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[Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
"... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
"... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
"... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
"... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

I particularly liked this point:

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

[Dec 16, 2017] Brexit, Trump, and the Dangers of Global 'Jihad' HuffPost by Ben Railton

For 1995 the book Jihad vs. McWorld was really groundbreaking.
Also the concept of "Neoliberal jihad is valid, but it is better to call it Neoliberal World revolution as it was borrowed from Trotskyism
Notable quotes:
"... Jihad vs. McWorld ..."
"... In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. ..."
"... Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. ..."
"... Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. ..."
Dec 11, 2017 | www.huffingtonpost.com

In his ground-breaking 1995 book Jihad vs. McWorld , political scientist Benjamin Barber posits that the global conflicts of the early 21st century would be driven by two opposing but equally undemocratic forces: neoliberal corporate globalization (which he dubbed "McWorld") and reactionary tribal nationalisms (which he dubbed "Jihad"). Although distinct in many ways, both of these forces, Barber persuasively argues, succeed by denying the possibilities for democratic consensus and action, and so both must be opposed by civic engagement and activism on a broad scale.

In the two decades since Barber's book, this conflict has seemed to play out along overtly cultural lines: with Islamic extremism representing jihad, in opposition to Western neoliberalism representing McWorld. Case in pitch-perfect point: the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet despite his use of the Arabic word Jihad, Barber is clear that reactionary tribalism is a worldwide phenomenon -- and in 2016 we're seeing particularly striking examples of that tribalism in Western nations such as Great Britain and the United States.

Britain's vote this week in favor of leaving the European Union was driven entirely by such reactionary tribal nationalism. The far-right United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and its leader Nigel Farage led the charge in favor of Leave , as exemplified by a recent UKIP poster featuring a photo of Syrian refugees with the caption " Breaking point: the EU has failed us ." Farage and his allies like to point to demographic statistics about how much the UK has changed in the last few decades , and more exactly how the nation's white majority has been somewhat shifted over that time by the arrival of sizeable African and Asian immigrant communities.

It's impossible not to link the UKIP's emphases on such issues of immigration and demography to the presidential campaign of the one prominent U.S. politician who is cheering for the Brexit vote : presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. From his campaign-launching speech about Mexican immigrant "criminals and rapists" to his proposal to ban Muslim immigration and his "Make American Great Again" slogan, Trump has relied on reactionary tribal nationalism at every stage of his campaign, and has received the enthusiastic endorsement of white supremacist and far-right organizations as a result. For such American tribal nationalists, the 1965 Immigration Act is the chief bogeyman, the origin point of continuing demographic shifts that have placed white America in a precarious position.

The only problem with that narrative is that it's entirely inaccurate. What the 1965 Act did was reverse a recent, exclusionary trend in American immigration law and policy, returning the nation to the more inclusive and welcoming stance it had taken throughout the rest of its history. Moreover, while the numbers of Americans from Latin American, Asian, and Muslim cultures have increased in recent decades, all of those communities have been part of o ur national community from its origin points . Which is to say, this right-wing tribal nationalism isn't just opposed to fundamental realities of 21st century American identity -- it also depends on historical and national narratives that are as mythic as they are exclusionary.

Linking Brexit and Trump to global right-wing tribal nationalisms doesn't mean conflating them all, of course. Although Trump rallies have featured troubling instances of violence, and although the murderer of British politican Jo Cox was an avowed white supremacist and Leave supporter, the right-wing Islamic extremism of groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram rely far more consistently and centrally on violence and terrorism in support of their worldview and goals. Such specific contexts and nuances are important and shouldn't be elided.

Yet at the same time, we can't understand our 21st century world without a recognition of this widespread phenomenon of global, tribal nationalism. From ISIS to UKIP, Trump to France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, such reactionary forces have become and remain dominant players across the world, influencing local and international politics, economics, and culture. Benjamin Barber called this trend two decades ago, and we would do well to read and remember his analyses -- as well as his call for civic engagement and activism to resist these forces and fight for democracy.

Ben Railton Professor & public scholar of American Studies, Follow Ben Railton on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AmericanStudier

[Dec 12, 2017] The neoliberal revolution by Sean Michael Butler

Notable quotes:
"... Copyright Sean Butler 2006 ..."
"... Written for an Intro to Political Economy class at Carleton University in 2006 ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | seanmichaelbutler.wordpress.com

For 25 years following the end of the Second World War, the global economy experienced an unprecedented period of sustained growth. In the industrialized world, millions of people joined the ranks of the middle class, and wealth inequality sunk to historic lows. After decades of strife, labour and capital reached a relative ceasefire, and a mixed economy of governmental macroeconomic guidance combined with private microeconomic initiative emerged. Capital was able to make healthy profits, while much of the rising productivity of labour was passed on in the form of higher wages. Governments made full employment a priority, and increasingly accepted the responsibility of providing for the poor and disadvantaged. By the late 1960s, governments were seriously considering implementing a basic income (also known as a guaranteed annual income) and many policymakers thought that our biggest problem in another 20 years would be what to do with all our free time once the work week had been significantly reduced.

This exuberant economic attitude was arguably reflected in the radical social experimentation and revolution that emanated from universities now accessible to the majority, and in the various movements for liberty and social justice erupting worldwide. For many, all this social and economic optimism had one man to thank: the British political economist John Maynard Keynes, who had emerged from the academic wilderness in the 1930s to play a leading role in the design of the post-war economy at Bretton Woods, and whose focus on the counter-cyclical stimulus of aggregate demand became the lynchpin of governmental economic policy in subsequent decades. "There was a broad body of optimism that the 1950s and 1960s were the product of Keynesian economic engineering. Indeed, there was no reason why the prosperity of the international economy should not continue as long as appropriate Keynesian policies were pursued " In 1971, even the conservative US president Richard Nixon would famously proclaim, "We are all Keynesians now." The triumph of Keynesianism seemed complete.

Yet shortly after Nixon uttered these words, it all fell apart. That same year, Nixon ended the era of dollar to gold convertibility, a move that many see as the beginning of the end for the great post-war compromise between capital and labour.

Three years later, in the face of the first oil embargo and other pressures, the economy nose-dived into the worst recession since the Great Depression, never to rebound to earlier levels. Worse still, the theoretical underpinnings of Keynesianism were called into question by the simultaneous appearance of high inflation and high unemployment – a new phenomenon dubbed "stagflation". While Keynesianism floundered for an explanation, new theories stepped into the breach; monetarism and supply-side economics were the two most popular. While these new theories had distinctive approaches, both shared the belief that big government – namely Keynesianism – was the problem, and that the solution to stagflation was to restrict government intervention in the economy to a strict inflation-fighting monetary policy (in the case of monetarism) or to cut taxes to stimulate private investment (in the case of the supply-siders). This move away from government intervention and the welfare state, and towards more emphasis on an unfettered market, can been summed up by the term "neoliberalism". As the 1970s ran their course, neoliberalism gradually took over from Keynesianism as the reigning economic orthodoxy, to be consummated in the Anglo-Saxon world by the elections of Margaret Thatcher in the UK in 1979, Ronald Reagan in the US in 1980, and Brian Mulroney in Canada in 1984.

The story told by the victors of this ideological battle – the neoliberals – is that Keynesianism, despite its apparent success for 25 years, was in the end responsible for the constellation of economic crises that descended on the industrialized countries during the 1970s, and that neoliberalism was the remedy. The shift from Keynesianism to neoliberalism was, according to this story, the only rational option in the face of stagflation; as Thatcher crisply remarked at the time, "There is no alternative."

I will call into question this story, by first examining the causes of the 1970s economic malaise, and then looking at what interests were behind the promotion of neoliberalism as a solution, how it gained political power, and how it was disseminated around the world. I will fashion an alternate narrative, one in which Keynesianism was not to blame for stagflation, in which the economic crises of the 1970s put the compromise between capital and labour under severe strain and ultimately broke it, in which the capitalist class went on the offensive partly because it feared for its very survival, and in which this class achieved its ends by forming an alliance with social conservatives equally fearful in the face of the 1960s counter-cultural revolution. The protagonist of this story will be the United States; as the capitalist world's superpower, it was largely responsible for the crisis of the 1970s, it suffered the worst from it, and it led the way down the new path of neoliberalism.

THE FALL OF KEYNESIANISM

As one of the principle fathers of neoliberalism, the economist Milton Friedman's indictment of Keynesianism is of special relevance, for it is emblematic of the neoliberal attempt to – quite successfully – pin the blame for chronic recession squarely on Keynesian shoulders. Briefly, Friedman theorized that there was a so-called "natural" rate of unemployment, which persisted in the long-term despite governmental attempts to stimulate demand through spending. Running a budget deficit to pump money into the economy might bring down the unemployment rate in the short term, he thought, but in the long run it would only create inflation, while unemployment would inevitably return to its natural rate – now higher because of the inflation. He essentially argued that fiscal policy was useless – even damaging – and that if governments wanted to bring down the natural rate of unemployment, they should focus on keeping inflation low through monetary policy, while loosening restrictions on markets so that, for instance, wage levels could find their equilibrium point. This explanation for the stagflation encountered in the 1970s proved quite convincing to many searching for answers to the predicament, as well as enormously appealing to those who had always wished for a return to unfettered markets, and played a key role in justifying the switch from Keynesianism to neoliberalism, in its guise of monetarism.

How realistic is this account? Certainly, deficit financing played an important role in the soaring inflation of the 1970s, but was this solely the result of spending on social programs, such as under president Lyndon Johnson's Great Society initiative, or were there other causes for deficit spending? The Vietnam War, combined with Johnson's unwillingness to raise taxes in the face of rising war expenditures, caused the US Federal Reserve to print large amounts of new dollars. Military spending is often seen as the most inflationary form of government spending, because it puts new money into the economy without a corresponding increase in output. The US had some leeway to get away with this rapid increase in the money supply, since the dollar was the international reserve currency, but there was a limit to this, and the explosive inflation of the 1970s was the result.

It must be noted that the US proved a dismal failure in its short-lived role as manager of the world's monetary system. At Bretton Woods, it had been entrusted with the task of maintaining a sound monetary system, through the gold exchange standard, just as Britain had previously. Britain, being a trading nation, had had a strong interest in maintaining a sound international monetary system, and had been effective (some would say too effective) at maintaining it. The United States, on the other hand, traded much less, and consequentially took its responsibilities much less seriously. It is easy to speculate about the justification made by US officials as they printed irresponsible amounts money to pay for their war in Vietnam: they surely saw themselves as defending the free world against the tyranny of communism, a cause for which a little monetary instability, shouldered by the "free world" in general, was a small price to pay.

The first cracks in the system started to show during the series of currency crises that struck in the late 1960s. By the end of the decade, the dollars held outside the US were worth eight times as much as the US had in gold reserves. In 1971, rather than saving the system by devaluing the dollar, and fearing a run on US gold, Nixon ended the gold exchange standard. The US had abused its power of seigniorage (as monarchs before had), but wouldn't escape without paying a price.

The result was more inflation, as the dollar, now cut loose from the Bretton Woods standard of $35 per ounce of gold, shed its inflated value. The lower dollar also raised the cost of imports to the US consumer, further fueling domestic inflation. (The end of dollar convertibility also brought with it more far-reaching consequences. The fixed exchange rates of the 1950s and 60s were incompatible with free flows of capital. Yet taking the dollar off gold led directly to floating exchange rates, which in turn paved the way for freer flows of capital between countries. This development would later aid greatly in the furtherance of the neoliberal agenda.)

As if these developments were not inflationary enough, the Yom Kippur War of October 1973 led OPEC to restrict oil exports to Israel's allies, quadrupling oil prices virtually overnight. Yet this was inflation of a different nature than the kind that had been building up in the 1960s; rather than being linked to excess demand and an overheated economy, it was driven by increases in costs on the supply side and brought with it recessionary pressures. An increase in the price of oil, being fundamental to so much of the economy, is "similar to the imposition of a substantial sales tax. The price of the product goes up and consumers have less income available to spend on other goods and services. The result is a bout of inflation, at least temporarily, and sluggish economic expansion if not recession." This goes a long way towards explaining the supposedly impossible coincidence of high inflation with high unemployment.

Yet there were other factors that also contributed to the so-called "misery index" (inflation rate plus unemployment rate). The most basic of these was that governments tried repeatedly to beat inflation by attacking perceived excess demand through restrictive monetary and fiscal policies; when Nixon tried this strategy in 1970, it resulted in recession. His successor, Gerald Ford, tried the same approach in 1974 – despite the fact that inflation at that point was not being driven by excess demand, but by high costs on the supple side (namely oil). Thus, poor governmental reaction to inflation caused recession and rising unemployment, while failing to master inflation.

Another factor contributing to the slow-down of growth in the US economy was the end of the privileged position it enjoyed as the only power to emerge from the Second World War relatively unscathed. As Germany and Japan laboured to reconstruct their war-ravaged economies, the US faced little competition. Yet by the end of the 1960s, the old Axis powers, now recast as capitalist democracies but still economic powerhouses, were flexing their economic muscles again. This, combined with increasing competition from newly industrialized countries in East Asia and from other developing countries, cut into the robust economic growth the US had enjoyed for two decades previously.

To sum up, inflation caused by first the Vietnam War and later the oil embargo (itself the result of war in the Mideast), coupled with increasing competition to US business internationally, along with the shock of the collapse of the Bretton Woods framework, were the major factors that combined to create the "perfect storm" known as stagflation:

the stage was set for the deepest recession since the 1930s. The long period of post-war expansion had at last come to an end; America and world capitalism entered a new phase of turbulence which, amongst other things, threw economic policy and economics as a theory into a state of flux.

AND THE RISE OF NEOLIBERALISM

In the previous section, I outlined the confluence of factors that led to the crisis of stagflation in the 1970s. In the following section, I will describe the reaction to this crisis – the how and why of neoliberalism's triumph as the new economic orthodoxy.

Different authors ascribe to different points in time when the balance decisively shifted from Keynesianism to neoliberalism – some place the tipping point as early as the latter half of the 1960s, others as late as the ascendancy of Thatcher and Reagan – but the midway year 1974 seems as good as any. It was in this year that Gerald Ford came to the White House with the slogan, "Whip Inflation Now" (WIN), declaring that inflation was public enemy number one and that reduction in government spending was the chief means to that end. It was also in this year that inflation peaked (at 11% – although it would later be surpassed by a second peak of 13.5% in 1980), and that the "perfect storm" that had been building for years, catalyzed by the energy crisis, finally unleashed its full fury on the economy. In declaring war on inflation, Ford broke with the Keynesian bias of giving precedence to full employment; whereas before inflation had been a tool to control unemployment, now unemployment was to be used as a tool to control inflation:

The choice seemed to be stark: accept some inflation as the price of expansion and adapt business and accounting practices accordingly, or pursue a firm deflationary policy even if that meant accepting a higher level of unemployment than had been customary since the Second World War.

In choosing the latter, Ford shattered the fragile compromise between labour and capital and, favouring capital, took America on its first real steps towards neoliberalism.

Yet, as the crisis had gathered steam in the early 1970s, it was by no means clear which way the winds would blow. It was well remembered that the last major economic crisis, in the 1930s, had resulted in the socialist policies of the New Deal, and indeed in the 1970s labour again called for more governmental intervention as the solution to the crisis. Capital, meanwhile, as it suffered from reduced profits due to increased competition abroad and recession at home, also saw the crisis as both an opportunity to advance its interests and as a threat to its interests from an increasingly militant labour. "The upper classes had to move decisively if they were to protect themselves from political and economic annihilation." The ceasefire between labour and capital had held when times were good, but as soon as conditions started to sour, both sides went on the offensive. It was to be one or the other.

Sensing both the opportunity and the threat presented by the crisis, the capitalist class put aside its differences and united against the common enemy of labour. The 1970s marked the beginning of the right-wing think tank, with corporate dollars founding such now well-known beacons of neoliberal thought as the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute. Lobbying efforts, though such umbrella organizations as the American Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable (a group of CEOs founded in 1972), were massively ramped up; business schools at Stanford and Harvard, established through corporation benefaction, " became centres of neoliberal orthodoxy from the very moment they opened" ; and "the supposedly 'progressive' campaign finance laws of 1971 [that] in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics," were followed by a series of Supreme Court decisions that established the right of corporations to make unlimited donations to political parties. "During the 1970s, the political wing of the nation's corporate sector staged one of the most remarkable campaigns in the pursuit of power in recent history."

The ideology adopted by capital during this remarkable drive to win the minds of the political leadership " had long been lurking in the wings of public policy." It emanated largely from the writings of the Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek, around whom a collection of admirers (including Milton Friedman) called the Mont Pelerin Society had formed in 1947. This group's ideas became known as neoliberalism because of its adherence to such neoclassical economists of the latter half of the 19th Century as Alfred Marshall, William Stanley Jevons, and Leon Walras. Hayek had argued presciently that it might take a generation before they could win the battle of ideas; by the time he won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1974, followed by Friedman two years later, victory was indeed close at hand.

Why did capital " [pluck] from the shadows of relative obscurity [this] particular doctrine that went under the name of 'neoliberalism' "? Was it to save the world from the ravages of Keynesian stagnation and to free people from the heavy hand of bloated government? This was certainly part of the rhetoric used to sell neoliberalism to the public, but one need only look at who benefited from neoliberalism to get a strong sense of whose interests it really served. It was eventually quite successful in lowering inflation rates, and moderately successful in lowering unemployment, but failed to revive economic growth to pre-1970s levels; meanwhile, it resulted in levels of wealth inequality not seen since the 1920s in the US, stagnating real wages, and a decreased quality of life for those reliant on government services. Alan Budd, Thatcher's economic advisor, was candid about the real motives behind the neoliberal rhetoric when he said, "The 1980s policies of attacking inflation by squeezing the economy and public spending were a cover to bash the workers." Neoliberalism was capital's way of disciplining labour through unemployment, creating what Marx called an "industrial reserve army" that would break unions and drag wages down. Reagan facing down the air traffic controller's union, PATCO, during a bitter strike in 1981, paralleled across the Atlantic by Thatcher's similarly tough stance with the National Union of Mineworkers' year-long strike in 1984-85, was emblematic of the new hostile approach to labour reintroduced to state policy by neoliberalism. In short, neoliberalism was driven by class interests; it was the vehicle best suited " to restor[ing] the power of economic elites." The true point of neoliberalism is revealed by the fact that whenever the dictates of neoliberal theory conflicted with the interests of the capitalist class, such as when it came to running massive budgetary deficits to pay for military spending during peacetime, neoliberalism was discarded in favour of the interests of capital.

Before neoliberalism came to roost in the White House, however, there were several experiments conducted in the periphery. It is revealing to note that the first nationwide imposition of neoliberalism occurred under conditions of tyranny: Augusto Pinochet's Chile; it is likewise fitting that neoliberalism drove from Chile its antithesis, the communism of Salvador Allende, and that it was imposed through a US-backed coup. After the coup in 1973, Chile became a field school for graduates from the economics department of the University of Chicago, where disciples of Milton Friedman, who taught there, had formed their own monetarist/neoliberal school of thought. These economists attempted to remake the Chilean economy into the ideal neoliberal state (in the same way that US neoliberals are currently attempting in Iraq), a transformation that likely would not have been possible without the Chilean military ensuring a compliant labour. Despite lackluster economic results (particularly after the 1982 debt crisis in Latin America), Chile served as a model to neoliberals who wanted the rich countries to follow the same path.

There was another coup, of sorts – less known and less violent – that occurred in New York City in 1975. In that year, the city went bankrupt, and the subsequent bailout came with strict conditions attached, including budgetary rules and other institutional restructuring. "This amounted to a coup by the financial institutions against the democratically elected government of New York City, and it was every bit as effective as the military coup that had occurred in Chile." It was "an early, perhaps decisive battle in a new war," the purpose of which was "to show others that what is happening to New York could and in some cases would happen to them." "The management of the New York fiscal crisis pioneered the way for neoliberal practices both domestically under Reagan and internationally through the IMF in the 1980s."

While coups, either military or financial, were possible against developing countries and municipalities, neoliberalism would have to gain dominance in the US federal government through slightly more democratic means. As noted earlier, the intense drive to power through lobbying, think tanks, and academia convinced many in the elite of the virtues of neoliberalism, but ultimately this ideology would have to sway masses of people to actually vote in favour of it. In order to secure the broad base of support necessary to win elections, neoliberals formed an alliance in the 1970s with the religious right (a move that has forever since confused the terms "liberal" and "conservative"). While this significant segment of the American population had previously been largely apolitical, the counter-cultural revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s provoked many of these "neoconservatives" to enter the political arena to oppose the perceived moral corruption of American society – a movement that came to fruition with preacher Jerry Fallwell's so-called "moral majority" in 1978. While neoliberals and neoconservatives may seem like strange bedfellows, the coalition was likely facilitated by religious fundamentalists' relative indifference towards the material, economic world; according to their extremist Christian worldview, their material interests in this world would be well worth sacrificing to secure the spiritual interests of their nation in the next world. Furthermore, both religious and economic fundamentalists must have found a comforting familiarity in each other's simplistic extremism (the "invisible hand" of the neoliberals' free market is eerily similar to the Christians' God in its omnipotence, omnipresence, and inscrutability).

The Republican Party gathered under its banner these religious reactionaries, as well as those non-religious (largely white, heterosexual, male, and working-class) who simply feared the growing liberation of blacks, gays, and women, and who felt threatened by affirmative action, the emerging welfare state, and the Soviet Union. "Not for the first time, nor, it is to be feared, for the last time in history had a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests for cultural, nationalist, and religious reasons." It was this alliance of social fear and economic opportunism that swept arch-neoliberal Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980 – " a turning point in post-war American economic and social history." After a decade-long campaign, the neoliberals had come to Washington.

Of course, the crusade to reshape society along neoliberal ideals was far from won; Reagan faced a Democratic Congress, and was often forced to govern more pragmatically than ideologically when his supply-side policies failed. As Margaret Thatcher said, "Economics are the method, but the object is to change the soul," and it takes time to change people's souls.

There was also still a whole world to convert to the gospel of market liberalization. The crisis of stagflation that had opened the door to neoliberal ideas in the US had also created financial incentives for the dissemination of neoliberalism to other countries. With the impact of the first oil crisis flooding New York investment banks with petrodollars, and a depressed economy at home offering fewer places to spend them, the banks poured the money into developing countries. This created pressure on the US government to pry open new markets for investment, as well as to protect the growing investments overseas – helping to bring US-bred neoliberalism to foreign shores.

Yet these pressures were only a taste of what was to come; after the Iranian revolution in 1979 caused oil prices to suddenly double, inflation in the US returned with a vengeance. This in turn led the US Federal Reserve, under its new neoliberal-minded chairman Paul Volcker, to drastically raise interest rates. This "Volcker shock", resulting in nominal interest rates close to 20% by 1981, coming on the heels of the profligate lending of petrodollars during the 1970s, played a major part in the debt crisis that descended on the developing world during the 1980s. As countries defaulted on their debts, they were driven into the arms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which, after what economist Joseph Stiglitz described as a "purge" of Keynesians in 1982, became a center " for the propagation and enforcement of 'free market fundamentalism' and neoliberal orthodoxy." Mexico, after its debt default of 1982-84, became one of the first countries to submit to neoliberal reforms in exchange for debt rescheduling, thus " beginning the long era of structural adjustment."

Many of the IMF economists who designed these Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), as well as those who staffed the World Bank and the finance departments of many developing countries, were trained at the top US research universities, which by 1990 were dominated by neoliberal ideas – providing yet another avenue by which neoliberalism spread from the US to other parts of the world. By the mid-1990s, the process of neoliberal market liberalization (under the supervision of the World Trade Organization (WTO)) came to be known as the "Washington Consensus", in recognition of the origins of this ideological revolution.

THE REVOLUTION CONTINUES

Some authors have called neoliberalism the antithesis to Keynesianism , yet its real opposite is communism; Keynesianism represented a compromise between the two – a middle way. Yet this fragile balance did not survive the economic crucible of the 1970s. Neoliberalism's strategic political alliance with neoconservatism can be seen as a natural reaction to the rapid changes that had unfolded during the 1950s and 60s in both the US economy (with the growth of the welfare state) and society (with the rise of the counter-cultural revolution); at the same time, it can also be seen as an opportunist power grab by the capitalist class during a period of uncertainty about the foundations of the old order. The fear of communism – captured succinctly in the title of Hayek's famous work, The Road to Serfdom – drove neoliberals to the opposite extreme: the belief in the superiority of the unfettered marketplace as the guiding principle to human civilization. Neoliberalism, therefore, represents an extremist ideology that, if carried through to its end, will likely end up being as destructive to the societies it touches as extremist socialism was to the former Soviet bloc.

Although the neoliberal revolution is still winning many political battles, such as the growing attack on Medicare in Canada or on Social Security in the United States, evidence of an emerging counter-movement (such as the poorly named "anti-globalization movement" – anti-neoliberalization would be more apt) is growing. As Karl Polanyi described in his classic, The Great Transformation, the industrialization and economic liberalization of the 19th Century resulted in a reaction from society for more governmental intervention to protect people and communities from the destructive effects of unfettered markets. It is highly likely that we are now witnessing the first stages of a similar reaction to the latest round of rapid technological change and market liberalization. Hopefully, this reaction will lead to a society that better balances capitalism's creative destruction with the needs of humans and their communities for continuity and security.

Copyright Sean Butler 2006

Written for an Intro to Political Economy class at Carleton University in 2006

[Dec 11, 2017] Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy

Should probably be "neoliberal religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a "battler" against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue. ..."
"... Michael Hudso says Jesus' first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee Boy is that ever ignored! ..."
"... Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not. ..."
"... What is or are the ideal(s) of "America?" Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? "Democracy?" If you trot that out as a "feature", you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for "syria combat" or "redneck" or "full auto," or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff - a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don't we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium? ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Adam Eran, April 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a "battler" against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue.

Positions on the wedge issues (abortion, the gays) are actually difficult to prove with scripture–not that it has the kind of authority it did before 35,000 variations on old manuscripts were discovered in the 17th century. (Marcus Borg is the scholar to consult here).

Meanwhile, the big issues - e.g. covetousness, forbidden very explicitly in one of the 10 commandments - is an *industry* in the U.S.

I'll believe these evangelicals are guided by the bible when I see them picketing Madison Avenue for promoting covetousness, or when I see them lobbying for a debt jubilee.

Michael Hudso says Jesus' first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee Boy is that ever ignored!

Jagger , April 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not.

hunkerdown , April 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Ideals only serve in practice to create primordial debts, buttress power differentials, and enable selective malfeasance. I fail to see the social utility of any of those products and believe humanity would be better off repudiating them and their vectors. Disease is not a public good.

Jagger , April 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Well I am using this definition of ideal: "a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation". I guess you are welcome to your definition.

JTMcPhee , April 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I think "America" is maybe a shibboleth of some sort, but there is not a dam' thing left of the stuff I was taught and brought to believe, as a young person, Boy Scout, attendee at the Presbyterian Westminster Fellowship, attentive student of Mrs. Thompson and Mr. Fleming in Civics, Social Studies and US History classes, and all that. I was well enough steeped in that stuff to let "patriotism" overcome better sense, strongly enough to enlist in the Army in 1966.

Maybe you think "The Birth of a Nation" captures the essence of our great country?

What is or are the ideal(s) of "America?" Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? "Democracy?" If you trot that out as a "feature", you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for "syria combat" or "redneck" or "full auto," or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff - a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don't we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium?

[Dec 10, 2017] Neoliberlaism is barbarism

Dec 10, 2017 | www.defenddemocracy.press

"It's barbarism. I see it coming masqueraded under lawless alliances and predetermined enslavements. It may not be about Hitler's furnaces, but about the methodical and quasi-scientific subjugation of Man. His absolute humiliation. His disgrace"

Odysseas Elytis, Greek poet, in a press conference on the occasion of receiving the Nobel Prize (1979)

[Nov 30, 2017] The Dog that Didn't Bark, by Israel Shamir - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... Not only the media is supportive of the extortion scheme. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC: "I think that the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] is doing a great job at transforming the country." President Trump blessed MBS along similar lines. Not a word of condemnation came out of President Putin, either. Even Al Jazeera, though reporting the extortion in a matter-of-fact way, didn't make too much out of it. ..."
"... But the blanket of silence covering the Extortion Racket beats all. Usually, the global media mainstream system propagates and amplifies the news in a game of rebounding agencies that indirectly end up also to maximize headline sales, wrote the Italian journalist Claudio Resta. But in this case, the important and spectacular news made no headlines. In our Society of the Spectacle , failing to exploit the "spectacular" is a waste of the most valuable resource for the media. ..."
"... The Dog that Didn't Bark ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Hundreds of other princes and gentlemen were tortured, too, until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten assets, 70% of all they have. As I write, and as you read these lines, the torture goes on, and so far MBS has already milked his victims of hundreds of billions $$ worth of cash and assets.

"An Extortion racket", you'll exclaim. Perhaps MBS watched The Godfather in his impressionable youth and was impressed by efficiency of their methods. However, he has solved, or rather is in the process of solving, the problem of solvency.

Perhaps this is the method to be advised to Trump and Putin, as well as to other leaders? If the neoliberal dogma forbids taxing, if the offshore are sacred, what remains for a diligent leader but a plush five-star hotel and a band of experienced torturers?

But surely, the torturer will be condemned and ostracised by human rights' defenders! Not at all. Not a single voice, neither from liberal left nor from authoritarian right objected to this amazing deed of mass torture and extortion. While the co-owner of Twitter has been subjected to daily beatings, the prime voice of liberal conscience, Tom Friedman of the New York Times, eulogised MBS as the bearer of progress. In an article as panegyric as they come, titled Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, at Last and subtitled "The crown prince has big plans for his society".

Tom Friedman does not use the word "extortion", saying that [MBS's] "government arrested scores of Saudi princes and businessmen on charges of corruption and threw them into a makeshift gilded jail -- the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton -- until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten gains." No condemnation at all! Can you imagine what he would say if Putin were to arrest his oligarchs "until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten gains"?

I believe one line in Friedman's eulogy, saying that the Saudis are content with the extortion act: "the mood among Saudis I spoke with was: "Just turn them all upside down, shake the money out of their pockets and don't stop shaking them until it's all out!" Moreover, I am sure the Americans would applaud if their billionaires were to get the MBS treatment. The Russians were mighty pleased when Putin locked up the oligarch Khodorkovsky, and complained that he was the only one to be jailed. They would love to see the whole lot of oligarchs who plundered Russia through manifestly fraudulent, staged auctions under American advisers in Yeltsin's days, to be shaken "until it's all out".

Not only the media is supportive of the extortion scheme. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC: "I think that the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] is doing a great job at transforming the country." President Trump blessed MBS along similar lines. Not a word of condemnation came out of President Putin, either. Even Al Jazeera, though reporting the extortion in a matter-of-fact way, didn't make too much out of it.

There is a veritable conspiracy around the MBS actions, a conspiracy embracing the media and governments. He kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister, placed him under arrest, took away his telephone and watch, forced him to read on TV a resignation letter composed by MBS people, – and the response of the world has been subdued. He bombed Yemen, causing hundreds of thousands to die of cholera and famine, and the world does not give a damn. Do you remember the response when the Russians bombed Aleppo? None of this indignation accompanies MBS's war on Yemen.

But the blanket of silence covering the Extortion Racket beats all. Usually, the global media mainstream system propagates and amplifies the news in a game of rebounding agencies that indirectly end up also to maximize headline sales, wrote the Italian journalist Claudio Resta. But in this case, the important and spectacular news made no headlines. In our Society of the Spectacle , failing to exploit the "spectacular" is a waste of the most valuable resource for the media.

The potential for a great spectacle is all here. The arrest of dignitaries and princes of blood, including the famous Al-Walid bin al-Talal, well-known investor and Bakr bin Laden, brother of the most notorious Osama would normally feed the media for days. Add to it the marvelous setting of the glorious hotel on the verge of the desert. Make it even more dramatic by open rocket fire on the escaping helicopter of Prince Mansour bin Muqrin , killing him and the other dignitaries who tried to flee.

Such a story, so brilliant and spectacular, with the colour and costume of a Middle Eastern monarchy, could sell newspapers for a week at least. But it was followed by deafening silence.

The same media that overwhelms us with the flood of details and opinions in a case of human rights violations in Russia or China in this case shows off an Olympic indifference to the fate of the princes and billionaires, unjustly and arbitrarily arrested and tortured in a country of no constitution or Habeas Corpus. The United Nations joins in the conspiracy of silence.

This is probably the most unusual aspect of the story, reminiscent of The Dog that Didn't Bark by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In that Sherlock Holmes story, a dog did not bark during the night when a race horse was removed from a stable, and that indicated that the thief was the dog's master.

In the case of MBS, the media dog keeps silent. It means that its mighty mega-owner, whom I called The Masters of Discourse, allowed and authorised the racket. We witness a unique media event, bordering with revelation. How could it be that a prince of a third-league state would be allowed the licence to kidnap prime-ministers, kill princes by ground-to-air missiles, keep and torture great businessmen and dignitaries with impunity and the media would keep mum?

Is it fear of the robber barons that the example of MBS extorting billions from his super-rich will be picked up and acted upon in their own lands? Perhaps.

... ... ...

[Nov 30, 2017] The Dog that Didn't Bark, by Israel Shamir - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... Not only the media is supportive of the extortion scheme. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC: "I think that the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] is doing a great job at transforming the country." President Trump blessed MBS along similar lines. Not a word of condemnation came out of President Putin, either. Even Al Jazeera, though reporting the extortion in a matter-of-fact way, didn't make too much out of it. ..."
"... But the blanket of silence covering the Extortion Racket beats all. Usually, the global media mainstream system propagates and amplifies the news in a game of rebounding agencies that indirectly end up also to maximize headline sales, wrote the Italian journalist Claudio Resta. But in this case, the important and spectacular news made no headlines. In our Society of the Spectacle , failing to exploit the "spectacular" is a waste of the most valuable resource for the media. ..."
"... The Dog that Didn't Bark ..."
Nov 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Hundreds of other princes and gentlemen were tortured, too, until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten assets, 70% of all they have. As I write, and as you read these lines, the torture goes on, and so far MBS has already milked his victims of hundreds of billions $$ worth of cash and assets.

"An Extortion racket", you'll exclaim. Perhaps MBS watched The Godfather in his impressionable youth and was impressed by efficiency of their methods. However, he has solved, or rather is in the process of solving, the problem of solvency.

Perhaps this is the method to be advised to Trump and Putin, as well as to other leaders? If the neoliberal dogma forbids taxing, if the offshore are sacred, what remains for a diligent leader but a plush five-star hotel and a band of experienced torturers?

But surely, the torturer will be condemned and ostracised by human rights' defenders! Not at all. Not a single voice, neither from liberal left nor from authoritarian right objected to this amazing deed of mass torture and extortion. While the co-owner of Twitter has been subjected to daily beatings, the prime voice of liberal conscience, Tom Friedman of the New York Times, eulogised MBS as the bearer of progress. In an article as panegyric as they come, titled Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, at Last and subtitled "The crown prince has big plans for his society".

Tom Friedman does not use the word "extortion", saying that [MBS's] "government arrested scores of Saudi princes and businessmen on charges of corruption and threw them into a makeshift gilded jail -- the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton -- until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten gains." No condemnation at all! Can you imagine what he would say if Putin were to arrest his oligarchs "until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten gains"?

I believe one line in Friedman's eulogy, saying that the Saudis are content with the extortion act: "the mood among Saudis I spoke with was: "Just turn them all upside down, shake the money out of their pockets and don't stop shaking them until it's all out!" Moreover, I am sure the Americans would applaud if their billionaires were to get the MBS treatment. The Russians were mighty pleased when Putin locked up the oligarch Khodorkovsky, and complained that he was the only one to be jailed. They would love to see the whole lot of oligarchs who plundered Russia through manifestly fraudulent, staged auctions under American advisers in Yeltsin's days, to be shaken "until it's all out".

Not only the media is supportive of the extortion scheme. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC: "I think that the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] is doing a great job at transforming the country." President Trump blessed MBS along similar lines. Not a word of condemnation came out of President Putin, either. Even Al Jazeera, though reporting the extortion in a matter-of-fact way, didn't make too much out of it.

There is a veritable conspiracy around the MBS actions, a conspiracy embracing the media and governments. He kidnapped the Lebanese Prime Minister, placed him under arrest, took away his telephone and watch, forced him to read on TV a resignation letter composed by MBS people, – and the response of the world has been subdued. He bombed Yemen, causing hundreds of thousands to die of cholera and famine, and the world does not give a damn. Do you remember the response when the Russians bombed Aleppo? None of this indignation accompanies MBS's war on Yemen.

But the blanket of silence covering the Extortion Racket beats all. Usually, the global media mainstream system propagates and amplifies the news in a game of rebounding agencies that indirectly end up also to maximize headline sales, wrote the Italian journalist Claudio Resta. But in this case, the important and spectacular news made no headlines. In our Society of the Spectacle , failing to exploit the "spectacular" is a waste of the most valuable resource for the media.

The potential for a great spectacle is all here. The arrest of dignitaries and princes of blood, including the famous Al-Walid bin al-Talal, well-known investor and Bakr bin Laden, brother of the most notorious Osama would normally feed the media for days. Add to it the marvelous setting of the glorious hotel on the verge of the desert. Make it even more dramatic by open rocket fire on the escaping helicopter of Prince Mansour bin Muqrin , killing him and the other dignitaries who tried to flee.

Such a story, so brilliant and spectacular, with the colour and costume of a Middle Eastern monarchy, could sell newspapers for a week at least. But it was followed by deafening silence.

The same media that overwhelms us with the flood of details and opinions in a case of human rights violations in Russia or China in this case shows off an Olympic indifference to the fate of the princes and billionaires, unjustly and arbitrarily arrested and tortured in a country of no constitution or Habeas Corpus. The United Nations joins in the conspiracy of silence.

This is probably the most unusual aspect of the story, reminiscent of The Dog that Didn't Bark by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In that Sherlock Holmes story, a dog did not bark during the night when a race horse was removed from a stable, and that indicated that the thief was the dog's master.

In the case of MBS, the media dog keeps silent. It means that its mighty mega-owner, whom I called The Masters of Discourse, allowed and authorised the racket. We witness a unique media event, bordering with revelation. How could it be that a prince of a third-league state would be allowed the licence to kidnap prime-ministers, kill princes by ground-to-air missiles, keep and torture great businessmen and dignitaries with impunity and the media would keep mum?

Is it fear of the robber barons that the example of MBS extorting billions from his super-rich will be picked up and acted upon in their own lands? Perhaps.

... ... ...

[Nov 28, 2017] The Stigmatization of the Unemployed

"This overly narrow hiring spec then leads to absurd, widespread complaint that companies can't find people with the right skills" . In the IT job markets such postings are often called purple squirrels
Notable quotes:
"... In particular, there seems to be an extremely popular variant of the above where the starting proposition "God makes moral people rich" is improperly converted to "Rich people are more moral" which is then readily negated to "Poor people are immoral" and then expanded to "Poor people are immoral, thus they DESERVE to suffer for it". It's essentially the theological equivalent of dividing by zero ..."
"... That said, the ranks of the neoliberals are not small. They constitute what Jonathan Schell calls a "mass minority." I suspect the neoliberals have about the same level of popular support that the Nazis did at the time of their takeover of Germany in 1932, or the Bolsheviks had in Russia at the time of their takeover in 1917, which is about 20 or 25% of the total population. ..."
"... The ranks of the neoliberals are made to appear far greater than they really are because they have all but exclusive access to the nation's megaphone. The Tea Party can muster a handful of people to disrupt a town hall meeting and it gets coast to coast, primetime coverage. But let a million people protest against bank bailouts, and it is ignored. Thus, by manipulation of the media, the mass minority is made to appear to be much larger than it really is. ..."
Mar 20, 2011 | naked capitalism

Spencer Thomas:

Very good post. Thank you.

Over the past three decades, large parts of our culture here in the US have internalized the lessons of the new Social Darwinism, with a significant body of literature to explain and justify it. Many of us have internalized, without even realizing it, the ideas of "dog eat dog", "every man for himself", "society should be structured like the animal kingdom, where the weak and sick simply die because they cannot compete, and this is healthy", and "everything that happens to you is your own fault. There is no such thing as circumstance that cannot be overcome, and certainly no birth lottery."

The levers pulled by politicians and the Fed put these things into practice, but even if we managed get different (better) politicians or Fed chairmen, ones who weren't steeped in this culture and ideology, we'd still be left with the culture in the population at large, and things like the "unemployed stigma" are likely to die very, very hard. Acceptance of the "just-world phenomenon" here in the US runs deep.

perfect stranger:

"Religion is just as vulnerable to corporate capture as is the government or the academy."

This is rather rhetorical statement, and wrong one. One need to discern spiritual aspect of religion from the religion as a tool.

Religion, as is structured, is complicit: in empoverishment, obedience, people's preconditioning, and legislative enabler in the institutions such as Supreme – and non-supreme – Court(s). It is a form of PR of the ruling class for the governing class.

DownSouth:

perfect stranger,

Religion, just like human nature, is not that easy to put in a box.

For every example you can cite where religion "is complicit: in empoverishment, obedience, people's preconditioning, and legislative enabler in the institution," I can point to an example of where religion engendered a liberating, emancipatory and revolutionary spirit.

Examples:

•Early Christianity •Nominalism •Early Protestantism •Gandhi •Martin Luther King

Now granted, there don't seem to be any recent examples of this of any note, unless we consider Chris Hedges a religionist, which I'm not sure we can do. Would it be appropriate to consider Hedges a religionist?

perfect stranger:

Yes, that maybe, just maybe be the case in early stages of forming new religion(s). In case of Christianity old rulers from Rome were trying to save own head/throne and the S.P.Q.R. imperia by adopting new religion.

You use examples of Gandhi and MLK which is highly questionable both were fighters for independence and the second, civil rights. In a word: not members of establishment just as I said there were (probably) seeing the religion as spiritual force not tool of enslavement.

Matt:

This link may provide some context:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

In particular, there seems to be an extremely popular variant of the above where the starting proposition "God makes moral people rich" is improperly converted to "Rich people are more moral" which is then readily negated to "Poor people are immoral" and then expanded to "Poor people are immoral, thus they DESERVE to suffer for it". It's essentially the theological equivalent of dividing by zero

DownSouth:

Rex,

I agree.

Poll after poll after poll has shown that a majority of Americans, and a rather significant majority, reject the values, attitudes, beliefs and opinions proselytized by the stealth religion we call "neoclassical economics."

That said, the ranks of the neoliberals are not small. They constitute what Jonathan Schell calls a "mass minority." I suspect the neoliberals have about the same level of popular support that the Nazis did at the time of their takeover of Germany in 1932, or the Bolsheviks had in Russia at the time of their takeover in 1917, which is about 20 or 25% of the total population.

The ranks of the neoliberals are made to appear far greater than they really are because they have all but exclusive access to the nation's megaphone. The Tea Party can muster a handful of people to disrupt a town hall meeting and it gets coast to coast, primetime coverage. But let a million people protest against bank bailouts, and it is ignored. Thus, by manipulation of the media, the mass minority is made to appear to be much larger than it really is.

The politicians love this, because as they carry water for their pet corporations, they can point to the Tea Partiers and say: "See what a huge upwelling of popular support I am responding to."

JTFaraday:

Well, if that's true, then the unemployed are employable but the mass mediated mentality would like them to believe they are literally and inherently unemployable so that they underestimate and under-sell themselves.

This is as much to the benefit of those who would like to pick up "damaged goods" on the cheap as those who promote the unemployment problem as one that inheres in prospective employees rather than one that is a byproduct of a bad job market lest someone be tempted to think we should address it politically.

That's where I see this blame the unemployed finger pointing really getting traction these days.

attempter:

I apologize for the fact that I only read the first few paragraphs of this before quitting in disgust.

I just can no longer abide the notion that "labor" can ever be seen by human beings as a "cost" at all. We really need to refuse to even tolerate that way of phrasing things. Workers create all wealth. Parasites have no right to exist. These are facts, and we should refuse to let argument range beyond them.

The only purpose of civilization is to provide a better way of living and for all people. This includes the right and full opportunity to work and manage for oneself and/or as a cooperative group. If civilization doesn't do that, we're better off without it.

psychohistorian:

I am one of those long term unemployed.

I suppose my biggest employment claim would be as some sort of IT techie, with numerous supply chain systems and component design, development, implementation, interfaces with other systems and ongoing support. CCNP certification and a history of techiedom going back to WEYCOS.

I have a patent (6,209,954) in my name and 12+ years of beating my head against the wall in an industry that buys compliance with the "there is no problem here, move on now" approach.

Hell, I was a junior woodchuck program administrator back in the early 70's working for the Office of the Governor of the state of Washington on CETA PSE or Public Service Employment. The office of the Governor ran the PSE program for 32 of the 39 counties in the state that were not big enough to run their own. I helped organize the project approval process in all those counties to hire folk at ( if memory serves me max of $833/mo.) to fix and expand parks and provide social and other government services as defined projects with end dates. If we didn't have the anti-public congress and other government leadership we have this could be a current component in a rational labor policy but I digress.

I have experience in the construction trades mostly as carpenter but some electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc. also.

So, of course there is some sort of character flaw that is keeping me and all those others from employment ..right. I may have more of an excuse than others, have paid into SS for 45 years but still would work if it was available ..taking work away from other who may need it more .why set up a society where we have to compete as such for mere existence???????

One more face to this rant. We need government by the people and for the people which we do not have now. Good, public focused, not corporate focused government is bigger than any entities that exist under its jurisdiction and is kept updated by required public participation in elections and potentially other things like military, peace corps, etc. in exchange for advanced education. I say this as someone who has worked at various levels in both the public and private sectors there are ignorant and misguided folks everywhere. At least with ongoing active participation there is a chance that government would, once constructed, be able to evolve as needed within public focus .IMO.

Ishmael:

Some people would say I have been unemployed for 10 years. In 2000 after losing the last of my four CFO gigs for public companies I found it necessary to start consulting. This has lead to two of my three biggest winning years. I am usually consulting on cutting edge area of my profession and many times have large staffs reporting to me that I bring on board to get jobs done. For several years I subcontacted to a large international consulting firm to clean up projects which went wrong. Let me give some insight here.

  1. First, most good positions have gate keepers who are professional recruiters. It is near impossible to get by them and if you are unemployed they will hardly talk to you. One time talking to a recruiter at Korn Fery I was interviewing for a job I have done several times in an industry I have worked in several times. She made a statement that I had never worked at a well known company. I just about fell out of my chair laughing. At one time I was a senior level executive for the largest consulting firm in the world and lived on three continents and worked with companies on six. In addition, I had held senior positions for 2 fortune 500 firms and was the CFO for a company with $4.5 billion in revenue. I am well known at several PE firms and the founder of one of the largest mentioned in a meeting that one of his great mistakes was not investing in a very successful LBO (return of in excess of 20 multiple to investors in 18 months) I was the CFO for. In a word most recruiters are incompetent.
  2. Second, most CEO's any more are just insecure politicians. One time during an interview I had a CEO asked me to talk about some accomplishments. I was not paying to much attention as I rattled off accomplishments and the CEO went nuclear and started yelling at me that he did not know where I thought I was going with this job but the only position above the CFO job was his and he was not going anywhere. I assured him I was only interested in the CFO position and not his, but I knew the job was over. Twice feed back that I got from recruiters which they took at criticism was the "client said I seemed very assured of myself."
  3. Third, government, banking, business and the top MBA schools are based upon lying to move forward. I remember a top human resource executive telling me right before Enron, MCI and Sarbanes Oxley that I needed to learn to be more flexible. My response was that flexibility would get me an orange jump suit. Don't get me wrong, I have a wide grey zone, but it use to be in business the looked for people who could identify problems early and resolve them. Now days I see far more of a demand for people who can come up with PR spins to hide them. An attorney/treasurer consultant who partnered with me on a number of consulting jobs told me some one called me "not very charming." He said he asked what that meant, and the person who said that said, "Ish walks into a meeting and within 10 minutes he is asking about the 10,000 pound guerilla sitting in the room that no one wants to talk about." CEO do not want any challenges in their organization.
  4. Fourth, three above has lead to the hiring of very young and inexperienced people at senior levels. These people are insecure and do not want more senior and experienced people above them and than has resulted in people older than 45 not finding positions.
  5. Fifth, people are considered expendable and are fired for the lamest reasons anymore. A partner at one of the larger and more prestigious recruiting firms one time told me, "If you have a good consulting business, just stick with it. Our average placement does not last 18 months any more." Another well known recruiter in S. Cal. one time commented to me, "Your average consulting gig runs longer than our average placement."

With all of that said, I have a hard time understanding such statements as "@attempter "Workers create all wealth. Parasites have no right to exist." What does that mean? Every worker creates wealth. There is no difference in people. Sounds like communism to me. I make a good living and my net worth has grown working for myself. I have never had a consulting gig terminated by the client but I have terminated several. Usually, I am brought in to fix what several other people have failed at. I deliver basically intellectual properties to companies. Does that mean I am not a worker. I do not usually lift anything heavy or move equipment but I tell people what and where to do it so does that make me a parasite.

Those people who think everyone is equal and everyone deserves equal pay are fools or lazy. My rate is high, but what usually starts as short term projects usually run 6 months or more because companies find I can do so much more than what most of their staff can do and I am not a threat.

I would again like to have a senior challenging role at a decent size company but due to the reasons above will probably never get one. However, you can never tell. I am currently consulting for a midsize very profitable company (grew 400% last year) where I am twice the age of most people there, but everyone speaks to me with respect so you can never tell.

Lidia:

Ishmael, you're quite right. When I showed my Italian husband's resume to try and "network" in the US, my IT friends assumed he was lying about his skills and work history.

Contemporaneously, in Italy it is impossible to get a job because of incentives to hire "youth". Age discrimination is not illegal, so it's quite common to see ads that ask for a programmer under 30 with 5 years of experience in COBOL (the purple squirrel).

Hosswire

Some good points about the foolishness of recruiters, but a great deal of that foolishness is forced by the clients themselves. I used to be a recruiter myself, including at Korn Ferry in Southern California. I described the recruiting industry as "yet more proof that God hates poor people" because my job was to ignore resumes from people seeking jobs and instead "source" aka "poach" people who already had good jobs by dangling a higher salary in front of them. I didn't do it because I disparaged the unemployed, or because I could not do the basic analysis to show that a candidate had analogous or transferrable skills to the opening.

I did it because the client, as Yves said, wanted people who were literally in the same job description already. My theory is that the client wanted to have their ass covered in case the hire didn't work out, by being able to say that they looked perfect "on paper." The lesson I learned for myself and my friends looking for jobs was simple, if morally dubious. Basically, that if prospective employers are going to judge you based on a single piece of paper take full advantage of the fact that you get to write that piece of paper yourself.

Ishmael:

Hosswire - I agree with your comment. There are poor recruiters like the one I sited but in general it is the clients fault. Fear of failure. All hires have at least a 50% chance of going sideways on you. Most companies do not even have the ability to look at a resume nor to interview. I did not mean to same nasty things about recruiters, and I even do it sometimes but mine.

I look at failure in a different light than most companies. You need to be continually experimenting and changing to survive as a company and there will be some failures. The goal is to control the cost of failures while looking for the big pay off on a winner.

Mannwich:

As a former recruiter and HR "professional" (I use that term very loosely for obvious reasons), I can honestly say that you nailed it. Most big companies looking for mid to high level white collar "talent" will almost always take the perceived safest route by hiring those who look the best ON PAPER and in a suit and lack any real interviewing skills to find the real stars. What's almost comical is that companies almost always want to see the most linear resume possible because they want to see "job stability" (e.g. a CYA document in case the person fails in that job) when in many cases nobody cares about the long range view of the company anyway. My question was why should the candidate or employee care about the long range view if the employer clearly doesn't?

Ishmael:

Manwhich another on point comment. Sometimes either interviewing for a job or consulting with a CEO it starts getting to the absurd. I see all the time the requirement for stability in a persons background. Hello, where have they been the last 15 years. In addition, the higher up you go the more likely you will be terminated sometime and that is especially true if you are hired from outside the orgnanization. Companies want loyalty from an employee but offer none in return.

The average tenure for a CFO anymore is something around 18 months. I have been a first party participant (more than once) where I went through an endless recruiting process for a company (lasting more than 6 months) they final hire some one and that person is with the company for 3 months and then resigns (of course we all know it is through mutual agreement).

Ishmael:

Birch:

The real problem has become and maybe this is what you are referring to is the "Crony Capitalism." We have lost control of our financial situation. Basically, PE is not the gods of the universe that everyone thinks they are. However, every bankers secret wet dream is to become a private equity guy. Accordingly, bankers make ridiculous loans to PE because if you say no to them then you can not play in their sand box any more. Since the govt will not let the banks go bankrupt like they should then this charade continues inslaving everyone.

This country as well as many others has a large percentage of its assets tied up in over priced deals that the bankers/governments will not let collapse while the blood sucking vampires suck the life out of the assets.

On the other hand, govt is not the answer. Govt is too large and accomplishes too little.

kevin de bruxelles:

The harsh reality is that, at least in the first few rounds, companies kick to the curb their weakest links and perceived slackers. Therefore when it comes time to hire again, they are loath to go sloppy seconds on what they perceive to be some other company's rejects. They would much rather hire someone who survived the layoffs working in a similar position in a similar company. Of course the hiring company is going to have to pay for this privilege. Although not totally reliable, the fact that someone survived the layoffs provides a form social proof for their workplace abilities.

On the macro level, labor has been under attack for thirty years by off shoring and third world immigration. It is no surprise that since the working classes have been severely undermined that the middle classes would start to feel some pressure. By mass immigration and off-shoring are strongly supported by both parties. Only when the pain gets strong enough will enough people rebel and these two policies will be overturned. We still have a few years to go before this happens.

davver:

Let's say I run a factory. I produce cars and it requires very skilled work. Skilled welding, skilled machinists. Now I introduce some robotic welders and an assembly line system. The plants productivity improves and the jobs actually get easier. They require less skill, in fact I've simplified each task to something any idiot can do. Would wages go up or down? Are the workers really contributing to that increase in productivity or is it the machines and methods I created?

Lets say you think laying off or cutting the wages of my existing workers is wrong. What happens when a new entrant into the business employs a smaller workforce and lower wages, which they can do using the same technology? The new workers don't feel like they were cut down in any way, they are just happy to have a job. Before they couldn't get a job at the old plant because they lacked the skill, but now they can work in the new plant because the work is genuinely easier. Won't I go out of business?

Escariot:

I am 54 and have a ton of peers who are former white collar workers and professionals (project managers, architects, lighting designers, wholesalers and sales reps for industrial and construction materials and equipment) now out of work going on three years. Now I say out of work, I mean out of our trained and experienced fields.

We now work two or three gigs (waiting tables, mowing lawns, doing free lance, working in tourism, truck driving, moving company and fedex ups workers) and work HARD, for much much less than we did, and we are seeing the few jobs that are coming back on line going to younger workers. It is just the reality. And for most of us the descent has not been graceful, so our credit is a wreck, which also breeds a whole other level of issues as now it is common for the credit record to be a deal breaker for employment, housing, etc.

Strangely I don't sense a lot of anger or bitterness as much as humility. And gratitude for ANY work that comes our way. Health insurance? Retirement accounts? not so much.

Mickey Marzick:

Yves and I have disagreed on how extensive the postwar "pact" between management and labor was in this country. But if you drew a line from say, Trenton-Patterson, NJ to Cincinatti, OH to Minneapolis, MN, north and east of it where blue collar manufacturing in steel, rubber, auto, machinery, etc., predominated, this "pact" may have existed but ONLY because physical plant and production were concentrated there and workers could STOP production.

Outside of these heavy industrial pockets, unions were not always viewed favorably. As one moved into the rural hinterlands surrounding them there was jealously and/or outright hostility. Elsewhere, especially in the South "unions" were the exception not the rule. The differences between NE Ohio before 1975 – line from Youngstown to Toledo – and the rest of the state exemplified this pattern. Even today, the NE counties of Ohio are traditional Democratic strongholds with the rest of the state largely Republican. And I suspect this pattern existed elsewhere. But it is changing too

In any case, the demonization of the unemployed is just one notch above the vicious demonization of the poor that has always existed in this country. It's a constant reminder for those still working that you could be next – cast out into the darkness – because you "failed" or worse yet, SINNED. This internalization of the "inner cop" reinforces the dominant ideology in two ways. First, it makes any resistance by individuals still employed less likely. Second, it pits those still working against those who aren't, both of which work against the formation of any significant class consciousness amongst working people. The "oppressed" very often internalize the value system of the oppressor.

As a nation of immigrants ETHNICITY may have more explanatory power than CLASS. For increasingly, it would appear that the dominant ethnic group – suburban, white, European Americans – have thrown their lot in with corporate America. Scared of the prospect of downward social mobility and constantly reminded of URBAN America – the other America – this group is trapped with nowhere to else to go.

It's the divide and conquer strategy employed by ruling elites in this country since its founding [Federalist #10] with the Know Nothings, blaming the Irish [NINA - no Irish need apply] and playing off each successive wave of immigrants against the next. Only when the forces of production became concentrated in the urban industrial enclaves of the North was this strategy less effective. And even then internal immigration by Blacks to the North in search of employment blunted the formation of class consciousness among white ethnic industrial workers.

Wherever the postwar "pact of domination" between unions and management held sway, once physical plant was relocated elsewhere [SOUTH] and eventually offshored, unemployment began to trend upwards. First it was the "rustbelt" now it's a nationwide phenomenon. Needless to say, the "pact" between labor and management has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

White, suburban America has hitched its wagon to that of the corporate horse. Demonization of the unemployed coupled with demonization of the poor only serve to terrorize this ethnic group into acquiescence. And as the workplace becomes a multicultural matrix this ethnic group is constantly reminded of its perilous state. Until this increasingly atomized ethnic group breaks with corporate America once and for all, it's unlikely that the most debilitating scourge of all working people – UNEMPLOYMENT – will be addressed.

Make no mistake about it, involuntary UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLYEMT is a form of terrorism and its demonization is terrorism in action. This "quiet violence" is psychological and the intimidation wrought by unemployment and/or the threat of it is intended to dehumanize individuals subjected to it. Much like spousal abuse, the emotional and psychological effects are experienced way before any physical violence. It's the inner cop that makes overt repression unnecessary. We terrorize ourselves into submission without even knowing it because we accept it or come to tolerate it. So long as we accept "unemployment" as an inevitable consequence of progress, as something unfortunate but inevitable, we will continue to travel down the road to serfdom where ARBEIT MACHT FREI!

FULL and GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT are the ultimate labor power.

