can't admit that the Obama Administration started the Syrian civil war and created ISIS. What he really wants is to PROTECT ISIS because after Syria they were trained to attack Russia in the Caucasus. Russia is sensibly wiping out ISIS in Syria so they don't have to fight them in Chechnya. The Democrats and the neocons created Russiagate to prevent Trump from pulling out two years ago, now Trump doesn't care, because they will invent shit about him regardless.

Sergei , 1 month ago

Obama and Bush created ISIS and Russians, SAA, Iranians and Hezbollah destroyed ISIS. The US needs to GTFO of all countries it occupied.

F M , 1 month ago (edited)

You're missing a major point -- I S R A E L These neocon and establishment democrats have tightened ass cheeks because Trump's decision bypasses these Zionists' fervent wishes of keeping the US there in a proxy war as Israel's protectors.

Reactionary Hermit , 1 month ago (edited)

Tucker is slowly but surely becoming increasingly sympathetic towards the third position.He's the only figure on the MSM who thinks critically and asks uncomfortable questions. I wonder when the Zionists over at Fox News will pull the plug on him? You should have Tucker on if it's at all possible. He is actually aligned with the left somewhat on economic issues.

blaze 2017 , 1 month ago

Dont worry Lindsey Graham pranced in and convinced Trump to let us bleed and be stripped of our wealth.

nh inpg , 1 month ago

"Former Obama Campaign Adviser David Tafuri" -- Pretty much tells you all you need to know, right?

[Feb 05, 2019] Italy Guns For Glass-Steagall-Type Law to Break Up Banks, Cut Bailout Costs for Taxpayers

Looks like pendulum moved in opposite direction and neoliberals (and first of all financial oligarchy) might be crashed by the return of the New Deal style regulations as well as higher taxes on incomes. the latter measure is popular even in the USA.
Notable quotes:
"... By Don Quijones of Spain, Mexico, and the UK, and an editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street ..."
"... The bill will face stiff opposition from the domestic banking sector as well as the European Commission, which in 2017, under pressure from Europe's banking lobbies, abandoned its own pledge to break-up too-big-to-fail lenders. ..."
"... Since the global financial crisis, big banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been fighting tooth and nail all regulatory attempts to split their deposit-taking commercial units from their riskier investment banking units. ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Don Quijones of Spain, Mexico, and the UK, and an editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street

On Friday, Italy's coalition government unveiled new banking regulations that it hopes to pass in the coming months, including a rule that would separate banks' commercial and investment arms. It would be the Italian equivalent of the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1933 U.S. law that separated commercial banks that took deposits, made loans, and processed transaction, from riskier investment banking activities. The law was designed to protect deposits. Its repeal in 1999 led to the consolidation of the U.S. banking sector, unfettered risk-taking by deposit-taking banks, and arguably the Financial Crisis just eight years later.

... ... ...

The bill will face stiff opposition from the domestic banking sector as well as the European Commission, which in 2017, under pressure from Europe's banking lobbies, abandoned its own pledge to break-up too-big-to-fail lenders.

Since the global financial crisis, big banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been fighting tooth and nail all regulatory attempts to split their deposit-taking commercial units from their riskier investment banking units. Such legislation would would make each entity smaller. And that is not in the interests of the big banks, nor the ECB, which hopes to breathe life into a new generation of trans-European super-banks by serving as matchmaker to Europe's largest domestic lenders.

[Feb 05, 2019] Capitalists need their options regulated and their markets ripped from their control by the state. Profits must be subject to use it to a social purpose or heavily taxed. Dividends executive comp and interest payments included

Feb 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:22 PM

Is anyone else tired of the longest, least productive waste of war in American history ? What have we achieved, where are we going with this ? More war.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:31 PM
We are being fed a fairy tale of war about what men, long dead, did. And the reason they did it. America is being strangled by the burden of belief that now is like then.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:46 PM
By the patrician men and women administrators, posturing as soldiers like the WW2 army, lie for self profit. Why does anyone believe them ? Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, each an economic decision, rather than a security issue.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:48 PM
America is dying on the same sword as Rome, for the same reason.
Plp -> JF... , January 31, 2019 at 07:28 AM
Capitalists need their options regulated and their markets ripped from their control by the state. Profits must be subject to use it to a social purpose or heavily taxed. Dividends executive comp and interest payments included
Julio -> mulp ... , January 31, 2019 at 08:58 AM
Well done! Much clearer than your usual. There are several distinct motivations for taxes. We have been far enough from fairness to workers, for so long, that we need to use the tax system to redistribute the accumulated wealth of the plutocrats.

So I would say high marginal rates are a priority, which matches both objectives. Wealth tax is needed until we reverse the massive inequality supported by the policies of the last 40 years.

Carbon tax and the like are a different thing, use of the tax code to promote a particular policy and reduce damage to the commons.

Gerald -> Julio ... , January 31, 2019 at 04:14 PM
"...we need to use the tax system to redistribute the accumulated wealth of the plutocrats. So I would say high marginal rates are a priority..."

Forgive me, but high marginal rates (which I hugely favor) don't "redistribute the accumulated wealth" of the plutocrats. If such high marginal rates are ever enacted, they'll apply only to the current income of such plutocrats.

Julio -> Gerald... , January 31, 2019 at 06:22 PM
You merged paragraphs, and elided the next one. The way I see it, high rates are a prerequisite to prevent the reaccumulation of obscene wealth, and its diversion into financial gambling.

But yes that would be a very slow way to redistribute what has already accumulated.

Gerald -> Julio ... , February 01, 2019 at 04:48 AM
Didn't mean to misinterpret what you were saying, sorry. High rates are not only "a prerequisite to prevent the reaccumulation of obscene wealth," they are also a reimposition of fair taxation on current income (if it ever happens, of course).
Global Groundhog -> Julio ... , February 02, 2019 at 01:39 PM
Wealth tax is needed until we reverse the massive inequality supported by the policies of the last 40 years. Carbon tax and the like are a different thing, use of the tax code to promote a particular policy and reduce damage to the commons.
"

more wisdom as usual!

Although wealth tax will be unlikely, it could be a stopgap; could also be a guideline to other taxes as well. for example, Elizabeth points out that billionaires pay about 3% of their net worth into their annual tax bill whereas workers pay about 7% of their net worth into their annual tax bill. Do you see how that works?

it doesn't? this Warren argument gives us a guideline. it shows us where other taxes should be adjusted to even out this percentage of net worth that people are taxed for. Ceu, during the last meltdown 10 years or so ago, We were collecting more tax from the payroll than we were from the income tax. this phenomenon was a heavy burden on those of low net worth. All this needs be resorted. we've got to sort this out.

and the carbon tax? may never be; but it indicates to us what needs to be done to make this country more efficient. for example some folks, are spending half a million dollars on the Maybach automobile, about the same amount on a Ferrari or a Alfa Romeo Julia quadrifoglio, but the roads are built for a mere 40 miles an hour, full of potholes.

What good is it to own a fast car like that when you can't drive but 40 -- 50 miles an hour? and full of traffic jams. something is wrong with taxation incentives. we need to get a better grid-work of roads that will get people there faster.

Meanwhile most of those sports cars just sitting in the garage. we need a comprehensive integrated grid-work of one way streets, roads, highways, and interstates with no traffic lights, no stop signs; merely freeflow ramp-off overpass interchanges.

thanks, Julio! thanks
again
.!

JF -> Global Groundhog... , February 04, 2019 at 05:42 AM
Wonderful to see the discussion about public finance shifting to use net worth proportions as the focus and metric.

Wonderful. Let us see if press/media stories and opinion pieces use this same way of talking about the financing of self-government.

Mr. Bill -> anne... , February 03, 2019 at 08:15 PM
Jesus Christ said, in so many words, that a man's worth will be judged by his generosity and his avarice.

" 24And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26They were even more astonished and said to one another, "Who then can be saved?"

[Feb 04, 2019] Externally, a nation's currency usually has value to the extent that a nation has something to offer others, which makes the currency useful for making a desired purchase. Today, the "desired purchase" is oil.

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

cassandra , says: February 4, 2019 at 9:43 pm GMT

@MEFOBILLS +++++

I'd extend your comment a bit.

Internally, a national currency has a value corresponding to demand placed by the government, such as money for the taxes the state requires of its people. The ups and downs of Lincoln's Greenback fiat currency, especially its interaction with the value of gold, demonstrates how currency is tied to confidence in the government, as you suggest.

Externally, a nation's currency usually has value to the extent that a nation has something to offer others, which makes the currency useful for making a desired purchase. Today, the "desired purchase" is oil. The dollar is valued because you need dollars to buy oil, as formerly enforced by diplomatic pressure. Because of US sanctions, trade in oil is now beginning using rubles, yuan, and most unforgivably, Venezuelan currency! (Like Iraq, Libya and Syria). If this keeps up, countries will no longer need dollars for their oil, and $ will have to compete internationally based on other considerations. That won't be pretty. IMHO, US leaders have dangerously eroding the dollar's pre-eminence by profligate use of sanctions.

I need to remedy my own deficiencies in this area, but advocates of Modern Monetary Theory, like Michael Hudson, Steve Keene, and like-minded economists who often post at nakedcapitalism, make a strong case for a fiat money system, issued and controlled by state banks, in contrast to the private banks as now.

But objecting to the fact that private bankers charge us interest, and act above the law and democratic accountability, is such a quaint complaint.

[Feb 04, 2019] I think the U.S. is at most 20 years away from severe dysfunction at every level of society, and possibly even civil war and break up

Neoliberalism like Bolshevism is sticky, so the collapse "USSR-style" is a real possibility if nationalist sentiments explode in the USA. But I would give it 40 years instead of 20. This forecast has a distinct advantage that nobody will remember it in 40 years ;-)
Feb 04, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

dolph x Ignored says: 02/01/2019 at 11:52 am

I think the U.S. is at most 20 years away from severe dysfunction at every level of society, and possibly even civil war and break up.

