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[Dec 21, 2016] The widespread belief of neoliberals that they are entitled to a good hand in the market economy casino. This is reflected in the more or less universal belief of the affluent that

Krugman is a neoliberal stooge. Since when Social Security is an entitlement program. If you start contributing at 25 and retire at 67 (40 years of monthly contributions), you actually get less then you contribute, unless you live more then 80 years. It just protects you from "free market casino".
Notable quotes:
"... A "contribution" theory of what a proper distribution of income might be can only be made coherent if there are constant returns to scale in the scarce, priced, owned factors of production. Only then can you divide the pile of resources by giving to each the marginal societal product of their work and of the resources that they own. ..."
"... n a world--like the one we live in--of mammoth increasing returns to unowned knowledge and to networks, no individual and no community is especially valuable. Those who receive good livings are those who are lucky -- as Carrier's workers in Indiana have been lucky in living near Carrier's initial location. It's not that their contribution to society is large or that their luck is replicable: if it were, they would not care (much) about the departure of Carrier because there would be another productive network that they could fit into a slot in. ..."
"... If not about people, what is an economy about? ..."
"... I hadn't realized that Democrats now view Social Security and Medicare as "government handouts". ..."
"... Some Democrats like Krugman are Social Darwinists. ..."
"... PK is an ignorant vicious SOB. Many of those "dependent hillbillies" PK despises paid SS and Medicare taxes for many decades, most I know have never been on foos stamps, and if they are on disability it is because they did honest hard work, something PK knows nothing about. What an ignorant jerk. ..."
"... What is a very highly subsidized industry that benefits Delong and Krugman? Higher education. Damn welfare queens! :) ..."
"... No Krugman is echoing the tribalism of Johnny Bakho. These people won't move or educate themselves or "skill up" so they deserve what they get. Social darwinism. ..."
"... People like Bakho are probably anti-union as well. They're seen as relics of an earlier age and economically "uncompetitve." See Fred Dobbs below. That's the dog whistle about the "rust belt." ..."
"... Paul Krugman's reputation, formerly that of a a noted economic, succumbed after a brief struggle to Trump Derangement Syndrome. Friends said Mr Krugman's condition had been further aggravated by cognitive dissonance from a severely challenged worldview. ..."
"... He is survived by the New York Times, also said to be in failing health. ..."
"... For a long time DeLong was mocking the notion of "economic anxiety" amongst the voters. Does this blog post mean he's rethinking that idea? ..."
"... The GOP has a long history of benefitting from the disconnect where a lot of their voters are convinced that when government money goes to others (sometimes even within their own white congregations), then it is not deserved. ..."
Dec 21, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne : December 18, 2016 at 05:13 AM , 2016 at 05:13 AM

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/12/17/what-do-trump-voters-want/

December 17, 2016

What Do Trump Voters Want?
By Paul Krugman

Brad DeLong has an interesting meditation * on markets and political demands - inspired by a note from Noah Smith ** - that offers food for thought. I wonder, however, if Brad's discussion is too abstract; and I also wonder whether it fully recognizes the disconnect between what Trump voters think they want and reality. So, an entry of my own.

What Brad is getting at is the widespread belief by, well, almost everyone that they are entitled to - have earned - whatever good hand they have been dealt by the market economy. This is reflected in the more or less universal belief of the affluent that they deserve what they have; you could see this in the rage of rentiers at low interest rates, because it's the Federal Reserve's job to reward savers, right? In this terrible political year, the story was in part one of people in Appalachia angrily demanding a return of the good jobs they used to have mining coal - even though the world doesn't want more coal given fracking, and it can get the coal it still wants from strip mines and mountaintop removal, which don't employ many people.

And what Brad is saying, I think, is that what those longing for the return to coal want is those jobs they deserve, where they earn their money - not government handouts, no sir.

A fact-constrained candidate wouldn't have been able to promise such people what they want; Trump, of course, had no problem.

But is that really all there is? Working-class Trump voters do, in fact, receive a lot of government handouts - they're almost totally dependent on Social Security for retirement, Medicare for health care when old, are quite dependent on food stamps, and many have recently received coverage from Obamacare. Quite a few receive disability payments too. They don't want those benefits to go away. But they managed to convince themselves (with a lot of help from Fox News etc) that they aren't really beneficiaries of government programs, or that they're not getting the "good welfare", which only goes to Those People.

And you can really see this in the regional patterns. California is an affluent state, a heavy net contributor to the federal budget; it went 2-1 Clinton. West Virginia is poor and a huge net recipient of federal aid; it went 2 1/2-1 Trump.

I don't think any kind of economic analysis can explain this. It has to be about culture and, as always, race.

* http://www.bradford-delong.com/2016/12/is-the-problem-one-of-insufficient-market-wages-inadequate-social-insurance-polanyian-disruption-of-patterns-of-life-.html

** https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-16/four-ways-to-help-the-midwest

anne -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 05:18 AM
http://www.bradford-delong.com/2016/12/is-the-problem-one-of-insufficient-market-wages-inadequate-social-insurance-polanyian-disruption-of-patterns-of-life-.html

December 17, 2016

Regional Policy and Distributional Policy in a World Where People Want to Ignore the Value and Contribution of Knowledge- and Network-Based Increasing Returns

Pascal Lamy: "When the wise man points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger..."

Perhaps in the end the problem is that people want to pretend that they are filling a valuable role in the societal division of labor, and are receiving no more than they earn--than they contribute.

But that is not the case. The value--the societal dividend--is in the accumulated knowledge of humanity and in the painfully constructed networks that make up our value chains.

A "contribution" theory of what a proper distribution of income might be can only be made coherent if there are constant returns to scale in the scarce, priced, owned factors of production. Only then can you divide the pile of resources by giving to each the marginal societal product of their work and of the resources that they own.

That, however, is not the world we live in.

In a world--like the one we live in--of mammoth increasing returns to unowned knowledge and to networks, no individual and no community is especially valuable. Those who receive good livings are those who are lucky -- as Carrier's workers in Indiana have been lucky in living near Carrier's initial location. It's not that their contribution to society is large or that their luck is replicable: if it were, they would not care (much) about the departure of Carrier because there would be another productive network that they could fit into a slot in.

All of this "what you deserve" language is tied up with some vague idea that you deserve what you contribute--that what your work adds to the pool of society's resources is what you deserve.

This illusion is punctured by any recognition that there is a large societal dividend to be distributed, and that the government can distribute it by supplementing (inadequate) market wages determined by your (low) societal marginal product, or by explicitly providing income support or services unconnected with work via social insurance. Instead, the government is supposed to, somehow, via clever redistribution, rearrange the pattern of market power in the economy so that the increasing-returns knowledge- and network-based societal dividend is predistributed in a relatively egalitarian way so that everybody can pretend that their income is just "to each according to his work", and that they are not heirs and heiresses coupon clipping off of the societal capital of our predecessors' accumulated knowledge and networks.

On top of this we add: Polanyian disruption of patterns of life--local communities, income levels, industrial specialization--that you believed you had a right to obtain or maintain, and a right to believe that you deserve. But in a market capitalist society, nobody has a right to the preservation of their local communities, to their income levels, or to an occupation in their industrial specialization. In a market capitalist society, those survive only if they pass a market profitability test. And so the only rights that matter are those property rights that at the moment carry with them market power--the combination of the (almost inevitably low) marginal societal products of your skills and the resources you own, plus the (sometimes high) market power that those resources grant to you.

This wish to believe that you are not a moocher is what keeps people from seeing issues of distribution and allocation clearly--and generates hostility to social insurance and to wage supplement policies, for they rip the veil off of the idea that you deserve to be highly paid because you are worth it. You aren't.

And this ties itself up with regional issues: regional decline can come very quickly whenever a region finds that its key industries have, for whatever reason, lost the market power that diverted its previously substantial share of the knowledge- and network-based societal dividend into the coffers of its firms. The resources cannot be simply redeployed in other industries unless those two have market power to control the direction of a share of the knowledge- and network-based societal dividend. And so communities decline and die. And the social contract--which was supposed to have given you a right to a healthy community--is broken.

As I have said before, humans are, at a very deep and basic level, gift-exchange animals. We create and reinforce our social bonds by establishing patterns of "owing" other people and by "being owed". We want to enter into reciprocal gift-exchange relationships. We create and reinforce social bonds by giving each other presents. We like to give. We like to receive. We like neither to feel like cheaters nor to feel cheated. We like, instead, to feel embedded in networks of mutual reciprocal obligation. We don't like being too much on the downside of the gift exchange: to have received much more than we have given in return makes us feel very small. We don't like being too much on the upside of the gift exchange either: to give and give and give and never receive makes us feel like suckers.

We want to be neither cheaters nor saps....

ken melvin -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 05:32 AM
If not about people, what is an economy about?
Observer -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 05:59 AM
I hadn't realized that Democrats now view Social Security and Medicare as "government handouts".
Peter K. -> Observer... , December 18, 2016 at 09:25 AM
Some Democrats like Krugman are Social Darwinists. They're the "center-left" versus Bernie Sanders's leftwing supporters.
Tom aka Rusty -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 06:06 AM
PK is an ignorant vicious SOB. Many of those "dependent hillbillies" PK despises paid SS and Medicare taxes for many decades, most I know have never been on foos stamps, and if they are on disability it is because they did honest hard work, something PK knows nothing about. What an ignorant jerk.
Tom aka Rusty -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 06:31 AM
What is a very highly subsidized industry that benefits Delong and Krugman? Higher education. Damn welfare queens! :)
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 06:37 AM
Not LOL worthy, but still a good solid :<)
anne -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 06:53 AM

Education from elementary through college and professional levels is of course publicly supported in every reasonably advanced country in the world.

EMichael -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 07:18 AM
What is a very highly subsidized industry that benefits Rusty?

Healthcare.

Damn welfare queen!

Peter K. -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 09:33 AM
Or Krugman's textbook industry.
BenIsNotYoda -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 10:49 AM
PK's rhetoric, together with shills like pgl and emichael, has deteriorated quite a bit. Nicely done Rusty.
anne -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 06:34 AM
"dependent hillbillies"

[ This is a false quote. A writer should never be falsely quoted. There is no such expression used in this or any other essay by Paul Krugman. ]

pgl -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 09:34 AM
It must be really cold where Rusty lives and he woke up in one foul mood.
DeDude -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 08:58 AM
Exactly the same could be said about many of those inner city minorities that the "dependent hillbillies" look down on as "welfare queens". That may be one of the reasons they take special issues with "food stamps", because in contrast to the hillbillies, inner city poor people cannot grow their own food. What Krugman is pointing out is the hypocrisy of their tribalism - and also the idiocy, because the dismantling of society would ultimately hurt the morons that voted GOP into power this round.
Peter K. -> DeDude... , December 18, 2016 at 09:31 AM
"What Krugman is pointing out is the hypocrisy of their tribalism "

No Krugman is echoing the tribalism of Johnny Bakho. These people won't move or educate themselves or "skill up" so they deserve what they get. Social darwinism.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 09:58 AM
People like Bakho are probably anti-union as well. They're seen as relics of an earlier age and economically "uncompetitve." See Fred Dobbs below. That's the dog whistle about the "rust belt."
Julio -> Tom aka Rusty... , December 18, 2016 at 10:53 AM
His tone is supercilious and offensive. But your argument is that they are not "dependent" because they earned every benefit they get from the government. I think his point is that "dependent" is not offensive -- the term jus reflects how we all depend on government services. DeLong makes the point much better in the article quoted by anne above.
Observer -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 06:07 AM
In Memorium

Paul Krugman's reputation, formerly that of a a noted economic, succumbed after a brief struggle to Trump Derangement Syndrome. Friends said Mr Krugman's condition had been further aggravated by cognitive dissonance from a severely challenged worldview.

He is survived by the New York Times, also said to be in failing health.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Observer... , December 18, 2016 at 06:38 AM
:<)
kthomas -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 06:52 AM
Judith Miller. Dowd. Doh!at. Broder. Brooks.

BS

anne -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 06:55 AM
The New York Times is easily the finest newspaper in the world, is broadly recognized as such and is of course flourishing. Such an institution will always have sections or editors and writers of relative strength but these relative strengths change over time as the newspaper continually changes.
Observer -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 07:36 AM
Flourishing?

NYT Co. to revamp HQ, vacate eight floors in consolidation

"In an SEC filing, New York Times Co. discloses a staff communication it provided today to employees about a revamp of its headquarters -- including consolidating floors.

The company will vacate at least eight floors, consolidating workspaces and allowing for "significant" rental income, the memo says."

http://seekingalpha.com/news/3231232-nyt-co-revamp-hq-vacate-eight-floors-consolidation

anne -> Dan Kervick... , December 18, 2016 at 07:17 AM
Brad DeLong's piece was thoughtful.

[ Importantly so, worth a couple of close readings. ]

Peter K. -> Dan Kervick... , December 18, 2016 at 09:30 AM
For a long time DeLong was mocking the notion of "economic anxiety" amongst the voters. Does this blog post mean he's rethinking that idea?
Peter K. -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 09:57 AM
Technocratic Democrats like DeLong and Krugman (or neoliberal centrists) are notoriously against economic democracy and unions and the like.

Maybe that's a factor here.

Dan Kervick -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 01:13 PM
I think he and others have finally reached a point where denial is not an option.
DeDude -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 08:37 AM
The GOP has a long history of benefitting from the disconnect where a lot of their voters are convinced that when government money goes to others (sometimes even within their own white congregations), then it is not deserved. But if that same government money goes to themselves (or their real close relatives), then it is a hard earned and well-deserved payback for their sacrifices and tax payments. So the GOP leadership has always called it "saving social security" and "cracking down on fraud" rather than admitting to their attempts to dismantle those programs. The Dems better be on the ball and call it what it is. If you want to save those programs you just have to prevent rich people from wiggling out of paying for them (don't repeal the Obamacare medicare taxes on the rich).
rjs -> anne... , December 18, 2016 at 10:12 AM
What Do Trump Voters Want? for starters, they'd probably want people like Krugman to stop looking down their noses at them like they're lepers..
DeDude -> rjs ... , December 18, 2016 at 01:49 PM
Can we at least call those with the pointy white hats, despicable?
rjs -> DeDude... , December 18, 2016 at 02:29 PM

depends on how many of those people who voted for Obama in 2012 you figure to have joined the pointy white hat club since...


http://peakwatch.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83452403c69e201bb0960723f970d-pi

DeDude -> rjs ... , December 18, 2016 at 03:45 PM
Would they not be despicable regardless of what kind of wood they previously enjoyed burning?
RC AKA Darryl, Ron : , December 18, 2016 at 06:15 AM
Excellent post election commentary from Bloom County (comic).

http://www.gocomics.com/bloom-county/2016/11/27

David : , December 18, 2016 at 07:16 AM
On the Pk piece. I think it is really about human dignity, and the need for it. There were a lot of factors in this horrific election, but just as urban blacks need to be spared police brutality, rural whites need a dignified path in their lives. Everyone, united, deserves such a path.

This is a real challenge for economists; how do we rebuild the rust belt (which applies to areas beyond the literal rust belt).

If we do not, we risk Trump 2.0, which could be very scary indeed.

EMichael -> David... , December 18, 2016 at 07:36 AM
I agree to a point, but what the piece is about is that in search of a solution to the problems of the rustbelt (whatever the definition is),people voted for Trump who had absolutely no plan to solve such a problem, other than going back to the future and redoing Nafta and getting rid of regulations.

Meanwhile, that vote also meant that the safety net that helps all Americans in trouble was being placed in severe risk.

Those voters were fixed on his rhetoric and right arm extended while his left hand was grabbing them by the (in deference to Anne I will not say the words, but Trump himself has said one of them and the other is the male version).

Peter K. -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 08:48 AM
"I agree to a point,"

Really? You didn't seem to before. You'd say what Duy or Noah Smith or DeLong were mulling about was off-limits. You'd ban them from the comment section if you could. "This is a real challenge for economists; how do we rebuild the rust belt (which applies to areas beyond the literal rust belt).

If we do not, we risk Trump 2.0, which could be very scary indeed." I don't see why this is such a controversial point for centrist like Krugman. How do we appeal to the white working class without contradicting our principles?

By promoting policies that raise living standards. By delivering, which mean left-wing policies not centrist tinkering. It's the Clinton vs. Sanders primary. Hillary could have nominated Elizabeth Warren as her VP candidate but her corporate masters wouldn't let her.

sglover -> EMichael... , December 18, 2016 at 06:08 PM
"Meanwhile, that vote also meant that the safety net that helps all Americans in trouble was being placed in severe risk."

That safety net is an improvement over 1930. But it's been fraying so badly over the last 20-30 years that it's almost lost all meaning. It's something people turn to before total destitution, but for rebuilding a life? A sick joke, filled with petty hassles and frustrations.

And the fraying has been a solidly bipartisan project. Who can forget welfare "reform"?

So maybe the yokels you're blaming for the 10,000-th time might not buy your logic or your intentions.

Fred C. Dobbs -> David... , December 18, 2016 at 08:07 AM
In the rustbelt, Dems are accustomed to
dealing with their supporters who are
union members. (Why the auto industry
was bailed out, dontchaknow.)

That obviously doesn't work so well
any more. In that region, recovery
was 'less than robust', no?

In New England, where unions are much
less of a factor, recovery has been
relatively successful. Dems remain
pretty strong here.

Why can't the rustbelt be more
like the northeast?

The ongoing new industrial revolution
would seem to have much to do
with such matters.

Peter K. -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 18, 2016 at 08:49 AM
"In New England, where unions are much less of a factor, recovery has been relatively successful. Dems remain pretty strong here."

Is that accurate?

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 09:30 AM
unions don't have much to celebrate (in MA) http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/29/labor-day-but-there-little-for-labor-celebrate/e4MOhMsc5lf6rJkZdCPbKM/story.html?event=event25
via @BostonGlobe - August 2014

... At the height of their influence in the 1950s, labor unions could claim to represent about 1 of every 3 American workers. Today, it's 1 in 9 - and falling.

Some have seen the shrinking size and waning influence of labor unions as a sign that the US economy is growing more flexible and dynamic, but there's mounting evidence that it is also contributing to slow wage growth and the rise in inequality. ...


(Union membership) NY 24.7%, MA 12.4%, SC 2.1%

... Are unions faring any better here in Massachusetts?

While Massachusetts's unions are stronger than average, it's not among the most heavily unionized states. That honor goes to New York, where 1 in every 4 workers belongs to a union. After New York, there are 11 other states with higher union membership rates then Massachusetts.

Here too, though, the decline in union membership over time has been steep.

(From 1983 to 2013) US -42%, MA -44%

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 09:44 AM
Union Members Summary - BLS - Jan 2016 https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

... In 2015, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below
that of the U.S. average, 11.1 percent, and 20 states had rates above it. All states
in the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates
below the national average, and all states in the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions
had rates above it. Union membership rates increased over the year in 24 states and
the District of Columbia, declined in 23 states, and were unchanged in 3 states.
(See table 5.)

Five states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2015: South Carolina
(2.1 percent), North Carolina (3.0 percent), Utah (3.9 percent), Georgia (4.0 percent),
and Texas (4.5 percent).

Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in
2015: New York (24.7 percent) and Hawaii (20.4 percent).

State union membership levels depend on both the employment level and the union
membership rate. The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.5 million)
and New York (2.0 million).

Roughly half of the 14.8 million union members in the
U.S. lived in just seven states (California, 2.5 million; New York, 2.0 million;
Illinois, 0.8 million; Pennsylvania, 0.7 million; and Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey,
0.6 million each), though these states accounted for only about one-third of wage and
salary employment nationally.

(It appears that New England union participation
lags in the northeast, and also in the rest of
the US not in the Red Zone.)

Table 5. Union affiliation of employed wage and salary workers by state https://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.t05.htm

Peter K. -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 18, 2016 at 09:56 AM
"In New England, where unions are much
less of a factor, recovery has been
relatively successful. Dems remain
pretty strong here."

I'm questionning the causation. B/c New England has fewer unions, they're doing better?

My bet is that most of these centrists like Krugman don't like unions and think they're ancient relics which hurt the economies "competitiveness."

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 10:12 AM
I have noted before that New England
is doing better 'than average' (IMO)
because of high-tech industry & education.

Not necessarily because of a lack of
unionization, which is prevalent here
in public education & among service
workers. Note that in higher ed,
much here is private.

Private industry here traditionally
is not heavily unionized, although
that is probably not the case
among defense corps.

Fred C. Dobbs -> Peter K.... , December 18, 2016 at 10:21 AM
As to causation, I think the
implication is that 'Dems dealing
with unions' has not been working
all that well, recovery-wise,
particularly in the rust belt.

That must have as much to do with
industrial management as it does
with labor, and the ubiquitous
on-going industrial revolution.

Fred C. Dobbs -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 18, 2016 at 10:24 AM
It may well be that in the
rust belt, corps are doing
reasonably well, but not as
much with labor. That is an
industrial revolution problem.
sglover -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 18, 2016 at 06:10 PM
"In the rustbelt, Dems are accustomed to dealing with their supporters who are union members. (Why the auto industry was bailed out, dontchaknow.)"

Uh huh. Sure.

Know how many times HRC visited UAW groups during her "campaign" in Michigan?

Zero.

Those autoworkers are real ingrates.

DeDude -> David... , December 18, 2016 at 09:35 AM
Everybody needs, and desperately crave, self-confidence and dignity. In white rural culture that has always been connected to the old settler mentality and values of personal "freedom" and "independence". It is unfortunate that this freedom/independence mythology has been what attracted all the immigrants from Europe over here. So it is as strongly engrained (both in culture and individual values) as it is outdated and counterproductive in the world of the future. I am not sure that society can help a community where people find themselves humiliated by being helped (especially by bad government). Maybe somehow try to get them to think of the government help as an earned benefit?
Fred C. Dobbs -> DeDude... , December 18, 2016 at 10:22 AM
Ok, that seems very quaint.

[Dec 05, 2016] The most powerful force in Presidential election 2016 is the sense of betrayal pervading our politics, especially among Democratic electorate

Notable quotes:
"... if neo-liberalism is partly defined by the free flow of goods, labor and capital - and that has been the Republican agenda since at least Reagan - how is Trump a continuation of the same tradition?" ..."
"... Trump is a conservative (or right populist, or whatever), and draws on that tradition. He's not a neoliberal. ..."
"... Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view. He's consistent w/the trade and immigration views but (assuming you can actually figure him out) wrong on banks, taxes, etc. ..."
"... But the next populists we see might be more full bore. When that happens, you'll see much more overlap w/Sanders economic plans for the middle class. ..."
"... There's always tension along the lead running between the politician and his constituents. The thing that seems most salient to me at the present moment is the sense of betrayal pervading our politics. At least since the GFC of 2008, it has been hard to deny that the two Parties worked together to set up an economic betrayal. And, the long-running saga of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also speak to elite failure, as well as betrayal. ..."
"... Trump is a novelty act. He represents a chance for people who feel resentful without knowing much of anything about anything to cast a middle-finger vote. They wouldn't be willing to do that, if times were really bad, instead of just disappointing and distressing. ..."
"... There's also the fact Reagan tapped a fair number of Nixon people, as did W years later. Reagan went after Nixon in the sense of running against him, and taking the party in a much more hard-right direction, sure. But he was repudiated largely because he got caught doing dirty tricks with his pants down. ..."
"... From what I can tell - the 1972 election gave the centrists in the democratic party power to discredit and marginalize the anti-war left, and with it, the left in general. ..."
"... Ready even now to whine that she's a victim and that the whole community is at fault and that people are picking on her because she's a woman, rather than because she has a habit of making accusations like this every time she comments. ..."
"... That is a perfect example of predatory "solidarity". Val is looking for dupes to support her ..."
Aug 12, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 4:15 pm 683
"Once again, if neo-liberalism is partly defined by the free flow of goods, labor and capital - and that has been the Republican agenda since at least Reagan - how is Trump a continuation of the same tradition?"

You have to be willing to see neoliberalism as something different from conservatism to have the answer make any sense. John Quiggin has written a good deal here about a model of U.S. politics as being divided into left, neoliberal, and conservative. Trump is a conservative (or right populist, or whatever), and draws on that tradition. He's not a neoliberal.

... ... ...

T 08.12.16 at 5:52 pm

RP @683

That's a bit of my point. I think Corey has defined the Republican tradition solely in response to the Southern Strategy that sees a line from Nixon (or Goldwater) to Trump. But that gets the economics wrong and the foreign policy too - the repub foreign policy view has not been consistent across administrations and Trump's economic pans (to the extent he has a plan) are antithetical to the Nixon – W tradition. I have viewed post-80 Dem administrations as neoliberals w/transfers and Repub as neoliberals w/o transfers.

Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view. He's consistent w/the trade and immigration views but (assuming you can actually figure him out) wrong on banks, taxes, etc.

But the next populists we see might be more full bore. When that happens, you'll see much more overlap w/Sanders economic plans for the middle class. Populists have nothing against gov't programs like SS and Medicare and were always for things like the TVA and infrastructure spending. Policies aimed at the poor and minorities not so much.

bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 7:47 pm 689

T @ 685: Trump is too incoherent to really represent the populist view.

There's always tension along the lead running between the politician and his constituents. The thing that seems most salient to me at the present moment is the sense of betrayal pervading our politics. At least since the GFC of 2008, it has been hard to deny that the two Parties worked together to set up an economic betrayal. And, the long-running saga of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also speak to elite failure, as well as betrayal.

These are the two most unpopular candidates in living memory. That is different.

I am not a believer in "the fire next time". Trump is a novelty act. He represents a chance for people who feel resentful without knowing much of anything about anything to cast a middle-finger vote. They wouldn't be willing to do that, if times were really bad, instead of just disappointing and distressing.

Nor will Sanders be back. His was a last New Deal coda. There may be second acts in American life, but there aren't 7th acts.

If there's a populist politics in our future, it will have to have a much sharper edge. It can talk about growth, but it has to mean smashing the rich and taking their stuff. There's very rapidly going to come a point where there's no other option, other than just accepting cramdown by the authoritarian surveillance state built by the neoliberals. that's a much taller order than Sanders or Trump have been offering.<

Michael Sullivan 08.12.16 at 8:06 pm 690

Corey, you write: "It's not just that the Dems went after Nixon, it's also that Nixon had so few allies. People on the right were furious with him because they felt after this huge ratification that the country had moved to the right, Nixon was still governing as if the New Deal were the consensus. So when the time came, he had very few defenders, except for loyalists like Leonard Garment and G. Gordon Liddy. And Al Haig, God bless him."

You've studied this more than I have, but this is at least somewhat at odds with my memory. I recall some prominent attackers of Nixon from the Republican party that were moderates, at least one of whom was essentially kicked out of the party for being too liberal in later years. There's also the fact Reagan tapped a fair number of Nixon people, as did W years later. Reagan went after Nixon in the sense of running against him, and taking the party in a much more hard-right direction, sure. But he was repudiated largely because he got caught doing dirty tricks with his pants down.

To think that something similar would happen to Clinton (watergate like scandal) that would actually have a large portion of the left in support of impeachment, she would have to be as dirty as Nixon was, *and* the evidence to really put the screws to her would have to be out, as it was against Nixon during watergate.