Eric:

It's delicate since direct age discrimination is illegal, but when circumstances permit separating older workers they have a very tough time getting back into the workforce in an era of high health care inflation. Older folks consume more health care and if you are hiring from a huge surplus of available workers it isn't hard to steer around the more experienced. And nobody gets younger, so when you don't get job A and go for job B 2 weeks later you, you're older still!

James:

Yves said- "This overly narrow hiring spec then leads to absurd, widespread complaint that companies can't find people with the right skills"

In the IT job markets such postings are often called purple squirrels. The HR departments require the applicant to be expert in a dozen programming languages. This is an excuse to hire a foreigner on a temp h1-b or other visa.

Most people aren't aware that this model dominates the sciences. Politicians scream we have a shortage of scientists, yet it seems we only have a shortage of cheap easily exploitable labor. The economist recently pointed out the glut of scientists that currently exists in the USA.

http://www.economist.com/node/17723223

This understates the problem. The majority of PhD recipients wander through years of postdocs only to end up eventually changing fields. My observation is that the top ten schools in biochem/chemistry/physics/ biology produce enough scientists to satisfy the national demand.

The exemption from h1-b visa caps for academic institutions exacerbates the problem, providing academics with almost unlimited access to labor.

The pharmaceutical sector has been decimated over the last ten years with tens of thousands of scientists/ factory workers looking for re-training in a dwindling pool of jobs (most of which will deem you overqualified.)

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2011/03/03/a_postdocs_lament.php

Abe, NYC:

I wonder how the demonization of the unemployed can be so strong even in the face of close to 10% unemployment/20% underemployment. It's easy and tempting to demonize an abstract young buck or Cadillac-driving welfare queen, but when a family member or a close friend loses a job, or your kids are stuck at your place because they can't find one, shouldn't that alter your perceptions? Of course the tendency will be to blame it all on the government, but there has to be a limit to that in hard-hit places like Ohio, Colorado, or Arizona. And yet, the dynamics aren't changing or even getting worse. Maybe Wisconsin marks a turning point, I certainly hope it does

damien:

It's more than just stupid recruiting, this stigma. Having got out when the getting was good, years ago, I know that any corporate functionary would be insane to hire me now. Socialization wears off, the deformation process reverses, and the ritual and shibboleths become a joke. Even before I bailed I became a huge pain in the ass as economic exigency receded, every bosses nightmare. I suffered fools less gladly and did the right thing out of sheer anarchic malice.

You really can't maintain corporate culture without existential fear – not just, "Uh oh, I'm gonna get fired," fear, but a visceral feeling that you do not exist without a job. In properly indoctrinated workers that feeling is divorced from economic necessity. So anyone who's survived outside a while is bound to be suspect. That's a sign of economic security, and security of any sort undermines social control.

youniquelikeme:

You hit the proverbial nail with that reply. (Although, sorry, doing the right thing should not be done out of malice) The real fit has to be in the corporate yes-man culture (malleable ass kisser) to be suited for any executive position and beyond that it is the willingness to be manipulated and drained to be able to keep a job in lower echelon.

This is the new age of evolution in the work place. The class wars will make it more of an eventual revolution, but it is coming. The unemployment rate (the actual one, not the Government one) globalization and off shore hiring are not sustainable for much longer.

Something has to give, but it is more likely to snap then to come easily. People who are made to be repressed and down and out eventually find the courage to fight back and by then, it is usually not with words.

down and out in Slicon Valley:

This is the response I got from a recruiter:

"I'm going to be overly honest with you. My firm doesn't allow me to submit any candidate who hasn't worked in 6-12 months or more. Recruiting brokers are probably all similar in that way . You are going to have to go through a connection/relationship you have with a colleague, co-worker, past manager or friend to get your next job .that's my advice for you. Best of luck "

I'm 56 years old with MSEE. Gained 20+ years of experience at the best of the best (TRW, Nortel, Microsoft), have been issued a patent. Where do I sign up to gain skills required to find a job now?

Litton Graft :

"Best of the Best?" I know you're down now, but looking back at these Gov'mint contractors you've enjoyed the best socialism money can by.

Nortel/TRW bills/(ed) the Guvmint at 2x, 3x your salary, you can ride this for decades. At the same time the Inc is attached to the Guvmint ATM localities/counties are giving them a red carpet of total freedom from taxation. Double subsidies.

I've worked many years at the big boy bandits, and there is no delusion in my mind that almost anyone, can do what I do and get paid 100K+. I've never understood the mindset of some folks who work in the Wermacht Inc: "Well, someone has to do this work" or worse "What we do, no one else can do" The reason no one else "can do it" is that they are not allowed to. So, we steal from the poor to build fighter jets, write code or network an agency.

Hosswire:

I used to work as a recruiter and can tell you that I only parroted the things my clients told me. I wanted to get you hired, because I was lazy and didn't want to have to talk to someone else next.

So what do you do? To place you that recruiter needs to see on a piece of paper that you are currently working? Maybe get an email or phone call from someone who will vouch for your employment history. That should not be that hard to make happen.

Francois T :

The "bizarre way that companies now spec jobs" is essentially a coded way for mediocre managers to say without saying so explicitly that "we can afford to be extremely picky, and by God, we shall do so no matter what, because we can!"

Of course, when comes the time to hire back because, oh disaster! business is picking up again, (I'm barely caricaturing here; some managers become despondent when they realize that workers regain a bit of the higher ground; loss of power does that to lesser beings) the same idiots who designed those "overly narrow hiring spec then leads to absurd, widespread complaint that companies can't find people with the right skills" are thrown into a tailspin of despair and misery. Instead of figuring out something as simple as "if demand is better, so will our business", they can't see anything else than the (eeeek!) cost of hiring workers. Unable to break their mental corset of penny-pincher, they fail to realize that lack of qualified workers will prevent them to execute well to begin with.

And guess what: qualified workers cost money, qualified workers urgently needed cost much more.

This managerial attitude must be another factor that explain why entrepreneurship and the formation of small businesses is on the decline in the US (contrary to the confabulations of the US officialdumb and the chattering class) while rising in Europe and India/China.

Kit:

If you are 55-60, worked as a professional (i.e., engineering say) and are now unemployed you are dead meat. Sorry to be blunt but thats the way it is in the US today. Let me repeat that : Dead Meat.

I was terminated at age 59, found absolutely NOTHING even though my qualifications were outstanding. Fortunately, my company had an old style pension plan which I was able to qualify for (at age 62 without reduced benefits). So for the next 2+ years my wife and I survived on unemployment insurance, severance, accumulated vacation pay and odd jobs. Not nice – actually, a living hell.

At age 62, I applied for my pension, early social security, sold our old house (at a good profit) just before the RE crash, moved back to our home state. Then my wife qualified for social security also. Our total income is now well above the US median.

Today, someone looking at us would think we were the typical corporate retiree. We surely don't let on any differently but the experience (to get to this point) almost killed us.

I sympathize very strongly with the millions caught in this unemployment death spiral. I wish I had an answer but I just don't. We were very lucky to survive intact.

Ming:

Thank you Yves for your excellent post, and for bringing to light this crucial issue.

Thank you to all the bloggers, who add to the richness of the this discussion.

I wonder if you could comment on this Yves, and correct me if I am wrong I believe that the power of labor was sapped by the massive available supply of global labor. The favorable economic policies enacted by China (both official and unofficial), and trade negotiations between the US government and the Chinese government were critical to creating the massive supply of labor.

Thank you. No rush of course.

Nexus:

There are some odd comments and notions here that are used to support dogma and positions of prejudice. The world can be viewed in a number of ways. Firstly from a highly individualised and personal perspective – that is what has happened to me and here are my experiences. Or alternatively the world can be viewed from a broader societal perspective.

In the context of labour there has always been an unequal confrontation between those that control capital and those that offer their labour, contrary to some of the views exposed here – Marx was a first and foremost a political economist. The political economist seeks to understand the interplay of production, supply, the state and institutions like the media. Modern day economics branched off from political economy and has little value in explaining the real world as the complexity of the world has been reduced to a simplistic rationalistic model of human behaviour underpinned by other equally simplistic notions of 'supply and demand', which are in turn represented by mathematical models, which in themselves are complex but merely represent what is a simplistic view of the way the world operates. This dogmatic thinking has avoided the need to create an underpinning epistemology. This in turn underpins the notion of free choice and individualism which in itself is an illusion as it ignores the operation of the modern state and the exercise of power and influence within society.

It was stated in one of the comments that the use of capital (machines, robotics, CAD design, etc.) de-skills. This is hardly the case as skills rise for those that remain and support highly automated/continuous production factories. This is symptomatic of the owners of capital wanting to extract the maximum value for labour and this is done via the substitution of labour for capital making the labour that remains to run factories highly productive thus eliminating low skill jobs that have been picked up via services (people move into non productive low skilled occupations warehousing and retail distribution, fast food outlets, etc). Of course the worker does not realise the additional value of his or her labour as this is expropriated for the shareholders (including management as shareholders).

The issue of the US is that since the end of WW2 it is not the industrialists that have called the shots and made investments it is the financial calculus of the investment banker (Finance Capital). Other comments have tried to ignore the existence of the elites in society – I would suggest that you read C.W.Mills – The Power Elites as an analysis of how power is exercised in the US – it is not through the will of the people.

For Finance capital investments are not made on the basis of value add, or contribution through product innovation and the exchange of goods but on basis of the lowest cost inputs. Consequently, the 'elites' that make investment decisions, as they control all forms of capital seek to gain access to the cheapest cost inputs. The reality is that the US worker (a pool of 150m) is now part of a global labour pool of a couple of billion that now includes India and China. This means that the elites, US transnational corporations for instance, can access both cheaper labour pools, relocate capital and avoid worker protection (health and safety is not a concern). The strategies of moving factories via off-shoring (over 40,000 US factories closed or relocated) and out-sourcing/in-sourcing labour is also a representations of this.

The consequence for the US is that the need for domestic labour has diminished and been substituted by cheap labour to extract the arbitrage between US labour rates and those of Chinese and Indians. Ironically, in this context capital has become too successful as the mode of consumption in the US shifted from workers that were notionally the people that created the goods, earned wages and then purchased the goods they created to a new model where the worker was substituted by the consumer underpinned by cheap debt and low cost imports – it is illustrative to note that real wages have not increased in the US since the early 1970's while at the same time debt has steadily increased to underpin the illusion of wealth – the 'borrow today and pay tomorrow' mode of capitalist operation. This model of operation is now broken. The labour force is now being demonized as there is a now surplus of labour and a need to drive down labour rates through changes in legislation and austerity programs to meet those of the emerging Chinese and Indian middle class so workers rights need to be broken. Once this is done a process of in-source may take place as US labour costs will be on par with overseas labour pools.

It is ironic that during the Regan administration a number of strategic thinkers saw the threat from emerging economies and the danger of Finance Capital and created 'Project Socrates' that would have sought to re-orientate the US economy from one that was based on the rationale of Finance Capital to one that focused in productive innovation which entailed an alignment of capital investment, research and training to product innovative goods. Of course this was ignored and the rest is history. The race to the lowest input cost is ultimately self defeating as it is clear that the economy de-industrialises through labour and capital changes and living standards collapse. The elites – bankers, US transnational corporations, media, industrial military complex and the politicians don't care as they make money either way and this way you get other people overseas to work cheap for you.

S P:

Neoliberal orthodoxy treats unemployment as well as wage supression as a necessary means to fight "inflation." If there was too much power in the hands of organized labor, inflationary pressures would spiral out of control as supply of goods cannot keep up with demand.

It also treats the printing press as a necessary means to fight "deflation."

So our present scenario: widespread unemployment along with QE to infinity, food stamps for all, is exactly what you'd expect.

The problem with this orthodoxy is that it assumes unlimited growth on a planet with finite resources, particularly oil and energy. Growth is not going to solve unemployment or wages, because we are bumping up against limits to growth.

There are only two solutions. One is tax the rich and capital gains, slow growth, and reinvest the surplus into jobs/skills programs, mostly to maintain existing infrastructure or build new energy infrastructure. Even liberals like Krugman skirt around this, because they aren't willing to accept that we have the reached the end of growth and we need radical redistribution measures.

The other solution is genuine classical liberalism / libertarianism, along the lines of Austrian thought. Return to sound money, and let the deflation naturally take care of the imbalances. Yes, it would be wrenching, but it would likely be wrenching for everybody, making it fair in a universal sense.

Neither of these options is palatable to the elite classes, the financiers of Wall Street, or the leeches and bureaucrats of D.C.

So this whole experiment called America will fail.

[Oct 09, 2017] Amazon.com Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges published this book eight years ago and the things he predicted have sadly been realized
Notable quotes:
"... his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall. ..."
"... He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes. ..."
"... One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs. ..."
"... Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country. ..."
"... The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society . ..."
"... He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers. ..."
"... Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets. ..."
"... The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style. ..."
"... Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. ..."
"... Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down. ..."
"... Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government. ..."
"... Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it. ..."
"... Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...." ..."
"... The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. ..."
"... This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials. ..."
"... Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails! ..."
"... It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help). ..."
"... The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress). ..."
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

H. I. on May 13, 2011

This Book Explains EVERYTHING!!!!!

Hedges cogently and systematically dismantles the most pernicious cultural delusions of our era and lays bare the pitiful truths that they attempt to mask. This book is a deprogramming manual that trims away the folly and noise from our troubled society so that the reader can focus on the most pressing matters of our time.

Despite the dark reality Hedges excavates, his screed is a liberating tonic against the crazy-making double-speak and the lies Americans are sold by our country's elite in order to distract us from the true threat and nature of the Corporate State, from the cult of celebrity, to how our nation's Universities have been hijacked to serve the interests, not of the public, but of our corporate overlords. It explains the self-same conditions in all aspects of our society and culture that we now must face, the ever-shrinking flame of enlightenment being exchanged for the illusory shadows on a cave wall.

As a twenty-something caught in the death-throes of American Empire and culture, I have struggled to anticipate where our country and our world are heading, why, and what sort of life I can expect to build for myself. Hedges presents the reader with the depressing, yet undeniable truth of the forces that have coalesced to shape the world in which we now find ourselves. The light he casts is searing and relentless. He fearlessly and incisively calls us out on the obvious farce our democracy has become, how we got here, and highlights the rapidly closing window in which we have to do something to correct it. It is a revelation, and yet he merely states the obvious. The empire has no clothes.

One of the most powerful aspects of this book was in regard to how our Universities are run these days. I may be in the minority, but I experienced a life-changing disillusionment when I gained entrance to a prestigious "elite" University. Instead of drawing the best and the brightest, or being a place where scholarship was valued, where students were taught critical thinking skills, the University I attended was nothing more than an expensive diploma mill for the children of the wealthy. In the eyes of the University, students were not minds to be empowered and developed, but walking dollar signs.

Instead of critical thinking, students were taught to OBEY, not to question authority, and then handed a piece of paper admitting them to the ruling class that is destroying America without a moral compass. Selfishness, deceit, disregard for the common good, and a win-at-all-costs attitude were rewarded. Empathy, curiosity, dissent, and an honest, intellectually rigorous evaluation of ourselves and our world were punished. Obviously I am not the only one to whom this was cause to fear for the future of our country.

Five stars is not enough. Ever since I began reading Empire of Illusion, I have insisted friends and family pick up a copy, too. Everyone in America should read this incredibly important book.

The truth shall set us free.

By Franklin the Mouse on February 5, 2012

Dream Weavers

Mr. Hedges is in one heck of a foul mood. His raging against the evolving of American democracy into an oligarchy is accurate, but relentlessly depressing. The author focuses on some of our most horrid characteristics: celebrity worship; "pro" wrestling; the brutal porn industry; Jerry Springer-like shows; the military-industrial complex; the moral void of elite colleges such as Yale, Harvard, Berkeley and Princeton; optimistic-ladened pop psychology; and political/corporate conformity.

Mr. Hedges grim assessment put me in a seriously foul mood. The chapter involving the porn trade that is run by large corporations such as AT&T and GM (the car maker, for crying out loud) was an especially dark, profanity-laced depiction of the abuse and moral decay of American society .

He is correct in his belief that the continual barrage of psuedo-events and puffery disguised as news (especially television) has conditioned most of Americans to be non-critical thinkers.

Entertainment, consumption and the dangerous illusion that the U.S. is the best in the world at everything are childish mindsets.

The oddest part of Mr. Hedges' book is the ending. The last three pages take such an unexpectedly hard turn from "all is lost" to "love will conquer," I practically got whiplash. Overall, the author should be commended for trying to bring our attention to what ails our country and challenging readers to wake up from their child-like illusions.

Now, time for me to go run a nice, warm bath and where did I put those razor blades?...

By Walter E. Kurtz on September 25, 2011
Amazing book

I must say I was captivated by the author's passion, eloquence and insight. This is not an academic essay. True, there are few statistics here and there and quotes from such and such person, but this is not like one of those books that read like a longer version of an academic research paper. The book is more of author's personal observations about American society. Perhaps that is where its power comes from.

Some might dismiss the book as nothing more than an opinion piece, but how many great books and works out there are opinion pieces enhanced with supporting facts and statistics?

The book is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is about celebrity worship and how far people are willing to humiliate themselves and sacrifice their dignity for their five minutes of fame. But this is not just about those who are willing to make idiots out of themselves just to appear on television. This is about how the fascination with the world of rich and famous distracts the society from the important issues and problems and how it creates unhealthy and destructive desire to pursue wealth and fame. And even for those few who do achieve it, their lives are far from the bliss and happiness shown in movies. More than one celebrity had cursed her life.

Chapter two deals with porn. It offers gutwrenching, vomit inducing descriptions of lives and conditions in the porn industry. But the damage porn does goes far beyond those working in the "industry". Porn destroys the love, intimacy and beauty of sex. Porn reduces sex to an act of male dominance, power and even violence. Unfortunately, many men, and even women, buy into that and think that the sex seen in porn is normal and this is how things should be.

After reading this chapter, I will never look at porn the same way again. In fact, I probably will never look at porn at all.

Chapter three is about education. It focuses mostly on college level education and how in the past few decades it had increasingly changed focus from teaching students how to be responsible citizens and good human beings to how to be successful, profit seeking, career obsessed corporate/government drones. The students are taught that making money and career building are the only thing that matters. This results in professionals who put greed and selfishness above everything else and mindlessly serve a system that destroys the society and the whole planet. And when they are faced with problems (like the current economic crisis) and evidence that the system is broken, rather than rethink their paradigm and consider that perhaps they were wrong, they retreat further into old thinking in search of ways to reinforce the (broken) system and keep it going.
Chapter four is my favorite. It is about positive thinking. As someone who lives with a family member who feeds me positive thinking crap at breakfast, lunch and supper, I enjoyed this chapter very much. For those rare lucky few who do not know what positive thinking is, it can be broadly defined as a belief that whatever happens to us in life, it happens because we "attracted" it to ourselves. Think about it as karma that affects us not in the next life, but in this one. The movement believes that our conscious and unconscious thoughts affect reality. By assuming happy, positive outlook on life, we can affect reality and make good things happen to us.

Followers of positive thinking are encouraged/required to purge all negative emotions, never question the bad things that happen to them and focus on thinking happy thoughts. Positive thinking is currently promoted by corporations and to lesser extent governments to keep employees in line. They are rendered docile and obedient, don't make waves (like fight for better pay and working conditions) and, when fired, take it calmly with a smile and never question corporate culture.

Chapter five is about American politics and how the government and the politicians had sold themselves out to corporations and business. It is about imperialism and how the government helps the corporations loot the country while foreign wars are started under the pretext of defense and patriotism, but their real purpose is to loot the foreign lands and fill the coffers of war profiteers. If allowed to continue, this system will result in totalitarianism and ecological apocalypse.

I have some objections with this chapter. While I completely agree about the current state of American politics, the author makes a claim that this is a relatively recent development dating roughly to the Vietnam War. Before that, especially in the 1950s, things were much better. Or at least they were for the white men. (The author does admit that 1950s were not all that great to blacks, women or homosexuals.)

While things might have gotten very bad in the last few decades, politicians and governments have always been more at the service of Big Money rather than the common people.

And Vietnam was not the first imperialistic American war. What about the conquest of Cuba and Philippines at the turn of the 20th century? And about all those American "adventures" in South America in the 19th century. And what about the westward expansion and extermination of Native Americans that started the moment the first colonists set their foot on the continent?

But this is a minor issue. My biggest issue with the book is that it is a powerful denunciation, but it does not offer much in terms of suggestions on how to fix the problems it is decrying. Criticizing is good and necessary, but offering solutions is even more important. You can criticize all you want, but if you cannot suggest something better, then the old system will stay in place.

The author does write at the end a powerful, tear inducing essay on how love conquers all and that no totalitarian regime, no matter how powerful and oppressive, had ever managed to crush hope, love and the human spirit. Love, in the end, conquers all.

That is absolutely true. But what does it mean in practice? That we must keep loving and doing good? Of course we must, but some concrete, practical examples of what to do would be welcome.

By Richard Joltes on July 18, 2016
An excellent and sobering view at the decline of reason and literacy in modern society

This is an absolutely superb work that documents how our society has been subverted by spectacle, glitz, celebrity, and the obsession with "fame" at the expense of reality, literacy, reason, and actual ability. Hedges lays it all out in a very clear and thought provoking style, using real world examples like pro wrestling and celebrity oriented programming to showcase how severely our society has declined from a forward thinking, literate one into a mass of tribes obsessed with stardom and money.

Even better is that the author's style is approachable and non judgemental. This isn't an academic talking down to the masses, but a very solid reporter presenting findings in an accurate, logical style.

Every American should read this, and then consider whether to buy that glossy celebrity oriented magazine or watch that "I want to be a millionaire" show. The lifestyle and choices being promoted by the media, credit card companies, and by the celebrity culture in general, are toxic and a danger to our society's future.

By Jeffrey Swystun on June 29, 2011
What does the contemporary self want?

The various ills impacting society graphically painted by Chris Hedges are attributed to a lack of literacy. However, it is much more complex, layered, and inter-related. By examining literacy, love, wisdom, happiness, and the current state of America, the author sets out to convince the reader that our world is intellectually crumbling. He picks aspects of our society that clearly offer questionable value: professional wrestling, the pornographic film industry (which is provided in bizarre repetitive graphic detail), gambling, conspicuous consumption, and biased news reporting to name a few.

The front of the end of the book was the most compelling. Especially when Hedges strays into near conspiracy with comments such as this: "Those who manipulate the shadows that dominate our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for illusion. The are the puppet masters." As extreme as that is, he is more credible when he says, "Commodities and celebrity culture define what it means to belong, how we recognize our place in society, and how we conduct our lives." I say 'credible' because popular and mass culture's influence are creating a world where substance is replaced by questionable style.

What resonated most in the book is a passage taken from William Deresiewicz's essay The End of Solitude: "What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge -- broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider -- the two cultures betray a common impulse.

Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves -- by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility."

Visibility has replaced substance and accomplishment; packaging over product, sizzle not steak. Chris Rojek calls this "the cult of distraction" where society is consumed by the vacuous and the vapid rather than striving for self-awareness, accomplishment and contribution ("Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology."). Hedges builds on Rojek's descriptor by suggesting we are living in a "culture of illusion" which impoverishes language, makes us childlike, and is basically dumbing us all down.

This is definitely a provocative contribution and damning analysis of our society that would be a great choice for a book club. It would promote lively debate as conclusions and solutions are not easily reached.

By S. Arch on July 10, 2011
A book that needs to be read, even if it's only half true.

Empire of Illusion might be the most depressing book I've ever read. Why? Because it predicts the collapse of America and almost every word of it rings true.

I don't know if there's really anything new here; many of the ideas Hedges puts forth have been floating around in the neglected dark corners of our national discourse, but Hedges drags them all out into the daylight. Just about every social/cultural/economic/political ill you can think of is mentioned at some point in the text and laid at the feet of the villains whose insatiable greed has destroyed this once-great country. Hedges is bold. He predicts nothing less than the end of America. Indeed, he claims America has already ended. The American Dream is nothing more than an illusion being propped up by wealthy elites obsessed with power and the preservation of their lifestyle, a blind academia that has forgotten how to critique authority, and a government that is nothing more than the puppet of corporations. Meanwhile, mindless entertainments and a compliant news media divert and mislead the working and middle classes so they don't even notice that they are being raped to death by the power-elite and the corporations.

(Don't misunderstand. This is no crack-pot conspiracy theory. It's not about secret quasi-mystical cabals attempting world domination. Rather, Hedges paints a credible picture of our culture in a state of moral and intellectual decay, and leaders corrupted by power and greed who have ceased to act in the public interest.)

At times Hedges seems to be ranting and accusing without providing evidence or examples to substantiate his claims. But that might only be because his claims have already been substantiated individually elsewhere, and Hedges's purpose here is a kind of grand synthesis of many critical ideas. Indeed, an exhaustive analysis of all the issues he brings forth would require volumes rather than a single book. In any case, I challenge anyone to read this book, look around honestly at what's happening in America, and conclude that Hedges is wrong.

One final note: this book is not for the squeamish. The chapter about pornography is brutally explicit. Still, I think it is an important book, and it would be good if a lot more people would read it, discuss it, and thereby become dis-illusioned.

By Bruce E. McLeod Jr. on February 11, 2012
Thorough and illuminating

Chris Hedges book, "Empire of Illusion" is a stinging assessment and vivid indictment of America's political and educational systems; a well-told story. I agree with his views but wonder how they can be reversed or transformed given the economic hegemony of the corporations and the weight of the entrenched political parties. Very few solutions were provided.

Corporations will continue to have a presence and set standards within the halls of educational and governmental institutions with impunity. Limited monetary measures, other than governmental, exist for public educational institutions, both secondary and post-secondary. Historically, Roman and Greek political elitists operated in a similar manner and may have set standards for today's plutocracy. Plebeian societies were helpless and powerless, with few options, to enact change against the political establishment. Given the current conditions, America is on a downward spiral to chaos.

His book is a clarion call for action. Parents and teachers have warned repeatedly that too much emphasis is placed on athletic programs at the expense of academics. Educational panels, books and other experts have done little to reform the system and its intransigent administrators.

Today's delusionary and corrupted officials, corporate and government, are reminiscent of the narratives penned by Charles Dickens. Alexander Hamilton referred to the masses as a "great beast" to be kept from the powers of government.

Edmund Burke used propaganda to control "elements of society". Walter Lippmann advised that "the public must be kept in its place". Yet, many Americans just don't get it.

They continue to be hood-winked by politicians using uncontested "sound bites" and "racially-coded" phrases to persuade voters.

Divide and conquer is the mantra--rich vs. poor; black vs. white. According to Norm Chomsky's writings, "In 1934, William Shepard argued that government should be in the hands of `aristocracy and intellectual power' while the `ignorant, and the uninformed and the antisocial element' must not be permitted to control elections...."

The appalling statistics and opinions outlined in the book demonstrate the public ignorance of the American culture; the depth and extent of the corporatocracy and the related economic malaise; and, the impact substandard schools have on their lives. This is further exemplified by Jay Leno's version of "Jaywalking". On the streets, he randomly selects passersby to interview, which seems to validate much of these charges.

We are all culpable. We are further susceptible to illusions. John Locke said, "Government receives its just powers from the consent of the governed".

This idea was recently usurped by the U.S. Supreme Court where representative government is called to question, rendering "our" consent irrelevant. Every voting election is an illusion. Each election, at the local and national level, voters never seemingly "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" to eliminate irresponsible and unresponsive officials.

Walt Kelly's quote "We have met the enemy and he is us" prevails!

By Richard Steiger on January 14, 2012
Powerful in spite of itself

There are many flaws with Hedges' book. For one thing, he is given to writing sermons (his father was a minister), hurling down denunciations in the manner of the prophet Amos. The book also tends to be repetitious, as Hedges makes the same general statements over and over. It's also hard to follow at times as Hedges attempts to stress the connections between pop culture and social, political. and economic policy. Nor is Hedges a particularly stylish writer (a sense of humor would help).

His last-second "happy ending" (something like: we're all doomed, but eventually, somewhere down the line, love will prevail beacuse it's ultimately the strongest power on earth) is, to say the least, unconvincing.

SO why am I recommending this book? Because in spite of its flaws (and maybe even because of them), this is a powerful depiction of the state of American society. The book does get to you in its somewhat clumsy way.

The stomach-turning chapter on trends in porn and their relationship to the torture of prisoners of war is a particularly sharp piece of analysis, and all of the other chapters do eventually convince (and depress).

This book will not exactly cheer you up, but at least it will give you an understanding of where we are (and where we're heading).

[Oct 01, 2017] Attempts to buy US elections using perverted notion of free speech were deliberate. This is an immanent feature of neoliberalism which being Trotskyism for the rich deny democracy for anybody outside the top one percent (or, may be, top 10-20 percent)

Highly recommended!
In 1970th the new neoliberal "capitalists of all countries, unite !" slogan displaced the old one: "Proletarians of all countries, unite!" Since the late 70th, the leading capitalist states in North America and Western Europe have pursued neoliberal policies and institutional changes. The peripheral and semi peripheral states in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe, under the pressure of the leading capitalist states (primarily the United States) and international monetary institutions (IMF and the World Bank), were forced to adopt "structural adjustments," "shock therapies," or "economic reforms," to open their economies to transactionals and to restructure them in accordance with the requirements of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.
The regime enforced in countries of the global neoliberal empire typically includes monetarist policies to lower inflation and maintain fiscal balance (often achieved by reducing public expenditures and raising the interest rate), "flexible" labor markets (meaning removing labor market regulations, cutting social welfare and facilitating legal and illegal immigration from poor countries to drive wages down), trade and financial liberalization, and privatization. These policies were an attack by the global finance capital on the working people of the world. Under neoliberal capitalism, decades of social progress and developmental efforts have been reversed. Global inequality in income and wealth has reached unprecedented levels sometimes exceeding the level reached in 1920th. In much of the world, working people have suffered pauperization. Entire countries have been reduced to misery.
Notable quotes:
"... What's missing here is the way in which the capitalist class orchestrated its efforts during the 1970s and early 1980s. I think it would be fair to say that at that time - in the English-speaking world anyway - the corporate capitalist class became pretty unified. ..."
"... For example, you see reforms of campaign finance that treated contributions to campaigns as a form of free speech . There's a long tradition in the United States of corporate capitalists buying elections but now it was legalized rather than being under the table as corruption. ..."
"... Overall I think this period was defined by a broad movement across many fronts, ideological and political. And the only way you can explain that broad movement is by recognizing the relatively high degree of solidarity in the corporate capitalist class. ..."
www.jacobinmag.com
What's missing here is the way in which the capitalist class orchestrated its efforts during the 1970s and early 1980s. I think it would be fair to say that at that time - in the English-speaking world anyway - the corporate capitalist class became pretty unified.

They agreed on a lot of things, like the need for a political force to really represent them. So you get the capture of the Republican Party, and an attempt to undermine, to some degree, the Democratic Party.

From the 1970s the Supreme Court made a bunch of decisions that allowed the corporate capitalist class to buy elections more easily than it could in the past.

For example, you see reforms of campaign finance that treated contributions to campaigns as a form of free speech. There's a long tradition in the United States of corporate capitalists buying elections but now it was legalized rather than being under the table as corruption.

Overall I think this period was defined by a broad movement across many fronts, ideological and political. And the only way you can explain that broad movement is by recognizing the relatively high degree of solidarity in the corporate capitalist class.

Capital reorganized its power in a desperate attempt to recover its economic wealth and its influence, which had been seriously eroded from the end of the 1960s into the 1970s.

[Sep 20, 2017] The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarized as the conflict between its two ideologies -- Keynesian social democracy and neoliberalism, which managed to displace Keynesianism as a dominant ideology in 70th and in turn entered the crisis in 2008

What Monbiot called 'stories" and "powerful political narratives" are actually ideologies. Neoliberal ideology won in 70th and managed to destroy the weakened and discredited social democratic/Keynesean model and Bolshevism on late 80th early 90th. After 2008 neoliberalism as ideology is as dead as Stalinism was after 1945. You can even view Trump as kind of farcical Nikita Khrushchev who while sticking to neoliberalism "in general" at the same time denounced some key postulates of neoliberalism such as neoliberal globalization with outsourcing and offshoring components and free movement of labor. For Khrushchev that ended badly -- he was deposed and replaced by Brezhnev in 1964. The same might happen to Trump.
You can get better idea about what Monbiot is talking about replacing the word "stories" with the word "ideologies." An ideology is a coherent set of interconnected ideas or beliefs shared by a large group of people (often political party or nation). It may be a connected to a particular philosophy (Marxism in case of Socialism and Communism, Randism and neo-classical economics in case of neoliberalism) . Communism, socialism, and neoliberalism are major political/economical ideologies. Ideology prescribes how a country political system should be organized and how country economics should be run.
Notable quotes:
"... The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism. ..."
"... When the social democracy story dominated, even the Conservatives and Republicans adopted key elements of the programme. When neoliberalism took its place, political parties everywhere, regardless of their colour, fell under its spell . ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: George Monbiot: how do we get out of this mess?

Is it reasonable to hope for a better world? Study the cruelty and indifference of governments, the disarray of opposition parties, the apparently inexorable slide towards limate breakdown, the renewed threat of nuclear war, and the answer appears to be no. Our problems look intractable, our leaders dangerous, while voters are cowed and baffled. Despair looks like the only rational response. But over the past two years, I have been struck by four observations. What they reveal is that political failure is, in essence, a failure of imagination. They suggest to me that it is despair, not hope, that is irrational. I believe they light a path towards a better world.

The first observation is the least original. It is the realization that it is not strong leaders or parties that dominate politics as much as powerful political narratives. The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism. First one and then the other captured the minds of people across the political spectrum. When the social democracy story dominated, even the Conservatives and Republicans adopted key elements of the programme. When neoliberalism took its place, political parties everywhere, regardless of their colour, fell under its spell . These stories overrode everything: personality, identity and party history.

This should not surprise us. Stories are the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals. We all possess a narrative instinct: an innate disposition to listen for an account of who we are and where we stand.

... ... ...

The social democratic story explains that the world fell into disorder – characterised by the Great Depression – because of the self-seeking behaviour of an unrestrained elite. The elite's capture of both the world's wealth and the political system resulted in the impoverishment and insecurity of working people. By uniting to defend their common interests, the world's people could throw down the power of this elite, strip it of its ill-gotten gains and pool the resulting wealth for the good of all. Order and security would be restored in the form of a protective, paternalistic state, investing in public projects for the public good, generating the wealth that would guarantee a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land – the heroes of the story – would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

The neoliberal story explains that the world fell into disorder as a result of the collectivising tendencies of the overmighty state, exemplified by the monstrosities of Stalinism and nazism, but evident in all forms of state planning and all attempts to engineer social outcomes. Collectivism crushes freedom, individualism and opportunity. Heroic entrepreneurs, mobilising the redeeming power of the market, would fight this enforced conformity, freeing society from the enslavement of the state. Order would be restored in the form of free markets, delivering wealth and opportunity, guaranteeing a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land, released by the heroes of the story (the freedom-seeking entrepreneurs) would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

... ... ...

But the best on offer from major political parties is a microwaved version of the remnants of Keynesian social democracy. There are several problems with this approach. The first is that this old story has lost most of its content and narrative force. What we now call Keynesianism has been reduced to two thin chapters: lowering interest rates when economies are sluggish and using countercyclical public spending (injecting public money into the economy when unemployment is high or recession threatens). Other measures, such as raising taxes when an economy grows quickly, to dampen the boom-bust cycle; the fixed exchange rate system; capital controls and a self-balancing global banking system (an international clearing union ) – all of which John Maynard Keynes saw as essential complements to these policies – have been discarded and forgotten.

This is partly because the troubles that beset the Keynesian model in the 1970s have not disappeared. While the oil embargo in 1973 was the immediate trigger for the lethal combination of high inflation and high unemployment (" stagflation ") that Keynesian policies were almost powerless to counteract, problems with the system had been mounting for years. Falling productivity and rising cost-push inflation (wages and prices pursuing each other upwards) were already beginning to erode support for Keynesian economics. Most importantly, perhaps, the programme had buckled in response to the political demands of capital.

Strong financial regulations and controls on the movement of money began to weaken in the 1950s, as governments started to liberalise financial markets . Richard Nixon 's decision in 1971 to suspend the convertibility of dollars into gold destroyed the system of fixed exchange rates on which much of the success of Keynes's policies depended. The capital controls used to prevent financiers and speculators from sucking money out of balanced Keynesian economies collapsed. We cannot hope that the strategies deployed by global finance in the 20th century will be unlearned.

But perhaps the biggest problem residual Keynesianism confronts is that, when it does work, it collides headfirst with the environmental crisis. A programme that seeks to sustain employment through constant economic growth, driven by consumer demand, seems destined to exacerbate our greatest predicament.

... ... ...

[Sep 20, 2017] The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarized as the conflict between its two ideologies -- Keynesian social democracy and neoliberalism, which managed to displace Keynesianism as a dominant ideology in 70th and in turn entered the crisis in 2008

What Monbiot called 'stories" and "powerful political narratives" are actually ideologies. Neoliberal ideology won in 70th and managed to destroy the weakened and discredited social democratic/Keynesean model and Bolshevism on late 80th early 90th. After 2008 neoliberalism as ideology is as dead as Stalinism was after 1945. You can even view Trump as kind of farcical Nikita Khrushchev who while sticking to neoliberalism "in general" at the same time denounced some key postulates of neoliberalism such as neoliberal globalization with outsourcing and offshoring components and free movement of labor. For Khrushchev that ended badly -- he was deposed and replaced by Brezhnev in 1964. The same might happen to Trump.
You can get better idea about what Monbiot is talking about replacing the word "stories" with the word "ideologies." An ideology is a coherent set of interconnected ideas or beliefs shared by a large group of people (often political party or nation). It may be a connected to a particular philosophy (Marxism in case of Socialism and Communism, Randism and neo-classical economics in case of neoliberalism) . Communism, socialism, and neoliberalism are major political/economical ideologies. Ideology prescribes how a country political system should be organized and how country economics should be run.
Notable quotes:
"... The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism. ..."
"... When the social democracy story dominated, even the Conservatives and Republicans adopted key elements of the programme. When neoliberalism took its place, political parties everywhere, regardless of their colour, fell under its spell . ..."
Sep 20, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: George Monbiot: how do we get out of this mess?

Is it reasonable to hope for a better world? Study the cruelty and indifference of governments, the disarray of opposition parties, the apparently inexorable slide towards limate breakdown, the renewed threat of nuclear war, and the answer appears to be no. Our problems look intractable, our leaders dangerous, while voters are cowed and baffled. Despair looks like the only rational response. But over the past two years, I have been struck by four observations. What they reveal is that political failure is, in essence, a failure of imagination. They suggest to me that it is despair, not hope, that is irrational. I believe they light a path towards a better world.

The first observation is the least original. It is the realization that it is not strong leaders or parties that dominate politics as much as powerful political narratives. The political history of the second half of the 20th century could be summarised as the conflict between its two great narratives: the stories told by Keynesian social democracy and by neoliberalism. First one and then the other captured the minds of people across the political spectrum. When the social democracy story dominated, even the Conservatives and Republicans adopted key elements of the programme. When neoliberalism took its place, political parties everywhere, regardless of their colour, fell under its spell . These stories overrode everything: personality, identity and party history.

This should not surprise us. Stories are the means by which we navigate the world. They allow us to interpret its complex and contradictory signals. We all possess a narrative instinct: an innate disposition to listen for an account of who we are and where we stand.

... ... ...

The social democratic story explains that the world fell into disorder – characterised by the Great Depression – because of the self-seeking behaviour of an unrestrained elite. The elite's capture of both the world's wealth and the political system resulted in the impoverishment and insecurity of working people. By uniting to defend their common interests, the world's people could throw down the power of this elite, strip it of its ill-gotten gains and pool the resulting wealth for the good of all. Order and security would be restored in the form of a protective, paternalistic state, investing in public projects for the public good, generating the wealth that would guarantee a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land – the heroes of the story – would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

The neoliberal story explains that the world fell into disorder as a result of the collectivising tendencies of the overmighty state, exemplified by the monstrosities of Stalinism and nazism, but evident in all forms of state planning and all attempts to engineer social outcomes. Collectivism crushes freedom, individualism and opportunity. Heroic entrepreneurs, mobilising the redeeming power of the market, would fight this enforced conformity, freeing society from the enslavement of the state. Order would be restored in the form of free markets, delivering wealth and opportunity, guaranteeing a prosperous future for everyone. The ordinary people of the land, released by the heroes of the story (the freedom-seeking entrepreneurs) would triumph over those who had oppressed them.

... ... ...

But the best on offer from major political parties is a microwaved version of the remnants of Keynesian social democracy. There are several problems with this approach. The first is that this old story has lost most of its content and narrative force. What we now call Keynesianism has been reduced to two thin chapters: lowering interest rates when economies are sluggish and using countercyclical public spending (injecting public money into the economy when unemployment is high or recession threatens). Other measures, such as raising taxes when an economy grows quickly, to dampen the boom-bust cycle; the fixed exchange rate system; capital controls and a self-balancing global banking system (an international clearing union ) – all of which John Maynard Keynes saw as essential complements to these policies – have been discarded and forgotten.

This is partly because the troubles that beset the Keynesian model in the 1970s have not disappeared. While the oil embargo in 1973 was the immediate trigger for the lethal combination of high inflation and high unemployment (" stagflation ") that Keynesian policies were almost powerless to counteract, problems with the system had been mounting for years. Falling productivity and rising cost-push inflation (wages and prices pursuing each other upwards) were already beginning to erode support for Keynesian economics. Most importantly, perhaps, the programme had buckled in response to the political demands of capital.

Strong financial regulations and controls on the movement of money began to weaken in the 1950s, as governments started to liberalise financial markets . Richard Nixon 's decision in 1971 to suspend the convertibility of dollars into gold destroyed the system of fixed exchange rates on which much of the success of Keynes's policies depended. The capital controls used to prevent financiers and speculators from sucking money out of balanced Keynesian economies collapsed. We cannot hope that the strategies deployed by global finance in the 20th century will be unlearned.

But perhaps the biggest problem residual Keynesianism confronts is that, when it does work, it collides headfirst with the environmental crisis. A programme that seeks to sustain employment through constant economic growth, driven by consumer demand, seems destined to exacerbate our greatest predicament.

... ... ...

[Sep 19, 2017] The political project of neoliberalism, brought to ascendence by Thatcher and Reagan, has pursued two principal objectives. The first has been to dismantle any barriers to the exercise of unaccountable private power. The second had been to erect them to the exercise of any democratic public will

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The political project of neoliberalism , brought to ascendence by Thatcher and Reagan, has pursued two principal objectives. The first has been to dismantle any barriers to the exercise of unaccountable private power. The second had been to erect them to the exercise of any democratic public will.

Its trademark policies of privatization, deregulation, tax cuts and free trade deals: these have liberated corporations to accumulate enormous profits and treat the atmosphere like a sewage dump, and hamstrung our ability, through the instrument of the state, to plan for our collective welfare.

Anything resembling a collective check on corporate power has become a target of the elite: lobbying and corporate donations, hollowing out democracies, have obstructed green policies and kept fossil fuel subsidies flowing; and the rights of associations like unions, the most effective means for workers to wield power together, have been undercut whenever possible.

At the very moment when climate change demands an unprecedented collective public response, neoliberal ideology stands in the way. Which is why, if we want to bring down emissions fast, we will need to overcome all of its free-market mantras: take railways and utilities and energy grids back into public control; regulate corporations to phase out fossil fuels; and raise taxes to pay for massive investment in climate-ready infrastructure and renewable energy -- so that solar panels can go on everyone's rooftop, not just on those who can afford it.

Neoliberalism has not merely ensured this agenda is politically unrealistic: it has also tried to make it culturally unthinkable. Its celebration of competitive self-interest and hyper-individualism, its stigmatization of compassion and solidarity, has frayed our collective bonds . It has spread, like an insidious anti-social toxin, what Margaret Thatcher preached: "there is no such thing as society."

Studies show that people who have grown up under this era have indeed become more individualistic and consumerist . Steeped in a culture telling us to think of ourselves as consumers instead of citizens, as self-reliant instead of interdependent, is it any wonder we deal with a systemic issue by turning in droves to ineffectual, individual efforts? We are all Thatcher's children.

Even before the advent of neoliberalism, the capitalist economy had thrived on people believing that being afflicted by the structural problems of an exploitative system – poverty, joblessness, poor health, lack of fulfillment – was in fact a personal deficiency.

Neoliberalism has taken this internalized self-blame and turbocharged it. It tells you that you should not merely feel guilt and shame if you can't secure a good job, are deep in debt, and are too stressed or overworked for time with friends. You are now also responsible for bearing the burden of potential ecological collapse.

Of course we need people to consume less and innovate low-carbon alternatives – build sustainable farms, invent battery storages, spread zero-waste methods. But individual choices will most count when the economic system can provide viable, environmental options for everyone!not just an affluent or intrepid few.

If affordable mass transit isn't available, people will commute with cars. If local organic food is too expensive, they won't opt out of fossil fuel-intensive super-market chains. If cheap mass produced goods flow endlessly, they will buy and buy and buy. This is the con-job of neoliberalism: to persuade us to address climate change through our pocket-books, rather than through power and politics.

Eco-consumerism may expiate your guilt. But it's only mass movements that have the power to alter the trajectory of the climate crisis. This requires of us first a resolute mental break from the spell cast by neoliberalism: to stop thinking like individuals.

The good news is that the impulse of humans to come together is inextinguishable – and the collective imagination is already making a political come-back. The climate justice movement is blocking pipelines, forcing the divestment of trillions of dollars, and winning support for 100% clean energy economies in cities and states across the world. New ties are being drawn to Black Lives Matter, immigrant and Indigenous rights, and fights for better wages. On the heels of such movements, political parties seem finally ready to defy neoliberal dogma.

None more so than Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Manifesto spelled out a redistributive project to address climate change: by publicly retooling the economy, and insisting that corporate oligarchs no longer run amok. The notion that the rich should pay their fair share to fund this transformation was considered laughable by the political and media class. Millions disagreed. Society, long said to be departed, is now back with a vengeance.

So grow some carrots and jump on a bike: it will make you happier and healthier. But it is time to stop obsessing with how personally green we live – and start collectively taking on corporate power.

[Sep 19, 2017] How neoliberalism left a toxic legacy

Notable quotes:
"... Henllan, Denbighshire ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Reading your long read on liberalism, it crossed my mind that Friedrich Hayek must be turning in his grave ( The big idea that defines our era , 19 August). Neoliberalism has demolished Hayek's theory of markets. Markets are not free: they are controlled by a wealthy minority of state-sized corporations. Markets are not efficient: they generate mountains of waste as corporations walk away from every abandoned disaster, expecting someone else to clear up the mess. Markets are not competitive: mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and buyouts reduce competition and choice for the consumer. Multinational corporations and international banks so dominate national governments that criminality is tolerated and, in the case of banks, even accepted as normal.

The 2008 crash showed that only the insiders of the financial services industry know what is going on. When a combination of incompetence and greed wrecked the international economy, taxpayers/consumers had to fund a colossal bailout. If big government hadn't organised a rescue, the neoliberal marketplace would have disappeared up its own rectum. The "market economy" is not an "objective science". Hayek's big idea is fatally flawed.
Martin London
Henllan, Denbighshire

Hayek's may have been "the big idea that defines our era", but economies run by governments favouring his ideas, broadly those since Thatcher and Reagan, have been far less successful providing for the majority of their people than those that favoured John Maynard Keynes. Albert Camus wrote that his generation's task was to prevent the world destroying itself. Today it requires a triumph of hope over experience to believe that free marketeers will address climate change. And if the "invisible hand" should always decide, it was odd that its manifestation, almost immediately after WWII, was the finance sector recruiting (directly or indirectly) economists, journalists and politicians to reverse Keynes's theories and policies and to denounce him as a "tax and spender".
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey

What is neoliberalism? It's that moment when you ought to step in to do something about the dehumanised, exploited fast food courier, pedalling furiously along the busy pavement to the beat of the algorithm (past the homeless in their sleeping bags, the slaves in their nail bars and massage parlours, and the private security officers patrolling the "investment properties" that were once homes) before he ploughs into the arthritic, mentally ill woman painfully inching her way to humiliation at an "independent" work capability assessment – but you don't bother because you know the market's invisible hand will sort things out for you.
Ian McCormack
Leicester

[Sep 19, 2017] Goodbye neoliberalism, hello common good by Robin Le Mare

Notable quotes:
"... Allithwaite, Cumbria ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The academic, political and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust, argues Robin Le Mare Margaret Thatcher and Ronal Reagan great believers in neoliberilsm.

The academic, political and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust, argues Robin Le Mare

Letters

Sunday 6 August 2017 13.22 EDT Last modified on Sunday 6 August 2017 17.00 EDT At last, a clear indication of the neoliberal revolution coming to an end ( How Britain fell out of love with the free market , 5 August). I wish it were more clearly stated by politicians and in the questions journalists ask them. It is high time to denounce those behind the whole scheme – one which is so obviously leading to many tragedies of the commons.

The academic (Friedman, Hayek, Buchanan et al), political (Reagan, Thatcher ...) and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust. The hypocrisy of that idea is astounding, the more so that it gained such following and influence, as every one of those who supported it had families, lived in communities, joined clubs and depended on others every day.

The article mentions the corruption of 2007-08 banking. The consequences from it, and neoliberalism generally, being many examples of tragedies of the commons: bonus culture, plastics pollution, accelerated species extinctions, atmospheric chaos and oceanic acidification, wars and mass migration. There's a great deal of highly damaging social and ecosystem free riding in play, and directly related to the perverse economic philosophy that is currently dominant.

Failed models need to be denounced and rejected, but that is inadequate without a clear statement of alternatives. The ghastly "there is no alternative" has to be rebuked, as there are and have to be alternatives. I would start by emphasising Elinor Ostrom's analysis of economic governance, especially the commons, for which she was awarded the Nobel prize in 2009. I encourage people to ask their councillors and MPs how policies benefit the common good. I want journalists to ask every politician how their actions benefit the common good.

Discussions about the boundaries between public, private and common need to be promoted in churches, pubs, town halls and parliament. Every policy is conducted with reference to the economy, but rarely are questions asked about the externalities involved in the policy. I look forward to a Guardian long read describing "alternatives to the orthodox".
Robin Le Mare
Allithwaite, Cumbria

Your excellent long read last Saturday could also have included a further casualty of capitalism – welfare services. In the late 80s, when I was working in Bolton's social services, I remember the arrival of the purchaser-provider split doctrine when some key health service manager colleagues were barred from our regular joint health and social services meetings because they were providers.

This approach of introducing the market economy started to affect us in social services in the early 1990s when we, too, were obliged by the government to restructure our departments and separate purchasing staff from providing staff.

It always intrigued me how introducing the market economy into the provision of welfare services would do anything but drive costs down rather than improve and increase our services to meet ever-increasing demand and expectations. So much so, that I chose to examine what differences a Labour government would bring to the delivery of social services and whether it would continue with a market economy approach, when I began my M Phil at Lincoln University in 1998.

Needless to say, when I completed my study three years later, I could only conclude that Labour continued to promote the concept of trading and a welfare industry driven by market forces, which has now led to the current crisis of a decimation of so many of the services we were once so proud of.

Your article implies that there is "a stirring among genuine Conservatives that capitalism is against place and home" I would add that capitalism is also against welfare.
Nick Thompson
Liverpool

[Sep 19, 2017] Goodbye neoliberalism, hello common good by Robin Le Mare

Notable quotes:
"... Allithwaite, Cumbria ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The academic, political and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust, argues Robin Le Mare Margaret Thatcher and Ronal Reagan great believers in neoliberilsm.

The academic, political and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust, argues Robin Le Mare

Letters

Sunday 6 August 2017 13.22 EDT Last modified on Sunday 6 August 2017 17.00 EDT At last, a clear indication of the neoliberal revolution coming to an end ( How Britain fell out of love with the free market , 5 August). I wish it were more clearly stated by politicians and in the questions journalists ask them. It is high time to denounce those behind the whole scheme – one which is so obviously leading to many tragedies of the commons.

The academic (Friedman, Hayek, Buchanan et al), political (Reagan, Thatcher ...) and philosophical basis, with its misanthropic view that everyone is essentially selfish, is bust. The hypocrisy of that idea is astounding, the more so that it gained such following and influence, as every one of those who supported it had families, lived in communities, joined clubs and depended on others every day.

The article mentions the corruption of 2007-08 banking. The consequences from it, and neoliberalism generally, being many examples of tragedies of the commons: bonus culture, plastics pollution, accelerated species extinctions, atmospheric chaos and oceanic acidification, wars and mass migration. There's a great deal of highly damaging social and ecosystem free riding in play, and directly related to the perverse economic philosophy that is currently dominant.

Failed models need to be denounced and rejected, but that is inadequate without a clear statement of alternatives. The ghastly "there is no alternative" has to be rebuked, as there are and have to be alternatives. I would start by emphasising Elinor Ostrom's analysis of economic governance, especially the commons, for which she was awarded the Nobel prize in 2009. I encourage people to ask their councillors and MPs how policies benefit the common good. I want journalists to ask every politician how their actions benefit the common good.

Discussions about the boundaries between public, private and common need to be promoted in churches, pubs, town halls and parliament. Every policy is conducted with reference to the economy, but rarely are questions asked about the externalities involved in the policy. I look forward to a Guardian long read describing "alternatives to the orthodox".
Robin Le Mare
Allithwaite, Cumbria

Your excellent long read last Saturday could also have included a further casualty of capitalism – welfare services. In the late 80s, when I was working in Bolton's social services, I remember the arrival of the purchaser-provider split doctrine when some key health service manager colleagues were barred from our regular joint health and social services meetings because they were providers.

This approach of introducing the market economy started to affect us in social services in the early 1990s when we, too, were obliged by the government to restructure our departments and separate purchasing staff from providing staff.

It always intrigued me how introducing the market economy into the provision of welfare services would do anything but drive costs down rather than improve and increase our services to meet ever-increasing demand and expectations. So much so, that I chose to examine what differences a Labour government would bring to the delivery of social services and whether it would continue with a market economy approach, when I began my M Phil at Lincoln University in 1998.

Needless to say, when I completed my study three years later, I could only conclude that Labour continued to promote the concept of trading and a welfare industry driven by market forces, which has now led to the current crisis of a decimation of so many of the services we were once so proud of.

Your article implies that there is "a stirring among genuine Conservatives that capitalism is against place and home" I would add that capitalism is also against welfare.
Nick Thompson
Liverpool

[Sep 19, 2017] How neoliberalism left a toxic legacy

Notable quotes:
"... Henllan, Denbighshire ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Reading your long read on liberalism, it crossed my mind that Friedrich Hayek must be turning in his grave ( The big idea that defines our era , 19 August). Neoliberalism has demolished Hayek's theory of markets. Markets are not free: they are controlled by a wealthy minority of state-sized corporations. Markets are not efficient: they generate mountains of waste as corporations walk away from every abandoned disaster, expecting someone else to clear up the mess. Markets are not competitive: mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and buyouts reduce competition and choice for the consumer. Multinational corporations and international banks so dominate national governments that criminality is tolerated and, in the case of banks, even accepted as normal.

The 2008 crash showed that only the insiders of the financial services industry know what is going on. When a combination of incompetence and greed wrecked the international economy, taxpayers/consumers had to fund a colossal bailout. If big government hadn't organised a rescue, the neoliberal marketplace would have disappeared up its own rectum. The "market economy" is not an "objective science". Hayek's big idea is fatally flawed.
Martin London
Henllan, Denbighshire

Hayek's may have been "the big idea that defines our era", but economies run by governments favouring his ideas, broadly those since Thatcher and Reagan, have been far less successful providing for the majority of their people than those that favoured John Maynard Keynes. Albert Camus wrote that his generation's task was to prevent the world destroying itself. Today it requires a triumph of hope over experience to believe that free marketeers will address climate change. And if the "invisible hand" should always decide, it was odd that its manifestation, almost immediately after WWII, was the finance sector recruiting (directly or indirectly) economists, journalists and politicians to reverse Keynes's theories and policies and to denounce him as a "tax and spender".
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey

What is neoliberalism? It's that moment when you ought to step in to do something about the dehumanised, exploited fast food courier, pedalling furiously along the busy pavement to the beat of the algorithm (past the homeless in their sleeping bags, the slaves in their nail bars and massage parlours, and the private security officers patrolling the "investment properties" that were once homes) before he ploughs into the arthritic, mentally ill woman painfully inching her way to humiliation at an "independent" work capability assessment – but you don't bother because you know the market's invisible hand will sort things out for you.
Ian McCormack
Leicester

[Sep 19, 2017] The political project of neoliberalism, brought to ascendence by Thatcher and Reagan, has pursued two principal objectives. The first has been to dismantle any barriers to the exercise of unaccountable private power. The second had been to erect them to the exercise of any democratic public will

Sep 19, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

The political project of neoliberalism , brought to ascendence by Thatcher and Reagan, has pursued two principal objectives. The first has been to dismantle any barriers to the exercise of unaccountable private power. The second had been to erect them to the exercise of any democratic public will.

Its trademark policies of privatization, deregulation, tax cuts and free trade deals: these have liberated corporations to accumulate enormous profits and treat the atmosphere like a sewage dump, and hamstrung our ability, through the instrument of the state, to plan for our collective welfare.

Anything resembling a collective check on corporate power has become a target of the elite: lobbying and corporate donations, hollowing out democracies, have obstructed green policies and kept fossil fuel subsidies flowing; and the rights of associations like unions, the most effective means for workers to wield power together, have been undercut whenever possible.

At the very moment when climate change demands an unprecedented collective public response, neoliberal ideology stands in the way. Which is why, if we want to bring down emissions fast, we will need to overcome all of its free-market mantras: take railways and utilities and energy grids back into public control; regulate corporations to phase out fossil fuels; and raise taxes to pay for massive investment in climate-ready infrastructure and renewable energy -- so that solar panels can go on everyone's rooftop, not just on those who can afford it.

Neoliberalism has not merely ensured this agenda is politically unrealistic: it has also tried to make it culturally unthinkable. Its celebration of competitive self-interest and hyper-individualism, its stigmatization of compassion and solidarity, has frayed our collective bonds . It has spread, like an insidious anti-social toxin, what Margaret Thatcher preached: "there is no such thing as society."

Studies show that people who have grown up under this era have indeed become more individualistic and consumerist . Steeped in a culture telling us to think of ourselves as consumers instead of citizens, as self-reliant instead of interdependent, is it any wonder we deal with a systemic issue by turning in droves to ineffectual, individual efforts? We are all Thatcher's children.

Even before the advent of neoliberalism, the capitalist economy had thrived on people believing that being afflicted by the structural problems of an exploitative system – poverty, joblessness, poor health, lack of fulfillment – was in fact a personal deficiency.