I mention this only because I can sense a certain desperation in your post and why not counter it with pessimistic reality? The U.S. is not the only country in the world. 95% of the world's population, and 80% of it's economy, is outside the U.S.

The unipolar moment of American dominance is over, finished, never to return. Still possible to have a decent life for awhile, but we'll see. Just remember, Europeans believed in the early 20th century that they would rule the world for centuries to come, if not millenia. They had no reason to believe otherwise. Look how that turned out.

[Feb 04, 2019] What if this is the beginning of the Senneca-Cliff?

Feb 04, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Karl Johnson

x Ignored says: 01/29/2019 at 10:11 am
Whats the beginning of the Senneca-Cliff?
GuyM x Ignored says: 01/29/2019 at 11:50 am
I think it would be this year, if not last year. Ron has said 2019 at one time. Dennis thinks later, around 2025, as I recall.
Hickory x Ignored says: 01/29/2019 at 2:14 pm
Karl- I see that you asked 'what' rather than when.
Seneca Cliff refers to a very rapid decline in a feature (such as global oil production) after it has achieved a peak. This is as opposed to a very slow decline.
Obviously for oil, a fast decline would be catastrophic.

https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2011/08/seneca-effect-origins-of-collapse.html

Guym x Ignored says: 01/29/2019 at 4:00 pm
According to the chart from iRA I posted below, we would be on a Seneca cliff now, without shale oil. Just flattened the drop for awhile.
GuyM x Ignored says: 01/29/2019 at 11:39 am
https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/november/crunching-the-numbers-are-we-heading-for-an-oil-supply-shock.html

US production will be close to flat 2019, and if ports are not improved much until late 2020, then 2020 will not be great. After that, I don't see it catching up.

Han Neumann x Ignored says: 01/31/2019 at 10:58 pm
As stated many times on 'theoildrum', State of the art EOR projects deplete oilfields, who without EOR would go in terminal decline much earlier, very rapidly. So a world oilproduction cliff cannot be ruled out, especially if money reserves from oil companies dry up.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 02/01/2019 at 10:32 am
Han Neumann,

Oil prices are likely to rise if there is a shortage of oil, this will mean oil companies will have plenty of financial resources as long as demand is sufficient to consume the oil produced. Not suggesting there will not be a decline, just unlikely there will be a cliff unless oil prices drop, so far there is no evidence of a cliff and given World stock level trend, prices are unlikely to drop further and are more likely to increase in the future.

Han Neumann x Ignored says: 02/03/2019 at 1:33 pm
Dennis,

A cliff is unlikely to happen, I agree.

But to repeat a cliché: depletion never sleeps. Already about fifteen years ago EOR projects were started that extracted oil from (quite) 'past peak' or 'on plateau production' oilfields. EOR projects in case of 'quite past peak' fields, to get 'the last recoverable' barrel out resulting in oil production/day far less than peak production.

I know, the recoverable quantity increases with rising oilprices and better extraction techniques, but still the production/day way past peak will be much less than on peak.

What will happen when oilprices don't increase a lot for the next ten years, for a combination of reasons ?

At a certain point in time all the money in the world couldn't prevent world production decline and the further that point will be in the future, the steeper will be the decline I think. So better sooner than later oilprices begin to increase significantly, to buy some time for the transition to EV's, etc.

I am not an expert in engineering nor in geology, far from that, just expressing a feeling that I got after having read the many posts on theoildrum regarding this matter.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/03/23/is-the-world-sleepwalking-into-an-oil-crisis/#4691a69d44cf

[Feb 03, 2019] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Highly recommended!
Money quote: " neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large, and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism."
Notable quotes:
"... ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. ..."
"... neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism. ..."
"... They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ..."
"... Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc. ..."
"... The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries. ..."
"... Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course. ..."
"... In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans. ..."
May 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 1, 2018 2:27:06 PM | 13

Just finished reading the fascinating Michael Hudson interview I linked to on previous thread; but since we're discussing Jews and their religion in a tangential manner, I think it appropriate to post here since the history Hudson explains is 100% key to the ongoing pain us humans feel and inflict. My apologies in advance, but it will take this long excerpt to explain what I mean:

"Tribes: When does the concept of a general debt cancellation disappear historically?

"Michael: I guess in about the second or third century AD it was downplayed in the Bible. After Jesus died, you had, first of all, St Paul taking over, and basically Christianity was created by one of the most evil men in history, the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria. He gained power by murdering his rivals, the Nestorians, by convening a congress of bishops and killing his enemies. Cyril was really the Stalin figure of Christianity, killing everybody who was an enemy, organizing pogroms against the Jews in Alexandria where he ruled.

"It was Cyril that really introduced into Christianity the idea of the Trinity. That's what the whole fight was about in the third and fourth centuries AD. Was Jesus a human, was he a god? And essentially you had the Isis-Osiris figure from Egypt, put into Christianity. The Christians were still trying to drive the Jews out of Christianity. And Cyril knew the one thing the Jewish population was not going to accept would be the Isis figure and the Mariolatry that the church became. And as soon as the Christian church became the establishment rulership church, the last thing it wanted in the West was debt cancellation.

"You had a continuation of the original Christianity in the Greek Orthodox Church, or the Orthodox Church, all the way through Byzantium. And in my book And Forgive Them Their Debts, the last two chapters are on the Byzantine echo of the original debt cancellations, where one ruler after another would cancel the debts. And they gave very explicit reason for it: if we don't cancel the debts, we're not going to be able to field an army, we're not going to be able to collect taxes, because the oligarchy is going to take over. They were very explicit, with references to the Bible, references to the jubilee year. So you had Christianity survive in the Byzantine Empire. But in the West it ended in Margaret Thatcher. And Father Coughlin.

"Tribes: He was the '30s figure here in the States.

"Michael: Yes: anti-Semite, right-wing, pro-war, anti-labor. So the irony is that you have the people who call themselves fundamentalist Christians being against everything that Jesus was fighting for, and everything that original Christianity was all about."

Hudson says debt forgiveness was one of the central tenets of Judaism: " ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over indebtedness and debt cancellation. "

Looks like I'll be purchasing Hudson's book as he's essentially unveiling a whole new, potentially revolutionary, historical interpretation.

psychohistorian , May 1, 2018 3:31:50 PM | 26
@ karlof1 with the Michale Hudson link....thanks!!

Here is the quote that I really like from that interview
"
Michael: No. You asked what is the fight about? The fight is whether the state will be taken over, essentially to be an extension of Wall Street if you do not have government planning. Every economy is planned. Ever since the Neolithic (era), you've had to have (a form of) planning. If you don't have a public authority doing the planning, then the financial authority becomes the planners. So globalism is in the financial interest –Wall Street and the City of London, doing the planning, not governments. They will do the planning in their own interest. So neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large,and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism.
"

karlof1, please email me as I would like to read the book as well and maybe we can share a copy.

And yes, it is relevant to Netanyahoo and his ongoing passel of lies because humanity has been told and been living these lives for centuries...it is time to stop this shit and grow up/evolve

james , May 1, 2018 10:30:01 PM | 96
@13 / 78 karlof1... thanks very much for the links to michael hudson, alastair crooke and the bruno maraces articles...

they were all good for different reasons, but although hudson is being criticized for glossing over some of his talking points, i think the main thrust of his article is very worthwhile for others to read! the quote to end his article is quite good "The question is, who do you want to run the economy? The 1% and the financial sector, or the 99% through politics? The fight has to be in the political sphere, because there's no other sphere that the financial interests cannot crush you on."

it seems to me that the usa has worked hard to bad mouth or get rid of government and the concept of government being involved in anything.. of course everything has to be run by a 'private corp' - ie corporations must run everything.. they call them oligarchs when talking about russia, lol - but they are corporations when they are in the usa.. slight rant..

another quote i especially liked from hudson.. " They call themselves free marketers, but they realize that you cannot have neoliberalism unless you're willing to murder and assassinate everyone who promotes an alternative ." that sounds about right...

@ 84 juliania.. aside from your comments on hudsons characterization of st paul "the anti-Semite Cyril of Alexandria" further down hudson basically does the same with father coughlin - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Coughlin.. he gets the anti-semite tag as well.. i don't know much about either characters, so it's mostly greek to me, but i do find some of hudsons views especially appealing - debt forgiveness being central to the whole article as i read it...

it is interesting my own view on how money is so central to the world and how often times I am incapable of avoiding the observation of the disproportionate number of Jewish people in banking.. I guess that makes me anti-semite too, but i don't think of myself that way.. I think the obsession with money is killing the planet.. I don't care who is responsible for keeping it going, it is killing us...

WJ | May 1, 2018 10:48:58 PM | 100

James @96,

Just so long as you remember that most of the strongest and most moving condemnations of greed and money in the ancient and (today) western world are also Jewish--i.e. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, the Gospels, Letter of James, etc.

The history of Jewish banking after the fall or Rome is inextricable from cultural anti-judaism of Christian west and east and de facto marginalization/ghettoization of Jews from most aspects of social life. The Jewish lending of money on interest to gentiles was both necessary for early mercantilist trade and yet usury was prohibited by the church. So Jewish money lenders were essential to and yet ostracized within European economies for centuries.

Now Christianity has itself long given up on the tradition teaching against usury of course.