OTOH, my actual *hope* would be that a similar left-liberal sea change comparable to 1980 from the right would be plausible. I don't think a 1976-like interlude is plausible though, that would require the existence of a moderate republican with enough support within their own party to win the nomination. I suppose its possible that such a beast could come to exist if Trump loses a landslide, but most of the plausible candidates have already left or been kicked out of the party.

From what I can tell - the 1972 election gave the centrists in the democratic party power to discredit and marginalize the anti-war left, and with it, the left in general. A comparable election from the other side would give republican centrists/moderates the ability to discredit and marginalize the right wing base. But unlike Democrats in 1972, there aren't any moderates left in the Republican party by my lights. I'm much more concerned that this will simply re-empower the hard-core conservatives with plausbly-deniable dog-whistle racism who are now the "moderates", and enable them to whitewash their history.

Unfortunately, unlike you, I'm not convinced that a landslide is possible without an appeal to Reagan/Bush republicans. I don't think we're going to see a meaningful turn toward a real left until Democrats can win a majority of statehouses and clean up the ridiculous gerrymandering.

Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 9:18 pm

Val: "Similarly with your comments on "identity politics" where you could almost be seen by MRAs and white supremacists as an ally, from the tone of your rhetoric."

That is 100% perfect Val. Insinuates that BW is a sort-of-ally of white supremacists - an infuriating insinuation. Does this insinuation based on a misreading of what he wrote. Completely resistant to any sort of suggestion that what she dishes out so expansively to others had better be something she should be willing to accept herself, or that she shouldn't do it. Ready even now to whine that she's a victim and that the whole community is at fault and that people are picking on her because she's a woman, rather than because she has a habit of making accusations like this every time she comments.

That is a perfect example of predatory "solidarity". Val is looking for dupes to support her - for people to jump in saying "Why are you being hostile to women?" in response to people's response to her comment.

[Dec 04, 2016] The Neoliberal State by John Gray

Notable quotes:
"... In practice, however, neoliberalism has created a market state rather than a small state. Shrinking the state has proved politically impossible, so neoliberals have turned instead to using the state to reshape social institutions on the model of the market - a task that cannot be carried out by a small state. ..."
"... The Neoliberal State ..."
"... Neoliberals are not anarchists, who object to any kind of government, or libertarians, who want to limit the state to the provision of law and order and national defense. A neoliberal state can include a welfare state, but only of the most limited kind. Using the welfare state to realize an ideal of social justice is, for neoliberals, an abuse of power: social justice is a vague and contested idea, and when governments try to realize it they compromise the rule of law and undermine individual freedom. The role of the state should be limited to safeguarding the free market and providing a minimum level of security against poverty. ..."
"... Plant's central charge against neoliberalism is that, when stated clearly, it falls apart ..."
"... Neoliberalism and social democracy are not entirely separate political projects; they are dialectically related, the latter being a kind of synthesis of the contradictions of the former. ..."
"... But it is one thing to argue that the neoliberal state is conceptually unstable, another to suggest that social democracy is the only viable alternative. Neoconservatives have been among the sharpest critics of neoliberalism, arguing that the unfettered market is amoral and destroys social cohesion. ..."
"... Immanent criticism can show that the neo­liberal theory of the state is internally contradictory. It cannot tell us how these contradictions are to be resolved - and in fact neoliberals who have become convinced that the minimal welfare state they favour is politically impossible do not usually become social democrats. Most opt for a conservative welfare state, which aims to prepare people for the labour market rather than promoting any idea of social justice. ..."
"... A more likely course of events is that social democracy will be eroded even further. ..."
"... The crisis is deep-rooted, and neoliberalism has no remedy for its own failure. ..."
"... Although the deregulated banking system may have imploded, capital remains highly mobile. Bailing out the banks has shifted the burden of toxic debt to the state, and there is a mounting risk of a sovereign debt crisis as a result. In these conditions, maintaining the high levels of public spending that social democracy requires will be next to impossible. ..."
"... Oxford University Press, 304pp, £50 ..."
Jan 01, 2007 | www.newstatesman.com
John Gray Neoliberals wanted to limit government, but the upshot of their policies has been a huge expansion in the power of the state. Deregulating the financial system left banks free to speculate, and they did so with reckless enthusiasm. The result was a build-up of toxic assets that threatened the entire banking system. The government was forced to step in to save the system from self-destruction, but only at the cost of becoming itself hugely indebted. As a result, the state has a greater stake in the financial system than it did in the time of Clement Attlee. Yet the government is reluctant to use its power, even to curb the gross bonuses that bankers are awarding themselves from public funds. The neoliberal financial regime may have collapsed, but politicians continue to defer to the authority of the market.

Hardcore Thatcherites, and their fellow-travellers in New Labour, sometimes question whether there was ever a time when neoliberal ideas shaped policy. Has public spending not continued to rise over recent decades? Is the state not bigger than it has ever been? In practice, however, neoliberalism has created a market state rather than a small state. Shrinking the state has proved politically impossible, so neoliberals have turned instead to using the state to reshape social institutions on the model of the market - a task that cannot be carried out by a small state.

An increase in state power has always been the inner logic of neoliberalism, because, in order to inject markets into every corner of social life, a government needs to be highly invasive. Health, education and the arts are now more controlled by the state than they were in the era of Labour collectivism. Once-autonomous institutions are entangled in an apparatus of government targets and incentives. The consequence of reshaping society on a market model has been to make the state omnipresent.

Raymond Plant is a rarity among academic political theorists, in that he has deep experience of political life (before becoming a Labour peer he was a long-time adviser to Neil Kinnock). But he remains a philosopher, and the central focus of The Neoliberal State is not on the ways in which neoliberalism has self-destructed in practice. Instead, using a method of immanent criticism, Plant aims to uncover contradictions in neoliberal ideology itself. Examining a wide variety of thinkers - Michael Oakeshott, Friedrich Hayek, Robert Nozick, James Buchanan and others - he develops a rigorous and compelling argument that neoliberal ideas are inherently unstable.

Neoliberals are not anarchists, who object to any kind of government, or libertarians, who want to limit the state to the provision of law and order and national defense. A neoliberal state can include a welfare state, but only of the most limited kind. Using the welfare state to realize an ideal of social justice is, for neoliberals, an abuse of power: social justice is a vague and contested idea, and when governments try to realize it they compromise the rule of law and undermine individual freedom. The role of the state should be limited to safeguarding the free market and providing a minimum level of security against poverty.

This is a reasonable summary of the neo­liberal view of the state. Whether this view is underpinned by any coherent theory is another matter. The thinkers who helped shape neoliberal ideas are a very mixed bag, differing widely among themselves on many fundamental issues. Oakeshott's scepticism has very little in common with Hayek's view of the market as the engine of human progress, for example, or with Nozick's cult of individual rights.

It is a mistake to look for a systematic body of neoliberal theory, for none has ever existed. In order to criticise neoliberal ideology, one must first reconstruct it, and this is exactly what Plant does. The result is the most authoritative and comprehensive critique of neoliberal thinking to date.

Plant's central charge against neoliberalism is that, when stated clearly, it falls apart and is finally indistinguishable from a mild form of social democracy. Plant is a distinguished scholar of Hegel, and his critique of neoliberalism has a strongly Hegelian flavour. The ethical basis of the neoliberal state is a concern for negative freedom and the rule of law; but when these ideals are examined closely, they prove either to be compatible with social democracy or actually to require it. Neoliberalism and social democracy are not entirely separate political projects; they are dialectically related, the latter being a kind of synthesis of the contradictions of the former. Himself a social democrat, Plant believes that the neoliberal state is bound as a matter of morality and logic to develop in a social-democratic direction.

But it is one thing to argue that the neoliberal state is conceptually unstable, another to suggest that social democracy is the only viable alternative. Neoconservatives have been among the sharpest critics of neoliberalism, arguing that the unfettered market is amoral and destroys social cohesion. A similar view has recently surfaced in British politics in Phillip Blond's "Red Toryism".

Immanent criticism can show that the neo­liberal theory of the state is internally contradictory. It cannot tell us how these contradictions are to be resolved - and in fact neoliberals who have become convinced that the minimal welfare state they favour is politically impossible do not usually become social democrats. Most opt for a conservative welfare state, which aims to prepare people for the labour market rather than promoting any idea of social justice.

If there is no reason in theory why the neoliberal state must develop in a social-democratic direction, neither is there any reason in practice. A more likely course of events is that social democracy will be eroded even further. The banking crisis rules out any prospect of a return to neoliberal business-as-usual. As Plant writes towards the end of the book: "It has been argued that the central cause of the banking crisis is a failure of regulation in relation to toxic assets . . . This, however, completely neglects the systemic nature of the problems - a systemic structure that has itself been developed as a result of liberalisation, that is, the creation of new assets without normal market prices and their diffusion throughout the banking system." The crisis is deep-rooted, and neoliberalism has no remedy for its own failure.

The upshot of the crisis is unlikely, however, to be a revival of social democracy. Although the deregulated banking system may have imploded, capital remains highly mobile. Bailing out the banks has shifted the burden of toxic debt to the state, and there is a mounting risk of a sovereign debt crisis as a result. In these conditions, maintaining the high levels of public spending that social democracy requires will be next to impossible. Neoliberalism and social democracy may be dialectically related, but only in the sense that when the neoliberal state collapses it takes down much of what remains of social democracy as well.

The Neoliberal State
Raymond Plant
Oxford University Press, 304pp, £50

John Gray is the New Statesman's lead book reviewer. His book "False Dawn: the Delusions of Global Capitalism", first published in 1998, has been reissued by Granta Books with a new introduction (£8.99) His latest book is The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom .

[Nov 21, 2016] Legutko On The Trump Moment by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... The Demon In Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations In Free Societies . ..."
"... Brave New World ..."
"... The Demon In Democracy ..."
"... he explains how Poland cast off the bonds of communism only to find that liberal democracy imposed similar interdictions on free thought and debate: ..."
"... Very quickly the world became hidden under a new ideological shell and the people became hostage to another version of the Newspeak but with similar ideological mystifications. Obligatory rituals of loyalty and condemnations were revived, this time with a different object of worship and a different enemy. ..."
"... The new commissars of the language appeared and were given powerful prerogatives, and just as before, mediocrities assumed their self-proclaimed authority to track down ideological apostasy and condemn the unorthodox - all, of course, for the glory of the new system and the good of the new man. ..."
"... Media - more refined than under communism - performed a similar function: standing at the forefront of the great transformation leading to a better world and spreading the corruption of the language to the entire social organism and all its cells. ..."
"... Trump's victory seems logical as a continuation of a more general process that has been unveiling in the Western World: Hungary, Poland, Brexit, possible political reshufflings in Germany, France, Austria, etc. ..."
"... More and more people say No ..."
"... What seems to be common in the developments in Europe and the US is a growing mistrust towards the political establishment that has been in power for a long time. People have a feeling that in many cases this is the same establishment despite the change of the governments. ..."
"... This establishment is characterized by two things: first, both in the US and in Europe (and in Europe even more so) its representatives unabashedly declare that there is no alternative to their platform, that there is practically one set of ideas - their own - every decent person may subscribe to, and that they themselves are the sole distributors of political respectability; second, the leaders of this establishment are evidently of the mediocre quality, and have been such long enough for the voters to notice. ..."
"... Because the ruling political elites believe themselves to steer the society in the only correct political course it should take, and to be the best quality products of the Western political culture, they try to present the current conflict as a revolt of the unenlightened, confused and manipulated masses against the enlightened elites. ..."
"... The new aristocrats are full of contempt for the riffraff, do not mince words to bully them, use foul language, break the rules of decency - and doing all this does not make them feel any less aristocratic. ..."
"... When eight years ago America elected as their president a completely unknown and inexperienced politician, and not exactly an exemplar of political virtue to boot, this choice was universally acclaimed as the triumph of political enlightenment, and the president was awarded the Nobel Prize in advance, before he could do anything (not that he did anything of value afterwards). The continuation of this politics by Hillary Clinton for another eight years would have elevated this establishment and their ideas to an even stronger position with all deplorable consequences. ..."
"... Many Christians are understandably relieved that the state's ongoing assault on the churches and on religious liberty in the name of sex-and-gender ideology, will probably be halted under the new president. ..."
"... Q: Trump is a politician of the nationalist Right, but he is not a conservative in any philosophical or cultural sense. ..."
"... Had the vote gone only a bit differently in some states, today we would be talking about the political demise of American conservatism. Instead, the Republican Party is going to be stronger in government than it has been in a very long time - but the party has been shaken to its core by Trump's destruction of its establishment. Is it credible to say that Trump destroyed conservatism - or is it more accurate to say that the Republican Party, through its own follies, destroyed conservatism as we have known it, and opened the door for the nationalist Trump? ..."
"... The new generations of the neocons gave up on big ideas while the theocons, old or new, never managed to have a noticeable impact on the Republican mainstream. ..."
"... The Demon in Democracy ..."
"... Today the phrase "more Europe" does not mean "more classical education, more Latin and Greek, more knowledge about classical philosophy and scholasticism", but it means giving more power to the European Commission. No wonder an increasing number of people when they hear about Europe associate it with the EU, and not with Plato, Thomas Aquinas or Johann Sebastian Bach. ..."
"... Considering that in every Western country education has been, for quite a long time, in a deep crisis and that no government has succeeded in overcoming this crisis, a mere idea of bringing back classical education into schools in which young people can hardly read and write in their own native language sounds somewhat surrealist. ..."
"... The results of the elections must have shaken the EU elites, and from that point of view Trump's victory was beneficial for those Europeans like myself who fear the federalization of the European Union and its growing ideological monopoly. There is more to happen in Europe in the coming years so the hope is that the EU hubris will suffer further blows and that the EU itself will become more self-restrained and more responsive to the aspirations of European peoples. ..."
"... The Demon In Democracy ..."
Nov 21, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ryszard Legutko, Polish Catholic philosopher ( European Parliament/Flickr ) This summer, I told you that J.D. Vance was the man to listen to if you wanted to understand what was happening in contemporary American politics. Now, please hear me when I say that Ryszard Legutko is another critically important voice for our time.

Legutko is a Polish philosopher and politician who was active in the anti-communist resistance. He is most recently the author of The Demon In Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations In Free Societies . In this post from September, I said that reading the book - which is clearly and punchily written - was like taking a red pill - meaning that it's hard to see our own political culture the same way after reading Legutko. His provocative thesis is that liberal democracy, as a modern political philosophy, has a lot more in common with that other great modern political philosophy, communism, than we care to think. He speaks as a philosopher who grew up under communism, who fought it as a member of Solidarity, and who took part in the reconstruction of Poland as a liberal democracy. It has been said that the two famous inhuman dystopias of 20th century English literature - Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World - correspond, respectively, to Soviet communism and mass hedonistic technocracy. Reading Legutko, you understand the point very well.

In this post , I quote several passages from The Demon In Democracy . Among them, these paragraphs in which he explains how Poland cast off the bonds of communism only to find that liberal democracy imposed similar interdictions on free thought and debate:

Very quickly the world became hidden under a new ideological shell and the people became hostage to another version of the Newspeak but with similar ideological mystifications. Obligatory rituals of loyalty and condemnations were revived, this time with a different object of worship and a different enemy.

The new commissars of the language appeared and were given powerful prerogatives, and just as before, mediocrities assumed their self-proclaimed authority to track down ideological apostasy and condemn the unorthodox - all, of course, for the glory of the new system and the good of the new man.

Media - more refined than under communism - performed a similar function: standing at the forefront of the great transformation leading to a better world and spreading the corruption of the language to the entire social organism and all its cells.

And:

If the old communists lived long enough to see the world of today, they would be devastated by the contrast between how little they themselves had managed to achieve in their antireligious war and how successful the liberal democrats have been. All the objectives the communists set for themselves, and which they pursued with savage brutality, were achieved by the liberal democrats who, almost without any effort and simply by allowing people to drift along with the flow of modernity, succeeded in converting churches into museums, restaurants, and public buildings, secularizing entire societies, making secularism the militant ideology, pushing religions to the sidelines, pressing the clergy into docility, and inspiring powerful mass culture with a strong antireligious bias in which a priest must be either a liberal challenging the Church of a disgusting villain.

Read the whole book.

After the US election, Prof. Legutko agreed to answer a few questions from me via e-mail. Here is our correspondence:

RD: What do you think of Donald Trump's victory, especially in context of Brexit and the changing currents of Western politics?

RL: In hindsight, Trump's victory seems logical as a continuation of a more general process that has been unveiling in the Western World: Hungary, Poland, Brexit, possible political reshufflings in Germany, France, Austria, etc. What this process, having many currents and facets, boils down to is difficult to say as it appears more negative than positive. More and more people say No , whereas it is not clear what exactly they are in favor of.

What seems to be common in the developments in Europe and the US is a growing mistrust towards the political establishment that has been in power for a long time. People have a feeling that in many cases this is the same establishment despite the change of the governments.

This establishment is characterized by two things: first, both in the US and in Europe (and in Europe even more so) its representatives unabashedly declare that there is no alternative to their platform, that there is practically one set of ideas - their own - every decent person may subscribe to, and that they themselves are the sole distributors of political respectability; second, the leaders of this establishment are evidently of the mediocre quality, and have been such long enough for the voters to notice.

Because the ruling political elites believe themselves to steer the society in the only correct political course it should take, and to be the best quality products of the Western political culture, they try to present the current conflict as a revolt of the unenlightened, confused and manipulated masses against the enlightened elites. In Europe it sometimes looks like an attempt to build a new form of an aristocratic order, since a place in the hierarchy is allotted to individuals and groups not according to their actual education, or by the power of their minds, or by the strength of their arguments, but by a membership in this or that class. The new aristocrats are full of contempt for the riffraff, do not mince words to bully them, use foul language, break the rules of decency - and doing all this does not make them feel any less aristocratic.

It is, I think, this contrast between, on the one hand, arrogance with which the new aristocrats preach their orthodoxy, and on the other, a leaping-to-the-eye low quality of their leadership that ultimately pushed a lot of people in Europe and the US to look for alternatives in the world that for too long was presented to them as having no alternative.

When eight years ago America elected as their president a completely unknown and inexperienced politician, and not exactly an exemplar of political virtue to boot, this choice was universally acclaimed as the triumph of political enlightenment, and the president was awarded the Nobel Prize in advance, before he could do anything (not that he did anything of value afterwards). The continuation of this politics by Hillary Clinton for another eight years would have elevated this establishment and their ideas to an even stronger position with all deplorable consequences.

For an outside observer like myself, America after the election appears to be divided but in a peculiar way. On the one side there is the Obama-Clinton America claiming to represent what is best in the modern politics, more or less united by a clear left-wing agenda whose aim is to continue the restructuring of the American society, family, schools, communities, morals. This America is in tune with what is considered to be a general tendency of the modern world, including Europe and non-European Western countries. But there seems to exist another America, deeply dissatisfied with the first one, angry and determined, but at the same time confused and chaotic, longing for action and energy, but unsure of itself, proud of their country's lost greatness, but having no great leaders, full of hope but short of ideas, a strange mixture of groups and ideologies, with no clear identity or political agenda. This other America, if personified, would resemble somebody not very different from Donald Trump.

Q: Trump won 52 percent of the Catholic vote, and over 80 percent of the white Evangelical Christian vote - this, despite the fact that he is in no way a serious Christian, and, on evidence of his words and deeds, is barely a Christian at all. Many Christians are understandably relieved that the state's ongoing assault on the churches and on religious liberty in the name of sex-and-gender ideology, will probably be halted under the new president. From your perspective, should US Christians be hopeful about their prospects under a Trump presidency, or instead wary of being tempted by a false prophet?

A: Christians have been the largest persecuted religious group in the non-Western world, but sadly they have also been the largest victimized religious group in those Western countries that have contracted a disease of political correctness (which in practice means almost all of them). Some Western Christians, including the clergy, abandoned any thought of resistance and not only capitulated but joined the forces of the enemy and started disciplining their own flock. No wonder that many Christians pray for better times hoping that at last there will appear a party or a leader that could loosen the straitjacket of political correctness and blunt its anti-Christian edge. It was then to be expected that having a choice between Trump and Clinton, they would turn to the former. But is Trump such a leader?

Anti-Christian prejudices have taken an institutional and legal form of such magnitude that no president, no matter how much committed to the cause, can change it quickly. Today in America it is difficult even to articulate one's opposition to political correctness because the public and private discourse has been profoundly corrupted by the left-wing ideology, and the American people have weaned themselves from any alternative language (and so have the Europeans). Any movement away from this discourse requires more awareness of the problem and more courage than Trump and his people seem to have. What Trump could and should do, and it will be a test of his intentions, are three things.

First, he should refrain from involving his administration in the anti-Christian actions, whether direct or indirect, thus breaking off with the practice of his predecessor. Second, he should nominate the right persons for the vacancies in the Supreme Court. Third, he should resist the temptation to cajole the politically correct establishment, as some Republicans have been doing, because not only will it be a bad signal, but also display naïvete: this establishment is never satisfied with anything but an unconditional surrender of its opponents.

Whether these decisions will be sufficient for American Christians to launch a counteroffensive and to reclaim the lost areas, I do not know. A lot will depend on what the Christians will do and how outspoken they will be in making their case public.

Q: Trump is a politician of the nationalist Right, but he is not a conservative in any philosophical or cultural sense. Had the vote gone only a bit differently in some states, today we would be talking about the political demise of American conservatism. Instead, the Republican Party is going to be stronger in government than it has been in a very long time - but the party has been shaken to its core by Trump's destruction of its establishment. Is it credible to say that Trump destroyed conservatism - or is it more accurate to say that the Republican Party, through its own follies, destroyed conservatism as we have known it, and opened the door for the nationalist Trump?

A: Conservatism has always been problematic in America, where the word itself has acquired more meanings, some of them quite bizarre, than in Europe. A quite common habit, to give an example, of mentioning libertarianism and conservatism in one breath, thereby suggesting that they are somehow essentially related, is proof enough that a conservative agenda is difficult for the Americans to swallow. If I am not mistaken, the Republican Party has long relinquished, with very few exceptions, any closer link with conservatism. If conservatism, whatever the precise definition, has something to do with a continuity of culture, Christian and Classical roots of this culture, classical metaphysics and anthropology, beauty and virtue, a sense of decorum, liberal education, family, republican paideia, and other related notions, these are not the elements that constitute an integral part of an ideal type of an Republican identity in today's America. Whether it has been different before, I am not competent to judge, but certainly there was a time when the intellectual institutions somehow linked to the Republican Party debated these issues. The new generations of the neocons gave up on big ideas while the theocons, old or new, never managed to have a noticeable impact on the Republican mainstream.

Given that there is this essential philosophical weakness within the modern Republican identity, Donald Trump does not look like an obvious person to change it by inspiring a resurgence of conservative thinking. I do not exclude however, unlikely as it seems today, that the new administration will need – solely for instrumental reasons – some big ideas to mobilize its electorate and to give them a sense of direction, and that a possible candidate to perform this function will be some kind of conservatism. Liberalism, libertarianism and saying 'no' to everything will certainly not serve the purpose. Nationalism looks good and played its role during two or three months of the campaign, but might be insufficient for the four (eight?) years that will follow.

Q: Though the Republicans will soon have their hands firmly on the levers of political power, cultural institutions - especially academia and the news and entertainment media - are still thoroughly progressive. In The Demon in Democracy , you write that "it is hard to imagine freedom without classical philosophy and the heritage of antiquity, without Christianity and scholasticism [and] many other components of the entire Western civilization." How can we hope to return to the roots of Western civilization when the culture-forming institutions are so hostile to it?

A: It is true that we live at a time of practically one orthodoxy which the majority of intellectuals and artists piously accept, and this orthodoxy - being some kind of liberal progressivism - has less and less connection with the foundations of Western civilization. This is perhaps more visible in Europe than in the US. In Europe, the very term "Europe" has been consistently applied to the European Union. Today the phrase "more Europe" does not mean "more classical education, more Latin and Greek, more knowledge about classical philosophy and scholasticism", but it means giving more power to the European Commission. No wonder an increasing number of people when they hear about Europe associate it with the EU, and not with Plato, Thomas Aquinas or Johann Sebastian Bach.

It seems thus obvious that those who want to strengthen or, as is more often the case, reintroduce classical culture in the modern world will not find allies among the liberal elites. For a liberal it is natural to distance himself from the classical philosophy, from Christianity and scholasticism rather than to advocate their indispensability for the cultivation of the Western mind. After all, these philosophies – they would say - were created in a pre-modern non-democratic and non-liberal world by men who despised women, kept slaves and took seriously religious superstitions. But it is not only the liberal prejudices that are in the way. A break-up with the classical tradition is not a recent phenomenon, and we have been for too long exposed to the world from which this tradition was absent.

There is little chance that a change may be implemented through a democratic process. Considering that in every Western country education has been, for quite a long time, in a deep crisis and that no government has succeeded in overcoming this crisis, a mere idea of bringing back classical education into schools in which young people can hardly read and write in their own native language sounds somewhat surrealist. A rule that bad education drives out good education seems to prevail in democratic societies. And yet I cannot accept the conclusion that we are doomed to live in societies in which neo-barbarism is becoming a norm.

How can we reverse this process then? In countries where education is primarily the responsibility of the state, it is the governments that may - hypothetically at least - have some role to play by using the economic and political instruments to stimulate the desired changes in education. In the US – I suspect - the government's role is substantially more reduced. So far however the European governments, including the conservative ones, have not made much progress in reversing the destructive trend.

The problem is a more fundamental one because it touches upon the controversy about what constitutes the Western civilization. The liberal progressives have managed to impose on our minds a notion that Christianity, classical metaphysics, etc., are no longer what defines our Western identity. A lot of conservatives – intellectuals and politicians – have readily acquiesced to this notion. Unless and until this changes and our position of what constitutes the West becomes an integral part of the conservative agenda and a subject of public debate, there is not much hope things can change. The election of Donald Trump has obviously as little to do with Scholasticism or Greek philosophy as it has with quantum mechanics, but nevertheless it may provide an occasion to reopen an old question about what makes the American identity and to reject a silly but popular answer that this identity is procedural rather than substantive. And this might be a first step to talk about the importance of the roots of the Western civilization.

You have written that "liberalism is more about struggle with non-liberal adversaries than deliberation with them." Now even some on the left admit that its embrace of political correctness, multiculturalism, and so-called "diversity," is partly responsible for Trump's victory. How do Brexit and Trump change the terms of the political conversation, especially now that it has been shown that there is no such thing as "the right side of history"?

Liberalism, despite its boastful declarations to the contrary, is not and has never been about diversity, multiplicity or pluralism. It is about homogeneity and unanimity. [Neo]Liberalism wants everyone and everything to be [neo]liberal, and does not tolerate anyone or anything that is not liberal. This is the reason why the [neo]liberals have such a strong sense of the enemy. Whoever disagrees with them is not just an opponent who may hold different views but a potential or actual fascist, a Hitlerite, a xenophobe, a nationalist, or – as they often say in the EU – a populist. Such a miserable person deserves to be condemned, derided, humiliated and abused.