Neoliberalism has taken this internalized self-blame and turbocharged it. It tells you that you should not merely feel guilt and shame if you can't secure a good job, are deep in debt, and are too stressed or overworked for time with friends. You are now also responsible for bearing the burden of potential ecological collapse.

Of course we need people to consume less and innovate low-carbon alternatives – build sustainable farms, invent battery storages, spread zero-waste methods. But individual choices will most count when the economic system can provide viable, environmental options for everyone!not just an affluent or intrepid few.

If affordable mass transit isn't available, people will commute with cars. If local organic food is too expensive, they won't opt out of fossil fuel-intensive super-market chains. If cheap mass produced goods flow endlessly, they will buy and buy and buy. This is the con-job of neoliberalism: to persuade us to address climate change through our pocket-books, rather than through power and politics.

Eco-consumerism may expiate your guilt. But it's only mass movements that have the power to alter the trajectory of the climate crisis. This requires of us first a resolute mental break from the spell cast by neoliberalism: to stop thinking like individuals.

The good news is that the impulse of humans to come together is inextinguishable – and the collective imagination is already making a political come-back. The climate justice movement is blocking pipelines, forcing the divestment of trillions of dollars, and winning support for 100% clean energy economies in cities and states across the world. New ties are being drawn to Black Lives Matter, immigrant and Indigenous rights, and fights for better wages. On the heels of such movements, political parties seem finally ready to defy neoliberal dogma.

None more so than Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Manifesto spelled out a redistributive project to address climate change: by publicly retooling the economy, and insisting that corporate oligarchs no longer run amok. The notion that the rich should pay their fair share to fund this transformation was considered laughable by the political and media class. Millions disagreed. Society, long said to be departed, is now back with a vengeance.

So grow some carrots and jump on a bike: it will make you happier and healthier. But it is time to stop obsessing with how personally green we live – and start collectively taking on corporate power.

[Sep 16, 2017] The Transformation of the American Dream

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Language is important, but it can be slippery. Consider that the phrase, the American Dream, has changed radically through the years. Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, have suggested it involves owning a beautiful home and a roaring business, but it wasn't always so. Instead, in the 1930s, it meant freedom, mutual respect and equality of opportunity. It had more to do with morality than material success. ..."
"... This drift in meaning is significant... ..."
"... Survival and security are the bottom 2 levels on Maslow's pyramid. If that's at the top of the wish list it doesn't speak well of the environment where the list is made. I would say most people are aiming for levels 3-5, taking 1-2 for "granted" - but while level 1 (survival) is pretty much assured unless you get sick or are shot by a cop, level 2 is increasingly brittle. ..."
"... In different US locations, I heard my share of "living the dream" in response to "how are you" from retail clerks - which is obviously ironic and shows that people are well aware of it just being a narrative. It also reminds me of a quip in a Dilbert cartoon many years ago - "you only have the right to pursue happiness, not to actually achieve it". ..."
"... And what George Carlin had to say on the topic. ..."
Sep 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Robert Shiller:

The Transformation of the 'American Dream' : "The American Dream is back." President Trump made that claim in a speech in January.

They are ringing words, but what do they mean? Language is important, but it can be slippery. Consider that the phrase, the American Dream, has changed radically through the years. Mr. Trump and Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, have suggested it involves owning a beautiful home and a roaring business, but it wasn't always so. Instead, in the 1930s, it meant freedom, mutual respect and equality of opportunity. It had more to do with morality than material success.

This drift in meaning is significant...

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , August 06, 2017 at 08:09 AM

[How I achieved the American Dream -]

http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/northrop-grumman-lays-off-state-workers-under-contract-with-vita/article_3d39c735-9793-5885-aba5-135f6b24d3bf.html

Northrop Grumman lays off 51 state workers under contract with VITA

By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch

Jun 16, 2015

...
While Northrop Grumman made the decision on the layoffs, VITA informed the affected workers because they are state employees and placed them on leave through June 30. The state Department of Human Resources Management assisted the technology agency with the layoffs through its shared services center.

Affected employees will be offered state severance packages based on years of service, early retirement options, and "access to outplacement services."...

cm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , August 06, 2017 at 04:48 PM
What you describe in the first sentence is only one of many interpretations. But the (al)lure of the meme is that the interpretation is open-ended (one could also say "not well defined"; but isn't that what freedom is about - that the outcome and the way of achieving it are not rigidly prescribed?).

Survival and security are the bottom 2 levels on Maslow's pyramid. If that's at the top of the wish list it doesn't speak well of the environment where the list is made. I would say most people are aiming for levels 3-5, taking 1-2 for "granted" - but while level 1 (survival) is pretty much assured unless you get sick or are shot by a cop, level 2 is increasingly brittle.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to cm... , August 07, 2017 at 05:28 AM
The environment in a Detroit tenement grows a shorter Maslow's pyramid than Santa Clara Valley suburbs. Central VA is somewhere in between where the highest aspiration of the vast majority of people is to belong and have the esteem of others. Self-actualization and transcendence are not even things here save for a rare few strangers in a strange land.
cm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , August 07, 2017 at 10:26 PM
Well, all these terms are subject to interpretation and exist in degrees. Obviously survival is a strong prerequisite for the higher levels, but one can partially achieve higher levels without having achieved lower levels fully. At least for a while; or having achieved a lower level may be illusory (this was my actual point).

I would dispute that "almost everybody" cannot achieve esteem/self-actualization - at least for a while. How strong/persistent need the achievement be to count?

Then there is even the fundamental issue of knowing whether a level has really been "permanently" secured. E.g. safety - which can usually only be judged by demonstration of its absence.

Michael , August 06, 2017 at 03:53 PM
When Drumpf talks about the American Dream, he means more wealth, freedom, control, and sleaze for the oligarchy.
cm -> Michael... , August 06, 2017 at 04:36 PM
No he actually doesn't. It is just a BS phrase/meme, similar to "hard work". It is just signaling that one cares for/appreciates general virtues and the audience's desire for recognition and happiness. In the case of "hard work", perhaps also with the aspect of pushing role model narratives.

I never heard these phrases in any other context.

cm -> Michael... , August 06, 2017 at 04:41 PM
In different US locations, I heard my share of "living the dream" in response to "how are you" from retail clerks - which is obviously ironic and shows that people are well aware of it just being a narrative. It also reminds me of a quip in a Dilbert cartoon many years ago - "you only have the right to pursue happiness, not to actually achieve it".

And what George Carlin had to say on the topic.

[Sep 13, 2017] A despot in disguise: one mans mission to rip up democracy by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... He aimed, in short, to save capitalism from democracy. ..."
Sep 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

theguardian.com

George Monbiot's the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century. To read Nancy MacLean's new book, Democracy in Chains : The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, is to see what was previously invisible.

The history professor's work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan. She says the first thing she picked up was a stack of confidential letters concerning millions of dollars transferred to the university by the billionaire Charles Koch .

Her discoveries in that house of horrors reveal how Buchanan, in collaboration with business tycoons and the institutes they founded, developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. The programme is now reshaping politics, and not just in the US.

Buchanan was strongly influenced by both the neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises , and the property supremacism of John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses.

James Buchanan brought these influences together to create what he called public choice theory . He argued that a society could not be considered free unless every citizen has the right to veto its decisions. What he meant by this was that no one should be taxed against their will. But the rich were being exploited by people who use their votes to demand money that others have earned, through involuntary taxes to support public spending and welfare. Allowing workers to form trade unions and imposing graduated income taxes were forms of "differential or discriminatory legislation" against the owners of capital.

Any clash between "freedom" (allowing the rich to do as they wish) and democracy should be resolved in favour of freedom. In his book The Limits of Liberty , he noted that "despotism may be the only organisational alternative to the political structure that we observe." Despotism in defence of freedom.

His prescription was a "constitutional revolution": creating irrevocable restraints to limit democratic choice. Sponsored throughout his working life by wealthy foundations, billionaires and corporations, he developed a theoretical account of what this constitutional revolution would look like, and a strategy for implementing it.

He explained how attempts to desegregate schooling in the American south could be frustrated by setting up a network of state-sponsored private schools. It was he who first proposed privatizing universities, and imposing full tuition fees on students: his original purpose was to crush student activism. He urged privatization of social security and many other functions of the state. He sought to break the links between people and government, and demolish trust in public institutions. He aimed, in short, to save capitalism from democracy.

In 1980, he was able to put the programme into action. He was invited to Chile , where he helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982.

None of this troubled the Swedish Academy, which through his devotee at Stockholm University Assar Lindbeck in 1986 awarded James Buchanan the Nobel memorial prize for economics . It is one of several decisions that have turned this prize toxic.

Koch officials said that the network's midterm budget for policy and politics is between $300m and $400m, but donors are demanding legislative progress

But his power really began to be felt when Koch, currently the seventh richest man in the US, decided that Buchanan held the key to the transformation he sought. Koch saw even such ideologues as Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan as "sellouts", as they sought to improve the efficiency of government rather than destroy it altogether . But Buchanan took it all the way.

MacLean says that Charles Koch poured millions into Buchanan's work at George Mason University, whose law and economics departments look as much like corporate-funded thinktanks as they do academic faculties. He employed the economist to select the revolutionary "cadre" that would implement his programme (Murray Rothbard, at the Cato Institute that Koch founded, had urged the billionaire to study Lenin's techniques and apply them to the libertarian cause). Between them, they began to develop a programme for changing the rules.

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that "conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential". Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical "reforms". (The same argument is used by those attacking the NHS). Gradually they would build a "counter-intelligentsia", allied to a "vast network of political power" that would become the new establishment.

Through the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored, through their transformation of the Republican party, and the hundreds of millions they have poured into state congressional and judicial races, through the mass colonisation of Trump's administration by members of this network and lethally effective campaigns against everything from public health to action on climate change, it would be fair to say that Buchanan's vision is maturing in the US.

But not just there. Reading this book felt like a demisting of the window through which I see British politics. The bonfire of regulations highlighted by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the destruction of state architecture through austerity, the budgeting rules, the dismantling of public services, tuition fees and the control of schools: all these measures follow Buchanan's programme to the letter. I wonder how many people are aware that David Cameron's free schools project stands in a tradition designed to hamper racial desegregation in the American south.

In one respect, Buchanan was right: there is an inherent conflict between what he called "economic freedom" and political liberty. Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can be delivered only through deception and authoritarian control. The choice we face is between unfettered capitalism and democracy. You cannot have both.

Buchanan's programme is a prescription for totalitarian capitalism. And his disciples have only begun to implement it. But at least, thanks to MacLean's discoveries, we can now apprehend the agenda. One of the first rules of politics is, know your enemy. We're getting there.

[Sep 11, 2017] Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what is wrenching society apart by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Consumerism fills the social void. But far from curing the disease of isolation, it intensifies social comparison to the point at which, having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing, and to see that other people have more friends and followers than we do. ..."
"... A recent survey in England suggests that one in four women between 16 and 24 have harmed themselves, and one in eight now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder affect 26% of women in this age group. This is what a public health crisis looks like. ..."
"... Opioids relieve both physical agony and the distress of separation. Perhaps this explains the link between social isolation and drug addiction. ..."
"... Children who experience emotional neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement. ..."
"... It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It's more surprising to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is a project that explicitly aims, and has achieved, the undermining and elimination of social networks in favour of market competition ..."
"... In practice, loosening social and legal institutions has reduced social security (in the general sense rather than simply welfare payments) and encouraged the limitation of social interaction to money based activity ..."
"... All powerful institutions have a vested interest in keeping us atomized and individualistic. The gangs at the top don't want competition. They're afraid of us. In particular, they're afraid of men organising into gangs. That's where this very paper comes in ..."
"... The alienation genie was out of the bottle with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and mass migration to cities began and we abandoned living in village communities ..."
"... Neoliberalism expressly encourages 'atomisation'- it is all about reducing human interaction to markets. And so this is just one of the reasons that neoliberalism is such a bunk philosophy. ..."
"... My stab at an answer would first question the notion that we are engaging in anything. That presupposes we are making the choices. Those who set out the options are the ones that make the choices. We are being engaged by the grotesquely privileged and the pathologically greedy in an enterprise that profits them still further. It suits the 1% very well strategically, for obvious reasons, that the 99% don't swap too many ideas with each other. ..."
"... According to Robert Putnam, as societies become more ethnically diverse they lose social capital, contributing to the type of isolation and loneliness which George describes. Doesn't sound as evil as neoliberalism I suppose. ..."
"... multiculturalism is a direct result of Neoliberalism. The market rules and people are secondary. Everything must be done for business owners, and that everything means access to cheap labor. ..."
"... I'd have thought what he really wants to say is that loneliness as a phenomenon in modern Western society arises out of an intent on the part of our political and social elites to divide us all into competing against one another, as individuals and as members of groups, all the better to keep us under control and prevent us from working together to claim our fair share of resources. ..."
"... Has it occurred to you that the collapse in societal values has allowed 'neo-liberalism' to take hold? ..."
"... No. It has been the concentrated propaganda of the "free" press. Rupert Murdoch in particular, but many other well-funded organisations working in the background over 50 years. They are winning. ..."
"... We're fixated on a magical, abstract concept called "the economy". Everything must be done to help "the economy", even if this means adults working through their weekends, neglecting their children, neglecting their elderly parents, eating at their desks, getting diabetes, breaking down from stress, and giving up on a family life. ..."
"... You can make a reasonable case that 'Neoliberalism' expects that every interaction, including between individuals, can be reduced to a financial one. ..."
"... As can be seen from many of the posts, neo-liberalism depends on, and fosters, ignorance, an inability to see things from historical and different perspectives and social and intellectual disciplines. On a sociological level how other societies are arranged throws up interesting comparisons. Scandanavian countries, which have mostly avoided neo-liberalism by and large, are happier, healthier places to live. America and eastern countries arranged around neo-liberal, market driven individualism, are unhappy places, riven with mental and physical health problems and many more social problems of violence, crime and suicide. ..."
"... The people who fosted this this system onto us, are now either very old or dead. We're living in the shadow of their revolutionary transformation of our more equitable post-war society. Hayek, Friedman, Keith Joseph, Thatcher, Greenspan and tangentially but very influentially Ayn Rand. Although a remainder (I love the wit of the term 'Remoaner') , Brexit can be better understood in the context of the death-knell of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Criticism of his hypotheses on this thread (where articualted at all) focus on the existence of solitude and loneliness prior to neo liberalism, which seems to me to be to deliberately miss his point: this was formerly a minor phenomenon, yet is now writ on an incredible scale - and it is a social phenomenon particular to those western economies whose elites have most enthusiastically embraced neo liberalism. ..."
"... We all want is to: (and feel we have the right to) wear the best clothes, have the foreign holidays, own the latest tech and eat the finest foods. At the same time our rights have increased and awareness of our responsibilities have minimized. The execution of common sense and an awareness that everything that goes wrong will always be someone else fault. ..."
"... We are not all special snowflakes, princesses or worthy of special treatment, but we act like self absorbed, entitled individuals. Whether that's entitled to benefits, the front of the queue or bumped into first because its our birthday! ..."
"... Unhealthy social interaction, yes. You can never judge what is natural to humans based on contemporary Britain. Anthropologists repeatedly find that what we think natural is merely a social construct created by the system we are subject to. ..."
"... We are becoming fearful of each other and I believe the insecurity we feel plays a part in this. ..."
"... We have become so disconnected from ourselves and focused on battling to stay afloat. Having experienced periods of severe stress due to lack of money I couldn't even begin to think about how I felt, how happy I was, what I really wanted to do with my life. I just had to pay my landlord, pay the bills and try and put some food on my table so everything else was totally neglected. ..."
"... We need a radical change of political thinking to focus on quality of life rather than obsession with the size of our economy. High levels of immigration of people who don't really integrate into their local communities has fractured our country along with the widening gap between rich and poor. Governments only see people in terms of their "economic value" - hence mothers being driven out to work, children driven into daycare and the elderly driven into care homes. Britain is becoming a soulless place - even our great British comedy is on the decline. ..."
"... Quality of life is far more important than GDP I agree but it is also far more important than inequality. ..."
"... Thatcher was only responsible for "letting it go" in Britain in 1980, but actually it was already racing ahead around the world. ..."
"... Eric Fromm made similar arguments to Monbiot about the psychological impact of modern capitalism (Fear of Freedom and The Sane Society) - although the Freudian element is a tad outdated. However, for all the faults of modern society, I'd rather be unhappy now than in say, Victorian England. Similarly, life in the West is preferable to the obvious alternatives. ..."
"... Whilst it's very important to understand how neoliberalism, the ideology that dare not speak it's name, derailed the general progress in the developed world. It's also necessary to understand that the roots this problem go much further back. Not merely to the start of the industrial revolution, but way beyond that. It actually began with the first civilizations when our societies were taken over by powerful rulers, and they essentially started to farm the people they ruled like cattle. On the one hand they declared themselves protector of their people, whilst ruthlessly exploiting them for their own political gain. I use the livestock farming analogy, because that explains what is going on. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism allows psychopaths to flourish, and it has been argued by Robert Hare that they are disproportionately represented in the highest echelons of society. So people who lack empathy and emotional attachment are probably weilding a significant amount of influence over the way our economy and society is organised. Is it any wonder that they advocate an economic model which is most conducive to their success? Things like job security, rigged markets, unions, and higher taxes on the rich simply get in their way. ..."
"... . Data suggests that inequality has widened massively over the last 30 years ( https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/infographic-income-inequality-uk ) - as has social mobility ( https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/22/social-mobility-data-charts ). Homelessness has risen substantially since 1979. ..."
"... As a director and CEO of an organisation employing several hundred people I became aware that 40% of the staff lived alone and that the workplace was important to them not only for work but also for interacting with their colleagues socially . ..."
"... A thoughtful article. But the rich and powerful will ignore it; their doing very well out of neo liberalism thank you. Meanwhile many of those whose lives are affected by it don't want to know - they're happy with their bigger TV screen. Which of course is what the neoliberals want, 'keep the people happy and in the dark'. An old Roman tactic - when things weren't going too well for citizens and they were grumbling the leaders just extended the 'games'. Evidently it did the trick ..."
"... Sounds like the inevitable logical outcome of a society where the predator sociopathic and their scared prey are all that is allowed. This dynamic dualistic tautology, the slavish terrorised to sleep and bullying narcissistic individual, will always join together to protect their sick worldview by pathologising anything that will threaten their hegemony of power abuse: compassion, sensitivity, moral conscience, altruism and the immediate effects of the ruthless social effacement or punishment of the same ie human suffering. ..."
"... "Alienation, in all areas, has reached unprecedented heights; the social machinery for deluding consciousnesses in the interest of the ruling class has been perfected as never before. The media are loaded with upscale advertising identifying sophistication with speciousness. Television, in constant use, obliterates the concept under the image and permanently feeds a baseless credulity for events and history. Against the will of many students, school doesn't develop the highly cultivated critical capacities that a real sovereignty of the people would require. And so on. ..."
"... There's no question - neoliberalism has been wrenching society apart. It's not as if the prime movers of this ideology were unaware of the likely outcome viz. "there is no such thing as society" (Thatcher). Actually in retrospect the whole zeitgeist from the late 70s emphasised the atomised individual separated from the whole. Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (1976) may have been influential in creating that climate. ..."
"... I would add that the basic concepts of the Neoliberal New world order are fundamentally Evil, from the control of world population through supporting of strife starvation and war to financial inducements of persons in positions of power. Let us not forget the training of our younger members of our society who have been induced to a slavish love of technology. ..."
"... The kind of personal freedom that you say goes hand in hand with capitalism is an illusion for the majority of people. It holds up the prospect of that kind of freedom, but only a minority get access to it. ..."
"... Problems in society are not solved by having a one hour a week class on "self esteem". In fact self-esteem and self-worth comes from the things you do. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is the bastard child of globalization which in effect is Americanization. The basic premise is the individual is totally reliant on the corporate world state aided by a process of fear inducing mechanisms, pharmacology is one of the tools. No community no creativity no free thinking. Poded sealed and cling filmed a quasi existence. ..."
"... Having grown up during the Thatcher years, I entirely agree that neoliberalism has divided society by promoting individual self-optimisation at the expensive of everyone else. ..."
"... There is no such thing as a free-market society. Your society of 'self-interest' is really a state supported oligarchy. If you really want to live in a society where there is literally no state and a more or less open market try Somalia or a Latin American city run by drug lords - but even then there are hierarchies, state involvement, militias. ..."
"... Furthermore, a society in which people are encouraged to be narrowly selfish is just plain uncivilized. Since when have sociopathy and barbarism been something to aspire to? ..."
"... Why don't we explore some of the benefits?.. Following the long list of some the diseases, loneliness can inflict on individuals, there must be a surge in demand for all sort of medications; anti-depressants must be topping the list. There is a host many other anti-stress treatments available of which Big Pharma must be carving the lion's share. Examine the micro-economic impact immediately following a split or divorce. There is an instant doubling on the demand for accommodation, instant doubling on the demand for electrical and household items among many other products and services. But the icing on the cake and what is really most critical for Neoliberalism must be this: With the morale barometer hitting the bottom, people will be less likely to think of a better future, and therefore, less likely to protest. In fact, there is nothing left worth protecting. ..."
"... Your freedom has been curtailed. Your rights are evaporating in front of your eyes. And Best of all, from the authorities' perspective, there is no relationship to defend and there is no family to protect. If you have a job, you want to keep, you must prove your worthiness every day to 'a company'. ..."
Oct 12, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest, catastrophic figures for children's mental health in England reflect a global crisis.

There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same: human beings, the ultrasocial mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology. Though our wellbeing is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme individualism.

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet. The education system becomes more brutally competitive by the year. Employment is a fight to the near-death with a multitude of other desperate people chasing ever fewer jobs. The modern overseers of the poor ascribe individual blame to economic circumstance. Endless competitions on television feed impossible aspirations as real opportunities contract.

Consumerism fills the social void. But far from curing the disease of isolation, it intensifies social comparison to the point at which, having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing, and to see that other people have more friends and followers than we do.

As Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett has brilliantly documented, girls and young women routinely alter the photos they post to make themselves look smoother and slimmer. Some phones, using their "beauty" settings, do it for you without asking; now you can become your own thinspiration. Welcome to the post-Hobbesian dystopia: a war of everyone against themselves.

Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing

Is it any wonder, in these lonely inner worlds, in which touching has been replaced by retouching, that young women are drowning in mental distress? A recent survey in England suggests that one in four women between 16 and 24 have harmed themselves, and one in eight now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder affect 26% of women in this age group. This is what a public health crisis looks like.

If social rupture is not treated as seriously as broken limbs, it is because we cannot see it. But neuroscientists can. A series of fascinating papers suggest that social pain and physical pain are processed by the same neural circuits. This might explain why, in many languages, it is hard to describe the impact of breaking social bonds without the words we use to denote physical pain and injury. In both humans and other social mammals, social contact reduces physical pain. This is why we hug our children when they hurt themselves: affection is a powerful analgesic. Opioids relieve both physical agony and the distress of separation. Perhaps this explains the link between social isolation and drug addiction.

Experiments summarised in the journal Physiology & Behaviour last month suggest that, given a choice of physical pain or isolation, social mammals will choose the former. Capuchin monkeys starved of both food and contact for 22 hours will rejoin their companions before eating. Children who experience emotional neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement.

It is not hard to see what the evolutionary reasons for social pain might be. Survival among social mammals is greatly enhanced when they are strongly bonded with the rest of the pack. It is the isolated and marginalised animals that are most likely to be picked off by predators, or to starve. Just as physical pain protects us from physical injury, emotional pain protects us from social injury. It drives us to reconnect. But many people find this almost impossible.

It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It's more surprising to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system.

Studies in both animals and humans suggest a reason for comfort eating: isolation reduces impulse control, leading to obesity. As those at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder are the most likely to suffer from loneliness, might this provide one of the explanations for the strong link between low economic status and obesity?

Anyone can see that something far more important than most of the issues we fret about has gone wrong. So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain? Should this question not burn the lips of everyone in public life?

There are some wonderful charities doing what they can to fight this tide, some of which I am going to be working with as part of my loneliness project. But for every person they reach, several others are swept past.

This does not require a policy response. It requires something much bigger: the reappraisal of an entire worldview. Of all the fantasies human beings entertain, the idea that we can go it alone is the most absurd and perhaps the most dangerous. We stand together or we fall apart.

RachelL , 12 Oct 2016 03:57

Well its a bit of a stretch blaming neoliberalism for creating loneliness. Yet it seems to be the fashion today to imagine that the world we live in is new...only created just years ago. And all the suffering that we see now never existed before. Plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness never happened in the past, because everything was bright and shiny and world was good.

Regrettably history teaches us that suffering and deprivation have dogged mankind for centuries, if not tens of thousands of years. That's what we do; survive, persist...endure. Blaming 'neoliberalism' is a bit of cop-out. It's the human condition man, just deal with it.

B26354 , 12 Oct 2016 03:57
Some of the connections here are a bit tenuous, to say the least, including the link to political ideology. Economic liberalism is usually accompanied with social conservatism, and vice versa. Right wing ideologues are more likely to emphasize the values of marriage and family stability, while left wing ones are more likely to favor extremes of personal freedom and reject those traditional structures that used to bind us together.
ID236975 -> B26354 , 12 Oct 2016 04:15
You're a little confused there in your connections between policies, intentions and outcomes. Nevertheless, Neoliberalism is a project that explicitly aims, and has achieved, the undermining and elimination of social networks in favour of market competition.

In practice, loosening social and legal institutions has reduced social security (in the general sense rather than simply welfare payments) and encouraged the limitation of social interaction to money based activity.

As Monbiot has noted, we are indeed lonelier.

DoctorLiberty -> B26354 , 12 Oct 2016 04:18
That holds true when you're talking about demographics/voters.

Economic and social liberalism go hand in hand in the West. No matter who's in power, the establishment pushes both but will do one or the other covertly.

All powerful institutions have a vested interest in keeping us atomized and individualistic. The gangs at the top don't want competition. They're afraid of us. In particular, they're afraid of men organising into gangs. That's where this very paper comes in.

deskandchair , 12 Oct 2016 04:00
The alienation genie was out of the bottle with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and mass migration to cities began and we abandoned living in village communities. Over the ensuing approx 250 years we abandoned geographically close relationships with extended families, especially post WW2. Underlying economic structures both capitalist and marxist dissolved relationships that we as communal primates evolved within. Then accelerate this mess with (anti-) social media the last 20 years along with economic instability and now dissolution of even the nuclear family (which couldn't work in the first place, we never evolved to live with just two parents looking after children) and here we have it: Mass mental illness. Solution? None. Just form the best type of extended community both within and outside of family, be engaged and generours with your community hope for the best.
terraform_drone -> deskandchair , 12 Oct 2016 04:42
Indeed, Industrialisation of our pre-prescribed lifestyle is a huge factor. In particular, our food, it's low quality, it's 24 hour avaliability, it's cardboard box ambivalence, has caused a myriad of health problems. Industrialisation is about profit for those that own the 'production-line' & much less about the needs of the recipient.
afinch , 12 Oct 2016 04:03

It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat.

Yes, although there is some question of which order things go in. A supportive social network is clearly helpful, but it's hardly a simple cause and effect. Levels of different mental health problems appear to differ widely across societies just in Europe, and it isn't particularly the case that more capitalist countries have greater incidence than less capitalist ones.

You could just as well blame atheism. Since the rise of neo-liberalism and drop in church attendance track each other pretty well, and since for all their ills churches did provide a social support group, why not blame that?

ID236975 -> afinch, 12 Oct 2016 04:22
While attending a church is likely to alleviate loneliness, atheism doesn't expressly encourage limiting social interactions and selfishness. And of course, reduced church attendance isn't exactly the same as atheism.

Neoliberalism expressly encourages 'atomisation'- it is all about reducing human interaction to markets. And so this is just one of the reasons that neoliberalism is such a bunk philosophy.

anotherspace , 12 Oct 2016 04:05
So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain?

My stab at an answer would first question the notion that we are engaging in anything. That presupposes we are making the choices. Those who set out the options are the ones that make the choices. We are being engaged by the grotesquely privileged and the pathologically greedy in an enterprise that profits them still further. It suits the 1% very well strategically, for obvious reasons, that the 99% don't swap too many ideas with each other.

notherspace -> TremblingFactHunt , 12 Oct 2016 05:46
We as individuals are offered the 'choice' of consumption as an alternative to the devastating ennui engendered by powerlessness. It's no choice at all of course, because consumption merely enriches the 1% and exacerbates our powerlessness. That was the whole point of my post.

The 'choice' to consume is never collectively exercised as you suggest. Sadly. If it was, 'we' might be able to organise ourselves into doing something about it.

Burstcouch , 12 Oct 2016 04:09
According to Robert Putnam, as societies become more ethnically diverse they lose social capital, contributing to the type of isolation and loneliness which George describes. Doesn't sound as evil as neoliberalism I suppose.
ParisHiltonCommune -> Burstcouch , 12 Oct 2016 07:59
Disagree. Im British but have had more foreign friends than British. The UK middle class tend to be boring insular social status obsessed drones.other nationalities have this too, but far less so
Dave Powell -> Burstcouch , 12 Oct 2016 10:54
Multiculturalism is destroying social cohesion.
ParisHiltonCommune -> Dave Powell , 12 Oct 2016 14:47
Well, yes, but multiculturalism is a direct result of Neoliberalism. The market rules and people are secondary. Everything must be done for business owners, and that everything means access to cheap labor.

Multiculturalism isn't the only thing destroying social cohesion, too. It was being destroyed long before the recent surges of immigrants. It was reported many times in the 1980's in communities made up of only one culture. In many ways, it is being used as the obvious distraction from all the other ways Fundamentalist Free Marketers wreck live for many.

Rozina , 12 Oct 2016 04:09
This post perhaps ranges too widely to the point of being vague and general, and leading Monbiot to make some huge mental leaps, linking loneliness to a range of mental and physical problems without being able to explain, for example, the link between loneliness and obesity and all the steps in-between without risking derailment into a side issue.

I'd have thought what he really wants to say is that loneliness as a phenomenon in modern Western society arises out of an intent on the part of our political and social elites to divide us all into competing against one another, as individuals and as members of groups, all the better to keep us under control and prevent us from working together to claim our fair share of resources.

Go on, George, you can say that, why not?

MSP1984 , 12 Oct 2016 04:18
Are you familiar with the term 'Laughter is the best medicine'? Well, it's true. When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins, yeah? Your stress hormones are reduced and the oxygen supply to your blood is increased, so...

I try to laugh several times a day just because... it makes you feel good! Let's try that, eh? Ohohoo... Hahaha... Just, just... Hahahaha... Come on, trust me.. you'll feel.. HahaHAhaha! O-o-o-o-a-hahahahaa... Share

ID8701745 , 12 Oct 2016 04:19
>Neoliberalism is creating loneliness.

Has it occurred to you that the collapse in societal values has allowed 'neo-liberalism' to take hold?

totaram -> ID8701745 , 12 Oct 2016 05:00
No. It has been the concentrated propaganda of the "free" press. Rupert Murdoch in particular, but many other well-funded organisations working in the background over 50 years. They are winning.
greenwichite , 12 Oct 2016 04:20
We're fixated on a magical, abstract concept called "the economy". Everything must be done to help "the economy", even if this means adults working through their weekends, neglecting their children, neglecting their elderly parents, eating at their desks, getting diabetes, breaking down from stress, and giving up on a family life.

Impertinent managers ban their staff from office relationships, as company policy, because the company is more important than its staff's wellbeing.

Companies hand out "free" phones that allow managers to harrass staff for work out of hours, on the understanding that they will be sidelined if thy don't respond.

And the wellbeing of "the economy" is of course far more important than whether the British people actually want to merge into a European superstate. What they want is irrelevant.

That nasty little scumbag George Osborne was the apotheosis of this ideology, but he was abetted by journalists who report any rise in GDP as "good" - no matter how it was obtained - and any "recession" to be the equivalent of a major natural disaster.

If we go on this way, the people who suffer the most will be the rich, because it will be them swinging from the lamp-posts, or cowering in gated communities that they dare not leave (Venezuela, South Africa). Those riots in London five years ago were a warning. History is littered with them.

DiscoveredJoys -> greenwichite , 12 Oct 2016 05:48
You can make a reasonable case that 'Neoliberalism' expects that every interaction, including between individuals, can be reduced to a financial one. If this results in loneliness then that's certainly a downside - but the upside is that billions have been lifted out of absolute poverty worldwide by 'Neoliberalism'.

Mr Monbiot creates a compelling argument that we should end 'Neoliberalism' but he is very vague about what should replace it other than a 'different worldview'. Destruction is easy, but creation is far harder.

concerned4democracy , 12 Oct 2016 04:28
As a retired teacher it grieves me greatly to see the way our education service has become obsessed by testing and assessment. Sadly the results are used not so much to help children learn and develop, but rather as a club to beat schools and teachers with. Pressurised schools produce pressurised children. Compare and contrast with education in Finland where young people are not formally assessed until they are 17 years old. We now assess toddlers in nursery schools.
SATs in Primary schools had children concentrating on obscure grammatical terms and usage which they will never ever use again. Pointless and counter-productive.
Gradgrind values driving out the joy of learning.
And promoting anxiety and mental health problems.
colddebtmountain , 12 Oct 2016 04:33
It is all the things you describe, Mr Monbiot, and then some. This dystopian hell, when anything that did work is broken and all things that have never worked are lined up for a little tinkering around the edges until the camouflage is good enough to kid people it is something new. It isn't just neoliberal madness that has created this, it is selfish human nature that has made it possible, corporate fascism that has hammered it into shape. and an army of mercenaries who prefer the take home pay to morality. Crime has always paid especially when governments are the crooks exercising the law.

The value of life has long been forgotten as now the only thing that matters is how much you can be screwed for either dead or alive. And yet the Trumps, the Clintons, the Camerons, the Johnsons, the Merkels, the Mays, the news media, the banks, the whole crooked lot of them, all seem to believe there is something worth fighting for in what they have created, when painfully there is not. We need revolution and we need it to be lead by those who still believe all humanity must be humble, sincere, selfless and most of all morally sincere. Freedom, justice, and equality for all, because the alternative is nothing at all.

excathedra , 12 Oct 2016 04:35
Ive long considered neo-liberalism as the cause of many of our problems, particularly the rise in mental health problems, alienation and loneliness.

As can be seen from many of the posts, neo-liberalism depends on, and fosters, ignorance, an inability to see things from historical and different perspectives and social and intellectual disciplines. On a sociological level how other societies are arranged throws up interesting comparisons. Scandanavian countries, which have mostly avoided neo-liberalism by and large, are happier, healthier places to live. America and eastern countries arranged around neo-liberal, market driven individualism, are unhappy places, riven with mental and physical health problems and many more social problems of violence, crime and suicide.

The worst thing is that the evidence shows it doesn't work. Not one of the privatisations in this country have worked. All have been worse than what they've replaced, all have cost more, depleted the treasury and led to massive homelessness, increased mental health problems with the inevitable financial and social costs, costs which are never acknowledged by its adherents.

Put crudely, the more " I'm alright, fuck you " attitude is fostered, the worse societies are. Empires have crashed and burned under similar attitudes.

MereMortal , 12 Oct 2016 04:37
A fantastic article as usual from Mr Monbiot.

The people who fosted this this system onto us, are now either very old or dead. We're living in the shadow of their revolutionary transformation of our more equitable post-war society. Hayek, Friedman, Keith Joseph, Thatcher, Greenspan and tangentially but very influentially Ayn Rand. Although a remainder (I love the wit of the term 'Remoaner') , Brexit can be better understood in the context of the death-knell of neoliberalism.

I never understood how the collapse of world finance, resulted in a right wing resurgence in the UK and the US. The Tea Party in the US made the absurd claim that the failure of global finance was not due to markets being fallible, but because free markets had not been enforced citing Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac as their evidence and of Bill Clinton insisting on more poor and black people being given mortgages.

I have a terrible sense that it will not go quietly, there will be massive global upheavals as governments struggle deal with its collapse.

flyboy101 , 12 Oct 2016 04:39
I have never really agreed with GM - but this article hits the nail on the head.

I think there are a number of aspects to this:

  1. The internet. The being in constant contact, our lives mapped and our thoughts analysed - we can comment on anything (whether informed or total drivel) and we've been fed the lie that our opinion is is right and that it matters) Ive removed fscebook and twitter from my phone, i have never been happier
  2. Rolling 24 hour news. That is obsessed with the now, and consistently squeezes very complex issues into bite sized simple dichotomies. Obsessed with results and critical in turn of everyone who fails to feed the machine
  3. The increasing slicing of work into tighter and slimmer specialisms, with no holistic view of the whole, this forces a box ticking culture. "Ive stamped my stamp, my work is done" this leads to a lack of ownership of the whole. PIP assessments are an almost perfect example of this - a box ticking exercise, designed by someone who'll never have to go through it, with no flexibility to put the answers into a holistic context.
  4. Our education system is designed to pass exams and not prepare for the future or the world of work - the only important aspect being the compilation of next years league tables and the schools standings. This culture is neither healthy no helpful, as students are schooled on exam technique in order to squeeze out the marks - without putting the knowledge into a meaningful and understandable narrative.

Apologies for the long post - I normally limit myself to a trite insulting comment :) but felt more was required in this instance.

Taxiarch -> flyboy101 , 12 Oct 2016 05:42
Overall, I agree with your points. Monbiot here adopts a blunderbuss approach (competitive self-interest and extreme individualism; "brutal" education, employment social security; consumerism, social media and vanity). Criticism of his hypotheses on this thread (where articualted at all) focus on the existence of solitude and loneliness prior to neo liberalism, which seems to me to be to deliberately miss his point: this was formerly a minor phenomenon, yet is now writ on an incredible scale - and it is a social phenomenon particular to those western economies whose elites have most enthusiastically embraced neo liberalism. So, when Monbiot's rhetoric rises:

"So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces is unbearable pain?"

the answer is, of course, 'western capitalist elites'.

We stand together or we fall apart.

Hackneyed and unoriginal but still true for all that.

flyboy101 -> Taxiarch , 12 Oct 2016 06:19
I think the answer is only

the answer is, of course, 'western capitalist elites'.

because of the lies that are being sold. We all want is to: (and feel we have the right to) wear the best clothes, have the foreign holidays, own the latest tech and eat the finest foods. At the same time our rights have increased and awareness of our responsibilities have minimized. The execution of common sense and an awareness that everything that goes wrong will always be someone else fault.

We are not all special snowflakes, princesses or worthy of special treatment, but we act like self absorbed, entitled individuals. Whether that's entitled to benefits, the front of the queue or bumped into first because its our birthday!

I share Monbiots pain here. But rather than get a sense of perspective - the answer is often "More public money and counseling"

DGIxjhLBTdhTVh7T , 12 Oct 2016 04:42
George Monbiot has struck a nerve. They are there every day in my small town local park: people, young and old, gender and ethnically diverse, siting on benches for a couple of hours at a time.

Trite as it may seem, this temporary thread of canine affection breaks the taboo of strangers passing by on the other side. Conversations, sometimes stilted, sometimes deeper and more meaningful, ensue as dog walkers become a brief daily healing force in a fractured world of loneliness. It's not much credit in the bank of sociability. But it helps.

Trite as it may seem from the outside, their interaction with the myriad pooches regularly walk

wakeup99 -> DGIxjhLBTdhTVh7T , 12 Oct 2016 04:47
Do a parkrun and you get the same thing. Free and healthy.
ParisHiltonCommune -> SenseCir , 12 Oct 2016 08:47
Unhealthy social interaction, yes. You can never judge what is natural to humans based on contemporary Britain. Anthropologists repeatedly find that what we think natural is merely a social construct created by the system we are subject to.

If you don't work hard, you will be a loser, don't look out of the window day dreaming you lazy slacker. Get productive, Mr Burns millions need you to work like a machine or be replaced by one.

Sandra Hannen Gomez , 12 Oct 2016 04:46
Good article. You´re absoluately right. And the deeper casue is this: separation from God. If we don´t fight our way back to God, individually and collectively, things are going to get a lot worse. With God, loneliness doesn´t exist. I encourage anyone and everyone to start talking to Him today and invite Him into your heart and watch what starts to happen.
wakeup99 -> Sandra Hannen Gomez , 12 Oct 2016 04:52
Religion divides not brings people together. Only when you embrace all humanity and ignore all gods will you find true happiness. The world and the people in it are far more inspiring when you contemplate the lack of any gods. The fact people do amazing things without needing the promise of heaven or the threat of hell - that is truly moving.
TeaThoughts -> Sandra Hannen Gomez , 12 Oct 2016 05:23
I see what you're saying but I read 'love' instead of God. God is too religious which separates and divides ("I'm this religion and my god is better than yours" etc etc). I believe that George is right in many ways in that money is very powerful on it's impact on our behavior (stress, lack etc) and therefore our lives. We are becoming fearful of each other and I believe the insecurity we feel plays a part in this.

We have become so disconnected from ourselves and focused on battling to stay afloat. Having experienced periods of severe stress due to lack of money I couldn't even begin to think about how I felt, how happy I was, what I really wanted to do with my life. I just had to pay my landlord, pay the bills and try and put some food on my table so everything else was totally neglected.

When I moved house to move in with family and wasn't expected to pay rent, though I offered, all that dissatisfaction and undealt with stuff came spilling out and I realised I'd had no time for any real safe care above the very basics and that was not a good place to be. I put myself into therapy for a while and started to look after myself and things started to change. I hope to never go back to that kind of position but things are precarious financially and the field I work in isn't well paid but it makes me very happy which I realise now is more important.

geoffhoppy , 12 Oct 2016 04:47
Neo-liberalism has a lot to answer for in bringing misery to our lives and accelerating the demise of the planet but I find it not guilty on this one. The current trends as to how people perceive themselves (what you've got rather than who you are) and the increasing isolation in our cities started way before the neo-liberals. It is getting worse though and on balance social media is making us more connected but less social. Share
RandomName2016 , 12 Oct 2016 04:48
The way that the left keeps banging on about neoliberalism is half of what makes them such a tough sell electorally. Just about nobody knows what neoliberalism is, and literally nobody self identifies as a neoliberal. So all this moaning and wailing about neoliberalism comes across as a self absorbed, abstract and irrelevant. I expect there is the germ of an idea in there, but until the left can find away to present that idea without the baffling layer of jargon and over-analysis, they're going to remain at a disadvantage to the easy populism of the right.
Astrogenie , 12 Oct 2016 04:49
Interesting article. We have heard so much about the size of our economy but less about our quality of life. The UK quality of life is way below the size of our economy i.e. economy size 6th largest in the world but quality of life 15th. If we were the 10th largest economy but were 10th for quality of life we would be better off than we are now in real terms.

We need a radical change of political thinking to focus on quality of life rather than obsession with the size of our economy. High levels of immigration of people who don't really integrate into their local communities has fractured our country along with the widening gap between rich and poor. Governments only see people in terms of their "economic value" - hence mothers being driven out to work, children driven into daycare and the elderly driven into care homes. Britain is becoming a soulless place - even our great British comedy is on the decline.

wakeup99 -> Astrogenie , 12 Oct 2016 04:56
Quality of life is far more important than GDP I agree but it is also far more important than inequality.
MikkaWanders , 12 Oct 2016 04:49
Interesting. 'It is the isolated and marginalised animals that are most likely to be picked off by predators....' so perhaps the species is developing its own predators to fill a vacated niche.

(Not questioning the comparison to other mammals at all as I think it is valid but you would have to consider the whole rather than cherry pick bits)

johnny991965 , 12 Oct 2016 04:52
Generation snowflake. "I'll do myself in if you take away my tablet and mobile phone for half an hour".
They don't want to go out and meet people anymore. Nightclubs for instance, are closing because the younger generation 'don't see the point' of going out to meet people they would otherwise never meet, because they can meet people on the internet. Leave them to it and the repercussions of it.....
johnny991965 -> grizzly , 12 Oct 2016 05:07
Socialism is dying on its feet in the UK, hence the Tory's 17 point lead at the mo. The lefties are clinging to whatever influence they have to sway the masses instead of the ballot box. Good riddance to them.
David Ireland -> johnny991965 , 13 Oct 2016 12:45
17 point lead? Dying on it's feet? The neo-liberals are showing their disconnect from reality. If anything, neo-liberalism is driving a people to the left in search of a fairer and more equal society.
justask , 12 Oct 2016 04:57
George Moniot's articles are better thought out, researched and written than the vast majority of the usual clickbait opinion pieces found on the Guardian these days. One of the last journalists, rather than liberal arts blogger vying for attention.
Nada89 , 12 Oct 2016 04:57
Neoliberalism's rap sheet is long and dangerous but this toxic philosophy will continue unabated because most people can't join the dots and work out how detrimental it has proven to be for most of us.

It dangles a carrot in order to create certain economic illusions but the simple fact is neoliberal societies become more unequal the longer they persist.

wakeup99 -> Nada89 , 12 Oct 2016 05:05
Neoliberal economies allow people to build huge global businesses very quickly and will continue to give the winners more but they also can guve everyone else more too but just at a slower rate. Socialism on the other hand mires everyone in stagnant poverty. Question is do you want to be absolutely or relatively better off.
totaram -> wakeup99 , 12 Oct 2016 05:19
You have no idea. Do not confuse capitalism with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is a political ideology based on a mythical version of capitalism that doesn't actually exist, but is a nice way to get the deluded to vote for something that doesn't work in their interest at all.
peterfieldman , 12 Oct 2016 04:57
And things will get worse as society falls apart due to globalisation, uberization, lack of respect for authority, lacks of a fair tax and justice system, crime, immorality, loss of trust of politicians and financial and corporate sectors, uncontrolled immigration bringing with it insecurity and the risk of terrorism and a dumbing down of society with increasing inequality. All this is in a new book " The World at a Crossroads" which deals with the major issues facing the planet.
Nada89 -> wakeup99 , 12 Oct 2016 05:07
What, like endless war, unaffordable property, monstrous university fees, zero hours contracts and a food bank on every corner, and that's before we even get to the explosion in mental distress.
monsieur_flaneur -> thedisclaimer , 12 Oct 2016 05:10
There's nothing spurious or obscure about Neoliberalism. It is simply the political ideology of the rich, which has been our uninterrupted governing ideology since Reagan and Thatcher: Privatisation, deregulation, 'liberalisation' of housing, labour, etc, trickledown / low-tax-on-the-rich economics, de-unionization. You only don't see it if you don't want to see it.
arkley , 12 Oct 2016 05:03
I'm just thinking what is wonderful about societies that are big of social unity. And conformity. Those societies for example where you "belong" to your family. Where teenage girls can be married off to elderly uncles to cement that belonging. Or those societies where the belonging comes through religious centres. Where the ostracism for "deviant" behaviour like being gay or for women not submitting to their husbands can be brutal. And I'm not just talking about muslims here.

Or those societies that are big on patriotism. Yep they are usually good for mental health as the young men are given lessons in how to kill as many other men as possible efficiently.

And then I have to think how our years of "neo-liberal" governments have taken ideas of social liberalisation and enshrined them in law. It may be coincidence but thirty years after Thatcher and Reagan we are far more tolerant of homosexuality and willing to give it space to live, conversely we are far less tolerant of racism and are willing to prosecute racist violence. Feminists may still moan about equality but the position of women in society has never been better, rape inside marriage has (finally) been outlawed, sexual violence generally is no longer condoned except by a few, work opportunities have been widened and the woman's role is no longer just home and family. At least that is the case in "neo-liberal" societies, it isn't necessarily the case in other societies.

So unless you think loneliness is some weird Stockholm Syndrome thing where your sense of belonging comes from your acceptance of a stifling role in a structured soiety, then I think blaming the heightened respect for the individual that liberal societies have for loneliness is way off the mark.

What strikes me about the cases you cite above, George, is not an over-respect for the individual but another example of individuals being shoe-horned into a structure. It strikes me it is not individualism but competition that is causing the unhappiness. Competition to achieve an impossible ideal.

I fear George, that you are not approaching this with a properly open mind dedicated to investigation. I think you have your conclusion and you are going to bend the evidence to fit. That is wrong and I for one will not support that. In recent weeks and months we have had the "woe, woe and thrice woe" writings. Now we need to take a hard look at our findings. We need to take out the biases resulting from greater awareness of mental health and better and fuller diagnosis of mental health issues. We need to balance the bias resulting from the fact we really only have hard data for modern Western societies. And above all we need to scotch any bias resulting from the political worldview of the researchers.

Then the results may have some value.

birney -> arkley , 12 Oct 2016 05:10
It sounded to me that he was telling us of farm labouring and factory fodder stock that if we'd 'known our place' and kept to it ,all would be well because in his ideal society there WILL be or end up having a hierarchy, its inevitable.
EndaFlannel , 12 Oct 2016 05:04
Wasn't all this started by someone who said, "There is no such thing as Society"? The ultimate irony is that the ideology that championed the individual and did so much to dismantle the industrial and social fabric of the Country has resulted in a system which is almost totalitarian in its disregard for its ideological consequences.
wakeup99 -> EndaFlannel , 12 Oct 2016 05:08
Thatcher said it in the sense that society is not abstract it is just other people so when you say society needs to change then people need to change as society is not some independent concept it is an aggregation of all us. The left mis quote this all the time and either they don't get it or they are doing on purpose.
HorseCart -> EndaFlannel , 12 Oct 2016 05:09
No, Neoliberalism has been around since 1938.... Thatcher was only responsible for "letting it go" in Britain in 1980, but actually it was already racing ahead around the world.

Furthermore, it could easily be argued that the Beatles helped create loneliness - what do you think all those girls were screaming for? And also it could be argued that the Beatles were bringing in neoliberalism in the 1960s, via America thanks to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis etc.. Share

billybagel -> wakeup99 , 12 Oct 2016 05:26
They're doing it on purpose. ""If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." -- Joseph Boebbels
Luke O'Brien , 12 Oct 2016 05:08
Great article, although surely you could've extended the blame to capitalism has a whole?

In what, then, consists the alienation of labor? First, in the fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., that it does not belong to his nature, that therefore he does not realize himself in his work, that he denies himself in it, that he does not feel at ease in it, but rather unhappy, that he does not develop any free physical or mental energy, but rather mortifies his flesh and ruins his spirit. The worker, therefore, is only himself when he does not work, and in his work he feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor, therefore, is not voluntary, but forced--forced labor. It is not the gratification of a need, but only a means to gratify needs outside itself. Its alien nature shows itself clearly by the fact that work is shunned like the plague as soon as no physical or other kind of coercion exists.

Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844

JulesBywaterLees , 12 Oct 2016 05:08
We have created a society with both flaws and highlights- and we have unwittingly allowed the economic system to extend into our lives in negative ways.

On of the things being modern brings is movement- we move away from communities, breaking friendships and losing support networks, and the support networks are the ones that allow us to cope with issues, problems and anxiety.

Isolation among the youth is disturbing, it is also un natural, perhaps it is social media, or fear of parents, or the fall in extra school activities or parents simply not having a network of friends because they have had to move for work or housing.

There is some upsides, I talk and get support from different international communities through the social media that can also be so harmful- I chat on xbox games, exchange information on green building forums, arts forums, share on youtube as well as be part of online communities that hold events in the real world.

LordMorganofGlossop , 12 Oct 2016 05:11
Increasingly we seem to need to document our lives on social media to somehow prove we 'exist'. We seem far more narcissistic these days, which tends to create a particular type of unhappiness, or at least desire that can never be fulfilled. Maybe that's the secret of modern consumer-based capitalism. To be happy today, it probably helps to be shallow, or avoid things like Twitter and Facebook!

Eric Fromm made similar arguments to Monbiot about the psychological impact of modern capitalism (Fear of Freedom and The Sane Society) - although the Freudian element is a tad outdated. However, for all the faults of modern society, I'd rather be unhappy now than in say, Victorian England. Similarly, life in the West is preferable to the obvious alternatives.

Interestingly, the ultra conservative Adam Smith Institute yesterday decided to declare themselves 'neoliberal' as some sort of badge of honour:
http://www.adamsmith.org/blog/coming-out-as-neoliberals

eamonmcc , 12 Oct 2016 05:15
Thanks George for commenting in such a public way on the unsayable: consume, consume, consume seems to be the order of the day in our modern world and the points you have highlighted should be part of public policy everywhere.

I'm old enough to remember when we had more time for each other; when mothers could be full-time housewives; when evenings existed (evenings now seem to be spent working or getting home from work). We are undoubtedly more materialistic, which leads to more time spent working, although our modern problems are probably not due to increasing materialism alone.

Regarding divorce and separation, I notice people in my wider circle who are very open to affairs. They seem to lack the self-discipline to concentrate on problems in their marriage and to give their full-time partner a high level of devotion. Terrible problems come up in marriages but if you are completely and unconditionally committed to your partner and your marriage then you can get through the majority of them.

CEMKM , 12 Oct 2016 05:47
Aggressive self interest is turning in on itself. Unfortunately the powerful who have realised their 'Will to Power' are corrupted by their own inflated sense of self and thus blinded. Does this all predict a global violent revolution?
SteB1 -> NeverMindTheBollocks , 12 Oct 2016 06:32

A diatribe against a vague boogieman that is at best an ill-defined catch-all of things this CIFer does not like.

An expected response from someone who persistently justifies neoliberalism through opaque and baseless attacks on those who reveal how it works. Neoliberalism is most definitely real and it has a very definite history.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376

However, what is most interesting is how nearly all modern politicians who peddle neoliberal doctrine or policy, refuse to use the name, or even to openly state what ideology they are in fact following.

I suppose it is just a complete coincidence that the policy so many governments are now following so closely follow known neoliberal doctrine. But of course the clever and unpleasant strategy of those like yourself is to cry conspiracy theory if this ideology, which dare not speak its name is mentioned.

Your style is tiresome. You make no specific supported criticisms again, and again. You just make false assertions and engage in unpleasant ad homs and attempted character assassination. You do not address the evidence for what George Monbiot states at all.

heian555 , 12 Oct 2016 05:56
An excellent article. One wonders exactly what one needs to say in order to penetrate the reptilian skulls of those who run the system.

As an addition to Mr Monbiot's points, I would like to point out that it is not only competitive self-interest and extreme individualism that drives loneliness. Any system that has strict hierarchies and mechanisms of social inclusion also drives it, because such systems inhibit strongly spontaneous social interaction, in which people simply strike up conversation. Thailand has such a system. Despite her promoting herself as the land of smiles, I have found the people here to be deeply segregated and unfriendly. I have lived here for 17 years. The last time I had a satisfactory face-to-face conversation, one that went beyond saying hello to cashiers at checkout counters or conducting official business, was in 1999. I have survived by convincing myself that I have dialogues with my books; as I delve more deeply into the texts, the authors say something different to me, to which I can then respond in my mind.

SteB1 , 12 Oct 2016 05:56

Epidemics of mental illness are crushing the minds and bodies of millions. It's time to ask where we are heading and why

I want to quote the sub headline, because "It's time to ask where we are heading and why", is the important bit. George's excellent and scathing evidence based criticism of the consequences of neoliberalism is on the nail. However, we need to ask how we got to this stage. Despite it's name neoliberalism doesn't really seem to contain any new ideas, and in some way it's more about Thatcher's beloved return to Victorian values. Most of what George Monbiot highlights encapsulatec Victorian thinking, the sort of workhouse mentality.

Whilst it's very important to understand how neoliberalism, the ideology that dare not speak it's name, derailed the general progress in the developed world. It's also necessary to understand that the roots this problem go much further back. Not merely to the start of the industrial revolution, but way beyond that. It actually began with the first civilizations when our societies were taken over by powerful rulers, and they essentially started to farm the people they ruled like cattle. On the one hand they declared themselves protector of their people, whilst ruthlessly exploiting them for their own political gain. I use the livestock farming analogy, because that explains what is going on.

To domesticate livestock, and to make them pliable and easy to work with the farmer must make himself appear to these herd animals as if they are their protector, the person who cares for them, nourishes and feeds them. They become reliant on their apparent benefactor. Except of course this is a deceitful relationship, because the farmer is just fattening them up to be eaten.

For the powerful to exploit the rest of people in society for their own benefit they had to learn how to conceal what they were really doing, and to wrap it in justifications to bamboozle the people they were exploiting for their own benefit. They did this by altering our language and inserting ideas in our culture which justified their rule, and the positions of the rest of us.

Before state religions, generally what was revered was the Earth, the natural world. It was on a personal level, and not controlled by the powerful. So the powerful needed to remove that personal meaningfulness from people's lives, and said the only thing which was really meaningful, was the religion, which of course they controlled and were usually the head of. Over generations people were indoctrinated in a completely new way of thinking, and a language manipulated so all people could see was the supposed divine right of kings to rule. Through this language people were detached from what was personally meaningful to them, and could only find meaningfulness by pleasing their rulers, and being indoctrinated in their religion.

If you control the language people use, you can control how perceive the world, and can express themselves.

By stripping language of meaningful terms which people can express themselves, and filling it full of dubious concepts such as god, the right of kings completely altered how people saw the world, how they thought. This is why over the ages, and in different forms the powerful have always attempted to have full control of our language through at first religion and their proclamations, and then eventually by them controlling our education system and the media.

The idea of language being used to control how people see the world, and how they think is of course not my idea. George Orwell's Newspeak idea explored in "1984" is very much about this.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak

This control of language is well known throughout history. Often conquerors would abolish languages of those they conquered. In the so called New World the colonists eventually tried to control how indigenous people thought by forcibly sending their children to boarding school, to be stripped of their culture, their native language, and to be inculcated in the language and ideas of their colonists. In Britain various attempts were made to banish the Welsh language, the native language of the Britons, before the Anglo-Saxons and the Normans took over.

However, what Orwell did not deal with properly is the origin of language style. To Orwell, and to critics of neoliberalism, the problems can be traced back to the rise of what they criticised. To a sort of mythical golden age. Except all the roots of what is being criticised can be found in the period before the invention of these doctrines. So you have to go right back to the beginning, to understand how it all began.

Neoliberalism would never have been possible without this long control of our language and ideas by the powerful. It prevents us thinking outside the box, about what the problem really is, and how it all began.

clarissa3 -> SteB1 , 12 Oct 2016 06:48
All very well but you are talking about ruthlessness of western elites, mostly British, not all.

It was not like that everywhere. Take Poland for example, and around there..

New research is emerging - and I'd recommend reading of prof Frost from St Andrew's Uni - that lower classes were actually treated with respect by elites there, mainly land owners and aristocracy who more looked after them and employed and cases of such ruthlessness as you describe were unknown of.

So that 'truth' about attitudes to lower classes is not universal!

SteB1 -> Borisundercoat , 12 Oct 2016 06:20

What is "neoliberalism" exactly?

It's spouted by many on here as the root of all evil.

I'd be interested to see how many different definitions I get in response...


The reason I call neoliberalism the ideology which dare not speak it's name is that in public you will rarely hear it mentioned by it's proponents. However, it was a very important part of Thatcherism, Blairism, and so on. What is most definite is that these politicians and others are most definitely following some doctrine. Their ideas about what we must do and how we must do it are arbitrary, but they make it sound as if it's the only way to do things.