WJ , May 1, 2018 8:23:40 PM | 88
Juliana @84,

I too greatly admire the work of Hudson but he consistently errs and oversimplifies whenever discussing the beliefs of and the development of beliefs among preNicene followers of the way (as Acts puts is) or Christians (as they came to be known in Antioch within roughly eight or nine decades after Jesus' death.) Palestinian Judaism in the time of Jesus was much more variegated than scholars even twenty years ago had recognized. The gradual reception and interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls in tandem with renewed research into Phili of Alexandria, the Essenes, the so-called Sons of Zadok, contemporary Galilean zealot movements styles after the earlier Maccabean resistance, the apocalyptism of post exilic texts like Daniel and (presumably) parts of Enoch--all paint a picture of a highly diverse group of alternatives to the state-Church once known as Second Temple Judaism that has been mistaken as undisputed Jewish "orthodoxy" since the advent of historical criticism.

The Gospel of John, for example, which dates from betweeen 80-120 and is the record of a much earlier oral tradition, is already explicitly binitarian, and possibly already trinitarian depending on how one understands the relationship between the Spirit or Advocate and the Son. (Most ante-Nicene Christians understood the Spirit to be *Christ's* own spirit in distributed form, and they did so by appeal to a well-developed but still largely under recognized strand in Jewish angelology.)

The "theological" development of Christianity occurred much sooner that it has been thought because it emerged from an already highly theologized strand or strands of Jewish teaching that, like Christianity itself, privileged the Abrahamic covenant over the Mosaic Law, the testament of grace over that of works, and the universal scope of revelation and salvation as opposed to any political or ethnic reading of the "Kingdom."

None of these groups were part of the ruling class of Judaean priests and levites and their hangers on the Pharisees.

In John, for instance most of the references to what in English is translated as "the Jews" are in Greek clearly references to "the Judaeans"--and especially to the ruling elite among the southern tribe in bed with the Romans.

So the anti-Judaism/Semiti of John's Gispel largely rests on a mistranslation. In any event, everything is much more complex than Hudson makes it out to be. Christian economic radicalism is alive and well in the thought of Gregory of Nysa and Basil the Great, who also happened to be Cappadocian fathers highly influential in the development of "orthodox" Trinitarianism in the fourth century.

I still think that Hudson's big picture critique of the direction later Christianity took is helpful and necessary, but this doesn't change the fact that he simplifies the origins, development, and arguably devolution of this movement whenever he tries to get specific. It is a worthwhile danger given the quality of his work in historical economics, but still one has to be aware of.

[Feb 02, 2019] On importance of Christian Populisn as a countervailing force to both neoliberal globalization and neofascism

Notable quotes:
"... The humble-petit-bourgeois dream is not a bad one, and seems realistic if globalist-oligarch forces are kept in check. Europe has shown this is workable, with a number of societies over decades, with essentially zero poverty amongst legal residents. But the wrecking ball has been brought to that. ..."
"... And perhaps the contentedness of so many Europeans for so long, has left them weakened in spirit, and vulnerable to all the propaganda and manipulations now being used to destroy what they have had. Perhaps it's just one more round of the famous cycle ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

Selected comments from The iGilets-Jaunes,-i or the Contradictions of Consumer Democracy by Guillaume Durocher

A123 , says: January 29, 2019 at 6:51 pm GMT

The key missing word is "Christian".

Populism by itself cannot hold together for a lack of common values. However, Christian Populism can hold the long road by emphasising the common values of French Christians and European Christians.

Globalist mass-migration theology was an obvious attempt to suppress or replace common European Christian values. In direct opposition to the Globalist screed -- Christian Populists are rising up in France, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Austria, and elsewhere. All with a common, unifying Christian cause and true European Values.

This movement is different from those that have come before. In the past, Anti-Christian, Leftist, Socialism has managed to hijack Populist efforts. Here the Christian backbone of the movement prevents that fate.

Brabantian , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:38 am GMT
It's not true that people as a whole are driven by endless greed and 'bottomless human desire'.

In general, people understand the limits of the world, and the mass of commoners merely want something small and safe a nice little home, the ability to raise a family, a safe neighbourhood and decent schools, no worries about medical care – and stability in all of this, knowing that their little petit bourgeois lives will not be undermined or destroyed. That is it.

There may be a little 'dreaming' about wealth and expensive toys, cars, homes, apparel, but that is not very 'driven'. People are overall content with something humble, a safe, stable little corner, having 'enough' and no worries.

The problem is that people are not given this, they don't have their stable little corner in security, they see and watch what little they have being undermined. Oligarchs demand 'more', sponsoring progressive impoverishment as they extract more profit; as well as seeking control by sponsoring social turmoil, in part via waves of invited arrivals who create great difficulties for humble working class lives and stability.

The humble-petit-bourgeois dream is not a bad one, and seems realistic if globalist-oligarch forces are kept in check. Europe has shown this is workable, with a number of societies over decades, with essentially zero poverty amongst legal residents. But the wrecking ball has been brought to that.

And perhaps the contentedness of so many Europeans for so long, has left them weakened in spirit, and vulnerable to all the propaganda and manipulations now being used to destroy what they have had. Perhaps it's just one more round of the famous cycle

Hard times make strong people
Strong people make good times
Good times make weak people
Weak people make hard times

anon [393] Disclaimer , says:
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 2, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
Everybody is talking about weather

Everybody is analyzing analyzing ..and nobody is coming out in the end with solution
not even with the hint of solution.
Everything is becoming so superficial, Speeches of politicians are totally superficial now.
News station propagate superficiality.
Accusations against Trump supporters are examples of superficiality.
..
We are living in abstract world, There is no more reality.
..
And I am net even talking about comments here.
We left the reality so far behind that if we look back we do not even see it.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 2, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
Everybody is talking about weather

Everybody is analyzing analyzing ..and nobody is coming out in the end with solution
not even with the hint of solution.
Everything is becoming so superficial, Speeches of politicians are totally superficial now.
News station propagate superficiality.
Accusations against Trump supporters are examples of superficiality.
..
We are living in abstract world, There is no more reality.
..
And I am net even talking about comments here.
We left the reality so far behind that if we look back we do not even see it.

Digital Samizdat , says: February 2, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT
@anon A lot of truth in what you say. Personally, I'm ashamed to admit that I bought into the 'Red peril' nonsense when I was young. When leftists–yeah, back then it was the leftists–tried to warn us that the elites were going to bust the unions, export jobs and roll-out 'free trade', I didn't believe them. I actually couldn't then imagine that any non-communist would be so diabolical! I was a pretty naïve kid, all in all. But then, I guess most kids by nature are.
Digital Samizdat , says: February 2, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
I detect more than a whiff of National Review in this article. How come whenever Joe Blow (or Jacques Bonhomme) wants something essential like healthcare, transportation or an affordable dwelling, he is denounced as 'greedy' for demanding a bunch of 'gibmedats', but when the big multi-national corporations want another free-trade treaty or another tax cut, this is labelled 'progress'?

I guess that's why I just can't get into conservatism.

Michael Kenny , says: February 2, 2019 at 10:43 am GMT
All of this actually helps the EU, which is not a globalist project but a regionalist alternative to globalism. Globalism was imposed on a very reluctant EU in the 1980s by a then hyperdominant US (I'm old enough to remember!) with Margaret Thatcher acting as an American Trojan horse within the EU. It has never worked precisely because it contradicts the inherent regionalist logic that underlies the whole idea of European integration.

Thus, the more the US globalist project goes under, the more the EU and similar regionalist projects in other parts of the world come to the fore.

Just as Trumpmania spawned the pro-US and pro-globalist Brexiteers in the summer of 2016, Trump's bull in a china shop blundering and the self-destruction of American power that has entailed has empowered the various protest movements we've seen in Europe, none of which are calling for the withdrawal of their countries from the EU.

People instinctively sense that Trump has defeated the notorious "TINA" argument, which in Europe meant "the US won't let us do anything else". The ongoing collapse of American power makes for a very turbulent and unstable situation in the world but fundamentally, we're all on the right track. For European integration, that doesn't mean collapse but a return to the original post-WWII project, designed to allow us to have our respective nationalisms without killing each other at regular intervals.

That concept is so alien to the American experience that it is unsurprising that Americans have difficulty in understanding it. Americans need to stop lumping themselves together with Europeans and calling us all "Westerners".

Stogumber , says: February 2, 2019 at 11:19 am GMT
@obwandiyag Contrary to obwandiyag, Durocher came over to me as the sort of sour conservative who can't deliver goods for the people and therefore reflects that, well, people oughtn't to demand so much goods.
Well, both kinds, the libertarian and the sour conservative, have a certain disregard for the average guy.
The average guy is by no means crying "me,me,me" all the time and he doesn't demand the best and the most of everything. Also, he is quite prepared too work for life, if his work is within his range of capabilities and if it doesn't develop into a kind of modern slave labour.

But he sees, and reads, that technology improves which means that life should become easier not more difficult.
And he too often sees that in fact he has to live worse than his father – or, if he is the father, he sees that his sons will live worse than he. And he asks why. And the media can give no honest explanation. (Nor can Durocher.)

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT
In the " west " , the working people are extracted to the last cent with the all the locals IRS and varied taxes . This surplus goes to pay faraonic governement bureaucracies which live on the taxpayers and humiliate them , goes to subvention tax free oligarchs , and goes to subvention all kind of stupid utopias and a wide array of social bums national and foreign . They have killed the hen of the golden eggs . The CCCP fell in the 1990`s , our EUUSACCCP will fall in the 2020`s ?

By the way will the Cesar of the western Roman Empire Trumpo Maximo order you Microncito Napoleonis to go away like he is doing with his rebelius consul Maduro Petrolero ? After all Microncito is very mean with his subdits , and after all he is not supported by the Cesar of the eastern Roman Empire Putinos Bizantinii like Maduro Petrolero is , it would be an easy coup , and very popular .