The Brexit vote could have been looked at as an exercise in diversity and, as such, dear to every pluralist, or empirical evidence that the EU in its present form failed to accommodate diversity. But the reaction of the European elites was different and predictable – threats and condemnations. Before Brexit the EU reacted in a similar way to the non-[neo][neo]liberals winning elections in Hungary and then in Poland, the winners being immediately classified as fascists and the elections as not quite legitimate. The [neo]liberal mindset is such that accepts only those elections and choices in which the correct party wins.

I am afraid there will be a similar reaction to Donald Trump and his administration. As long as the [neo]liberals set the tone of the public debate, they will continue to bully both those who, they say, were wrongly elected and those who wrongly voted. This will not stop until it becomes clear beyond any doubt that the changes in Europe and in the US are not temporary and ephemeral and that there is a viable alternative which will not disappear with the next swing of the democratic pendulum. But this alternative, as I said before, is still in the process of formation and we are not sure what will be the final result.

There will be elections in several key European nations next year - Germany and France, in particular. What effect do you expect Trump's victory to have on European voters? How do you, as a Pole, view Trump's fondness for Vladimir Putin?

From a European perspective, Clinton's victory would have meant a tremendous boost to the EU bureaucracy, its ideology and its "more Europe" strategy. The forces of the self-proclaimed Enlightenment would have gone ecstatic and, consequently, would have made the world even more unbearable not only for conservatives. The results of the elections must have shaken the EU elites, and from that point of view Trump's victory was beneficial for those Europeans like myself who fear the federalization of the European Union and its growing ideological monopoly. There is more to happen in Europe in the coming years so the hope is that the EU hubris will suffer further blows and that the EU itself will become more self-restrained and more responsive to the aspirations of European peoples.

... ... ...

Again, Prof. Ryszard Legutko develops these themes in his powerful new book The Demon In Democracy . Highly recommended. It is rare to find a book of political philosophy that is so sharply written, so accessible to the general reader, so relevant to its time, and so prophetic. Posted in All Things Trump , Conservatism , Culture war , Political Correctness , Weimar America . Tagged elites , Europe , [neo]liberal democracy , liberalism , philosophy , Ryszard Legutko , Trump .

[Nov 15, 2016] Yevgeny Rublev: Ideological weapon of globalism. Feminism

Nov 15, 2016 | eadaily.com

[Nov 15, 2016] Yevgeny Rublev: Ideological weapon of globalism. Multiculturalism

Nov 15, 2016 | eadaily.com

[Nov 03, 2016] I doubt that "Neolib/Neocon orthodoxy" that is really completely dominant in the USA can be viewed as a flavor of conservatism. IMHO it's actually more resembles Trotskyism with its idea of "world revolution" and classic Marxist slogan "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!"

Notable quotes:
"... In a sense Neoliberalism/Neoconservatism (neoconservatives are neoliberals with a gun) is recklessly revolutionary in old Marx's sense - it destroys the existing bonds that hold the society together. ..."
Nov 03, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.04.16 at 12:53 am 24

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

@DMC 11.03.16 at 7:27 pm #23

"the Left (or what passes for it in the US) is as much to blame as the Right in that they haven't offered real substantive alternatives to the NeoLib/NeoCon orthodoxy that seems to dominate US policymaking."

That's a very apt observation, especially in the part "the Left (or what passes for it in the US) is as much to blame as the Right ".

The key question here" "Is neoliberalism a flavor of conservatism or not?". Or it is some perversion of the left? I doubt that "Neolib/Neocon orthodoxy" that is really completely dominant in the USA can be viewed as a flavor of conservatism. IMHO it's actually more resembles Trotskyism with its idea of "world revolution" and classic Marxist slogan "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!"

The first slogan was replaced with "Permanent neoliberal revolution" and "New American Militarism" that we saw in action in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Georgia, Ukraine. They are eager to bring the neoliberal revolution into other countries on the tips of bayonets.

The second was replaced by the slogan "Transnational corporate and financial elites unite". Instead of Congresses of "Communist International" we have similar congresses of financial oligarchy and neoliberal politicians like in Davos.

In a sense Neoliberalism/Neoconservatism (neoconservatives are neoliberals with a gun) is recklessly revolutionary in old Marx's sense - it destroys the existing bonds that hold the society together.

Still in other sense it resembles " the ancien regime", especially in the USA :

The opening chapters of Maistre's Considerations on France are an unrelenting assault on the three pillars of the ancien regime: the aristocracy, the church, and the monarchy. Maistre divides the nobility into two categories: the treasonous and the clueless. The clergy is corrupt, weakened by its wealth and lax morals. The monarchy is soft and lacks the will to punish. Maistre dismisses all three with a line from Racine: "Now see the sad fruits your faults pro-duced, / Feel the blows you have yourselves induced."5

If we equate "ancien regime" with the neoliberalism, the quote suddenly obtains quite modern significance. It does have a punch. Now we see Trump supporters attacking neoliberalism with the same intensity. And we can definitely divide the USA financial oligarchy into "the treasonous" and "the clueless." While neoliberal MSM are as corrupt as "ancien regime" clergy, if not more.

Like in the past there is a part of the USA conservatives that bitterly oppose neoliberalism (paleoconservatives).

The key problem here is that as there is no real left (in European sense) in the USA, the challenge to neoliberalism arose from the right. Trump with all his warts is definitely anti-globalization candidate. That's why we see such a hysteria in neoliberal MSM about his candidacy.

[Oct 29, 2016] A Trotskyist in his student days, Kristol has moved in stages to the right, first becoming a liberal anticommunist, then a conservative antiliberal.

Essentially Bolsheviks tactics...
Oct 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne -> anne... October 29, 2016 at 05:34 AM
https://www.princeton.edu/~starr/tnr-kris.html

1995

Nothing Neo
By Paul Starr

Neoconservatism
The Autobiography of an Idea
By Irving Kristol

Irving Kristol has been a formidable presence in American intellectual life for over forty years. After an early stint as an editor at Commentary, he helped to start three other influential magazines -- Encounter, in 1953; The Public Interest, in 1965; and The National Interest, in 1985.

A Trotskyist in his student days, Kristol has moved in stages to the right, first becoming a liberal anticommunist, then a conservative antiliberal. At one point in this evolution, in the early 1970s, he embraced the label "neoconservative," which the socialist Michael Harrington had introduced as a pejorative. Since then he has happily made himself so entirely synonymous with neoconservatism that he now offers his latest collection of essays as its, not his, "autobiography."

But a label is not necessarily evidence of a coherent philosophy, or of a living one. As Kristol himself acknowledges, neoconservatism has been swallowed by the larger conservative movement --[neoliberalism movement and ideology --NNB] . And his own views have evolved far beyond what he and others originally conceived as neoconservatism. Several of his early collaborators at The Public Interest, notably Daniel Bell and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, have long since parted ways. And well they might, considering the tone and substance of Kristol's writing in recent years.

When neoconservatism first took shape in the late 1960s and '70s, it seemed to be different from the older varieties of the American right. The Public Interest, and Kristol himself, accepted the New Deal, but rejected the political and cultural currents of the '60s.

Yet even with respect to the policies of that era, their stance was meliorism, not repudiation. They presented themselves as defending the achievements of a capitalist civilization, often positively described as liberal and secular, from the assaults of a radicalized liberalism. Nearly all were from New York, most were Jewish, and they carried with them a sensibility that was urban and modern, even when arguing on behalf of moral and cultural standards that were traditional or, to use Kristol's preferred term, "bourgeois."

People who know neoconservatism only from that era might therefore be surprised to read Kristol's recent fulminations against "secular humanism" and his praise of Christian fundamentalism. Remembering the calm civility of his earlier essays, they might especially fasten on the following passage from an article, written in 1993, with which Kristol concludes his new book: "So far from having ended, my cold war has increased in intensity, as sector after sector of American life has been ruthlessly corrupted by the liberal ethos.... Now that the other 'Cold War' is over, the real cold war has begun." ...

anne -> anne... , October 29, 2016 at 05:34 AM
http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/septemberoctober-2016/the-myth-of-the-powell-memo/

September, 2016

The Myth of the Powell Memo
A secret note from a future Supreme Court justice did not give rise to today's conservative infrastructure. Something more insidious did.
By Mark Schmitt

At one end of a block of Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C., sometimes known as "Think Tank Row"-the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Brookings Institution are neighbors-a monument to intellectual victory has been under reconstruction for a year. It will soon be the home of the American Enterprise Institute, a 60,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts masterpiece where Andrew Mellon lived when he was treasury secretary during the 1920s. AEI purchased the building with a $20 million donation from one of the founders of the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm.

Right Moves
The Conservative Think Tank in American Political Culture Since 1945
By Jason Stahl

In the story of the rise of the political right in America since the late 1970s, think tanks, and sometimes the glorious edifices in which they are housed, have played an iconic role. The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the libertarian Cato Institute, along with their dozens of smaller but well-funded cousins, have seemed central to the "war of ideas" that drove American policy in the 1980s, in the backlash of 1994, in the George W. Bush era, and again after 2010.

For the center left, these institutions have become role models. While Brookings or the Urban Institute once eschewed ideology in favor of mild policy analysis or dispassionate technical assessment of social programs, AEI and Heritage seemed to build virtual war rooms for conservative ideas, investing more in public relations than in scholarship or credibility, and nurturing young talent (or, more often, the glib but not-very-talented). Their strategy seemed savvier. Conservative think tanks nurtured supply-side economics, neoconservative foreign policy, and the entire agenda of the Reagan administration, which took the form of a twenty-volume tome produced by Heritage in 1980 called Mandate for Leadership.

In the last decade or so, much of the intellectual architecture of the conservative think tanks has been credited to a single document known as the Powell Memo. This 1971 note from future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell to a Virginia neighbor who worked at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged business to do more to respond to the rising "New Left," countering forces such as Ralph Nader's nascent consumer movement in the courts, in media, and in academia....

DeDude -> anne... , -1
The part where the neo-con-men get the scientific process wrong is where they begin with the conclusion, before they even collect any facts. And then they whine that Universities are full of Liberals. No they are full of scientists - and they are supposed to be.

[Oct 29, 2016] The level of militarism in the current US society and MSM is really staggering. anti-war forces are completely destroyed (with the abandonment of draft) and are limited for

Oct 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
libertarians (such as Ron Paul) and paleoconservatives.

likbez -> Fred C. Dobbs... October 28, 2016 at 04:37 PM , 2016 at 04:37 PM

>"Plus, she's very nasty towards Vlad Putin."

What I do not get is how one can call himself/herself a democrat and be jingoistic monster. That's the problem with Democratic Party and its supporters. Such people for me are DINO ("Democrats only in name"). Closet neocons, if you wish. The level of militarism in the current US society and MSM is really staggering. anti-war forces are completely destroyed (with the abandonment of draft) and are limited for libertarians (such as Ron Paul) and paleoconservatives. There is almost completely empty space on the left. Dennis Kucinich is one of the few exceptions
(see http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/10/27/must-read-of-the-day-dennis-kucinich-issues-extraordinary-warning-on-d-c-s-think-tank-warmongers/ )

I think that people like Robert Kagan, Victoria Nuland and Dick Cheney can now proudly join Democratic Party and feel themselves quite at home.

BTW Hillary is actually very pleasant with people of the same level. It's only subordinates, close relatives and Security Service agents, who are on the receiving end of her wrath. A typical "kiss up, kick down personality".

The right word probably would not "nasty", but "duplicitous".

Or "treacherous" as this involves breaking of previous agreements (with a smile) as the USA diplomacy essentially involves positioning the country above the international law. As in "I am the law".

Obama is not that different. I think he even more sleazy then Hillary and as such is more difficult to deal with. He also is at his prime, while she is definitely past hers:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-putin-usa-idUSKCN12R25E

== quote ==
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday it was hard for him to work with the current U.S. administration because it did not stick to any agreements, including on Syria.

Putin said he was ready to engage with a new president however, whoever the American people chose, and to discuss any problem.
== end of quote ==

Syria is an "Obama-approved" adventure, is not it ? The same is true for Libya. So formally he is no less jingoistic then Hillary, Nobel Peace price notwithstanding.

Other things equal, it might be easier for Putin to deal with Hillary then Obama, as she has so many skeletons in the closet and might soon be impeached by House.

[Oct 25, 2016] Krugman - a Vichy Left coward?

Jan 27, 2016 | larspsyll.wordpress.com

Paul Krugman's recent posts have been most peculiar. Several have looked uncomfortably like special pleading for political figures he likes, notably Hillary Clinton. He has, in my judgement, stooped rather far down in attacking people well below him in the public relations food chain

Perhaps the most egregious and clearest cut case is his refusal to address the substance of a completely legitimate, well-documented article by David Dayen outing Krugman, and to a lesser degree, his fellow traveler Mike Konczal, in abjectly misrepresenting Sanders' financial reform proposals

The Krugman that was early to stand up to the Iraq War, who was incisive before and during the crisis has been very much in absence since Obama took office. It's hard to understand the loss of intellectual independence. That may not make Krugman any worse than other Democratic party apparatchiks, but he continues to believe he is other than that, and the lashing out at Dayen looks like a wounded denial of his current role. Krugman and Konczal need to be seen as what they are: part of the Vichy Left brand cover for the Democratic party messaging apparatus. Krugman, sadly, has chosen to diminish himself for a not very worthy cause.

Yves Smith/Naked Capitalism

[Oct 15, 2016] That the economic system is being cannibalized to generate the outsized economic claims on income for capital and their minions among the executive classes

Notable quotes:
"... That the economic system is being cannibalized to generate the outsized economic claims on income for capital and their minions among the executive classes is worrying, as is the stagnation and the slow reaction to climate change and other similar issues. The 10% don't seem to be entirely ready to accept the parasitism in every detail. If you poison Flint's water or Well Fargo charges for fake accounts, there's some kind of reaction from at least some of the managerial / professional classes. We have Elizabeth Warren and she can be amazingly effective even if she seems like a lonely figure. ..."
"... But, mostly the parasitism of the financial sector affects the bottom 50%; the 10% get cash back on their credit cards. ..."
"... I personally know a guy who is an expert on the liver and therefore on the hazards posed by Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol); it is quite revealing to hear about how he's attacked by interested corporations. ..."
"... The inverted totalitarianism that Bruce and Rich are referencing here is only apparently a successful marriage of the impulse to control complex processes and the technologies which promise the possibility of that control. ..."
"... Never mind how powerful their tools, managers who want to avoid catastrophic delusions will have to learn a little humility. My advice to them: feed that to your big data and your AI, right along with your fiat money, your global capital flows, and your commodified and devalued labor force. and see where you wind up. Where you're headed now is a dead end. ..."
"... it is not left neoliberalism versus right neoliberalism, but left neoliberalism versus something that is: a: worse b: a predictable consequence of neoliberalism. A being true makes B no less true, and vice versa. ..."
"... Trump is a dispicable human being but he has touched those who are desperate for a change. Unfortunately for them, Trump could never be the change they need – whilst Clinton is just more of the same sh*t as we've had for the last 40 years or more. Bernie was the best hope for change but the establishment made sure he could not win by the manipulation of the "super delegate vote"! ..."
Oct 15, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

bruce wilder 10.14.16 at 6:06 pm 159

Rich Puchalsky @ 155

But, isn't "boring" an argument too? A third way to dissolve all the noisier contention, make it meaningless and then complain of its meaninglessness?

I haven't quite recovered from merian challenging your argument from pattern and precedent as decontextualized and ahistorical or then announcing that she was not a supporter of Clinton after having previously justified her own unqualified (though time-limited) support for Clinton.

I see the rhetorical power of Luttwak's "perfect non-sequitur", which Adam Curtis explains as a basis for the propaganda of the inverted totalitarian state in some detail. I've long argued that the dominating power of neoliberalism - not just as the ideology of the managerial classes, but as the one ideology to rule them all at the end of history - has to do with the way (left) neoliberals argue almost exclusively with conservative libertarians (right neoliberals). It is in that narrow, bounded dynamic of one completely synthetic and artificial thesis with another closely related and also completely synthetic and artificial antithesis that we got stuck in the Groundhog Day, where history tails off after a few weeks and evidence consists of counterfactuals projected a few weeks into the future.

It is not a highly contested election. It just looks like one and sounds like one, but the noise (and it is all noise in the end) is drowning out anyone's ability to figure out what is going on. And, really, nothing is going on - or rather, nothing about which voters have a realistic choice to make. That's the problem. (Left) neoliberalism was born* in the decision to abandon the actual representation of a common interest (and most especially a working class interest). Instead, it is all about combining an atomizing politics of personal identity with Ezra Klein's wonkiness, where statistics are used to filter out more information than revealed and esoteric jargon obscures the rest. Paul Krugman, Reagan Administration veteran and Enron advisor, becomes the authoritative voice of the moderate centre-Left.

*That's why the now ancient Charles Peters' Neoliberal Manifesto matters - not because Peters was or is important, but because it was such a clear and timely statement of the managerial / professional class Left abandoning advocacy for the poor or labor interests against the interests of capital, corporations and the wealthy. The basic antagonism of interests in politics was to be abandoned and what was gained was financial support from capital and business corporations. The Liberal Class, the institutional foundations of which were eroding rapidly in the 1980s, with the decline of social affiliation, mainline Protestant religions, public universities, organized labor could no longer be relied upon to fund the chattering classes so the chattering classes represented by Peters found a new gig and rationalized it, and that is the (left) neoliberalism we know today as Vox speak.

The 10% gets free a completely artificial (because not rooted in class interests or any interests) ideology bought and paid for by the 1/10th of 1% and the executive class) ideology, but it gets it free and as long as the system continues to lumber along, employing them (which makes them the 10%) they remain complacent. They don't understand their world, but their world seems to work anyway, so why worry? Any apparently alarming development can be normalized by confusion and made boring.

More than 20 years after Luttwak / McMurtry, I would think inability of the 10% to understand how the world works might be the most worrying thing of all. The 10% are the people who make the world work in a technical sense - that is the responsibility of the professionals and professional managers, after all.

That the economic system is being cannibalized to generate the outsized economic claims on income for capital and their minions among the executive classes is worrying, as is the stagnation and the slow reaction to climate change and other similar issues. The 10% don't seem to be entirely ready to accept the parasitism in every detail. If you poison Flint's water or Well Fargo charges for fake accounts, there's some kind of reaction from at least some of the managerial / professional classes. We have Elizabeth Warren and she can be amazingly effective even if she seems like a lonely figure.

But, mostly the parasitism of the financial sector affects the bottom 50%; the 10% get cash back on their credit cards.

I read with fascination articles about the travails of that Virginia Tech guy who persisted in the Flint Water case; again, a lonely figure. I personally know a guy who is an expert on the liver and therefore on the hazards posed by Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol); it is quite revealing to hear about how he's attacked by interested corporations.

William Timberman 10.14.16 at 6:19 pm 160

And yet . In the more or less cobwebbed corners of the Internet, like CT, we are in fact having this conversation, and others much like it - even when, as inevitably happens, it leaves us vulnerable to accusations of leftist onanism by self-appointed realists of the status quo. They may not be easy to ignore, but knowing that their opinions can't possibly be as securely held as they claim, and are in fact more vulnerable to events than they're capable of imagining, we shouldn't feel obliged to pay their denunciations any more attention than they deserve.

The inverted totalitarianism that Bruce and Rich are referencing here is only apparently a successful marriage of the impulse to control complex processes and the technologies which promise the possibility of that control.

If we really want to foster a future in which institutions are stable again, and can successfully design and implement effective protections for the general welfare, we're going to have to get a lot more comfortable with chaos, unintended consequences, the residual perversity, in short, of large-scale human interactions.

Never mind how powerful their tools, managers who want to avoid catastrophic delusions will have to learn a little humility. My advice to them: feed that to your big data and your AI, right along with your fiat money, your global capital flows, and your commodified and devalued labor force. and see where you wind up. Where you're headed now is a dead end.

soru 10.14.16 at 6:34 pm 161

> It is not a highly contested election. It just looks like one and sounds like one, but the noise (and it is all noise in the end) is drowning out anyone's ability to figure out what is going on.

Pretty sure it is. Precisely because it is not left neoliberalism versus right neoliberalism, but left neoliberalism versus something that is:

a: worse
b: a predictable consequence of neoliberalism.

A being true makes B no less true, and vice versa.

likbez 10.14.16 at 6:49 pm 62

The 50-55 year old male, white, college-educated former exemplar of the American Dream, still perhaps living in his lavishly-equipped suburban house, with two or three cars in the driveway, one or two children in $20,000 per annum higher education (tuition, board and lodging – all extras are extra) and an ex-job 're-engineered' out of existence, who now exists on savings, second and third mortgages and scant earnings as a self-described 'consultant', has become a familiar figure in the contemporary United States.

This is a real problem in the US. See, for example, http://www.softpanorama.org/Social/over_50_and_unemployed.shtml

The problem facing lower white collar and blue collar workers also was recently discussed in Guardian article
Dangerous idiots: how the liberal media elite failed working-class Americans

Here is a couple of comments

UserFriendlyyy -> sharpydufc , 14 Oct 2016 09:46

It isn't liberal or conservative. It lives in a [neoliberal] fantasy land where your station in life is merit based. If you are poor, it's a personal failing. Rich, you earned every penny.

They incorrectly believe the American Dream is something more than a fairytale rich people tell themselves to justify the misery they inflict on the poor.

It's pro technocrat; "we have a perfect solution if it would just get implemented . It won't rock the apple cart and will have minimum benefits but it makes us look like we care."

boo321 , 14 Oct 2016 07:53

Neoliberalism has failed the poor, disadvantaged and disabled. Making these people pay for the mistakes, corruption of our banks and major institutions is indicative of the greedy rich and elite who don't give a toss for their suffering.

Trump is a dispicable human being but he has touched those who are desperate for a change. Unfortunately for them, Trump could never be the change they need – whilst Clinton is just more of the same sh*t as we've had for the last 40 years or more. Bernie was the best hope for change but the establishment made sure he could not win by the manipulation of the "super delegate vote"!

[Oct 05, 2016] Diversity McCarthyism

Notable quotes:
"... If we don't keep up with the LGBT agenda, no corporations will want to do business with us! ..."
"... The tyranny of the minority needs to end. Are there any in authority willing to fulfill their official duty to say "no" and enforce it? ..."
Oct 05, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Oct 05, 2016 | The American Conservative
A reader in academia writes to say that Kennesaw State University, a large state school in Georgia, is looking for a new president. The hiring committee wants to consider hiring Sam Olens, the Georgia attorney general. "Ah, but you know what's coming," says the reader. More, from a local TV station's report:

Olens defended Georgia's gay marriage ban and sued the federal government over the transgender bathroom directive. That's why students organized Monday afternoon's protest and drafted a petition that has more than 5,000 signatures.

In the petition, students ask the Georgia Board of Regents to not appoint Olens as KSU's next president.One student, who wouldn't give 11Alive his name, said he's disappointed.

"The support groups would probably be disbanded and not to mention the scholarships that are offered for people active in LGBT rights," he said

After the rally ended, he stayed around to continue the protest.

"I feel it's my duty. I'm a student here and I have to make sure the school is safe for me and students. If this place becomes unsafe, I'd have to leave," he said.

Oh for pity's sake, this snowflake thinks hiring the Georgia AG as the school's president would lead to anti-gay pogroms? I hate the way this Orwellian "safe space" concept has become the cudgel with which campus progressives use to club the expression of opinions with which they disagree. Anyway, the reader comments:

Okay, a couple things. First, KSU gives scholarships for "people active in LGBT rights"? I'd love to know details on that. Second, note the alleged disqualification here: Olens defended the laws of his state - laws that were created by a democratically elected legislature. In other words, he did the job he is elected to do. But as you and I know, this now constitutes Thoughtcrime.

Leonard Witt, a KSU professor, wrote a column criticizing the choice in which he concludes: "Let's, this time, show the world that Cobb County carries the torch for all its diverse communities." Yes, diverse communities - as long as one of those communities isn't Christians or people fulfilling the duties of their elected office.

Now, I should note that as a college professor myself I happen to agree with Witt's other point: that a college president should be an academic, not someone plucked from business or politics. If I taught at KSU, I would oppose Olens for that reason. But this is something different: opposition to him because of something he believes, and because he did his job according to the constitution of the state of Georgia.

Eventually we're going to have to call explanations like Witt's the "Eich Maneuver," as an homage to Mozilla's preposterous explanation that they had to fire Eich because of how much they value diversity of viewpoint.

The reader says to be sure to note this reasoning from KSU's Prof. Witt (what follows is a quote from Witt's column):

Already the KSU LGBTQ community members are signing petitions. A headline in Project Q, a popular Atlanta blog, screams out "Gay marriage bigot Sam Olens to become KSU president." Unfair? Perhaps, but how do we know,since the selection process is coming from the darkest corners of state government. As attorney general, Olens ardently opposed both gay marriage and now gender neutral bathrooms. Hence, the headline.

Given Cobb County's history, try as the chancellor may argue otherwise, important national constituencies are going to be outraged­ about the secret meetings aimed at appointing a candidate who they know will infuriate the LGBTQ community and their allies at Kennesaw State, in Cobb County and throughout the state and nation.

The nation's largest foundations that support higher education demand respecting diversity in all its forms. An active foe of gay marriage or transgender neutral bathrooms for KSU president? Cobb County again? We have better places to put our money. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nike and just about every other major corporation may well openly or silently boycott Kennesaw State University. Plus, the tainted brand name will not exactly be a student resume builder.

Says the reader:

Echoes of Indiana and RFRA. If we don't keep up with the LGBT agenda, no corporations will want to do business with us! And note the fear that we could "infuriate the LGBTQ community and their allies." If I even mentioned to my academic colleagues that something could upset we Christians and our allies, I'd probably hear laughter.

We should be hearing Republican politicians, churches, and civic leaders calling this stuff out for what it is: diversity McCarthyism. Olens may or may not be qualified to run the university, but what these SJWs are attempting is frightening - or should be. Where does it stop?

[Oct 05, 2016] Social Justice and Neoliberal Discourse

Oct 05, 2016 | muse.jhu.edu
Bobby M. Wilson (bio) In the era of neoliberalism, human beings are made accountable for their predicaments or circumstances according to the workings of the market as opposed to finding faults in larger structural and institutional forces like racism and economic inequality. The market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all of human action ( Harvey 2005 ). In many ways, the discourse of neoliberalism represents a radical inversion of the notion of "human agency," as conceived through the prophetic politics of Martin Luther King. As originally conceived, human agency focused on people's capability of doing things that can make a difference, that is, to exercise some sort of power and self-reliance. As a central concern among many in the social sciences, this concept sought to expose the power of human beings. Reverend Martin Luther King's prophetic politics were determinedly "this worldly" and social in their focus. He encouraged people to direct their attention to matters of social justice rather than concern for personal well-being or salvation. He believed in the power of people to make a difference.

But the concept of "justice" has been reconstructed to fit neoliberal political and economic objectives. This reconstruction is part of a larger discourse to reconstitute liberalism to include human conduct. The invisible hand of the market not only allocates resources but also the conduct of citizens. Economie agency is no longer just about the market allocation of resources, but the allocation of people into cultural worlds. This represents a radical inversion of the economic agent as conceived by the liberalism of Adam Smith. As agents, humans are implicated as players and partners in the market game. The context in which individuals define themselves is privatized rather than publicized; the focus of concerns is on the self rather than the collective. Power operates internally, not externally, by inducing people to aim for "self-improvement." The effect has been to negate the "social" in issues of "justice" or "injustice." Individual subjects are rendered responsible, shifting the responsibility for social risk (unemployment, poverty, etc.) to the individual.