If you want to learn more about neoliberalism, read a summary such as the Wikipedia page on it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=376

However, as I hint, the main problem in dealing with neoliberalism is that none of the proponents of this doctrine admit to what ideology they are actually following. Yet very clearly around the world leaders in many countries are clearly singing from the same hymn sheet because the policy they implement is so similar. Something has definitely changed. All the attempts to roll back welfare, benefits, and public services is most definitely new, or they wouldn't be having to reverse policy of the past if nothing had change. But as all these politicians implementing this policy all seem to refuse to explain what doctrine they are following, it makes it difficult to pin down what is happening. Yet we can most definitely say that there is a clear doctrine at work, because why else would so many political leaders around the world be trying to implement such similar policy.

Winstons1 -> TerryMcBurney , 12 Oct 2016 06:24

Neo-liberalism doesn't really exist except in the minds of the far left and perhaps a few academics.

Neoliberalism is a policy model of social studies and economics that transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. ... Neoliberal policies aim for a laissez-faire approach to economic development.

I believe the term 'Neo liberalism' was coined by those well known 'Lefties'The Chicago School .
If you don't believe that any of the above has been happening ,it does beg the question as to where you have been for the past decade.

UnderSurveillance , 12 Oct 2016 06:12
The ironies of modern civilization - we have never been more 'connected' to other people on global level and less 'connected' on personal level.

We have never had access to such a wide range of information and opinions, but also for a long time been so divided into conflicting groups, reading and accessing in fact only that which reinforces what we already think.

John Pelan , 12 Oct 2016 06:18
Sir Harry Burns, ex-Chief Medical Officer in Scotland talks very powerfully about the impact of loneliness and isolation on physical and mental health - here is a video of a recent talk by him - http://www.befs.org.uk/calendar/48/164-BEFS-Annual-Lecture
MightyDrunken , 12 Oct 2016 06:22
These issues have been a long time coming, just think of the appeals of the 60's to chill out and love everyone. Globalisation and neo-liberalism has simply made society even more broken.
The way these problems have been ignored and made worse over the last few decades make me think that the solution will only happen after a massive catastrophe and society has to be rebuilt. Unless we make the same mistakes again.
A shame really, you would think intelligence would be useful but it seems not.
ParisHiltonCommune -> MightyDrunken , 12 Oct 2016 07:19
Contemporary Neo-liberalism is a reaction against that ideal of the 60s
DevilMayCareIDont , 12 Oct 2016 06:25
I would argue that it creates a bubble of existence for those who pursue a path of "success" that instead turns to isolation . The amount of people that I have met who have moved to London because to them it represents the main location for everything . I get to see so many walking cliches of people trying to fit in or stand out but also fitting in just the same .

The real disconnect that software is providing us with is truly staggering . I have spoken to people from all over the World who seem to feel more at home being alone and playing a game with strangers . The ones who are most happy are those who seem to be living all aloe and the ones who try and play while a girlfriend or family are present always seemed to be the ones most agitated by them .

We are humans relying on simplistic algorithms that reduce us ,apps like Tinder which turns us into a misogynist at the click of a button .

Facebook which highlights our connections with the other people and assumes that everyone you know or have met is of the same relevance .

We also have Twitter which is the equivalent of screaming at a television when you are drunk or angry .

We have Instagram where people revel in their own isolation and send updates of it . All those products that are instantly updated and yet we are ageing and always feeling like we are grouped together by simple algorithms .

JimGoddard , 12 Oct 2016 06:28
Television has been the main destroyer of social bonds since the 1950s and yet it is only mentioned once and in relation to the number of competitions on it, which completely misses the point. That's when I stopped taking this article seriously.
GeoffP , 12 Oct 2016 06:29
Another shining example of the slow poison of capitalism. Maybe it's time at last to turn off the tap?
jwestoby , 12 Oct 2016 06:30
I actually blame Marx for neoliberalism. He framed society purely in terms economic, and persuaded that ideology is valuable in as much as it is actionable.

For a dialectician he was incredibly short sighted and superficial, not realising he was creating a narrative inimical to personal expression and simple thoughtfulness (although he was warned). To be fair, he can't have appreciated how profoundly he would change the way we concieve societies.

Neoliberalism is simply the dark side of Marxism and subsumes the personal just as comprehensively as communism.

We're picked apart by quantification and live as particulars, suffering the ubiquitous consequences of connectivity alone . . .

Unless, of course, you get out there and meet great people!

ParisHiltonCommune -> jwestoby , 12 Oct 2016 07:16
Marxism arose as a reaction against the harsh capitalism of its day. Of course it is connected. It is ironic how Soviet our lives have become.
zeeeel , 12 Oct 2016 06:30
Neo-liberalism allows psychopaths to flourish, and it has been argued by Robert Hare that they are disproportionately represented in the highest echelons of society. So people who lack empathy and emotional attachment are probably weilding a significant amount of influence over the way our economy and society is organised. Is it any wonder that they advocate an economic model which is most conducive to their success? Things like job security, rigged markets, unions, and higher taxes on the rich simply get in their way.
Drewv , 12 Oct 2016 06:30
That fine illustration by Andrzej Krauze up there is exactly what I see whenever I walk into an upscale mall or any Temple of Consumerism.

You can hear the Temple calling out: "Feel bad, atomized individuals? Have a hole inside? Feel lonely? That's all right: buy some shit you don't need and I guarantee you'll feel better."

And then it says: "So you bought it and you felt better for five minutes, and now you feel bad again? Well, that's not rocket science...you should buy MORE shit you don't need! I mean, it's not rocket science, you should have figured this out on your own."

And then it says: "Still feel bad and you have run out of money? Well, that's okay, just get it on credit, or take out a loan, or mortgage your house. I mean, it's not rocket science. Really, you should have figured this out on your own already...I thought you were a modern, go-get-'em, independent, initiative-seizing citizen of the world?"

And then it says: "Took out too many loans, can't pay the bills and the repossession has begun? Honestly, that's not my problem. You're just a bad little consumer, and a bad little liberal, and everything is your own fault. You go sit in a dark corner now where you don't bother the other shoppers. Honestly, you're just being a burden on other consumers now. I'm not saying you should kill yourself, but I can't say that we would mind either."

And that's how the worms turn at the Temples of Consumerism and Neoliberalism.

havetheyhearts , 12 Oct 2016 06:31
I kept my sanity by not becoming a spineless obedient middle class pleaser of a sociopathic greedy tribe pretending neoliberalism is the future.

The result is a great clarity about the game, and an intact empathy for all beings.

The middle class treated each conscious "outsider" like a lowlife, and now they play the helpless victims of circumstances.

I know why I renounced to my privileges. They sleepwalk into their self created disorder. And yes, I am very angry at those who wasted decades with their social stupidity, those who crawled back after a start of change into their petit bourgeois niche.

I knew that each therapist has to take a stand and that the most choose petty careers. Do not expect much sanity from them for your disorientated kids.
Get insightful yourself and share your leftover love to them. Try honesty and having guts...that might help both of you.

Likewhatever , 12 Oct 2016 06:32
Alternatively, neo-liberalism has enabled us to afford to live alone (entire families were forced to live together for economic reasons), and technology enables us to work remotely, with no need for interaction with other people.

This may make some people feel lonely, but for many others its utopia.

Peter1Barnet , 12 Oct 2016 06:32
Some of the things that characterise Globalisation and Neoliberalism are open borders and free movement. How can that contribute to isolation? That is more likely to be fostered by Protectionism. And there aren't fewer jobs. Employment is at record highs here and in many other countries. There are different jobs, not fewer, and to be sure there are some demographics that have lost out. But overall there are not fewer jobs. That falls for the old "lump of labour" fallacy.
WhigInterpretation , 12 Oct 2016 06:43
The corrosive state of mass television indoctrination sums it up: Apprentice, Big Brother, Dragon's Den. By degrees, the standard keeps lowering. It is no longer unusual for a licence funded TV programme to consist of a group of the mentally deranged competing to be the biggest asshole in the room.

Anomie is a by-product of cultural decline as much as economics.

Pinkie123 -> Stephen Bell , 12 Oct 2016 07:18

What is certain, is that is most ways, life is far better now in the UK than 20, 30 or 40 years ago, by a long way!

That's debatable. Data suggests that inequality has widened massively over the last 30 years ( https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/infographic-income-inequality-uk ) - as has social mobility ( https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/22/social-mobility-data-charts ). Homelessness has risen substantially since 1979.

Our whole culture is more stressful. Jobs are more precarious; employment rights more stacked in favor of the employer; workforces are deunionised; leisure time is on the decrease; rents are unaffordable; a house is no longer a realistic expectation for millions of young people. Overall, citizens are more socially immobile and working harder for poorer real wages than they were in the late 70's.

As for mental health, evidence suggest that mental health problems have been on the increase over recent decades, especially among young people. The proportion of 15/16 year olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed has doubled in the last 30 years, from 1 in 30 to 2 in 30 for boys and 1 in 10 to 2 in ten for girls ( http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/news/increased-levels-anxiety-and-depression-teenage-experience-changes-over-time

Unfortunately, sexual abuse has always been a feature of human societies. However there is no evidence to suggest it was any worse in the past. Then sexual abuse largely took place in institutional settings were at least it could be potentially addressed. Now much of it has migrated to the great neoliberal experiment of the internet, where child exploitation is at endemic levels and completely beyond the control of law enforcement agencies. There are now more women and children being sexually trafficked than there were slaves at the height of the slave trade. Moreover, we should not forget that Jimmy Saville was abusing prolifically right into the noughties.

My parents were both born in 1948. They say it was great. They bought a South London house for next to nothing and never had to worry about getting a job. When they did get a job it was one with rights, a promise of a generous pension, a humane workplace environment, lunch breaks and an ethos of public service. My mum says that the way women are talked about now is worse.

Sounds fine to me. That's not to say everything was great: racism was acceptable (though surely the vile views pumped out onto social media are as bad or worse than anything that existed then), homosexuality was illegal and capital punishment enforced until the 1960's. However, the fact that these things were reformed showed society was moving in the right direction. Now we are going backwards, back to 1930's levels or inequality and a reactionary, small-minded political culture fueled by loneliness, rage and misery.

Pinkie123 -> Stephen Bell , 12 Oct 2016 07:28
And there is little evidence to suggest that anyone has expanded their mind with the internet. A lot of people use it to look at porn, post racist tirades on Facebook, send rape threats, distributes sexual images of partners with their permission, take endless photographs of themselves and whip up support for demagogues. In my view it would much better if people went to a library than lurked in corporate echo chambers pumping out the like of 'why dont theese imagrantz go back home and all those lezbo fems can fuckk off too ha ha megalolz ;). Seriously mind expanding stuff. Share
Pinkie123 -> Pinkie123 , 12 Oct 2016 07:38
Oops ' without their permission...
maldonglass , 12 Oct 2016 06:49
As a director and CEO of an organisation employing several hundred people I became aware that 40% of the staff lived alone and that the workplace was important to them not only for work but also for interacting with their colleagues socially . This was encouraged and the organisation achieved an excellent record in retaining staff at a time when recruitment was difficult. Performance levels were also extremely high . I particulalry remember with gratitude the solidarity of staff when one of our colleagues - a haemophiliac - contracted aids through an infected blood transfusion and died bravely but painfully - the staff all supported him in every way possible through his ordeal and it was a privilege for me to work with such kind and caring people .
oommph -> maldonglass , 12 Oct 2016 07:00
Indeed. Those communities are often undervalued. However, the problem is, as George says, lots of people are excluded from them.

They are also highly self-selecting (e.g. you need certain trains of inclusivity, social adeptness, empathy, communication, education etc to get the job that allows you to join that community).

Certainly I make it a priority in my life. I do create communities. I do make an effort to stand by people who live like me. I can be a leader there.

Sometimes I wish more people would be. It is a sustained, long-term effort. Share

forkintheroad , 12 Oct 2016 06:50
'a war of everyone against themselves' - post-Hobbesian. Genius, George.
sparclear , 12 Oct 2016 06:51
Using a word like 'loneliness' is risky insofar as nuances get lost. It can have thousand meanings, as there are of a word like 'love'.

isolation
grief
loneliness
feeling abandoned
solitude
purposelessness
neglect
depression
&c.

To add to this discussion, we might consider the strongest need and conflict each of us experiences as a teenager, the need to be part of a tribe vs the the conflict inherent in recognising one's uniqueness. In a child's life from about 7 or 8 until adolescence, friends matter the most. Then the young person realises his or her difference from everyone else and has to grasp what this means.

Those of us who enjoyed a reasonably healthy upbringing will get through the peer group / individuation stage with happiness possible either way - alone or in friendship. Our parents and teachers will have fostered a pride in our own talents and our choice of where to socialise will be flexible and non-destructive.

Those of us who at some stage missed that kind of warmth and acceptance in childhood can easily stagnate. Possibly this is the most awkward of personal developmental leaps. The person neither knows nor feels comfortable with themselves, all that faces them is an abyss.
Where creative purpose and strength of spirit are lacking, other humans can instinctively sense it and some recoil from it, hardly knowing what it's about. Vulnerabilities attendant on this state include relationships holding out some kind of ersatz rescue, including those offered by superficial therapists, religions, and drugs, legal and illegal.

Experience taught that apart from the work we might do with someone deeply compassionate helping us where our parents failed, the natural world is a reliable healer. A kind of self-acceptance and individuation is possible away from human bustle. One effect of the seasons and of being outdoors amongst other life forms is to challenge us physically, into present time, where our senses start to work acutely and our observational skills get honed, becoming more vibrant than they could at any educational establishment.

This is one reason we have to look after the Earth, whether it's in a city context or a rural one. Our mental, emotional and physical health is known to be directly affected by it.

Buster123 , 12 Oct 2016 06:55
A thoughtful article. But the rich and powerful will ignore it; their doing very well out of neo liberalism thank you. Meanwhile many of those whose lives are affected by it don't want to know - they're happy with their bigger TV screen. Which of course is what the neoliberals want, 'keep the people happy and in the dark'. An old Roman tactic - when things weren't going too well for citizens and they were grumbling the leaders just extended the 'games'. Evidently it did the trick
worried -> Buster123 , 12 Oct 2016 07:32
The rich and powerful can be just as lonely as you and me. However, some of them will be lonely after having royally forked the rest of us over...and that is another thing
Hallucinogen , 12 Oct 2016 06:59

We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives.

- Fight Club
People need a tribe to feel purpose. We need conflict, it's essential for our species... psychological health improved in New York after 9/11.
ParisHiltonCommune , 12 Oct 2016 07:01
Totally agree with the last sentences. Human civilisation is a team effort. Individual humans cant survive, our language evolved to aid cooperation.

Neo-liberalism is really only an Anglo-American project. Yet we are so indoctrinated in it, It seems natural to us, but not to hardly any other cultures.

As for those "secondary factors. Look to advertising and the loss of real jobs forcing more of us to sell services dependent on fake needs. Share

deirdremcardle , 12 Oct 2016 07:01
Help save the Notting Hill Carnival
http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/teen-disembowelled-years-notting-hill-11982129

It's importance for social cohesion -- yes inspite of the problems , can not be overestimated .Don't let the rich drive it out , people who don't understand ,or care what it's for .The poorer boroughs cannot afford it .K&C have easily 1/2billion in Capital Reserves ,so yes they must continue . Here I can assure you ,one often sees the old and lonely get a hug .If drug gangs are hitting each other or their rich boy customers with violence - that is a different matter . And yes of course if we don't do something to help boys from ethnic minorities ,with education and housing -of course it only becomes more expensive in the long run.

Boris Johnson has idiotically mouthed off about trying to mobilise people to stand outside the Russian Embassy , as if one can mobilise youth by telling them to tidy their bedroom .Because that's all it amounts to - because you have to FEEL protest and dissent . Well here at Carnival - there it is ,protest and dissent . Now listen to it . And of course it will be far easier than getting any response from sticking your tongue out at the Putin monster --
He has his bombs , just as Kensington and Chelsea have their money. (and anyway it's only another Boris diversion ,like building some fucking stupid bridge ,instead of doing anything useful)

Lafcadio1944 , 12 Oct 2016 07:03
"Society" or at least organized society is the enemy of corporate power. The idea of Neoliberal capitalism is to replace civil society with corporate law and rule. The same was true of the less extreme forms of capitalism. Society is the enemy of capital because it put restrictions on it and threatens its power.

When society organizes itself and makes laws to protect society from the harmful effects of capitalism, for example demands on testing drugs to be sure they are safe, this is a big expense to Pfizer, there are many examples - just now in the news banning sugary drinks. If so much as a small group of parents forming a day care co-op decide to ban coca cola from their group that is a loss of profit.

That is really what is going on, loneliness is a big part of human life, everyone feels it sometimes, under Neoliberal capitalism it is simply more exaggerated due to the out and out assault on society itself.

Joan Cant , 12 Oct 2016 07:10
Well the prevailing Global Capitalist world view is still a combination 1. homocentric Cartesian Dualism i.e. seeing humans as most important and sod all other living beings, and seeing humans as separate from all other living beings and other humans and 2. Darwinian "survival of the fittest" seeing everything as a competition and people as "winners and losers, weak or strong with winners and the strong being most important". From these 2 combined views all kinds of "games" arise. The main one being the game of "victim, rescuer, persecutor" (Transactional Analysis). The Guardian engages in this most of the time and although I welcome the truth in this article to some degree, surprisingly, as George is environmentally friendly, it kinda still is talking as if humans are most important and as if those in control (the winners) need to change their world view to save the victims. I think the world view needs to zoom out to a perspective that recognises that everything is interdependent and that the apparent winners and the strong are as much victims of their limited world view as those who are manifesting the effects of it more obviously.
Zombiesfan , 12 Oct 2016 07:14
Here in America, we have reached the point at which police routinely dispatch the mentally ill, while complaining that "we don't have the time for this" (N. Carolina). When a policeman refuses to kill a troubled citizen, he or she can and will be fired from his job (West Virginia). This has become not merely commonplace, but actually a part of the social function of the work of the police -- to remove from society the burden of caring for the mentally ill by killing them. In the state where I live, a state trooper shot dead a mentally ill man who was not only unarmed, but sitting on the toilet in his own home. The resulting "investigation" exculpated the trooper, of course; in fact, young people are constantly told to look up to the police.
ianita1978 -> Zombiesfan , 12 Oct 2016 08:25
Sounds like the inevitable logical outcome of a society where the predator sociopathic and their scared prey are all that is allowed. This dynamic dualistic tautology, the slavish terrorised to sleep and bullying narcissistic individual, will always join together to protect their sick worldview by pathologising anything that will threaten their hegemony of power abuse: compassion, sensitivity, moral conscience, altruism and the immediate effects of the ruthless social effacement or punishment of the same ie human suffering.
Ruby4 , 12 Oct 2016 07:14
The impact of increasing alienation on individual mental health has been known about and discussed for a long time.

When looking at a way forward, the following article is interesting:

"Alienation, in all areas, has reached unprecedented heights; the social machinery for deluding consciousnesses in the interest of the ruling class has been perfected as never before. The media are loaded with upscale advertising identifying sophistication with speciousness. Television, in constant use, obliterates the concept under the image and permanently feeds a baseless credulity for events and history. Against the will of many students, school doesn't develop the highly cultivated critical capacities that a real sovereignty of the people would require. And so on.

The ordinary citizen thus lives in an incredibly deceiving reality. Perhaps this explains the tremendous and persistent gap between the burgeoning of motives to struggle, and the paucity of actual combatants. The contrary would be a miracle. Thus the considerable importance of what I call the struggle for representation: at every moment, in every area, to expose the deception and bring to light, in the simplicity of form which only real theoretical penetration makes possible, the processes in which the false-appearances, real and imagined, originate, and this way, to form the vigilant consciousness, placing our image of reality back on its feet and reopening paths to action."

https://www.marxists.org/archive/seve/lucien_seve.htm

ianita1978 -> Ruby4 , 12 Oct 2016 08:18
For the global epidemic of abusive, effacing homogenisation of human intellectual exchange and violent hyper-sexualisation of all culture, I blame the US Freudian PR guru Edward Bernays and his puritan forebears - alot.
bonhee -> Ruby4 , 12 Oct 2016 09:03
Thanks for proving that Anomie is a far more sensible theory than Dialectical Materialistic claptrap that was used back in the 80s to terrorize the millions of serfs living under the Jack boot of Leninist Iron curtain.
RossJames , 12 Oct 2016 07:15
There's no question - neoliberalism has been wrenching society apart. It's not as if the prime movers of this ideology were unaware of the likely outcome viz. "there is no such thing as society" (Thatcher). Actually in retrospect the whole zeitgeist from the late 70s emphasised the atomised individual separated from the whole. Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (1976) may have been influential in creating that climate.

Anyway, the wheel has turned thank goodness. We are becoming wiser and understanding that "ecology" doesn't just refer to our relationship with the natural world but also, closer to home, our relationship with each other.

Jayarava Attwood -> RossJames , 12 Oct 2016 07:37
The Communist manifesto makes the same complaint in 1848. The wheel has not turned, it is still grinding down workers after 150 years. We are none the wiser.
Ben Wood -> RossJames , 12 Oct 2016 07:49
"The wheel is turning and you can't slow down,
You can't let go and you can't hold on,
You can't go back and you can't stand still,
If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will."
R Hunter
ianita1978 -> Ben Wood , 12 Oct 2016 08:13
Yep. And far too many good people have chosen to be the grateful dead in order to escape the brutal torture of bullying Predators.
magicspoon3 , 12 Oct 2016 07:30
What is loneliness? I love my own company and I love walking in nature and listening to relaxation music off you tube and reading books from the library. That is all free. When I fancied a change of scene, I volunteered at my local art gallery.

Mental health issues are not all down to loneliness. Indeed, other people can be a massive stress factor, whether it is a narcissistic parent, a bullying spouse or sibling, or an unreasonable boss at work.

I'm on the internet far too much and often feel the need to detox from it and get back to a more natural life, away from technology. The 24/7 news culture and selfie obsessed society is a lot to blame for social disconnect.

The current economic climate is also to blame, if housing and job security are a problem for individuals as money worries are a huge factor of stress. The idea of not having any goal for the future can trigger depressive thoughts.

I have to say, I've been happier since I don't have such unrealistic expectations of what 'success is'. I rarely get that foreign holiday or new wardrobe of clothes and my mobile phone is archaic. The pressure that society puts on us to have all these things- and get in debt for them is not good. The obsession with economic growth at all costs is also stupid, as the numbers don't necessarily mean better wealth, health or happiness.

dr8765 , 12 Oct 2016 07:34
Very fine article, as usual from George, until right at the end he says:

This does not require a policy response.

But it does. It requires abandonment of neoliberalism as the means used to run the world. People talk about the dangers of man made computers usurping their makers but mankind has, it seems, already allowed itself to become enslaved. This has not been achieved by physical dependence upon machines but by intellectual enslavement to an ideology.

John Smythe , 12 Oct 2016 07:35
A very good "Opinion" by George Monbiot one of the best I have seen on this Guardian blog page.

I would add that the basic concepts of the Neoliberal New world order are fundamentally Evil, from the control of world population through supporting of strife starvation and war to financial inducements of persons in positions of power. Let us not forget the training of our younger members of our society who have been induced to a slavish love of technology. Many other areas of human life are also under attack from the Neoliberal, even the very air we breathe, and the earth we stand upon.

Jayarava Attwood , 12 Oct 2016 07:36
The Amish have understood for 300 years that technology could have a negative effect on society and decided to limit its effects. I greatly admire their approach. Neal Stephenson's recent novel Seveneves coined the term Amistics for the practice of assessing and limiting the impact of tech. We need a Minister for Amistics in the government. Wired magazine did two features on the Amish use of telephones which are quite insightful.

The Amish Get Wired. The Amish ? 6.1.1993
look Who's talking . 1.1.1999

If we go back to 1848, we also find Marx and Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, complaining about the way that the first free-market capitalism (the original liberalism) was destroying communities and families by forcing workers to move to where the factories were being built, and by forcing women and children into (very) low paid work. 150 years later, after many generations of this, combined with the destruction of work in the North, the result is widespread mental illness. But a few people are really rich now, so that's all right, eh?

Social media is ersatz community. It's like eating grass: filling, but not nourishing.

ICYMI I had some thoughts a couple of days ago on how to deal with the mental health epidemic .

maplegirl , 12 Oct 2016 07:38
Young people are greatly harmed by not being able to see a clear path forward in the world. For most people, our basic needs are a secure job, somewhere secure and affordable to live, and a decent social environment in terms of public services and facilities. Unfortunately, all these things are sliding further out of reach for young people in the UK, and they know this. Many already live with insecure housing where their family could have to move at a month or two's notice.

Our whole economic system needs to be built around providing these basic securities for people. Neoliberalism = insecure jobs, insecure housing and poor public services, because these are the end result of its extreme free market ideology.

dynamicfrog , 12 Oct 2016 07:44
I agree with this 100%. Social isolation makes us unhappy. We have a false sense of what makes us unhappy - that success or wealth will enlighten or liberate us. What makes us happy is social connection. Good friendships, good relationships, being part of community that you contribute to. Go to some of the poorest countries in the world and you may meet happy people there, tell them about life in rich countries, and say that some people there are unhappy. They won't believe you. We do need to change our worldview, because misery is a real problem in many countries.
SavannahLaMar , 12 Oct 2016 07:47
It is tempting to see the world before Thatcherism, which is what most English writers mean when they talk about neo-liberalism, as an idyll, but it simply wasn't.

The great difficulty with capitalism is that while it is in many ways an amoral doctrine, it goes hand in hand with personal freedom. Socialism is moral in its concern for the poorest, but then it places limits on personal freedom and choice. That's the price people pay for the emphasis on community, rather than the individual.

Close communities can be a bar on personal freedom and have little tolerance for people who deviate from the norm. In doing that, they can entrench loneliness.

This happened, and to some extent is still happening, in the working class communities which we typically describe as 'being destroyed by Thatcher'. It's happening in close-knit Muslim communities now.

I'm not attempting to vindicate Thatcherism, I'm just saying there's a pay-off with any model of society. George Monbiot's concerns are actually part of a long tradition - Oliver Goldsmith's Deserted Village (1770) chimes with his thinking, as does DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.

proteusblu -> SavannahLaMar , 12 Oct 2016 08:04
The kind of personal freedom that you say goes hand in hand with capitalism is an illusion for the majority of people. It holds up the prospect of that kind of freedom, but only a minority get access to it. For most, it is necessary to submit yourself to a form of being yoked, in terms of the daily grind which places limits on what you can then do, as the latter depends hugely on money. The idea that most people are "free" to buy the house they want, private education, etc., not to mention whether they can afford the many other things they are told will make them happy, is a very bad joke. Hunter-gatherers have more real freedom than we do. Share
Stephen Bell -> SavannahLaMar , 12 Oct 2016 09:07
Well said. One person's loneliness is another's peace and quiet.
stumpedup_32 -> Firstact , 12 Oct 2016 08:12
According to Wiki: 'Neoliberalism refers primarily to the 20th century resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.'
queequeg7 , 12 Oct 2016 07:54
We grow into fear - the stress of exams and their certain meanings; the lower wages, longer hours, and fewer rights at work; the certainty of debt with ever greater mortgages; the terror of benefit cuts combined with rent increases.

If we're forever afraid, we'll cling to whatever life raft presents.

It's a demeaning way to live, but it serves the Market better than having a free, reasonably paid, secure workforce, broadly educated and properly housed, with rights.

CrazyGuy , 12 Oct 2016 07:54
Insightful analysis... George quite rightly pinpoints the isolating effects of modern society and technology and the impact on the quality of our relationships. The obvious question is how can we offset these trends and does the government care enough to do anything about them?

It strikes me that one of the major problems is that [young] people have been left to their own devices in terms of their consumption of messages from Social and Mass online Media - analogous to leaving your kids in front of a video in lieu of a parental care or a babysitter. In traditional society - the messages provided by Society were filtered by family contact and real peer interaction - and a clear picture of the limited value of the media was propogated by teachers and clerics. Now young and older people alike are left to make their own judgments and we cannot be surprised when they extract negative messages around body image, wealth and social expectations and social and sexual norms from these channels. It's inevitable that this will create a boundary free landscape where insecurity, self-loathing and ultimately mental illness will prosper.

I'm not a traditionalist in any way but there has to be a role for teachers and parents in mediating these messages and presenting the context for analysing what is being said in a healthy way. I think this kind of Personal Esteem and Life Skills education should be part of the core curriculum in all schools. Our continued focus on basic academic skills just does not prepare young people for the real world of judgementalism, superficiality and cliques and if anything dealing with these issues are core life skills.

We can't reverse the fact that media and modern society is changing but we can prepare people for the impact which it can have on their lives.

school10 -> CrazyGuy , 12 Oct 2016 08:04
A politician's answer. X is a problem. Someone else, in your comment it will be teachers that have to sort it out. Problems in society are not solved by having a one hour a week class on "self esteem". In fact self-esteem and self-worth comes from the things you do. Taking kids away from their academic/cultural studies reduces this. This is a problem in society. What can society as a whole do to solve it and what are YOU prepared to contribute.
David Ireland -> CrazyGuy , 12 Oct 2016 09:28
Rather difficult to do when their parents are Thatchers children and buy into the whole celebrity, you are what you own lifestyle too....and teachers are far too busy filling out all the paperwork that shows they've met their targets to find time to teach a person centred course on self-esteem to a class of 30 teenagers.
Ian Harris , 12 Oct 2016 07:54
I think we should just continue to be selfish and self-serving, sneering and despising anyone less fortunate than ourselves, look up to and try to emulate the shallow, vacuous lifestyle of the non-entity celebrity, consume the Earth's natural resources whilst poisoning the planet and the people, destroy any non-contributing indigenous peoples and finally set off all our nuclear arsenals in a smug-faced global firework display to demonstrate our high level of intelligence and humanity. Surely, that's what we all want? Who cares? So let's just carry on with business as usual!
BetaRayBill , 12 Oct 2016 08:01
Neoliberalism is the bastard child of globalization which in effect is Americanization. The basic premise is the individual is totally reliant on the corporate world state aided by a process of fear inducing mechanisms, pharmacology is one of the tools. No community no creativity no free thinking. Poded sealed and cling filmed a quasi existence.
Bluecloud , 12 Oct 2016 08:01 Contributor
Having grown up during the Thatcher years, I entirely agree that neoliberalism has divided society by promoting individual self-optimisation at the expensive of everyone else.

What's the solution? Well if neoliberalism is the root cause, we need a systematic change, which is a problem considering there is no alternative right now. We can however, get active in rebuilding communities and I am encouraged by George Monbiot's work here.

My approach is to get out and join organizations working toward system change. 350.org is a good example. Get involved.

SemenC , 12 Oct 2016 08:09
we live in a narcissistic and ego driven world that dehumanises everyone. we have an individual and collective crisis of the soul. it is our false perception of ourselves that creates a disconnection from who we really are that causes loneliness.
rolloverlove -> SemenC , 12 Oct 2016 11:33
I agree. This article explains why it is a perfectly normal reaction to the world we are currently living in. It goes as far as to suggest that if you do not feel depressed at the state of our world there's something wrong with you ;-)
http://upliftconnect.com/mutiny-of-the-soul/
HaveYouFedTheFish , 12 Oct 2016 08:10
Surely there is a more straightforward possible explanation for increasing incidence of "unhapiness"?

Quite simply, a century of gradually increasing general living standards in the West have lifted the masses up Maslows higiene hierarchy of needs, to where the masses now have largely only the unfulfilled self esteem needs that used to be the preserve of a small, middle class minority (rather than the unfulfilled survival, security and social needs of previous generations)

If so - this is good. This is progress. We just need to get them up another rung to self fulfillment (the current concern of the flourishing upper middle classes).

avid Ireland -> HaveYouFedTheFish , 12 Oct 2016 08:59
Maslow's hierarchy of needs was not about material goods. One could be poor and still fulfill all his criteria and be fully realised. You have missed the point entirely.
HaveYouFedTheFish -> David Ireland , 12 Oct 2016 09:25
Error.... Who mentioned material goods? I think you have not so much "missed the point" as "made your own one up" .

And while agreed that you could, in theory, be poor and meet all of your needs (in fact the very point of the analysis is that money, of itself, isn't what people "need") the reality of the structure of a western capitalist society means that a certain level of affluence is almost certainly a prerequisite for meeting most of those needs simply because food and shelter at the bottom end and, say, education and training at the top end of self fulfillment all have to be purchased. Share

HaveYouFedTheFish -> David Ireland , 12 Oct 2016 09:40
Also note that just because a majority of people are now so far up the hierarchy does in no way negate an argument that corporations haven't also noticed this and target advertising appropriately to exploit it (and maybe we need to talk about that)

It just means that it's lazy thinking to presume we are in some way "sliding backwards" socially, rather than needing to just keep pushing through this adversity through to the summit.

I have to admit it does really stick in my craw a bit hearing millenials moan about how they may never get to *own* a really *nice* house while their grandparents are still alive who didn't even get the right to finish school and had to share a bed with their siblings.

Pinkie123 -> Loatheallpoliticians , 12 Oct 2016 08:25
There is no such thing as a free-market society. Your society of 'self-interest' is really a state supported oligarchy. If you really want to live in a society where there is literally no state and a more or less open market try Somalia or a Latin American city run by drug lords - but even then there are hierarchies, state involvement, militias.

What you are arguing for is a system (for that is what it is) that demands everyone compete with one another. It is not free, or liberal, or democratic, or libertarian. It is designed to oppress, control, exploit and degrade human beings. This kind of corporatism in which everyone is supposed to serve the God of the market is, ironically, quite Stalinist. Furthermore, a society in which people are encouraged to be narrowly selfish is just plain uncivilized. Since when have sociopathy and barbarism been something to aspire to?

LevNikolayevich , 12 Oct 2016 08:17
George, you are right, of course. The burning question, however, is not 'Is our current social set-up making us ill' (it certainly is), but 'Is there a healthier alternative?' What form of society would make us less ill? Socialism and egalatarianism, wherever they are tried, tend to lead to their own set of mental-illness-inducing problems, chiefly to do with thwarted opportunity, inability to thrive, and constraints on individual freedom. The sharing, caring society is no more the answer than the brutally individualistic one. You may argue that what is needed is a balance between the two, but that is broadly what we have already. It ain't perfect, but it's a lot better than any of the alternatives.
David Ireland -> LevNikolayevich , 12 Oct 2016 08:50
We certainly do NOT at present have a balance between the two societies...Have you not read the article? Corporations and big business have far too much power and control over our lives and our Gov't. The gov't does not legislate for a real living minimum wage and expects the taxpayer to fund corporations low wage businesses. The Minimum wage and benefit payments are sucked in to ever increasing basic living costs leaving nothing for the human soul aside from more work to keep body and soul together, and all the while the underlying message being pumped at us is that we are failures if we do not have wealth and all the accoutrements that go with it....How does that create a healthy society?
Saul Till , 12 Oct 2016 08:25
Neoliberalism. A simple word but it does a great deal of work for people like Monbiot.

The simple statistical data on quality of life differences between generations is absolutely nowhere to be found in this article, nor are self-reported findings on whether people today are happier, just as happy or less happy than people thirty years ago. In reality quality of life and happiness indices have generally been increasing ever since they were introduced.
It's more difficult to know if things like suicide, depression and mental illness are actually increasing or whether it's more to do with the fact that the number of people who are prepared to report them is increasing: at least some of the rise in their numbers will be down to greater awareness of said mental illness, government campaigns and a decline in associated social stigma.

Either way, what evidence there is here isn't even sufficient to establish that we are going through some vast mental health crisis in the first place, never mind that said crisis is inextricably bound up with 'neoliberalism'.

Furthermore, I'm inherently suspicious of articles that manage to connect every modern ill to the author's own political bugbear, especially if they cherry-pick statistical findings to support their point. I'd be just as, if not more, suspicious if it was a conservative author trying to link the same ills to the decline in Christianity or similar. In fact, this article reminds me very much of the sweeping claims made by right-wingers about the allegedly destructive effects of secularism/atheism/homosexuality/video games/South Park/The Great British Bake Off/etc...

If you're an author and you have a pet theory, and upon researching an article you believe you see a pattern in the evidence that points towards further confirmation of that theory, then you should step back and think about whether said pattern is just a bit too psychologically convenient and ideologically simple to be true. This is why people like Steven Pinker - properly rigorous, scientifically versed writer-researchers - do the work they do in systematically sifting through the sociological and historical data: because your mind is often actively trying to convince you to believe that neoliberalism causes suicide and depression, or, if you're a similarly intellectually lazy right-winger, homosexuality leads to gang violence and the flooding of(bafflingly, overwhelmingly heterosexual) parts of America.

I see no sign that Monbiot is interested in testing his belief in his central claim and as a result this article is essentially worthless except as an example of a certain kind of political rhetoric.

Rapport , 12 Oct 2016 08:38

social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat .... Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people.

Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day:

it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%

Why don't we explore some of the benefits?.. Following the long list of some the diseases, loneliness can inflict on individuals, there must be a surge in demand for all sort of medications; anti-depressants must be topping the list. There is a host many other anti-stress treatments available of which Big Pharma must be carving the lion's share. Examine the micro-economic impact immediately following a split or divorce. There is an instant doubling on the demand for accommodation, instant doubling on the demand for electrical and household items among many other products and services. But the icing on the cake and what is really most critical for Neoliberalism must be this: With the morale barometer hitting the bottom, people will be less likely to think of a better future, and therefore, less likely to protest. In fact, there is nothing left worth protecting.

Your freedom has been curtailed. Your rights are evaporating in front of your eyes. And Best of all, from the authorities' perspective, there is no relationship to defend and there is no family to protect. If you have a job, you want to keep, you must prove your worthiness every day to 'a company'.

[Sep 05, 2017] Is the World Slouching Toward a Grave Systemic Crisis by Philip Zelikow

Highly recommended!
This is a weak and way too long article. That demonstrated inability to think in scientific terms such neoliberalism, neocolonialism and end of cheap oil. Intead it quckly deteriorated into muchy propaganda. But it touches on legacy of Troskyst Burnham, who was one of God fathers of neoliberalism.
Zelikov is the guy who whitewashed 9/11. This neocon does not use the term neoliberalism even once but he writes like a real neoliberal Trotskyite.
Notable quotes:
"... The Managerial State ..."
"... Orwell was profoundly disturbed by Burnham's vision of the emerging "managerial state." All too convincing. Yet he also noticed how, when Burnham described the new superstates and their demigod rulers, Burnham exhibited "a sort of fascinated admiration." ..."
"... Burnham had predicted Nazi victory. Later, Burnham had predicted the Soviet conquest of all Eurasia. By 1947 Burnham was calling for the U.S. to launch a preventive nuclear war against the Soviet Union to head off the coming disaster. ..."
"... Orwell saw a pattern. Such views seemed symptoms of "a major mental disease, and its roots," he argued, which, "lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worship of power, which is not fully separable from cowardice." ..."
"... Orwell had another critique. He deplored the fact that, "The tendency of writers like Burnham, whose key concept is 'realism,' is to overrate the part played in human affairs by sheer force." Orwell went on. "I do not say that he is wrong all the time. But somehow his picture of the world is always slightly distorted." ..."
"... "the fact that certain rules of conduct have to be observed if human society is to hold together at all." ..."
"... Nineteen Eighty-Four. ..."
"... By that time, Burnham had become a consultant to the CIA, advising its new office for covert action. That was the capacity in which Burnham met the young William F. Buckley. Burnham mentored Buckley. It was with Buckley that Burnham became one of the original editors of the National Review ..."
"... Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism ..."
"... What about our current president? Last month he urged his listeners to be ready to fight to the death for the "values" of the West. He named two: "individual freedom and sovereignty. ..."
"... Certainly our history counsels modesty. Americans and the American government have a very mixed and confusing record in the way we have, in practice, related values in foreign governance to what our ..."
"... "A stable world order needs a careful balance between power and legitimacy. Legitimacy is upheld when states, no matter how powerful, observe norms of state behavior." India, Saran said, had the "civilizational attributes." ..."
Sep 05, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com

My first prophet was a man named James Burnham. In 1941 Burnham was 35 years old. From a wealthy family -- railroad money -- he was a star student at Princeton, then on to Balliol College, Oxford. Burnham was an avowed Communist. He joined with Trotsky during the 1930s.

By 1941, Burnham had moved on, as he published his first great book of prophecy, called The Managerial State . The book made him a celebrity. It was widely discussed on both sides of the Atlantic.

Burnham's vision of the future is one where the old ideologies, like socialism, have been left behind. The rulers are really beyond all that. They are the managerial elite, the technocrats, the scientists, and the bureaucrats who manage the all-powerful enterprises and agencies.

You know this vision. You have seen it so often at the movies. It is the vision in all those science fiction dystopias. You know, with the gilded masterminds ruling all from their swank towers and conference rooms.

It's a quite contemporary vision. For instance, it is not far at all from the way I think the rulers of China imagine themselves and their future.

In this and other writings, Burnham held up Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany as the pure exemplars of these emerging managerial states. They were showing the way to the future. By comparison, FDR's New Deal was a primitive version. And he thought it would lose.

Burnham's views were not so unusual among the leading thinkers of the 1940s, like Joseph Schumpeter or Karl Polanyi. All were pessimistic about the future of free societies, including Friedrich Hayek, who really believed that once-free countries were on the "road to serfdom." But Burnham took the logic further.

Just after the second world war ended, my other prophet decided to answer Burnham. You know him as George Orwell.

Eric Blair, who used George Orwell as his pen name, was about Burnham's age. Their backgrounds were very different. Orwell was English. Poor. Orwell's lungs were pretty rotten and he would not live long. Orwell was a democratic socialist who came to loathe Soviet communism. He had volunteered to fight in Spain, was shot through the throat. Didn't stop his writing.

Orwell was profoundly disturbed by Burnham's vision of the emerging "managerial state." All too convincing. Yet he also noticed how, when Burnham described the new superstates and their demigod rulers, Burnham exhibited "a sort of fascinated admiration."

Orwell wrote : For Burnham, "Communism may be wicked, but at any rate it is big: it is a terrible, all-devouring monster which one fights against but which one cannot help admiring." To Orwell, Burnham's mystical picture of "terrifying, irresistible power" amounted to "an act of homage, and even of self-abasement." irresistible power" amounted to "an act of homage, and even of self-abasement."

Burnham had predicted Nazi victory. Later, Burnham had predicted the Soviet conquest of all Eurasia. By 1947 Burnham was calling for the U.S. to launch a preventive nuclear war against the Soviet Union to head off the coming disaster.

Orwell saw a pattern. Such views seemed symptoms of "a major mental disease, and its roots," he argued, which, "lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worship of power, which is not fully separable from cowardice."

Orwell thought that "power worship blurs political judgment because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible."

Orwell had another critique. He deplored the fact that, "The tendency of writers like Burnham, whose key concept is 'realism,' is to overrate the part played in human affairs by sheer force." Orwell went on. "I do not say that he is wrong all the time. But somehow his picture of the world is always slightly distorted."

Finally, Orwell thought Burnham overestimated the resilience of the managerial state model and underestimated the qualities of open and civilized societies. Burnham's vision did not allow enough play for "the fact that certain rules of conduct have to be observed if human society is to hold together at all."

Having written these critical essays, Orwell then tried to make his case against Burnham in another way. This anti-Burnham argument became a novel -- the novel called Nineteen Eighty-Four.

That book came out in 1949. Orwell died the next year.

By that time, Burnham had become a consultant to the CIA, advising its new office for covert action. That was the capacity in which Burnham met the young William F. Buckley. Burnham mentored Buckley. It was with Buckley that Burnham became one of the original editors of the National Review and a major conservative commentator. In 1983, President Reagan awarded Burnham the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Not that Burnham's core vision had changed. In 1964, he published another book of prophecy. This was entitled Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism . The Soviet Union and its allies had the will to power. Liberalism and its defenders did not. "The primary issue before Western civilization today, and before its member nations, is survival." (Sound familiar?)

And it was liberalism, Burnham argued, with its self-criticism and lack of commitment, that would pull our civilization down from within. Suicide.

So was Burnham wrong? Was Orwell right? This is a first-class historical question. Burnham's ideal of the "managerial state" is so alive today.

State the questions another way: Do open societies really work better than closed ones? Is a more open and civilized world really safer and better for Americans? If we think yes, then what is the best way to prove that point?

My answer comes in three parts. The first is about how to express our core values. American leaders tend to describe their global aims as the promotion of the right values. Notice that these are values in how other countries are governed. President Obama's call for an "international order of laws and institutions," had the objective of winning a clash of domestic governance models around the world. This clash he called: "authoritarianism versus liberalism."

Yet look at how many values he felt "liberalism" had to include. For Obama the "road of true democracy," included a commitment to "liberty, equality, justice, and fairness" and curbing the "excesses of capitalism."

What about our current president? Last month he urged his listeners to be ready to fight to the death for the "values" of the West. He named two: "individual freedom and sovereignty. "

A week later, two of his chief aides, Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, doubled down on the theme that America was promoting, with its friends, the values that "drive progress throughout the world." They too had a laundry list. They omitted "sovereignty." But then, narrowing the list only to the "most important," they listed: "[T]he dignity of every person equality of women innovation freedom of speech and of religion and free and fair markets."

By contrast, the anti-liberal core values seem simple. The anti-liberals are for authority and against anarchy and disorder. And they are for community and against the subversive, disruptive outsider.

There are of course many ways to define a "community" -- including tribal, religious, political, or professional. It is a source of identity, of common norms of behavior, of shared ways of life.

Devotees of freedom and liberalism do not dwell as much on "community." Except to urge that everybody be included, and treated fairly.

But beliefs about "community" have always been vital to human societies. In many ways, the last 200 years have been battles about how local communities try to adapt or fight back against growing global pressures -- especially economic and cultural, but often political and even military.

So much of the divide between anti-liberals or liberals is cultural. Little has to do with "policy" preferences. Mass politics are defined around magnetic poles of cultural attraction. If Americans engage this culture war on a global scale, I plead for modesty and simplicity. As few words as possible, as fundamental as possible.

Certainly our history counsels modesty. Americans and the American government have a very mixed and confusing record in the way we have, in practice, related values in foreign governance to what our government does.

Also, until the late 19th century, "democracy" was never at the core of liberal thinking. Liberal thinkers were very interested in the design of republics. But classical liberal thinkers, including many of the American founders, always had a troubled relationship with democracy. There were always two issues.

First, liberals were devoted, above all, to liberty of thought and reason. Pace Tom Paine, the people were often regarded as intolerant, ill-informed, and superstitious -- unreliable judges of scientific truth, historical facts, moral duty, and legal disputes. The other problem is that democracy used to be considered a synonym for mob rule. Elections can be a supreme check on tyranny. But sometimes the people have exalted their dictators and have not cared overmuch about the rule of law. It therefore still puzzles me: Why is there so much debate about which people are "ready for democracy"? Few of the old theorists thought any people were ready for such a thing.

It was thought, though, that any civilized people might be persuaded to reject tyranny. Any civilized community might prefer a suitably designed and confining constitution, limiting powers and working at a reliable rule of law.

By the way, that "rule of law" was a value that Mr. Cohn and General McMaster left off of their "most important" list -- yet is anything more essential to our way of life?

Aside from the relation with democracy, the other great ideal that any liberal order finds necessary, yet troubling, is the one about community: nationalism.

Consider the case of Poland. For 250 years, Poland has been a great symbol to the rest of Europe. For much of Polish and European history, nationalism was an ally of liberalism. Versus Czarist tyranny, versus aristocratic oligarchs.

But sometimes not. Today, Poland's governing Law and Justice party is all about being anti-Russian, anti-Communist, and pro-Catholic. They are all about "authority" and "community." At the expense of ? Poland's president has just had to intervene when the rule of law itself seemed to be at stake.

We Americans and our friends should define what we stand for. Define it in a way that builds a really big tent. In 1989, working for the elder President Bush, I was able to get the phrase, "commonwealth of free nations," into a couple of the president's speeches. It didn't stick. Nearly 20 years later, in 2008, the late Harvard historian Ernest May and I came up with a better formulation. We thought that through human history the most adaptable and successful societies had turned out to be the ones that were "open and civilized."

Rather than the word, "liberal," the word "open" seems more useful. It is the essence of liberty. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi uses it in his speeches; Karl Popper puts it at the core of his philosophy; Anne-Marie Slaughter makes it a touchstone in her latest book. That's a big tent right there.

Also the ideal of being "civilized." Not such an old-fashioned ideal. It gestures to the yearning for community. Not only a rule of law, also community norms, the norms that reassure society and regulate rulers -- whether in a constitution or in holy scripture.

Chinese leaders extol the value of being civilized -- naturally, they commingle it with Sinification. Muslims take pride in a heritage that embraces norms of appropriate conduct by rulers. And, of course, in an open society, community norms can be contested and do evolve.

The retired Indian statesman, Shyam Saran, recently lectured on, "Is a China-centric world inevitable?" To Saran, "A stable world order needs a careful balance between power and legitimacy. Legitimacy is upheld when states, no matter how powerful, observe norms of state behavior." India, Saran said, had the "civilizational attributes."

... ... ...

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia, and is a former executive director of the 9/11 Commission.

[Sep 05, 2017] A State of Neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "number of refugees and displaced persons increased dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to approximately 60 million people. There are nine countries with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced." ..."
"... The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938 . Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is not a collection of theories meant to improve the economy. Instead, it should be understood as a class strategy designed to redistribute wealth upward toward an increasingly narrow fraction of population (top 1%). It is the Marxist idea of "class struggle" turned on its head and converted into a perverted "revolt of the elite," unsatisfied with the peace of the pie it is getting from the society. While previously excessive greed was morally condemned, neoliberalism employed a slick trick of adopting "reverse," Nietzschean Ubermench morality in bastartized form propagated in the USA under the name of Randism. ..."
"... This neoliberal transformation of the society into a top 1% (or, more correctly, 0.01%) "have and have more" and "the rest" undermined and exploited by financial oligarchy with near complete indifference to what happens with the most unprotected lower quintile of the population. The neoliberal reformers don't care about failures and contradictions of the economic system which drive the majority of country population into abject poverty, as it happened in Russia. Nor do they care about their actions such as blowing financial bubbles, like in the USA in 2008 can move national economics toward disaster. They have a somewhat childish, simplistic "greed is good" mentality: they just want to have their (as large as possible) piece of economic pie fast and everything else be damned. In a way, they are criminals and neoliberalism is a highly criminogenic creed, but it tried to conceal the racket and plunder it inflicts of the societies under the dense smoke screen of "free market" newspeak. ..."
"... That means that in most countries neoliberalism is an unstable social order as plunder can't continue indefinitely. It was partially reversed in Chile, Russia, and several other countries. It was never fully adopted in northern Europe. ..."
"... One can see an example of this smoke screen in Thatcher's dictum of neoliberalism: "There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families." In foreign policy neoliberalism behaves like brutal imperialism which subdue countries either by debt slavery or direct military intervention. In a neoliberal view the world consist of four concentric cycles which in order of diminishing importance are . ..."
"... Finance is accepted as the most important institution of the civilization which should govern all other spheres of life. It is clear that such a one-dimensional view is wrong, but neoliberals like communists before them have a keen sense of mission and made its "long march through the institutions" and changed the way Americans think (Using the four "M" strategy -- money, media, marketing, and management) ..."
"... A well-oiled machine of foundations, lobbies, think-tanks, economic departments of major universities, publications, political cadres, lawyers and activist organizations slowly and strategically took over nation after nation. A broad alliance of neo-liberals, neo-conservatives and the religious right successfully manufactured a new common sense, assaulted Enlightenment values and formed a new elite, the top layer of society, where this "greed is good" culture is created and legitimized. ..."
"... Normally these decisions could be made after the election, and ideally after the selection of a National Economic Advisor, but, of course, these are not normal times. ..."
"... Jeb stated that Trump previously was one of Clinton's largest supporters, not only by verbally expressing that he hoped she won the election, but financially contributing to her campaign. Bush explained that it seems "too good to be true" that Trump suddenly doesn't support Hillary and has a plan "to make America great again." He believes it is much more likely that he is part of the Hillary campaign and is doing "his part" to ensure his friend elected in November. ..."
"... that the United States is now an "oligarchy" in which "unlimited political bribery" has created "a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors." Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, "look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves." ..."
"... Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United . ..."
"... HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, "unlimited money in politics." It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. Your thoughts on that? ..."
"... CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we've just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election's over. The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody's who's already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who's just a challenger ..."
"... More than one in five U.S. millennials would be open to backing a communist candidate, and a third believe George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin, according to a new poll released Monday. ..."
"... Overall, the poll found, Americans remain broadly hostile to socialism and communism, even though 67 percent of the populace believes rich people don't pay "their fair share" and 52 percent believe America's economic system works against them. ..."
Nov 16, 2016 | rashidmod.com

Filed under: United Panther Movement and tagged with: United Panther Movement

...The U.S. Military is deployed globally with bases in the majority of countries and "partnership" arrangements to train and advise most of the world's armed forces. The U.S. is the dominant force in NATO and of the United Nations' armed forces. A recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace found a mere ten nations on the planet are not at war and completely free from conflict. The report cites an historic 10-year deterioration in world peace, with the "number of refugees and displaced persons increased dramatically over the decade, doubling from 2007 to 2015, to approximately 60 million people. There are nine countries with more than 10 per cent of their population classified as refugees or displaced persons with Somalia and South Sudan having more than 20 per cent of their population displaced and Syria with over 60 per cent displaced." [1] According to the report, the United States spends an outrageously high percentage of the globe's military expenditures -- 38 percent -- while the next largest military spender, China, accounted for considerably less, 10 percent of the global share. [2]

....As George Monbiot explained:

"The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938 . Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the gradual development of Britain's welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

"In The Road to Serfdom , published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises's book Bureaucracy , The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism!the Mont Pelerin Society!it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

"With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as "a kind of neoliberal International": a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement's rich backers funded a series of think tanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

"As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek's view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way, among American apostles such as Milton Friedman, to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency." [3]

As an ideology, neoliberalism borrows heavily from Trotskyism. "One can view neoliberalism as Trotskyism refashioned for elite." [4] Instead of " proletarians of all countries unite " we have [the] slogan " neoliberal elites of all countries unite. [5] Stalin purged Trotsky, but some of his disciples made the transition to become founding intellectuals of neoliberal ideology, and in particular its "neo-conservative" wing. "Neoliberalism is also an example of emergence of ideologies, not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of the ruling elite. Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail much like Catholicism prevailed during Dark Ages in Europe. In a way, this is return to Dark Ages on a new level." [6]

Trotsky's elitism and contempt for the masses led naturally to neoliberalism. As M.J. Olgin pointed out: Today Trotskyism no more confines itself to "informing" the bourgeoisie. Today Trotskyism is the center and the rallying point for the enemies of the Soviet Union, of the proletarian revolution in capitalist countries, of the Communist International. Trotskyism is trying not only to disintegrate the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, but also to disintegrate the forces that make for the dictatorship of the proletariat the world over. [7] Neoliberalism also borrows from the ideology of fascism. As Giovanni Gentile, "The Philosopher of Fascism" expressed in a quote often attributed to Mussolini: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism , since it is the merger of state and corporate power." Gentile also stated in The Origins and Doctrine of Fascism , that "mankind only progresses through division, and progress is achieved through the clash and victory of one side over another." [8]

Neoliberalism is a new form of corporatism based on the ideology of market fundamentalism, dominance of finance and cult of rich ("greed is good") instead of the ideology on racial or national superiority typical for classic corporatism. Actually, some elements of the idea of "national superiority" were preserved in a form superiority of "corporate management" and top speculators over other people. In a way, neoliberalism considers bankers and corporations top management to be a new Aryan race. As it relies on financial mechanisms and banks instead of brute force of subduing people the practice of neoliberalism outside of the G7 is also called neocolonialism. Neoliberal practice within G7 is called casino capitalism, an apt term that underscore [s] the role of finance and stock exchange in this new social order. Neoliberalism is an example of emergence of ideologies not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of ruling elite. Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail .

Neoliberalism is not a collection of theories meant to improve the economy. Instead, it should be understood as a class strategy designed to redistribute wealth upward toward an increasingly narrow fraction of population (top 1%). It is the Marxist idea of "class struggle" turned on its head and converted into a perverted "revolt of the elite," unsatisfied with the peace of the pie it is getting from the society. While previously excessive greed was morally condemned, neoliberalism employed a slick trick of adopting "reverse," Nietzschean Ubermench morality in bastartized form propagated in the USA under the name of Randism. [9]

This neoliberal transformation of the society into a top 1% (or, more correctly, 0.01%) "have and have more" and "the rest" undermined and exploited by financial oligarchy with near complete indifference to what happens with the most unprotected lower quintile of the population. The neoliberal reformers don't care about failures and contradictions of the economic system which drive the majority of country population into abject poverty, as it happened in Russia. Nor do they care about their actions such as blowing financial bubbles, like in the USA in 2008 can move national economics toward disaster. They have a somewhat childish, simplistic "greed is good" mentality: they just want to have their (as large as possible) piece of economic pie fast and everything else be damned. In a way, they are criminals and neoliberalism is a highly criminogenic creed, but it tried to conceal the racket and plunder it inflicts of the societies under the dense smoke screen of "free market" newspeak.

That means that in most countries neoliberalism is an unstable social order as plunder can't continue indefinitely. It was partially reversed in Chile, Russia, and several other countries. It was never fully adopted in northern Europe.

One can see an example of this smoke screen in Thatcher's dictum of neoliberalism: "There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families." In foreign policy neoliberalism behaves like brutal imperialism which subdue countries either by debt slavery or direct military intervention. In a neoliberal view the world consist of four concentric cycles which in order of diminishing importance are .

Finance is accepted as the most important institution of the civilization which should govern all other spheres of life. It is clear that such a one-dimensional view is wrong, but neoliberals like communists before them have a keen sense of mission and made its "long march through the institutions" and changed the way Americans think (Using the four "M" strategy -- money, media, marketing, and management)

A well-oiled machine of foundations, lobbies, think-tanks, economic departments of major universities, publications, political cadres, lawyers and activist organizations slowly and strategically took over nation after nation. A broad alliance of neo-liberals, neo-conservatives and the religious right successfully manufactured a new common sense, assaulted Enlightenment values and formed a new elite, the top layer of society, where this "greed is good" culture is created and legitimized. [10]

Donald Trump is a visible product of this culture, but clearly is not the choice of the elite ruling class to serve as their "front man" for President. Rather, his role seems to have been to polarize the electorate in such a way as to assure Hillary Clinton the election, just as Bernie Sanders played a role of mobilizing the left-neoliberal camp and then sheep-dogging it into Hillary's camp. As Bruce A. Dixon explained:

"Bernie Sanders is this election's Democratic sheepdog. The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there's no White House Democrat running for re-election. The sheepdog is a presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat to whom the billionaires will award the nomination. Sheepdogs are herders, and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two-party box." [11]

Once you realize what the principle contradiction in the world is, and how the game of bourgeois "democracy" is played, the current election become as predictable and blatantly scripted as professional wrestling. As Victor Wallace explained:

"An extraordinary feature of the U.S. electoral process is that the two dominant parties collude to dictate – via their own bipartisan "commission" – who is allowed to participate in the officially recognized presidential debates. Needless to say, the two parties set impossible barriers to the participation of any candidates other than their own . Most potential voters are thereby prevented from acquainting themselves with alternatives to the dominant consensus.