Mike P , says: February 2, 2019 at 1:43 pm GMT
@Jewish minds Trump Zionism. Completely agree on "representative" democracy being a sham, and on the feasibility and great importance of direct democracy. Realistically, though, one still needs legal specialists who can draft workable laws and ensure their compatibility with existing laws and constitutions. Some sort of hybrid system – a lawmaking institution, be it elected or appointed – with oversight and ultimate arbitration by the citizens will probably work better in practice.

Probably just as important is the media – the kind of oligarchic concentration we have right now in the mass media is going to interfere with any kind of democracy, however much improved over the current dysfunctional and discredited system.

Johnny Walker Read , says: February 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm GMT
I'll tell you what the average Joe Blow(Yellow Vest)wants, and it is not just more "Shiny stuff".

1) He/She wants to be left alone. H/S is sick of breaking some law every time H/S merely sets foot out of their house. Police forces have become nothing more than revenue sources for the ever growing police state and have absolutely nothing to do with protecting the common man. Pulling a cell phone out of your pocket at the wrong time is enough to get you killed by tyrant with a badge.

2) H/S wants to be able to make enough money to raise a family and live comfortably. H/S is sick of watching the top 1% steal everything that is not nailed down through such scams as fractional reserve banking and stock market swindles. As the old saying goes: Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank, give a man a bank and he can rob the world.

3)H/S wants a REAL form "affirmative action", where every man/woman is chosen for their ability not the color of their skin or their ethnicity. A world where an an individual is judged on their ability and nothing more.

4) H/S wants to be safe in their neighborhoods as they watch them being flooded by uncivilized and criminal immigrants. All the while his and hers own government is confiscating their means of self protection through such things as gun control.

5) H/S is sick of watching programs such as Social Security and Medicare being bled dry by people who have never contributed a dime to such programs, while H/S has contributed to these programs their entire working lives.

6)H/S is sick of these never ending wars, which are started but never fought by the men in suits. They are tired of watching the blood suckers of war stealing not only the treasure of their country, but the very lives of their sons and daughters. All they are saying is give peace a chance.

So you see, it is much more than a bunch of whiny socialist wanting more free stuff.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Website February 2, 2019 at 2:40 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat

I detect more than a whiff of National Review in this article.

Yeah. You could have replaced the byline with any one of Conservative, Inc.'s generic hack writers and other than Durocher's improved erudition, nobody would have known the difference.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2019 at 3:02 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny I agree . We europeans are not " westeners " ( " occidentales " , " occidentaux " ) ,we are just europeans , greco-roman europeans .

To call western europeans " westeners " is an English fraud , followed by the US , made to isolate Russia from the rest of Europe and preventing the formation of a strong continental Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok .

We europeans , produced the greco-roman culture , the Christian culture , we consider ourselves the land of Christian and greco-roman civilization . We consider ourselves the fathers of most of the Americas .

For us ,europeans , at least for old ones , the " westeners " were the half mexican people from Texas to California , the cowboys , the vaqueros . And the US easteners were the yankees .

We always liked the cowboys , the soul of north America , the roots of north America , and we always felt some uneasiness and distrust of the yankees , those excentric , warmonger , greedy , rootless ex-europeans .

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: February 2, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT
Durocher ,

The EU died in Pristina , in Yugoslavia , as says a french general

https://russia-insider.com/en/europe-died-when-nato-illegally-ripped-out-serbias-heart-1999-top-french-military-commander/ri25656

and was buried in Ukraina in 2014

The axe Hitler-Petain , pardon Merkel-Macron , ne tiens plus , doesn`t have any credibility

Sean , says: February 2, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT

All this shows the limits both of official Europeanism and short-sighted demotic populism. The goal of both is to distract the French from their real problems, namely their spiritual and demographic collapse. The EU as such is not the source, or even a significant cause, of France's problems.

It seems to me French problems started in earnest with the unification of Germany, and if that is any guide the greater unity of the EU under German economic power is unlikely to improve France's relative position. :- 28/11/2018 German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Wednesday proposed that France give up its permanent seat on the UN Security Council and turn it into an EU seat . France was the first country in the world to deliberately increase immigration, and did so out of fear of Germany, but I think French business are the main force behind immigration now.

Germany passes immigration law to lure non-EU skilled workers . It is silly to call for cohesion unless you halt immigration and have the strength to sacrifice for that end. France is much further down the road to dissolution than they are over the Rhine. Germany has not suffered much so mar, they can take far more immigration than France. Germany' business class has reasons for increasing immigration into Germany, which is becoming ever more powerful though building up its economic strength by abandoning ll nuclear capacity and defence against other countries, and keeping labour costs low–by any means necessary. The USA is turning away from defending Germany (which tried to claim the costs of it taking million refugees should be counted as a defence contribution). For now, Germany thinks it has enough cohesion in reserve to sacrifice some to building up its economic strength and productive capacity in particular. In the EU, France will be subjected to German priorities.

The troubles that our society is experiencing are also sometimes due and related to the fact that too many of our fellow citizens believe that they can earn without effort . . .

It is comparative. Immigrants, especially illegal immigrants and refugees, come from countries where if you don't work you starve. But those countries lack the flexibility conferred by the gentrified, relaxed and complex societies of Europe.

Going all out rather than tepidly for native demographic strength is probably a bad idea, because we don't know what national or personal qualities are going to be needed to cope with the unexpected type of challenges that will certainly be posed in our future.

Mike P , says: February 2, 2019 at 4:13 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read You are essentially right, but some of your points speak more to America than France. In particular, police tends to be a lot less trigger-happy and generally more lenient in France. Considering the scale of the French protests, I would say overall the number of people who got hurt by police is very low. I even suspect that the few really bad cases were committed not by regular police but by special agents provocateurs, trying to incite violence in order to create a pretext for cracking down.

Amusing anecdote – I spent a couple of months in Paris a goodish number of years ago. One French guy told me that he was stopped while driving drunk by police. He explained to them, "it is the last night before I will be thirty years old." Police told him, "o.k., you be careful now while driving home" and let him go.

wayfarer , says: February 2, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

RT Rider , says: February 2, 2019 at 6:26 pm GMT
With a monetary system based on debt, and the counterfeiting and issuance of money privately controlled, it was inevitable that globalization and the elimination of state sovereignty would result. Global financial capitalism is the maximizing of profit for private gain and the socialization of losses by the state. Although, nation-states are now nothing more than subsidiaries of the global banking cartel. As debt levels grow well beyond the ability of states to service, let alone repay, the banking cartel need seamless access to other nation's resources to keep the ponzi going – hence the unified global banking cartel, always acting in concert.

The counterfeiting racket is quite ingenious. The public demanding more and more state subsidies to ensure their standards of living, as high paying jobs disappear, never to return, give the political class free rein to borrow well beyond tax levels, or their ability to ever repay. Of course, there isn't sufficient savings to fund this level of borrowing on a global scale (public and private) so it must be manufactured, or more bluntly, counterfeited. The banking cartel then takes it's skim off the top in fees, seniorage, and interest. Over time, this enormous skim has allowed them to buy whatever, and whomever, they want.

We live in an age of money illusion, where the enormous amount of phony money has corrupted every aspect of society, and disguises late-stage, economic collapse. It's just as likely the the global economy has been going nowhere in the last ten years but we can't tell because GDP, being a measure of money transactions, presents a false picture of growth, disguised by the enormous quantities of money counterfeited over the decade, and indeed since Mr. Greenspan took the helm at the Fed.

It has been very successful, however, in inflating all asset classes, other than commodities (controlled by futures derivatives trading), to increase collateral for even more debt issuance. Of course, all these assets are tightly controlled by the counterfeiters. Unfortunately, we have reached a point where even interest can't be paid, let alone principle. And the underlying asset values look to be poised for collapse. Counterfeiting more money, ie. QE, will most certainly be redeployed, but should result in collapsing currencies around the globe, as all are in the same boat.

In effect, the western world has created a neo-feudal order, with money counterfeiters being the overlords, rather than the land-holding thugs of the past.

HiHo , says: February 2, 2019 at 7:27 pm GMT
A rather sad piece from someone not quite au fait with current thinking though understandable under the circumstances.
Politics today is no longer of the 'left' or the 'right', but of globalism or nationalism. Yes, groups like Antifa cling to the old while supporting the fascist Establishment with fascist action. Odd lot those people.
Essentially you can't have a just society where usuary, share dealing and currency speculation take place. The termites that practice this sort of lifestyle need to be given a spade to dig the earth and grow their own veggies!
And democracy is just a smoke screen permitting special interest groups to over ride the popular consensus. To have it clarified by a popular vote one way or the other is a good idea, but can only work where the local culture supports the concept as in Switzerland, as opposed to California where it doesn't really work properly, since the culture is alien to that sort of concept.
Old man Le Pen's daughter is a wiley old solicitor that speaks like a fisherman's wife. The old man won't be bothered about what has happened to his party, though it is surprising things have stagnated a bit for National Rally.
The EU should not have expanded in to Eastern Europe and it should never have permitted the sort of third rate politicians such as Junkers, Moderini, the Kinnocks to have the power and the gravy they have got. The ultimate weakness is having Rothschild control all the banks and operate his money laundering business in the City of London. The EU is just another scam and the 520 million people in the EU are sick of it.
If you think the US is a poisoned chalice, the EU by comparison drank the Coudenhove-Calergi poison fifty years ago and is just about to go tits up and expire. Immigrants or no immigrants, the Austro-Japanese Richard Coudenhove-Calergi brand of pure poison has destroyed everything of worth in Europe.
This writer touches on the edges of the truth without actually pointing a finger at the cause: greed through usuary, share dealing and currency speculation. Until you deal with this cancer and the termites that promote it you will never find an answer.