Black inner city spaces compete freely within a deregulated global market. Central cities of large metropolitan areas have become the epicenter of segregation. In 1988, approximately 55% of black students in the South attended schools that were 50% to 100% minorities. By 2000, almost 70% attended such schools. Only 15% of intensely segregated white schools are schools of concentrated poverty, whereas 88% of the intensely segregated racial minority schools are schools of concentrated poverty. Fifty years after the Brown decision, we continue to heap more disadvantages on children in poor communities. The community where a student resides [End Page 97] and goes to school is now the best predictor of whether that student will go to college and succeed after graduation. High school graduation rates in the South were lowest in the most isolated black-majority districts-those separated by both race and poverty. Across the South, we have created public and private systems that encourage the accumulation of wealth and privilege in mostly white and socially isolated communities separated by ever greater distances from the increasingly invisible working poor ( Orfield and Mei 2004 ).

The most fundamental difference between today's segregated black communities and those of the past is the much higher level of joblessness ( Wilson 1997 ). Black unemployment and poverty level consistently remains at twice the level of the total population. Access to jobs, already disproportionately tenuous for black workers, has become even more constricted in the current era of global capital. Without meaningful work, the impact of racially segregated communities is much more pervasive and devastating. The vast majority of intensely racial and ethnic segregated minority places face a growing surplus labor determined to survive by any means necessary. Two-thirds of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. The proportion of young black males who are incarcerated, on parole, or on probation nationwide continues to reach record levels. Blacks represent 12.3% of the total population but make up 43.7% of the incarcerated population. The number of black men in prisons increased from 508,800 in...

[Oct 05, 2016] They forget that the final lines of Animal Farm arent just an indictment of the pigs (Communist nomenklatura) for being no better than the men (capitalists) but also of the men for being no better than the pigs

Notable quotes:
"... The Neo-Liberal State ..."
"... the point that there's no ethical consumption under capitalism is a good one, repeated often but not often enough, even if in your case it comes in the stale clichéd context of "therefore First-World leftists need to shut up". ..."
"... in still-existing Communist Party regimes like the People's Republic of China, the party cadres are the neoliberal capitalist elites, no political transition required at all. ..."
"... It's George Orwell's final ironic revenge on those who would conscript his Animal Farm into service as a procapitalist propaganda tract: they forget that the final lines aren't just an indictment of the pigs (Communist nomenklatura) for being no better than the men (capitalists) but also of the men for being no better than the pigs. ..."
Oct 05, 2016 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 10.04.16 at 10:22 pm 415

Re: Rich Puchalsky 10.03.16 at 7:52 pm.371

A side note: there was some conversation above about the interests of an aristocracy, which of course prompted the idea that the aristocracy is long gone. But meritocracy is a kind of aristocracy.

This is an interesting observation. BTW other aspect of the same is related to the "Iron law of oligarchy". Also both aristocracy and meritocracy are just variants of oligarchy. The actual literal translation from the Greek is the "rule of the few".

At the same time traditional aristocracy is not fixed either and always provided some "meritocratic" mechanisms for entering its ranks. Look, for example, at British system where prominent scientists always were awarded lordship. Similar mechanism was used in in many countries where low rank military officers, who displayed bravery and talent in battles were promoted to nobility and allowed to hold top military positions. Napoleonic France probably is one good example here.

Neoliberal elite like traditional aristocracy also enjoys the privilege of being above the law. And like in case of traditional aristocracy the democratic governance is limited to members of this particular strata. Only they can be viewed as political actors.

USSR nomenklatura is yet another example of the same. It was so close in spirit to neoliberal elite, that the transition in 1991 was almost seamless.

In other words, vertical mobility can't be completely suppressed without system losing the social stability and that's was true for classic aristocracy as well as modern neoliberal elite (actually vertical mobility is somewhat higher in European countries then in the USA; IMHO it is even higher in the former Eastern block).

likbez 10.05.16 at 1:25 am 416
LFC,

@413

Re Will G-R: Your constant references to "liberals" as if they are all hideous, foul, disgusting, and evil, dripping in blood of the victims of global capitalism's exploitative ways (do you have a smartphone by the way? [I don't]; do you know who mined its ingredients?) is getting perhaps a bit, um, repetitive.

If by liberals we would understand neoliberals, this might not be an overstatement. Neoliberals destroy the notion of social justice and pervert the notion of the "rule of the law". See, for example, The Neo-Liberal State by Raymond Plant

social justice is incompatible with the rule of law because its demands cannot be embodied in general and impartial rules; and rights have to be the rights to non-interference rather than understood in terms of claims to resources because rules against interference can be understood in general terms whereas rights to resources cannot. There is no such thing as a substantive common good for the state to pursue and for the law to embody and thus the political pursuit of something like social justice or a greater sense of solidarity and community lies outside the rule of law.

But surely, it might be argued, a nomocratic state and its laws have to
acknowledge some set of goals. It cannot be impartial or indifferent to all goals.
Law cannot be pointless. It cannot be totally non-instrumental. It has to facilitate
the achievement of some goals. If this is recognized, it might be argued, it will
modify the sharpness of the distinction between a nomocratic and telocratic state,
between a civil association and an enterprise association.

The last paragraph essentially defines "neoliberal justice" which to me looks somewhat similar to the concept of "proletarian justice" (see Bukharin's views https://www.marxists.org/archive/bukharin/works/1920/abc/09.htm; compare with Vyshinskii views http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1924-2/socialist-legality/socialist-legality-texts/vyshinskii-on-proletarian-justice/).

So Will G-R low opinion is not without merit.

IMHO for neoliberals social justice and the rule of law is applicable only to Untermensch. For Ubermensch (aka "creative class") it undermines their individual freedom and thus they need to be above the law.

To ensure their freedom and cut "unnecessary and undesirable interference" of the society in their creative activities the role of the state should be limited to safeguarding the free market as the playground for their "creativity" (note "free" as in "free ride", not "fair")

Will G-R 10.05.16 at 1:48 pm 420
LFC, the point that there's no ethical consumption under capitalism is a good one, repeated often but not often enough, even if in your case it comes in the stale clichéd context of "therefore First-World leftists need to shut up". The point about repetition is particularly ironic, though, coming in the midst of yet another repetitive liberal circlejerk about Donald Trump blowing the Gabriel's trumpet of a civilization-destroying neo-Nazi apocalypse.
Will G-R 10.05.16 at 2:10 pm 421
likbez: "USSR nomenklatura is yet another example of the same. It was so close in spirit to neoliberal elite, that the transition in 1991 was almost seamless."

One doesn't even have to compare different types of government to grasp this point, when in still-existing Communist Party regimes like the People's Republic of China, the party cadres are the neoliberal capitalist elites, no political transition required at all.

It's George Orwell's final ironic revenge on those who would conscript his Animal Farm into service as a procapitalist propaganda tract: they forget that the final lines aren't just an indictment of the pigs (Communist nomenklatura) for being no better than the men (capitalists) but also of the men for being no better than the pigs.

likbez 10.05.16 at 2:23 pm 422
Will G-R,

@421

"It's George Orwell's final ironic revenge on those who would conscript his Animal Farm into service as a procapitalist propaganda tract: they forget that the final lines aren't just an indictment of the pigs (Communist nomenklatura) for being no better than the men (capitalists) but also of the men for being no better than the pigs."

An excellent point. Thank you.

[Sep 18, 2016] Protesting Youth in the Age of Neoliberal Cruelty by Henry A. Giroux

Notable quotes:
"... Reality always has this power to surprise. It surprises you with an answer that it gives to questions never asked - and which are most tempting. A great stimulus to life is there, in the capacity to divine possible unasked questions. ..."
"... - Eduardo Galeano ..."
"... Fred Jameson has argued that "that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism." ..."
"... One way of understanding Jameson's comment is that within the ideological and affective spaces in which the neoliberal subject is produced and market-driven ideologies are normalized, there are new waves of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is driven by a kind of mad violence and form of self-sabotage, and that if it does not come to an end, what we will experience, in all probability, is the destruction of human life and the planet itself. ..."
"... As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital ..."
"... As an ideology, it casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality, construes profit-making as the arbiter and essence of democracy ..."
"... Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one's individual needs and self-interests. ..."
"... The unemployment rate for young people in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece hovers between 40 and 50 per cent. To make matters worse, those with college degrees either cannot find work or are working at low-skill jobs that pay paltry wages. In the United States, young adjunct faculty constitute one of the fastest growing populations on food stamps. Suffering under huge debts, a jobs crisis, state violence, a growing surveillance state, and the prospect that they would inherit a standard of living far below that enjoyed by their parents, many young people have exhibited a rage that seems to deepen their resignation, despair, and withdrawal from the political arena. ..."
"... They now inhabit a neoliberal notion of temporality marked by a loss of faith in progress along with the emergence of apocalyptic narratives in which the future appears indeterminate, bleak, and insecure. Heightened expectations and progressive visions pale and are smashed next to the normalization of market-driven government policies that wipe out pensions, eliminate quality health care, raise college tuition, and produce a harsh world of joblessness, while giving millions to banks and the military. ..."
"... dispossessed youth continued to lose their dignity, bodies, and material goods to the machineries of disposability. ..."
"... Against the ravaging policies of austerity and disposability, "zones of abandonment appeared in which the domestic machinery of violence, suffering, cruelty, and punishment replaced the values of compassion, social responsibility, and civic courage" (Biehl 2005:2). ..."
"... In opposition to such conditions, a belief in the power of collective resistance and politics emerged once again in 2010, as global youth protests embraced the possibility of deepening and expanding democracy, rather than rejecting it. ..."
"... What is lacking here is any critical sense regarding the historical conditions and dismal lack of political and moral responsibility of an adult generation who shamefully bought into and reproduced, at least since the 1970s, governments and social orders wedded to war, greed, political corruption, xenophobia, and willing acceptance of the dictates of a ruthless form of neoliberal globalization. ..."
"... London Review of Books ..."
"... This is not a diary ..."
"... Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment ..."
"... Against the terror of neoliberalism ..."
"... Against the violence of organized forgetting: beyond America's disimagination machine ..."
"... Debt: The First 5,000 Years ..."
"... The democracy project: a history, a crisis, a movement ..."
"... 5th assessment report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change ..."
"... Unlearning With Hannah Arendt ..."
"... Agnonistics: thinking the world politically ..."
"... Capital in the twenty-first century ..."
www.truth-out.org

Reality always has this power to surprise. It surprises you with an answer that it gives to questions never asked - and which are most tempting. A great stimulus to life is there, in the capacity to divine possible unasked questions.

- Eduardo Galeano

Neoliberalism's Assault on Democracy

Fred Jameson has argued that "that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism." He goes on to say that "We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world" (Jameson 2003). One way of understanding Jameson's comment is that within the ideological and affective spaces in which the neoliberal subject is produced and market-driven ideologies are normalized, there are new waves of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is driven by a kind of mad violence and form of self-sabotage, and that if it does not come to an end, what we will experience, in all probability, is the destruction of human life and the planet itself. Certainly, more recent scientific reports on the threat of ecological disaster from researchers at the University of Washington, NASA, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reinforce this dystopian possibility. [1]

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014). As a political project, it includes "the deregulation of finance, privatization of public services, elimination and curtailment of social welfare programs, open attacks on unions, and routine violations of labor laws" (Yates 2013). As an ideology, it casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality, construes profit-making as the arbiter and essence of democracy, consuming as the only operable form of citizenship, and upholds the irrational belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations. As a mode of governance, it produces identities, subjects, and ways of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, possessive individual, and committed to the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power removed from matters of ethics and social costs. As a policy and political project, it is wedded to the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, the eradication of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the destruction of the welfare state and unions, and the endless marketization and commodification of society.

Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one's individual needs and self-interests. Matters of mutual caring, respect, and compassion for the other have given way to the limiting orbits of privatization and unrestrained self-interest, just as it has become increasingly difficult to translate private troubles into larger social, economic, and political considerations. As the democratic public spheres of civil society have atrophied under the onslaught of neoliberal regimes of austerity, the social contract has been either greatly weakened or replaced by savage forms of casino capitalism, a culture of fear, and the increasing use of state violence. One consequence is that it has become more difficult for people to debate and question neoliberal hegemony and the widespread misery it produces for young people, the poor, middle class, workers, and other segments of society - now considered disposable under neoliberal regimes which are governed by a survival-of-the fittest ethos, largely imposed by the ruling economic and political elite.

That they are unable to make their voices heard and lack any viable representation in the process makes clear the degree to which young people and others are suffering under a democratic deficit, producing what Chantal Mouffe calls "a profound dissatisfaction with a number of existing societies" under the reign of neoliberal capitalism (Mouffe 2013:119). This is one reason why so many youth, along with workers, the unemployed, and students, have been taking to the streets in Greece, Mexico, Egypt, the United States, and England.

The Rise of Disposable Youth

What is particularly distinctive about the current historical conjuncture is the way in which young people, particularly low-income and poor minority youth across the globe, have been increasingly denied any place in an already weakened social order and the degree to which they are no longer seen as central to how a number of countries across the globe define their future. The plight of youth as disposable populations is evident in the fact that millions of them in countries such as England, Greece, and the United States have been unemployed and denied long term benefits. The unemployment rate for young people in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece hovers between 40 and 50 per cent. To make matters worse, those with college degrees either cannot find work or are working at low-skill jobs that pay paltry wages. In the United States, young adjunct faculty constitute one of the fastest growing populations on food stamps. Suffering under huge debts, a jobs crisis, state violence, a growing surveillance state, and the prospect that they would inherit a standard of living far below that enjoyed by their parents, many young people have exhibited a rage that seems to deepen their resignation, despair, and withdrawal from the political arena.

This is the first generation, as sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues, in which the "plight of the outcast may stretch to embrace a whole generation." (Bauman 2012a; 2012b; 2012c) He rightly insists that today's youth have been "cast in a condition of liminal drift, with no way of knowing whether it is transitory or permanent" (Bauman 2004:76). Youth no longer occupy the hope of a privileged place that was offered to previous generations. They now inhabit a neoliberal notion of temporality marked by a loss of faith in progress along with the emergence of apocalyptic narratives in which the future appears indeterminate, bleak, and insecure. Heightened expectations and progressive visions pale and are smashed next to the normalization of market-driven government policies that wipe out pensions, eliminate quality health care, raise college tuition, and produce a harsh world of joblessness, while giving millions to banks and the military.

Students, in particular, found themselves in a world in which unrealized aspirations have been replaced by dashed hopes and a world of onerous debt (Fraser 2013; On the history of debt, see Graeber 2012).

The Revival of the Radical Imagination

Within the various regimes of neoliberalism that have emerged particularly in North since the late 1970s, the ethical grammars that drew attention to the violence and suffering withered or, as in the United States, seemed to disappear altogether, while dispossessed youth continued to lose their dignity, bodies, and material goods to the machineries of disposability. The fear of losing everything, the horror of an engulfing and crippling precarity, the quest to merely survive, the rise of the punishing state and police violence, along with the impending reality of social and civil death, became a way of life for the 99 percent in the United States and other countries. Under such circumstances, youth were no longer the place where society reveals its dreams, but increasingly hid its nightmares. Against the ravaging policies of austerity and disposability, "zones of abandonment appeared in which the domestic machinery of violence, suffering, cruelty, and punishment replaced the values of compassion, social responsibility, and civic courage" (Biehl 2005:2).

In opposition to such conditions, a belief in the power of collective resistance and politics emerged once again in 2010, as global youth protests embraced the possibility of deepening and expanding democracy, rather than rejecting it. Such movements produced a new understanding of politics based on horizontal forms of collaboration and political participation. In doing so, they resurrected revitalized and much needed questions about class power, inequality, financial corruption, and the shredding of the democratic process. They also explored as well as what it meant to create new communities of mutual support, democratic modes of exchange and governance, and public spheres in which critical dialogue and exchanges could take place (For an excellent analysis on neoliberal-induced financial corruption, see Anderson 2004).

A wave of youth protests starting in 2010 in Tunisia, and spreading across the globe to the United States and Europe, eventually posed a direct challenge to neoliberal modes of domination and the corruption of politics, if not democracy itself (Hardt & Negri 2012). The legitimating, debilitating, and depoliticizing notion that politics could only be challenged within established methods of reform and existing relations of power was rejected outright by students and other young people across the globe. For a couple of years, young people transformed basic assumptions about what politics is and how the radical imagination could be mobilized to challenge the basic beliefs of neoliberalism and other modes of authoritarianism. They also challenged dominant discourses ranging from deficit reduction and taxing the poor to important issues that included poverty, joblessness, the growing unmanageable levels of student debt, and the massive spread of corporate corruption. As Jonathan Schell argued, youth across the globe were enormously successfully in unleashing "a new spirit of action", an expression of outrage fueled less by policy demands than by a cry of collective moral and political indignation whose message was

'Enough!' to a corrupt political, economic and media establishment that hijacked the world's wealth for itself… sabotaging the rule of law, waging interminable savage and futile wars, plundering the world's finite resources, and lying about all this to the public [while] threatening Earth's life forms into the bargain. (Schell 2011)

Yet, some theorists have recently argued that little has changed since 2011, in spite of this expression of collective rage and accompanying demonstrations by youth groups across the globe.

The Collapse or Reconfiguration of Youthful Protests?

Costas Lapavitsas and Alex Politaki, writing in The Guardian, argue that as the "economic and social disaster unfolded in 2012 and 2013", youth in Greece, France, Portugal, and Spain have largely been absent from "politics, social movements and even from the spontaneous social networks that have dealt with the worst of the catastrophe" (Lapavitsas & Politaki 2014). Yet, at the same time, they insist that more and more young people have been "attracted to nihilistic ends of the political spectrum, including varieties of anarchism and fascism" (Lapavitsas & Politaki 2014). This indicates that young people have hardly been absent from politics. On the contrary, those youth moving to the right are being mobilized around needs that simply promise the swindle of fulfillment. This does not suggest youth are becoming invisible. On the contrary, the move on the part of students and others to the right implies that the economic crisis has not been matched by a crisis of ideas, one that would propel young people towards left political parties or social formations that effectively articulate a critical understanding of the present economic and political crisis. Missing here is also a strategy to create and sustain a radical democratic political movement that avoids cooptation of the prevailing economic and political systems of oppression now dominating the United States, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, France, and England, among other countries.

This critique of youthful protesters as a suspect generation is repeated in greater detail by Andrew R. Myers in Student Pulse (Myers 2012). He argues that deteriorating economic and educational conditions for youth all over Europe have created not only a profound sense of political pessimism among young people, but also a dangerous, if not cynical, distrust towards established politics. Regrettably, Myers seems less concerned about the conditions that have written young people out of jobs, a decent education, imposed a massive debt on them, and offers up a future of despair and dashed hopes than the alleged unfortunate willingness of young people to turn their back on traditional parties. Myers argues rightly that globalization is the enemy of young people and is undermining democracy, but he wrongly insists that traditional social democratic parties are the only vehicles and hope left for real reform. As such, Myers argues that youth who exhibit distrust towards established governments and call for the construction of another world symbolize political defeat, if not cynicism itself. Unfortunately, with his lament about how little youth are protesting today and about their lack of engagement in the traditional forms of politics, he endorses, in the end, a defense of those left/liberal parties that embrace social democracy and the new labor policies of centrist-left coalitions. His rebuke borders on bad faith, given his criticism of young people for not engaging in electoral politics and joining with unions, both of which, for many youth, rightfully represent elements of a reformist politics they reject.

It is ironic that both of these critiques of the alleged passivity of youth and the failure of their politics have nothing to say about the generations of adults that failed these young people - that is, what disappears in these narratives is the fact that an older generation accepted the "realization that one generation no longer holds out a hand to the next" (Knott 2011:ix). What is lacking here is any critical sense regarding the historical conditions and dismal lack of political and moral responsibility of an adult generation who shamefully bought into and reproduced, at least since the 1970s, governments and social orders wedded to war, greed, political corruption, xenophobia, and willing acceptance of the dictates of a ruthless form of neoliberal globalization.

In fact, what was distinctive about the protesting youth across the globe was their rejection to the injustices of neoliberalism and their attempts to redefine the meaning of politics and democracy, while fashioning new forms of revolt (Hardt & Negri 2012; Graeber 2013). Among their many criticisms, youthful protesters argued vehemently that traditional social democratic, left, and liberal parties suffered from an "extremism of the center" that made them complicitous with the corporate and ruling political elites, resulting in their embrace of the inequities of a form of casino capitalism which assumed that the market should govern the entirety of social life, not just the economic realm (Hardt & Negri 2012:88).

... ... ...

References:

Related Stories

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books include: Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future (Paradigm 2013), America's Educational Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014), and The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America's Disimagination Machine (City Lights, 2014). The Toronto Star named Henry Giroux one of the twelve Canadians changing the way we think! Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His web site is www.henryagiroux.com.

[Sep 16, 2016] Glamorisation of the rich as alpha males under neoliberalism and randism

Human society is way to complex for alpha males to succeed unconditionally... Quite a different set of traits is often needed.
Dec 31, 2015 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Carolinian December 29, 2015 at 10:51 am

As Hemingway replied to that alum: "yes, they have more money."

Vatch December 29, 2015 at 11:25 am

Superficially, Hemingway was correct. But on a deeper level, he missed the reality of the heightened sense of entitlement that the very rich possess, as well as the deference that so many people automatically show to them. The rich shouldn't be different in this way, but they are. In some other societies, such entitlement and deference would accrue to senior party members, senior clergymen, or hereditary nobility (who might not have much money at all).

MyLessThanPrimeBeef December 29, 2015 at 11:45 am

"Go with the winner."

That is how it works for the alpha male (a chimp, an ape, or a gorilla) for most followers anyway.

Some will challenge. If victorious, followers will line up (more go-with-the-winner). If defeated, an outcast.

Carolinian December 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Without a doubt Hemingway had a rather catty attitude toward his literary rival, but in this instance I think the debunking is merited. It's quite possible that rich people act the way we would act if we were rich, and that Fitzgerald's tiresome obsession with rich people didn't cut very deep. Hemingway is saying: take away all that money and the behavior would change as well. It's the money (or the power in your example) that makes the difference.

Massinissa December 29, 2015 at 1:58 pm

In my opinion, the fact that if they had less money would change the way they think, does not change the fact that, while they have more money, they think differently, and different rules apply to them.

Massinissa December 29, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Addendum: The fact that an Alpha Chimp would act differently if someone else was the Alpha Chimp does not change the fact that an Alpha Chimp has fundamentally different behavior than the rest of the group.

Carolinian December 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Sounds like you are saying the behavior of the rich is different–not what F. Scott Fitzgerald said.

Massinissa December 29, 2015 at 2:29 pm

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:F._Scott_Fitzgerald

"Hemingway is responsible for a famous misquotation of Fitzgerald's. According to Hemingway, a conversation between him and Fitzgerald went:

Fitzgerald: The rich are different than you and me.
Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.
This never actually happened; it is a retelling of an actual encounter between Hemingway and Mary Colum, which went as follows:

Hemingway: I am getting to know the rich.
Colum: I think you'll find the only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money."

Just want to point out that that quote of Hemingways wasnt about Fitzgerald and wasnt even by Hemingway. Anyway I was more attacking the "rich have more money" thing than I was trying to defend Fitzgerald, but I feel Fitzgerald got the basic idea right

craazyman December 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm

I read somewhere, maybe a biography of one of them when I read books like that, that Hemingway actually said it and only said that F. Scott said it.

There are no heroes among famous men. I said that!

giantsquid December 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Here's an interesting take on this reputed exchange between Fitzgerald and Hemingway:

"The rich are different" The real story behind the famed "exchange" between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2009/11/rich-are-different-famous-quote.html

Apparently Fitzgerald was referring specifically to the attitudes of those who are born rich, attitudes that Fitzgerald thought remained unaltered by events, including the loss of economic status.

"They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."

Hemingway suggested that Fitzgerald had once been especially enamored of the rich, seeing them as a "special glamorous race" but ultimately became disillusioned.

"He thought they were a special glamorous race and when he found they weren't it wrecked him as much as any other thing that wrecked him."

[Sep 15, 2016] Satyajit Das The Business of Politics naked capitalism by Satyajit Das

Notable quotes:
"... I think the key difference between successful politicians and business people is patience. When you look at the careers of successful politicians, you can often see many years of pure relentless grind going into a few years of glory in a senior position. Endless committee meetings, rubber chicken dinners, being nice to people you loath, the inevitable humiliation of losing elections. Most business leaders simply lose patience after a few years after they go into politics. ..."
"... "The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." ..."
"... Neoclassical economics hid the work of the Classical Economists and the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income. ..."
"... Once you hide this it is easy to make it look as though the interests of business and the wealthy are the same. ..."
"... There should not really be any tax on "earned" income, all tax should fall on "unearned" income to subside the productive side of the economy with low cost housing and services. ..."
"... "The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers." ..."
"... Adam Smith saw landlords, usurers (bankers) and Government taxes as equally parasitic, all raising the cost of doing business. ..."
"... "…who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." Adam Smith just described the modern Republican Party and movement Conservatives. ..."
"... The children of the US elite were the storm troopers of this ideology and they headed out from their elite US universities to bring this new ideology to developing nations. ..."
"... "The Chicago Boys" headed out from the University of Chicago to bring the new way to South American nations and "The Berkley Mafia" headed out from the University of Berkeley, California to bring the new way to Indonesia ..."
"... Any means were deemed acceptable to implement the one true solution and the new ideology, e.g. torture, terror, death squads, snatching people off the streets and making them disappear permanently. Any left wing resistance had to be quashed by whatever means necessary ..."
"... Their revolutions always massively increased inequality, a few at the top became fabulously wealthy and extreme and widespread poverty became prevalent at the bottom. Mixing with the people at the top, the elite US storm troopers deemed their revolutions a huge success. This ideology was ready to roll out across the world. ..."
"... Under this new ideology, the UK dream is to emulate the idle, rich rentier with a BTL portfolio, living off "unearned" income extracted from the "earned" income of generation rent, whilst doing as little as possible and enjoying a life of luxury and leisure. ..."
"... Obfuscating the relationship between free markets and the role of government is coming to an end. So much failure and misdirection cannot hide forever. The cognitive dissonance set up in society is unsustainable- people don't like to feel or experience crazy. ..."
"... Markets are stronger and healthier when backed by functioning government. Defining what good government is and demanding it is required today. That is the revolutionary force, finally turning back the negative campaign against government and demanding good government- fighting for it. ..."
"... "Enoch Powell…once remarked that all political lives end in failure. It is also true of most business leaders." But that is also what they say about love. No good end can come of it. ..."
"... This bit of convenient fiction caught my eye: "Political leaders must also manage for the entire population rather than the narrow interest of investors." ..."
"... Perhaps political leaders should do this but, as has been recently shown, there is no basis in reality that this is any kind of requirement (as in "must"). ..."
"... Perhaps his use of "must" in this case is talking about the intrinsic requirement. In other words, even if they are managing negatively for some and positively for others, they are managing for all. ..."
Sep 15, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Satyajit Das, a former banker. His latest book is 'A Banquet of Consequences ' (published in North America as The Age of Stagnation to avoid confusion as a cookbook). He is also the author of Extreme Money and Traders, Guns & Money

Electorates believe that business leaders are qualified for and likely to be effective in politics. Yet, with some notable exceptions, business people have rarely had successful political careers.