"This practice has taken on glaring proportions in the 2016 campaign, which has been marked by justified public distrust of both the dominant-party tickets. Preventing election-theft would initially require breaking up the bipartisan stranglehold over who can access the tens of millions of voters.

"Another distinctive U.S. trait is the absence of any constitutional guarantee of the right to vote. Instead, a multiplicity of state laws govern voter-eligibility, as well as ballot-access. A few states set ballot-access requirements so high as to effectively disqualify their residents from supporting otherwise viable national candidacies. As for voter-eligibility, it is deliberately narrowed through the time-honored practice of using "states' rights" to impose racist agendas. Most states deny voting rights to ex-convicts, a practice that currently disenfranchises some 6 million citizens, disproportionately from communities of color. More recently, targeting the same constituencies, many states have passed onerous and unnecessary voter-ID laws.

"The role of money in filtering out viable candidacies is well known. It was reinforced by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision of 2010, which opened the gate to unlimited corporate contributions.

"The priorities of corporate media point in a similar direction. Even apart from their taste for campaign-advertising, their orientation toward celebrity and sensationalism prompts them to give far more air-time to well known figures – the more outrageous, the better – than to even the most viable candidates who present serious alternatives. Trump's candidacy was thus "made" by the media, even as they kept the Sanders challenge to Clinton as deep in the shadows as possible ." [12]

Moreover, the media, which in the U.S. is 90% owned by just six mega-corporations, [13] cooperates closely with the dominant establishment of the two parties in framing the questions that are posed in the debates. And they explicitly maintain the fiction that the "commission" running the debates is "non-partisan" when in fact it is bipartisan. [14]

"Turning finally to the voting process itself, the longest-running scandal is the holding of elections on a workday. In recent years, the resulting inconvenience has been partially offset by the institution of early voting, which however has the disadvantage of facilitating premature choices and of being subject to varied and volatile rules set by state legislatures.

"The actual casting of votes on Election Day is further subject to a number of possible abuses. These include: 1) insufficient polling places in poor neighborhoods, sometimes resulting in waiting periods so long that individuals no longer have the time to vote; 2) the sometimes aggressive challenging of voters' eligibility by interested parties; 3) the use of provisional ballots which may easily end up not being counted; and 4), perhaps most significantly, the increasingly complete reliance on computerized voting, which allows for manipulation of the results (via "proprietary" programs) in a manner that cannot be detected. (The probability of such manipulation – based on discrepancies between exit-polls and official tallies – was documented by Marc Crispin Miller in his book on the 2004 election.

"The corporate media add a final abuse in their rush – in presidential races – to announce results in some states before the voting process has been completed throughout the country." [15]

Despite multiple releases of hacked e-mails by WikiLeaks revealing the whole process in detail, it seems to have little effect on the masses or on the game. The most recent batch come from Obama's personal e-mail account and reveal that the Bush administration contacted the future president multiple times before the election in 2008, secretly organizing the transition of power. In one e-mail President Bush states:

" We are now at the point of deciding how to staff economic policy during the transition, who should be the point of contact with Treasury and how to blend the transition and campaign economic policy talent.

Normally these decisions could be made after the election, and ideally after the selection of a National Economic Advisor, but, of course, these are not normal times. " [16]

Hillary Clinton's response has been to claim that the WikiLeaks' exposures come from the "highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election," [17] and to accuse Trump of being Putin's puppet. Not exactly a denial of the accuracy of the content of the e-mails, nor does she present proof of Russia's involvement. And even if true, is this any different than the well-documented cases of Israel's long-standing involvement in spying on the U.S. and acting to influence U.S. elections or the recent allegations of U.S. interference in Israel's election, [18] or for that matter U.S. interference with elections and forced regime changes in countries all over the world. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has recently released a video on YouTube , asserting that his sources are DNC whistleblowers not Russians. [19]

The strategy of picking the "lesser evil" is a losing strategy. Is it a coincidence that all the corporate CEO's and most of the "left-wing" neoliberals agree on Trump being the "lesser evil?" In reality, Trump is less hawkish than Hillary. At least he doesn't seem to have any ambition to lock horns with Russia over Syria. Indeed, the WikiLeaks' exposures show Trump to be Hillary's puppet, not Putin's. This was alleged by Jeb Bush, back during the Republican primaries: Jeb stated that Trump previously was one of Clinton's largest supporters, not only by verbally expressing that he hoped she won the election, but financially contributing to her campaign. Bush explained that it seems "too good to be true" that Trump suddenly doesn't support Hillary and has a plan "to make America great again." He believes it is much more likely that he is part of the Hillary campaign and is doing "his part" to ensure his friend elected in November. [20] Nonetheless, the Bush family have, since Jeb's defeat, made known their preference for Hillary as have many of the Republican Party establishment. The illusion of "democracy" is wearing thin:

Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an "oligarchy" in which "unlimited political bribery" has created "a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors." Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, "look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves."

Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United .

Transcript:

HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, "unlimited money in politics." It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. Your thoughts on that?

CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it's just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we've just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election's over. The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody's who's already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who's just a challenger . [21]

Not only is the illusion of democracy wearing thin, but so is the effectiveness of anti-communist brainwashing:

More than one in five U.S. millennials would be open to backing a communist candidate, and a third believe George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin, according to a new poll released Monday.

The poll , commissioned by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and carried out by YouGov, surveyed Americans of all ages about their attitudes towards communism, socialism, and the American economic system in general.

Overall, the poll found, Americans remain broadly hostile to socialism and communism, even though 67 percent of the populace believes rich people don't pay "their fair share" and 52 percent believe America's economic system works against them. [22]

... ... ...

Notes

[Aug 15, 2017] The Neoconservative Movement is Trotskyism by Jonas E. Alexis

Notable quotes:
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... Weltanschauung. ..."
"... The Neoconservative Persuasion ..."
"... Illustrated Sunday Herald ..."
"... Zombie Economics ..."
"... Serpa Pinto ..."
"... In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies!policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had. ..."
"... For example, when two top AIPAC officials!Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman!were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them. ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
Aug 15, 2017 | www.veteranstoday.com
Editors Note: Mr. Alexis has sent us a well written position with which VT totally agrees

Former neoconservative luminary Francis Fukuyama of Stanford (formerly of Johns Hopkins) compares the neoconservative movement to Leninism. Neoconservatism, according to Fukuyama, is the reincarnation to some extent of both Leninism and Bolshevism.

Fukuyama's observation makes sense when even Irving Kristol, who founded the movement, proudly admitted that the "honor I most prized was the fact that I was a member in good standing of the [Trotskyist] Young People's Socialist League (Fourth International)."

And this neoconservative movement, as Jewish writer Sidney Blumenthal has shown, found its political and intellectual ideology "in the disputatious heritage of the Talmud."

Even after the birth of the neoconservative movement, many of its members such as Stephen Schwartz of the Weekly Standard and Joan Wohlstetter of the RAND Corporation still had a burning thirst for Lev Davidovich Bronstein, known as Leon Trotsky.

In that sense, the neoconservative persuasion is a subversive movement which started out in the 1920s and 30s. Legal scholar Michael Lind pointed out some years ago that,

"Most neoconservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right. They are products of the influential Jewish-American sector of the Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti-communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American culture or political history."

This was the case for Kristol, who bragged about how his Jewish intellectual comrades such as Nathan Glazer of Harvard, Philip Selznick of Berkley, Peter Rossi of Johns Hopkins, Merroe Berger of Princeton, I. Milton Sacks of Brandeis, and Seymour Melman of Columbia were not only Trotskyists but were "unquestionably the most feverishly articulate" in indoctrinating students into their Weltanschauung.

Irving Kristol

Kristol argues in his book The Neoconservative Persuasion that those Jewish intellectuals did not forsake their heritage (revolutionary ideology) when they gave up Communism and other revolutionary movements, but had to make some changes in their thinking. America is filled with such former Trotskyists who unleashed an unprecedented foreign policy that led to the collapse of the American economy.

We have to keep in mind that America and much of the Western world were scared to death of Bolshevism and Trotskyism in the 1920s and early 30s because of its subversive activity.

Winston Churchill himself wrote an article in 1920 in the British newspaper Illustrated Sunday Herald entitled "Zionism versus Bolshevism: A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People."

The United States had document after document in archives (particularly at the Yale Law School) on Bolshevik Revolution. One of those documents is entitled "Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States 1918 Russia Vol. I – The Bolshevik 'Coup d'Etat' November 7, 1917." Virtually no one wanted to tolerate Bolshevism.

Noted Australian economist John Quiggin declares in his recent work Zombie Economics that "Ideas are long lived, often outliving their originators and taking new and different forms. Some ideas live on because they are useful. Others die and are forgotten. But even when they have proved themselves wrong and dangerous, ideas are very hard to kill. Even after the evidence seems to have killed them, they keep on coming back.

These ideas are neither alive nor dead; rather they are undead, or zombie, ideas." Bolshevism or Trotskyism is one of those zombie ideas that keeps coming back in different forms. It has ideologically reincarnated in the political disputations of the neoconservative movement.

If this sounds like an exaggeration and if you think the projectile motion of Trotskyism is over, listen to Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior advisor to the Mitt Romney for President campaign, as to why he supported Romney for president:

"My support for Mitt Romney has something to do with a ship called the Serpa Pinto and with an American Marxist revolutionary."

Schoenfeld later declared that his father was a Trotskyist in the revolutionary sense, and that Obama was too soft on the Middle East, and Romney was the better choice to take care of Iran. Schoenfeld was an editor for the neoconservative magazine Commentary.

As it turns out, neoconservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute are largely extensions of Trotskyism with respect to foreign policy. Other think tanks such as the Bradley Foundation were overtaken by the neoconservative machine back in 1984.

Some of those double agents have been known to have worked with Likud-supporting Jewish groups such as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organization which has been known to have "co-opted" several "non-Jewish defense experts by sending them on trips to Israel. It flew out the retired general Jay Garner, now slated by Bush to be proconsul of occupied Iraq."

Philo-Semitic scholars Stephen Halper of Cambridge University and Jonathan Clarke of the CATO Institute agree that the neoconservative agendas "have taken American international relations on an unfortunate detour," which is another way of saying that this revolutionary movement is not what the Founding Fathers signed up for, who all maintained that the United States would serve the American people best by not entangling herself in alliances with foreign entities.

As soon as the Israel Lobby came along, as soon as the neoconservative movement began to shape U.S. foreign policy, as soon as Israel began to dictate to the U.S. what ought to be done in the Middle East, America was universally hated by the Muslim world.

Moreover, former secretary of defense Robert Gates made it clear to the United States that the Israelis do not and should not have a monopoly on the American interests in the Middle East. For that, he was chastised by neoconservative Elliott Abrams.

In that sense, the neoconservative movement as a political and intellectual movement represents a fifth column in the United States in that it subtly and deceptively seeks to undermine what the Founding Fathers have stood for and replace it with what the Founding Fathers would have considered horrible foreign policies!policies which have contributed to the demise of the respect America once had.

Halper and Clarke move on to say that the neoconservative movement is "in complete contrast to the general cast of the American temperament as embodied by the Declaration of Independence."

The neoconservative persuasion is horrible in the sense that much of the war in the Middle East has been based on colossal hoaxes and fabrications.

This point became more interesting when it was discovered that Israel has maintained covert operations against the U.S. on multiple levels, including smuggling illegal weapons for years, while the neoconservative machine says nothing about this issue and keeps propounding that Israel is a model of Western values in the Middle East.

Israel has been spying on the United States for years using various Israeli or Jewish individuals, including key Jewish neoconservative figures such as Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who were under investigation for passing classified documents to Israel.

The FBI has numerous documents tracing Israel's espionage in the U.S., but no one has come forward and declared it explicitly in the media because most political pundits value mammon over truth.

For example, when two top AIPAC officials!Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman!were caught passing classified documents from the Pentagon to Israel, Gabriel Schoenfeld defended them.

In the annual FBI report called "Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage," Israel is a major country that pops up quite often. This is widely known among CIA and FBI agents and U.S. officials for years.

One former U.S. intelligence official declared, "There is a huge, aggressive, ongoing set of Israeli activities directed against the United States. Anybody who worked in counterintelligence in a professional capacity will tell you the Israelis are among the most aggressive and active countries targeting the United States.

They undertake a wide range of technical operations and human operations. People here as liaisons aggressively pursue classified intelligence from people. The denials are laughable."

In 1991, the Israelis tried to recruit a former U.S. intelligence official, but he declined. "I had an Israeli intelligence officer pitch me in Washington at the time of the first Gulf War. I said, 'No, go away,' and reported it to counterintelligence." Covert operations were done by the Israelis in "a 1997 case in which the National Security Agency bugged two Israeli intelligence officials in Washington discussing efforts to obtain a sensitive U.S. diplomatic document.

Israel denied wrongdoing in that case and all others, and no one has been prosecuted." Yet this has rarely seen the light of day in the popular media. Pointing these facts out, according to the reasoning of Omri Ceren of the fifth column magazine Commentary , is tantamount to anti-Semitism.

In 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made the declaration that the United States had already conquered Iraq, and it was time that the U.S. marched against Iran, Syria, and Libya.

Under Obama, Sharon's prediction became a reality in Libya, and now the U.S. is destabilizing Syria by covertly supporting the Syrian rebels, while the war drum is being beaten against Iran.

In the process, Iran has been blamed for a cyber attack in the Middle East with little evidence. By the fall of 2012, the United States and Israel were even considering a "surgical strike" against Iran.

At the same time, the "democracy" which the neocons dreamed of establishing in Iraq has become "increasingly authoritarian and narrowly sectarian," according to twenty-eight-year CIA veteran and Georgetown University professor Paul R. Pillar. In his inaugural speech for his second term, President Obama suggested that the perpetual war has come to an end.

But by that time the U.S. was already marshalling some of our precious men in Mali, and British Prime Minister David Cameron has recently declared that the war in Mali will more than likely last for decades, which is another way of saying that perpetual wars are here to stay. And the people who will be paying for this are the American taxpayers, decent people who are trying to put food on the table and generational children who will be drown in massive debt and student loans.

What, then, are some of the outcomes of the neoconservative movement? What are some of its revolutionary or subversive offshoots? We will explore these questions in the upcoming articles, but one of the indirect by-products of this movement is that no person, democrat or republican, can be elected as president without being a Zionist or at least favoring Israel over the Founding Fathers. This point became clear when Obama won the presidential election in 2012.

Months before election, both Romney and Obama were competing as to who was going to give the biggest tribute to Israel. Romney went to Israel and declared that Iran was the biggest threat in the world, and Obama sent Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to Israel right after Romney's departure to tell Israel that his administration is in agreement with Israeli officials with respect to Iran. Both Romney and Obama supported deploying troops to Syria if Assad, they said, used chemical weapons.

For Alan Dershowitz of Harvard, it was the Jews in Florida who helped reelect Obama. This is not without evidence, since it has been reported that at least 70 percent of Jewish voters sided with Obama. Dershowitz continues to say that Jews like himself "must now realize that our support for the president will be good for Israel over the next four years Jews vote for both parties.

Nobody is ignoring us. Every rational candidate knows that they and their party must earn our votes in every election." One would say that this absolutely means nothing, since Jews are less than five percent of the population. But as we shall show in the next article, Jewish billionaires were largely the main vehicles supporting both Democrats and so-called Republicans.

Dershowitz then declared something that would have been a shock to the Founding Fathers: "Most Americans, regardless of religion, are united in support of Israel's security, but divided about social and economic issues. It is critically important that support for Israel's security remains a bipartisan issue, and never becomes a wedge issue that divides voters along party lines, as it has in some European countries."

In other words, even though the economy is a dismal failure, even though Americans are out of work, even though people are being cheated out of their retirement plans, even though student loans have been skyrocketed, Americans must support Israel (it has been at least $3 billion a year). Just like the Pharisees and rabbis who had to tell Pilate what to do in the first century, Dershowitz declares, "I and others who support [Obama] will have his ear over the next four years."

Almost two months before he won the presidential election, Obama invited Dershowitz to the White House and told him, "I don't bluff." Obama also invited Edgar Bronfman, former president of the World Jewish Congress, to the White House and told him, "My commitment to Israel's security is bone deep." What would George Washington, Thomas Edison and others say? Let us hear them.

George Washington: "The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.

Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities." Thomas Jefferson: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations!entangling alliances with none," Grover Cleveland: "It is the policy of Monroe and of Washington and Jefferson: Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliance with none."

Does any president have the courage to pronounce these statements today? The answer is a resounding no. The only former presidential candidate who tried to implement that foreign policy was Ron Paul, but he was castigated as "a vicious anti-Semite" for doing so.

In a nutshell, if you are a follower of the Founding Fathers when it comes to foreign policy, you are a "vicious anti-Semite." Moreover, if the Founding Fathers were alive today, they would be all anti-Semites! Over the past few weeks, more than 60 articles have been written against Chuck Hagel by two neoconservative magazines alone, Commentary and the Weekly Standard (not to mention the Washington Post , National Review , the Wall Street Journal , etc.).

This brings us to an essentially critical point that will be explored in more details later in the series: the word anti-Semitism has carelessly been applied in the political landscape to shut down rational arguments and important issues. It has become a weapon in the blessed hands of those who seek to destabilize thoughtful discussion. You either support the neoconservative ideology, or else

[Jul 01, 2017] The Corporate Contradictions of Neoliberalism by David Ciepley

Notable quotes:
"... This article originally appeared in ..."
"... Volume I, Number 2 (Summer 2017): 58–71. ..."
consortiumnews.com
In The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism -a canonical work of economic sociology in the 1970s and '80s-Daniel Bell argued that the productive and consumptive sides of capitalism had fallen into contradiction. Capitalism continued to rely on the Protestant ethic of sobriety and delayed gratification in the sphere of production, yet, contradictorily, had come to rely on modernist hedonism and credit purchasing in the sphere of consumption. Modern capitalism needed people to be sober by day and swingers by night. What is more, the displacement of the Protestant ethic by hedonism, Bell argued, was primarily the work of capitalism itself. Its mass production urbanized the population and created an economy of abundance, the continuation of which relied on ever increasing demand, stimulated through marketing and the extension of credit. This pulled the middle class away from small town, Protestant values. In other words, capitalism was undermining the conditions of its own existence. The economy's contradictory need for both prudence and prodigality from its participants was "the deepest challenge to the society."

I first read and taught Bell as a graduate student in the 1990s. Already by then the urgency of Bell's thesis had receded. Capitalism had weathered this putative internal contradiction for a generation, with no signs of implosion. The perceived threat to American capitalism at the time came instead from the outside, from Japan. Japan's integrated industrial policy, "quality circles," and knack for translating American technological advances into desirable consumer products had created an economic juggernaut that seemed to be rolling right over American industry. It seemed emblematic when President George H. W. Bush led a pugnacious trade delegation to Japan in 1992 only to fall ill and, at a state dinner, cast the craw and faint into the lap of the Japanese prime minister.

Japan's economic miracle, moreover, could itself be read as putting Bell's thesis in question. At that time, the routine of the Japanese salaryman was to work very long and grave hours at the office followed by almost daily late-night drinking parties and the occasional group outing to the hot spring baths, the night girls, or the geisha: sober by day, swinger by night. This behavior was not seen as contradictory. Nor did it have to be. The compartmentalization of value spheres and conduct is commonplace in most human societies; the demand for consistency is the real anomaly. The case could thus be made that Bell's sense of foreboding was but an artifact of the American tendency to misconstrue as a human norm the peculiarly Puritan aspiration for consistency of personality across all spheres, rationalizing all life according to one supreme value. Setting aside that assumption, it seemed to me not so much that American capitalism was becoming self-contradictory as that it was becoming more "Japanese," with the undergraduate ethos of "work hard play hard" as its training ground.

Whatever the shortcomings of Bell's specific thesis, however, one should not dismiss the more general possibility Bell raises of a system-threatening contradiction between a cultural system and an economic system. In particular, there can be a contradiction between a society's economic ideology, or cultural system of economic legitimation, and its economic reality. I argue that we are experiencing this in an acute way under neoliberalism-a contradiction between the market ideology neoliberalism espouses and the corporate reality it fosters.

Any system exhibiting a contradiction between its legitimation system and its reality is set up for sudden delegitimation. But in the case of neoliberalism, the contradiction does more. Neoliberalism was born in reaction against totalitarian statism, and matured at the University of Chicago into a program of state-reduction that was directed not just against the totalitarian state and the socialist state but also (and especially) against the New Deal regulatory and welfare state. Neoliberalism sought to privatize public services, deregulate private services, and shrink social spending. 1 It is thus unusual among ideologies in that it does not seek to rationalize the status quo. It is a self-consciously reactionary ideology that seeks to roll back the status quo and institutionalize (or, on its own understanding, re-institutionalize) the "natural" principles of the market. In other words, it is transformative. But the contradiction between its individualist ideals and our corporate reality means that the effort to institutionalize it, oblivious to this contradiction, has induced deep dysfunction in our corporate system, producing weakened growth, intense inequality, and coercion. This makes neoliberalism's position all the more precarious. And when the ideological support of a system collapses-as appears to be happening with neoliberalism-then either the system will collapse, or new levels of coercion and manipulation will be deployed to maintain it. This appears to be the juncture at which we have arrived.

The Corporation as a Franchised Government

For the contradiction between neoliberalism and the corporation to be clear, it is necessary to say a few words about the nature of the business corporation.

The business corporation, like any corporation, is a little government. Its deepest roots run back to the municipality of Rome, the first corporation in law, which was at the same time the civitas , or Roman state. More proximately, the business corporation was modeled on the incorporated medieval town, and it carries forward its central legal features.

(1) As is true of the town, a corporate firm's assets are not owned by natural persons, but by an abstract legal entity -the "artificial person" of the corporation, which assumes the legal position of sole proprietor. This fact should immediately explode the most insidious myth about the business corporation, that it is owned by its stockholders. The whole point of the legal form is to transfer ownership of the business assets to this legal entity, which in principle "never dies." This prevents investors from pulling these assets out and liquidating the firm, and it allows all economic liabilities generated by the firm to be shifted from natural persons to this entity. Since the legal entity owns the assets of the business corporation, the stockholders obviously do not.

In the case of a university or other incorporated nonprofit, it is obvious that the assets are owned by a legal entity, since there are no stockholders to whom one could ascribe ownership. The business corporation, however, is commonly read through the lens of the partnership (due in good measure to the efforts of the neoliberals, as we will see), as if the stockholders were a species of partner and thus co-owners of the firm. Yet this is precisely what they are not, lacking the ownership rights, the liabilities, and the responsibilities of partners.

The misconception that stockholders are owners akin to partners in a partnership seems to stem from two things. First, stockholders have purchased stock, which is imagined to be tantamount to acquiring part ownership. But stock is just a financial instrument-a special form of good that a corporation is privileged to sell. And purchasing a good sold by a firm-whether stocks, blocks, or socks-does not give one ownership rights in the firm. In the United States, as in most countries, stockholders, whether acting individually or jointly, cannot use, lend out, exclude others from, collateralize, sell, or alienate corporate assets. In other words, stock ownership does not convey any rights of ownership over the firm or its assets. And this has been true from the beginning (despite legal ideology sometimes to the contrary). Stockholders have no legal claim whatsoever on these assets except at bankruptcy, when they are last in line as heirs, not first in line as owners. Nor do stockholders have a legal right to profits or dividends. Dividends are issued at the discretion of the board-as Apple demonstrated quarter after quarter to its long-suffering stockholders.

The second source of the confusion is that stockholders appear to have ultimate control of the firm, and ultimate control is a right of owners. This view, however, rests on a double misconception. First, while ownership implies control rights, control rights do not necessarily imply ownership. If they did, the boards of charitable foundations would be the owners, as would the bishops and elders of churches, the principals of schools, the mayors of towns, and the presidents and parliaments of countries. As this should make clear, control can derive from jurisdictional authority no less than from ownership. Therefore, one cannot infer shareholder ownership from whatever control rights shareholders might have. Second, stockholders do not in fact have any control rights, whether proximate or ultimate, over the firm-at least not in the United States nor in most other countries. In the business corporation, as in the university, the ultimate right to control the property and to create, fill, and prescribe the duties of all positions lies with the board, as is expressly stated in the corporate charter or general incorporation statute. (Holders of a majority of the stock must consent to a firm's liquidation or its merger with another firm, because this involves the death of the firm. But they have no right to initiate or force these actions.)

It is true that the holders of common stock (although not the holders of preferred stock or other nonvoting shares) get to elect all members of the board other than the members of the first board. And this appears to give them ultimate control. If they are well organized, it will indeed likely give them de facto control. But this is not a legally enforceable control right . Imagine that all the common stock is held by a single stockholder, who therefore can place on the board whomever she will. If this board nonetheless subsequently decides to defy her, all she can do is wait for the next board election and replace it-just as the citizens of a town must wait for the next election to replace their city council or mayor (assuming no criminal activity). She cannot overrule the board, nor remove the offending board members, nor sue them (all things she could do if she were the owner and they her legal agent). All control rights lie with the board (just as all control rights lie with a sovereign parliament, not with the citizenry that elects it).

It might yet be thought that, although the right of election does not convey genuine control rights, it is itself evidence of ownership. But this is not correct either-as if the cardinals who elect the pope "own" the papacy, or the citizens who elect the mayor or president "own" the town or the state and its assets. True owners don't get a vote, but a veto, which is why the governance rule for general partnerships (whose members are true owners of the firm's assets) is unanimity on all major questions affecting the firm. The right of shareholders to participate in board elections is a charter right, not a property right.

In light of this, it is correct to argue, as did Adolf Berle and Gardner Means in their 1932 tour de force The Modern Corporation and Private Property , that the modern corporation exhibits a "separation of ownership and control." But Berle and Means were wrong to suggest that this separation occurred gradually, as shareholders became more numerous and geographically dispersed. Rather, the separation is inherent to the corporate form. Ownership is with the entity; control is with the board, which acts on behalf of the entity. What Berle and Means meant to underscore is that all but the largest shareholders have lost meaningful participation in the election of the board, and thus have lost their influence over it, leaving hired managers a free hand. But properly put, this is not a separation of ownership and control (which obtains regardless of the shareholders' level of participation), but a separation of shareholder and de facto control, or more precisely, a separation of shareholder and "influence" through election. Control of a corporation is simply not a function of who "owns" it, any more than control of a town is. (If it were, control would rest with the legal entity; but an abstract entity cannot act and a fortiori cannot control.) Rather, control rights are established by the charter.

As noted above, the point of having assets owned by a legal entity is to prevent assets from being pulled out by investors, forcing partial or complete liquidation of the firm. That is the Achilles heel of the general partnership as a business form. In contrast, with a corporation, assets are locked in permanently and can be specialized to the production process, allowing for increased scale and productivity. Historically, this is the main advantage of the corporate form for business. Marx was thus right to hold that bourgeois property would become a fetter on the productive powers of capital, to be burst asunder and replaced with socialized property. But it has been socialized primarily at the level of the corporation, not at the level of the state. Corporate property is a form of socialized property.

(2) The next legal feature that the business corporation carried over from the town is that, like the officers of a town, the managers and investors of a business corporation are exempt from liability for corporate debts , and in practice almost always escape liability for corporate harms, or torts. This is a second advantage of the corporate form for business. Debts and damages are paid by the corporate entity, not by natural persons. Here, however, an important distinction must be noted between the corporate town and the corporate firm. The officers of the town are elected by those over whom they rule and upon whom they act. Therefore, if they cause harm, it is at their own political risk, regardless of their protection from normal economic and legal risk. The officers of the corporate firm, in contrast, neither rule over nor act upon those who elect them, but rather rule over disenfranchised employees and act on numerous third parties. This relieves those who control corporate firms of most of their personal incentive to avoid causing harm when it is otherwise profitable.

(3) If neither the shareholders nor the managers own the assets of the corporate firm, whence derives management's authority? Like a town, every corporation receives from the state a jurisdiction within which its officers legislate and rule. A university's board of trustees, for example, legislates and rules over the property and personnel of the university-an authority it receives from the state, via the corporate charter. Similarly, in a business corporation, the board of directors legislates and rules over the property and personnel of the firm, even though the directors may not own any of it. This authority of the board, too, is delegated to it by the state, via a charter. It does not come from the shareholders (who, although they select the occupants of the seats on the board going forward, do not create the board's structure, procedures, powers, or duties). Indeed, the board is created and begins to operate the business before shares are even issued. The board creates the shareholders; shareholders do not create the board. And prior to that, the state creates the board, and endows it with its authority. This does not make the board and the firm it controls an agent of the state. Rather, it is the state's franchisee. To spell this out: the corporate firm gets its "personhood" (its right to own and contract as a separate legal entity), its liability regime, its governance structure, and its governing authority from the state, but it hires its own personnel and secures its own financing. This is a franchising relationship, and for this reason, I refer to corporations as "franchise governments." 2

The Neoliberal Corporation

The above exposition of corporations as governing authorities franchised by the civil government is, with slight modification, the classic view of corporations, as expounded, for example, in Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England . "None but the king can make a corporation," which the king does either directly or through delegation to others such as the legislature. The authority the corporation wields, Blackstone continues, is a "franchise" of the king, analogous in this respect to the authority that the feudal vassal wields, also delegated from the king. Like lordships, corporations are part of the overall system of government established by the king. 3 And this is part of the reason that classical liberals, including Adam Smith, were so suspicious of corporations and wished to circumscribe them. 4 They recognized that they were not part of the free market, but represented state interventions in the market.

This is, of course, not the view of corporations espoused by neoliberals. The problem that the corporation posed for neoliberals, when neoliberalism first emerged as a self-conscious ideological movement at the end of World War II, is that one could hardly put over a free market agenda if one's leading business actors were seen as state-created entities. So neoliberals had to retheorize the corporation as a creation of private contract (or at least something that could in principle be created by private contract). Accordingly, stockholders-rechristened "shareholders"-were theorized as owners who hire a board to act on their behalf. (Again, remember how wrong this is; shareholders are not owners of corporate assets, and the board gets its authority before they even exist.) In other words, neoliberals cast the corporation as a glorified partnership, to be operated in the interest of its imagined owners and principals, the stockholders.

This account superficially squares the corporation with market principles of private property and contract. But the social cost has been high. The institutionalization of this account in recent decades has transformed both the boardroom and the workplace, producing what I call the "neoliberal corporation." And this is responsible for many of the economic inequities and dislocations that plague us today.

First it transformed the boardroom. Starting in the 1980s, under the influence of the Chicago school of "law and economics"-one of the founding strongholds of neoliberal thought-both law and norms changed to reorient corporations towards maximizing "shareholder value." This was done partly by empowering stockholders in the boardroom-although unfortunately at a time when the character of the typical stockholder was changing, from an individual long-term investor to an institutional investor (a pension fund, mutual fund, hedge fund, or private equity fund) working under quarterly profit imperatives. Executives who didn't look out for this new (and impatient) Number One were liable to find themselves replaced.

Even more effectively, this reorientation was done by bribing executives with compensation packages heavily skewed towards stock and stock options. A generation ago, stock compensation was an insignificant part of CEO pay. Today, in Fortune 500 companies, it constitutes over 80 percent of a CEO's pay. 5 In the tinted view of human psychology typical of Chicago School neoliberalism, it is assumed that CEOs will strive narrowly to maximize their personal income, not the welfare of the firm. Therefore, the Chicago neoliberal reasons, structure their pay so that, in maximizing it, they simultaneously maximize (short-term) stockholder returns.

Two effective means of quickly juicing a stock price are to increase dividend payments and to buy back stock. As William Lazonick details, stock buybacks-that is, corporate repurchases of its previous stock issues, which decrease the supply of outstanding stock, and thus increase its price-have become so popular with executives that buybacks now consume on average over 50 percent of the profits of S&P 500 firms. In some years, the buybacks of some firms have topped 100 percent of corporate profits. 6 That is, the companies spent more on repurchasing their stock than they earned for the year, which is done by cutting into their reserves, taking on debt, or selling off assets. Increasing dividend payments, even when profits are not rising, similarly robs the future to pay off the present. This is what I call "vampire management," sucking out the accumulated life force of the company to feed current stockholders. Others have likened it to cannibalism-of stockholders eating the corporate body. What it means, in Bell's terms, is that the hedonism and immediate gratification of the rentier has gained control over the arena of production.

The societal consequences have been overwhelmingly negative. On the one hand, it means that the revenues of the firm have been massively reallocated, with much of what used to be shared with workers now disgorged to shareholders and executives. Wages stagnated even when productivity continued to climb. This is at the root of our growing economic inequality. But it also affects the rate of economic growth itself. Production is still an arena wherein focus on the long term-that is, delayed gratification-works best. But the refocus on short-term share price means that research and development get cut, reinvestment in plant expansion gets cut, and worker training gets cut, because their payoffs are not immediate. The result is slower growth. What is more, the pressure against worker training encourages, as an alternative, the de-skilling of the production process, which in turn facilitates the offshoring of jobs, further suppressing domestic wages.

In short, when the short-term focus of the hedonist gains control of the arena of production, all lose out in the long term, but the worker loses out disproportionately, in both long term and short term. There is no longer a "cultural contradiction" between production and consumption, as both are now ruled by an ethos of immediate gratification. It turns out we were better off when there was a contradiction.

Second, neoliberal retheorization of the corporation has transformed the workplace. As part of this retheorization, neoliberals adopted a newfangled principal-agent theory indebted to game theory, according to which principal and agent always act opportunistically towards one another. In the neoliberal view, shareholders are assumed to be the principals (rather than the corporate entity and its authorized purpose), and the employees-whether top managers or line employees-are assumed to be their agents, who will shirk if left to their own vices. Fortunately for top managers, boards primarily use the carrot of stock and stock options to align the managers' interests with the shareholders (although this is arguably the most expensive way to motivate managers). But there aren't enough carrots to go around. So line workers get the stick-that is, an increasingly coercive workplace with electronic monitoring, shaming, and so forth. This of course decreases their actual commitment to their employer and, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, can turn them into actual shirkers.

In sum, the rise of the neoliberal corporation creates a slow-growth, high-inequality, high-coercion economy.

Neoliberalism and the New Scarcity

What neoliberalism has done to the realm of production must also be placed in the context of what neoliberalism has done to the realm of consumption. This can be summarized by saying that neoliberalism reimposes the logic of scarcity on the economy of abundance. It does so in several ways.

First, as just explained, are the distributive effects of neoliberalism. Workers are deprived of their productivity gains, with almost all of it conferred upon the executives and the rentiers. So their purchasing power remains stagnant even as wealth explodes all around them. This is both a material and psychological reimposition of scarcity.

Second are the privatization effects of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism shrinks the sphere of public services and "privatizes"-or rather, corporatizes-the provision of the public services that remain. In most instances, corporate provision has proven to be more expensive than public provision, since the rentier investor needs his cut. Think of privately operated toll roads, or Chicago's privately operated parking. And it shifts the cost of service from the wealthy taxpayer to the general public of users, which pays cost plus profit. Relatedly, college has gotten so expensive, as its own managerial costs have exploded while state legislatures have cut public funding, that parents' expectation of a "return on investment" becomes understandable. Students feel forced into the moneymaking occupations, rather than artistic or care occupations, because of student debt, and because essential goods increasingly must be purchased, including education for the students' own anticipated children. The tightening of personal bankruptcy laws increases this pressure. There is limited public provision of the basics to liberate one for risk-taking, including entrepreneurial risk-taking, and fewer second chances if one gets in financial trouble. So even the youth become extremely risk averse. With fewer going into the helping professions and creative professions, there is less help for those in need, and an impoverishment of the culture.

Third are the monopoly effects of neoliberalism. One of the first targets of the Chicago neoliberals, both on the law faculty and the economics faculty, was the country's antitrust regime. Breaking up monopolies was just one more unnecessary government intervention in the market. Given enough time, the market would itself undermine monopolies, as new entrants brought disruptive technologies to bear. Their recommended rollback of antitrust enforcement was finally institutionalized under President Reagan.

Unfortunately, neoliberal argumentation on this point was always tendentious. Firms naturally pursue "pricing power," and when industry concentration can occur through acquisition even more easily than through organic growth, it is foolhardy to imagine that new entrants will keep markets competitive. They can simply be bought out. Indeed, in a corporate economy, this can be done even against the will of the target company's management. And sure enough, monopoly has returned to the United States with a vengeance, as Barry Lynn and Philip Longman of New America have argued. Commodity food producers are hit especially hard. Their productive inputs-seeds and sprays, for example-are in the hands of a few suppliers. Meanwhile, their productive outputs-chicken, beef, pork, corn, soy, dairy, and so on-often have only one local buyer. A few enormous processors operate as monopsonists with respect to the food producers, and monopolists with respect to the consumer, lowering incomes on the one end, and raising prices on the other. Monopoly pricing pervades other consumer markets as well-cable television and Internet service, eyewear, beer, breakfast cereal, pet food, department stores and office supply stores, and so on-where monopoly is often concealed behind a veneer of brand diversity. Standing at the end of supply chains riddled with unchecked monopolies, the consumer finds the reach of her dollar considerably foreshortened. Lynn and Longman also argue persuasively that monopoly has suppressed innovation and job creation. Monopoly is thus a double burden, producing fewer good incomes in an economy of overpriced goods.

Fourth are the globalization effects of neoliberalism. For those who control corporations, the new mobility of corporate capital has been a race to the top, as national jurisdictions compete to offer ever more favorable terms of operation for those who control. For everyone else, that means a race to the bottom, as corporate tax rates are cut along with environmental regulations, health and safety regulations, and worker wages. The decline in tax receipts means a decline of funding for what still remains in the public sphere, even as the other declines mean these funds are more needed. It may be the case that there are productive efficiencies to be gained through the mobility of capital-although as we've seen, if this comes at the expense of long-term investments in productivity, this may not be true on balance. But even supposing there are, the costs and benefits of these productivity gains are being distributed most unequally.

In this new neoliberal world, the economic drive elicited by the siren song of hedonism is replaced by the spur of deprivation, as wages fail to keep up with the cost of living. 7 American households have the highest credit card debt load in the world (over $6,000 on average, but over $16,000 on average among those that have credit card debt), which is perhaps not surprising given that over half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, with an estimated 62 percent lacking liquid funds sufficient to cover a $1,000 emergency expenditure. 8 Debt that was racked up to live large becomes debt racked up to stay afloat. It is all the same to the creditor rentier. The economic ideal of the financier, banker, and rentier in general is that all purchases, whether of private individuals or governments, be made on credit, so that all income streams are channeled to themselves, the debt holders, to pay interest and principal. Why the debts are being contracted is immaterial.

In sum, the neoliberal effort to square the corporation with free market principles of private property, contract, and self-interest has had the consequence of increasing inequality, coercion, and mediocrity in the corporation. And since the neoliberal push for "privatization" really means corporatization, these maladies of the neoliberal corporation are pushed ever further into American life. The American worker and consumer is then undermined further by the exodus of capital abroad and the return of monopoly at home. Neoliberalism has thus created a world that is almost the inverse of the world Bell was diagnosing. The short-term orientation of the hedonist has been imposed on the production process, while the logic of scarcity has been reimposed upon the working class and middle class in the sphere of consumption, even as productivity continues to rise, but is siphoned off by plutocrats. It is an economy of abundance for the few, but of scarcity and coercion for the many.

There is no virtue today in poverty and abstinence. Work, as Bell notes, is no longer proof of salvation, nor an end in itself as a "calling," but a means to consumption and social status. Stagnant or declining wages, especially when set next to the exploding wealth of those at the top, is therefore only experienced as great frustration. And so one gets the kind of elections we have been seeing around the world.

The Contradictions of Neoliberalism

Because modern economies are corporate, not atomistic, there is a yawning chasm between the legitimating ideals of neoliberalism and the reality it creates. And this chasm is even wider than first appears if the true nature of the business corporation is kept in view. For example:

(1) Neoliberalism idealizes an individualistic, private property economy. But the economy it actually promotes is a socialized, corporate property economy, where property is controlled by, but unowned by, natural persons, with all the problems of moral hazard that this raises.

(2) Neoliberalism idealizes a free market economy, with minimal state intervention, beyond protecting property and contract. Yet the economy it promotes is dominated by state-created legal entities. State intervention makes the corporation.

(3) Neoliberalism holds that the state is a sphere of coercion, while the market is a sphere of freedom. But in most contexts, the state only makes general laws that must be followed as one pursues one's own ends. In contrast, the corporation, for which most people must now work, issues direct commands to its ends, and under neoliberalism it has only become more coercive in seeing that these commands are carried out.

(4) Neoliberalism promises to increase economic growth. But corporations reconstructed on neoliberal lines retard growth, in favor of redirecting revenues to those who control and finance.

(5) Neoliberalism advocates an ethic of individual responsibility. If you fail in the market, you should accept the consequences, and not expect the wealth generated by others to be redistributed to you. But thanks to the principle of limited liability, the corporate form spares those who control the corporation from the legal or direct economic consequences of their actions. The corporation is institutionalized irresponsibility. In the neoliberal economy, individual responsibility is imposed on the weak (with a downsized social safety net, tightened personal bankruptcy laws, etc.); freedom from responsibility is enjoyed by the strong-those who invest, and those who control.

It is hard to exaggerate how far neoliberal ideology is contradicted by our economic reality. The contradiction ultimately stems from the failure of neoliberals to understand the corporate form, and thus a failure to understand the corporate economy. Indeed, it means a failure to understand the modern world as a whole, which is fundamentally corporate in its construction. Its corporatization began in medieval Europe in the wake of the recovery of the Roman law of corporations. The corporate form first transformed the semi-subordinate bodies of the Church (its monasteries, cathedral chapters, confraternities, chantries), and eventually the Church as a whole, all modeled as corporations. It then transformed civil society (its towns, universities, and guilds). And then it transformed the state (inspiring the positing of an abstract and sovereign juridical person, the "state," distinct from the ruler).

Briefly, it looked like that would be the end of the line for the corporate form. Rhetoric, and to an extent, reality, suggested that the corporate form would be swept away, with corporate rights replaced by the rights of man. In the Age of Enlightenment, corporate bodies came under attack as remnants of the ancien régime-examples of legal privilege obnoxious to the demand for equality under the law. At the Constitutional Convention, America's founders, fearing the rise of monopoly and a monied aristocracy, refused to grant the power of incorporation to the federal government. 9 The French Constitution of 1791 went so far as to dissolve all corporations for being "injurious to liberty and equality of rights." But, in America, federal incorporation was later held to be an implied power, and, in France, the corporate ban would prove to be short-lived.

The problem with neoliberalism is that it construes the idealized, individualist world of eighteenth-century rhetoric as a good approximation of twenty-first-century reality. But in the nineteenth-century United States especially, a new corporate age was birthed as the corporate form made its final and most potent conquest, transforming the business firm and economy. In our "social imaginary," to use a coinage of Charles Taylor, the United States is the individualist society sans pareil -the most modern of modern societies because it is the most thorough in its realization of the individualist impulses of the Renaissance and the radical Reformation. Yet, in reality, it is now the most corporate of societies, teeming with franchised governments large and small: towns, state governments, and the federal government (franchised by "the People"), but also and especially our myriad for-profit and non-profit corporations (business firms, churches, foundations, and other "non-governmental," yet actually quite governmental, associations).

Our ability to come to grips with our current predicament requires as its first step a fundamental reworking of our picture of modern society. Ours is not the world of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. It is a world in which the means of production and the means of rule are owned by juridical entities, not natural persons. A world wherein control is exercised by officeholders, not owners; wherein the officeholders-of corporate government no less than of civil government-dodge direct economic and legal responsibility for the consequences of their control; and wherein the officeholders are therefore supposed to be guided by a fiduciary duty to the organization's authorized purposes, not by individual self-interest. This is the world we inhabit, and it is a world that falls into dysfunction and exploitation when neoliberal categories and prescriptions are imposed upon it.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume I, Number 2 (Summer 2017): 58–71.

Notes
1 See Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe, eds., The Road from Mont Pèlerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009).

2 For further detail on this view of corporations, see my "Beyond Public and Private: Toward a Political Theory of the Corporation," American Political Science Review 107, no. 1 (Feb. 2013): 139–58.

3 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, in Four Books , vol. 1 (1753; Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1893), 297, 324; see also 180–81.

4 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations , vol. 2 of The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), pt. 2, pp. 225–30, 246–47.

5 William Lazonick, "Profits without Prosperity," Harvard Business Review 92, no. 9 (Sept. 2014): 46–55.

6 Ibid.

7 Erin El Issa, "2016 American Household Credit Card Debt Study," NerdWallet , https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/.

8 Ibid.; Scott Dylan, "American Credit Card Debt at Record High-Should You Be Worried?," Get , May 24, 2016, https://www.get.com/news/american-credit-card-debt/; Quentin Fottrell, "Most Americans Are One Paycheck Away from the Street," MarketWatch , January 7, 2015, https://secure.marketwatch.com/story/most-americans-are-one-paycheck-away-from-the-street-2015-01-07.

9 Pauline Maier, "The Revolutionary Origins of the American Corporation," William and Mary Quarterly 50, no. 1 (Jan. 1993): 51–84.

David Ciepley is associate professor of political science at the University of Denver. He is the author of Liberalism in the Shadow of Totalitarianism (Harvard University Press, 2006) as well as of "Beyond Public and Private: Toward a Political Theory of the Corporation," American Political Science Review 107, no. 1 (February 2013): 139–58.

[Jun 28, 2017] After Fire, Britain Asks if Deregulation Has Gone Too Far

Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne, June 28, 2017 at 08:08 AM

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/28/world/europe/uk-grenfell-tower-fire-deregulation.html

June 28, 2017

After Fire, Britain Asks if Deregulation Has Gone Too Far
By STEVEN ERLANGER

The deadly blaze at a high rise has helped crystallize resentment over the country's embrace of neoliberalism, privatization and austerity.

[ That dozens of high-rise apartment buildings in Britain could have been legally wrapped in flammable coatings, is beyond what I would have thought possible. ]

[Jun 20, 2017] Deregulation in action

Notable quotes:
"... The Aluminium cladding on the Grenfell Tower had oxygen all the way round it was mounted with an air gap and a flammable polystyrene inner. The cladding is under the windows that can be opened. Once the polystyrene is exposed, say from rupture of the aluminium coating. ..."
"... 'Like other organic compounds, polystyrene is flammable. Polystyrene is classified according to DIN4102 as a "B3" product, meaning highly flammable or "Easily Ignited." ..."
"... This is off-topic and should be in the MF Cafe. Pls take the conversation there. Thx. Mod ..."
www.informationclearinghouse.info

ph on June 15, 2017 , · at 9:35 am UTC

Jun 20, 2017 | thesaker.is
Regarding the media presentation of the fire in London:

The Aluminium cladding on the Grenfell Tower had oxygen all the way round it was mounted with an air gap and a flammable polystyrene inner. The cladding is under the windows that can be opened. Once the polystyrene is exposed, say from rupture of the aluminium coating.

The expanded polystyrene core melts at 240 C so at this point the cladding loses its structural integrity.

'Like other organic compounds, polystyrene is flammable. Polystyrene is classified according to DIN4102 as a "B3" product, meaning highly flammable or "Easily Ignited."

As a consequence, although it is an efficient insulator at low temperatures, its use is prohibited in any exposed installations in building construction if the material is not flame-retardant. It must be concealed behind drywall, sheet metal, or concrete.[citation needed]

Foamed polystyrene plastic materials have been accidentally ignited and caused huge fires and losses, for example at the Düsseldorf International Airport and the Channel tunnel (where polystyrene was inside a railcar that caught fire).'

'Like all organic compounds, polystyrene burns to give carbon dioxide and water vapor.'

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

US Department of Energy report

'In the vicinity of room temperature, the reaction between aluminum metal and water to form aluminum hydroxide and hydrogen is the following: 2Al + 6H2O = 2Al(OH)3 + 3H2. The gravimetric hydrogen capacity from this reaction is 3.7 wt.% and the volumetric hydrogen capacity is 46 g H2/L.

Although this reaction is thermodynamically favorable, it does not proceed due to the presence of a coherent and adherent layer of aluminum oxide which forms on the surface of aluminum particles which prevents water from cominginto direct contact with the aluminum metal.

The key to inducing and maintaining the reaction of aluminum with water near room temperature is the continual removal and/or disruption of this coherent/adherent aluminum oxide layer. '

'In this case, the molten nature of the [aluminium] alloy prevents the development of a coherent and adherent aluminum oxide layer. '
.

'Thus, an engineering approach might be a continuous water stream to maintain a roughly steady state hydrogen generation rate'

'The Al/water reaction is highly exothermic with an enthalpy of reaction of about 280 kJ/mol H2 at ~50-100 C '

https://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/pdfs/aluminium_water_hydrogen.pdf

Aluminium has a melting point of 660 C. When the aluminium melts its protective oxide outer layer is removed causing any steam or water such as from the burning of the polystyrene to cause a highly exothermic reaction that releases hydrogen. This saw the rapid spread of the flames over the skin of the building.

The firefighters adding water to areas they could not quench acted as an accelerant to the fire once it had rose as steam and reacted with the molten aluminium.

Any iron or copper used as building material with rust or oxidation or impurities could even cause small thermite reactions with the aluminium oxide. This exothermic reaction can be seen on the Hindenberg disaster.

There could be a creation of higly volatile triorganoaluminium compounds:

"trimethylaluminium" has the formula Al2(CH3)6 (see figure). With large organic groups, triorganoaluminium compounds exist as three-coordinate monomers, such as triisobutylaluminium. Such compounds are widely used in industrial chemistry, despite the fact that they are often highly pyrophoric.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium#Organoaluminium_compounds_and_related_hydrides

Simple large life nets could have been used with springs to save the people.

The fact the outer layer of the building is in an exothermic reaction can be clearly seen:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ThermiteReaction.jpg

Compare video of the Grenfell Tower and Hindenburg – that was using aluminium paint according to A NASA scientist.

Chemical analysis of the cladding might help further at this stage.

This is off-topic and should be in the MF Cafe. Pls take the conversation there. Thx. Mod

[Jun 17, 2017] Trotskyism and cultural Marxism

Jun 12, 2017 | en.wikipedia.org
which sees the Frankfurt School as part of an ongoing movement to take over and destroy Western society . [53] [54] [55] [56]

Originally the term 'cultural Marxism' had a niche academic usage within cultural studies where it referred to the Frankfurt School's critiques of the culture industry , an industry they claimed was able to reify an individual's self-interests, diverting individuals away from developing a more authentic sense of human values . [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [ excessive citations ] British theorists such as Richard Hoggart of The Birmingham School developed a working class sense of 'British Cultural Marxism' which objected to the "massification" and "drift" away from local cultures, a process of commercialization Hoggart saw as being enabled by tabloid newspapers, advertising , and the American film industry . [62]

However, the term remained niche and rarely used until the late 1990s when it was appropriated by paleoconservatives as part of an ongoing Culture War in which it is claimed that the very same theorists who were analysing and objecting to the "massification" and mass control via commercialization of culture were in fact in control and staging their own attack on Western society , using 1960s counter culture , multiculturalism , progressive politics and political correctness as their methods. [55] [63] [64] This conspiracy theory version of the term is associated with American religious paleoconservatives such as William S. Lind , Pat Buchanan , and Paul Weyrich , but also holds currency among alt-right / white nationalist groups and the neo-reactionary movement. [64] [56] [65]

Weyrich first aired his conception of Cultural Marxism in a 1998 speech to the Civitas Institute's Conservative Leadership Conference , later repeating this usage in his widely syndicated Culture War Letter . [64] [66] [67] At Weyrich's request William S. Lind wrote a short history of his conception of Cultural Marxism for The Free Congress Foundation ; in it Lind identifies the presence of homosexuals on television as proof of Cultural Marxist control over the mass media and claims that Herbert Marcuse considered a coalition of "blacks, students, feminist women and homosexuals" as a vanguard of cultural revolution. [55] [63] [68] Lind has since published his own depiction of a fictional Cultural Marxist apocalypse. [69] [70] Lind and Weyrich's writings on this subject advocate fighting what they perceive as Cultural Marxism with "a vibrant cultural conservatism " composed of "retroculture" fashions from the past, a return to rail systems as public transport and an agrarian culture of self-reliance modeled after the Amish . [55] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [ excessive citations ] Paul Weyrich and his protégé Eric Heubeck later openly advocated for a more direct form of "taking over political structures" by the "New Traditionalist Movement" in his 2001 paper The Integration of Theory and Practice written for Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation . [76] [77] [78]

In 1999 Lind led the creation of an hour-long program entitled "Political Correctness: The Frankfurt School" . [53] Some of Lind's content went on to be reproduced by James Jaeger in his YouTube film "CULTURAL MARXISM: The Corruption of America" . [79]

The intellectual historian Martin Jay commented on this phenomenon saying that Lind's original documentary:

"... spawned a number of condensed textual versions, which were reproduced on a number of radical right-wing sites. These in turn led to a welter of new videos now available on YouTube, which feature an odd cast of pseudo-experts regurgitating exactly the same line. The message is numbingly simplistic: all the ills of modern American culture, from feminism, affirmative action, sexual liberation and gay rights to the decay of traditional education and even environmentalism are ultimately attributable to the insidious influence of the members of the Institute for Social Research who came to America in the 1930's." [53]

Dr. Heidi Beirich likewise claims the conspiracy theory is used to demonize various conservative "bêtes noires" including "feminists, homosexuals, secular humanists, multiculturalist, sex educators, environmentalist, immigrants, and black nationalists." [80]

According to Chip Berlet , who specializes in the study of extreme right-wing movements , the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory found fertile ground within the Tea Party movement of 2009, with contributions published in the American Thinker and WorldNetDaily highlighted by some Tea Party websites. [81] [82] [83]

The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported that William S. Lind in 2002 gave a speech to a Holocaust denial conference on the topic of Cultural Marxism. In this speech Lind noted that all the members of The Frankfurt School were "to a man, Jewish", but it is reported that Lind claims not to "question whether the Holocaust occurred" and suggests he was present in an official capacity for the Free Congress Foundation "to work with a wide variety of groups on an issue-by-issue basis". [84] [85]

Adherents of the theory often seem to mean that the existence of things like modern feminism , anti-white racism, and sexualization are dependent on the Frankfurt School, even though these processes and movements predate the 1920s. Although the theory became more widespread in the late 1990s and through the 2000s, the modern iteration of the theory originated in Michael Minnicino's 1992 essay "New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and 'Political Correctness'", published in Fidelio Magazine by the Schiller Institute . [53] [86] [87] The Schiller Institute, a branch of the LaRouche movement , further promoted the idea in 1994. [88] The Minnicino article charges that the Frankfurt School promoted Modernism in the arts as a form of Cultural pessimism , and shaped the Counterculture of the 1960s (such as the British pop band The Beatles ) after the Wandervogel of the Ascona commune . [86] The Larouche movement is otherwise mostly known for believing that the British Empire still exists, is trying to take control of the world (mostly, but not exclusively by economical means), and, among other things, also controls the global drug trade . [89] [90]

More recently, the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik included the term in his document "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" , which along with The Free Congress Foundation 's "Political Correctness: A Short History of an Ideology" was e-mailed to 1,003 addresses approximately 90 minutes before the 2011 bomb blast in Oslo for which Breivik was responsible. [91] [92] [93] Segments of William S. Lind's writings on Cultural Marxism have been found within Breivik's manifesto. [94]

Philosopher and political science lecturer Jérôme Jamin has stated, "Next to the global dimension of the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, there is its innovative and original dimension, which lets its authors avoid racist discourses and pretend to be defenders of democracy". [54] Professor and Oxford Fellow Matthew Feldman has traced the terminology back to the pre-war German concept of Cultural Bolshevism locating it as part of the degeneration theory that aided in Hitler's rise to power . [95] William S. Lind confirms this as his period of interest, claiming that "It [Cultural Marxism] is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I." [85]

[May 25, 2017] Yes, Virginia (Dare) There is a Cultural Marxism–and Its Taking Over Conservatism Inc by Paul Gottfried

Notable quotes:
"... Spencer's ..."
"... Georgetown professor confronts white nationalist Richard Spencer at the gym - which terminates his membership , ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... French election: American Conservatives Should Support Macron ..."
"... The Closing of the American Mind ..."
"... Gay Marriage vs. goodwill ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Why John Podhoretz is Wrong on Gay Marriage ..."
"... First Things, ..."
"... The Power of Marriage ..."
"... New York Times, ..."
"... Why Putin's Defense of "Traditional Values" Is Really A War on Freedom ..."
"... Foreign Policy, ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Ukrainians are still alone in their heroic fight for freedom ..."
"... , New York Post, ..."
May 25, 2017 | www.unz.com
Cultural Marxist commissars refusing to admit that dissidents are to be treated as fellow citizens is the crazed female professor who accosted the NPI's Richard Spencer while he was exercising at a Alexandria gym. She, recognizing him from coverage of the election campaign, started haranguing him and calling him a "Nazi."

Instead of having her ejected for this behavior, the gym's management terminated Spencer's membership. [ Georgetown professor confronts white nationalist Richard Spencer at the gym - which terminates his membership , By Faiz Siddiqui May 21, 2017]

Back in 2011 VDARE posted a commentary of mine on the legitimacy of the "Cultural Marxist" concept. (I reluctantly accepted the term only because I couldn't think of a better one.)

As I pointed out, this ideology was very far from orthodox Marxism and was viewed by serious Marxists as a kind of bastard child. Yet many of those designated as "Cultural Marxists" still viewed themselves as classical Marxists and some still do.

Exponents of what the Frankfurt School called "critical theory"- like Herbert Marcuse , Theodor Adorno , and Erich Fromm -- were considered by orthodox Marxists to be fake or ersatz Marxists. But they did adopt orthodox Marxist-Leninist theory in key aspects:

These disciples of the Frankfurt School, like Marx, were eager to replace what they defined as bourgeois society by a new social order. In this envisaged new order, humankind would experience true equality for the first time. This would be possible because, in a politically and socially reconstructed society, we would no longer be alienated from our real selves, which had been warped by the inequalities that existed until now.

But unlike authentic Marxists, Cultural Marxists have been principally opposed to the culture of bourgeois societies -- and only secondarily to their material arrangements. Homophobia , nationalism , Christianity, masculinity , and anti-Semitism have been the prime villains in the Cultural Marxist script.