HiHo

[Jan 29, 2019] These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don t be fooled by their progressive veneer by Bhaskar Sunkara

Highly recommended!
Taming of financial oligarchy and restoration of the job market at the expense of outsourcing and offshoring is required in the USA and gradually getting support. At least a return to key elements of the New Deal should be in the cards. But Clinton wing of Dems is beong redemption. They are Wall Street puddles. all of the them.
Issues like Medicare for All, Free College, Restoring Glass Steagall, Ending Citizen's United/Campaign finance reform, federal jobs guarantee, criminal justice reform, all poll extremely well among the american populace
If even such a neoliberal pro globalization, corporations controlled media source as Guardian views centrist neoliberal Democrats like Booker unelectable, the situation in the next elections might be interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... Bhaskar Sunkara is a Guardian US columnist and the founding editor of Jacobin ..."
"... 2016 has shown that the Democratic party is beyond redemption. When it comes down to the choice of either win with a platform that may impact the wealth and power of their owners, or losing, they will always choose the latter, and continue as useful (and well paid) idiots in the charade presented as US democracy. ..."
Jan 15, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

In their rhetoric and policy advocacy, this trio has been steadily moving to the left to keep pace with a leftward-moving Democratic party. Booker , Harris and Gillibrand know that voters demand action and are more supportive than ever of Medicare for All and universal childcare.
Gillibrand, long considered a moderate, has even gone as far as to endorse abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) and, along with Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders' single-payer healthcare bill. Harris has also backed universal healthcare and free college tuition for most Americans.

But outward appearances aren't everything. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand have been making a very different pitch of late -- on Wall Street. According to CNBC , all three potential candidates have been reaching out to financial executives lately, including Blackstone's Jonathan Gray, Robert Wolf from 32 Advisors and the Centerbridge Partners founder Mark Gallogly.

Wall Street, after all, played an important role getting the senators where they are today. During his 2014 Senate run, in which just 7% of his contributions came from small donors, Booker raised $2.2m from the securities and investment industry. Harris and Gillibrand weren't far behind in 2018, and even the progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown has solicited donations from Gallogly and other powerful executives.

When CNBC's story about Gillibrand personally working the phones to woo Wall Street executives came out, her team responded defensively, noting her support for financial regulation and promising that if she did run she would take "no corporate Pac money". But what's most telling isn't that Gillibrand and others want Wall Street's money, it's that they want the blessings of financial CEOs. Even if she doesn't take their contributions, she's signaling that she's just playing politics with populist rhetoric. That will allow capitalists to focus their attention on candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have shown a real willingness to abandon the traditional coziness of the Democratic party with the finance, insurance and real estate industries.

Gillibrand and others are behaving perfectly rationally. The last presidential election cost $6.6bn -- advertising, staff and conventions are expensive. But even more important than that, they know that while leftwing stances might help win Democratic primaries, the path of least resistance in the general election is capitulation to the big forces of capital that run this country. Those elites might allow some progressive tinkering on the margins, but nothing that challenges the inequities that keep them wealthy and their victims weak.

Big business is likely to bet heavily on the Democratic party in 2020, maybe even more so than it did in 2016. In normal circumstances, the Democratic party is the second-favorite party of capital; with an erratic Trump around, it is often the first.

The American ruling class has a nice hustle going with elections. We don't have a labor-backed social democratic party that could create barriers to avoid capture by monied interests. It's telling that when asked about the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's recent chats with Wall Street political financiers, a staff member told CNBC: "We meet with a wide range of donors with shared values across sectors."

Plenty of Democratic leaders believe in the neoliberal growth model. Many have gotten personally wealthy off of it. Others think there is no alternative to allying with finance and then trying to create progressive social policy on the margins. But with sentiments like that, it doesn't take fake news to convince working-class Americans that Democrats don't really have their interests at heart.

Of course, the Democratic party isn't a monolith. But the insurgency waged by newly elected representatives such as the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna and others is still in its infancy. At this stage, it isn't going to scare capital away from the Democratic party, it's going to make Wall Street invest more heavily to maintain its stake in it.

Men like Mark Gallogly know who their real enemy is: more than anyone else, the establishment is wary of Bernie Sanders . It seems likely that he will run for president, but he's been dismissed as a 2020 frontrunner despite his high favorability rates, name recognition, small-donor fundraising ability, appeal to independent voters, and his team's experience running a competitive national campaign. As 2019 goes on, that dismissal will morph into all-out war.

Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats gaining power. It's afraid of the Democrats who will take them on -- and those, unfortunately, are few and far between.

Bhaskar Sunkara is a Guardian US columnist and the founding editor of Jacobin

memo10 -> Karen Maddening , 15 Jan 2019 14:05

Just like universal health care, let's give up, it's too hard, we're not winners, we're not number one or problem solvers and besides, someone at some time for some reason might get something that someone else might not get regardless if that someone else needs it. Let's go with the Berners who seem to believe there will never be none so pure enough to become president.

The corporate state does not cast the votes. The public does.

Leaning farther to the left on issues like universal healthcare and foreign wars would be agreeing with the public. Not only the progressive public, but the GENERAL public. The big money donors are the ONLY force against the Democrats resisting these things.

mp66 , 15 Jan 2019 13:38
2016 has shown that the Democratic party is beyond redemption. When it comes down to the choice of either win with a platform that may impact the wealth and power of their owners, or losing, they will always choose the latter, and continue as useful (and well paid) idiots in the charade presented as US democracy.
Pete Healey , 15 Jan 2019 13:31
Bernie's challenge will "morph into all-out war". "Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats", blah, blah, blah. But we're going to continue to play along? Why? Oh yeah, Bhaskar Sunkara will have us believe "There is no alternative". Remember TINA? Give it up, man, just give it up.
yayUSA , 15 Jan 2019 13:17
Tulsi entering is big news.
Danexmachina , 15 Jan 2019 12:31
One dollar, one vote.
If you want Change, keep it in your pocket.
We can't turn this sinking ship around unless we know what direction it's going. So far, that direction is just delivering money to private islands.
Democrats have a lot of talk, but they still want to drive the nice cars and sell the same crapft that the Republicans are.
Taxing the rich only works when you worship the rich in the first place.
Tim Cahill , 15 Jan 2019 12:00
Election financing is the single root cause for our democracy's failure. Period.

I really don't care too much about the mouthing of progressive platitudes from any 2020 Dem Prez candidate. The only ones that will be worth voting for are the ones that sign onto Sanders' (or similar) legislation that calls for a Constitutional amendment that allows federal and state governments to limit campaign contributions.

And past committee votes to prevent amendment legislation from getting to a floor vote - as well as missed co-sponsorship opportunities - should be interesting history for all the candidates to explain.

Campaign financing is what keeps scum entrenched (because primary challengers can't overcome the streams of bribes from those wonderful people exercising their 'free speech' "rights" to keep their puppet in govt) and prevents any challenges to the corporate establishment who serve the same rich masters.

Lenny Dirges -> Vintage59 , 15 Jan 2019 11:55
Lol, Social Security, Medicare, unemployement protections, so many of the things you mentioned, and so much more, were from the PROGRESSIVE New Deal, which managed to implement this slew of changes in 5 years! 5 years! You can't criticize "progressives" in one sentence and then use their accomplishments to support your argument. Today, the New Deal would be considered too far left by most so called "pragmatic liberals." I assume you are getting fully behind the proposed "Green New Deal" then, right?
memo10 -> L C , 15 Jan 2019 11:54

Vintage59 pointed out lots of things people have changed. Here's an exhaustive list of the legislation passed by people who didn't get elected but were more progressive than the people who did:

There is also a steadily growing list of Democrats who did worse in elections than a hypothetical Democratic candidate had been projected to do.

The party can either continue being GOP-Lite or it can start winning elections. It can't do both.

memo10 -> 2miners , 15 Jan 2019 11:49

Forget it Bernie and Co. -with the women haters in his ranks and his apparent tepid support from African Americans he's way off the pace

Way off the pace compared to who? Trump?

memo10 -> IamDolf , 15 Jan 2019 11:44

Nobody is going to get elected on a far left platform. Not in the USA and not anywhere. That's just a fact. And everybody is going to need $$$ in the campaign. Of course candidates are going to suck up to Wall street and business in general.
And we would have been a thousand percent better off with HRC in the white house than we are now with the Trumpostor.

We don't need a candidate with far-left platform, we need one that is left-leaning at all. HRC and her next generation of clones are mild Republicans.

memo10 -> xxxaaaxxx , 15 Jan 2019 11:40

Those who want to push the Democrats to the left in order to win perhaps need to stop talking to each other and talk to people who live outside of LA and NY. If you stay within your bubble it seems the whole world thinks like you.
How old will Sanders be in 2020?

The people (outside the coasts) lean to the left some big issues. Medicare for all. Foreign wars. etc.

A sane person might ask why in the hell the left-side party is leaning farther to the right than the general public.

memo10 -> Peter Krall , 15 Jan 2019 11:17

Sanders is a dinosaur. If there is a reason for Wall Street to be wary of him then it is that the mentally challenged orange guy may win another term if the Democrats run with Sanders.

Hopefully, Sanders will understand what many of his supporters do not want to see: At some time age becomes a problem. If the Democrats decide to move to the left rather than pursuing a pragmatic centrist approach, Ocasio-Cortez might be an option. If they opt for the centrist alternative, it might be Harris or Gillibrand. Or, in both cases, a surprise candidate. But Sanders' time is over, just as Biden's Bloomberg's.

It's true, but Trump is such a clusterfuck that an 80yo president is still be a better situation. Many countries have had rulers in their 80s at one time or another.

Trump is clearly showing early-stage dementia now. Compare footage of him 10+ years ago to anything within the last 6-12 months and it's obvious. The stress levels of being the POTUS + blackmailed by Putin + investigations bearing down on him . . . it's wearing him down fast.

L C -> HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 11:15
Anti-trust would be a very good place to start with.