The assumption is that corporate vision, leadership skills, administrative skills and a proven record of wealth creation will translate into political success. It presupposes personal qualities such drive, ambition and ruthlessness. The allure is also grounded in the romantic belief that outsiders can fix all that is wrong with the political process. The faith is misplaced.

First, the required skills are different.

Successful business leaders generally serve a technical apprenticeship in the business, industry or a related profession giving them familiarity with the firm's activities. Political success requires party fealty, calculating partisanship, managing coalitions and networking. It requires a capacity to engage in the retail electoral process, such as inspirational public speaking and an easy familiarity with voters in a wide variety of settings. It requires formidable powers of fund raising to finance campaigns. Where individuals shift from business to politics in mid or later life, he or she is at a significant disadvantage to career political operatives who have had years to build the necessary relationships and organisation to support political aspirations.

Second, the scope of the task is different. A nation is typically larger than a business. The range of issues is broader, encompassing economics, finance, welfare, health, social policy as well as defence and international relations. Few chief executives will, during a single day, have to consider budgetary or economic issues, health policy, gender matters, privacy concerns, manage involvement in a foreign conflict in between meeting and greeting a range of visitors varying from schoolchildren to foreign dignitaries as well as attending to party political matters.

Political leaders must also manage for the entire population rather than the narrow interest of investors. They must take into account the effect of decisions on a wide range of constituencies including many implacably opposed to their positions.

Third, business objectives, such as profit maximisation, are narrow, well defined and constant. Political objectives are amorphous and ideological. The emphasis is on living standards, security and social justice. Priorities between conflicting objectives shift constantly. The benefits of decisions by governments in infrastructure, education and welfare are frequently difficult to measure and frequently will not emerge for a long time.

Business decisions rarely focus on the societal impact. Firms can reduce workforce, shift production overseas, seek subsidies or legally minimise taxes. Politicians must deal with the side effects of individual profit maximisation decisions such as closed factories, reduced employment, welfare and retraining costs, security implications as well as social breakdown and inequality or exclusion.

Fourth, the operating environment is different. Businesses usually operate within relatively defined product-market structures. In contrast, governments operate in a complex environment shaped by domestic and foreign factors, many of which they do not control or influence. Government actions require co-operation across different layers of government or countries. Businesses can withdraw from certain activities, while government do not have the same option.

Fifth, within boundaries set by laws and regulations, business leaders enjoy great freedom and power to implement their policies. Boards of directors and shareholders exercise limited control, usually setting broad financial parameters. They do not intervene in individual decisions. Most important government actions require legislative or parliamentary support. Unlike commercial operations, government face restrictions, such as separation of powers, restraints on executive or governmental action and international obligations.

Business leaders have unrivalled authority over their organisation based on threats (termination) or rewards (remuneration or promotion). Political leaders cannot fire legislators. They face significant barriers in rewarding or replacing public servants. Policy implementation requires negotiations and consensus. It requires overcoming opposition from opposing politicians, factions within one's own party, supporters, funders and the bureaucracy. It requires overcoming passively resistance from legislators and public servants who can simply outlast the current incumbent, whose tenure is likely to be shorter than their own.

The lack of clear goals, unrivalled authority and multiple and shifting power centres means that political power is more limited than assumed Many Presidents of the United States, regarded as the most powerful position on earth, have found that they had little ability to implement their agendas.

Sixth, unless they choose to be, business leaders are rarely public figures outside business circles. Politicians cannot avoid constant public attention. Modern political debate and discourse has become increasingly tabloid in tone, with unprecedented levels of invective and ridicule. There is no separation of the public and the personal. Business leaders frequently find the focus on personal matters as well as the tone of criticism discomforting.

There are commonalities. Both fields attract a particular type of individual. In addition, paraphrasing John Ruskin, successful political and business leaders not only know what must be done but actually do what must be done and do it when it must be done. A further commonality is the ultimate fate of leaders generally. Enoch Powell, himself a long-serving Member of the British Parliament, once remarked that all political lives end in failure. It is also true of most business leaders.

PlutoniumKun, September 15, 2016 at 4:27 am

I think the key difference between successful politicians and business people is patience. When you look at the careers of successful politicians, you can often see many years of pure relentless grind going into a few years of glory in a senior position. Endless committee meetings, rubber chicken dinners, being nice to people you loath, the inevitable humiliation of losing elections. Most business leaders simply lose patience after a few years after they go into politics.

Much the same seems to apply to military leaders, although off the top of my head I can think of more successful examples of the latter than of business people (Eisenhower and De Gaulle come to mind). Berlusconi comes to mind as a 'successful' politician and businessman, but then Italy does seem to be an outlier in some respects.

One key difference I think between 'good' politicians and 'good' businesspeople is in making decisions. Good businesspeople are decisive. Good politicians never make a decision until they absolutely have to.

PhilU, September 15, 2016 at 4:40 am

This is clearly a consequence of 'The government is like a household' misinformation campaign, which I think is really conceptualized as 'government is like a small business.' So why not get a businessman to run the thing?

Yves Smith Post author, September 15, 2016 at 5:03 am

Interesting point. It also comes out of 30+ years of demonization of government as being less well run than business, when IMHO the problems of government are 1. the result of scale (think of how well run GM and Citigroup were in the mid 200s…and both are better now that they have downsized and shaped up) and 2. inevitable given that you do not want government employees making stuff as they go, i.e., overruling the legislature and courts. The latter point is that some rigidity is part of how government works, and it's necessary to protect citizens.

Sound of the Suburbs , September 15, 2016 at 6:06 am

Adam Smith on the businessmen you shouldn't trust:

"The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

What they knew in the 18th century, we have forgotten today, but nothing has changed.

He wouldn't like today's lobbyists.

Sound of the Suburbs , September 15, 2016 at 6:09 am

Neoclassical economics hid the work of the Classical Economists and the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income.

Once you hide this it is easy to make it look as though the interests of business and the wealthy are the same.

We lowered taxes on the wealthy to remove free and subsidised services for those at the bottom. These costs now have to be covered by business through wages. All known and thoroughly studied in the 18th and 19th Centuries, they even came up with solutions.

There should not really be any tax on "earned" income, all tax should fall on "unearned" income to subside the productive side of the economy with low cost housing and services.

This allows lower wages and an internationally competitive economy.

Adam Smith:

"The Labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

Adam Smith saw landlords, usurers (bankers) and Government taxes as equally parasitic, all raising the cost of doing business.

He sees the lazy people at the top living off "unearned" income from their land and capital.

He sees the trickle up of Capitalism:
1) Those with excess capital collect rent and interest.
2) Those with insufficient capital pay rent and interest.

He differentiates between "earned" and "unearned" income.

The UK dream is to emulate the idle, rich rentier with a BTL portfolio, living off "unearned" income extracted from the "earned" income of generation rent, whilst doing as little as possible and enjoying a life of luxury and leisure.

KYrocky , September 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

"…who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." Adam Smith just described the modern Republican Party and movement Conservatives.

Sound of the Suburbs , September 15, 2016 at 6:14 am

We have seen left wing revolutions before; we are now dealing with a right wing revolution.

Left wing revolutions usually involve much violence and eventually lead to tyranny, as any means are deemed acceptable to implement the one true solution and the new ideology. Pol Pot was the most extreme example where he decided to return to year zero by wiping out the bourgeoisie in Cambodia. When the dust has settled the revolution just leads to a new elite who maintain their ideology with force and brutality.

When Francis Fukuyama talked of the end of history, a new year zero was envisaged, this one based on a right wing ideology. A right wing revolution that could take place globally and was not confined to individual nations like left wing revolutions.

Its theories had already been tested in South America and Indonesia where extreme brutality was employed to implement their one true solution and the new ideology. The children of the US elite were the storm troopers of this ideology and they headed out from their elite US universities to bring this new ideology to developing nations.

"The Chicago Boys" headed out from the University of Chicago to bring the new way to South American nations and "The Berkley Mafia" headed out from the University of Berkeley, California to bring the new way to Indonesia.

Any means were deemed acceptable to implement the one true solution and the new ideology, e.g. torture, terror, death squads, snatching people off the streets and making them disappear permanently. Any left wing resistance had to be quashed by whatever means necessary.

Their revolutions always massively increased inequality, a few at the top became fabulously wealthy and extreme and widespread poverty became prevalent at the bottom. Mixing with the people at the top, the elite US storm troopers deemed their revolutions a huge success. This ideology was ready to roll out across the world.

Under this new ideology, the UK dream is to emulate the idle, rich rentier with a BTL portfolio, living off "unearned" income extracted from the "earned" income of generation rent, whilst doing as little as possible and enjoying a life of luxury and leisure.

Norb , September 15, 2016 at 7:27 am

Obfuscating the relationship between free markets and the role of government is coming to an end. So much failure and misdirection cannot hide forever. The cognitive dissonance set up in society is unsustainable- people don't like to feel or experience crazy.

Markets are stronger and healthier when backed by functioning government. Defining what good government is and demanding it is required today. That is the revolutionary force, finally turning back the negative campaign against government and demanding good government- fighting for it.

Fighting fraud and corruption follows these same lines. Reading about the various forms of fraud and corruption here at NC daily provides the framework to address the problem. The real work begins convincing fellow citizens to not accept the criminality- the new normal. It is sometimes distressing seeing the reaction of fellow citizens to these crimes not as outrage, but more along the lines of begrudging admiration for the criminals. The subtile conditioning of the population to accept criminality needs a countervailing force.

Modern mass media projects a false picture of the world. The meme they push is that violence and corruption are so pervasive in the world, vast resources must be expended addressing the problem, and when these efforts fail, settle for apathy and avoidance. The creation of the Businessman/Politician is the perfect vehicle to move this agenda forward.

Politics controlling and driving business decisions must be reestablished, not the other way around- business driving politics and society. That truly is the distinction between authoritarianism and democracy. Small authoritarians are tolerable in society- large ones not so much.

KPL , September 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

Bang on. Especially being a political leader in a democracy is too tough and I am surprised that people want the job given the landmine they have to navigate and the compromises you have to make on a daily basis. Similarity is closest when you compare a benevolent dictator and a successful businessman, something like how Lee Kuan Yew ran Singapore.

Robert Hahl , September 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

"Enoch Powell…once remarked that all political lives end in failure. It is also true of most business leaders." But that is also what they say about love. No good end can come of it.

RobC , September 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm

There is a mistaken assumption here that business people are responsible for their own or their organization's success. Or even that they're qualified as business people. The higher up the business ladder you go, the more it is other people making the important decisions, even deciding what you think, do and say.

In this way it's similar to politics. It's likely that neither the successful business person nor the politician is qualified for their roles, that nobody can be. Also their roles are essentially to be authorities, and likewise nobody is truly qualified nor has the justification or legitimacy for authority.

shinola , September 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

This bit of convenient fiction caught my eye: "Political leaders must also manage for the entire population rather than the narrow interest of investors."

Perhaps political leaders should do this but, as has been recently shown, there is no basis in reality that this is any kind of requirement (as in "must").

Robert Coutinho , September 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Perhaps his use of "must" in this case is talking about the intrinsic requirement. In other words, even if they are managing negatively for some and positively for others, they are managing for all.

[Sep 15, 2016] The Voluntarism Fantasy

economistsview.typepad.com
This is part of the introduction to an essay by Mike Konczal on how to "insure people against the hardships of life..., accident, illness, old age, and loss of a job." Should we rely mostly upon government social insurance programs such as Medicare and Social Security, or would a system that relies upon private charity be better? History provides a very clear answer:
The Voluntarism Fantasy: Ideology is as much about understanding the past as shaping the future. And conservatives tell themselves a story, a fairy tale really, about the past, about the way the world was and can be again under Republican policies. This story is about the way people were able to insure themselves against the risks inherent in modern life. Back before the Great Society, before the New Deal, and even before the Progressive Era, things were better. Before government took on the role of providing social insurance, individuals and private charity did everything needed to insure people against the hardships of life; given the chance, they could do it again.
This vision has always been implicit in the conservative ascendancy. It existed in the 1980s, when President Reagan announced, "The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern," and called for voluntarism to fill in the yawning gaps in the social safety net. It was made explicit in the 1990s, notably through Marvin Olasky's The Tragedy of American Compassion, a treatise hailed by the likes of Newt Gingrich and William Bennett, which argued that a purely private nineteenth-century system of charitable and voluntary organizations did a better job providing for the common good than the twentieth-century welfare state. This idea is also the basis of Paul Ryan's budget, which seeks to devolve and shrink the federal government at a rapid pace, lest the safety net turn "into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives." It's what Utah Senator Mike Lee references when he says that the "alternative to big government is not small government" but instead "a voluntary civil society." As conservatives face the possibility of a permanent Democratic majority fueled by changing demographics, they understand that time is running out on their cherished project to dismantle the federal welfare state.
But this conservative vision of social insurance is wrong. It's incorrect as a matter of history; it ignores the complex interaction between public and private social insurance that has always existed in the United States. It completely misses why the old system collapsed and why a new one was put in its place. It fails to understand how the Great Recession displayed the welfare state at its most necessary and that a voluntary system would have failed under the same circumstances. Most importantly, it points us in the wrong direction. The last 30 years have seen effort after effort to try and push the policy agenda away from the state's capabilities and toward private mechanisms for mitigating the risks we face in the world. This effort is exhausted, and future endeavors will require a greater, not lesser, role for the public. ...
The state does many things, but this essay will focus specifically on its role in providing social insurance against the risks we face. Specifically, we'll look at what the progressive economist and actuary I.M. Rubinow described in 1934 as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: "accident, illness, old age, loss of a job. These are the four horsemen that ride roughshod over lives and fortunes of millions of wage workers of every modern industrial community." These were the same evils that Truman singled out in his speech. And these are the ills that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food assistance, and our other public systems of social insurance set out to combat in the New Deal and Great Society.
Over the past 30 years the public role in social insurance has taken a backseat to the idea that private institutions will expand to cover these risks. Yet our current system of workplace private insurance is rapidly falling apart. In its wake, we'll need to make a choice between an expanded role for the state or a fantasy of voluntary protection instead. We need to understand why this voluntary system didn't work in the first place to make the case for the state's role in fighting the Four Horsemen. ...

[Sep 15, 2016] Marxists and Conservatives Have More in Common than Either Side Would Like to Admit

Notable quotes:
"... That was the sad tragedy of Marx and Marxism. Instead of focusing on a practical agenda for achieving and sustaining a democratically administered state in an imperfect human world, a state based on a more equal distribution of capital, a workable balance between private and public ownership of capital, and a regulatory framework and rule of law designed to sustain this balance in the face of social and economic forces that will *always* be acting to disrupt it, Marx veered off into the fantasy lands ..."
"... In this utopian future, every single person is intelligent, relaxed, cooperative, and preternaturally enlightened. There are no thieves, psychopaths, predators, raiders or uncooperative deadbeats and spongers. Since there is no law, there is no government; and since there is no government; there are no elections or other ways of forming government. There is also no division of labor, because somehow human beings have passed beyond the "realm of necessity" into the "realm of freedom." ..."
"... Marx himself was one of these underminers, pissing all over the very progressive Gotha program and the very idea of a well-governed state in the name of his dreamy "communist society." ..."
"... In the end, Marx had a very unrealistic view of human nature and history. His analytic and scientific powers were betrayed by an infantile romanticism that both weakened his social theory and crippled much of left progressive politics for a century. The problem is still floating around with the insipid anarcho-libertarian silliness of much of the late 20th and early 21st century left. ..."
"... The key value of Marxism is that it gave a solid platform for analyzing capitalism as politico-economic system. All those utopian ideas about proletariat as a future ruling class of an ideal society that is not based on private property belong to the garbage damp of history, although the very idea of countervailing forces for capitalists is not. ..."
"... In this sense the very existence of the USSR was critical for the health of the US capitalism as it limited self-destructive instincts of the ruling class. Not so good for people of the USSR, it was definitely a blessing for the US population. ..."
"... Now we have neoliberal garbage and TINA as a state religion, which at least in the level in their religious fervor are not that different from Marxism. ..."
"... Republicans (US 'capitalism' salespersons) believe that "liberty", the right of property, is necessary for "freedom". State is necessary for property despite what the Hobbits (libertarians) preach. Communism is as far from Marxism as the US billionaire empire is from capitalism. Marx was a fair labor economist. ..."
"... {Marx stressed that ... the labour market is an arena in which power is unbalanced...} ..."
"... Thus, capitalism is an integral and key part of the market-economy since it provides the means by which the other major input-component is labor. Capital is an investment input to the process, for which there is a Return-on-Investment largely accepted as bonafide criteria of any market-economy. ..."
Aug 15, 2015 | Economist's View

Chris Dillow on common ground between Marxists and Conservatives:

Fairness, decentralization & capitalism: Marxists and Conservatives have more in common than either side would like to admit. This thought occurred to me whilst reading a superb piece by Andrew Lilico.

He describes the Brams-Taylor procedure for cutting a cake in a fair way - in the sense of ensuring envy-freeness - and says that this shows that a central agency such as the state is unnecessary to achieve fairness:...

The appropriate mechanism here is one in which there is a balance of power, such that no individual can say: "take it or leave it."

This is where Marxism enters. Marxists claim that, under capitalism, the appropriate mechanism is absent. Marx stressed that ... the labour market is an arena in which power is unbalanced...

Nor do Marxists expect the state to correct this, because the state is captured by capitalists - it is "a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie."...

Instead, Marx thought that fairness can only be achieved by abolishing both capitalism and the state - something which is only feasible at a high level of economic development - and replacing it with some forms of decentralized decision-making. ...

In this sense, Marxists agree with Andrew: people can find fair allocations themselves without a central agency. ...

Posted by Mark Thoma on Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 09:10 AM in Economics, Income Distribution, Unions | Permalink Comments (10)

Otto Maddox:

How silly. Marxism and its centralization of power will attract the hyper control freak who are not likely to ever give up power. Disingenuous utopianism.

Dan Kervick:

That was the sad tragedy of Marx and Marxism. Instead of focusing on a practical agenda for achieving and sustaining a democratically administered state in an imperfect human world, a state based on a more equal distribution of capital, a workable balance between private and public ownership of capital, and a regulatory framework and rule of law designed to sustain this balance in the face of social and economic forces that will *always* be acting to disrupt it, Marx veered off into the fantasy lands of his hectoring anarchist critics and adversaries, and came up with a social pseudo-science positing a millennarian heaven on earth where somehow perfect voluntariness and perfect equality magically come together. The Marxists are still twisted up in that foolishness, perpetually incapable of formulating practical political plans and agendas because they have some "crisis theory" telling them that the current messes are the harbingers of a revolution that are going to actualize that kingdom of heaven.

Peter K. -> pgl...

yes Kervick again provides a fact-free rant. The Communist Manifesto demanded many reforms that came pass:

"The section ends by outlining a set of short-term demands - among them a progressive income tax; abolition of inheritances; free public education etc.-the implementation of which would be a precursor to a stateless and classless society."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Manifesto

Dan Kervick -> Peter K....

"Short-term demands" as you say: Marx and Engels saw such socialist measures as merely a transitional stage on the way via the dictatorship of the proletariat to a classless and stateless society in which even the rule of law would not exist, since human beings would somehow manage to coordinate all of the economic functions of a complex society through 100% non-coercive means.

In this utopian future, every single person is intelligent, relaxed, cooperative, and preternaturally enlightened. There are no thieves, psychopaths, predators, raiders or uncooperative deadbeats and spongers. Since there is no law, there is no government; and since there is no government; there are no elections or other ways of forming government. There is also no division of labor, because somehow human beings have passed beyond the "realm of necessity" into the "realm of freedom."

Real-world possibilities for democratic socialist alternatives under a practical and egalitarian rule of law have frequently been thwarted and undermined by Marxian communists drunk on these infantile millenarian fantasies, and the Marxian pseudo-sciences of underlying dialectical laws of social evolution directing history toward this fantastical telos.

Marx himself was one of these underminers, pissing all over the very progressive Gotha program and the very idea of a well-governed state in the name of his dreamy "communist society."

Guess what guys. Maybe I have actually read some of this stuff.

likbez -> Dan Kervick...

Marxism has two district faces. A very sharp analysis of capitalist society and utopian vision of the future.

=== quote ===
Marx himself was one of these underminers, pissing all over the very progressive Gotha program and the very idea of a well-governed state in the name of his dreamy "communist society."
=== end of quote ===

Very true. Authors of Gotha programs were nicknamed "revisionists" by Orthodox Marxists.

mulp:

"He describes the Brams-Taylor procedure for cutting a cake in a fair way - in the sense of ensuring envy-freeness - and says that this shows that a central agency such as the state is unnecessary to achieve fairness:..."

That is exactly the description of "authoritarian elite intellectual technocrats dictating how society works."

Conservatives would never accept that solution because they would immediately argue that not everyone deserves an equal portion, and that the liberal elites are dictating from on high.

Marx would simply point out that conservatives would never accept that based on their denial of equality as a principle and would require evolution of man, or too few or too many resources to care about dividing. But that would never satisfy conservatives....

Barkley Rosser:

Obviously actually existing socialist nations ruled by Communist parties have always featured highly centralized authoritarian non-democratic systems (although China is somewhat of an exception regarding the matter of centralization, with its provinces having a lot of power, but then, it is the world's largest nation in population).

As it was, Marx (and Engels) had a practical side. One can see it in the "platform" put forward at the end of the Communist Manifesto. Several of the items there have been nearly universally adopted by modern capitalist democracies, such as a progressive income tax and universal state-supported education. Others are standard items for more or less socialist nations, such as nationalizing the leading sectors of the economy.

Only one looks at all utopian, their call for ending the division between the city and the country, although this dream has inspired such things as the New Town movement, not to mention arguably the suburbs.

It was only in the Critique of the Gotha Program that Marx at one point suggested that eventually in the "higher stage of socialism" there would be a "withering away of the state." Curiously most nations ruled by Communist parties never claimed to have achieved true communism because they were aware of this statement and generally referred to themselves as being "in transition" towards true communism without having gotten there. Later most would turn around have transitions back towards market capitalism.

DrDick -> Barkley Rosser...

All existing and former communist countries are Leninist and not Marxist, with a large influence from whatever the prior local autocratic system was.

Dan Kervick -> Barkley Rosser...

"It was only in the Critique of the Gotha Program that Marx at one point suggested that eventually in the "higher stage of socialism" there would be a "withering away of the state.""

That's what I meant by the tragedy of Marxism. In the end, Marx had a very unrealistic view of human nature and history. His analytic and scientific powers were betrayed by an infantile romanticism that both weakened his social theory and crippled much of left progressive politics for a century. The problem is still floating around with the insipid anarcho-libertarian silliness of much of the late 20th and early 21st century left.

likbez:

Actually Marxism was the source of social-democratic parties programs. Which definitely made capitalism more bearable.

The key value of Marxism is that it gave a solid platform for analyzing capitalism as politico-economic system. All those utopian ideas about proletariat as a future ruling class of an ideal society that is not based on private property belong to the garbage damp of history, although the very idea of countervailing forces for capitalists is not.

In this sense the very existence of the USSR was critical for the health of the US capitalism as it limited self-destructive instincts of the ruling class. Not so good for people of the USSR, it was definitely a blessing for the US population.

Now we have neoliberal garbage and TINA as a state religion, which at least in the level in their religious fervor are not that different from Marxism.

And neocons are actually very close, almost undistinguishable from to Trotskyites, as for their "permanent revolution" (aka "permanent democratization") drive.

Ben Groves -> likbez...

You obviously think it wasn't that good for the USSR people, yet don't understand the Tsarist wreck that Russia itself had turned into. With the Soviet, they became strong at the expense of what they considered colonies.

The true origin of Bolshevism isn't Lenin or Trotsky, but the anti-ashkenazi anti-European movement. Stalin joined them in 1904 for this very reason and blasted the Menhs as jews. Thus the program had to cleanse out people who still insisted Russia be European and instead, push a Asiatic program they believed they really were.

kthomas:

Though I do love seeing this argument being made, I'm not sure we can derive any real benefits from having it anymore. Ideology is one thing. If we are discussing Power, and how it attracts the Power Hungry, that is a separate argument, one largely covered by Machiavelli.

As for Marx, I do not ever recall him advising on the abolishment of the State. He was not an Anarchist.

Ben Groves:

The state can't be abolished. It simply changes by what part of nature controls it.

Only the anarchists thinks the state can be abolished. The state is eternal. Whether it is the Imperial State (the true conservative organic ideal) City State, the Nation State, the Market State, the Workers State, the Propertarian State. There will always be rule.

DrDick -> Ben Groves...

The state is far from eternal. It is in fact a very recent development in humanity's 3.5 million year history, having arisen about 5500 years ago. States can and do collapse and disappear, as has happened in Somalia.

likbez:

I think the discussion deviated from the key thesis "Marxists and Conservatives Have More in Common than Either Side Would Like to Admit"

This thesis has the right for existence. Still Marxism remains miles ahead of conservatives in understanding the capitalism "as is" with all its warts.

Neoliberalism is probably the most obvious branch of conservatism which adopted considerable part of Marxism doctrine. From this point of view it is a stunning utopia with the level of economic determinism even more ambitious than that of Marx...

http://www.softpanorama.net/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/neoliberalism_as_trotskyism_for_the_rich.shtml

=== start of quote ===

The simplest way to understand the power of neoliberalism as an ideology, is to view it as Trotskyism refashioned for elite. Instead of "proletarians of all countries unite" we have slogan "neoliberal elites of all countries unite". Instead of permanent revolution we have permanent democratization via color revolutions.

Instead of revolt of proletariat which Marxists expected we got the revolt of financial oligarchy. And this revolt led to forming powerful Transnational Elite International (with Congresses in Basel) instead of Communist International (with Congresses in Moscow). Marx probably is rolling in his grave seeing such turn of events and such a wicked mutation of his political theories.

Like Trotskyism neoliberalism has a totalitarian vision for a world-encompassing monolithic state governed by an ideologically charged "vanguard". One single state (Soviet Russia) in case of Trotskyism, and the USA in case of neoliberalism is assigned the place of "holy country" and the leader of this country has special privileges not unlike Rome Pope in Catholicism.

The pseudoscientific 'free-market' theory which replaces Marxist political economy and provides a pseudo-scientific justification for the greed and poverty endemic to the system, and the main beneficiaries are the global mega-corporations and major western powers (G7).

Like Marxism in general neoliberalism on the one hand this reduces individuals to statistics contained within aggregate economic performance, on the other like was in the USSR, it places the control of the economy in comparatively few hands; and that might be neoliberalism's Achilles heel which we say in action in 2008.

The role of propaganda machine and journalists, writers, etc as the solders of the party that should advance its interests. Compete, blatant disregard of truth to the extent that Pravda journalists can be viewed as paragons of objectivity (Fox news)

== end of quote ==

ilsm:

Republicans (US 'capitalism' salespersons) believe that "liberty", the right of property, is necessary for "freedom". State is necessary for property despite what the Hobbits (libertarians) preach. Communism is as far from Marxism as the US billionaire empire is from capitalism. Marx was a fair labor economist.