This is especially true as one moves from the philosophy of the interwar German founders of the Frankfurt school, like Theodore Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse, to the second generation. This second generation is represented by Jürgen Habermas and most of the multicultural theorists ensconced in Western universities.

For these more advanced Cultural Marxists, the crusade against capitalism has been increasingly subordinated to the war against "prejudice" and "discrimination." They justify the need for a centralized bureaucratic state commanding material resources not because it will bring the working class to power, but to fight "racism," "fascism," and the other residues of the Western past.

If they can't accomplish such radical change, Cultural Marxists are happy to work toward revolutionizing our consciousness with the help of Leftist moneybags– hedge fund managers, Mark Zuckerberg etc. Ironically, nationalizing productive forces and the creation of a workers' state, i.e. the leftovers from classical Marxism, turn out to be the most expendable part of their revolutionary program, perhaps because of the collapse of the embarrassing collapse of command economies in the Soviet bloc . Instead, what is essential to Cultural Marxism is the rooting-out of bourgeois national structures, the obliteration of gender roles and the utter devastation of "the patriarchal family."

Not only does Cultural Marxism exist, but it now appears to be taking over Conservatism Inc. Thus even with Paris burning , National Review was still attacking the Right . In the second round of the French election, Tom Rogan urged a vote for Emmanuel Macron on the grounds Marine Le Pen is insufficiently hostile to Vladimir Putin and is a "socialist" because she "supports protectionism." Macron's actual onetime membership in the Socialist Party, and his view that there was no such thing as French culture, apparently was not a problem [ French election: American Conservatives Should Support Macron , April 24, 2017].

Conservatism Inc. goes along because these goals are partially achieved through corporate capitalists, who actively push Leftist social agendas and punish entire communities if they're insufficiently enthusiastic about gay marriage, gay scout leaders, transgendered rest rooms, sanctuary cities etc.. Wedded as it is to a clichéd defense of the "free market," the Beltway Right not only won't oppose this plutocratic agenda, but instead offers tax cuts to the wealthiest and most malevolent actors.

It is because Cultural Marxism can co-exist with our current economic and political structure that our so-called "conservatives" are far more likely to align with the New Left than the Old Right. The behavior of our own captains of industry shows the rot is deep and that multiculturalism is very much part of American "liberal democratic" thinking, even informing our bogus conservatism. "Conservatism" is now defined as waging endless wars in the name of universalist values that any other generation would have called radically leftist. And Cultural Marxists themselves now define what we call "Western values"-for example, accepting homosexuality

The takeover is so complete, we might even say "Cultural Marxism" has outlived its usefulness as a label or as a description of a hostile foreign ideology. Instead, we're dealing with "conservatives," who are, in many ways, more extreme and more destructive than the Frankfurt School itself.

Many conservatives seem to believe Cultural Marxism is just a foreign eccentricity somehow smuggled into our country. Allan Bloom's " conservative " bestseller The Closing of the American Mind [ PDF ] contended that multiculturalism was just another example of "The German Connection." This is ludicrous.

Case in point: unlike Horkheimer, or my onetime teacher Herbert Marcuse, leading writers within Conservatism Inc. are sympathetic to something like gay marriage . These include:

Indeed, homosexual liberation is so central to modern conservatism that the Beltway Right's pundits urge American soldiers to impose it at bayonet point around the world. Kirchick complains we haven't pressed the Russian "thug" Vladimir Putin hard enough to accept such "conservative" features of public life as gay pride parades. [ Why Putin's Defense of "Traditional Values" Is Really A War on Freedom , by James Kirchick, Foreign Policy, January 3, 2014]

Another frequent contributor to National Review , Jillian Kay Melchior, expressed concern that American withdrawal from Ukraine might expose that region to greater Russian control and thereby diminish rights for the transgendered. [ Ukrainians are still alone in their heroic fight for freedom , New York Post, October 8, 2015]

If that's how our Respectable Right reacts to social issues, then it may be ridiculous to continue denouncing the original Cultural Marxists. Our revolutionary thinking has whizzed past those iconoclastic German Jews who created the Frankfurt Institute in the 1920s and then moved their enterprise to the US in the 1930s. Blaming these long-dead intellectuals for our present aberrations may be like blaming Nazi atrocities on Latin fascists in 1920. We're better served by examining those who selectively adopted the original model to find out what really happened.

At this point we should ask not whether the Frankfurt School continues to cast a shadow over us but instead ask why are "conservatives" acquiescing to or even championing reforms more radical than anything one encounters in Adorno and Horkheimer?

Admittedly, Conservatism Inc. has drifted so far to the Left that one no longer blinks in surprise when a respected conservative journalist extolls Leon Trotsky and the Communist Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Yet it's still startling to see just how far left the Beltway "Right" has moved on social issues. Even more noteworthy is how unwilling the movement is to see any contradiction between this process and the claim they are "conservatives."

And let's not pretend that Conservatism Inc. is simply running a "Big Tent." Those who direct the top-down Beltway Right are eager to reach out to the Left, providing those they recruit share their belligerent interventionist foreign policy views and do nothing to offend neoconservative benefactors, while purging everything on their right .

This post-Christian, post-bourgeois consensus is now centered in the US and in affiliate Western countries and transmitted through our culture industry, educational system, Deep-State bureaucracy, and Establishment political parties.

The Beltway Right operates like front parties under the old Soviet system. Like those parties, our Establishment Right tries to "fit in" by dutifully undermining those to its the Right and slowly absorbing the social positions and heroes of the Left .

Occasionally it catches hell for not moving fast enough to the Left. But this only bolsters the image of Conservatism, Inc. as defenders of traditional America against the Left-an image that it won't lose even as it veers farther in the direction of its supposed adversary.

In short, Conservatism Inc. is not just a scam-but it's become a Cultural Marxist puppet. And the Dissident Right consists of those who can see through it.

Paul Gottfried [ email him ] is a retired Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America .

[May 05, 2017] How to Bring Down the Elephant in the Room by the Saker

I think the problem with this article is that the author can't distinguish were Neoliberalism starts and ends and were Anglo Zionism (which we will understand simply as Neocon ideology starts and ends. both are variants of Trotskyism -- "Trotskyism for the rich" to be exact. Also it is economic interest that trump all others, so that alliance of the USA and Israel is pragmatic and is about USA access to ME oil
They definitely highly intersect, but they are still distinct political ideas ("The USA global empire uber alles in case of neocons; translational elites uber alles in case of neoliberals) and somewhat distinct ideologies. I am not convinced that Cheney cabals (which included Paul Wolfiwitz and several other neocons) was only or mostly pro-Israel political faction. And if tail really wags the dog -- the idea that Israel determine foreign policy of the USA -- is true of not. It can be be that empire has its own dynamics and Israel is just a convenient and valuable ally for now, much like Saudies
Notable quotes:
"... To sum it all up, I need to warn both racists and rabid anti-anti-Zionists that I will disappoint them both: the object of my discussion and criticism below will be limited to categories which a person chooses to belong to or endorse (religion, political ideas, etc.) and not categories which one is born with (race, ethnicity). ..."
"... Second, so what are Jews if not a race? In my opinion, they are a tribe (which Oxford Dictionaires defines as: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader ..."
"... as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise ..."
"... My own preference still goes for "Zionist" because it combines the ideological racism of secular Jews with the religious racism of Judaics (if you don't like my choice, just replace "Zionist" with any of the categories I listed above). Zionism used to be secular, but it has turned religious during the late 20th century now and so for our purposes this term can encompass both secular and religious Jewish supremacists. Add to this some more or less conservative opinions and minsets and you have "Ziocons" as an alternative expression. ..."
"... doubleplusgoodthinking ..."
"... The reason why I decided to tackle this issue today is that the forces who broke Trump in less than a month are also the very same forces who have forced him into a political 180: the Neocons and the US deep state. However, I think that these two concepts can be fused into on I would call the "Ziocons": basically Zionists plus some rabid Anglo imperialists à la ..."
"... There is some pretty good evidence that the person in charge of this quiet coup is Jared Kushner, a rabid Zionist . Maybe . Maybe not. This does not really matter, what matters now is to understand what this all means for the rest of us in the "basket of deplorables", the "99%ers" – basically the rest of the planet. ..."
"... Syria . I think that we can all agree that having the black flag of Daesh fly over Damascus would be a disaster for Israel. Right? Wrong! You are thinking like a mentally sane person. This is not how the Israelis think at all. For them, Daesh is much preferable to Assad not only because Assad is the cornerstone of a unitary Syria, but because Daesh in power gives the Israelis the perfect pretext to establish a "security zone" to "protect" northern Israel. ..."
"... Daesh is basically a tool to carve up an even bigger Zionist entity. ..."
"... The bottom line is this: modern Neocons are little more than former Trotskyists who have found a new host to use. Their hatred for everything Russian is still so visceral that they rather support bona fide ..."
"... Bottom line – Ziocons feel an overwhelming and always present hatred for Russia and Russians and that factor is one of the key components of their motivations. Unless you take that hatred into account you will never be able to make sense of the Ziocons and their demented policies. ..."
"... Yes, Trump is a poorly educated ignoramus who is much better suited to the shows in Las Vegas than to be President of a nuclear superpower, but I don't see any signs of him being hateful of anybody. ..."
"... The poor man apparently had absolutely no idea of the power and maniacal drive of the Neocons who met him once he entered the White House. ..."
"... we now have the Ziocons in total control of BOTH parties in Congress (or, more accurately, both wings of the Ziocon party in Congress ..."
"... I get the feeling that there are only two types of officers left in the top ranks of the US military: retired ones and " ass-kissing little chickenshit s " à la ..."
"... ZOG. Or "Zionist Occupation Government". That used to be the favorite expression of various Jew-haters out there and it's use was considered the surefire sign of a rabid anti-Semite. And yet, that is precisely what we are now all living with: a Zionist occupation government which has clearly forced Trump to make a 180 on all his campaign promises and which now risks turning the USA into a radioactive desert resulting from a completely artificial and needless confrontation with Russia. ..."
"... Facts are facts, you cannot deny them or refuse to correctly qualify them that because of the possible "overtones" of the term chosen or because of some invented need to be especially "sensitive" when dealing with some special group. Remember – Jews are not owed any special favor and there is no need to constantly engage in various forms of complex linguistic or mental yoga contortions when discussing them and their role in the modern world. Still, I am using ZOG here just to show that it can be done, but this is not my favorite expression. ..."
"... at the same time ..."
"... ZOG is not an American problem. It is a planetary problem, if only because right now ZOG controls the US nuclear arsenal. ..."
"... I don't believe that Trump is dumb enough to actually strike at North Korea. I think that his dumbass plan is probably to shoot down a DPRK missile to show that he has made "America great again" or something equally asinine. ..."
"... To be totally honest, I don't think that the "very powerful armada" will do anything other than waste the US taxpayer's money. I am getting a strong sense that Trump is all about appearance over substance, what the Russians call "показуха" – a kind of fake show of force, full with special effects and "cool" photo ops, but lacking any real substance. Still, being on the receiving end of Trump's показуха (po-kah-zoo-kha) must be unnerving, especially if you already have natural paranoid tendencies. I am not at all sure the Kim Jong-un will find the presence of the US carrier strike group as pathetic and useless as I do. ..."
"... They are the ONLY ONES who really want to maintain the AngloZionst Empire at any cost. Trump made it clear over and over again that his priority was the USA and the American people, not the Empire. ..."
"... I can imagine the gasp of horror and disgust some of you will have at seeing me use the ZOG expression. I assure you, it is quite deliberate on my part. I want to 1) wake you up and 2) show you that you cannot allow the discomfort created by conditioning to guide your analyses ..."
"... Things are coming to a head. Trump presented himself as a real alternative to the ultimate warmongering shabbos-shiksa Hillary. It is now pretty darn obvious that what we got ourselves is just another puppet, but that the puppet-masters have not changed. ..."
"... From Ann Coulter to Pat Buchanan , many paleo-Conservatives clearly "got it". As did the real progressives . What we are left with is what I call the "extreme center", basically zombies who get their news from the Ziomedia and who have so many mental blocks that it takes weeks of focused efforts to basically bring them back to reality. ..."
"... The modern western [neoliberal] society has been built on a categorical rejection of [Christian] ethics and morality. Slogans like "God is dead" or "Beyond good and evil" resulted in the most abject and viciously evil century in human history: the 20th century. Furthermore, most people by now can tell that Hollywood, and its bigger brother, the US porn industry, have played a central role in basically removing categories such as "good" or "truth" or "honor" from the mind of those infected by the US mass media, especially the Idiot-box (aka "telescreen" in Orwell's 1984). Instead unbridled greed and consumption became the highest and most sacred expression of "our way of life" as Americans like to say ..."
"... Hollywood movies proclaimed that " greed is good ". In fact, at the very core of the capitalist [neoliberal] ideology is the belief that the sum total of everybody's greed yields the happiest and most successful society possible. Crazy and sick stuff, but I don't have the place to discuss this here. ..."
"... Sidebar: by the way, and contrary to popular belief, Russia is not an especially religious country at all. While only a minority of Russians is truly religious, a majority of Russians seem to support religious values as civilizational ones. ..."
"... for the time being we have this apparently paradoxical situation of a generally secular society standing for traditional and religious values ..."
"... You might wonder how pacifism, international law, human and civil rights, democracy, pluralism, anti-racism, ethics and morality can help avert a nuclear war in Korea. In truth – they cannot directly do this. But in the long term, I firmly believe that these values can corrode the AngloZionist Empire from within. ..."
"... Public protests does not work in a regime where the Ziomedia gets to decide which demonstration gets coverage and which one does not. ..."
"... ZIG is a more accurate acronym as in INFESTED. Think parasites like bed bugs, ticks, lice, mites, termites, scabies, fleas, ringworm, etc. ..."
"... Excellent, thought provoking and depressingly accurate. Even the cavil about the Golan Heights is based, if I'm not mistaken, on the fact Israel declared it annexed in 1981. ..."
"... I'll have to disagree. It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around. US realized the propaganda potential of the Jews and Israel at the end of WW2 and they never let go of it. ..."
"... That propaganda potential is still there, although it has been milked for more than 70 years now. Before WW2, there was not any kind of "special relationship" between the Jews and USA. US even turned a ship full of Jewish refugees before the onset of the war out of fear that they might offend the Nazis and suffer the consequences for it. That's what a great power they used to be back then – afraid what the Nazis might do to them. ..."
"... Their calculation was like this: Who were the greatest villains of WW2? – The Germans. Who were the ultimate victims of WW2? – The Jews. If the Germans were the bad guys, and the Jews were the good guys and the innocent victims – anybody portraying themselves as protectors of the victims can enjoy the image of being the good guys themselves. ..."
"... US are not the ones being controlled, they are the ones using Israel and the Jews for all they are worth as excellent propaganda material. Sure Israel and the Jews benefit from this, otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to this cozy symbiotic relationship. But the Jews didn't initiate this, it was always US idea. ..."
"... If Trump's foreign policies are being dictated by someone else I want him to give us names, addresses and photographs of the real decision makers. Until that happens I hold him responsible. I have begun to regard Trump as Dubya with Jared as his Cheney. ..."
"... Zionists are very powerful, but they are part of Globalism, a cabal of all elites of world: Chinese, EU, American, Jewish, Latin America, Hindus, Saudis, etc. It is the GLOB that rules. ..."
"... In general, the US leadership has not proven itself bright, cunning or principled enough to resist the Zio agenda. For exhibit "A" just read up on Truman. Then consider LBJ's response to the attack on the USS Liberty. ..."
"... One could also examine who the influential members of the admins of Wilson and FDR as well. ..."
"... But ZOG goes beyond mere government. The Zions now permeate countless NGO's, media institutions including news and entertainment, high finance, folkways involving culture-wide taboos, and or course, higher and lower education. Even Christian doctrine has been altered to accommodate this highly-aggressive movement. The Zionist agenda is a burgeoning phenomena. And its zombie acolytes are similarly ubiquitous. The Zions have captured our government–and more. ..."
"... So, we see a bunch of loyal dual American-Israeli citizens sitting at the top of the Israeli government, it's businesses, and its media? Oh – right – all those dual citizens are sitting atop US government, businesses and media. And we see Israel fighting wars for US' benefit? Oh – right – it's US doing the dirty work for Jewish expansionism. ..."
"... You do not get it Saker. It does not work that way. In absolute numbers losses are very low. It is all up to media to create a perception. America can afford to have many 1000′s more dead w/o any dent in its well being. Just control the media. Vilify the enemies. ..."
"... With the exception of Vietnam War America as and Empire hasn't lost a single war. Vietnam War was misguided from the point of view of the Empire which at the end of 1960′s and beginning of 1970′s was to be redirected to Middle East. ..."
"... There will be everlasting chaos of sectarian fighting as as long as TPTB will be supplying weapons to one of the sides. Always the weaker one at given moment. The same goes for Libya and soon for Syria. No more stable, semi-secular states with strong central power in the Middle East. ..."
"... Do not judge war success in terms of what is good or bad for Americans. It's all about the Empire, not about Americans. ..."
"... My bet is that it is not Trump himself but Ivanka. The elites found a soft spot and are using this weakness to control him. Who would have the means to do this? None other than his son in law Jared. ..."
"... Roland Bernard High Finance Shocking Revelations (Dutch with Subtitles) This video, more than any I have seen, exposes the dark heart of the matter. It's a must-watch from beginning to end. Highly credible, in my opinion. ..."
"... The Zionist attempt to control language. The Israel Project's 2009 GLOBAL LANGUAGE DICTIONARY ..."
"... But the Elephant driver is the British Empire System!!! ..."
"... It is the British behind the coup against Trump. The British want to prevent the end of "Geopolitics" as we know it which is what would happen should America Russia and China come together per the New Silk Road and One Belt initiatives. This is why the British are setting off ..."
"... Look at a swarm of the US Congresspeople blubbering praises for Israel during AIPAC' annual meetings. The US Congress is indeed the Zionist Occupied Territory, a picture of a host captured by a parasitoid. ..."
"... How many referenda the Syrians have held to bring the Golan Heights to the embrace of Israel? We cannot wait to hear your story of Syrian people voting to join Israel. ..."
"... Surely in the dreams of the US ziocons and in the criminal Oded Yinon's plan for Eretz Israel, which preaches for creating a civil disorder in the neighboring states so that Israel could snatch as much territory as possible from the neighbors. The ongoing Libyan and Syrian tragedies belong to that plan. ..."
"... Several notable Jewish American mobsters provided financial support for Israel through donations to Jewish organizations since the country's creation in 1948. Jewish-American gangsters used Israel's Law of Return to flee criminal charges or face deportation " ..."
"... when I read that I thought you might have meant Charlie Reese. he used to write for the Orlando Sentinel in Florida, until ((they)) ran him out ..."
"... Doesn't matter. It was a political defeat, and war is an extension of politics. ..."
Apr 16, 2017 | www.unz.com
219 Comments

First, a painful, but needed, clarification: Basement crazies . Neocons . Zionists . Israel Lobbyists . Judaics . Jews . Somewhere along this list we bump into the proverbial "elephant in the room". For some this bumping will happen earlier in the list, for others a little later down the list, but the list will be more or less the same for everybody. Proper etiquette, as least in the West, would want to make us run away from that topic. I won't. Why? Well, for one thing I am constantly accused of not discussing this elephant. Furthermore, I am afraid that the role this elephant is playing is particularly toxic right now. So let me try to deal with this beast, but first I have to begin with some caveats.

First, terminology. For those who have not seen it, please read my article " Why I use the term AngloZionist and why it is important ". Second, please read my friend Gilad Atzmon's article " Jews, Judaism & Jewishness " (or, even better, please read his seminal book The Wondering Who ). Please note that Gilad specifically excludes Judaics (religious Jews,) from his discussion. He writes "I do not deal with Jews as a race or an ethnicity . I also generally avoid dealing with Judaism (the religion)". I very much include them in my discussion. However, I also fully agree with Gilad when he writes that " Jews Are Not a Race But Jewish Identity is Racist " (those having any doubts about Jews not being a race or ethnicity should read Shlomo Sand's excellent book " The Invention of the Jewish People "). Lastly, please carefully review my definition of racism as spelled out in my " moderation policies ":

Racism is, in my opinion, not so much the belief that various human groups are different from each other, say like dog breeds can be different, but the belief that the differences between human groups are larger than within the group. Second, racism is also a belief that the biological characteristics of your group somehow pre-determine your actions/choices/values in life. Third, racism often, but not always, assumes a hierarchy amongst human groups (Germanic Aryans over Slavs or Jews, Jews over Gentiles, etc.). I believe that God created all humans with the same purpose and that we are all "brothers in Adam", that we all equally share the image (eternal and inherent potential for perfection) of God (as opposed to our likeness to Him, which is our temporary and changing individual condition).

To sum it all up, I need to warn both racists and rabid anti-anti-Zionists that I will disappoint them both: the object of my discussion and criticism below will be limited to categories which a person chooses to belong to or endorse (religion, political ideas, etc.) and not categories which one is born with (race, ethnicity).

Second, so what are Jews if not a race? In my opinion, they are a tribe (which Oxford Dictionaires defines as: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader ). A tribe is a group one can chose to join (Elizabeth Taylor) or leave (Gilad Atzmon).

Third, it is precisely and because Jews are a tribe that we, non-Jews, owe them exactly nothing: no special status, neither bad nor good, no special privilege of any kind, no special respect or "sensitivity" – nothing at all. We ought to treat Jews exactly as we treat any other of our fellow human beings: as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise (Luke 6:31). So if being Jewish is a choice and if any choice is a legitimate object of discussion and criticism, then (choosing to) being Jewish is a legitimate object of discussion and criticism. Conversely, those who would deny us the right to criticize Jews are, of course, the real racists since they do believe that Jews somehow deserve a special status. In fact, that notion is at the core of the entire Jewish identity and ideology.

Now let's come back to our opening list: Basement crazies. Neocons. Zionists. Israel Lobbyists. Judaics. Jews. I submit that these are all legitimate categories as long as it is clear that "Jews by birth only", what Alain Soral in France calls "the everyday Jews", are not included in this list. Thus, for our purposes and in this context, these terms are all interchangeable. My own preference still goes for "Zionist" because it combines the ideological racism of secular Jews with the religious racism of Judaics (if you don't like my choice, just replace "Zionist" with any of the categories I listed above). Zionism used to be secular, but it has turned religious during the late 20th century now and so for our purposes this term can encompass both secular and religious Jewish supremacists. Add to this some more or less conservative opinions and minsets and you have "Ziocons" as an alternative expression.

[Sidebar: it tells you something about the power of the Zionist propaganda machine, I call it the Ziomedia, that I would have to preface this article with a 700+ explanatory words note to try to overcome conditioned mental reflexes in the reader (that I might be an evil anti-Semite). By the way, I am under no illusions either: some Jews or doubleplusgoodthinking shabbos-goyim will still accuse me of racism. This just comes with the territory. But the good news is when I will challenge them to prove their accusation they will walk away empty-handed].

The reason why I decided to tackle this issue today is that the forces who broke Trump in less than a month are also the very same forces who have forced him into a political 180: the Neocons and the US deep state. However, I think that these two concepts can be fused into on I would call the "Ziocons": basically Zionists plus some rabid Anglo imperialists à la Cheney or McCain. These are the folks who control the US corporate media, Hollywood, Congress, most of academia, etc . These are the folks who organized a ferocious assault on the "nationalist" or "patriotic" wing of Trump supporters and ousted Flynn and Bannon and these are the folks who basically staged a color revolution against Trump . There is some pretty good evidence that the person in charge of this quiet coup is Jared Kushner, a rabid Zionist . Maybe . Maybe not. This does not really matter, what matters now is to understand what this all means for the rest of us in the "basket of deplorables", the "99%ers" – basically the rest of the planet.

Making sense of the crazies

Making sense of the motives and goals (one cannot speak of "logic" in this case) of self-deluded racists can be a difficult exercise. But when the "basement crazies" (reminder: the term from from here ) are basically in control of the policies of the US Empire, this exercise becomes crucial, vital for the survival of the mentally sane. I will now try to outline the reasons behind the "new" Trump policies using two examples: Syria and Russia.

Syria . I think that we can all agree that having the black flag of Daesh fly over Damascus would be a disaster for Israel. Right? Wrong! You are thinking like a mentally sane person. This is not how the Israelis think at all. For them, Daesh is much preferable to Assad not only because Assad is the cornerstone of a unitary Syria, but because Daesh in power gives the Israelis the perfect pretext to establish a "security zone" to "protect" northern Israel. And that, in plain English, means fully occupying and annexing the Golan (an old Israeli dream). Even better, the Israelis know Daesh really well (they helped create it with the USA and Saudi Arabia) and they know that Daesh is a mortal threat to Hezbollah. By putting Daesh into power in Syria, the Israelis hope for a long, bloody and never ending war in Lebanon and Syria. While their northern neighbors would be plugged into maelstrom of atrocities and horrors, the Israelis would get to watch it all from across their border while sending a few aircraft from time to time to bomb Hezbollah positions or even innocent civilians under whatever pretext. Remember how the Israelis watched in total delight how their forces bombed the population of Gaza in 2014? With Daesh in power in Damascus, they would get an even better show to take their kids to. Finally, and last but most definitely not least, the Syrian Christians would be basically completely wiped out. For those who know the hatred Judaics and Jews have always felt for Christianity (even today ) it will be clear why the Israelis would want Daesh in power in Syria: Daesh is basically a tool to carve up an even bigger Zionist entity.

Russia . Ziocons absolutely loathe Russia and everything Russian. Particularly the ex-Trotskyists turned Neocons. I have explained the origins of this hatred elsewhere and I won't repeat it all here. You just need to study the genocidal policies against anything Russian of the first Bolshevik government (which was 80%-85% Jews; don't believe me? Then listen to Putin himself ). I have already discussed " The ancient spiritual roots of russophobia " in a past article and I have also explain what rabbinical Phariseism (what is mistakenly called "Judaism" nowadays) is little more than an "anti-Christianity "(please read those articles if this complex and fascinating history is of interest to you). The bottom line is this: modern Neocons are little more than former Trotskyists who have found a new host to use. Their hatred for everything Russian is still so visceral that they rather support bona fide Nazis (isn't this ironic?) in the Ukraine than Russia, which is even more paradoxical if you recall that before the 1917 Bolshevik coup anti-Jewish feelings were much stronger in what is today the Ukraine than in what is the Russian Federation today.

In fact, relations between Russians and Jews have, I would argue, been significantly improving since the Nazi coup in Kiev, much to the chagrin of the relatively few Russians left who truly hate Jews. While you will hear a lot of criticism of organized political Jewry in Russia, especially compared to the West, there is very little true anti-Jewish racism in Russia today, and even less publicly expressed in the media (in fact, 'hate speech' is illegal in Russia). One thing to keep in mind is that there are many substantial differences between Russian Jews and US Jews, especially amongst those Russian Jews who deliberately chose not to emigrate to Israel, or some other western country (those interested in this topic can find a more detailed discussion here ). Jews in Russia today deliberately chose to stay and that, right there, show a very different attitude than the attitude of those (Jews and non-Jews) who took the first opportunity to get out of Russia as soon as possible. Bottom line – Ziocons feel an overwhelming and always present hatred for Russia and Russians and that factor is one of the key components of their motivations. Unless you take that hatred into account you will never be able to make sense of the Ziocons and their demented policies.

Making sense of Trump

I think that Trump can be criticized for a lot of things, but there is exactly zero evidence of him ever harboring anti-Russian feelings. There is plenty of evidence that he has always been pro-Israeli, but no more than any politician or businessman in the USA. I doubt that Trump even knows where the Golan Heights even are. He probably also does not know that Hezbollah and Daesh are mortal enemies. Yes, Trump is a poorly educated ignoramus who is much better suited to the shows in Las Vegas than to be President of a nuclear superpower, but I don't see any signs of him being hateful of anybody. More generally, the guy is really not ideological. The best evidence is his goofy idea of building a wall to solve the problem of illegal immigration: he (correctly) identified a problem, but then he came up with a Kindergarten level (pseudo) solution.

The same goes for his views on Russia. He probably figured out something along these lines: "Putin is a strong guy, Russia is a strong country, they hate Daesh and want to destroy it – let's join forces". The poor man apparently had absolutely no idea of the power and maniacal drive of the Neocons who met him once he entered the White House. Even worse is the fact that he apparently does not realize that they are now using him to try out some pretty demented policies for which they will later try to impeach him as the sole culprit should things go wrong (and they most definitely will). Frankly, I get the feeling that Trump was basically sincere in his desire to "drain the swamp" but that he is simply not too clever (just the way he betrayed Flynn and Bannon to try to appease the Ziocons is so self-defeating and, frankly, stupid). But even if I am wrong and Trump was "their" plant all along (I still don't believe that at all), the end result is the same: we now have the Ziocons in total control of BOTH parties in Congress (or, more accurately, both wings of the Ziocon party in Congress ), in total control of the White House, the mass media and Hollywood. I am not so sure that they truly are in control of the Pentagon, but when I see the kind of pliable and spineless figures military Trump has recently appointed, I get the feeling that there are only two types of officers left in the top ranks of the US military: retired ones and " ass-kissing little chickenshit s " à la Petraeus. Not good. Not good at all. As for the ridiculously bloated (and therefore mostly incompetent) "three letter agencies soup", it appears that it has been turned from an intelligence community to a highly politicized propaganda community whose main purpose is to justify whatever counter-factual insanity their political bosses can dream up. Again. Not good. Not good at all.

Living with ZOG

ZOG. Or "Zionist Occupation Government". That used to be the favorite expression of various Jew-haters out there and it's use was considered the surefire sign of a rabid anti-Semite. And yet, that is precisely what we are now all living with: a Zionist occupation government which has clearly forced Trump to make a 180 on all his campaign promises and which now risks turning the USA into a radioactive desert resulting from a completely artificial and needless confrontation with Russia. To those horrified that I would dare use an expression like ZOG I will reply this: believe me, I am even more upset about having to admit that ZOG is real than you are: I really don't care for racists of any kind, and most of these ZOG folks looks like real racists to me. But, alas, they are also right! Facts are facts, you cannot deny them or refuse to correctly qualify them that because of the possible "overtones" of the term chosen or because of some invented need to be especially "sensitive" when dealing with some special group. Remember – Jews are not owed any special favor and there is no need to constantly engage in various forms of complex linguistic or mental yoga contortions when discussing them and their role in the modern world. Still, I am using ZOG here just to show that it can be done, but this is not my favorite expression. I just feel that committing the crimethink here will encourage others to come out of their shell and speak freely. At the very least, asking the question of whether we do or do not have a Zionist Occupation Government is an extremely important exercise all by itself. Hence, today I ZOG-away

Some might argue with the "occupation" part of the label. Okay – what would you call a regime which is clearly acting in direct opposition to the will of an overwhelming majority of the people and which acts in the interests of a foreign power (with which the USA does not even have a formal treaty)? Because, please make no mistake here, this is not a Trump-specific phenomenon. I think that it all began with Reagan and that the Ziocons fully seized power with Bill Clinton. Others think that it all began with Kennedy. Whatever may be the case, what is clear is that election after election Americans consistently vote for less war and each time around they get more wars . It is true that most Americans are mentally unable to conceptually analyze the bizarre phenomena of a country with no enemies and formidable natural barriers needs to spend more on wars of aggression then the rest of the planet spends of defense. Nor are they equipped to wonder why the US needs 16/17 intelligences agencies when the vast majority of countries out there do fine with 2-5. Lastly, most Americans do believe that they have some kind of duty to police the planet. True. But at the same time , they are also sick and tired of wars, if only because so many of their relatives, friends and neighbors return from these wars either dead or crippled. That, and the fact that Americans absolutely hate losing. Losing is all the USA has been doing since God knows how long: losing wars against all but the weakest and most defenseless countries out there. Most Americans also would prefer that the money spent aboard on "defending democracy" (i.e. imperialism) be spent at home to help the millions of Americans in need in the USA. As the southern rock band Lynyrd Snynyrd (which hails from Jacksonville, Florida) once put it in their songs " Things goin' on ":

Too many lives they've spent across the ocean
Too much money been spent upon the moon
Well, until they make it right
I hope they never sleep at night
They better make some changes
And do it soon

Soon? That song was written in 1978! And since then, nothing has changed. If anything, things got worse, much worse.

Houston, we got a problem

ZOG is not an American problem. It is a planetary problem, if only because right now ZOG controls the US nuclear arsenal. And Trump, who clearly and unequivocally campaigned on a peace platform, is now sending a " very powerful armada " to the coast of the DPRK. Powerful as this armada might be, it can do absolutely nothing to prevent the DPRK artillery from smashing Seoul into smithereens. You think that I am exaggerating? Business Insider estimated in 2010 that it would take the DPRK 2 hours to completely obliterate Seoul . Why? Because the DPRK has enough artillery pieces to fire 500,000 rounds of artillery on Seoul in the first hour of a conflict , that's why. Here we are talking about old fashioned, conventional, artillery pieces. Wikipedia says that the DPRK has 8,600 artillery pieces and 4,800 multiple rocket launcher systems. Two days a go a Russian expert said that the real figure was just under 20'000 artillery pieces. Whatever thee exact figure, suffice to say that it is "a lot".

The DPRK also has some more modern but equally dangerous capabilities . Of special importance here are the roughly 200'000 North Korean special forces. Oh sure, these 200'000 are not US Green Beret or Russian Spetsnaz, but they are adequate for their task: to operate deep behind enemy lies and create chaos and destroy key objectives. You tell me – what can the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group deploy against these well hidden and dispersed 10'000+ artillery pieces and 200'000 special forces? Exactly, nothing at all.

And did I mention that the DPRK has nukes?

No, I did not. First, I am not at all sure that the kind of nukes the DPRK has can be fitted for delivery on a missile. Having a few nukes and having missiles is one thing, having missiles capable of adequately delivering these nukes is quite another. I suppose that DPRK special forces could simply drive a nuke down near Seoul on a simple army truck and blow it up. Or bring it in a container ship somewhere in the general vicinity of a US or Korean base and blow it up there. One neat trick would be to load a nuke on a civilian ship, say a fishing vessel, and bring it somewhere near the USS Carl Vinson and then blow it up. Even if the USN ships survive this unscathed, the panic aboard these ships would be total. To be honest, this mostly Tom Clancy stuff, in real warfare I don't think that the North Korean nukes would be very useful against a US attack. But you never know, necessity is the mother of invention , as the British like to say.

I don't believe that Trump is dumb enough to actually strike at North Korea. I think that his dumbass plan is probably to shoot down a DPRK missile to show that he has made "America great again" or something equally asinine. The problem here is that I am not sure at all how Kim Jong-un and his Party minions might react to that kind of loss of face. What if they decided that they needed to fire some more missiles, some in the general direction of US forces in the region (there are fixed US targets all over the place). Then what? How will Trump prove that he is the biggest dog on the block? Could he decide to "punish" the offending missile launch site like he did with the al-Sharyat airbase in Syria? And if Trump does that – what will Kim Jong-un's reaction be?

To be totally honest, I don't think that the "very powerful armada" will do anything other than waste the US taxpayer's money. I am getting a strong sense that Trump is all about appearance over substance, what the Russians call "показуха" – a kind of fake show of force, full with special effects and "cool" photo ops, but lacking any real substance. Still, being on the receiving end of Trump's показуха (po-kah-zoo-kha) must be unnerving, especially if you already have natural paranoid tendencies. I am not at all sure the Kim Jong-un will find the presence of the US carrier strike group as pathetic and useless as I do.

Both Russia and Syria have shown an amazing about of restraint when provoked by Turkey or the US. This is mostly due to the fact that Russian and Syrian leaders are well-educated people who are less concerned with loss of face than with achieving their end result. In direct contrast, both Kim Jong-un and Trump are weak, insecure, leaders with an urgent need to prove to their people (and to themselves!) that they are tough guys. Exactly the most dangerous kind of mindset you want in any nuclear-capable power, be it huge like the USA or tiny like the DPRK.

So what does that have to do with the ZOG and the Ziocons? Everything.

They are the ONLY ONES who really want to maintain the AngloZionst Empire at any cost. Trump made it clear over and over again that his priority was the USA and the American people, not the Empire. And yet now is is playing a crazy game of "nuclear chicken" with the DPRK. Does that sound like the "real Trump" to you? Maybe – but not to me. All this crazy stuff around the DPRK and the (few) nukes it apparently has, is all just a pretext to "play empire", to show that, as Obama liked to say, the USA is the " indispensable nation ". God forbid the local countries would deal with that problem alone, without USN carrier strike groups involved in the "solving" of this problem!

[Sidebar: by the way, this is also the exact same situation in Syria: the Russians have single-handedly organized a viable peace-process on the ground and then followed it up with a multi-party conference in Astana, Kazakhstan. Looks great except for one problem: the indispensable nation was not even invited. Even worse, the prospects of peace breaking out became terribly real. The said indispensable nation therefore "invited itself" by illegally (and ineffectually) bombing a Syrian air base and, having now proven its capacity to wreck any peace process, the USA is now right back in center-stage of the negotiations about the future of Syria. In a perverse way, this almost makes sense.]

So yes, we have a problem and that problem is that ZOG is in total control of the Empire and will never accept to let it go, even if that means destroying the USA in the process.

I can imagine the gasp of horror and disgust some of you will have at seeing me use the ZOG expression. I assure you, it is quite deliberate on my part. I want to 1) wake you up and 2) show you that you cannot allow the discomfort created by conditioning to guide your analyses . As with all the other forms of crimethink , I recommend that you engage in a lot of it, preferably in public, and you will get used to it. First it will be hard, but with time it will get easier (it is also great fun). Furthermore, somebody needs to be the first one to scream " the emperor has no clothes ". Then, once one person does it, the others realize that it is safe and more follow. The key thing here is not to allow ideological "sacred cows" to roam around your intellectual mindspace and limit you in your thinking. Dogmas should be limited to Divine revelations, not human ideological constructs.

Where do we go from here?

Things are coming to a head. Trump presented himself as a real alternative to the ultimate warmongering shabbos-shiksa Hillary. It is now pretty darn obvious that what we got ourselves is just another puppet, but that the puppet-masters have not changed. The good news is that those who were sincere in their opposition to war are now openly speaking about Trump great betrayal. From Ann Coulter to Pat Buchanan , many paleo-Conservatives clearly "got it". As did the real progressives . What we are left with is what I call the "extreme center", basically zombies who get their news from the Ziomedia and who have so many mental blocks that it takes weeks of focused efforts to basically bring them back to reality.

The key issue here is how do we bring together those who are still capable of thought? I think that a minimalist agenda we can all agree upon could be composed of the following points:

Peace/pacifism International law Human and civil rights Democracy Pluralism Anti-racism Ethics and morality

Sounds harmless? It ain't, I assure you. ZOG can only survive by violence, terror and war. Furthermore, the AngloZionist Empire cannot abide by any principles of international law. As for human and civil right, once quick look at the Patriot Act (which was already ready by the time the 9/11 false flag operation was executed) will tell you how ZOG feels about these issues. More proof? How about the entire "fake news" canard? How about the new levels of censorship in YouTube, Facebook or Google? Don't you see that this is simply a frontal attack on free speech and the First Amendment?! What about Black Lives Matter – is that not a perfect pretext to justify more police powers and a further militarization of police forces? To think that the Zionists care about human or civil rights is a joke! Just read what the Uber-Zionist and [putative] human right lawyer, the great Alan Dershowitz writes about torture, Israel or free speech (for Norman Finkelstein). Heck, just read what ultra-liberal super-mega human righter (well, after he returned to civilian life) and ex-President Jimmy Carter writes about Israel -- Or look at the policies of the Bolshevik regime in Russia. It it pretty clear that these guys not only don't give a damn about human or civil right, but that they are deeply offended and outraged when they are told that they cannot violate these rights.

What about democracy? How can that be a intellectual weapon? Simple – you show that every time the people (in the USA or Europe) voted for X they got Y. Or they were told to re-vote and re-vote and re-vote again and again until, finally, the Y won. That is a clear lack of democracy. So if you say that you want to restore democracy, you are basically advocating regime-change, but nicely wrapped into a "good" ideological wrapper. Western democracies are profoundly anti-democratic. Show it!

Pluralism? Same deal. All this takes is to prove that the western society has become a "mono-ideological" society were real dissent is simply not tolerated and were real pluralism is completely ascent from the public discourse. Demand that the enemies of the system be given equal time on air and always make sure that you give the supporters of the system equal time on media outlets you (we) control. Then ask them to compare. This is exactly what Russia is doing nowadays (see here if you are interested). Western democracies are profoundly anti-pluralistic. Again, show it!

Anti-racism. Should be obvious to the reader by now. Denounce, reject and attack any idea which gives any group any special status. Force your opponents to fess up to the fact that what they really want when they claim to struggle for "equality" is a special status for their single-issue minority. Reject any and all special interest groups and, especially, reject the notion that democracy is about defending the minority against the majority. In reality, minorities are always much more driven and motivated by a single issue which is why a coalition of minorities inevitably comes to power. What the world needs is the exact opposite: a democracy which would protect the majority against the minorities. Oh, sure, they will fight you on this one, but since you are right this is an intellectual argument you ought to be capable of winning pretty easily (just remember, don't let accusations of crimethink freeze you in terror).

Last, my favorite one: ethics and morality.

The modern western [neoliberal] society has been built on a categorical rejection of [Christian] ethics and morality. Slogans like "God is dead" or "Beyond good and evil" resulted in the most abject and viciously evil century in human history: the 20th century. Furthermore, most people by now can tell that Hollywood, and its bigger brother, the US porn industry, have played a central role in basically removing categories such as "good" or "truth" or "honor" from the mind of those infected by the US mass media, especially the Idiot-box (aka "telescreen" in Orwell's 1984). Instead unbridled greed and consumption became the highest and most sacred expression of "our way of life" as Americans like to say .

Hollywood movies proclaimed that " greed is good ". In fact, at the very core of the capitalist [neoliberal] ideology is the belief that the sum total of everybody's greed yields the happiest and most successful society possible. Crazy and sick stuff, but I don't have the place to discuss this here. All I will say that that rehabilitating notions such as right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood, healthy and natural versus unnatural and pathological is a great legal way (at least so far) to fight the Empire. Ditto for sexual morality and family. There is a reason why all Hollywood movies inevitably present only divorced or sexually promiscuous heroes: they are trying to destroy the natural family unit because they *correctly* identify the traditional family unit as a threat to the AngloZionist order. Likewise, there is also a reason why all the western elites are constantly plagued by accusations of pedophilia and other sexual scandals. One Russian commentator, Vitalii Tretiakov, recently hilariously paraphrased the old communist slogan and declared "naturals of all countries – come to Russia" [in modern Russian "naturals" is the antonym of "homosexual"). He was joking, of course, but he was also making a serious point: Russia has become the only country which dares to openly uphold the core values of Christianity and Islam (that, of course, only adds to the Ziocon's hatred of Russia).

[ Sidebar: by the way, and contrary to popular belief, Russia is not an especially religious country at all. While only a minority of Russians is truly religious, a majority of Russians seem to support religious values as civilizational ones. I don't think that this is sustainable for too long, Russia will either become more religious or more secularized, but for the time being we have this apparently paradoxical situation of a generally secular society standing for traditional and religious values ]

You might wonder how pacifism, international law, human and civil rights, democracy, pluralism, anti-racism, ethics and morality can help avert a nuclear war in Korea. In truth – they cannot directly do this. But in the long term, I firmly believe that these values can corrode the AngloZionist Empire from within. And look at the alternatives:

Organizing political parties does not work in a system where money determine the outcome. "Direct action" does not work in a system which treats libertarians and ecologists as potential terrorists. Public protests does not work in a regime where the Ziomedia gets to decide which demonstration gets coverage and which one does not. Civil disobedience does not work in a regime which has no problem having the highest per capita incarceration rate on the planet. Running for office does not work in a regime which selects for spinelessness, immorality and, above all, subservience. Even running away abroad does not work when dealing with an Empire which has 700-1000 (depends on how you count) military bases worldwide and which will bomb the crap out of any government which strives at even a modicum of true sovereignty.

The only other option is "internal exile", when you build yourself you own inner world of spiritual and intellectual freedom and you basically "live there" with no external signs of you having "fled" the Empire's ugly reality. But if nuclear-tipped ICBMs start flying no amount of "internal exile" will protect you, not even if you combine that internal exile with with a life far away in the boonies.

Orthodox Christian eschatology teaches that the End Times are inevitable. However, the Fathers also teach that we can push the End Times back by our collective actions, be it in the form of prayers or in the form of an open resistance to Evil in our world. I have three children, 1 girl and 2 boys, and I feel like I owe it to them to fight to make the world they will have to live even marginally better.

... ... ..

nsa, April 17, 2017 at 1:26 am GMT

ZIG is a more accurate acronym as in INFESTED. Think parasites like bed bugs, ticks, lice, mites, termites, scabies, fleas, ringworm, etc.

exiled off mainstreet, April 17, 2017 at 2:10 am GMT • 100 Words

Excellent, thought provoking and depressingly accurate. Even the cavil about the Golan Heights is based, if I'm not mistaken, on the fact Israel declared it annexed in 1981. I'm not sure it is internationally recognized, though the US, as an Israeli acolyte as indicated by the article in spades, may have done so at some point.

Cyrano , April 17, 2017 at 2:44 am GMT

Most of the time I like the way Saker thinks, but on this one I'll have to disagree. It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around. US realized the propaganda potential of the Jews and Israel at the end of WW2 and they never let go of it.

That propaganda potential is still there, although it has been milked for more than 70 years now. Before WW2, there was not any kind of "special relationship" between the Jews and USA. US even turned a ship full of Jewish refugees before the onset of the war out of fear that they might offend the Nazis and suffer the consequences for it. That's what a great power they used to be back then – afraid what the Nazis might do to them.

Then in the closing stages of WW2, when the Russians told them what they found in the concentration camps that they liberated – at first the Americans dismissed their reports as "communist propaganda." They refused to believe that highly "civilized" European country such as Germany can commit such barbarities. Only after they were faced with overwhelming evidence about the concentration camps, the US decided to change their tune.

Their calculation was like this: Who were the greatest villains of WW2? – The Germans. Who were the ultimate victims of WW2? – The Jews. If the Germans were the bad guys, and the Jews were the good guys and the innocent victims – anybody portraying themselves as protectors of the victims can enjoy the image of being the good guys themselves. That formula is still being used today, but it's mostly in Europe and US that it's still considered valid, for the rest of the world just too much time has passed and some of Israel's behavior in the ME has cast a shadow on their image as eternal victims.

People on this site want to view the Jews as George Milton and US as Lenny Small – from Steinbeck novel "Of mice and men". But the reality is much different. US are not Lenny Small, a giant with great physical strength but not too much brain power. US are not the ones being controlled, they are the ones using Israel and the Jews for all they are worth as excellent propaganda material. Sure Israel and the Jews benefit from this, otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to this cozy symbiotic relationship. But the Jews didn't initiate this, it was always US idea.

WorkingClass, April 17, 2017 at 4:20 am GMT /p>

If Trump's foreign policies are being dictated by someone else I want him to give us names, addresses and photographs of the real decision makers. Until that happens I hold him responsible. I have begun to regard Trump as Dubya with Jared as his Cheney.

Well done Saker. Please keep up the good work.

Anon, April 17, 2017 at 5:31 am GMT

Zionists are very powerful, but they are part of Globalism, a cabal of all elites of world: Chinese, EU, American, Jewish, Latin America, Hindus, Saudis, etc. It is the GLOB that rules.

jacques sheete , April 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm GMT
@Cyrano

But the Jews didn't initiate this, it was always US idea.

Nice try, but what have you to say about the originators of the Zionist project?

P.S.: In general, the US leadership has not proven itself bright, cunning or principled enough to resist the Zio agenda. For exhibit "A" just read up on Truman. Then consider LBJ's response to the attack on the USS Liberty.

One could also examine who the influential members of the admins of Wilson and FDR as well.

Mark Green, April 17, 2017 at 4:50 pm GMT

This is a very thoughtful article. The Saker covers a lot of ground. Basically, he has provided his readers with not only a highly perceptive overview, but a blueprint from which they can begin resisting ZOG (or ZIG) tyranny. And let's make no mistake about it: ZOG exists and its impact is immense.

But ZOG goes beyond mere government. The Zions now permeate countless NGO's, media institutions including news and entertainment, high finance, folkways involving culture-wide taboos, and or course, higher and lower education. Even Christian doctrine has been altered to accommodate this highly-aggressive movement. The Zionist agenda is a burgeoning phenomena. And its zombie acolytes are similarly ubiquitous. The Zions have captured our government–and more.

The Saker also correctly notes that the distorting influence of Zionism has become too apparent to deny–even though it is, at the same time, nearly invisible; as it operates in plain sight under various pseudonyms, disguises and false pretenses.

Indeed, its influence remains mostly unrecognized and it is therefore unresisted. For now.

Indeed, even Trump–after only months in office–has fallen under its clever spell. We must therefore strive to examine, discuss, critique and resist this extra-national force of malevolence. Step one: Identify the source.

The intellectual and culture-wide power of ZOG emanates in great part via our mainstream media. The mind-numbing and destructive impact of ZOG in Western media must be understood and unmasked.

Fran Macadam, April 18, 2017 at 2:13 am GMT

When you're right you're right. Logic like this is what leads the paranoiacs to think Russkis are taking over! When you make good sense, it can't help but "control" minds.

One of the saddest developments, to a former implacable Cold Warrior and anticommunist, is that when by a miracle (yes, I count it that) the Russians ended communism by their own choice, without shots being fired, our side did not respond honorably (at least the ones at the commanding heights of our society.)

Like your description of what Trump thought, "Hey Russia's fighting ISIS, let's have them take care of it and save us the trouble" I'm a simple guy too who'd rather see the destructive waste of war money instead be spent on infrastructure for our folks.

I think of "House of the Dead" where the picture of the prisoners waiting for release through the coming of Christ, is a picture of us poor prisoners, but still of faith, waiting in this world too. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

CalDre, April 18, 2017 at 2:56 am GMT

@Cyrano

Wow, where to start when someone claims white is black .

It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around.

So, we see a bunch of loyal dual American-Israeli citizens sitting at the top of the Israeli government, it's businesses, and its media? Oh – right – all those dual citizens are sitting atop US government, businesses and media. And we see Israel fighting wars for US' benefit? Oh – right – it's US doing the dirty work for Jewish expansionism.

US even turned a ship full of Jewish refugees before the onset of the war out of fear that they might offend the Nazis and suffer the consequences for it.

That's not the case. The Jews were turned away because the Jewish Establishment/Zionists ordered the US to turn them back. Why? Because they wanted them to go to Israel to rob the Palestinians of their land instead. So it was not the Nazis the US was afraid of (then or now), but the Jewish oligarchs.

Then in the closing stages of WW2, when the Russians told them what they found in the concentration camps that they liberated – at first the Americans dismissed their reports as "communist propaganda." They refused to believe that highly "civilized" European country such as Germany can commit such barbarities. Only after they were faced with overwhelming evidence about the concentration camps, the US decided to change their tune.

There is not to this day any "overwhelming" or even "underwhelming" evidence of the Holohoax. Soviets made a bunch of propaganda out of the (labor) camps in large part to get back at Germany for the terrible losses the Soviets suffered, as well as the huge embarrassment when the Nazis revealed the Soviet crimes in Katlyn Forest. However when in the early 1990s Gorbachev released the notorious Auschwitz "death books", it turns out hardly any Jews were killed, and none by gassings, rather the vast majority of the dead succumbed to typhus (typhus being carried by lice, and Zyklon-B, the chemical Germany is (falsely) accused of using to murder Jews by the millions, was actually used to kill lice and thereby save Jews in the camps).

utu, April 18, 2017 at 5:37 am GMT

But even if I am wrong and Trump was "their" plant all along

It's possible that Trump did not even know that he was their plant but at some point after psychological profiling of him and assessing all leverages available to them to pry and prod him it was decided he will be just fine for the job. That's why he was allowed to win the election. The anti-Trump color revolution conducted by the so-called liberal left was a crucial part from the arsenal of the leverages. In the end it worked out beautifully for them. Gen. Flynn was not too bright to realize what hit him but Bannon is perhaps the only guy, in the good guys camp, who knows what is really going on. I am just wondering why he is still there. Perhaps they are forcing him to stay for the sake of the deluded iron electorate of Trump to prolong their delusion.

utu , April 18, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT

they are also sick and tired of wars, if only because so many of their relatives, friends and neighbors return from these wars either dead or crippled. That, and the fact that Americans absolutely hate losing. Losing is all the USA has been doing since God knows how long: losing wars against all but the weakest and most defenseless countries out there

You do not get it Saker. It does not work that way. In absolute numbers losses are very low. It is all up to media to create a perception. America can afford to have many 1000′s more dead w/o any dent in its well being. Just control the media. Vilify the enemies.

With the exception of Vietnam War America as and Empire hasn't lost a single war. Vietnam War was misguided from the point of view of the Empire which at the end of 1960′s and beginning of 1970′s was to be redirected to Middle East.

This was a new task for the Empire. So everything goes according to the plan, e.g. Iraq war goals were 100% accomplished. There is no more state of Iraq. Iraq will no pose a thread to anybody and Israel in particular. There will be everlasting chaos of sectarian fighting as as long as TPTB will be supplying weapons to one of the sides. Always the weaker one at given moment. The same goes for Libya and soon for Syria. No more stable, semi-secular states with strong central power in the Middle East.

Do not judge war success in terms of what is good or bad for Americans. It's all about the Empire, not about Americans.

Kiza , April 18, 2017 at 6:54 am GMT
The best Saker's essay so far, the most inspired and the most identifiable. Just two quick notes from me.

First, the ZOG/ZIG is so ubiquitous and powerful that the past election with Trump against Hillary was really a duel between pro-Trump young Zionists and the pro-Hillary old Zionists, in other words it was a generational change among the Masters (it was also a change in who will profit from political power). Since Trump turned to the Dark Side, I have realised that Jared was always there, even during the election, as an éminence grise and he pulled Trump's strings a forced a switch from election rhetoric to post-election reality. I have no doubt that Jared is the man behind the man, except that he also must have a fairly powerful Zionist base behind him.

Second, Saker just like Mr Giraldi has become a magnet for all and sundry Hasbara trolls, obviously because both are the most prominent exposers of the ZOG/ZIG. It is important to remember that all Western Governments are ZOG/ZIG, without exception. Only BRICS countries appear free at the moment, despite 1000 military basis of the global ZOG/ZIG.

Truth , April 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Trump is being blackmailed.

My bet is that it is not Trump himself but Ivanka. The elites found a soft spot and are using this weakness to control him. Who would have the means to do this? None other than his son in law Jared.

He could have coerced her into doing something stupid on camera like group sex or being blacked and little Jared would not think twice to use this to control a weak man like Trump.

Translation from "alt-rightish" into English:

"Ive been a dupe and a stupid sucker for the last 2 1/2 years, and I need to believe that somehow the Jooz corrupted and bent this fine American hero to their own will in two months, instead of acknowledging the obvious truth that he was a weak, pathetic asset, and a literal as well as figurative, cocksucker, all along."

You're welcome

Tha Philosopher , April 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT
I don't know if you wrote this as a response to my comment some time back arguing you were ignoring the elephant in the room, but this article reflects my thoughts more or less on Zion.

I would add the historical record of Zion from Pharoah, the catacombs under Rome, to Spain, to Edwardian England, Tsarist Russia and so on is a record much like a locust. You have to wonder where all the 'persecution' comes from. Where the causuality?

Its seeks economic surplus.

And yes, they are missing the part of the brain associated with white high empathy and 'fair play' as Jayman has mentioned. They studied that weakness in Tavistock to find these pavlonian words like 'rac-ism' and when designing the themes in their movies and the fiction work they publish.

The way to defeat Zion is to say the Necromancers name. Say it. If you say whats going on, the power of the Illusion and the fraud subsists entirely. No violence is needed. Repeat no violence is needed. Just say it. Bring it up in a discussion about politics politely and with evidence. The higher IQ people you meet will cotton on when you anchor the pattern recognition.

They are the real 1%, they cannot govern with enlightened chattel. This is why philosophy, psychology, economics, history, anthropology, biology, and so on have been debased into slogans in the academy.

In time, they will come after your daughters and mothers and sisters and turn them into whores. They will send your sons to war. They will fleece your pension funds.

The truth, is that the most persecuted race of man in history – with a notable minority of followers of truth like the editor of this webzine -Mr Unz, Mr Sanders, Mr Marx and so on – is that there is a number who are essentially a very high IQ version of the mafia.

Tha Philosopher , April 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm GMT
• 100 Words My own reading leads me to identify the following as the Elders of Zion:

Steve Schwarzmann
Paul Singer
Robert Rubin
David Rubenstein
Summer Rothstein
Evelyn Rothschild
Stephen Friedman
Elliot Abrams

There are some more. Put them on a map and draw the links between them and their agents. Khordovsky gave his money to Rothschild to mind after the 1990s pillaging of Russia when Putin imprisoned him.

Ohhh they hate Putin because he stopped them in the 90s more than anything. Khordovsky was trying to buy a media outlet.

Also the Protocols may be based on a satire but as Lord Syndenham mentioned in the Times 100 years ago, it was a spooky blueprint for the Bolshevik revolution .and the EU.

Tha Philosopher , April 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm GMT
You can tell the puppets by their policies

Lena Dunham social policy for jewish social freedom
Milton Autism on economics to stop redistribution to the goyim
Kristol on foreign policy for Israel's world domination.

e.g Tony Blair, Macron, Cameroon, Merkel, Juncker, Bush, Clinton etc etc.

There is no difference. They are all the same party.

Zion.

Uncle Davy , April 19, 2017 at 6:25 am GMT
@Cyrano Most of the time I like the way Saker thinks, but on this one I'll have to disagree. It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around. US realized the propaganda potential of the Jews and Israel at the end of WW2 and they never let go of it.

That propaganda potential is still there, although it has been milked for more than 70 years now. Before WW2, there was not any kind of "special relationship" between the Jews and USA. US even turned a ship full of Jewish refugees before the onset of the war out of fear that they might offend the Nazis and suffer the consequences for it. That's what a great power they used to be back then – afraid what the Nazis might do to them.

Then in the closing stages of WW2, when the Russians told them what they found in the concentration camps that they liberated – at first the Americans dismissed their reports as "communist propaganda." They refused to believe that highly "civilized" European country such as Germany can commit such barbarities. Only after they were faced with overwhelming evidence about the concentration camps, the US decided to change their tune.

Their calculation was like this: Who were the greatest villains of WW2? – The Germans. Who were the ultimate victims of WW2? – The Jews. If the Germans were the bad guys, and the Jews were the good guys and the innocent victims – anybody portraying themselves as protectors of the victims can enjoy the image of being the good guys themselves. That formula is still being used today, but it's mostly in Europe and US that it's still considered valid, for the rest of the world just too much time has passed and some of Israel's behavior in the ME has cast a shadow on their image as eternal victims.