Universal healthcare is a lot harder than you seem to think. I'd love it, but getting there means putting so many people out of work, it'll be a massive political challenge, even if corporations have no influence. Progressives might be better off focusing on how to ensure the existing system works better and Medicaid can slowly expand to fill the universal roll in the future.

Vintage59 -> BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 11:05
Wall Street is a casino. The House never loses.
Vintage59 -> Lenny Dirges , 15 Jan 2019 11:02
Everything changes constantly.

Where has offering candidates who actually have a chance to win gotten us? Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the ADA, Title 9, Social Security, and more. None of these exist without constant changes. All took years to pass against heavy opposition. None went far enough. All were improvements.

The list of wrongheaded things that were also passed is longer but thinking nothing changes because it takes time is faulty logic.

ytram -> ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:30
Our capitalist predators are still alive and well. The finance, insurance, and real estate
organizations are the worst predators in the USA.
They will eat your babies if you let them.

[Jan 29, 2019] A State of Neoliberalism by Kevin "Rashid" Johnson (New African Black Panther Party)

Highly recommended!
References omitted
Notable quotes:
"... "number of refugees and displaced persons increased dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to approximately 60 million people. There are nine countries with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced." ..."
"... In The Road to Serfdom ..."
"... The Road to Serfdom ..."
"... When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism -- the Mont Pelerin Society -- it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations ..."
"... Masters of the Universe ..."
"... As an ideology, neoliberalism borrows heavily from Trotskyism. "One can view neoliberalism as Trotskyism refashioned for elite ..."
"... proletarians of all countries unite ..."
"... neoliberal elites of all countries unite. ..."
"... Today Trotskyism no more confines itself to "informing" the bourgeoisie. Today Trotskyism is the center and the rallying point for the enemies of the Soviet Union, of the proletarian revolution in capitalist countries, of the Communist International. Trotskyism is trying not only to disintegrate the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, but also to disintegrate the forces that make for the dictatorship of the proletariat the world over. ..."
"... The Origins and Doctrine of Fascism ..."
"... Donald Trump is a visible product of this culture, but clearly is not the choice of the elite ruling class to serve as their "front man" for President. Rather, his role seems to have been to polarize the electorate in such a way as to assure Hillary Clinton the election, just as Bernie Sanders played a role of mobilizing the left-neoliberal camp and then sheep-dogging it into Hillary's camp. ..."
"... Bernie Sanders is this election's Democratic sheepdog. The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there's no White House Democrat running for re-election. ..."
"... "An extraordinary feature of the U.S. electoral process is that the two dominant parties collude to dictate – via their own bipartisan "commission" – who is allowed to participate in the officially recognized presidential debates. Needless to say, the two parties set impossible barriers to the participation of any candidates other than their own . Most potential voters are thereby prevented from acquainting themselves with alternatives to the dominant consensus. ..."
"... Citizens United ..."
"... as deep in the shadows as possible ..."
"... Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an "oligarchy" in which "unlimited political bribery" has created "a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | rashidmod.com

The fundamental difference between socialism and capitalism is not simply a question of private vs. state ownership of the means of production but of the nature of the state itself. This is because the state is an instrument of class dictatorship. In this epoch, the state will be either a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or a dictatorship of the proletariat. The dictatorship of the proletariat has only one rationale for its existence which is to transform class society into classless society and the state into a non-state that will wither away as classless society is achieved. However, there is a great danger of the dictatorship of the proletariat transforming back into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and thereby restoring capitalism, so long as classes continue to exist under socialism.

Class struggle intensifies under socialism, and will until the basis of class divisions no longer continues to be present. Communism is necessarily a global system, stateless and classless and without national boundaries. At this stage in the evolution of capitalist-imperialism, independent national states have ceased to exist as the global capitalist system becomes ever more hegemonic. In this period the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution cannot simply liberate one country at a time and meanwhile peacefully co-exist with the global capitalist system. Rather we must wage revolution globally to defeat capitalist-imperialism and achieve a global dictatorship of the proletariat. A system of global revolutionary intercommunalism would be the logical form for this proletarian dictatorship.

The U.S. Military is deployed globally with bases in the majority of countries and "partnership" arrangements to train and advise most of the world's armed forces. The U.S. is the dominant force in NATO and of the United Nations' armed forces. A recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace found a mere ten nations on the planet are not at war and completely free from conflict. The report cites an historic 10-year deterioration in world peace, with the "number of refugees and displaced persons increased dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to approximately 60 million people. There are nine countries with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced." [1] According to the report, the United States spends an outrageously high percentage of the globe's military expenditures -- 38 percent -- while the next largest military spender, China, accounted for considerably less, 10 percent of the global share. [2]

The principle contradiction in the world today is between the need of the monopoly capitalist ruling class to consolidate its global hegemony and the chaos and anarchy (including the threat of a Third World War) it is unleashing by attempting to do so. The so-called "War on Terrorism" is but a front for capitalist-imperialism's aggressive attempts to consolidate its global bourgeois dictatorship and subordinate every country to its hegemonic control. The essence of communism is community, and capitalist-imperialism is the antithesis of community, particularly under neo-liberalism, which is the final stage of imperialism. As George Monbiot explained:

"The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938 . Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

" In The Road to Serfdom , published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control . Like Mises's book Bureaucracy , The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism -- the Mont Pelerin Society -- it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations .

"With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as "a kind of neoliberal International": a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement's rich backers funded a series of think tanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

"As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek's view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way, among American apostles such as Milton Friedman, to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency." [3]

As an ideology, neoliberalism borrows heavily from Trotskyism. "One can view neoliberalism as Trotskyism refashioned for elite . " [4] Instead of " proletarians of all countries unite " we have [the] slogan " neoliberal elites of all countries unite. " [5] Stalin purged Trotsky, but some of his disciples made the transition to become founding intellectuals of neoliberal ideology, and in particular its "neo-conservative" wing. "Neoliberalism is also an example of emergence of ideologies, not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of the ruling elite. Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail much like Catholicism prevailed during Dark Ages in Europe. In a way, this is return to Dark Ages on a new level." [6]

Trotsky's elitism and contempt for the masses led naturally to neoliberalism. As M.J. Olgin pointed out: Today Trotskyism no more confines itself to "informing" the bourgeoisie. Today Trotskyism is the center and the rallying point for the enemies of the Soviet Union, of the proletarian revolution in capitalist countries, of the Communist International. Trotskyism is trying not only to disintegrate the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, but also to disintegrate the forces that make for the dictatorship of the proletariat the world over. [7]

Neoliberalism also borrows from the ideology of fascism. As Giovanni Gentile, "The Philosopher of Fascism" expressed in a quote often attributed to Mussolini: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism , since it is the merger of state and corporate power." Gentile also stated in The Origins and Doctrine of Fascism , that "mankind only progresses through division, and progress is achieved through the clash and victory of one side over another." [8]

Neoliberalism is a new form of corporatism based on the ideology of market fundamentalism, dominance of finance and cult of rich ("greed is good") instead of the ideology on racial or national superiority typical for classic corporatism. Actually, some elements of the idea of "national superiority" were preserved in a form superiority of "corporate management" and top speculators over other people. In a way, neoliberalism considers bankers and corporations top management to be a new Aryan race. As it relies on financial mechanisms and banks instead of brute force of subduing people the practice of neoliberalism outside of the G7 is also called neocolonialism. Neoliberal practice within G7 is called casino capitalism, an apt term that underscore [s] the role of finance and stock exchange in this new social order. Neoliberalism is an example of emergence of ideologies not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of ruling elite. Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail .

Neoliberalism is not a collection of theories meant to improve the economy. Instead, it should be understood as a class strategy designed to redistribute wealth upward toward an increasingly narrow fraction of population (top 1%). It is the Marxist idea of "class struggle" turned on its head and converted into a perverted "revolt of the elite," unsatisfied with the peace of the pie it is getting from the society. While previously excessive greed was morally condemned, neoliberalism employed a slick trick of adopting "reverse," Nietzschean Ubermench morality in bastartized form propagated in the USA under the name of Randism. [9]

This neoliberal transformation of the society into a top 1% (or, more correctly, 0.01%) "have and have more" and "the rest" undermined and exploited by financial oligarchy with near complete indifference to what happens with the most unprotected lower quintile of the population. The neoliberal reformers don't care about failures and contradictions of the economic system which drive the majority of country population into abject poverty, as it happened in Russia. Nor do they care about their actions such as blowing financial bubbles, like in the USA in 2008 can move national economics toward disaster. They have a somewhat childish, simplistic "greed is good" mentality: they just want to have their (as large as possible) piece of economic pie fast and everything else be damned. In a way, they are criminals and neoliberalism is a highly criminogenic creed, but it tried to conceal the racket and plunder it inflicts of the societies under the dense smoke screen of "free market" newspeak.

That means that in most countries neoliberalism is an unstable social order as plunder can't continue indefinitely. It was partially reversed in Chile, Russia, and several other countries. It was never fully adopted in northern Europe.

One can see an example of this smoke screen in Thatcher's dictum of neoliberalism: "There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families." In foreign policy neoliberalism behaves like brutal imperialism which subdue countries either by debt slavery or direct military intervention. In a neoliberal view the world consist of four concentric cycles which in order of diminishing importance are .