Lafayette:

MARKET ECONOMY CRITERIA

{Marx stressed that ... the labour market is an arena in which power is unbalanced...}

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with "capitalism", which is fundamentally this:

An economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.

Which was common up to and including the latter decades of the last century. Wherein, some countries adopted state-enterprises to have either entire monopolies or substantial presence in some sectors of the market-economy. The ownership of the means of production were owned by the state and management/workforce were state employees.

This applies to any entity the object of which is provide to a market goods and services. One can therefore say the defense of the nation is a service provided by a state-owned entity called the Dept. of Defense (in the US and similarly elsewhere).

Moreover that practice can be modified to other areas of public need, for instance health-care and education. Where the "means of production" of the service are owned once again by the state, but this time the management and workers are independent and work for themselves. (In which case they may or may not be represented by organizations some of which are called "unions".)

The above variations are all well known in European "capitalist" countries - which employ capital as central financial mechanism. Capital is "any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth."

Thus, capitalism is an integral and key part of the market-economy since it provides the means by which the other major input-component is labor. Capital is an investment input to the process, for which there is a Return-on-Investment largely accepted as bonafide criteria of any market-economy.

Likewise, there should therefore be accounted a Return on Labor, and that return should be paid to all who work in a company - not all equally but all equitably. A Return-on-Labor is also a bonafide criteria of any market-economy.

There is no real reason why the RoI should be the sole criteria for investment purposes, except that of common usage historically. RoC should also have its place as a bonafide criteria for investment purposes - and probably one that determines which "services" are better performed by government-owned agencies and which not.

How much is the RoC of Defense worth to you and our family? How much is HealthCare? How much Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education?

Q E D

[Sep 15, 2016] The utter disregard of the winners towards the losers under neoliberalims helps to bring about the popularity of people like Trump

Notable quotes:
"... If those who have not lost to trade think Hillary might help them..... I just wasted* 2+ hours with a bunch of Hilbots.... all I heard is Trump is so evil and his supports are so dumb or racist or anti Planned Parenthood. Not a word to defend Killary except she could not be evil she is watched so much. And Obama called off the DoJ. ..."
"... It is not only disregard, but active mockery and defamation - accusing the "losers" of hedonism, entitlement thinking, irresposibility, lack of virtue, merit, striving, intelligence, etc. ..."
"... I.e. reverse puritanism of sorts - lack of success is always to be explained in terms of lack in virtue and striving. ..."
"... Yes. This include the bulk of the liberal merit class winners too Their support for the tax and transfer system Humanist noblesse " oblige". ..."
"... . "This include the bulk of the liberal merit class winners too" ..."
"... This is where the "limousine liberal" meme comes from (or more precisely gets it support and success from). ..."
"... Of course all the claimed demerits exist plenty among the people so accused (as well as among the winners) - though they always did, but I'm under the impression that before Globalization_blowback/technology supported loss of leverage and thus prestige, it wasn't a *public* narrative (in private circles there has always been "if you don't make an effort in school you will end up sweeping the streets", and looking down on the "unskilled", etc. - with the hindsight irony that even street sweeping has been automated). ..."
Aug 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Patricia Shannon said... Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 10:55 AM

The disregard of the winners towards the losers helps to bring about the popularity of people like Trump. I am not at all surprised at the level of his popularity, even though I personally despise him.
pgl said in reply to Patricia Shannon
Agreed. If those who lost from trade think Trump will help them - I have a bridge to sell them. Reply Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 11:07 AM

ilsm said in reply to pgl... Reply Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 04:13 PM

If those who have not lost to trade think Hillary might help them..... I just wasted* 2+ hours with a bunch of Hilbots.... all I heard is Trump is so evil and his supports are so dumb or racist or anti Planned Parenthood. Not a word to defend Killary except she could not be evil she is watched so much. And Obama called off the DoJ.

A room full of cognitive dissonance and brainwashed.

*horts du orvees was okay!

cm said in reply to Patricia Shannon, Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:10 PM

It is not only disregard, but active mockery and defamation - accusing the "losers" of hedonism, entitlement thinking, irresposibility, lack of virtue, merit, striving, intelligence, etc.
cm said in reply to cm..., Reply Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:12 PM

I.e. reverse puritanism of sorts - lack of success is always to be explained in terms of lack in virtue and striving.

Paine said in reply to cm... Reply Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:57 PM

Yes. This include the bulk of the liberal merit class winners too Their support for the tax and transfer system Humanist noblesse " oblige".

In their opinion the system of merit rewards is largely firm but fair

cm said in reply to Paine...
"This include the bulk of the liberal merit class winners too"

This is where the "limousine liberal" meme comes from (or more precisely gets it support and success from).

Of course all the claimed demerits exist plenty among the people so accused (as well as among the winners) - though they always did, but I'm under the impression that before Globalization_blowback/technology supported loss of leverage and thus prestige, it wasn't a *public* narrative (in private circles there has always been "if you don't make an effort in school you will end up sweeping the streets", and looking down on the "unskilled", etc. - with the hindsight irony that even street sweeping has been automated).

[Aug 21, 2016] Dystopia Regarding Neoconservative, Neoliberal Newspeak by Hamid Golpira

Oct 03, 2006 | Big Medicine

TEHRAN, Feb. 14 (MNA) -- Most of the neoconservatives in the United States advocate globalization and the neoliberal economic model. What's wrong with this picture?

At first glance, nothing is wrong with the statement because it is basically true. At second glance, everything is wrong with it.

Liberal and conservative used to be opposites. Now we have neoliberal neoconservatives. If the neocons are also neoliberals, how do we avoid confusion when using the words liberal and conservative?

It is natural for language to evolve, but when antonyms become synonyms, there is a problem.

The situation is similar to the Newspeak and doublethink of George Orwell's book 1984. Newspeak was a language meant to control people by decreasing their power of reasoning through oversimplification of the language and doublethink.

Orwell wrote: "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

There are now countless examples of this in the English language.

In war, civilian casualties are called collateral damage. The use of the expression collateral damage allows people to avoid the unpleasantry of having to think about innocent civilians being killed.

Every country used to have a war ministry, but they all later changed the name to the defense ministry or the defense department. In 1984, it was called the Ministry of Peace, or Minipax in Newspeak.

Try this simple exercise. Imagine you are listening to the radio and the newscaster says: "The war minister has just issued a statement."

Now suppose the newscaster said: "The defense minister has just issued a statement." Notice how a change of one word changed your reaction.

Consider the many acronyms that have entered the language such as NATO, NAFTA, and CIA Their complete names, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement, and Central Intelligence Agency, contain the words treaty, free, free trade, agreement, and intelligence. On hearing these words, the mind naturally makes many free associations that cannot occur when the acronyms are used.

The neoliberal neocons themselves use a form of Newspeak.

The most glaring example of this is when neoliberal neocon officials in the United States tell citizens that they must take away some of their freedom in order to protect their freedom. Shades of Orwell's "freedom is slavery".

U.S. officials have spoken of the need to cancel elections in order to safeguard democracy if a serious crisis arises. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that in a national emergency the U.S. Constitution may have to be temporarily suspended in order to protect the civil liberties enshrined in that document.

Bizarrely, very few U.S. citizens are protesting. Apparently, they have already learned how to employ doublethink.

Language is being used to control people. People are actually subconsciously brainwashing themselves through the language they use.

The word neocon itself is Newspeak since its use in place of the longer form eliminates all the connotations of the words neoconservative and conservative.

Let's look at a few more quotes from 1984 to get a better understanding of what is happening today.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink."

"The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be for ever averted -- if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently -- then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity."

"The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought -- that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc -- should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words."

"Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum."

"But the special function of certain Newspeak words, of which oldthink was one, was not so much to express meanings as to destroy them."

"The intention was to make speech, and especially speech on any subject not ideologically neutral, as nearly as possible independent of consciousness."

"Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all."

The advocates of globalization often use a form of Newspeak.

When government officials and economists say the economy of a Third World country is booming, despite the fact that they know the masses live in abject poverty, and the media repeat the lie, that is doublethink through Newspeak. Of course, the economy of the country in question is only booming for the globalist and local upper classes, and perhaps also for the middle classes, but somehow almost nobody questions the lie. And the neoliberal globalists are laughing all the way to the bank.

The acceptance of such a lie by the general public is an even greater real-life catastrophe than the fictional one described in 1984. Worse still, some people acknowledge that it is a lie but respond with apathy or slavish resignation in the belief that nothing can be done about the situation.

Do we want to live in dystopia, the worst of all possible worlds, the doubleplusungood of all possible worlds?

If not, we should watch our language and take care that we are still using our higher brain centers.

SOURCE: Mehr News

[Aug 18, 2016] Neoliberalism has a distorted or atrophied sense of the relationship between solidarity and the consent of the governed, between democracy and legitimacy, or more generally, between the individual and the collective. Neoliberals are happy to accept whatever loyalty up they are given by fools and suckers: they have no loyalty down at all and will never do the elementary political operations of repaying their base

Notable quotes:
"... People don't yet understand that this is just how neoliberals are. The two fundamental loyalties in a state party system have nothing to do with solidarity: they're loyalty up, and loyalty down. Neoliberals are happy to accept whatever loyalty up they are given by fools and suckers: they have no loyalty down at all and will never do the elementary political operations of repaying their base ..."
"... On solidarity: solidarity isn't about the (hierarchy of) relationships among politicians or political operatives. Solidarity is about membership, not leadership. ..."
"... Solidarity is the means to great common, coordinated efforts, that is to trust in leadership and that great solvent of political stalemate: sacrifice to the common good. ..."
"... Solidarity is a powerful force, sometimes historically an eruptive force, and though not by itself intelligent, not necessarily hostile to intelligent direction, but it calls on the individual's narcissism and anger not rational understanding or calculation. It is present as a flash in riots and a fire in insurrections and a great raging furnace in national wars of total mobilization. Elites can fear it or be enveloped by it or manipulate it cynically or with cruel callousness. Though it is a means to common effort and common sacrifice, it demands wages for its efforts and must be fed prodigious resources if it is long at work. ..."
"... What we've got here is a distorted or atrophied sense of the relationship between solidarity and the consent of the governed, between democracy and legitimacy, or more generally, between the individual and the collective ..."
"... If so, maybe we ought to try being a little more honest about what we're willing to pay as individuals for what we get as members of a group. Otherwise, it's hard to see how we can come to terms with our confusion, or survive the malignancies that being confused has introduced into all our group dynamics, not just the overtly political ones. ..."
crookedtimber.org

Rich Puchalsky 08.12.16 at 1:41 pm674

CR: "that strategy actually runs the risk of harming down-ballot Democrats running for office in Congress and state legislatures. It may help Clinton, but it's not good for the party."

It's Obama redux. Remember how he wanted to work with his friends across the aisle in a Grand Bargain that would bring moderation and centrist agreement to all things? He validated budget-balance mania during austerity and would have bargained away Social Security if he could have. He predictably lost the Congress in the first mid-term election and did nothing to build the party back up.

People don't yet understand that this is just how neoliberals are. The two fundamental loyalties in a state party system have nothing to do with solidarity: they're loyalty up, and loyalty down. Neoliberals are happy to accept whatever loyalty up they are given by fools and suckers: they have no loyalty down at all and will never do the elementary political operations of repaying their base or creating a party that will work for anyone else. This goes beyond ordinary political selfishness to the fact that they don't really want a populist party: that would push them to harm the interests of their real base.

And people don't react to this, fundamentally, because they don't really do politics outside of 4-year scareathons. Look at LFC's description above about how people should march if candidates don't follow through on their promises. Why aren't they marching now: why haven't they in the Obama years?

bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 6:39 pm 687

Rich Puchalsky @ 674

I am with you on your main thesis, but I thought I would offer this sidenote.

On solidarity: solidarity isn't about the (hierarchy of) relationships among politicians or political operatives. Solidarity is about membership, not leadership.

Solidarity can feel good. "We are all in this together, united." Or, it can feel constricting, as it demands conformity and senseless uniformity, obeisance to unnecessary authority. Resentments are its solvent and its boundary-keepers. Social affiliation and common rituals are its nurturers in its fallow times, which can be historically frequent and long. Solidarity is the means to great common, coordinated efforts, that is to trust in leadership and that great solvent of political stalemate: sacrifice to the common good.

Solidarity is a powerful force, sometimes historically an eruptive force, and though not by itself intelligent, not necessarily hostile to intelligent direction, but it calls on the individual's narcissism and anger not rational understanding or calculation. It is present as a flash in riots and a fire in insurrections and a great raging furnace in national wars of total mobilization. Elites can fear it or be enveloped by it or manipulate it cynically or with cruel callousness. Though it is a means to common effort and common sacrifice, it demands wages for its efforts and must be fed prodigious resources if it is long at work.

As American Party politics have degenerated, solidarity has come to have a fraught relationship with identity politics. In both Parties.

I don't see anything in the conceptual logic driving things forward. I see this state of affairs as the playing out of historical processes, one step after another. But, this year's "scareathon" puts identity politics squarely against the economic claims of class or even national solidarity. The identity politics frame of equal opportunity exploitation has Paul Krugman talking up "horizontal inequality". Memes float about suggesting that free trade is aiding global equality even if it is at the expense of increasing domestic inequality. Or, suggesting that labor unions were the implacable enemy of racial equality back in the day or that FDR's New Deal was only for white people. Hillary Clinton's stump speech, for a while, had her asking, "If we broke up the big banks tomorrow, . . . would that end racism? would that end sexism?"

It is convenient politics in several ways. First, no one can hold Clinton responsible for not ending racism and sexism any more than GWB could be held responsible for not winning the war on terrorism. These are perpetual struggles by definition.

Second, it combines the display of righteous do-good ism with a promise of social progress that might actually benefit directly the most ambitious, even if it leaves most people without support. People who have done well in the system, or who might expect to, can feel good about themselves. And, ignore the system or rationalize away the system's manifest shortcomings. The people who are complaining are racists! BernieBros! It is all about the loss of status being experienced by white men, and they shouldn't be heard anyway.

The moral righteousness of identity politics adds in an element that goes way beyond the lazy failure to hold politicians accountable or the tendency to explain away their more Machiavellian maneuvers. There's both an actual blindness to the reactionary conservatism of equal opportunity exploitation and a peremptory challenge to any other claim or analysis. If police practices and procedures are trending in an authoritarian direction, they can only be challenged on grounds of racist effect or intent. The authoritarianism cannot be challenged on its own merit, so the building of the authoritarian state goes on unimpeded, since the principle that is challenged is not authoritarianism, but a particular claim of racism or sexism.

William Timberman 08.12.16 at 7:45 pm 688
What we've got here is a distorted or atrophied sense of the relationship between solidarity and the consent of the governed, between democracy and legitimacy, or more generally, between the individual and the collective. I suppose you could argue that we've evolved beyond what we were when we first came to understand these relationships in the abstract (in the 18th century?), and that, accordingly, they can no longer be understood in the way we once thought we understood them.

If so, maybe we ought to try being a little more honest about what we're willing to pay as individuals for what we get as members of a group. Otherwise, it's hard to see how we can come to terms with our confusion, or survive the malignancies that being confused has introduced into all our group dynamics, not just the overtly political ones.

[Aug 18, 2016] Neoliberal rationality denied solidarity

crookedtimber.org
bruce wilder 08.12.16 at 11:38 pm 714
engels @ 706: Narcissism by definition involves a failure to connect with others whereas solidarity requires it. So I find the claim the two are linked more than a little baffling.

Narcissism gets a bad rap from its associations with attempts to pathologize normal human functioning. A healthy narcissism expressed in a pride in one's appearance, confidence in one's own capacities is nothing bad. People should seek and find ways to admire themselves and to be selfish - it is important to finding a center and balance.

Narcissism, strictly speaking, is not the failure to connect with others, but the failure to distinguish the self from others. In that sense, solidarity, which is identifying one's self with the group of which one is a member, is narcissistic. Un pour tous, tous pour un, as the Musketeers said.

Pathological narcissism may be hinted at in the form of parental praise used as a cliche in America in place of expressions of admiration: "I'm so proud of you." As if your achievements were somehow the speaker's achievements.

Pejorative uses of narcissism as a synonym for selfish tend to emphasize narcissism as excessive, but actual pathological narcissism is pathetic: it is the normal capacity to be self-centered broken: the beautiful woman insatiably seeking admiration but who cannot stand to be touched.

bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 12:34 am

F Foundling @ 705: In any case, [solidarity] doesn't need to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism (as suggested in 687) any more than acting in your own personal interests needs to be irrational or to have to do with narcissism.

Thank you for thoughtful remarks @ 705 and @694.

"Rational" and "irrational" can be a cause of great confusion. It is not some virtue I wish to ascribe, but, rather, to my mind, a matter of gamesmanship. As a strategy, not an ethic, solidarity is a way of committing one's self irrationally to not reconsider one's interests.

The rat, betraying solidarity, is rational and selfish and calculating. Upholding solidarity requires an irrational ethic to trump strategic reconsideration.

There can certainly be an element of enlightened self-interest in a commitment to solidarity. We hope this gift of the self to the community is not done stupidly or without some deliberate consideration of consequences.

But, in the game, in the political contest where solidarity matters, where elite power is confronted, solidarity entails a degree of passionate commitment and even self-sacrifice. Whether expressed as an individual act of "altruistic punishment" or the common unwillingness to cooperate with the powers-that-be in a labor strike, there has to be a willingness to bear costs and forego opportunities.

People have to be a bit mad to want justice.

bruce wilder 08.13.16 at 12:47 am 719

Appreciate Michael Pettis on the Trump phenomenon. He wrote this piece back in March and for reasons I cannot quite fathom he tried to tie in the Jacksonians - as if Donald Trump is some faded reprint of Andrew Jackson. But, ignore the part about the Jacksonians in American history and pay attention to what he says about his friend who is a supporter of Trump. It will complement Doug Henwood nicely, I suspect.

And, Pettis has nothing nice to say about Trump - so no fear!

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/michael-pettis-trump-and-the-re-emergence-of-the-jacksonians.html

F. Foundling 08.13.16 at 1:30 am

@ bruce wilder 718
> The rat, betraying solidarity, is rational and selfish and calculating. Upholding solidarity requires an irrational ethic to trump strategic reconsideration.

Well, this presupposes that pursuing one's self-interest as an end in itself is natural, self-evident and hence purely rational, whereas striving to further the interests of someone else as an end in itself or striving to adhere to ethical behaviour as an end in itself is abnormal and irrational. I see no particular reason to assume this view. Assessment of rationality is possible with respect to the choice of means to a given end, but not in the choice of the end itself. Second, even in terms of self-interest, it is far from clear in each particular case whether solidary behaviour will be beneficial or harmful to the individual on balance, and whether the forgoing of costs will not result in better opportunities in the long run (the various Prisoner's Dilemma scenarios and suchlike are anything but straightforward and depend on many variables).

On selfishness and solidarity again:

The way I see it, pursuing one's own interests is not selfishness, but just a matter of practical division of labour and responsibilities. Everyone deserves well-being equally, but by default everyone is entrusted with his own well-being – it's simply the most practical arrangement. To take an extreme and comical example, I can recognise that my digestion is objectively no more important/valuable than that of any other person, but in practice it is obviously most efficient that *I* should take it upon myself to chew the food that *I* will digest, and *others* should take care of the chewing of *their* food. :) Selfishness begins where you consider yourself and your needs to have greater value than others, which may result in potentially unethical choices where interests conflict (say, taking others' food, not sharing the food fairly, letting others starve, etc.).

In that sense, solidarity might be said to include a measure of this sort of responsiblity on a collective level. It is understood that if someone in my neighbourhood needs help, it's up to *me* to volunteer to help first, not to someone living in a different city altogether. This need not imply that I consider a person to be more valuable just because he lives closer to me, or that I should defend him if he wrongs someone living in a different city. The first would be extended personal responsibility, the second would be extended selfishness and narcissism, but both can be described as 'solidarity (at neighbourhood level)'.

Undoing the demos: Neoliberalism's stealth revolution by Lars Cornelissen

Wendy Brown
Zone Books, New York, 2015, 296pp., $29.95/£20.95 (hc), ISBN: 978-1935408536

University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4AT, UK

Undoing the Demos argues that 'neoliberalism is profoundly destructive to the fiber and future of democracy in any form' (p. 9). More precisely, it is concerned with mapping the myriad ways in which neo-liberalism, conceived as a productive mode of reason that today saturates ever more spheres of life, articulates crucial elements of democratic language, practice and subjectivity 'according to a specific image of the economic' (p. 10). In so doing neo-liberalism directly assaults the democratic imaginary that animated so much of modernity, hollowing out liberal democratic practices and institutions while at the same time cauterising radical democratic expressions.

Undoing the Demos is divided into two parts: the first, 'Neoliberal Reason and Political Life', puts forward the book's main argument and is moreover concerned with Michel Foucault's account of neo-liberalism, developed in his 1978–1979 lectures at the Collège de France, and discusses its merits and its shortcomings in detail; the second, 'Disseminating Neoliberal Reason', is concerned with how neo-liberal rationality is extended to spheres heretofore untouched by economic parameters, including 'statecraft and the workplace, … jurisprudence, education, culture, and a vast range of quotidian activity' (p. 17). The central argument of the book is that 'neoliberalism assaults the principles, practices, cultures, subjects, and institutions of democracy understood as rule by the people' (p. 9). Brown sets out to understand how it does so and develops a theoretical framework, deeply reliant upon, but not uncritical of, Foucault's seminal account.

In the first chapter Brown does the theoretical legwork upon which the entire argument rests. While democracy is understood simply (and, in my view, problematically – an issue I will return to below) as 'rule by the people' (p. 19; cf. pp. 9, 20, 178, 202, 209), neo-liberalism is understood, with Foucault, as 'a distinctive mode of reason, of the production of subjects, a "conduct of conduct", and a scheme of valuation' (p. 21). Neo-liberalism, then, is not the name given to capitalism's latest guise, nor is it an ideology that masks the resurgence of class politics. Instead, it is conceptualised as a mode of reason, a 'political rationality' (pp. 20–21; cf. Chapter 4), that today invades all spheres of life and recasts in an economic register their constituent concepts, practices, institutions, subjects and truths. Accordingly, the book is not concerned with studying neo-liberal techniques of government, but with the rationality, the regime of truth, that underlies them.

Chapters 2 and 3 offer a systematic reading of Foucault's lectures on neo-liberalism (later published as The Birth of Biopolitics) and lead to a number of significant insights that expand the Foucauldian approach beyond his own groundwork. Importantly, Brown signals no less than 12 features of the contemporary neo-liberal landscape that Foucault could not account for because they either did not yet exist or were still only nascent (pp. 70–72). These include the rise of finance capital, permanent financial and social crises and crisis-fuelled austerity politics, the rise of governance, and, for Brown perhaps most profound, a number of changes within the neo-liberal subject, who is now tethered to competitive markets in such a way that she has lost all remnants of protection against brutal and impersonal market forces. This last feature is related to what Brown takes to be the biggest flaw in Foucault's analysis: it is not attentive towards homo politicus and its subsequent extinction by neo-liberal reason. Homo politicus, referred to as the 'demotic subject' (p. 87), theorised first by Aristotle, whose morphology changes continuously throughout her odyssey through occidental thought – via, inter alia, Locke, Smith, Bentham, Marx and Freud (see pp. 87–99) – is finally usurped by homo oeconomicus. When the economic subject reigns, what is vanquished is the form of subjectivity that animates democracy – a member of a demos, a democratic citizen, an autonomous, sovereign, Kantian subject.

Chapters 4, 5 and 6 – which make up the second part of the book – map the different ways in which neo-liberal rationality is disseminated through legal reason (Chapter 5) and through higher education (Chapter 6). This dissemination is made easier by contemporary governance practices (discussed in Chapter 4), which are 'not identical with or exclusive to neoliberalism' (p. 122). In other words: governance is not born of neo-liberal rationality, but once articulated to it, gives rise to novel ways of managing and disciplining subjects, states and firms. Governance practices thus provide the tools through which neo-liberal reason flows smoothly from sphere to sphere, including devolution, responsibilisation, 'benchmarking' and 'best practices' (see pp. 131–142). Through meticulous analysis of legal jargon, Brown shows, in Chapter 5, how the US Supreme Court opinions have in recent years been saturated with neo-liberal reason, thus assisting in discursively reconstructing democracy both at home and abroad. She further maps, in Chapter 6, how neo-liberalised higher education undercuts the formation of a critical, educated citizenry, without which democracy cannot survive.

Because its main aim is to study neo-liberal rationality, which has not been studied so rigorously before, Undoing the Demos is a timely and innovative book. At the same time, however, its scope invites some issues that have, on different levels and in different ways, a negative bearing on the strength of the argument. One such problem is that because Brown sets out primarily to understand neo-liberal rationality and how it is disseminated she pays little or no attention to elements that, although they fall outside of this scope, are arguably intimately related to the problem of rationality. For instance, the book does not engage in much depth with the problem of resistance to neo-liberalism (see pp. 220–222); with other de-democratising rationalities and their relationship to neo-liberal rationality; or with those theorists who were crucial in shaping the discursive framework from which neo-liberal rationality now draws (Röpke, Eucken, Hayek, Friedman, Becker and so on). The point is not so much that Brown should have investigated all of these separate issues, but that she provides few to no conceptual tools for investigating them or their relationship to neo-liberal rationality either.

A related concern is that Undoing the Demos is all-too-narrowly focused on a specific and contemporary (Anglo-)American form of neo-liberalism. While Brown acknowledges at the outset that she is aware of neo-liberalism's internal complexity and heterogeneity (see pp. 20–21) the rest of the book falls short of developing a convincing account of how neo-liberal rationality functions when it enters into different contexts. This is a book about present-day North American neo-liberalism, and little work is done to move outside of that context, even to Europe, let alone the rest of the world. Accordingly, Brown's ahistorical and geographically limited approach cannot explain how the neo-liberalisation of, for instance, British universities has insidiously merged with the already deeply entrenched class-based education system. Likewise, the reader is left guessing whether legal reason has been neo-liberalised in, for instance, Northern Europe in the same way as it has in the United States. Here again the point is not that Undoing the Demos should have been a book about contextually specific neo-liberalisms, but that it remains silent on the question of how neo-liberal rationality takes shape when it is inserted into the messy and complex landscape of micro-politics, where it will inevitably have to negotiate with pre-existing discourses or with stubborn remnants of previously hegemonic rationalities.

A final objection revolves around the notion of democracy and how Brown defines it. In defining democracy as 'rule by the people' Brown deliberately sticks to an 'open and contestable' (p. 20) understanding of democracy in order to show not just how a specific model of democracy (liberal, social, deliberative, elitist and so on), but also how 'the bare promise of bare democracy' (p. 203) tout court is undone. There are several problems with such a strategy. First, the Greek δημοκρατία does not straightforwardly translate into 'rule by the people', as Brown says it does (see pp. 19, 202), grounding the argument in a problematic claim from the start. Second, Brown wants to show that neo-liberalism is destructive of 'democracy in any form', meaning that it undermines the 'bare promise of bare democracy'. However, it could be argued that this promise is not at all shared by all forms of democracy: Does Schumpeterian elitist democracy really promise that 'all might be regarded as ends, rather than means' or that 'all may have a political voice' (p. 203)? Notwithstanding Brown's insistence on the openness of her definition, we appear to still be talking about quite a specific conception of democracy. Third, because of her definition, Brown's primary focus is on the people that ought to rule – that is, on demotic subjectivity and the exercise of sovereignty. Yet this focus cannot capture how neo-liberal rationality rearticulates notions outside of that definition, such as, to name but one element, the legitimacy of the legislature (which surely is different both from the legitimacy of the state and from popular sovereignty, which Brown does discuss because they do fit inside the scope of her definition). Brown's open and contestable definition, in brief, in fact limits her scope and thus the force of her argument.