People on this site want to view the Jews as George Milton and US as Lenny Small – from Steinbeck novel "Of mice and men". But the reality is much different. US are not Lenny Small, a giant with great physical strength but not too much brain power. US are not the ones being controlled, they are the ones using Israel and the Jews for all they are worth as excellent propaganda material. Sure Israel and the Jews benefit from this, otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to this cozy symbiotic relationship. But the Jews didn't initiate this, it was always US idea. With no disrespect Cyrano, you may need to read the 1996 report 'A Clean Break'
- and you'll quickly discover its the zionist entity that is the tail that wags the American dog. The zionist entity is not limited to the geographical borders of the state of Israel, either.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140125123844/http://www.iasps.org/strat1.htm

Fran Macadam , • Website April 19, 2017 at 9:08 am GMT
Before blaming "The Jews" for the ills of the world it would behoove everyone to take a good long hard look in the mirror. If you think you get an affirmative answer to "Who is the most beautiful of all?" you are living in a fairy tale.
Deeply Concerned , April 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm GMT
• 100 Words May I add that calling for a worldwide demonstration on a preannouced day (similar to the one against W's Iraq war) is critically needed. The slogan of this demonstration should be "ANY US CITIZEN WHO PUTS THE INTEREST OF ISRAEL ABOVE THE NATIONAL INTEREST OF THE US IS – A TRAITOR . ANYONE WHO SUPPORT, PROMOTE, DEFEND A TRAITOR IS A TRAITOR". Traitor is the key word in my opinion and it should be the rallying word.
Vires , April 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm GMT
• 300 Words @Cyrano Most of the time I like the way Saker thinks, but on this one I'll have to disagree. It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around. US realized the propaganda potential of the Jews and Israel at the end of WW2 and they never let go of it.

That propaganda potential is still there, although it has been milked for more than 70 years now. Before WW2, there was not any kind of "special relationship" between the Jews and USA. US even turned a ship full of Jewish refugees before the onset of the war out of fear that they might offend the Nazis and suffer the consequences for it. That's what a great power they used to be back then – afraid what the Nazis might do to them.

Then in the closing stages of WW2, when the Russians told them what they found in the concentration camps that they liberated – at first the Americans dismissed their reports as "communist propaganda." They refused to believe that highly "civilized" European country such as Germany can commit such barbarities. Only after they were faced with overwhelming evidence about the concentration camps, the US decided to change their tune.

Their calculation was like this: Who were the greatest villains of WW2? – The Germans. Who were the ultimate victims of WW2? – The Jews. If the Germans were the bad guys, and the Jews were the good guys and the innocent victims – anybody portraying themselves as protectors of the victims can enjoy the image of being the good guys themselves. That formula is still being used today, but it's mostly in Europe and US that it's still considered valid, for the rest of the world just too much time has passed and some of Israel's behavior in the ME has cast a shadow on their image as eternal victims.

People on this site want to view the Jews as George Milton and US as Lenny Small – from Steinbeck novel "Of mice and men". But the reality is much different. US are not Lenny Small, a giant with great physical strength but not too much brain power. US are not the ones being controlled, they are the ones using Israel and the Jews for all they are worth as excellent propaganda material. Sure Israel and the Jews benefit from this, otherwise they wouldn't have agreed to this cozy symbiotic relationship. But the Jews didn't initiate this, it was always US idea. Why are you trying to conflate Jews and Zionists? Are you unable to see the difference between the two concepts?

It's pretty clear the issue is the stranglehold the Zionist Lobby AKA Israel lobby has on the legislative, judiciary and executive branches of the US Federal Government and the Federal Reserve, and its influence on the propaganda machine and academia.

Therefore the issue is not about "Jews" using the USG, but rather the Zionist Lobby, AKA Israel Lobby in the US or Jewish Lobby in Israel, having and using the stranglehold on the USG, academia and propaganda machine (mass media and Hollywood) to further their goals.

It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around

When you refer to "Jews", do you mean the Zionist lobby AKA Israel lobby , or the average "Jew sixpack" living in the US i.e. the rest?

If what you mean is the so called Israel lobby when you refer to "Jews", two professors, one of Political Sciences and one of International Affairs, both from top US Universities, disagree with your remarkable theory, and have written extensively and with plenty of references supporting their claims:

John Mearsheimer
R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Sciences
Chicago University

Stephen Walt
Belfer Professor of International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

Three links, first two for an article, second with all references. Third for the even more detailed book, refuting your claims.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjoisrX36zTAhVIJlAKHbf5Bm4QFghAMAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmearsheimer.uchicago.edu%2Fpdfs%2FIsraelLobby.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFlVQO8EGLPxZsbik8QZaH4vQ15Cw

https://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501

Are you familiar with their work? Are you rejecting their claims?

If yes, on what are you basing your rebuttal and what is your background?

Or are you trying to frame the blogger and everyone concerned with the subject as old Jew-haters and anti-semites?

Now, if after reading the Saker's post, the only thing you understood was:

The Saker: "The Jews" are to blame for the ills of the world folks

Then I would recommend you should seriously improve your English, at least reading comprehension skills – perhaps some online courses – before commenting and making a fool of yourself again publicly.

Cyrano , April 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm GMT
• 200 Words @Vires Why are you trying to conflate Jews and Zionists? Are you unable to see the difference between the two concepts?

It's pretty clear the issue is the stranglehold the Zionist Lobby AKA Israel lobby has on the legislative, judiciary and executive branches of the US Federal Government and the Federal Reserve, and its influence on the propaganda machine and academia.

Therefore the issue is not about "Jews" using the USG, but rather the Zionist Lobby, AKA Israel Lobby in the US or Jewish Lobby in Israel, having and using the stranglehold on the USG, academia and propaganda machine (mass media and Hollywood) to further their goals.


It's not the Jews that are using US for their own needs – it's the other way around
When you refer to "Jews", do you mean the Zionist lobby AKA Israel lobby , or the average "Jew sixpack" living in the US i.e. the rest?

If what you mean is the so called Israel lobby when you refer to "Jews", two professors, one of Political Sciences and one of International Affairs, both from top US Universities, disagree with your remarkable theory, and have written extensively and with plenty of references supporting their claims:

John Mearsheimer
R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Sciences
Chicago University

Stephen Walt
Belfer Professor of International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University

Three links, first two for an article, second with all references. Third for the even more detailed book, refuting your claims.

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/john-mearsheimer/the-israel-lobby

http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjoisrX36zTAhVIJlAKHbf5Bm4QFghAMAM&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmearsheimer.uchicago.edu%2Fpdfs%2FIsraelLobby.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFlVQO8EGLPxZsbik8QZaH4vQ15Cw

https://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501

What is your background, and on what are you basing your claims?

Have you published an official rebuttal?

Or is your theory just a "hunch"? I am just a writer, I don't have any agenda and I call the things as I see them. I don't buy the theory of the all-powerful Zionist lobby steering the American foreign policy either. Why? Because it makes no sense. Sure there is such a lobby, but US allows it to exist because it suits their interests. They (US establishment) are the ones responsible, not the Israel lobby.

If all anyone had to do in order to influence US government – was to form a lobby – then during the cold war there would have been a communist lobby in Washington, financed by the USSR. They would have poured billions of dollars, and not only the cold war could have ended quickly, but maybe today America would have been communist. Do you see where I am going with this? US government allows lobbies to exist only after they comply with their interests. They are the initiators of policies, not lobbies. Have a nice day.

Cyrano, April 20, 2017 at 3:56 am GMT

• 100 Word\

@Vires

You know man, you are a perfect proof why there is so much propaganda in US. Because you make it easy on them. Them being the government. Yeah, poor US government at the mercy of evil Zionist lobby. If it wasn't for it, it would be the most benevolent government in the world, bringing peace and prosperity wherever they go. One day you'll wake up and you'll look into the abyss and you'll realize that the abyss is your complete ignorance. But don't listen to me, keep on voting every 4 years, that's going to change everything. And keep bitching about the Jewish lobby, you are so much smarter than the average American, you have it all figured out.

wayfarer , April 20, 2017 at 4:44 am GMT
Inevitably, somebody always volunteers to carry water, down the dark self-serving spiritual path.

"Israel Benefits as World Loses"
source: https://www.sott.net/article/268125-Israel-benefits-as-world-loses

"True Cost of Israel"
source: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

"History of the House of Rothschild"
source: http://rense.com/general88/hist.htm

Greasy William , April 20, 2017 at 6:18 am GMT

Russia. Ziocons absolutely loathe Russia and everything Russian.

Don't flatter yourself. Most Jews don't give a shit about Russia. Jews *DO* hate Iranians, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Arab Christians but we really don't care about Russia. We like to mock Russian nationalists like yourself and Western Russophiles but we don't hate you. Okay, maybe we do hate Western Russophiles, I know I sure do, but we don't hate Russia or Russians.

And the reason we don't hate you is because you just aren't important enough to be worth hating.

I agree with your reasons for why Israel wants an ISIS victory (although it is ridiculous to suggest that Israel's current cucked out leadership wants to expand Israel's borders). It is probably the only thing you have gotten right in years. Good job! You are improving!

ThereisaGod , April 20, 2017 at 6:40 am GMT
Roland Bernard High Finance Shocking Revelations (Dutch with Subtitles) This video, more than any I have seen, exposes the dark heart of the matter. It's a must-watch from beginning to end. Highly credible, in my opinion.
Wally , April 20, 2017 at 7:58 am GMT
@Greasy William
Russia. Ziocons absolutely loathe Russia and everything Russian.
Don't flatter yourself. Most Jews don't give a shit about Russia. Jews *DO* hate Iranians, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and Arab Christians but we really don't care about Russia. We like to mock Russian nationalists like yourself and Western Russophiles but we don't hate you. Okay, maybe we do hate Western Russophiles, I know I sure do, but we don't hate Russia or Russians.

And the reason we don't hate you is because you just aren't important enough to be worth hating.

I agree with your reasons for why Israel wants an ISIS victory (although it is ridiculous to suggest that Israel's current cucked out leadership wants to expand Israel's borders). It is probably the only thing you have gotten right in years. Good job! You are improving! The True Cost of Israel
Forced U.S. taxpayers money goes far beyond the official numbers.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

Jewish groups get up to 97% of grants from the Homeland Security"

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/islamophobia-shmislamophobia-97-of-homeland-security-security-grants-go-to-jewish-orgs

and:
Zionist Wikipedia Editing Course

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139189

and:
The Zionist attempt to control language. The Israel Project's 2009 GLOBAL LANGUAGE DICTIONARY

https://www.transcend.org/tms/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sf-israel-projects-2009-global-language-dictionary.pdf

and:
The commander behind the pro-Israel student troops on U.S. college campuses

http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page//.premium-1.709014

and:
Israel tech site paying "interns" to covertly plant stories in social media

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/israel-tech-site-paying-interns-covertly-plant-stories-social-media

and:
Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-students-get-2000-spread-state-propaganda-facebook

Anonymous, April 20, 2017 at 8:58 am GMT

@Kiza

"Only BRICS countries appear free at the moment "

Apparently you haven't heard of the long amorous relationship between the Zionists and the I in BRICS.

Agent76 , April 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm GMT
Apr 13, 2017 Empire Files: Silencing Palestine – Prison & Repression

Israel's occupation of the West Bank is an internationally-recognized human rights crime-but those being impacted are harshly punished for not only acts of resistance, but even mere advocacy for their rights.

wow , April 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm GMT
When Trump basically fellated AIPAC during his campaign it worried me. But I thought maybe just maybe, Trump was playing the Jews ..this article in all it's glory suggests I am very wrong.

That any potential president has to genuflect to Israel and Jews is the saddest thing in American History. You can almost wish it would all implode. A hard reset minus Jewish whining and control would be a true utopia.

Stonehands , April 20, 2017 at 3:19 pm GMT
@Cyrano You know man, you are a perfect proof why there is so much propaganda in US. Because you make it easy on them. Them being the government. Yeah, poor US government at the mercy of evil Zionist lobby. If it wasn't for it, it would be the most benevolent government in the world, bringing peace and prosperity wherever they go. One day you'll wake up and you'll look into the abyss and you'll realize that the abyss is your complete ignorance. But don't listen to me, keep on voting every 4 years, that's going to change everything. And keep bitching about the Jewish lobby, you are so much smarter than the average American, you have it all figured out. Jew finance capitalists [ the master money manipulators] and their cohort in MEDIA are most certainly jewish.. Who the hell do you think promotes all this homo rights crap? It's not so much the jew Svengali -but you- the rube in the mirror, who will have to be dealt with first when the lights go out..
Bruce Marshall , April 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm GMT
But the Elephant driver is the British Empire System!!!

It is the British behind the coup against Trump. The British want to prevent the end of "Geopolitics" as we know it which is what would happen should America Russia and China come together per the New Silk Road and One Belt initiatives. This is why the British are setting off
World War III.

http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/2017_10-19/2017-15/pdf/02-03_4415.pdf

annamaria , April 20, 2017 at 4:18 pm GMT

@Cyrano

" you are a perfect proof why there is so much propaganda in US. "

Don't you imply that "so much propaganda in US" is anti-Zionist? If yes, then you have no idea about MSM in the US. Just to give you a hint, try to google this name: Helen Thomas, specifically a story of her private conversation with a Jewish man (who happened to be a born informer). Look at a swarm of the US Congresspeople blubbering praises for Israel during AIPAC' annual meetings. The US Congress is indeed the Zionist Occupied Territory, a picture of a host captured by a parasitoid.

annamaria , April 20, 2017 at 4:29 pm GMT
@Quartermaster And so was Russia's annexation of Crimea. You don't think Saker would want to call attention to such things do you?

How many referenda the Syrians have held to bring the Golan Heights to the embrace of Israel? We cannot wait to hear your story of Syrian people voting to join Israel. Tell us, when did the Golan Heights belong to Israel?

Surely in the dreams of the US ziocons and in the criminal Oded Yinon's plan for Eretz Israel, which preaches for creating a civil disorder in the neighboring states so that Israel could snatch as much territory as possible from the neighbors. The ongoing Libyan and Syrian tragedies belong to that plan.

The ziocons' cooperation with Ukrainian neo-Nazis is another story. "Never again," indeed.

annamaria , April 20, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT
@biz

In the Middle Ages, antisemitism defined Jews as a religious group and focused on their religious separateness.

In the more secular era of Dreyfus and the Nazis and Nasser, antisemitism defined Jews as an ethnic group and focused on their ethnic separateness.

Now that we are in an era which celebrates group identity and views it as a virtue, antisemitism focuses on denying Jews their ethnic or religious identity.

Fascinating.

annamaria , April 20, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT
@biz

" antisemitism focuses on denying Jews their ethnic or religious identity.states "

The article is about ziocons and it emphasizes, specifically, that conflating Jews and Zionists is dishonest. You need to read the article before making your generalizations.

It was the Israelis that enjoyed the bombing of civilians in Israel-occupied Gaza by the "most moral" idiots of IDF. Palestinian children died in hundreds. White phosphorus was used by Israelis. https://friendsofpalestine.wordpress.com/resources-and-readings/image-galleries/photos-of-israeli-white-phosphorus-attacks-on-un-schools-in-gaza/ So much for "never again."

Considering the number of synagogues in the US and the prominence of ziocons among policy-makers in the US, please tell us, who exactly "denies Jews their ethnic or religious identity." Have you heard about Wolfowitz, Feith, and Kagans? How about Nuland-Kagan fraternizing with neo-Nazis? Still OK? https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/13/the-mess-that-nuland-made/

annamaria , April 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm GMT
@Quartermaster And so was Russia's annexation of Crimea. You don't think Saker would want to call attention to such things do you? Oded Yinon' plan for creating Eretz Israel: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20the%20Middle%20East.pdf
Jus' Sayin'... , April 20, 2017 at 4:42 pm GMT
@nsa

ZIG is a more accurate acronym......as in INFESTED. Think parasites like bed bugs, ticks, lice, mites, termites, scabies, fleas, ringworm, etc.

Zionist Infested Government! Brilliant! I'm going to start using this term.

Anyone who's spent any time inside the beltway quickly realizes that AngloZionists – the Saker's term is really useful if one wants to accurately and concisely summarize these people, their ideology, and their ultimate loyalties – infest from top to bottom the three branches of the federal government, all the supporting bureaucracies, and all the parasitic lobbying groups, consultants, foundations, think tanks, etc., that wield less official powers. Their proportional presence in Washington is many orders of magnitude greater than their proportion in the general population and their power is magnified by their informally shared ideologies and goals.

Not many of these people are actually aware of the harm they are causing. Most are fundamentally decent people. Some I count as close friends. Yet the combined power these people wield and the varying levels of allegiance they bear to foreign powers whose interests are inimical to those of the USA and its citizens make them, considered en masse, an existential threat to this country, to world peace, and to international law and order.

jilles dykstra , April 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm GMT
Few US citizens nowadays seem to know any foreign language, pity, for the following book explains Russian anti semitism:
Alexander Solschenizyn, ´Die russisch- jüdische Geschichte 1795- 1916, >> Zweihundert Jahre zusammen <<´, Moskau 2001, München 2002
Who is interested in the why of German anti semitism after 1870 has more luck:
Ismar Schorsch, 'Jewish Reactions to German Anti-Semitism, 1870 – 1914', New York 1972
Fritz Stern, 'Gold and Iron, Bismarck, Bleichröder, and the Building of the German Empire', New York, 1977.
'From prejudice to destruction', Jacob Katz, 1980, Cambridge MA
Also interesting is:
Horace Meyer Kallen, 'Zionism and World Politics; A Study in History and Social Psychology', New York, 1921
Pre WWII 'neocons':
Bruce Allen Murphy, 'The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection, The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices', New York, 1983

jacques sheete ,

April 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm GMT

@Wally

Jewish groups get up to 97% of grants from the Homeland Security"

The so called non-profit scene also appears to me little more than a cesspool of corruption and I wonder who or what dominates those rackets.

Art , April 20, 2017 at 9:06 pm GMT
ZOG. Or "Zionist Occupation Government".

ZOG is an excellent term that describes the situation in America perfectly. The fact of ZOG is undeniable to everyone politically involved in the US government.

The question is will people use the term "ZOG" to attack Jews? It has one great advantage – the word "Jew" is not used.

The thing that Jews themselves fear the most, is the word "Jew" used by Gentiles. The American population is conditioned not to use the word. Subliminal fear is attached to using the word "Jew."

The goal of the American population must be to eliminate ZOG – but not Jews.

The question is – can this be done without using the word "Jew" and all that goes with it?

The answer is most likely – NOT!

Peace - Art

p.s. Great article.

Dr. X , April 20, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
@blaggard I applaud your honesty and logic. What a fight...

Although it is made to appear so, the battle between the 'conservatives' and 'liberals' is not a battle of ideas or even of political organizations. It's is a battle of force, terror and power. The Jews and their accomplices and dupes are not running our country and its people because of the excellence of their ideas or the merit of their work or because they have the genuine backing of the majority. The Zionists are in power in spite of the lack of these things, and only because they have driven their way into power by daring minority tactics. They can stay in power only because people are afraid to oppose them, afraid they will be socially ostracized, afraid they will be smeared in the press, afraid they will lose their jobs, afraid they will not be able to run their businesses, afraid they will lose their political offices. It is fear and fear alone which keeps these filthy left-wing sneaks in power.

George Lincoln Rockwell wrote that - in 1961 (!)

Beefcake the Mighty , April 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm GMT
@naro No one is more critical of Jews and Israel than other Jews. Jews are and have been a NATION in exile. Their genetic identity has been proven several times using Mitochondrial DNA in prestigious medical journals such as Nature and Science...so it is not in doubt. There is continuous historical record of Jews for at least 2000 years. Christian guilt is well deserved for their historical hounding, persecutions, exiled and pogroms against innocent Jews under their jurisdictions.

The writer of this article is a hate monger. There are Jews of all political spectrum. They are not homogeneous in their political position.
Jews succeed because they study hard, work hard, and take risks in business and politics. They think outside the box, and are inventive and scientifically curious. Instead of envying their success try to learn and emulate it losers.

They also engage in pretty intense ethnic networking and favoritism, things they typically castigate others for doing.

Re. diversity of Jewish political opinion, I don't see it. Most Jews are partisan Democrats in the US and there is very broad agreement on major issues, like immigration and Israeli-centric foreign policy, details notwithstanding. And very few Jews will acknowledge that historically, collective Jewish behavior has played a role in the negative opinions so many peoples hold against them, indeed they strenuously deny it. (Smoke but no fire? Unlikely.)

Talha , April 20, 2017 at 9:51 pm GMT

Last, my favorite one: ethics and morality. The modern western society has been built on a categorical rejection of ethics and morality.

Bravo – that paragraph was golden in my book. If this is gone – kiss your society good bye – you're just living on borrowed time – all the gold and all the nuclear spears in the world will not save you.

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." – Henry David Thoreau

Talha , April 20, 2017 at 9:52 pm GMT
@Seraphim Tramp is a Joo himself!

"Looks Like Donald Trump May Well Be Jewish. That Would Explain A Great Deal", By Miles Mathis via Jim Kirwan, 4-9-17

- See more at: http://www.rense.com/general96/trumpjewish.htm#sthash.4xaQKh2i.dpuf

Ivanka's mommy is of the tribe too: "Ivana is also Jewish. Geni.com lists her father's name as both Knavs and Zelnícek. I'll give you a hint: drop the second "e". You get Zelnick. It is Yiddish for haberdasher. Clothier. It's Jewish, too. See Robert Zelnick, Strauss Zelnick, Bob Zelnick, etc. Robert was a fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford. Strauss was President of 20th Century Fox. Bob was ABC News producer. Also Friedrich Zelnik, silent film producer. Also David O. Selznick, whose name was originally Zeleznick, or, alternately, Zelnick. He and his father were major Hollywood produ - See more at: http://www.rense.com/general96/trumpjewish.htm#sthash.4xaQKh2i.dpuf

It's all in the family (La famiglia, Kosher Nostra). The ones who voted for him are the suckers. Kosher Nostra!!!

Oh man – that was awesome!!!

Peace.

wayfarer , April 20, 2017 at 10:12 pm GMT
The problem with fiat money is that if one has enough of it, one can buy just about anything under the sun that they please, including even large parts of a country's political system and government.

Take for example, Jared (a.k.a. billionaire arch-Zionist trust-fund baby) Kushner

source: https://www.sott.net/article/348461-The-controversy-of-Jared-Kushner-A-suspected-gangster-within-the-Trump-White-House

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtf6TgQgWr4

Seraphim , April 20, 2017 at 11:52 pm GMT
• 200 Words @Talha Kosher Nostra!!!

Oh man - that was awesome!!!

Peace. It is not my invention. All From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"Jewish-American organized crime":

'Jewish-American organized crime emerged within the American Jewish community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been referred to variously in media and popular culture as the Jewish Mob, Jewish Mafia, Kosher Mafia, Kosher Nostra, or Undzer Shtik (Yiddish: אונדזער שטיק‎). The last two of these terms refer to the Italian Cosa Nostra (Italian pronunciation: [kɔza nɔstra]); the former is a play on the word kosher, referring to Jewish dietary laws, while the latter is a direct translation of the phrase (Italian for "our thing") into Yiddish, which was at the time the predominant language of the Jewish diaspora in the United States

In more recent years, Jewish-American organized crime has reappeared in the forms of both Israeli and Jewish-Russian mafia criminal groups, and Orthodox kidnapping gangs .

Several notable Jewish American mobsters provided financial support for Israel through donations to Jewish organizations since the country's creation in 1948. Jewish-American gangsters used Israel's Law of Return to flee criminal charges or face deportation "

Anonymous , April 21, 2017 at 3:31 am GMT

@wayfarer

Even the staff at his own Jewish day school were surprised he was accepted at Harvard.

He was described as a lacklustre student his father bought his entry, and they were disappointed that more qualified students from his school didn't make the cut.

Miro23 , April 21, 2017 at 5:26 am GMT

Second, so what are Jews if not a race? In my opinion, they are a tribe (which Oxford Dictionaires defines as: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader). A tribe is a group one can chose to join (Elizabeth Taylor) or leave (Gilad Atzmon).

It's true that US Jews are mixed race (about 55% European and 45% Semitic) although they choose to Obama-ize the fact (the European part disappears).

Also, after a lifetime of contact, I would say that the best guys leave the Tribe (often the most Semitic and through disgust ) and the worst girls join (Gentiles attracted by money and power).

annamaria , April 21, 2017 at 9:40 am GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova @

Saker!!!!

FGS. Please give it up! Trying to solve Jewish question eventually leads to insanity. Saker (et al on this site) are not interested in "solving Jewish question." – We are interested in the survival of humanity, specifically in stopping a WWIII that could happen thanks to ziocons' policies.
" fomenting sectarian strife in order to forestal the development of a unified Arab nation which could threaten it and creating the circumstances in which land could be acquired was at the root of Israel's relationship with its northern neighbor." http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-and-islamist-militias-a-strange-and-recurring-alliance/5586075
" the "liberal" American press, written almost totally by Jewish admirers of Israel who, even if they are critical of some aspects of the Israeli state, practice loyally what Stalin used to call "the constructive criticism." (In fact those among them who claim also to be "Anti- Stalinist" are in reality more Stalinist than Stalin, with Israel being their god which has not yet failed). In the framework of such critical worship it must be assumed that Israel has always "good intentions" and only "makes mistakes," and therefore such a plan would not be a matter for discussion–exactly as the Biblical genocides committed by Jews are not mentioned." http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20the%20Middle%20East.pdf

jilles dykstra , April 21, 2017 at 9:53 am GMT
@JerseyJeffersonian Thanks Jilles,

My German is not of the best, but I have been interested in 200 Years Together for a while, so maybe I can give it a try. I will try to check out these other titles you have provided, too. Sol Bloom, 'The Autobiography of Sol Bloom', New York 1948

also is interesting, though just for one sentence, something like 'the great accomplishment of Roosevelt was that he slowy prepared the USA people for war'.
This is in one sentence the book

Charles A. Beard, 'American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932 – 1940, A study in responsibilities', New Haven, 1946

Alas few people seem to read books any more, especially old books. The interesting thing about a book, great contrast with a web article, is, once printed, it cannot be changed any more.

Sol Bloom was a jewish friend of Roosevelt. You might also want to read
Henry Morgenthau, 'Ambassador Morgenthau's Story', New Yirk, 1918
Heath W. Lowry, 'The story behind Ambassador Morgenthau's Story', Istanbul 1990
and
Charles Callan Tansill, 'Amerika geht in den Krieg', Stuttgart 1939 (America goes to War, 1938)
How the USA, and especially Morgenthau, wanted to fight Germany, in WWI.
Both Bloom and Morgenthau were of German descent, I suppose they hated Germany because of its antisemitism.

jilles dykstra , April 21, 2017 at 10:03 am GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova @ Saker!!!!
FGS. Please give it up! Trying to solve Jewish question eventually leads to insanity. Are maybe present events solving the jewish question ?
There seems to be little doubt that Trump is in conflict with Deep State, neocons in the lead, mainly jews.
See also:
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, 'The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy', New York 2007
It is possible that Marine le Pen of FN wins the French elections.
FN is accused of being antisemitic:
Pierre-André Taguieff, Michèle Tribalat, 'Face au Front national, Arguments pour une contre-offensive', Paris, 1998 is an anti FN book written by two jews.
Hungary is closing Soros's university.
Putin already closed his institutions in Russia.

Joe Levantine , April 21, 2017 at 3:24 pm GMT

@Cyrano

Americans using Jews or vice versa? Just check the roles that Bernard Baruck and Rabbi Steven Wise have played from the administration of crooked Woodrow Wilson to the more crooked Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Two names among thousands of Jews who have shaped U.S. policies while hiding behind the facade of their puppet presidents should give anyone food for thought.
If Cyrano can bring back into circulation the forbidden book of ' The Controversy of Zion' by the late Douglas Reed who turned from bestseller author to a nonexistent nothing the moment he published his 400+ book, I am positive that the commentator would apologise for this comment.

annamaria , April 21, 2017 at 4:53 pm GMT
@naro Mr. Petras you are a vile old man. Nazis were quite capable at merciless killing of defenseless Jewish (and others) men, women and children by the millions, as they were unprepared for the utter vile brutality that Nazism represented. Now the Jews are well defended and strong, and will defend themselves to the utmost. So come to to the fight old boy, we can take on Nazis . We know them better now. "Now the Jews are well defended and strong we can take on Nazis."

Actually, an Israeli citizen Mr. Kolomojsky financed the neo-Nazi Azov battalion that auto-da-fe(d) a good number of civilians in Odessa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJexglSOF6s (see also Azov battalion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion )

A member of the powerful Kagans' clan of warmongers, Mrs. Nuland-Kagan has been an eager collaborator with Ukrainian neo-Nazis (do you know about Baby Yar and such? – Mrs. Nuland-Kagan is obviously OK with the history of Ukrainian Jews during WWII). Neither ADL nor AIPAC made any noises about bringing Ukrainian neo-Nazis to power in Kiev in 2014. Why?

And what about Israel' collaboration with ISIS against sovereign Syria? "The documents show that Israel has been doing more than simply treating wounded Syrian civilians in hospitals. This and a few past reports have described transfer of unspecified supplies from Israel to the Syrian rebels, and sightings of IDF soldiers meeting with the Syrian opposition east of the green zone, as well as incidents when Israeli soldiers opened up the fence to allow Syrians through who did not appear to be injured. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/New-UN-report-reveals-collaboration-between-Israel-and-Syrian-rebels-383926

A Canadian darling of the US State Dept, Chrystia Freeland, happened to be a progeny of a Nazi collaborator from Ukraine (Mr. Chomiak), though Mrs. Freeland proclaimed loudly that her grandpa was "persecuted by the Soviets:" https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/
" it appears Freeland's grandfather – rather than being a helpless victim – was given a prestigious job to spread Nazi propaganda, praising Hitler from a publishing house stolen from Jews and given to Ukrainians who shared the values of Nazism. Chomiak's editorials also described a Poland "infected by Jews." Mrs. Freeland is still in office, spreading Russophobia that is so dear to ziocon hearts.

In case you did not notice, Zionists (ziocons) are modern-day Nazis.

" the "liberal" American press, written almost totally by Jewish admirers of Israel who, even if they are critical of some aspects of the Israeli state, practice loyally what Stalin used to call "the constructive criticism." In the framework of such critical worship it must be assumed that Israel has always "good intentions" and only "makes mistakes," and therefore such a plan would not be a matter for discussion–exactly as the Biblical genocides committed by Jews are not mentioned." http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20th

Rurik , April 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm GMT

Good ol' Charlie he knew.
He learned to beware the POWER of the Cabal

when I read that I thought you might have meant Charlie Reese. he used to write for the Orlando Sentinel in Florida, until ((they)) ran him out

here's a light hearted one that shows his depth and humor

http://thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Birds&OtherAnimals/+Doc-Birds&OtherAnimals-OtherAnimals/CharleyReeseOnSquirrels.htm

more:

We are guilty by proxy of murder, land theft, destruction of property and all the other human misery that Israel has caused in the region.

So, if you're one of those rah-rah Israel First supporters, don't complain when the terrorists come looking for you. You've allowed your politicians to enlist you in somebody else's war, and in war there are always casualties on both sides.

America has become a nation of pathological irresponsibility. Nobody wants to take responsibility for his or her own actions, which is the basic cause of the litigation flood. Least of all do American politicians wish to do so. They would rather heap on the manure that the terrorism directed at us has nothing whatsoever to do with the policies they have followed for the past 30 years or more. In truth, it has everything to do with those policies.

So, if you or your loved ones get bloodied by terrorists, then blame your Christian Zionists, your Israel First crowd and your corrupt politicians who have their tongues in the ears and their hands in the pockets of the Israeli lobby.

http://www.antiwar.com/frank/?articleid=2197

there's a whole slew of treasures and beautiful prose and simple, human humility and decency in these archives.

http://www.antiwar.com/reese/archives.php

I heartily encourage the reader to peruse them with pleasure.

more:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-charley-reese-545-people-1984-073111-story.html

Alden , April 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
@turtle Sooner or later, the U.S. will go down to defeat, at which point "da Joos" will have to find a new host.
I expect they will have a bit of a tough row to hoe in this, the New Chinese Century.
No matter how hard you try, I doubt you can pass off this woman:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connie_Chung
or any of her countrywomen, as "Semitic,"
thus disproving that "Jewish" = "Semitic" or vice versa.
Shlomo Wong? I think not. I read Jewish community publications all the time I have concluded they are planning their next jump to China after they destroy America
There are endless articles about how much Jews and Chinese have in common (lie, cheat and steal). They discovered that in medieval and early modern times there was a community of Persian Jews in China and blather on about that.
And there is approval of marriage of Jewish men to Chinese women.

But the Chinese are not love thy neighbor Christians. Nor do they have millions of wanna be Jews Old Testament obsessed Protestants. Chinese officials are well known for accepting bribes and then doing exactly what they want.

On the other hand, Israel and American DOD employees sell lots of stolen American military secrets to China.

Jewish attempted takeover of China will be a battle of the Titans.

Anon , April 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm GMT
• 100 Words @Wally Indeed, "non-profit", but Jews Only and huge salaries

Recall the corrupt & hate mongering ADL, or SPLC.

Look at the 'holocau$t' scam.

Build yet another laughable 'holocaust' Theme Park, Potemkin Village, put up a picture of MLK, falsely claim that it's all about 'tolerance', 'diversity and civil rights while down playing it's obvious Jewish supremacism, and voila! Massive taxpayers subsidies.


"One should not ask, how this mass murder was made possible. It was technically possible, because it happened. This has to be the obligatory starting-point for any historical research regarding this topic. We would just like to remind you: There is no debate regarding the existence of the gas chambers, and there can never be one."
- endorsed by 34 "reputable historians" and published in the French daily Le Monde on February 21, 1979
====================================
"These Holocaust deniers are very slick people. They justify everything they say with facts and figures."

- Steven Some, Chairman of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, Newark Star-Ledger, 23 Oct. 1996, p 15.

Here's the top non-profits. None are identifiably Jewish:

1 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation United States Seattle, Washington $42.3 billion 1994 [1]
2 Stichting INGKA Foundation Netherlands Leiden $34.6 billion €33.0 billion (EUR) 1982 [2]
3 Wellcome Trust United Kingdom London $26.0 billion £20.9 billion (GBP) 1936 [3]
4 Howard Hughes Medical Institute United States Chevy Chase, Maryland $18.2 billion 1953 [4]
5 Ford Foundation United States New York City, New York $11.2 billion 1936 [5]
6 Kamehameha Schools United States Honolulu, Hawaii $11.1 billion 1887 [6]
7 J. Paul Getty Trust United States Los Angeles, California $10.5 billion 1982 [5]
8 Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation United Arab Emirates Dubai $10.0 billion 37 billion د.إ (AED) 2007 [7]
9 Azim Premji Foundation India Bangalore $9.8 billion 2001 [8]
10 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation United States Princeton, New Jersey $9.53 billion 1972 [5]

Art , April 21, 2017 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Alden I just read the latest ADL diktat. As of today any mention of Jared Kushner is deemed anti Semitic. Consequences will be severe. I just read the latest ADL diktat. As of today any mention of Jared Kushner is deemed anti Semitic. Consequences will be severe.

They have good reason to hide him – he and his family have some shady business dealings – his father is a x-convict. How did he come into billions of dollars?

They say that Jared inherited his money – how did that happen when his father is still living – did they get special tax treatment?

Hmm?

Peace - Art

p.s. Jared Kushner is 100% Zionist – how can this work out good for America?

Sam J. , April 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm GMT
" Please note that Gilad specifically excludes Judaics (religious Jews,) "

Well he's wrong to exclude them unless you're just excluding Zionist. It doesn't matter whether they are religious or secular. They're all made of the same stuff. Surely you've heard of all the organ smuggling, drug dealing and other goings on in the religious community and they're supposed to be the good guys?

There's one idea that describes the Jews perfectly. It describes their parasitism, their, lying, their chameleon like behavior, their sense of superiority and belief that they are different from everyone else. There's a simple explanation for why the Jews are hated so much that also explains their behavior and success. The Jews are a tribe of psychopaths. No all, maybe not even the majority, but a large number. All of the Jews ancient writings are nothing more than a manual for psychopaths to live by. The Talmud is nothing but one psychopathic thought after another. The Talmud "great enlightenment" basically says that everyone not Jewish is there to serve Jews. All their property is really the Jews. No one is really human unless they're Jews and their lives don't matter. A psychopathic religion for a psychopathic people.

They've been thrown out of every single country that they've been to in any numbers. Psychopaths having no empathy themselves can only go by the feedback they get from the people they are exploiting. So they push and push to see what they can get away with. The normal people build up resentment towards them. Thinking "surely they will reform or repent" like a normal person who does wrong. Of course the Jews do not. They don't have the mental process for reform. Then in a huge mass outpouring of hate for the Jews, fed up with the refusal to reform their behavior, they attack and/or deport them. In this stage of the cycle the Big/Rich Jews escape and the little Jews are attacked.

Start over.

Even if it's wrong if you assume the Jews are a tribe of psychopaths you will never be surprised and Jew's behavior will make sense.

In order to predict Jews behavior read the great book on Psychopaths by Hervey Cleckley, "The Mask of Sanity". Here's a chapter you should read. It's about the psychopath Stanley. Who does all kinds of manic bullshit and spends all his time feeding people the most outrageous lies. Look at the astounding array of things he's able to get away with. Maybe it will remind you of a certain tribe. New meme. "They're pulling a Stanley". The whole book is on the web and worth reading.

http://www.energyenhancement.org/Psychopath/psychopath-Hervey-Cleckley-the-mask-of-sanity-SECTION-TWO-THE-MATERIAL-Part-1-The-disorder-in-full-clinical-manifestations-19-Stanley.html

I use the simplest of logic to determine this. Form follows function, Occam's Razor. Their behavior is exactly like psychopaths. Their religious beliefs are exactly like the internal dialog of psychopaths. I don't know but if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck. It's a duck and the Jews are a tribe of psychopaths. The MOST IMPORTANT PART is that the behavior of the Jews as a group over time can not be reliably separated from the behavior of psychopaths. Even if I'm wrong their behavior is the same so they should be treated as psychopaths. A very dangerous, powerful group with no empathy towards anyone but other Jews.

I don't know why Zionist get such a bad rap I want them all to go to Israel so I'm a Zionist too.

Alden , April 21, 2017 at 8:18 pm GMT
@wayfarer The problem with fiat money is that if one has enough of it, one can buy just about anything under the sun that they please, including even large parts of a country's political system and government.

Take for example, Jared (a.k.a. billionaire arch-Zionist trust-fund baby) Kushner

source: https://www.sott.net/article/348461-The-controversy-of-Jared-Kushner-A-suspected-gangster-within-the-Trump-White-House

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtf6TgQgWr4

Thanks, very interesting. Funny thing, most of the Jews I know are such fervent liberals they think Kushner is a traitor to the cause of liberalism.
Seraphim , April 22, 2017 at 2:09 am GMT
@Art You are a nazi. Your generalization are the vile ranting of a hate filled animal.

Oh my - straight to the "N" word - what happened to "anti-Semite" - has it lost its sting? Ah' to bad.

What are you going to call us next?

Peace --- Art

p.s. By the way Nazism and Zionism are brothers - both are fascists.

p.s. What about you Jew animals in Israel - you have the most immoral army in the world.

p.s. You Jews and your hateful bluster - you are fooling no one.

p.s. ZOG is going to lose. It is an irrefragable law:

"Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies) is an Internet adage which asserts that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches -‌that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler.

Promulgated by American attorney and author Mike Godwin in 1990, Godwin's law originally referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions. It is now applied to any threaded online discussion, such as Internet forums, chat rooms, and comment threads, as well as to speeches, articles, and other rhetoric where 'reductio ad Hitlerum'* occurs.

*Reductio ad Hitlerum (pseudo-Latin for "reduction to Hitler"; sometimes argumentum ad Hitlerum, "argument to Hitler", ad Nazium, "to Nazism"), or playing the Nazi card, is an attempt to invalidate someone else's position on the basis that the same view was held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party, for example: "Hitler was a vegetarian, X is a vegetarian, therefore X is a Nazi". A variation of this fallacy, reductio ad Stalinum, also known as "red-baiting", has also been used in political discourse.

Coined by Leo Strauss in 1951, reductio ad Hitlerum borrows its name from the term used in logic, reductio ad absurdum (reduction to the absurd). According to Strauss, reductio ad Hitlerum is a form of ad hominem, ad misericordiam, or a fallacy of irrelevance. The suggested rationale is one of guilt by association. It is a tactic often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract and anger the opponent, as Hitler and Nazism have been condemned in the modern world.

Sam J. , April 22, 2017 at 7:34 am GMT
@Sam J. "... Please note that Gilad specifically excludes Judaics (religious Jews,)..."

Well he's wrong to exclude them unless you're just excluding Zionist. It doesn't matter whether they are religious or secular. They're all made of the same stuff. Surely you've heard of all the organ smuggling, drug dealing and other goings on in the religious community and they're supposed to be the good guys?

There's one idea that describes the Jews perfectly. It describes their parasitism, their, lying, their chameleon like behavior, their sense of superiority and belief that they are different from everyone else. There's a simple explanation for why the Jews are hated so much that also explains their behavior and success. The Jews are a tribe of psychopaths. No all, maybe not even the majority, but a large number. All of the Jews ancient writings are nothing more than a manual for psychopaths to live by. The Talmud is nothing but one psychopathic thought after another. The Talmud "great enlightenment" basically says that everyone not Jewish is there to serve Jews. All their property is really the Jews. No one is really human unless they're Jews and their lives don't matter. A psychopathic religion for a psychopathic people.

They've been thrown out of every single country that they've been to in any numbers. Psychopaths having no empathy themselves can only go by the feedback they get from the people they are exploiting. So they push and push to see what they can get away with. The normal people build up resentment towards them. Thinking "surely they will reform or repent" like a normal person who does wrong. Of course the Jews do not. They don't have the mental process for reform. Then in a huge mass outpouring of hate for the Jews, fed up with the refusal to reform their behavior, they attack and/or deport them. In this stage of the cycle the Big/Rich Jews escape and the little Jews are attacked.

Start over.

Even if it's wrong if you assume the Jews are a tribe of psychopaths you will never be surprised and Jew's behavior will make sense.

In order to predict Jews behavior read the great book on Psychopaths by Hervey Cleckley, "The Mask of Sanity". Here's a chapter you should read. It's about the psychopath Stanley. Who does all kinds of manic bullshit and spends all his time feeding people the most outrageous lies. Look at the astounding array of things he's able to get away with. Maybe it will remind you of a certain tribe. New meme. "They're pulling a Stanley". The whole book is on the web and worth reading.

http://www.energyenhancement.org/Psychopath/psychopath-Hervey-Cleckley-the-mask-of-sanity-SECTION-TWO-THE-MATERIAL-Part-1-The-disorder-in-full-clinical-manifestations-19-Stanley.html

I use the simplest of logic to determine this. Form follows function, Occam's Razor. Their behavior is exactly like psychopaths. Their religious beliefs are exactly like the internal dialog of psychopaths. I don't know but if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck. It's a duck and the Jews are a tribe of psychopaths. The MOST IMPORTANT PART is that the behavior of the Jews as a group over time can not be reliably separated from the behavior of psychopaths. Even if I'm wrong their behavior is the same so they should be treated as psychopaths. A very dangerous, powerful group with no empathy towards anyone but other Jews.

I don't know why Zionist get such a bad rap I want them all to go to Israel so I'm a Zionist too. I don't know if this guy is real or if it's true or not but there's a vast amount of information and cases which readily conform to the idea that everything he says is true. According to the witnesses in the dutroux-affair all the participants had to break the law to be in business with them on an intimate level. Mostly this was done through sexual abuse of children. Twenty years ago you might could laugh this off as some foolish rantings of conspiracy freaks but there's been too many verifiable cases with lots of physical evidence.

Pizzagate Pedogate Dutch Whistleblower Real Big Money Revelations by an Insider

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO4rAYk-420

I'm also not saying it's just Jews but I am saying they are the root of it all. They're the glue that keeps the whole thing together due to their insider grouping tribalism.

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." – Henry David Thoreau

annamaria , April 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Naro Again To Summarize JEWS ARE THE BRAINIEST AND MOST ACCOMPLISHED HUMANS ALIVE TRYING TO SURVIVE IN A WORLD OF MORONS AND IMPRESSIONABLE IDIOTS! Examples of the psychopathology and idiocy of the Nazis is obvious on this thread-ironically in a web site owned by a Jew.
The envious losers, and political manipulators have always looked for scapegoats for their failures, and Jews were easy targets. Not any more. Jews are quite able to defend themselves ..thank you. You don't believe me? just try. " Jews are quite able to defend themselves .."

At least now you have prudently omitted references to Nazis, since you became educated from other posts that American Jews – see Kagans' clan of warmongers – are in bed with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and, moreover, that an Israeli citizen is known as a financier of the bloody neo-Nazi battalion that had burnt a score of civilians to death in Odessa.
American (and UK) Israel-firsters have betrayed western civilization for the benefit of mythological Eretz Israel. Your tribe was pushing for the slaughter in Iraq (see treasonous Wolfowitz and Feith and the despicable Kristol) and in Libya (the former pearl of North Africa, where citizens used to enjoy free education, free health care, and a sizable gold reserve – the latter stolen by the US "deciders"). Currently, it is an ongoing bloodbath in Syria, which Israel wants to prolong as much as possible in order to steal the Golan Heights. For the same reason your "most accomplished" Israeli generals proclaimed loudly their preference for ISIS. What have you claimed, that your tribe is the "brainiest?" – Relax. With such "activists" like the openly racist Avigdor Lieberman (ex-convict) and your half-wit hater Ayelet Shaked you are safely among mediocrities. As for the truly brainiest and ethical like Baruch Spinoza and Hanna Arend, they were rejected by your supremacist tribe. Check the location of Spinoza' grave.

annamaria , April 22, 2017 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Anonymous shut up naziscum. where is your thousand year reich? in the garbage An Israeli demonstrates her regular poor manners Aren't you trying to imply that Israelis are striving for their thousand-year reich? Good luck. Don't forget to take the neo-Nazi-loving Kagans' clan with you.
Johnny F. Ive , April 23, 2017 at 6:48 am GMT
What if the US Empire was financially bankrupted? How would it behave afterwards? I think it will end with military overstretch and bankruptcy or nuclear war. One or the other. Its sad that all this suffering is a tribal war. On man's way to civilization he forgot to leave that behind. Would the US behave after bankruptcy like the Soviets did after losing in Afghanistan or is the US going to be even more like a huge North Korea? Besides Israel there is the manipulations of other countries like the Europeans.

I agree Trump is very concerned about appearance and that makes him weak. He like the rest of the American Establishment is like Narcissus and in their pond the Empire is reflected back at them. They won't let go of it.

I disagree that the American people vote against war. The American people have had plenty of chances. They've had chances to turn the world's fortunes around plenty of times with Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Ralph Nader. That pretty much covers the whole ideological spectrum except the neocons. The American people have consistently voted for war at least since 1992. They had these men who ran for president in order to save us all and the were consistently rejected by the electorate. Its not just the government. Its the 4th estate. The corporations. I'm now a pessimist. War will come and it will fail. The question is who will the Empire wage war against and who will survive the war?

Is Pauline Christianity legitimate? The problem with it has always been that it was built on a tribal story. A lot of good came from it. It was used to justify some bad things too. Its origins are not the classical world. That is probably why the alt-right has a fascination with modern pseudo-pagan religions. I think the real story is that the Ancient Greeks particularly the Epicureans have won the argument:
https://www.csun.edu/~hcfll004/Stoic-Epic-comp.html – these ideas are older than Christianity.

The AngloZionist tribe is now considered what the Catholics considered the pagans were. The word paganus means hick. Pagan now means new age and Christian in the West means hick. The AngloZionist don't even like them but require their obedience and support. Perhaps its only a matter of time before the Judeo-Christian fairy tail loses its political power and just becomes good literature. It has no hope especially with the transhumanist wonders about to bequeathed to the world. It can't compete. They avoided the truth for about 2000 years and couldn't develop a convincing response against Epicureanism. Genesis is the best they could muster against natural selection after thousands of years of knowing about it? Epikoros (Hebrew for heretic) in the end won! But the US Empire has an unhealthy appetite of playing chicken with nuclear powers and western Judeo-Christianity will not go peacefully into the night. Read More Agree: Beefcake the Mighty

Frankly Frivilous , April 23, 2017 at 6:50 am GMT
@Yevardian Um, the Golan Heights was officially annexed by Israel in 1981.

I enjoy your articles, but you can't be taken seriously whilst you keep making amateurish mistakes like this.

Ditto on Russia being the only country truly upholding Islamic values. If Israel officially annexed the Golan heights in 1981, why is Netanyahu making noise about it now? Seems insecure. Also consider that "true" Islamic or Christian values would be those proposed by the actual adherents. Would Russians have any reason to discount or misrepresent their stated values if they were altruistic and high minded? I suggest you try and critique the Sakers comments on their intended merits if you wish to be taken seriously.

Joe Franklin , April 23, 2017 at 7:05 pm GMT
@nsa ZIG is a more accurate acronym......as in INFESTED. Think parasites like bed bugs, ticks, lice, mites, termites, scabies, fleas, ringworm, etc. ZOP is accurate too, and ZOP is the specific cause of ZOG.

ZOP is Zionist Occupied People, and ZOP is a description of the US and Israeli voter obsession with and participation in a neurotic victim cult.

ZOP is the elephant in the room that nobody in broadcast media will discuss.

US and Israeli victim cult lobbyist are obsessed with cult dominance of national elections and society.

The US and Israel have a dominant victim cult that displays a neurotic persecution complex and frequently demands government remedies.

A US and Israeli victim cultist is conditioned to demand government reparations and entitlements in exchange for their votes.

A typical US and Israeli victim cultist is obsessed with Nazi and white supremacy, claiming that white-straight-Christian-males are deplorable Nazi or Nazi sympathizers.

The US and Israeli victim cult is aggressive toward foreign nations that are a perceived threat to the cult.

As an example, here are some of the government entitlements enjoyed by victim cultists in Israel:

https://electronicintifada.net/content/lawsuit-challenges-israels-discriminatory-citizenship-definition/8767

Israel refused to recognize an Israeli nationality at the country's establishment in 1948, making an unusual distinction between "citizenship" and "nationality." Although all Israelis qualify as "citizens of Israel," the state is defined as belonging to the "Jewish nation," meaning not only the 5.6 million Israeli Jews but also more than seven million Jews in the diaspora.

Critics say the special status of Jewish nationality has been a way to undermine the citizenship rights of non-Jews in Israel, especially the fifth of the population who are Arab. Some 30 laws in Israel specifically privilege Jews, including in the areas of immigration rights, naturalization, access to land and employment.

Arab leaders have also long complained that indications of "Arab" nationality on ID cards make it easy for police and government officials to target Arab citizens for harsher treatment.

The interior ministry has adopted more than 130 possible nationalities for Israeli citizens, most of them defined in religious or ethnic terms, with "Jewish" and "Arab" being the main categories.

Gene S. , April 23, 2017 at 9:02 pm GMT
@wayne Read about King David in the Bible. He was a genocidal psychopath. It states in the Bible how he vicioulsy murdered civilian prisoners of war. And on at least one occasion he gave his men all the pre-puberty girls to "do with as they pleased", which was after they had murdered their parents and all family members. I am sure this was a great sadistical delight to him and his troops. Men of God? No God damned way. Undoubtely men of Satan. Different time, different standards. You are judging him with the modern "for show" standards, by which the "civilized" nations, which have instituted them, do not abide. The US govt has killed 10s of millions of mostly civilians (men, women, children) since the end of WWII, around the world, and now their clients in the Middle East and Ukraine continue mass rapes and murder. David's crimes pale by comparison. Those in Washington D.C. will never face justice for what they are doing, at least in this world, nor do they repent at all. You can read about King David's repentance in the same Bible.
Anon , April 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm GMT
300 Words @Incitatus I deeply apologize, Anon/Keith. I overestimated you. Mea colpa.

The fable was intended to illustrate the difference between embarrassing irrational instinct (canine leg-humpers) and intelligent criticism. You excelled, once again, at the former, and proudly so. Knock yourself out. Polish those table legs.

"I know I confuse you."

The only one confused is you, Anon, the evader of any record who still fancies the distinction 'Keith.' Are you afraid that a record of your remarks will easily indict you for your narrow agenda and regurgitative screeds?

No matter.

You might look up Julius Streicher, your patron saint. A man so vile cardinal Nazis at Nüremberg avoided him as if he would leave excrement on them in any prolonged contact. They knew best. Keith ,

"Are you afraid that a record of your remarks will easily endict you".

Indict me for wanting to bring down the elephant in the room? Did the Jewnited states already pass hate speech laws, forbidding all criticism of Israel and for exposing Jewish power in America? Did the Jewmerica pass laws criminalizing Holocaust Revisionism? Did I wake up in a country without first amendment rights. Or is all of this wishful thinking on your part?

Should I be indicted for a hate crime for asking for an autopsy proving several million Jews were gassed at the Auschwitz labor camps? Should I be hung because there is no autopsy evidence?

Maybe this is the purpose of the Unz Review. My Unz Review remarks will be use to retro actively endict me for laws that weren't on the books when I made my forbidden remarks, just like the Germans were endicted, convicted and hung at Nuremberg?

It is you and the other Hasbara trolls who have a defensive agenda and regurgitate
the same old name calling " Its a trick, the Jews always use it"

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jUGVPBO9_cA

When the Jewish Bolshevik NeoCons take over America, I am convinced I will be one of the first to be put in a NKVD Gulag. I also know my cell mates will be other patriotic Unz Review Americans along with millions of others who want to bring down the elephant in the room.

I apologize for mentioning the forbidden news about Rabbis and Herpes and the Jewish Egypt slave myth. I know this upset you. Both of these stories were news published in the Israeli Haaretz News. I guess these stories were for Jews eyes only.

Anon , April 23, 2017 at 11:01 pm GMT
@Ace

Vietnam was not a military defeat.

Doesn't matter. It was a political defeat, and war is an extension of politics.

[Mar 25, 2017] What is Economism and why it is so damaging

Notable quotes:
"... Ugh what an awful display of pop economism. Globalization and technology are "impersonal forces." No mention of the rise of inequality or the SecStags. No mention of monetary policy fail in Europe. The biggest lies of economism are the lies of omission. ..."
"... Looks like this concept of "Economism" introduced by James Kwak in his book Economism is very important conceptual tool for understanding the tremendous effectiveness of neoliberal propaganda. ..."
"... When competitive free markets and rational well-informed actors are the baseline assumption, the burden of proof shifts unfairly onto anyone proposing a government policy. ..."
"... For example, the basic Econ 101 theory of supply and demand is fine for some products, but it doesn't work very well for labor markets. It is incapable of simultaneously explaining both the small effect of minimum wage increases and the small impact of low-skilled immigration. Some more complicated, advanced theory is called for. ..."
"... But no matter how much evidence piles up, people keep talking about "the labor supply curve" and "the labor demand curve" as if these are real objects, and to analyze policies -- for example, overtime rules -- using the same old framework. ..."
"... An idea that we believe in despite all evidence to the contrary isn't a scientific theory -- it's an infectious meme. ..."
"... Academic economists are unsure about how to respond to the abuse of simplistic econ theories for political ends. On one hand, it gives them enormous prestige. The popularity of simplistic econ ideas has made economists the toast of America's intellectual classes. ..."
"... It has sustained enormous demand for the undergraduate econ major, which serves, in the words of writer Michael Lewis, as a "standardized test of general intelligence" for future businesspeople. But as Kwak points out, the simple theories promulgated by politicians and on the Wall Street Journal editorial page often bear little resemblance to the sophisticated theories used by real economists. ..."
"... And when things go wrong -- when the financial system crashes, or millions of workers displaced by Chinese imports fail to find new careers -- it's academic economists who often get blamed, not the blasé and misleading popularizers. ..."
Jan 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. : January 20, 2017 at 04:35 AM

Noah Smith: The Ways That Pop Economics Hurt America - Noah Smith

"So I wonder if economism was really as unrealistic and useless as Kwak seems to imply. Did countries that resisted economism -- Japan, for example, or France [Germany?] -- do better for their poor and middle classes than the U.S.? Wages have stagnated in those countries, and inequality has increased, even as those countries remain poorer than the U.S. Did the U.S.'s problems really all come from economism, or did forces such as globalization and technological change play a part? Cross-country comparisons suggest that the deregulation and tax cuts of the 1980s and 1990s, although ultimately excessive, probably increased economic output somewhat."

Ugh what an awful display of pop economism. Globalization and technology are "impersonal forces." No mention of the rise of inequality or the SecStags. No mention of monetary policy fail in Europe. The biggest lies of economism are the lies of omission.

libezkova -> Peter K.... , -1
Thank you --

Looks like this concept of "Economism" introduced by James Kwak in his book Economism is very important conceptual tool for understanding the tremendous effectiveness of neoliberal propaganda.

I think it is proper to view Economism as a flavor of Lysenkoism. As such it is not very effective in acquiring the dominant position and suppressing of dissent, but it also can be very damaging.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-19/the-ways-that-pop-economics-hurt-america

== quote ==

...When competitive free markets and rational well-informed actors are the baseline assumption, the burden of proof shifts unfairly onto anyone proposing a government policy. For far too many years, free-marketers have gotten away with winning debates by just sitting back and saying "Oh yeah? Show me the market failure!" That deck-stacking has long forced public intellectuals on the left have to work twice as hard as those safely ensconced in think tanks on the free-market right, and given the latter a louder voice in public life than their ideas warrant.

It's also true that simple theories, especially those we learn in our formative years, can maintain an almost unshakeable grip on our thinking.

For example, the basic Econ 101 theory of supply and demand is fine for some products, but it doesn't work very well for labor markets. It is incapable of simultaneously explaining both the small effect of minimum wage increases and the small impact of low-skilled immigration. Some more complicated, advanced theory is called for.

But no matter how much evidence piles up, people keep talking about "the labor supply curve" and "the labor demand curve" as if these are real objects, and to analyze policies -- for example, overtime rules -- using the same old framework.

An idea that we believe in despite all evidence to the contrary isn't a scientific theory -- it's an infectious meme.

Academic economists are unsure about how to respond to the abuse of simplistic econ theories for political ends. On one hand, it gives them enormous prestige. The popularity of simplistic econ ideas has made economists the toast of America's intellectual classes.