Finance is accepted as the most important institution of the civilization which should govern all other spheres of life. It is clear that such a one-dimensional view is wrong, but neoliberals like communists before them have a keen sense of mission and made its "long march through the institutions" and changed the way Americans think (Using the four "M" strategy -- money, media, marketing, and management)

A well-oiled machine of foundations, lobbies, think-tanks, economic departments of major universities, publications, political cadres, lawyers and activist organizations slowly and strategically took over nation after nation. A broad alliance of neo-liberals, neo-conservatives and the religious right successfully manufactured a new common sense, assaulted Enlightenment values and formed a new elite, the top layer of society, where this "greed is good" culture is created and legitimized. [10]

Donald Trump is a visible product of this culture, but clearly is not the choice of the elite ruling class to serve as their "front man" for President. Rather, his role seems to have been to polarize the electorate in such a way as to assure Hillary Clinton the election, just as Bernie Sanders played a role of mobilizing the left-neoliberal camp and then sheep-dogging it into Hillary's camp. As Bruce A. Dixon explained:

" Bernie Sanders is this election's Democratic sheepdog. The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there's no White House Democrat running for re-election. The sheepdog is a presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat to whom the billionaires will award the nomination. Sheepdogs are herders, and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two-party box." [11]

Once you realize what the principle contradiction in the world is, and how the game of bourgeois "democracy" is played, the current election become as predictable and blatantly scripted as professional wrestling. As Victor Wallace explained:

"An extraordinary feature of the U.S. electoral process is that the two dominant parties collude to dictate – via their own bipartisan "commission" – who is allowed to participate in the officially recognized presidential debates. Needless to say, the two parties set impossible barriers to the participation of any candidates other than their own . Most potential voters are thereby prevented from acquainting themselves with alternatives to the dominant consensus.

"This practice has taken on glaring proportions in the 2016 campaign, which has been marked by justified public distrust of both the dominant-party tickets. Preventing election-theft would initially require breaking up the bipartisan stranglehold over who can access the tens of millions of voters.

"Another distinctive U.S. trait is the absence of any constitutional guarantee of the right to vote. Instead, a multiplicity of state laws govern voter-eligibility, as well as ballot-access. A few states set ballot-access requirements so high as to effectively disqualify their residents from supporting otherwise viable national candidacies. As for voter-eligibility, it is deliberately narrowed through the time-honored practice of using "states' rights" to impose racist agendas. Most states deny voting rights to ex-convicts, a practice that currently disenfranchises some 6 million citizens, disproportionately from communities of color. More recently, targeting the same constituencies, many states have passed onerous and unnecessary voter-ID laws.

"The role of money in filtering out viable candidacies is well known. It was reinforced by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of 2010, which opened the gate to unlimited corporate contributions.

"The priorities of corporate media point in a similar direction. Even apart from their taste for campaign-advertising, their orientation toward celebrity and sensationalism prompts them to give far more air-time to well known figures – the more outrageous, the better – than to even the most viable candidates who present serious alternatives. Trump's candidacy was thus "made" by the media, even as they kept the Sanders challenge to Clinton as deep in the shadows as possible ." [12]

Moreover, the media, which in the U.S. is 90% owned by just six mega-corporations, [13] cooperates closely with the dominant establishment of the two parties in framing the questions that are posed in the debates. And they explicitly maintain the fiction that the "commission" running the debates is "non-partisan" when in fact it is bipartisan. [14]

"Turning finally to the voting process itself, the longest-running scandal is the holding of elections on a workday. In recent years, the resulting inconvenience has been partially offset by the institution of early voting, which however has the disadvantage of facilitating premature choices and of being subject to varied and volatile rules set by state legislatures.

"The actual casting of votes on Election Day is further subject to a number of possible abuses. These include: 1) insufficient polling places in poor neighborhoods, sometimes resulting in waiting periods so long that individuals no longer have the time to vote; 2) the sometimes aggressive challenging of voters' eligibility by interested parties; 3) the use of provisional ballots which may easily end up not being counted; and 4), perhaps most significantly, the increasingly complete reliance on computerized voting, which allows for manipulation of the results (via "proprietary" programs) in a manner that cannot be detected. (The probability of such manipulation – based on discrepancies between exit-polls and official tallies – was documented by Marc Crispin Miller in his book on the 2004 election.

"The corporate media add a final abuse in their rush – in presidential races – to announce results in some states before the voting process has been completed throughout the country." [15]

Despite multiple releases of hacked e-mails by WikiLeaks revealing the whole process in detail, it seems to have little effect on the masses or on the game. The most recent batch come from Obama's personal e-mail account and reveal that the Bush administration contacted the future president multiple times before the election in 2008, secretly organizing the transition of power. In one e-mail President Bush states:

" We are now at the point of deciding how to staff economic policy during the transition, who should be the point of contact with Treasury and how to blend the transition and campaign economic policy talent.

Normally these decisions could be made after the election, and ideally after the selection of a National Economic Advisor, but, of course, these are not normal times. " [16]

.... ... ...

The illusion of "democracy" is wearing thin:

Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an "oligarchy" in which "unlimited political bribery" has created "a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors ." Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, "look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves."

Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United .

Transcript:

... ... ...

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson is the Minister of Defense, New African Black Panther Party (Prison chapter)

[Jan 29, 2019] Bilderberg 2015: where criminals mingle with ministers by Charlie Skelton

Notable quotes:
"... The Bilderberg set call people like you either their "dogs" (if you are in politics or the military) or the "dead." ..."
"... What do you mean "where criminals mingle with ministers". That is assuming that ministers are not criminals. Considering that there will be ministers from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK, I'd suggest that there is a near 100% certainty that some, if not all, the ministers there are criminals. ..."
"... That one group of almost-certainly-criminals meets another group of almost-certainly-criminals is hardly surprising. That the whole shebang is protected by the host's police force is even less so ..."
Jun 12, 2015 | The Guardian
Convicted criminals. Such as disgraced former CIA boss, David Petraeus, who's just been handed a $100,000 (£64,000) fine and two years' probation for leaking classified information.

Petraeus now works for the vulturous private equity firm KKR, run by Henry Kravis, who does arguably Bilderberg's best impression of Gordon Gecko out of Wall Street. Which he cleverly combines with a pretty good impression of an actual gecko.

... ... ...

"Can I go now?" Another no. So I continued my list of criminals. I moved on to someone closer to home: René Benko, the Austrian real estate baron, who had a conviction for bribery upheld recently by the supreme court. Which didn't stop him making the cut for this year's conference. "You know Benko?" The cop nodded. It wasn't easy to see in the glare of the searchlight, but he looked a little ashamed.

... ... ...

I decided to reward their vigilance with a chat about HSBC. The chairman of the troubled banking giant, Douglas Flint, is a regular attendee at Bilderberg, and he's heading here again this year, along with a member of the bank's board of directors, Rona Fairhead. Perhaps most tellingly, Flint is finding room in his Mercedes for the bank's busiest employee: its chief legal officer, Stuart Levey.

A Guardian editorial this week branded HSBC "a bank beyond shame" after it announced plans to cut 8,000 jobs in the UK, while at the same time threatening to shift its headquarters to Hong Kong. And having just been forced to pay £28m in fines to Swiss regulators investigating money-laundering claims. The big question, of course, is how will the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, respond to all this? Easy – he'll go along to a luxury Austrian hotel and hole up with three senior members of HSBC in private. For three days.

High up on this year's conference agenda is "current economic issues", and without a doubt, one of the biggest economic issues for Osborne at the moment is the future and finances of Europe's largest bank. Luckily, the chancellor will have plenty of time at Bilderberg to chat all this through through with Flint, Levey and Fairhead. And the senior Swiss financial affairs official, Pierre Maudet, a member of the Geneva state council in charge of the department of security and the economy. It's all so incredibly convenient.

... ... ...

Related: The Guardian view on HSBC: a bank beyond shame | Editorial

consumersunite -> MickGJ 12 Jun 2015 15:23

Let's see, maybe because we have read over their leaked documents from the 1950s in which they discussed currency manipulation and GATT. Everything they have discussed in their meetings over the past decades has almost come to fruition. There are elected officials meeting with criminals such as HSBC. Did you even read the article? If you did, and you are not het up or whatever you call it, then you are of a peasant mentality, and there is no use talking to you.

The Bilderberg set call people like you either their "dogs" (if you are in politics or the military) or the "dead." I won't be looking for your response because you have confirmed that you do not matter.

Carpasia -> MickGJ 12 Jun 2015 10:52

Thank you for your comment, my good man. Hatred is human, and helps us all to avoid pain, for pain, especially unnecessary pain, is allowed to be hated by the agreement of all, if nothing else is. I would hate to be beaten by Nazis. Thus, I would avoid going to a place where that could occur. That is how hatred works for me. It is the only way it can work, and not be pernicious to the self and others.

I distrust the international order as it is the means, harnessed by money, whether corporate or state or individual or monarchical, by which this world is being destroyed. Could things have been better? Jesus is on one end of the spectrum, and Lord Acton on the other, of the spectrums of viewpoints from which that could be properly assessed.

If the corruption at the heart of the international order is not regulated properly, this world will come to an end, not the end of the world itself, but the end of the world as we know it. This is happening now. The world is finite.

I am not a xenophobe. In my experience, the people that are most likely to hurt me, and thus deserve fear, are those closest. Perhaps that is a cynical way of describing it, but anyone who thinks honestly about it would accede to the notion that it is the people who "love" us that hurt us the most, for we agree too be vulnerable to them. It is the matrix of love.

As for Austria and Bavaria, I have visited both places and they were, both, the cleanest locales I have ever seen, with Switzerland having to be mentioned in the same breath, of course.

I take a certain liberty in writing. I am not damning the human race, or strangers to me. If I did not entertain, but caused offence, I apologize to you. I do not possess omniscience, and my words will have to speak for themselves.

Thank you, again.

DemonicWarlordSlayer 12 Jun 2015 08:02

"How Geo Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise to Power" in the UK Guardian >

"Did Geo H W Bush Coordinate a JFK Hit Team" at Veterans Today >

"9/11 Conspiracy Solved, Names, Connections, Details" on youtube....dot-to-dot of the

Demonic Warlord's Crimes Against Humanity....end feudalism.


Carpasia 12 Jun 2015 07:09

Excellent article.