While I think Undoing the Demos would have been all the better for pre-empting these issues, the book's merits outweigh these shortcomings. Besides providing a theoretical framework that allows for a deep understanding of neo-liberal rationality, it does so accessibly. More than merely speaking to Brown's comrades-in-arms on the Left, the book appears to be written for a broader audience and Brown's familiar style – lucid and rhythmic yet rigorous – makes even intricate Foucauldian claims easily digestible.

Undoing the Demos conveys a sober and mournful message: democracy is under attack and it might not survive. The book will leave anyone looking for strategies of resistance disappointed. But whoever wants to understand the rationality that informs and governs so much of our lives today would do well to read it.

[Sep 26, 2015] Full text of Pope Francis speech before Congress

Notable quotes:
"... A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. ..."
"... All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. ..."
"... We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today's many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. ..."
"... If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. ..."
"... At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family ..."
Sep 26, 2015 | UPI.com

... ... ...

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

... ... ...

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

...We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today's many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

...If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

... ... ...

The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. "Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good" (Laudato Si', 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to "enter into dialogue with all people about our common home" (ibid., 3). "We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all" (ibid., 14).

In Laudato Si', I call for a courageous and responsible effort to "redirect our steps" (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a "culture of care" (ibid., 231) and "an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature" (ibid., 139). "We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology" (ibid., 112); "to devise intelligent ways of . . . developing and limiting our power" (ibid., 78); and to put technology "at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral" (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America's outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

... ... ...

...At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

... ... ...

[Aug 22, 2015] Why Is Market Fundamentalism So Tenacious

The analogy with Trotskyism, which is also a secular religion here are so evident, that they can't be missed. And that explains why it is so tenacious: all cults are extremely tenacious and very difficult to eradiate.
Notable quotes:
"... As the neoliberal revolution instigated by Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980 has spread, however, Polanyi has been rediscovered. His great book – now republished with a foreword by Joseph Stiglitz – has attracted a new generation of readers. ..."
"... The cult of free market fundamentalism has become so normative in our times, and economics as a discipline so hidebound and insular, that reading Polanyi today is akin to walking into a stiff gust of fresh air. We can suddenly see clear, sweeping vistas of social reality. Instead of the mandarin, quantitative and faux-scientific presumptions of standard economics – an orthodoxy of complex illusions about "autonomous" markets – Polanyi explains how markets are in fact embedded in a complex web of social, cultural and historical realities. ..."
"... Markets can only work, for example, if political and legal institutions contrive to transform people, land and money into assets that can be bought and sold. Polanyi calls these "fictional commodities" because people, land and money are not in fact commodities. People and land have their own existence and purposes apart from the market – and money is a social institution, even if many pretend that gold is a self-evident medium of value. ..."
"... Block and Somers point to a closed and coherent ideational scheme that knits together several key belief systems. The first is the idea that the laws of nature govern human society, and thus the workings of the economy are seen as a biological and evolutionary inevitability. A second theme is the idea of "theoretical realism," a belief that the theoretical schema is more true and enduring than any single piece of empirical evidence, and thus one can argue from the claims of theory and not from facts. ..."
"... Finally, a "conversion narrative" enables free marketeers tell to neutralize and delegitimate any contrary arguments, and enabling them to introduce its alternative story. This approach is routinely used to re-cast the reasons (and blame) for poverty. ..."
"... What makes The Power of Market Fundamentalism so illuminating is its patient, careful reconstruction of these recurring and deceptive polemical patterns. The wealthy invoke the same rhetorical strategies again and again over the course of hundreds of years in extremely different contexts. With their mastery of an enormous contemporary literature, Block and Somers document the remarkable parallels and show just how deep and durable Polanyi's analysis truly is ..."
www.resilience.org

One of the great economists of the twentieth century had the misfortune of publishing his magnum opus, The Great Transformation, in 1944, months before the inauguration of a new era of postwar economic growth and consumer culture. Few people in the 1940s or 1950s wanted to hear piercing criticisms of "free markets," let alone consider the devastating impacts that markets tend to have on social solidarity and the foundational institutions of civil society. And so for decades Polanyi remained something of a curiosity, not least because he was an unconventional academic with a keen interest in the historical and anthropological dimensions of economics.

As the neoliberal revolution instigated by Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980 has spread, however, Polanyi has been rediscovered. His great book – now republished with a foreword by Joseph Stiglitz – has attracted a new generation of readers.

But how to make sense of Polanyi's work with all that has happened in the past 70 years? Why does he still speak so eloquently to our contemporary problems? For answers, we can be grateful that we have The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique, written by Fred Block and Margaret R. Somers, and published last year. The book is a first-rate reinterpretation of Polanyi's work, giving it a rich context and commentary. Polanyi focused on the deep fallacies of economistic thinking and its failures to understand society and people as they really are. What could be more timely?

The cult of free market fundamentalism has become so normative in our times, and economics as a discipline so hidebound and insular, that reading Polanyi today is akin to walking into a stiff gust of fresh air. We can suddenly see clear, sweeping vistas of social reality. Instead of the mandarin, quantitative and faux-scientific presumptions of standard economics – an orthodoxy of complex illusions about "autonomous" markets – Polanyi explains how markets are in fact embedded in a complex web of social, cultural and historical realities.

Markets can only work, for example, if political and legal institutions contrive to transform people, land and money into assets that can be bought and sold. Polanyi calls these "fictional commodities" because people, land and money are not in fact commodities. People and land have their own existence and purposes apart from the market – and money is a social institution, even if many pretend that gold is a self-evident medium of value.

Notwithstanding these realities, capitalist societies ahve created these fictional commodities. People have in effect been transformed into units of "labor" that can be bought and sold in the market, and discarded when their value is depleted. Land, too, is treated as a market asset that has no connection to a larger, living ecosystem or human community. Inevitably, people and users of land (and ecosystems themselves) rebel against their treatment as raw commodities. The result is a permanent counter-movement against those who insist upon treating people and land as commodities.

Unlike Keynes, who was willing to accept some of these economic illusions in order to have political impact, Polanyi rejected them as a recipe for a dangerous and unachievable utopianism. That is in fact what has emerged over the past several generations as business ideologues have advanced quasi-religious visions of free market fundamentalism. The planet's natural systems and our communities simply cannot fulfill these utopian dreams of endless economic growth, vast consumption of resources and the massive social engineering. And yet it continues.

Polanyi was courageous enough to strip away the pretenses that the economy is a "force of nature" that cannot be stopped. The economy, he said, is an "instituted process," not a natural one, and it can only survive through massive governmental interventions and cultural regimentation. The free market system is hardly autonomous and self-executing. It requires enormous amounts of government purchasing, research subsidies, legal privileges, regulatory agencies to enhance fairness and public trust, military interventions to secure access to resources and markets, and the sabotage of democratic processes that might threaten investments and market growth. The 2008 financial crisis revealed in outrageous detail how financial markets are anything but autonomous.

So what accounts for the insidious power of market fundamentalism and its illusions? Why do its premises remain intact and influential in the face of so much contrary evidence?

Block and Somers point to a closed and coherent ideational scheme that knits together several key belief systems. The first is the idea that the laws of nature govern human society, and thus the workings of the economy are seen as a biological and evolutionary inevitability. A second theme is the idea of "theoretical realism," a belief that the theoretical schema is more true and enduring than any single piece of empirical evidence, and thus one can argue from the claims of theory and not from facts. Free market narratives assert their own self-validating claims to what is true; epistemological categories trump all empirical challenges.

Finally, a "conversion narrative" enables free marketeers tell to neutralize and delegitimate any contrary arguments, and enabling them to introduce its alternative story. This approach is routinely used to re-cast the reasons (and blame) for poverty. Instead of acknowledging institutional or structural explanations for why many people are poor, the free market narrative boldly attacks government for making people poor through aid programs. Government programs supposedly have a perverse effect, aggravating, not aleviating poverty. The poor are cast as morally responsible – along with government – for their own sorry circumstances. Thus, a higher minimum wage is perverse, say free market champions, because it will hurt the poor rather than help them.

What makes The Power of Market Fundamentalism so illuminating is its patient, careful reconstruction of these recurring and deceptive polemical patterns. The wealthy invoke the same rhetorical strategies again and again over the course of hundreds of years in extremely different contexts. With their mastery of an enormous contemporary literature, Block and Somers document the remarkable parallels and show just how deep and durable Polanyi's analysis truly is .

[Jul 14, 2015] Francis in America: a radical pope journeys to the heart of the [neoliberal] machine

Notable quotes:
"... Note the adjective " unfettered ". Anything that is not sanctioned by the rule of law is not good for anyone. The challenge today is extractive capitalism. Some of this can be addressed by tax policy. Bankruptcy law needs to be changed to hold liable those executives who take out excessive amounts of funds from an enterprize. Personal property needs need better protection. Existing environmental laws need to be enforced. ..."
"... My understanding is that Pope Francis (I am not Catholic) has spoken about the inherent unfairness of "unrestricted" capitalism. He has not denounced capitalism. His words are painstaking, accurately stated & precise. ..."
"... I like his moves, promoting climate change, making a point in visiting the poorest countries on Earth, and naming Capitalists as members of a greedy system, not capable of taking on the role of providing goods and services to the Needy, and of course, the Pontiff heaps religious obscenities upon the War Mongers, mainly in the West. I am going to give my Bible another chance, here's hoping . ..."
"... He seems to be pointing out a few realities. Which, as others have pointed out is causing much wriggling by those who have complete faith by the dollar in the sky. ..."
"... "The US government gives the Vatican nothing...". Not quite. The US Government gives the Church tax-exemption. ..."
"... Of course all the corporate politicians both Republican and Democrat are going to oppose the Pope. Forget the politicians and let's see how the American people react. I expect the Pope will be warmly received as a man of empathy and humanity who shows concern for the poor. I hope that when he addresses congress he does not pull any of his punches. ..."
Jul 14, 2015 | The Guardian

LivinVirginia -> Ken Barnes 13 Jul 2015 20:27

I do not mean to misquote him. Pope Francis is a good man, but before he lectures the US on capitalism, he needs to remember that the Vatican bank has been embroiled in their own banking scandals. I was raised Catholic. I do not have a good impression of the men who run the church. They spend a lot of time asking for money, and I always wonder if they are spending it hiring lawyers for pedophile priests. I like the Pope though. He seems better that the rest of the lot. I think the tax exemptions for religions should be stopped. Religions spend too much time discriminating against certain segments of society. I think they are wolves in sheep's clothing.

RoachAmerican 13 Jul 2015 20:19

Note the adjective " unfettered ". Anything that is not sanctioned by the rule of law is not good for anyone. The challenge today is extractive capitalism. Some of this can be addressed by tax policy. Bankruptcy law needs to be changed to hold liable those executives who take out excessive amounts of funds from an enterprize. Personal property needs need better protection. Existing environmental laws need to be enforced.

William Brown 13 Jul 2015 20:05

I imagine The Pope will say something about an 'eye of a needle'

brianboru1014 13 Jul 2015 19:52

Wall Street via the New York Times and the WS Journal is well on the way to denigrating this man. Even though most Americans support him, these publications will do everything to belittle him.

CaptainWillard -> CaptainWillard 13 Jul 2015 19:36

The US government gives "only" tax exempt status. On the other-hand, citizens of the US very likely raise more money for the Catholic Church than the citizens of any other country.

Ken Barnes -> LivinVirginia 13 Jul 2015 19:30

My understanding is that Pope Francis (I am not Catholic) has spoken about the inherent unfairness of "unrestricted" capitalism. He has not denounced capitalism. His words are painstaking, accurately stated & precise. It helps no one in a discussion to change what another has said & then attempt to debate the misquote.

Greenshoots -> goatrider 13 Jul 2015 19:29

And a shedload of other "purposes" as well:

The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

Richard Martin 13 Jul 2015 19:20

Francis really follows in the footsteps of the First Fisherman, radicalised in God's format .

I like his moves, promoting climate change, making a point in visiting the poorest countries on Earth, and naming Capitalists as members of a greedy system, not capable of taking on the role of providing goods and services to the Needy, and of course, the Pontiff heaps religious obscenities upon the War Mongers, mainly in the West. I am going to give my Bible another chance, here's hoping .

John Fahy 13 Jul 2015 19:16

He seems to be pointing out a few realities. Which, as others have pointed out is causing much wriggling by those who have complete faith by the dollar in the sky.

goatrider -> LivinVirginia 13 Jul 2015 19:01

As it does every other religion----

TerryMcGee -> Magali Luna 13 Jul 2015 19:00

Up until this pope, I would have agreed with you. But this pope is different. In one step, he has taken the papacy from being a major part of the problem to a major force for good. We can't expect him to fix all the problems in the church and its doctrines - that's not the work of one generation. But if he can play a major part in fixing the two massive world problems he has focussed on - climate change and rampant capitalism - he will have done enough for one lifetime.

And I get the impression that he's only warming up....

LivinVirginia -> goatrider 13 Jul 2015 18:34

"The US government gives the Vatican nothing...". Not quite. The US Government gives the Church tax-exemption.

David Dougherty 13 Jul 2015 18:13

Of course all the corporate politicians both Republican and Democrat are going to oppose the Pope. Forget the politicians and let's see how the American people react. I expect the Pope will be warmly received as a man of empathy and humanity who shows concern for the poor. I hope that when he addresses congress he does not pull any of his punches.

Cooper2345 13 Jul 2015 17:59

I like the gift that Morales gave to the Pope, the crucifix over the hammer and sickle. It shows the victory of Christianity over Soviet communism that one of Francis' predecessors helped to shepherd. It's a great reminder of a wonderful triumph and reason to be thankful for the genius of St. John Paul II.

[Jun 23, 2015] Bill Black: A Harvard Don is Enraged that Pope Francis is Opposed to the World Economic Order

Notable quotes:
"... By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly published with http://neweconomicperspectives.org " rel="nofollow">New Economic Perspectives ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... laissez faire. ..."
"... The Gospel According to St. Lloyd Blankfein ..."
Jun 23, 2015 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Yves Smith

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly published with http://neweconomicperspectives.org" rel="nofollow">New Economic Perspectives

A New York Times article entitled "Championing Environment, Francis Takes Aim at Global Capitalism" quotes a conventional Harvard economist, Robert N. Stavins. Stavins is enraged by Pope Francis' position on the environment because the Pope is "opposed to the world economic order." The rage, unintentionally, reveals why conventional economics is the most dangerous ideology pretending to be a "science."

Stavins' attacks on the Pope quickly became personal and dismissive. This is odd, for Pope Francis' positions on the environment are the same as Stavins' most important positions. Stavins' natural response to the Pope's views on the environment – had Stavin not been an economist – would have been along the lines of "Pope Francis is right, and we urgently need to make his vision a reality."

Stavins' fundamental position is that there is an urgent need for a "radical restructuring" of the markets to prevent them from causing a global catastrophe. That is Pope Francis' fundamental position. But Stavins ends up mocking and trying to discredit the Pope.

I was struck by the similarity of Stavins response to Pope Francis to the rich man's response to Jesus. The episode is reported in Matthew, Mark, and Luke in similar terms. I'll use Matthew's version (KJAV), which begins at 19:16 with the verse:

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Jesus responds:

And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

The young rich man wants to know which commandments he needs to follow to gain eternal life.

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

The young, wealthy man is enthused. The Rabbi that he believes has the secret of eternal life has agreed to personally answer his question as to how to obtain it. He passes the requirements the Rabbi lists, indeed, he has met those requirements since he was a child.

But then Jesus lowers the boom in response to the young man's question on what he "lacks."

Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

We need to "review the bidding" at this juncture. The young man is wealthy. He believes that Jesus knows the secret to obtaining eternal life. His quest was to discover – and comply – with the requirement to achieve eternal life. The Rabbi has told him the secret – and then gone well beyond the young man's greatest hopes by offering to make him a disciple. The door to eternal life is within the young man's power to open. All he needs to do is give all that he owns to the poor. The Rabbi goes further and offers to make the young man his disciple. In exchange, the young man will secure "treasure in heaven" – eternal life and a place of particular honor for his sacrifice and his faith in Jesus.

Jesus' answer – the answer the young man thought he wished to receive more than anything in the world – the secret of eternal life, causes the young man great distress.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

The young man rejects eternal life because he cannot bear the thought of giving his "great possessions" to "the poor." Notice that the young man is not evil. He keeps the commandments. He is eager to do a "good thing" to gain eternal life. He has "great possessions" and is eager to trade a generous portion of his wealth as a good deed to achieve eternal life. In essence, he is seeking to purchase an indulgence from Jesus.

But Jesus' response causes the young, wealthy man to realize that he must make a choice. He must decide which he loves more – eternal life or his great possessions. He is "sorrowful" for Jesus' response causes him to realize that he loves having his great possessions for his remaining span of life on earth more than eternal life itself.

Jesus offers him not only the means to open the door to eternal life but the honor of joining him as a disciple. The young man is forced by Jesus' offer to realize that his wealth has so fundamentally changed him that he will voluntarily give up his entry into eternal life. He is not simply "sorrowful" that he will not enter heaven – he is "sorrowful" to realize that heaven is open to him – but he will refuse to enter it because of his greed. His wealth has become a golden trap of his own creation that will damn him. The golden bars of his cell are invisible and he can remove them at any time and enter heaven, but the young man realizes that his greed for his "great possessions" has become so powerful that his self-created jail cell has become inescapable. It is only when Jesus opens the door to heaven that the young man realizes for the first time in his life how completely his great possessions have corrupted and doomed him. He knows he is committing the suicide of his soul – and that he is powerless to change because he has been taught to value his own worth as a person by the extent of his great possessions.

Jesus then makes his famous saying that captures the corrupting effects of great wealth.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The remainder of the passage is of great importance to Luther's doctrine of "justification by faith alone" and leads to Jesus' famous discussion of why "the last shall be first," (in which his anti-market views are made even more explicit) but the portions I have quoted are adequate to my purpose.

Pope Francis' positions on the environment and climate are the greatest boon that Stavin has received in decades. The Pope, like Stavins, tells us that climate change is a disaster that requires urgent governmental action to fix. Stavins could receive no more joyous news. Instead of being joyous, however, Stavins is sorrowful. Indeed, unlike the wealthy man who simply leaves after hearing the Rabbi's views, Stavins rages at and heaps scorn on the prelate, Pope Francis. Stavins' email to the New York Times about the Pope's position on climate change contains this double ideological smear.

The approach by the pope, an Argentine who is the first pontiff from the developing world, is similar to that of a "small set of socialist Latin American countries that are opposed to the world economic order, fearful of free markets, and have been utterly dismissive and uncooperative in the international climate negotiations," Dr. Stavins said.

Stavins' work explicitly states that the "free markets" he worships are causing "mass extinction" and a range of other disasters. Stavins' work explicitly states that the same "free markets" are incapable of change – they cause incentives so perverse that they are literally suicidal – and the markets are incapable of reform even when they are committing suicide by laissez faire. That French term is what Stavins uses to describe our current markets. Pope Francis agrees with each of these points.

Pope Francis says, as did Jesus, that this means that we must not worship "free markets," that we must think first of the poor, and that justice and fairness should be our guides to proper conduct. Stavins, like the wealthy young man, is forced to make a choice. He chooses "great possessions." Unlike the wealthy young man, however, Stavins is enraged rather than "sorrowful" and Stavins lashes out at the religious leader. He is appalled that an Argentine was made Pope, for Pope Francis holds views "that are opposed to the world economic order [and] fearful of free markets." Well, yes. A very large portion of the world's people oppose "the Washington Consensus" and want a very different "world economic order." Most of the world's top religious leaders are strong critics of the "world economic order."

As to being "fearful of free markets," Stavins' own work shows that his use of the word "free" in that phrase is not simply meaningless, but false. Stavins explains that the people, animals, and plants that are the imminent victims of "mass extinction" have no ability in the "markets" to protect themselves from mass murder. They are "free" only to become extinct, which makes a mockery of the word "free."

Similarly, Stavins' work shows that any sentient species would be "fearful" of markets that Stavins proclaims are literally suicidal and incapable of self-reform. Stavins writes that only urgent government intervention that forces a "radical restructuring" of the markets can save our planet from "mass extinction." When I read that I believed that he was "fearful of free markets."

We have all had the experience of seeing the "free markets" blow up the global economy as recently as 2008. We saw there, as well, that only massive government intervention could save the markets from a global meltdown. Broad aspects of the financial markets became dominated by our three epidemics of "accounting control fraud."

Stavins is appalled that a religious leader could oppose a system based on the pursuit and glorification of "great possessions." He is appalled that a religious leader is living out the Church's mission to provide a "preferential option for the poor." Stavins hates the Church's mission because it is "socialist" – and therefore so obviously awful that it does not require refutation by Stavins. This cavalier dismissal of religious beliefs held by most humans is revealing coming from a field that proudly boasts the twin lies that it is a "positive" "science." Theoclassical economists embrace an ideology that is antithetical to nearly every major religion.

Stavins, therefore, refuses to enter the door that Pope Francis has opened. Stavins worships a system based on the desire to accumulate "great possessions" – even though he knows that the markets pose an existential threat to most species on this planet and even though he knows that his dogmas increasingly aid the worst, most fraudulent members of our society to become wealthy through forms of "looting" (Akerlof and Romer 1993) that make other people poorer. The result is that Stavins denounces Pope Francis rather than embracing him as his most valuable ally.

Conclusion: Greed and Markets Kill: Suicide by Laissez Faire

The old truths remain. The worship of "great possessions" wreaks such damage on our humanity that we come to love them more than life itself and act in a suicidal fashion toward our species and as mass destroyers of other species. Jesus' insight was that this self-corruption is so common, so subtle, and so powerful that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Today, he would probably use "economist" rather than "camel."

Theoclassical economists are the high priests of this celebration of greed that Stavins admits poses the greatest threat to life on our planet. When Pope Francis posed a choice to Stavins, he chose to maintain his dogmatic belief in a system that he admits is suicidal and incapable of self-reform. The reason that the mythical and mystical "free markets" that Stavins worships are suicidal and incapable of self-reform even when they are producing "mass extinction" is that the markets are a system based on greed and the desire to obtain "great possessions" even if the result is to damn us and life on our planet.

Adam Smith propounded the paradox that greed could lead the butcher and baker (in a village where everyone could judge reputation and quality) to reliably produce goods of high quality at the lowest price. The butcher and baker, therefore, would act (regardless of their actual motivations) as if they cared about their customers. Smith observed that the customer of small village merchant's products would find the merchant's self-interest a more reliable assurance of high quality than the merchant's altruism.

But Stavins makes clear in his writing that this is not how markets function in the context of "external" costs to the environment. In the modern context, the energy markets routinely function in a manner that Stavins rightly depicts as leading to mass murder. Stavins so loves the worship of the quest for "great possessions" that he is eager to try to discredit Pope Francis as a leader in the effort to prevent "mass extinction" (Stavins' term) – suicide by laissez faire.

(No, I am not now and never was or will be a Catholic.)

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Clive June 23, 2015 at 6:04 am

The Pope's recent comments stirred an old memory from when I was a child, for some reason. Growing up in England in the 1980's, it didn't escape even my childish notice that the series "Dr. Who" was often a vehicle for what would now been deemed outrageously left wing thinking and ideas.

One such episode was The Pirate Planet. The plot's premise was that a race had created a mechanism for consuming entire planets at a time, extracting mineral wealth from the doomed planet being destroyed in the process and using energy and resources for the benefit of a tiny ruling elite with the remnants being offered as trinkets for the masses.

A small subset of the evil race was subliminally aware of what was happening. One of the lines spoken by a character really stuck in my mind, when he said after the reality of their existence was explained to him "so people die to make us rich?"

At the time, it was intended I think more as an allegory on the exploitation of South African gold miners under apartheid than as a general critique of capitalism by the prevailing socialist thinking in Britain in that era (it seems impossible now for me to believe how left wing Britain was in the late 1970s and even into the very early 1980s, but that is indeed the case; it feels like it was a completely different country. Perhaps it was ). No wonder the Thatcher government aggressively targeted the BBC (who produced the show), seeing it, probably rightly, as a hotbed of Trotskyite ideology.

But the point the show was trying to make is as valid now as it was then and is the same point the Pope Francis is making. A great deal of our material wealth and affluence is built on others' suffering. It is wrong. And the system which both perpetrates the suffering and the people who benefit from it needs to change. Us turkeys are going to have to vote for Christmas.

Disturbed Voter June 23, 2015 at 6:43 am

Nice post, Clive. But I thought Brits ate goose at Christmas, and Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving ;-)

Yes, where have all the leftists gone? Is Cornel West the only one "left" in America? Forty years ago I was moving to the Right, in reaction to the Left. The Cold War was still on, patriotism et al.

The current paradigm is insane so nature will not allow it to continue much longer. G-d not so much. The US today is qualitatively different than it was in the 70s.

Trotsky was one of the first people to understand Hitler. Stalin not so much. Our current crop of elder pundits of Neoliberalism originally were Jewish trotskyites back in the 60s. Neoliberalism was perhaps pragmatic back then, but has outlived its usefulness.

vidimi June 23, 2015 at 7:59 am

old queen vic introduced the turkey to britain and it has supplanted the goose as a christmas special. i prefer goose, though.

James Levy June 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

My friend Tracey and her family still had "joint of beef" for Christmas.

James Levy June 23, 2015 at 6:47 am

The overweening arrogance of the Thatcherites and the neoclassical ideologues that are in evidence at Harvard is their insistence that what they peddle is not a set of values, but a "science", and that their set of values is the only set of values even worth considering (TINA). The Pope's job is to remind us all of another possible set of values and organizing principles. No one said you have to believe in them. But they have a right to be on the table when we collectively chose what kind of world we want to live in.

John Smith June 23, 2015 at 6:13 am

"All he needs to do is give all that he owns to the poor." Bill Black

No. He is to sell all he owns but Jesus does not say that he is to then give away ALL the money. The rich guy's problem is his possessions, not money. Note that Matthew, another rich guy, did not give away all his money yet he was a disciple of Jesus.

As for "free markets", what is free market about government-subsidized/privileged banks?

Patricia June 23, 2015 at 6:35 am

Don't know if this has been linked at NC; it is another righteous rant on the subject:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/19/in-the-usa-i-cannot-write/

Disturbed Voter June 23, 2015 at 7:18 am

Nice. Takeaway? "no true feelings" insightful description of the people around me. The West in a state of nervous breakdown.

vidimi June 23, 2015 at 11:11 am

something didn't read right about this piece to me. hard to put my finger on it, but it came across as a bit hypocritical and a lot bitter. apart from that, the style is eclectic and the thoughts are scrambled all over the place. more a rant than a coherent argument.

It all began when I arrived. After travelling some 48 hours from South Africa to Southern California, carrying films and books for the conference, I was not even met at the airport. So I took a taxi. But nobody met me at the place where I was supposed to stay. I stood on the street for more than one hour.

in this passage he sounds like he suffers from affluenza. in those poor but righteous third world countries, he is treated like a rockstar. in the rotten US, he is dismayed at the lack of attention. although no doubt he has a point, it smacks a bit of entitlement.

not vltchek's best work, but then again, he did admit to writing most of it on the plane.

Synoia June 23, 2015 at 6:42 am

it seems impossible now for me to believe how left wing Britain was in the late 1970s and even into the very early 1980s, but that is indeed the case; it feels like it was a completely different country.

True. And greed, as described by Bill Black. has no limits.

Moneta June 23, 2015 at 6:56 am

Free markets and world economic order in the same sentence?

Disturbed Voter June 23, 2015 at 7:10 am

Irony perhaps? But then actual free markets are only in the imagination of Adam Smith.

William C June 23, 2015 at 7:28 am

I seem to remember plenty in WoN about businessmen conspiring against the public.

Eric Patton June 23, 2015 at 8:22 am

Very awesome essay.

Ulysses June 23, 2015 at 8:52 am

"Theoclassical economists are the high priests of this celebration of greed that Stavins admits poses the greatest threat to life on our planet. When Pope Francis posed a choice to Stavins, he chose to maintain his dogmatic belief in a system that he admits is suicidal and incapable of self-reform. The reason that the mythical and mystical "free markets" that Stavins worships are suicidal and incapable of self-reform even when they are producing "mass extinction" is that the markets are a system based on greed and the desire to obtain "great possessions" even if the result is to damn us and life on our planet."

This is an extremely important point. We cannot combat neoliberal ideology as if it were simply a set of rational assumptions, albeit flowing from flawed premises. No, it is a religious dogma of greed, set up to combat all of the more communitarian and gentle schools of religious thought– including the Christianity of Pope Francis, or the environmentalism of St. Francis, the patron saint of ecologists.

diptherio June 23, 2015 at 9:39 am

Good to see that someone else pulls out the "rich young man" bit occasionally. Not many Christians I've talked to seem to be aware of it, much less of the implications. Good on ya'.

vidimi June 23, 2015 at 10:46 am

fundamentalists like to take things in the bible literally, but they know that jesus didn't mean it when he said that "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"

Garrett Pace June 23, 2015 at 10:05 am

Maybe he didn't realize that his possessions owned him, but the rich young man knew that *something* was wrong. For all his virtue and good works, he could feel things weren't right inside himself.

Vatch June 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

Pope Francis probably hasn't read The Gospel According to St. Lloyd Blankfein. If he had read it, he would know that investment bankers are doing God's work.

[Jun 18, 2015] Pope encyclical, climate-change live reaction and analysis

Notable quotes:
"... Senior Catholic figures in the US and UK have said the Pope's central message is: what sort of world do we want to leave for future generations? ..."
"... Kurtz deflected criticism from Republican president contenders such as Jeb Bush that the Pope was straying from the pulpit into political terrain. "I don't think he is presenting a blue print for saying this is exactly a step by step recipe," Kurtz said. "He is providing a framework and a moral call as a true moral leader to say take seriously the urgency of this matter." ..."
The Guardian

3.00pm BST10:00

Our Rome correspondent Stephanie Kirchgaessner has filed a new report on the encyclical and reaction to it. Here's an extract:
Cardinal Peter Turkson, the pope's top official on social and justice issues, flatly rejected arguments by some conservative politicians in the US that the pope ought to stay out of science.

"Saying that a pope shouldn't deal with science sounds strange since science is a public domain. It is a subject matter that anyone can get in to," Turkson said at a press conference on Thursday.

The pontiff's upcoming document is being hailed as a major intervention in the climate change debate – but what exactly is an encyclical?

In an apparent reference to comments by Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, who said he did not take economic advice from the pope, Turkson said that politicians had the right to disregard Francis's statement, but said it was wrong to do so based on the fact that the pope was not a scientist.

"For some time now it has been the attempt of the whole world to kind of try to de-emphasise the artificial split between religion and public life as if religion plays no role," he said. Then, quoting an earlier pope, he said the best position was to "encourage dialogue between faith and reason".

I'm going to finish up the liveblog now and we'll be switching to rolling news coverage on the Guardian's environment site.

Ban Ki-moon reacts:
The secretary-general welcomes the papal encyclical released today by His Holiness Pope Francis which highlights that climate change is one of the principal challenges facing humanity, and that it is a moral issue requiring respectful dialogue with all parts of society. The secretary-general notes the encyclical's findings that there is "a very solid scientific consensus" showing significant warming of the climate system and that most global warming in recent decades is "mainly a result of human activity".

Ban called on governments to "place the global common good above national interests and to adopt an ambitious, universal climate agreement" at the UN climate summit in Paris this December.

There are shades of the Pope's own language there. In the encyclical, he says: "International [climate] negotiations cannot make significant progress due to positions taken by countries which place their national interests above the global common good".

2.38pm BST09:38

Suzanne Goldenberg

US church leaders said they saw the message as an urgent call for dialogue and action – one they intend to amplify on social media and in the pulpit.

"It is our marching orders for advocacy," Joseph Kurtz, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of Louisville. "It really brings about a new urgency for us." Church leaders will brief members of Congress on Thursday, and the White House tomorrow on the encyclical.

Kurtz deflected criticism from Republican president contenders such as Jeb Bush that the Pope was straying from the pulpit into political terrain. "I don't think he is presenting a blue print for saying this is exactly a step by step recipe," Kurtz said. "He is providing a framework and a moral call as a true moral leader to say take seriously the urgency of this matter."

2.33pm BST09:33

Suzanne Goldenberg

Here's a selection of some more US faith group reaction: Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Stockton:

This document written for all people of good will challenges institutions and individuals to preserve and respect creation as a gift from God to be used for the benefit of all.

Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Rabbi in Residence, Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, San Francisco:

I'm inspired and grateful for the Pope's high profile leadership and commitment to environmental justice.

Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego:

Local and National Muslim Leadership support policies that both halt environmental degradation and repair that which has already occurred. We stand with any leader, secular or spiritual, who is willing to speak out against this issue.

2.23pm BST09:23

Cardinal Vincent Nichols in the UK has echoed US Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz in his view of what the Pope's central message is: what sort of world do we want to leave for future generations to inherit? The Press Association reports:
Speaking at Our Lady & St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, in Poplar, east London, against the backdrop of the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said one of the key messages of the document was asking "what kind of world we want to leave to those who come afterwards".

The pope's message challenged the idea that infinite material progress was possible, with more goods and more consumption, that "we have to have the latest phone", said the cardinal, who is head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

2.13pm BST09:13

The US House of Representatives' Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition says – in an apparent reference to climate denial on the US right – that "the political will of many is still askew" when it comes to tackling global warming. It hopes the Pope's encyclical might change that:
For those unmoved by the science of climate change, we hope that Pope Francis' encyclical demonstrates the virtue and moral imperative for action. Today's announcement further aligns the scientific and moral case for climate action, yet the political will of many is still askew. The time to act on climate is now, and failure to do so will further damage the planet, its people, and our principles.

Michael Brune, the executive director of the US-based Sierra Club, which has more than 2m members, and has waged a very effective campaign against coal power plants, said:

Pope Francis's guidance as a pastor and a teacher shines a light on the moral obligation we all share to address the climate crisis that transcends borders and politics. This Encyclical underscores the need for climate action not just to protect our environment, but to protect humankind and the most vulnerable communities among us. The vision laid out in these teachings serves as inspiration to everyone across the world who seeks a more just, compassionate, and healthy future.

Updated at 2.16pm BST

2.06pm BST09:06

And talking of short reads, I've written a little piece on eight things we learned from the encyclical.

1.54pm BST08:54

In case you don't have enough time to read the 100+ page encyclical itself (the length varies depending on the language and font size of the versions kicking around),

1.53pm BST08:53

Some more reaction from UK charities on how governments meeting in Paris later this year should listen to the Pope.

Adriano Campolina, chief executive of ActionAid International, said:

The Pope's message highlights the important links between climate change, poverty and overconsumption. They are part of the same problem and any lasting solution to climate change must tackle these fundamental issues.

The powerful truth in Pope Francis' message reaches far beyond the Catholic Church or climate campaigners. Action on climate requires both environmental and social justice. As negotiators work on a climate deal for Paris, our leaders must show the same moral and political courage that Pope Francis has.

Christian conservation group A Rocha said: "national governments should follow the Pope's example and take 'meaningful action' on climate change".

One of the most senior figures in the US Catholic church, Joseph Edward Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, has been speaking at a US press conference. He said that that perhaps the central message of the encyclical is: what kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?

Here are some highlights from Kurtz:

It's really a very beautiful and very extensive treatment of what Pope Francis has called our common home.

...

The Pope over and over again says that care for the things of this Earth is necessarily bound with care for one another and especially those who are poor. He calls it an interdependency.

...

He speaks on very indivudal choices as well as the public sphere

...

Over and over again he talks about the world as a gift

...

He uses a phrase he's used very often: to reject a throwaway culture.

...

He talks about very specific things, about slums in which people are forced to live, the lack of clean water, about the consumerism mentality.

And that perhaps this is the centre of his message: what kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?

...

Our pope is speaking with a very much pastor's voice and with a deep respect for the role of science.

Three essential areas that our Catholic community is being called to being involved in:

1) to advocate, a local, national and global level, to advocate for the common good. We know that faith if done well, actually enriches public life. And we know that technology tells us what we can do, but we need moral voices that tell us what we should do

2) [the video cut out at this point so I'm afraid I missed his second point]

3) The use of our resources, in whole we build buildings, should honour the Earth

Here's the Pope himself on that issue of what we leave future generations:

Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.

We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet's capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now.

Summary

Updated at 2.21pm BST

1.20pm BST08:20

World Bank group president Jim Yong Kim said:
Today's release of Pope Francis' first encyclical should serve as a stark reminder to all of us of the intrinsic link between climate change and poverty. We know the scientific, business and economic case for action to combat climate change and I welcome the pope's emphasis on our moral obligation to act.

He added:

The pope's encyclical comes at a pivotal moment in the lead up to December's Paris meeting on climate change.

1.06pm BST08:06

Here's some more reaction from religious groups, who say people should heed the Pope's call to action.

Dr Guillermo Kerber of the World Council of Churches, which has previously promised to rule out future investments in fossil fuels, said:

The World Council of Churches welcomes Pope Francis' encyclical which catalyses what churches and ecumenical organizations have been doing for decades on caring for the earth and climate justice issues. By affirming human induced climate change and its impacts on the poorest and most vulnerable communities, the Encyclical is an important call to urgently act as individuals, citizens and also at the international level to effectively respond to the climate crisis.

Dr. Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, said:

We affirm Pope Francis' moral framing of the threats posed by climate change. We have too many brothers and sisters around the world living on the edge of poverty whose livelihoods are threatened-and too many little ones in our congregations set to inherit a dangerously broken world-to believe otherwise. For too long the church has been silent about the moral travesty of climate change. Today, the Pope has said, 'Enough is enough,' and the Christian Reformed Church welcomes his voice.

Sister Pat McDermott, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, said:

We welcome Pope Francis' critique of the current, dominant economic model that prioritizes the market, profit and unharnessed consumption and regards Earth as a resource to be exploited.

Updated at 3.49pm BST

1.02pm BST08:02

Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the US-based Evangelical Environmental Network, which lobbies American politicians on environmental issues, welcomed the Pope's encyclical. He said:
It's time to make hope happen by fuelling the unstoppable clean energy transition, stopping the ideological battles, and working together.

Creating a new energy economy that benefits all and addresses climate change is not about a political party but living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We urge all people of good will, especially fellow Christian conservatives to read and study these timely words from Pope Francis.

12.55pm BST07:55

The New York Times' Justin Gillis says (fairly, in my opinion) that the Pope is more cautious on the science behind climate change than many scientists.
...amid all his soaring rhetoric, did the pope get the science right?

The short answer from climate and environmental scientists is that he did, at least to the degree possible in a religious document meant for a broad audience. If anything, they say, he may have bent over backward to offer a cautious interpretation of the scientific facts.

For example, a substantial body of published science says that human emissions have caused all the global warming that has occurred over the past century. Yet in his letter, Francis does not go quite that far, citing volcanoes, the sun and other factors that can influence the climate before he concludes that "most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases" released mainly by human activity.

The world's most authoritative body on climate science, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, found in its landmark report last year that global warming is "unequivocal" and humanity's role in causing it is "clear".

12.47pm BST07:47

The Pope is surprisingly specific on what he does like, and sees as part of the solutions to climate change.

For instance, he name-checks energy storage, something that Tesla's Elon Musk made waves with over his recent announcement of a home battery, and is seen in some quarters as important to help alleviate the intermittent nature of some renewable power.

Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies.

And he likes community green energy schemes, akin to one in a UK village that was the site of the country's biggest anti-fracking protests but now hopes to build a sizeable solar power installation:

In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy. This simple example shows that, while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference.

12.16pm BST07:16

Bob Perciasepe of US thinktank Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, has blogged on the unique role the Pope can play in the climate change arena and how he might influence American minds:
Scientists, environmentalists, politicians, business executives, and military leaders have all raised concerns for years about the real risks of climate change. But few individuals are as influential as the pope. By calling on people to act on their conscience, Pope Francis provides a powerful counterpoint to what has become a largely ideologically-driven debate, especially here in the United States.

12.12pm BST07:12

Nicholas Stern, the economist and author of an influential report on climate change, said the encyclical was of "enormous significance".
The publication of the Pope's encyclical is of enormous significance. He has shown great wisdom and leadership. Pope Francis is surely absolutely right that climate change raises vital moral and ethical issues. It is poor people around the world who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as an intensification of extreme weather events. And the decisions that we make about managing the risks of climate change matter not only for us, but also for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

He added:

Moral leadership on climate change from the Pope is particularly important because of the failure of many heads of state and government around the world to show political leadership.

And here's what the Pope himself says about world leaders' failure to act on climate change and environmental problems:

Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change.

Updated at 12.12pm BST

12.09pm BST07:09

John Hooper

The pope's effort to sever the link between population growth and environmental deterioration should not, however, detract from the importance of what else he has to say. This is the first encyclical to be devoted entirely to environmental issues, though it is certainly not the first time a pope has spoken out on the destruction of the environment.

As the encyclical notes, Paul VI first raised the issue as long ago as 1971, describing it as a "tragic consequence" of uncontrolled human activity. Saint John Paul II and his successor, Benedict XVI, inveighed against mankind's ill-treatment of nature – or as they viewed it, creation.

Far more explicitly than his predecessors, however, Francis heaps the blame on to the part of humanity that is rich. He accepts that the poorer nations should "acknowledge the scandalous level of consumption in some privileged sectors of their population and combat corruption more effectively." They ought also to develop less pollutant sources of energy.

12.00pm BST07:00

The Pope suggests that you can't care about nature and support abortion, which the Catholic church strongly opposes:
Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?

The other elephant in the room is birth control and overpopulation, though the Pope seems to have anticipated criticism on that. He takes the line, supported by many environmentalists, that consumption is the problem, not overpopulation. The encyclical says:

To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.

Updated at 1.14pm BST

11.56am BST06:56

The head of the UN's environment programme, Achim Steiner, has echoed the UN's climate chief in saying today's text should be a clarion call for action.
This encyclical is a clarion call that resonates not only with Catholics, but with all of the Earth's peoples. Science and religion are aligned on this matter: The time to act is now.

We (UNEP) share Pope Francis' view that our response to environmental degradation and climate change cannot only be defined by science, technology or economics, but is also a moral imperative. We must not overlook that the world's poorest and most vulnerable suffer most from the changes we are seeing. Humanity's environmental stewardship of the planet must recognise the interests of both current and future generations.

Updated at 12.02pm BST

11.53am BST06:53

The Pope on biodiversity loss, GM and more

On the loss of species and ecosystems

Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity.

...

a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

On GM
It is difficult to make a general judgement about genetic modification (GM) ... The risks involved are not always due to the techniques used, but rather to their improper or excessive application ... This is a complex environmental issue
On water quality
One particularly serious problem is the quality of water available to the poor. Every day, unsafe water results in many deaths and the spread of water-related diseases, including those caused by microorganisms and chemical substances.
On fossil fuels
We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions.

Updated at 11.58am BST

11.49am BST06:49

At the Vatican press conference, Peter Turkson, a Ghanian cardinal of the Catholic church, says US climate sceptics are entitled to their view.

"The other big thing about Republicans and presidential figures saying they will not listen to the Pope is that is their freedom, their freedom of choice," he said, in an apparent reference to Jeb Bush (see 11:21).

He said "it's easy to say because the Pope is not a scientist he shouldn't talk about science", and said "I would not attach much credibility" to those criticisms.

11.42am BST06:42

At 1.30pm BST, Donald William Wuerl, one of five cardinals who lead the US archdiocese, will be holding a press conference on the encyclical. I'll try to summarise some of it here on the blog.

11.39am BST06:39

The pontiff included a personal handwritten note in his communication. It ended with a plea for help: "United in the lord, and please do not forget to pray for me."
- Rocco Palmo (@roccopalmo) June 18, 2015

"In bond of unity, charity and peace," Pope entrusts #LaudatoSi to world's bishops w/ personal note, asks prayers: pic.twitter.com/bJ9fXGvbnC

11.37am BST06:37

On technology and business

One recurring motif throughout the encyclical is a general scepticism or outright hostility to technological solutions to environmental challenges, and to the role that big business should play in tackling climate change.

For example:

Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others

...

To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.

He doesn't like carbon trading either. In this passage he seems to be referring to the only current global carbon trading scheme, the CDM:

The strategy of buying and selling "carbon credits" can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.

And some sections sound like they could have been ghostwritten by Guardian columnist George Monbiot:

Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations?

11.33am BST06:33

The Pope isn't just concerned about climate change. He has some very colourful turns of phrase about other environmental problems, such as pollution and waste:
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish.

11.31am BST06:31

The Pope on climate change and the science

Here's the English version of the encyclical on the Vatican's site.

The Pope makes reference to the huge body of work by national science academies and international bodies such as the IPCC on climate science:

A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.

He warns of serious consequences if we don't act on climate change:

If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.

As many studies have already pointed out, the Pope notes that the world's poor are expected to suffer most from global warming:

It [climate change] represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.

11.28am BST06:28

Suzanne Goldenberg

Suzanne Goldenberg

The message brought an outpouring of support from environmental groups, climate scientists, and leaders of all religions, eager to counter a series of pre-emptive attacks on the Pope from conservatives.

The response was a first glimpse of a vast and highly organised mobilisation effort around the letter visit, and a papal visit to the US in September.

The Pope will get an another chance to exhort leaders to act – this time in person – when he addresses both houses of Congress.

With that high profile visit in mind, campaigners argued the Pope's intervention had re-set the parameters of the discussion surrounding climate change, from narrow political agenda to broader morality. The Pope's message was above religion, they said.

"The Pope's message applies to all of us," said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "He is imploring people of good will everywhere to honour our moral obligation to protect future generations from the dangers of further climate chaos by embracing our ethical duty to act," she said.

Cafod, the Catholic charity went so far as to suggest that that was the Pope's design all along.

"The Pope has deliberately released the encyclical in a year of key UN moments that will affect humanity," said Neil Thomas, director of advocacy. "He is reading the signs of his times and telling us that the human and environmental costs of our current way of life are simply too high."

Ray Bradley, the climate scientist, said: "He has no political agenda. He speaks from the heart (not the Heartland) with unimpeachable moral authority. Who else can address this issue without the taint of politics? Moreover, Pope Francis has a particular responsibility to those without a voice at the centres of power in affluent countries.

But the Pope's message is expected to resonate most strongly among the environmental campaigners operating within the Church.

For activist priests and nuns, who have lobbied oil companies and called on their own parishes to divest, the encyclical puts the Vatican's stamp of approval on years of effort, often at the sidelines.

That on its own has galvanised campaigners, said Sister Joan Brown, a Franciscan in New Mexico who has worked on climate change for more than 20 years.

"I've never seen anything like this in the faith community or otherwise," she said.

The pope's message set off a flood of new activity that has been more than a year in the planning.

In deference to the Pope, mainstream environmental groups will be operating in the background.

"We've been asking environmental groups to hold back on this...so that the message isn't one that would maybe cause more polarisation, rather than less," Sister Joan said.

But the Catholic church – and activist wings among other religious communities – are jumping in to try and amplify thePope's message and build momentum for action on climate.

The archbishop's office in Atlanta signed up scientists and engineers to help parishes, and parishioners, reduce their carbon footprint. The Bishop of Des Moines is planning to hold a press conference at a wind farm.

The Evangelical Environmental Network also came out strongly behind the Pope.

More than 300 rabbis signed on to a letter calling on Jewish institutions and individuals to divest from "carbon Pharaohs" or coal-based electric power, and buy wind power instead.

Updated at 11.48am BST

11.27am BST06:27

Observers of the climate talks and Christian, development and environment groups have warmly welcomed the Pope's encyclical.

Former UN general secretary Kofi Annan, said:

As Pope Francis reaffirms, climate change is an all-encompassing threat: it is a threat to our security, our health, and our sources of fresh water and food ... I applaud the Pope for his strong moral and ethical leadership. We need more of such inspired leadership. Will we see it at the climate summit in Paris?

Penny Lawrence, Oxfam's deputy chief executive, said:

The Pope is right – climate change is a problem for all of humanity that is hitting the world's poorest hardest. His words could and should add real urgency to efforts to protect people and planet. World leaders meeting at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year should be in no doubt that the world expects them to put aside short-term national interest and move us all closer to a safer and more prosperous future.

Andrew Steer, president and chief executive of the US-based World Resources Institute:

The pope's message brings moral clarity that the world's leaders must come together to address this urgent human challenge. This message adds to the global drumbeat of support for urgent climate action. Top scientists, economists, business leaders and the pope can't all be wrong.

Updated at 11.54am BST

11.21am BST06:21

The encyclical is unimpressed by those who deny the science of climate change:
regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions.

The pushback from Republican and the rest of the US right, where climate scepticism is a badge of honour, has already begun. Jeb Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, said yesterday: "I hope I'm not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don't get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope."

And as our US environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg found out last week at a gathering of US climate sceptics, the Pope's encyclical is at the top of their list of concerns.

Suzanne Goldenberg visits the Heartland Institute's conference in Washington, an annual gathering of climate sceptics, to hear what delegates – including US senator James Inhofe and blogger Marc Morano – think about the Pope's encyclical on the environment and climate change

11.14am BST06:14

The Pope has invited his 6m Twitter followers to take notice of his encyclical today, too:
- Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 18, 2015

I invite all to pause to think about the challenges we face regarding care for our common home. #LaudatoSi

As a mock movie trailer for the encyclical put it earlier this week, he's "an easy man to follow and a hard man to silence".

11.12am BST06:12

The Pope on UN climate talks

Christiana Figueres, the UN's climate chief, says the Pope's intervention should act as a "clarion call" for a strong deal at Paris:

Pope Francis' encyclical underscores the moral imperative for urgent action on climate change to lift the planet's most vulnerable populations, protect development, and spur responsible growth. This clarion call should guide the world towards a strong and durable universal climate agreement in Paris at the end of this year. Coupled with the economic imperative, the moral imperative leaves no doubt that we must act on climate change now.
Christiana Figueres. Photograph: Martin Godwin/Martin Godwin

But the Pope isn't very impressed by more than 20 years of UN climate talks. He says the annual summits have produced "regrettably few" advances on efforts to cut carbon emissions and rein in global warming. The encyclical says:

It is remarkable how weak international political responses have been. The failure of global summits on the environment make it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.
I've just uploaded the English version of the encyclical on Scribd. I'll be posting some of the highlights here on the live blog shortly.

11.02am BST06:02

John Schellnhuber, Angela Merkel's climate adviser and a leading climate change scientist, is punning his way through a presentation at the encyclical's launch, "praying" his Powerpoint will work.

Of the encyclical, he said:

it is very unique in the sense that it brings together two strong powers in the world, namely faith and moral and on the other reason and ingenuity. It's an environmental crisis but also a social crisis. These two things together pose an enormouse challenge. Only if these two things work together, faith and reason, can we overcome it

10.58am BST05:58

A spokesman for the Vatican told a packed press conference in the Vatican audience hall this morning that in his 25 years there he has worked there, he has never seen as much prolonged, global and intense anticipation for a single document, AP reports.

The press conference is being live-streamed on YouTube:

10.54am BST05:54

At 11am the Vatican will publish the Pope's long-awaited encyclical on the environment, following its leak earlier this week by an Italian magazine.

The more-than-100 page text is wide-ranging, majoring on climate change, but also touching on pollution, biodiversity loss, the oceans, man's modern relationship with nature, the dangers of relying on the markets and technology, and overconsumption.

In case you're wondering what an encyclical is, our southern Europe editor John Hooper, has a great Q&A here on their history and the importance the documents carry.

The more than 190 countries involved in the international climate change will be keenly watching the text too – it could have a big impact on the talks ahead of a major summit in Paris later this year.

Updated at 1.32pm BST

View all comments >

[Jun 18, 2015] Pope Blames Markets for Environments Ills

Notable quotes:
"... "Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it," he adds. ..."
June 18, 2015 WSJ

Pope Blames Markets for Environment's Ills. Pontiff condemns global warming as outgrowth of global consumerism. Pope Francis said human activity is the cause of climate change, which threatens the poor and future generations.

ROME- Pope Francis in his much-awaited encyclical on the environment offered a broad and uncompromising indictment of the global market economy, accusing it of plundering the Earth at the expense of the poor and of future generations.

In passionate language, the pontiff attributed global warming to human activity, blamed special interests for holding back policy responses and said the global North owes the South "an ecological debt."

The 183-page document, which Pope Francis addresses to "every person living on this planet," includes pointed critiques of globalization and consumerism, which he says lead to environmental degradation.

"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," he writes.

The encyclical's severe language stirred immediate controversy, signaling the weight the pontiff's stance could have on the pitched debate over how to respond to climate change.

"Economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain," he writes. "As a result, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of the deified market, which become the only rule."

The Vatican published the document, titled "Laudato Si" ("Be praised"), on Thursday. The official release came three days after the online publication of a leaked version by an Italian magazine.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, had described the leaked Italian text as a draft, but the final document, published in eight languages, differed only in minor ways, while the pope's main points were identical. An encyclical is considered one of the most authoritative forms of papal writing.

In the encyclical, Pope Francis wades into the debate over the cause of global warming, lending high-profile support to those who attribute it to human activity.

A "very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climactic system," contributing to a "constant rise in the sea level" and an "increase of extreme weather events," he writes.

"Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it," he adds.

While acknowledging natural causes for climate change, including volcanic activity and the solar cycle, Pope Francis writes that a "number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity."

The pontiff goes on to argue that there is "an urgent need" for policies to drastically cut the emission of carbon dioxide and other gases and promote the switch to renewable sources of energy.

Related Coverage

Five Things to Know About 'Laudato Si'
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