I visited Austria once, and I know of what he speaks. It was the one place I have ever visited that I thought I would be jailed if I littered. I was wandering at the time, but I tentatively had a meal of chicken and departed henceforth.

Austrians are an interesting lot, to be sure. That they are perfect goes without saying. Their main virtue is that they do not travel, and that strangers, which we call tourists these days, are not welcomed. If only we were all like that, the world would be a far better place.

Austrians do everything well, including crime. Some of the greatest crimes in the world have been committed by Austrians, but their crimes did not include not having their papers.

During World War 2, and I pass over Hitler, the German machine of death had an unusually high proportion of Austrians in commanding roles assisting it. It can not be explained away by saying they were some kind of faux Germans, and so it matters not. Indeed, if anything, Germans are faux Austrians, looked at in the broad brush of history. Men of many nations joined the Germans and adorned themselves with the Death's Head, but many Austrians might as well have tattooed it onto their foreheads. I know of what I speak, for I read on it, and will justify if questioned.

Reinhard Heydrich is an epitome of this, in the true sense of the word. Kurt Waldheim was another, too young too rise too far before the Ragnarok of May of 1945, but government of the world was not out of his reach, a man who had materially assisted the transportation of the Jews of Thessaloniki to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and, when challenged, was unrepentant, not as a racist, but as something worse even, as a man whose great virtue was that he followed orders. It is order that the Austrians value over everything. Even crime is ordered.

In the common-law west we think criminals are disordered beasts to be locked up. We do not give them papers. They are registered only to warn us of their existence, and we do not like to let them travel, as much as we could benefit by their absence, because we think they flee to license, and we think it wrong to inflict them upon innocents abroad. In Austria, the criminal is the man with no papers. If he has papers, all is well, and he is no criminal, whatever he has done.

colingorton 12 Jun 2015 03:19

What do you mean "where criminals mingle with ministers". That is assuming that ministers are not criminals. Considering that there will be ministers from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK, I'd suggest that there is a near 100% certainty that some, if not all, the ministers there are criminals.

That one group of almost-certainly-criminals meets another group of almost-certainly-criminals is hardly surprising. That the whole shebang is protected by the host's police force is even less so.

How far can all this mutual back scratching go? It seems that the only alternative left is far too drastic, but there really seems to be no place for a legal alternative, does there?

[Jan 29, 2019] Raghuram Rajan: Populist Nationalism Is the First Step Toward Crony Capitalism

Raghuram Rajan is a crony economist ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Rajan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, spoke about the "concentrated and devastating" impact of technology and trade on blue-collar communities in areas like the Midwest, the anger toward "totally discredited" elites following the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent rise of populist nationalism, seen as a way to restore a sense of community via exclusion ..."
"... In his talk, Rajan focused on three questions related to current populist discontent: 1. Why is anger focused on trade? 2. Why now? 3. Why do so many voters turn to far-right nationalist movements? ..."
"... Frankly, "crony capitalism" has always been the primary one, as even Adam Smith noted ..."
"... Communities have become politically disempowered in large part because they have become economically disempowered. ..."
Aug 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Raghuram Rajan: Populist Nationalism Is "the First Step Toward Crony Capitalism" :

The wave of populist nationalism that has been sweeping through Western democracies in the past two years is "a cry for help from communities who have seen growth bypass them."

So said Raghuram Rajan, the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, during a keynote address he gave at the Stigler Center's conference on the political economy of finance that took place in June.

Rajan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, spoke about the "concentrated and devastating" impact of technology and trade on blue-collar communities in areas like the Midwest, the anger toward "totally discredited" elites following the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent rise of populist nationalism, seen as a way to restore a sense of community via exclusion.

In his talk, Rajan focused on three questions related to current populist discontent: 1. Why is anger focused on trade? 2. Why now? 3. Why do so many voters turn to far-right nationalist movements?

"Pointing fingers at these communities and telling them they don't understand is not the right answer," he warned. "In many ways, the kind of angst that we see in industrial countries today is similar to the bleak times [of] the 1920s and 1930s. Most people in industrial countries used to believe that their children would have a better future than their already pleasant present. Today this is no longer true." ...

There's quite a bit more. I don't agree with everything he (Raghuram) says, but thought it might provoke discussion.


DrDick , August 31, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Frankly, "crony capitalism" has always been the primary one, as even Adam Smith noted .
Paine , August 31, 2017 at 11:54 AM
The understanding of exploitation of wage earning production workers is a better base then the 18th century liberal ideal of equality

Exploitation and oppression are obviously not the same even if they make synergistic team mates more often then not.

So long as " them " are blatantly oppressed it's easy to forget you are exploited. Unlike oppression exploitation can be so stealthy.

So not part of the common description of the surface of daily life

Calls for equality must include a careful answer to the question "Equal with who ? "

Unearned equality is not seen as fair to those who wanna believe they earned their status. Add in the obvious : to be part of a successful movement aimed at exclusion of some " thems " or other is narcotic

Just as fighting exclusion can be a narcotic too for " thems "

But fighting against exclusion coming from among a privileged rank among the community of would be excluders.

That is a bummer. A thankless act of sanctimony. Unless you spiritually join the " thems"

Now what have we got ?

Jim Crow thrived for decades it only ended when black arms and hands in the field at noon ...by the tens of millions were no longer necessary to Dixie

Christopher H. , August 31, 2017 at 01:14 PM
"Pointing fingers at these communities and telling them they don't understand is not the right answer," he warned. "In many ways, the kind of angst that we see in industrial countries today is similar to the bleak times [of] the 1920s and 1930s. Most people in industrial countries used to believe that their children would have a better future than their already pleasant present. Today this is no longer true." ...

I thought this sort of thinking was widely accepted only in 2016 we were told by the center left that no it's not true.

"Rajan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, spoke about the "concentrated and devastating" impact of technology and trade on blue-collar communities in areas like the Midwest, the anger toward "totally discredited" elites following the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent rise of populist nationalism, seen as a way to restore a sense of community via exclusion."

Instead the center left is arguing that workers have nothing to complain about and besides they're racist/sexist.

gregory byshenk , September 01, 2017 at 08:54 AM
'"These communities have become disempowered partly for economic reasons but partly also because decision-making has increasingly been centralized toward state governments, national governments, and multilateral [agreements]," said Rajan. In the European Union, he noted, the concentration of decision-making in Brussels has led to a lot of discontent.'

I'd suggest that this part is not true. Communities have become politically disempowered in large part because they have become economically disempowered. A shrinking economy means a shrinking tax base and less funds to do things locally. Even if the local government attempts to rebuild by recruiting other employers, they end up in a race to the bottom with other communities in a similar situation.

I'd also suggest that the largest part of the "discontent" in the EU is not because of any "concentration of decision-making", but because local (and regional, and national) politicians have used the EU as a convenient scapegoat for any required, but unpopular action.

[Jan 29, 2019] Tucker Carlson Is Doing Something Extraordinary by Peter Beinart

Notable quotes:
"... Then, on Wednesday night , Carlson told the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow, and former Mitt Romney adviser, Max Boot, that he opposed overthrowing Syria's Bashar al-Assad and didn't see Russia as a serious threat. Boot responded by accusing him of being a "cheerleader" for Moscow and Tehran. Carlson called that comment "grotesque" too. And declared, "This is why nobody takes you seriously." ..."
"... He's challenging the Republican Party's hawkish orthodoxy in ways anti-war progressives have been begging cable hosts to do for years. For more than a decade, liberals have rightly grumbled that hawks can go on television espousing new wars without being held to account for the last ones. Not on Carlson's show. When Peters called him an apologist for Vladimir Putin, Carlson replied , "I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and America safer." ..."
"... When Boot did the same, Carlson responded that Boot had been so "consistently wrong in the most flagrant and flamboyant way for over a decade" in his support for wars in the Middle East that "maybe you should choose another profession, selling insurance, house painting, something you're good at." ..."
"... Most importantly, Carlson is saying something pundits, especially conservative ones, rarely say on television: that America must prioritize. Since the George W. Bush years, conservative politicians and pundits have demanded that the United States become more aggressive everywhere. They've insisted that America confront China, Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, the Taliban, ISIS, and al-Qaeda, all at the same time. Strategically, that's absurd. Because America's power is limited, its goals must be too. Foreign policy involves tradeoffs. Carlson acknowledges that. "How many wars can we fight at once?" he asked Peters. "How many people can we be in opposition to at once?" He told Boot that, "In a world full of threats, you create a hierarchy of them. You decide which is the worst and you go down the list." ..."
"... For over a century, conservative interventionists and conservative anti-interventionists have taken turns at the helm of the American right. In the 1920s, after Wilson failed to bring America into the League of Nations, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge -- perhaps the two most conservative presidents of the 20th century -- steadfastly avoided military entanglements in Europe. But after World War II, William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and others argued that anti-communism now required confronting the USSR around the world. While conservatives in the 1930s had generally attacked Franklin Roosevelt as too interventionist, conservatives from the 1950s through the 1980s generally attacked Democrats as not interventionist enough. ..."
"... When the Cold War ended, the pendulum swung again. Pat Buchanan led a revival of conservative anti-interventionism. The biggest foreign policy complaint of Republican politicians during the 1990s was that Bill Clinton's humanitarian interventions were threatening American sovereignty by too deeply entangling the United States with the UN. ..."
"... Donald Trump, exploiting grassroots conservative disillusionment with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has revived the anti-interventionist tradition of Coolidge, Harding, and Buchanan. And Carlson is championing it on television. ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com
Carlson told retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters he thought the U.S. should team up with Russia to defeat ISIS. Peters responded that, "You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938." Carlson called that comment "grotesque" and "insane."

Then, on Wednesday night , Carlson told the Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow, and former Mitt Romney advise