It has sustained enormous demand for the undergraduate econ major, which serves, in the words of writer Michael Lewis, as a "standardized test of general intelligence" for future businesspeople. But as Kwak points out, the simple theories promulgated by politicians and on the Wall Street Journal editorial page often bear little resemblance to the sophisticated theories used by real economists.

And when things go wrong -- when the financial system crashes, or millions of workers displaced by Chinese imports fail to find new careers -- it's academic economists who often get blamed, not the blasé and misleading popularizers.

... ... ...

Russia and China have given up communism not because they stopped having working classes, but because it became obvious that their communist systems were keeping them in poverty. And Americans are now starting to question economism because of declining median income, spiraling inequality and a huge financial and economic crisis.

[Mar 23, 2017] Neoliberalism as a flavor of economism

Wikipedia

Economism is reduction of all social facts to economic dimensions. The term is often used to criticize economics as an ideology, in which supply and demand are the only important factors in decisions, and outstrip or permit ignoring all other factors.

It is believed to be a side effect of neoclassical economics and blind faith in an "invisible hand" or "laissez-faire" means of making decisions, extended far beyond controlled and regulated markets, and used to make political and military decisions.

Conventional ethics would play no role in decisions under pure economism, except insofar as supply would be withheld, demand curtailed, by moral choices of individuals. Thus, critics of economism insist on political and other cultural dimensions in society.

[Mar 11, 2017] Apparently, most Democrats are now defending the CIA [and bashing the US constitution] and trashing WikiLeaks

CIA and militarism loving Democrats are what is called Vichy left...
Notable quotes:
"... "Apparently, most Democrats are now defending the CIA [and bashing the US constitution] and trashing WikiLeaks (who have never had to retract a single story in all their years). The brainwashing is complete. Take a valium and watch your Rachel Maddow [read your poor pk]. I can no longer help you. You have become The Borg." ..."
"... There is a large amount of ground between being a Victoria Nuland neocon hawk going around picking unnecessary fights with Russia and engaging in aggression overt or covert against her or her allies ..."
"... I happen to support reasonable engagement with Russia on matters of mutual interest, and I think there are many of those. I do not support cheerleading when Russia commits aggression against neighbors, which it has, and then lies about it. There is a middle ground, but you and ilsm both seem to have let your brains fall out of your heads onto the sidewalk and then stepped on them hard regarding all this. ..."
"... US Deep state analogy to Stalin's machinations against his rivals seems reasonable. ..."
Mar 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Clinton wing of Democratic Party was always undistinguishable from Vichy left

ilsm : March 11, 2017 at 03:26 AM

pk love the dog, the rest is same-o-same, jumped the shark Stalinist rant except instead of Putin! it's Ryan!!

reading vox.....

feed your cognitive dissonance

standards.......

ilsm -> ilsm... , March 11, 2017 at 04:18 AM
"Apparently, most Democrats are now defending the CIA [and bashing the US constitution] and trashing WikiLeaks (who have never had to retract a single story in all their years). The brainwashing is complete. Take a valium and watch your Rachel Maddow [read your poor pk]. I can no longer help you. You have become The Borg."

[my edits]

ken melvin said in reply to ilsm... , March 11, 2017 at 09:13 AM
Actually - Prof Rosser said it to you

Barkley Rosser :

anne and ilsm,

I am going to make one more point, a substantive one. There is a large amount of ground between being a Victoria Nuland neocon hawk going around picking unnecessary fights with Russia and engaging in aggression overt or covert against her or her allies and simply rolling over to be a patsy for the worst fort of RT propaganda and saying that there is no problem whatsoever with having a president who is in deep financial hock to a murderous lying Russian president and who has made inane and incomprehensible remarks about this, along with having staff and aides who lie to the public about their dealings with people from Russia.

I happen to support reasonable engagement with Russia on matters of mutual interest, and I think there are many of those. I do not support cheerleading when Russia commits aggression against neighbors, which it has, and then lies about it. There is a middle ground, but you and ilsm both seem to have let your brains fall out of your heads onto the sidewalk and then stepped on them hard regarding all this.

If you find this offensive or intimidating, anne, sorry, but I am not going to apologize. Frankly, I think you should apologize for the stupid and offensive things you have said on this subject, about which I do not think you have the intimately personal knowledge that I have.
Reply Wednesday, March 08, 2017 at 12:36 AM

Paine -> ilsm... , March 11, 2017 at 08:19 AM
My dear interlocutor
As a once overt and future sleeper cell Stalinist
I'm perplexed by your artful use of Stalinist

In my experience that label was restricted to pinko circles notably
Trotskyists pinning the dirty tag on various shades of commie types
On the other side of the great divide of the early thirties

Buy you --

To you it seems synonymous with Orwellian demons of all stripes

A part can of course stand in for a whole

But can uncle joe really stand in for the DLC ?

Paine -> Paine... , March 11, 2017 at 08:21 AM
The new left extended fascist to fit Hubert Humphrey
So I confess the stretch is conceivable but is it catalytic
RGC -> Paine... , March 11, 2017 at 08:31 AM
US Deep state analogy to Stalin's machinations against his rivals seems reasonable.

Maybe you are more a Bukharinist than Stalinist.

[Mar 10, 2017] As Joan Robinson said you should study economics to protect yourself from the lies of economists

That's not so much about Eurocentric modernism as America-centric neoliberalism
Notable quotes:
"... He first caught the scent that something was off as an economics student in India, wondering why, despite his mastery of the mathematics and technology of the discipline, the logic always escaped him. Then one day he had an epiphany: the whole thing was "cockeyed from start to finish." To his amazement, his best teachers agreed. "Then why are we studying economics?" demanded the pupil. "To protect ourselves from the lies of economists," replied the great economist Joan Robinson. ..."
"... Kanth realized that people are not at all like Adam Smith's homo economicus , a narrowly self-interested agent trucking and bartering through life. Smith had turned the human race - a species capable of wondrous caring, creativity, and conviviality - into a nasty horde of instinctive materialists: a society of hustlers. ..."
"... how this way of thinking took hold of us, and how it delivered a society which is essentially asocial - one in which everybody sees everybody else as a means to their own private ends. ..."
"... he argues, consigned us to an endless and exhausting Hobbesian competition. For every expansion of the market, we found our social space shrunk and our natural environment spoiled. For every benefit we received, there came a new way to pit us against each other. Have the costs become too high? ..."
"... "That's our big dream," says Kanth. "Everyone and everything is a stepping stone to our personal glorification." When others get in our way, we end up with a grim take on life described succinctly by Jean Paul Sartre: "Hell is other people." ..."
"... Mr. Kanth makes some valid points, but his criticism of the European Enlightenment is mistaken. Many of the horrors of modernity had their origins in the Counter-Enlightenment and in the Church Inquisitions, not the Enlightenment. The modern police state is a refinement of and a descendant of the struggles against heresy. ..."
"... Agreed. Parramore's phrase 'history of a set of bad ideas' does seem a bit harsh for a description of the Enlightenment. ..."
"... Like most big ideas, the problem isn't with the original idea so much as the corruption of it over the years as it's put into practice. Massive reform is necessary for sure but I'll take the Enlightenment over nasty, brutish, and short any day. ..."
"... I read somewhere that some Native Americans looking down on the ruins of San Fransisco after the great quake of 1906, thought that at last the crazy white people would realize the folly of their ways, and become normal humans. ..."
"... So they were amazed that before the ruins even stopped smoking, the crazy white people, ignoring the obvious displeasure of the Great Spirit, were busy rebuilding the same mess that had just been destroyed. ..."
"... I have a strong suspicion that evil empires do not come to their senses, rather, one way or another, they get flattened. ..."
"... I can remember arguing over this in my philosophy classes way back in the 80's – that Objectivism and the Enlightenment were two sides of the same coin, and that those Enlightenment writers were writing tomes to justify their own greed and prejudices, while cloaking their greed and prejudices in "morality". ..."
"... At the time (I was young) it seemed to me that the Enlightenment was an attempt to destroy the basis of Jesus's and Buddha's philosophy – that the most moral position of humanity was to care for its members, just as clans, tribes, families, and other human societies did. ..."
"... "They didn't accomplish much" meaning they lost militarily to cultures with more aggression and better weapons. ..."
"... It seems to me that humans, as hierarchical mammals, really do have a desire to compete with each other for status and respect. The trouble is in organizing all of society around this one struggle, forcing everyone into explicit competition and making the stakes too high. When the losers can't afford to buy food, when they and their little children live on the street and die in the cold, when their kids can never compete on an equal field to improve their own status, things have gone too far. And in addition to material needs, humans also have a need for independence, an escape from being constantly ordered around by the winners and under someone else's thumb. ..."
"... Note, as an aside, how granting economic rights to outgroups like women and Blacks brought them into the same market competition. Well, a lot of men don't want to compete with women for status. They want to compete with each other. The more competitors you add the harder it is to win. But when all resources ..."
"... I think you're right about that and if we do ever manage to abolish capitalism and develop a less violent and more egalitarian society, there will need to be an outlet for that innate desire. I propose hockey. Beats starting a war . ..."
"... When President Trump defeated his rival in the last election, among the many ways in which the event was captured was a representation of the President as Perseus carrying the head of Medusa (Clinton) in his outstretched left hand. Medusa was a monster gorgon of the Greek mythology; a representation in this case by Clinton (a woman) who dared to take real power in this essentially male world and silenced for trying to participate in the public discourse (election). ..."
"... The point is that what passes as Modernism has never entered modern life. In support of my proposition I cite an encounter between a journalist and Mahatma Gandhi in 1930s: The journalist asked Gandhi, "Mr. Gandhi, what is your opinion of the western civilization?" Gandhi replied instantaneously "It would be a good idea". ..."
"... I think he's right about Eurocentric modernism being incompatible with human civilization. But it can't be just an evolutionary accident that civilization is so aggressive. It served a purpose. We refer to it as 'survival'. I used to tell my daughter not to make fun of those 'dorky little boys' too much because they all had a way of growing up to be very nice men. And I told her women are the reason we have all survived, but men have made it so much easier! And etc. ..."
"... I believe that one element of modern life that should be removed forever is the infinite search for maximizing profits. ..."
"... On more than one occasion I've compared the rent-seeking profit mongers to Molocks that cultivate us milder Eloi and cannabalize us. ..."
"... But the economics profession's problem isn't "blind faith in science." It's a massive failure to apply the scientific method, combined with an expectation that we all put our blind faith in THEM anyway. ..."
"... Essentially a post-modern critique of modernism without all the jargon of p-m critical theory (yay!!). I don't think we have enough data from the pre-modern huddling societies to determine if that's how we want to live. Yes, my boss at work exploits me, but on the other hand, I can walk into an air-conditioned supermarket and survey row after row of steaks that I can afford to buy. I love to drive cars. The cinema is enchanting. Dying of a plague is a very remote possibility. We could give it all up, but there's no guarantee our lives would be richer or fuller–just different, at best. ..."
"... Just how dark were the Dark Ages? Or, to borrow Churchill's phrase, how dark would a NEW Dark Age be? ..."
"... Two possibles: the cargo cult children of Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, or the society depicted in Aldous Huxley's Ape and Essence. At least the Church in Rome and Constantinople provided some kind of lifeline of civilization during the collapse of the Roman Empire. What similar institution have we now? ..."
"... Sounds like bog-standard post-modernist tosh to me, just without the obscure ProfSpeak jargon that usually accompanies it. I fail to see how this is helpful. ..."
"... The only thing missing in this post is Bambi. Of course the Bushmen would kill Bambi dead with spears and roast her flesh over a fire. So would we, actually. hmmmm. ..."
"... I agree dude is right that the values now unraveling (democracy, pluralism, individualism, free speech, international-ism (in both the good and bad ways)) go all the way back to that time. ..."
"... But this article is a perfect example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Surely none of the third world cultures he praises got where they are by totally throwing out previous systems, the good parts and bad, every time they faced a crisis. ..."
"... IMO the problem is enlightenment values have been hollowed out, narrowed to only those superficial aspects of those values which benefit the marketplace. Like how real food got turned into Mosanto fast-food so gradually, nobody noticed that the nutrients are missing. ..."
"... Adam Smith had some good points that have been lost along the way, namely penalizing rent seeking. ..."
"... Smith has been seriously misrepresented. The Theory of Moral Sentiments shows a very different side to that presented by those who selectively quote from The Wealth of Nations. ..."
"... It's hard to tell from the rather incoherent summary of what looks like an incoherent argument, but the "everything went wrong after the Enlightenment" meme has been circulating for ages. It was speared pretty effectively by Domenico Losurdo in "War and Revolution" some years ago. The author seems to be jumbling all sorts of arguments together, some valid and some not, but the valid arguments are in general criticisms of liberalism, which is not the same of the Enlightenment. ..."
"... This is a very good point, as the Enlightenment was not merely a straight line connection to the blight of NeoLiberalism ..."
"... The naked embrace of selfishness, while never absent over these centuries, did have countervailing currents and forces with which to contend that were sometimes able to at least minimize the damage. But more recently, with supposedly scientific NeoLiberal economic thought sweeping the field throughout much of the first world, and with the overall decline of religious and moral systems as a counterpoise, things have reached an unlovely pass. ..."
"... homo economicus ..."
"... For further reading, I strongly recommend John Ralston Saul's "Voltaire's Bastards". ..."
"... I think that people who are interested in how the Enlightenment may or may not have contributed to the problems of modernity would do well to read Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity , by Darrin McMahon. Another book of value is The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters , by Anthony Pagden. ..."
"... I should have mentioned that the full title is "Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West". ..."
Mar 10, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Across the globe, a collective freak-out spanning the whole political system is picking up steam with every new "surprise" election, rush of tormented souls across borders, and tweet from the star of America's great unreality show, Donald Trump.

But what exactly is the force that seems to be pushing us towards Armageddon? Is it capitalism gone wild? Globalization? Political corruption? Techno-nightmares?

Rajani Kanth, a political economist, social thinker, and poet , goes beyond any of these explanations for the answer. In his view, what's throwing most of us off kilter - whether we think of ourselves as on the left or right, capitalist or socialist -was birthed 400 years ago during the period of the Enlightenment. It's a set of assumptions, a particular way of looking at the world that pushed out previous modes of existence, many quite ancient and time-tested, and eventually rose to dominate the world in its Anglo-American form.

We're taught to think of the Enlightenment as the blessed end to the Dark Ages, a splendid blossoming of human reason. But what if instead of bringing us to a better world, some of this period's key ideas ended up producing something even darker?

Kanth argues that this framework, which he calls Eurocentric modernism, is collapsing, and unless we understand why and how it has distorted our reality, we might just end up burnt to a crisp as this misanthropic Death Star starts to bulge and blaze in its dying throes.

A Mass Incarceration of Humanity

Kanth's latest book, Farewell to Modernism: On Human Devolution in the Twenty-First Century , tells the history of a set of bad ideas. He first caught the scent that something was off as an economics student in India, wondering why, despite his mastery of the mathematics and technology of the discipline, the logic always escaped him. Then one day he had an epiphany: the whole thing was "cockeyed from start to finish." To his amazement, his best teachers agreed. "Then why are we studying economics?" demanded the pupil. "To protect ourselves from the lies of economists," replied the great economist Joan Robinson.

Kanth realized that people are not at all like Adam Smith's homo economicus , a narrowly self-interested agent trucking and bartering through life. Smith had turned the human race - a species capable of wondrous caring, creativity, and conviviality - into a nasty horde of instinctive materialists: a society of hustlers.

Using his training in history and cultural theory, Kanth dedicated himself to investigating how this way of thinking took hold of us, and how it delivered a society which is essentially asocial - one in which everybody sees everybody else as a means to their own private ends. Eurocentric modernism, he argues, consigned us to an endless and exhausting Hobbesian competition. For every expansion of the market, we found our social space shrunk and our natural environment spoiled. For every benefit we received, there came a new way to pit us against each other. Have the costs become too high?

The Creed of Capture

The Eurocentric modernist program, according to Kanth, has four planks: a blind faith in science; a self-serving belief in progress; rampant materialism; and a penchant for using state violence to achieve its ends. In a nutshell, it's a habit of placing individual self-interest above the welfare of community and society.

To illustrate one of its signature follies, Kanth refers to that great Hollywood ode to the Western spirit, "The Sound of Music." Early in the film, the Mother Superior bursts into song, calling on the nun Maria to "climb every mountain, ford every stream."

Sounds exhilarating, but to what end? Why exactly do we need to ford every stream? From the Eurocentric modernist viewpoint, Kanth says, the answer is not so innocent: we secretly do it so that we can say to ourselves, "Look, I achieved something that's beyond the reach of somebody else." Hooray for me!

"That's our big dream," says Kanth. "Everyone and everything is a stepping stone to our personal glorification." When others get in our way, we end up with a grim take on life described succinctly by Jean Paul Sartre: "Hell is other people."

Sounds bad, but didn't Eurocentric modernism also give us our great democratic ideals of equality and liberty to elevate and protect us?

Maybe these notions are not really our salvation, suggests Kanth. He notes that when we replace the vital ties of kinship and community with abstract contractual relations, or when we find that the only sanctioned paths in life are that of consumer or producer, we become alienated and depressed in spirit. Abstract rights like liberty and equality turn out to be rather cold comfort. These ideas, however lofty, may not get at the most basic human wants and needs. .

... ... ...

Kanth, like many, senses that a global financial crisis, or some other equivalent catastrophe, like war or natural disaster, may soon produce painful and seismic economic and political disruptions. Perhaps only then will human nature reassert itself as we come to rediscover the crucial nexus of reciprocities that is our real heritage. That's what will enable us to survive.

... ... ...

DJG , March 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

Oh?

"The Eurocentric modernist program, according to Kanth, has four planks: a blind faith in science; a self-serving belief in progress; rampant materialism; and a penchant for using state violence to achieve its ends. In a nutshell, it's a habit of placing individual self-interest above the welfare of community and society."

Kanth hasn't dealt much with the wild skepticism of Enlightenment and modernist thinkers: That would put a strain on such simplistic thinking. He's never heard of Kant or Rousseau? Pascal? He's never even read Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"? Dickens? A speech by Abraham Lincoln? The novels of Jane Austen? Maybe some articles by Antonio Gramsci? The Leopard by Tomasi di Lampedusa? Anything about Einstein? Or even Freud for that matter? Looked at a painting or etching or work in ceramic by Picasso?

Just because economics has devolved into looting and excuse-making for looting isn't a critique of the cultural and scientific flowering that were part of the Enlightenment and Modernism. Are we really supposed to think that Milton Friedman and his delusions have destroyed all aspects of the enormous changes since 1600 or so? And I, for one, don't want to backslide into the Baroque–when states used their power for religious wars so virulent that Silesia and Alsace were depopulated.

kgw , March 10, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Alienation is not the name of a river in Egypt BTW, Did any of your examples lead to anything other than this?
The sum of individuals adds up to the bizarre creature we call "culture." A flower in the air, to be sure.

craazyman , March 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

They didn't even have food delivery! This post isn't the best evah in the history of NC - I mean it shouldn't be censored or taken down or anything and everybody has a right to an opinion, but "Oy Vey what a shock to a reader's delicate intellectual sensibilities."

You wonder if it's Beer Goggles that are being looked through or if this is a case of transference and projection. The fact that the post author is a poet raises suspicion, since they aren't the most reliable sources when it come so sober factual analysis.

Vatch , March 10, 2017 at 10:35 am

Mr. Kanth makes some valid points, but his criticism of the European Enlightenment is mistaken. Many of the horrors of modernity had their origins in the Counter-Enlightenment and in the Church Inquisitions, not the Enlightenment. The modern police state is a refinement of and a descendant of the struggles against heresy.

If one is going to criticize societies for lacking "moral economies", it's not just the European (and American) based societies that need to be targeted. Other societies have deep failures that extend back for millennia, such as the caste system of India.

lyman alpha blob , March 10, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Agreed. Parramore's phrase 'history of a set of bad ideas' does seem a bit harsh for a description of the Enlightenment.

Been a while since I read Candide , but the end where he meets the world famous sage and asks for the secret of happiness in a terrible world only to be told 'Tend your own garden' and then having the gate slammed in his face has always stuck with me.

You could interpret that to mean isolate yourself from your fellow human beings and just look out for yourself, but I don't think that's what Voltaire was getting at.

Like most big ideas, the problem isn't with the original idea so much as the corruption of it over the years as it's put into practice. Massive reform is necessary for sure but I'll take the Enlightenment over nasty, brutish, and short any day.

Mark P. , March 10, 2017 at 1:53 pm

http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/life-in-india-the-practice-of-sati-or-widow-burning

Widow-burning - a wonderful holistic Indian practice that those evil post-enlightenment European imperialists obstructed.

steelhead23 , March 10, 2017 at 10:43 am

Perhaps, beyond anthropology, there are lessons in evolutionary biology. Individual humans are fairly weak animals. Our ancestors were obligated to "huddle" to survive, or as Richard Dawkins might suggest, huddling, banding together in families and groups, was an evolutionarily successful strategy. Those well adapted to communal living were more likely to survive, so that tendency was selected for. However, "cheaters" can also survive. That is, it is not uncommon in the natural world to find individuals and groups of individuals who cheat the group – expend less energy to reproduce, such as male sunfish that display the secondary sexual characteristics of females, so are not driven off by nest building males, make a mad dash in to fertilize eggs when a real female shows up, but provides no protection for the young – the adult male does that. In human culture, there are also cheaters, those who provide little to the larger society, yet reap a disproportionate level of resources.

So, learning more of our cultural roots and adopting positive measures for social cohesion is a good idea, but much like Jesus' view that the poor will always be with us, cheaters, from banksters to dictators, will too.

MtnLife , March 10, 2017 at 10:43 am

As Kanth sees it, most of our utopian visions carry on the errors and limitations born of a misguided view of human nature. That's why communism, as it was practiced in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, projected a materialist perspective on progress while ignoring the natural human instinct for autonomy- the ability to decide for ourselves where to go and what to say and create. On flip side, capitalism runs against our instinct to trust and take care of each other.

I think this paragraph speaks volumes for transitioning to a society with a BGI with libertarian socialist leanings. Let people be free to create what they are passionate about while allowing humans to express their innate desire to care for one another without it signifying weakness or at their time own personal expense. I don't think this approach necessarily precludes rockets to Mars either. The engineers who are passionate will still get together and build one. It may take a little longer if they can't convince others to help but hopefully this will foster more cooperative approaches and less viewing of other humans as consumables.

Great post. Thanks for sharing.

JTMcPhee , March 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

And where does "libertarian socialism" end up taking us? Hmmm http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-i-%e2%80%93the-vision.html

No thanks. We're pretty well there already.

MtnLife , March 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Libertarianism and libertarian socialism are two different things. Libertarianism is a less authoritative conservatism while libertarian socialism is a less authoritative social democracy. Think Chomsky, not Ron Paul. Or think of it as a more relaxed Bernie who thinks things should be done on a smaller, more local scale.

Watt4Bob , March 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

Kanth, like many, senses that a global financial crisis, or some other equivalent catastrophe, like war or natural disaster, may soon produce painful and seismic economic and political disruptions. Perhaps only then will human nature reassert itself as we come to rediscover the crucial nexus of reciprocities that is our real heritage. That's what will enable us to survive.

I read somewhere that some Native Americans looking down on the ruins of San Fransisco after the great quake of 1906, thought that at last the crazy white people would realize the folly of their ways, and become normal humans.

So they were amazed that before the ruins even stopped smoking, the crazy white people, ignoring the obvious displeasure of the Great Spirit, were busy rebuilding the same mess that had just been destroyed.

I have a strong suspicion that evil empires do not come to their senses, rather, one way or another, they get flattened.

justanotherprogressive , March 10, 2017 at 10:45 am

Yes, yes, yes! THIS!

I can remember arguing over this in my philosophy classes way back in the 80's – that Objectivism and the Enlightenment were two sides of the same coin, and that those Enlightenment writers were writing tomes to justify their own greed and prejudices, while cloaking their greed and prejudices in "morality".

At the time (I was young) it seemed to me that the Enlightenment was an attempt to destroy the basis of Jesus's and Buddha's philosophy – that the most moral position of humanity was to care for its members, just as clans, tribes, families, and other human societies did.

The most frequent response from professors and classmates to my thesis? But those clans, tribes, families, etc., didn't accomplish much, did they? As if the only reason for humanity's existence was to compete against itself

Needless to say, I didn't stick with Philosophy ..

Darius , March 10, 2017 at 12:13 pm

And we need new syntheses, at which this is an attempt.

It's not a stretch to say the trend since the renaissance has been to exalt the individual. Kanth is aiming for a communitarian philosophy. An interesting departure point for discussion. I don't see what people find so offensive.

reslez , March 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

"They didn't accomplish much" meaning they lost militarily to cultures with more aggression and better weapons.

It seems to me that humans, as hierarchical mammals, really do have a desire to compete with each other for status and respect. The trouble is in organizing all of society around this one struggle, forcing everyone into explicit competition and making the stakes too high. When the losers can't afford to buy food, when they and their little children live on the street and die in the cold, when their kids can never compete on an equal field to improve their own status, things have gone too far. And in addition to material needs, humans also have a need for independence, an escape from being constantly ordered around by the winners and under someone else's thumb.

Capitalism made the stakes too high. But it was designed by the winners.

You might argue that there were plenty of "hopeless losers" in the systems that preceded capitalism - the orphans, elderly crones, and beggars without livelihoods who used to wander the hedgerows in medieval times. We have more resources now which also means no excuses.

Note, as an aside, how granting economic rights to outgroups like women and Blacks brought them into the same market competition. Well, a lot of men don't want to compete with women for status. They want to compete with each other. The more competitors you add the harder it is to win. But when all resources are restricted to the market, it's unjust to exclude any group from access. Once again the stakes are too high. Social democracies are better places to live for exactly this reason.

lyman alpha blob , March 10, 2017 at 1:18 pm

It seems to me that humans, as hierarchical mammals, really do have a desire to compete with each other for status and respect.

I think you're right about that and if we do ever manage to abolish capitalism and develop a less violent and more egalitarian society, there will need to be an outlet for that innate desire. I propose hockey. Beats starting a war .

Hemang , March 10, 2017 at 10:50 am

When President Trump defeated his rival in the last election, among the many ways in which the event was captured was a representation of the President as Perseus carrying the head of Medusa (Clinton) in his outstretched left hand. Medusa was a monster gorgon of the Greek mythology; a representation in this case by Clinton (a woman) who dared to take real power in this essentially male world and silenced for trying to participate in the public discourse (election).

I take this example to point out that both Lynn Parramore and Rajni Kanth declaring in a version of mumbo-jumbo are sadly wrong-modernism has always been skin-deep excepting in accommodating the technological element in the tone of life. Voltaire and Rousseau aside, both Kanth and Parramore know which side of the mumbo-jumbo bread is their butter; even bemoaning the collapsing supposed ruins of modernism they do not fail to take advantage! "Eurocentric modernism has unhinged us from our human nature" asserts Kanth in his "book" but I would like to bluntly ask him: Please define your "us" and "our" in that proposition and clarify if poor Indians like Yours Truly find a dot in that set.

The point is that what passes as Modernism has never entered modern life. In support of my proposition I cite an encounter between a journalist and Mahatma Gandhi in 1930s: The journalist asked Gandhi, "Mr. Gandhi, what is your opinion of the western civilization?" Gandhi replied instantaneously "It would be a good idea".

Stephanie , March 10, 2017 at 11:04 am

"The Eurocentric modernist program, according to Kanth, has a penchant for using state violence to achieve its ends."

I'm not entirely sure how this differentiates Eurocentric modernism from any other civilization.

Hemang , March 10, 2017 at 11:45 am

It does not at all. This is the price one pays as an innocent reader by reading social science mumbo jumbo which is so irksome. It lacks the grace of the real mumbo jumbo too. Kanth is bluffing; the author misunderstands his stupid linguistic constructions of Kanth and incomprehension and chaos follow. The whole article seems to be a bluff about a bluff(the book).

susan the other , March 10, 2017 at 11:15 am

I think he's right about Eurocentric modernism being incompatible with human civilization. But it can't be just an evolutionary accident that civilization is so aggressive. It served a purpose. We refer to it as 'survival'. I used to tell my daughter not to make fun of those 'dorky little boys' too much because they all had a way of growing up to be very nice men. And I told her women are the reason we have all survived, but men have made it so much easier! And etc.

We have been very successful as a species; surviving all of our own inquisitions, pogroms, hallucinations and yes, this is a serious situation we are in. We might even try to guide ourselves out of it, using science and technology, as we huddle.

JEHR , March 10, 2017 at 11:18 am

I believe that one element of modern life that should be removed forever is the infinite search for maximizing profits.

Art Eclectic , March 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

On more than one occasion I've compared the rent-seeking profit mongers to Molocks that cultivate us milder Eloi and cannabalize us.

readerOfTeaLeaves , March 10, 2017 at 11:56 am

I suspect there was a fatal error long, long ago: you lend me your ram so my ewe can have offspring. If there are twins, we each get one; if not, we agree upon future breeding rights and grazing areas. After generations of this sort of breeding activity, I have in my mind the notion that there is a 'natural increase' from lending or swapping.

Along comes a scribe with a tablet, whom I have now hired to list the number of my flocks (wealth on the hoof); I lend you forms of wealth (rams, ewes, oxen, axes, boats) , and the scribe assumes there must be some 'natural increase' as the outcome of this lending and swapping. Consequently, the scribe carves cuneiform markings to represent what we might call 'compound interest' that result from lending and swapping of non-biological resources - despite the fact that if you sit two clay tablets in the sun, they do not (and never will!) create an additional clay tablet. Ditto heaps of dollar bills; it's not the money that creates increase; it's the assumption of 'increase' (originating in breeding activity of flocks and herds) that makes the money generate surplus - not any property of those scraps of paper themselves.

BTW: FWIW, double entry bookkeeping seems to trace the earliest period of modernism, which IMVHO adds heft to Kanth's argument about something shifting probably earlier than 400 years ago.

It's possible that Michael Hudson has covered this; if so, I've not had time to read it yet. I hope to in future. David Graeber's work on redemption ('buying back' someone enslaved or indentured) and his anthropological findings also lend heft to Kanth's analysis.

Karen , March 10, 2017 at 11:28 am

I certainly agree with this:

"He first caught the scent that something was off as an economics student in India, wondering why, despite his mastery of the mathematics and technology of the discipline, the logic always escaped him. Then one day he had an epiphany: the whole thing was "cockeyed from start to finish.""

But the economics profession's problem isn't "blind faith in science." It's a massive failure to apply the scientific method, combined with an expectation that we all put our blind faith in THEM anyway.

I think our problems do not stem from any theories or ideologies, they are the predictable result of human nature – specifically of the fact that the balance between the loving side of human nature and the aggressive side is not evenly distributed among individuals. It is precisely the most aggressive among us who most desire, and work the hardest, to dominate and control others.

jrs , March 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

I had the same experience as he had with economics with law, ok I only studied it when studying business and that does not a lawyer make, but it made no sense for me. But I do think I maybe just have the wrong kind of brain for it, expect a logic that isn't there.

Phil in KC , March 10, 2017 at 11:33 am

Essentially a post-modern critique of modernism without all the jargon of p-m critical theory (yay!!). I don't think we have enough data from the pre-modern huddling societies to determine if that's how we want to live. Yes, my boss at work exploits me, but on the other hand, I can walk into an air-conditioned supermarket and survey row after row of steaks that I can afford to buy. I love to drive cars. The cinema is enchanting. Dying of a plague is a very remote possibility. We could give it all up, but there's no guarantee our lives would be richer or fuller–just different, at best.

Just how dark were the Dark Ages? Or, to borrow Churchill's phrase, how dark would a NEW Dark Age be? I don't think you can get rid of Modernism very easily, for certain parts would survive. Science and tech, for example. Ideas of surveillance and control. But along with this, new prejudices, new superstitions, perhaps? What perverse new form of religion or philosophy might arise from the ashes of our civilization?

Two possibles: the cargo cult children of Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, or the society depicted in Aldous Huxley's Ape and Essence. At least the Church in Rome and Constantinople provided some kind of lifeline of civilization during the collapse of the Roman Empire. What similar institution have we now?

Anonymous , March 10, 2017 at 11:58 am

Sounds like bog-standard post-modernist tosh to me, just without the obscure ProfSpeak jargon that usually accompanies it. I fail to see how this is helpful.

craazyman , March 10, 2017 at 11:38 am

The only thing missing in this post is Bambi. Of course the Bushmen would kill Bambi dead with spears and roast her flesh over a fire. So would we, actually. hmmmm.

Ivy , March 10, 2017 at 11:38 am

To illustrate one of its signature follies, Kanth refers to that great Hollywood ode to the Western spirit, "The Sound of Music." Early in the film, the Mother Superior bursts into song, calling on the nun Maria to "climb every mountain, ford every stream."

Sounds exhilarating, but to what end? Why exactly do we need to ford every stream? From the Eurocentric modernist viewpoint, Kanth says, the answer is not so innocent: we secretly do it so that we can say to ourselves, "Look, I achieved something that's beyond the reach of somebody else." Hooray for me!

Many would part company with Kanth over the above characterization. There are many reasons why people climb mountains and ford streams that do not include, or even consider, that element of exclusive personal achievement. Some might even aver that climbing and fording and so many other human activities are done "because it is there", while others appreciate a spiritual or other inspirational aspect.

Will we climbers and forders be told that we are selfish or otherwise deficient or on the wrong side of history or whatever the mal du jour is because we like a little bit of hygge or Gemütlichkeit as we live our lives?

windsock , March 10, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Quite that is indeed the point where I stopped reading and started skimming someone who mistakes metaphors in a musical for physical actions is not going to enlighten my world (no matter how much I dislike the film).

jrs , March 10, 2017 at 12:48 pm

climbing every mountain and fording every stream is probably impossible in the literal sense (aren't there way too many streams for this? and mountains probably too), and certainly it is impossible in the metaphoric one.

So mostly it's completely unrealistic bilge.

Musicismath , March 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

I don't see why poor Julie Andrews, of all people, has to be singled out here as exemplifying malign post-Enlightenment discourses of proprietorship and exploitation. That's just mean . Surely those ideologies are better examined through a close reading of the Shamen's inexcusable '90s electro hit "Move Every Mountain"?

schultzzz , March 10, 2017 at 11:45 am

I agree dude is right that the values now unraveling (democracy, pluralism, individualism, free speech, international-ism (in both the good and bad ways)) go all the way back to that time.

But this article is a perfect example of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Surely none of the third world cultures he praises got where they are by totally throwing out previous systems, the good parts and bad, every time they faced a crisis.

IMO the problem is enlightenment values have been hollowed out, narrowed to only those superficial aspects of those values which benefit the marketplace. Like how real food got turned into Mosanto fast-food so gradually, nobody noticed that the nutrients are missing.

PKMKII , March 10, 2017 at 11:47 am

While it's obvious how this thesis deflates modern capitalism, it would also appear to me that the idea of refocusing on "kinship and community" would present a challenge to the "global solidarity" mentality underlying most leftist thinking as well. You cannot simultaneously have an emphasis on the huddled community, while also arguing that workers worldwide have a deeper and more important connection than the business owner and his or her employees (assuming both are from within the same community, natch). Either you assume humans have a universal commonness, which effectively obliterates the notion of community, or you accept humans tend towards tribalism, which both discounts any notion of creating a global, uniform leftist economics, but also suggests a troubling tendency towards xenophobia.

cojo , March 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm

Good point, "kinship and community" are analogous to tribalism and nationalism on a larger scale unless you rephrase it to mean kinship with your family and neighbors on the local level, and with humanity on a national/global level. Unfortunately, some of our current liberal globalists seem to be forgetting the part about local kinship and community while embracing global humanity. I dunno, may have something to do with cheaper labor abroad.

PKMKII , March 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Partly, but there's also an association in the minds of many liberals and leftists of localized control and thinking equating with oppression, historically. Things like segregation, discrimination, violations of the separation of church and state, anti-labor employment & worksite laws, etc.

cojo , March 10, 2017 at 11:48 am

I think Kanth is quick to criticize materialism and scientific progress for all our ills while seeming to have missed the horrid standards of living in his anthropological studies prior to scientific progress with enlightenment principles over theocracy. I'd like to know what the longevity of per-enlightenment citizens was compared to today. In fact, longevity in this country around 1900 was still in the mid 40's for most.

What I find would have been a better argument is to focus his critique not on scientific progress, but on how there always seems to be a certain small minority of the population which seems to have an out sized voice in how we choose to self govern. What we seem to be losing today is the silent majority of voices who are for universal health care, not eroding further entitlements, bodily security as well as economic security while still being able to encourage those who chose to take risks and put themselves through more work and strain to be fairly rewarded.

The problem as I see it today, is that the pendulum, both politically, and socially, has swung too far towards the selfish individualist.

PKMKII , March 10, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The problem with how science is seen in a modernist context is two-fold. The "blind faith" leads people to see it as all-encompassing, all-powerful, and not recognizing its scope and where that scope ends. Ergo, anything that is successfully sold to the public and TPTB as "science" gets said treatment and is viewed as being unquestionable (like, say, neoclassical economics).

Don Midwest USA , March 10, 2017 at 11:50 am

Bruno Latour has been on this for decades in 1991 the book "We Have Never Been Modern" This has been followed by many other books, prizes, invited lectures, and thought exhibition called Reset Modernity. The book, published last year, is related to the exhibition with that title. Published by MIT press with 60 authors.

Reset Modernity

Reset Modernity!
Edited by Bruno Latour and Christophe Leclerc

Overview
Modernity has had so many meanings and tries to combine so many contradictory sets of attitudes and values that it has become impossible to use it to define the future. It has ended up crashing like an overloaded computer. Hence the idea is that modernity might need a sort of reset. Not a clean break, not a "tabula rasa," not another iconoclastic gesture, but rather a restart of the complicated programs that have been accumulated, over the course of history, in what is often called the "modernist project." This operation has become all the more urgent now that the ecological mutation is forcing us to reorient ourselves toward an experience of the material world for which we don't seem to have good recording devices.

Reset Modernity! is organized around six procedures that might induce the readers to reset some of those instruments. Once this reset has been completed, readers might be better prepared for a series of new encounters with other cultures. After having been thrown into the modernist maelstrom, those cultures have difficulties that are just as grave as ours in orienting themselves within the notion of modernity. It is not impossible that the course of those encounters might be altered after modernizers have reset their own way of recording their experience of the world.

At the intersection of art, philosophy, and anthropology, Reset Modernity! has assembled close to sixty authors, most of whom have participated, in one way or another, in the Inquiry into Modes of Existence initiated by Bruno Latour. Together they try to see whether such a reset and such encounters have any practicality. Much like the two exhibitions Iconoclash and Making Things Public, this book documents and completes what could be called a "thought exhibition:" Reset Modernity! held at ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe from April to August 2016. Like the two others, this book, generously illustrated, includes contributions, excerpts, and works from many authors and artists.

Sam , March 10, 2017 at 11:51 am

Seems to me that the insight into the relevancy of anthropology vis a vis economics is a product of science. And Adam Smith had some good points that have been lost along the way, namely penalizing rent seeking.

Anonymous2 , March 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Smith has been seriously misrepresented. The Theory of Moral Sentiments shows a very different side to that presented by those who selectively quote from The Wealth of Nations.

David , March 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

It's hard to tell from the rather incoherent summary of what looks like an incoherent argument, but the "everything went wrong after the Enlightenment" meme has been circulating for ages. It was speared pretty effectively by Domenico Losurdo in "War and Revolution" some years ago. The author seems to be jumbling all sorts of arguments together, some valid and some not, but the valid arguments are in general criticisms of liberalism, which is not the same of the Enlightenment.

JerseyJeffersonian , March 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm

This is a very good point, as the Enlightenment was not merely a straight line connection to the blight of NeoLiberalism. Rather, there were those, such as Burke, or some of our "Founding Fathers" who were students of history, and while discriminating observers of the deleterious elements of human nature, they were also cognizant of the more helpful elements of that same human nature.

They, however, tended toward the view that those helpful elements required deliberate nurturance in order to come to the fore. Some of this nurturance could be achieved by partially neutralizing the deleterious elements by balancing interests (you weren't going to get rid of the propensities, but you could limit the scope of their play by pitting societal forces one against the other in political structures, vide the doctrine of separation of powers), while nurturance could also be achieved through perpetuation of those societal institutions that address the individual conscience and behaviors like religious doctrine and examples.

The naked embrace of selfishness, while never absent over these centuries, did have countervailing currents and forces with which to contend that were sometimes able to at least minimize the damage. But more recently, with supposedly scientific NeoLiberal economic thought sweeping the field throughout much of the first world, and with the overall decline of religious and moral systems as a counterpoise, things have reached an unlovely pass.

But it would be incorrect to solely blame Enlightenment themes for where we are today. Much of what was presumed to be necessary to the proper, humane functioning of the ideal Enlightenment society has been pushed aside in favor of the degraded every-man-for-himself, homo economicus scourge that holds sway.

Fox Blew , March 10, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Great post. For further reading, I strongly recommend John Ralston Saul's "Voltaire's Bastards".

Vatch , March 10, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Joseph de Maistre, the conservative critic of Enlightenment values, deserves far more blame for the horrors of modernity than do Voltaire or his like minded colleagues. And I can't even find de Maistre mentioned in the index of Saul's book.

Since I haven't read Saul's book, I won't advise people against reading it. But I think that people who are interested in how the Enlightenment may or may not have contributed to the problems of modernity would do well to read Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity , by Darrin McMahon. Another book of value is The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters , by Anthony Pagden.

Fox Blew , March 10, 2017 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for mentioning Joseph de Maistre. I have never heard of him. I think you'd enjoy this book, nonetheless. Saul doesn't actually "blame" Voltaire. He blames those who came after Voltaire. For that matter, the bulk of the book is about the 20th century's (mis)interpretation of the Enlightment project. I should have mentioned that the full title is "Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West".

David , March 10, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Strongly recommend MacMahon's book – it's excellent.

Susan , March 10, 2017 at 12:26 pm

echoes: Marilyn Waring per his comment on women.
the book If Women Counted
the documentary: Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics

Interesting story Waring told when I heard her speak in Toronto – As she boarded a bus at the airport to travel to her hotel, and a young man (20s) recognized her because the film is shown to high school students throughout Canada.

And Capital Institute's John Fullerton FIELD GUIDE TO A REGENERATIVE ECONOMY Primarily due to reading George Monbiot's inane rejection of the work of Allan Savory and Capital Institute's work with Grasslands LLC. Brought to me this morning by Nicole Foss and the Guardian.

And for farmer's and lovers of the land, I couldn't help but hear Wendell Berry, "It all turns on affection."

Interesting to have these things intersect with this morning's coffee. Thank you.

[Feb 26, 2017] If one takes it as a matter of faith (religious or secular) that human activity inherently leads to good outcomes thatll be a huge influence on how you engage with the world. It blows away humility and restraint. It fosters a sense of entitlement

Notable quotes:
"... "Precarity" has become a popular way to refer to economic and labor conditions that force people-and particularly low-income service workers-into uncertainty. Temporary labor and flexwork offer examples. ..."
"... Such conditions are not new. As union-supported blue-collar labor declined in the 20th century, the service economy took over its mantle absent its benefits. But the information economy further accelerated precarity. ..."
"... ...Facebook and Google, so the saying goes, make their users into their products-the real customer is the advertiser or data speculator preying on the information generated by the companies' free services. ..."
"... Consider phone answering services. Its simple speech recognition, which was once at the forefront of artificial intelligence, has made them ubiquityous. Yet Dante would need a new circle for a person who said "I just heard you say 5...3...7...is this correct?" ..."
"... Some of these adaptations subtract from our quality of life, as the article nicely describes. Some add to it, e.g we no longer spend time at the mall arranging when and where to meet if we get separated. Some are interesting and hard to evaluate, e.g. Chessplayers' relation to the game has changed radically since computers became good at it. ..."
"... And there is one I find insidious: the homogeneization of human activity and even thought. The information we ALL get on a subject will be what sorts to the top among google answers; the rest might as well not exist, much like newspaper articles buried in a back page. ..."
"... And on the economic front, the same homogeneization, with giant multinationals and crossmarketing deals. You'll be in a country with great food, like Turkey, get into your rented Toyota, say "I want dinner", and end up at a Domino's because they have a deal with Toyota. ..."
Feb 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Chris G : February 24, 2017 at 04:48 AM
On the Crooked Timber piece: Quiggin makes a very astute observation about 'propertarians' and Divine Providence in his concluding paragraphs. If one takes it as a matter of faith (religious or secular) that human activity inherently leads to good outcomes that'll be a huge influence on how you engage with the world. It blows away humility and restraint. It fosters a sense of entitlement.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Chris G ... , -1
Yep. All roads lead to scapegoating. The anti-social capabilities of base desires and greed are often paled in comparison to those of detached indifference supported by abstract high-mindedness. For example, both sides can blame the robots for the loss of decent blue collar jobs.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 24, 2017 at 04:58 AM
Not sure that there are "both sides" any more in elite circles. There are at least two types though. There is very little presence among elites on the progressive side.
Chris G -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 24, 2017 at 05:11 AM
Hard to call this related but worth reading, Why Nothing Works Anymore - https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/02/the-singularity-in-the-toilet-stall/517551/
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Chris G ... , February 24, 2017 at 05:54 AM
[THANKS! This was LOL funny:]

"...When spun on its ungeared mechanism, an analogous, glorious measure of towel appears directly and immediately, as if sent from heaven..."

[This was highly relevant to today's lead article "The Jobs Americans Do:"]

... "Precarity" has become a popular way to refer to economic and labor conditions that force people-and particularly low-income service workers-into uncertainty. Temporary labor and flexwork offer examples.

That includes hourly service work in which schedules are adjusted ad-hoc and just-in-time, so that workers don't know when or how often they might be working. For low-wage food service and retail workers, for instance, that uncertainty makes budgeting and time-management difficult. Arranging for transit and childcare is difficult, and even more costly, for people who don't know when-or if-they'll be working.

Such conditions are not new. As union-supported blue-collar labor declined in the 20th century, the service economy took over its mantle absent its benefits. But the information economy further accelerated precarity. For one part, it consolidated existing businesses and made efficiency its primary concern. For another, economic downturns like the 2008 global recession facilitated austerity measures both deliberate and accidental. Immaterial labor also rose-everything from the unpaid, unseen work of women in and out of the workplace, to creative work done on-spec or for exposure, to the invisible work everyone does to construct the data infrastructure that technology companies like Google and Facebook sell to advertisers...

[This was very insightful into its own topic of the separation of technology "from serving human users to pushing them out of the way so that the technologized world can service its own ends," but I would rather classify that as serving owners of proprietary technology rights.]


...Facebook and Google, so the saying goes, make their users into their products-the real customer is the advertiser or data speculator preying on the information generated by the companies' free services. But things are bound to get even weirder than that. When automobiles drive themselves, for example, their human passengers will not become masters of a new form of urban freedom, but rather a fuel to drive the expansion of connected cities, in order to spread further the gospel of computerized automation.

If artificial intelligence ends up running the news, it will not do so in order to improve citizen's access to information necessary to make choices in a democracy, but to further cement the supremacy of machine automation over human editorial in establishing what is relevant...

[THANKS! It was an exceptionally good article in places despite that it wandered a bit off into the ozone at times.] ...

Julio -> Chris G ... , February 24, 2017 at 09:26 AM
Excellent article, thanks!

It hits on one of the reasons why I am less skeptical than Darryl that AI will succeed, an soon, in all kinds of fields: it may remain stupid in some ways, but we will adapt to it.

Consider phone answering services. Its simple speech recognition, which was once at the forefront of artificial intelligence, has made them ubiquityous. Yet Dante would need a new circle for a person who said "I just heard you say 5...3...7...is this correct?"

Some of these adaptations subtract from our quality of life, as the article nicely describes. Some add to it, e.g we no longer spend time at the mall arranging when and where to meet if we get separated. Some are interesting and hard to evaluate, e.g. Chessplayers' relation to the game has changed radically since computers became good at it.

And there is one I find insidious: the homogeneization of human activity and even thought. The information we ALL get on a subject will be what sorts to the top among google answers; the rest might as well not exist, much like newspaper articles buried in a back page.

On the political front, Winston will not be necessary, nobody will click through to the old information, we will all just know that we were always at war with Eurasia.

And on the economic front, the same homogeneization, with giant multinationals and crossmarketing deals. You'll be in a country with great food, like Turkey, get into your rented Toyota, say "I want dinner", and end up at a Domino's because they have a deal with Toyota.

Resist!

Paine -> Julio ... , February 24, 2017 at 09:55 AM
Humans are more contrarian then not

The middle third of the twentieth century was hysterical about the totalitarian state
And the erasure of micro scale cultural heritage

That seems laughable since at least 1965 as lots of old long dormant memes
Revived in these frightfully "totalized " civil societies

The Motions of human Society reveal underlying dialectics not mechanics

Paine -> Paine... , February 24, 2017 at 09:59 AM
"1984 " is way past it's sell by date. Much like Leviathan and the declaration of independence
cm -> Julio ... , February 25, 2017 at 12:01 AM
There was probably more than one movie about this topic - people not happy with their "peaceful" but bland, boring, and intellectually stifling environment.

Not too far from Huxley's "Brave New World" actually.

[Feb 20, 2017] Social contract is the key. And it was abolished with the ascendance of neoliberalism with its wolf eats wolf philosophy of individual responsibility read the law of jungles instituted in the job market

Feb 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ken melvin -> sanjait... February 20, 2017 at 02:21 PM , 2017 at 02:21 PM
One would think that a Berkeley Prof would be better at arithmetic, or counting. In the early days, companies did indeed create tech bureaucracies that offset any gains in reduction of work force, say back in the 70s, maybe 80s. Today, these groups number in the tens. Point being, these are indeed middle class jobs, just no where near the number of jobs replaced.
jonny bakho -> sanjait... , February 20, 2017 at 04:03 PM
Many working- and middle-class Americans believe that free-trade agreements are why their incomes have stagnated over the past two decades. So Trump intends to provide them with "protection" by putting protectionists in charge.

But Trump and his triumvirate have misdiagnosed the problem. While globalization is an important factor in the hollowing out of the middle class, so, too, is automation.

Trump and his team are missing a simple point: twenty-first-century globalization is knowledge-led, not trade-led. Radically reduced communication costs have enabled US firms to move production to lower-wage countries. Meanwhile, to keep their production processes synced, firms have also offshored much of their technical, marketing, and managerial knowhow. This "knowledge offshoring" is what has really changed the game for American workers.

The information revolution changed the world in ways that tariffs cannot reverse. With US workers already competing against robots at home, and against low-wage workers abroad, disrupting imports will just create more jobs for robots.

Trump should be protecting individual workers, not individual jobs. The processes of twenty-first-century globalization are too sudden, unpredictable, and uncontrollable to rely on static measures like tariffs. Instead, the US needs to restore its social contract so that its workers have a fair shot at sharing in the gains generated by global openness and automation. Globalization and technological innovation are not painless processes, so there will always be a need for retraining initiatives, lifelong education, mobility and income-support programs, and regional transfers.

By pursuing such policies, the Trump administration would stand a much better chance of making America "great again" for the working and middle classes. Globalization has always created more opportunities for the most competitive workers, and more insecurity for others. This is why a strong social contract was established during the post-war period of liberalization in the West. In the 1960s and 1970s institutions such as unions expanded, and governments made new commitments to affordable education, social security, and progressive taxation. These all helped members of the middle class seize new opportunities as they emerged.

Over the last two decades, this situation has changed dramatically: globalization has continued, but the social contract has been torn up. Trump's top priority should be to stitch it back together; but his trade advisers do not understand this.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-trade-policy-tariffs-by-richard-baldwin-2017-02

libezkova -> jonny bakho... , February 20, 2017 at 05:33 PM
Jonny,

Thank you -- Social contract is the key. And it was abolished with the ascendance of neoliberalism with its wolf eats wolf philosophy of "individual responsibility" (read the law of jungles in job market).

For some times, while neoliberalism was eating the carcass of New Deal there was almost no rebellion against it. Even in 2008 none of the top honchos of financial institutions who caused the disaster went to jail, although rank-and-file employees of major banks and investment firms did feel very insecure. "Jump suckers" was the slogan on the corner NYC cafe close to Wall Street.

This time probably ended now. The problems is that financial oligarchy does not want to share spoils of their stealing with anybody.

And yes, communication technologies + huge growth of the power of personal computers since 1986 are two very important factors here.

They allowed new level of centralization, which was impossible before. With the corporate headquarters on a different continent then factories (among other things) and teams consisting of members of different continents.

[Jan 24, 2017] One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings

Notable quotes:
"... People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded. ..."
"... As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface. ..."
Jan 24, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> jonny bakho... January 23, 2017 at 04:55 PM , 2017 at 04:55 PM
You are wrong. Your definition of neoliberalism is formally right and we can argue along those lines that Hillary is a neoliberal too (Her track record as a senator suggests exactly that), it is way too narrow.

"One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings." (see below)

"Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them."

"In the current election campaign, Hillary Clinton has been the most perfect embodiment of neoliberalism among all the candidates, she is almost its all-time ideal avatar, and I believe this explains, even if not articulated this way, the widespread discomfort among the populace toward her ascendancy. People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded.

This is the dark side of neoliberalism's ideological arm (a multiculturalism founded on human beings as capital), which is why this project has become increasingly associated with suppression of free speech and intolerance of those who refuse to go along with the kind of identity politics neoliberalism promotes.

And this explains why the 1990s saw the simultaneous and absolutely parallel rise, under the Clintons, of both neoliberal globalization and various regimes of neoliberal disciplining, such as the shaming and exclusion of former welfare recipients (every able-bodied person should be able to find work, therefore under TANF welfare was converted to a performance management system designed to enroll everyone in the workforce, even if it meant below-subsistence wages or the loss of parental responsibilities, all of it couched in the jargon of marketplace incentives)."

In this sense Hillary Clinton is 100% dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal and neocon ("neoliberal with the gun"). She promotes so called "neoliberal rationality" a perverted "market-based" rationality typical for neoliberalism:

See

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2017/01/links-for-01-23-17.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201bb09706856970d

== quote ==
When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts-in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance-that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms.

In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.

One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.

As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface.

Neoliberalism is often described-and this creates a lot of confusion-as "market fundamentalism," and while this may be true for neoliberal's self-promotion and self-presentation, i.e., the market as the ultimate and only myth, as were the gods of the past, I would argue that in neoliberalism there is no such thing as the market as we have understood it from previous ideologies.

The neoliberal state-actually, to utter the word state seems insufficient here, I would claim that a new entity is being created, which is not the state as we have known it, but an existence that incorporates potentially all the states in the world and is something that exceeds their sum-is all-powerful, it seeks to leave no space for individual self-conception in the way that classical liberalism, and even communism and fascism to some degree, were willing to allow.

There are competing understandings of neoliberal globalization, when it comes to the question of whether the state is strong or weak compared to the primary agent of globalization, i.e., the corporation, but I am taking this logic further, I am suggesting that the issue is not how strong the state is in the service of neoliberalism, but whether there is anything left over beyond the new definition of the state. Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them.

Of course the word hasn't gotten around to the people yet, hence all the confusion about whether Hillary Clinton is more neoliberal than Barack Obama, or whether Donald Trump will be less neoliberal than Hillary Clinton.

The project of neoliberalism-i.e., the redefinition of the state, the institutions of society, and the self-has come so far along that neoliberalism is almost beyond the need of individual entities to make or break its case. Its penetration has gone too deep, and none of the democratic figureheads that come forward can fundamentally question its efficacy.

[Jan 23, 2017] This is our neoliberal nightmare Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and why the market and the wealthy win every time - Salon.com

Notable quotes:
"... everything ..."
"... loves ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | www.salon.com
Neoliberalism has been more successful than most past ideologies in redefining subjectivity, in making people alter their sense of themselves, their personhood, their identities, their hopes and expectations and dreams and idealizations. Classical liberalism was successful too, for two and a half centuries, in people's self-definition, although communism and fascism succeeded less well in realizing the "new man."

It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it. Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state.

I would go so far as to say that neoliberalism is the final completion of capitalism's long-nascent project, in that the desire to transform everything -every object, every living thing, every fact on the planet-in its image had not been realized to the same extent by any preceding ideology. Neoliberalism happens to be the ideology-unlike the three major forerunners in the last 250 years-that has the fortune of coinciding with technological change on a scale that makes its complete penetration into every realm of being a possibility for the first time in human history.

From the early 1930s, when the Great Depression threatened the classical liberal consensus (the idea that markets were self-regulating, and the state should play no more than a night-watchman role), until the early 1970s, when global instability including currency chaos unraveled it, the democratic world lived under the Keynesian paradigm : markets were understood to be inherently unstable, and the interventionist hand of government, in the form of countercyclical policy, was necessary to make capitalism work, otherwise the economy had a tendency to get out of whack and crash.

It's an interesting question if it was the stagflation of the 1970s, following the unhitching of the United States from the gold standard and the arrival of the oil embargo, that brought on the neoliberal revolution, with Milton Friedman discrediting fiscal policy and advocating a by-the-numbers monetarist policy , or if it was neoliberalism itself, in the form of Friedmanite ideas that the Nixon administration was already pursuing, that made stagflation and the end of Keynesianism inevitable.

It should be said that neoliberalism thrives on prompting crisis after crisis, and has proven more adept than previous ideologies at exploiting these crises to its benefit, which then makes the situation worse, so that each succeeding crisis only erodes the power of the working class and makes the wealthy wealthier. There is a certain self-fulfilling aura to neoliberalism, couched in the jargon of economic orthodoxy, that has remained immune from political criticism, because of the dogma that was perpetuated- by Margaret Thatcher and her acolytes-that There Is No Alternative (TINA) .

Neoliberalism is excused for the crises it repeatedly brings on-one can think of a regular cycle of debt and speculation-fueled emergencies in the last forty years, such as the developing country debt overhang of the 1970s , the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s , the Asian currency crisis of the 1990s , and the subprime mortgage crisis of the 2000s-better than any ideology I know of. This is partly because its very existence as ruling ideology is not even noted by the population at large, which continues to derive some residual benefits from the welfare state inaugurated by Keynesianism but has been led to believe by neoliberal ideologues to think of their reliance on government as worthy of provoking guilt, shame, and melancholy, rather than something to which they have legitimate claim.

It is not surprising to find neoliberal multiculturalists- comfortably established in the academy -likewise demonizing, or othering, not Muslims, Mexicans, or African Americans, but working-class whites (the quintessential Trump proletariat) who have a difficult time accepting the fluidity of self-definition that goes well with neoliberalism, something that we might call the market capitalization of the self.

George W. Bush's useful function was to introduce necessary crisis into a system that had grown too stable for its own good; he injected desirable panic, which served as fuel to the fire of the neoliberal revolution. Trump is an apostate-at least until now-in desiring chaos on terms that do not sound neoliberal, which is unacceptable; hence Jeb Bush's characterization of him as the "candidate of chaos. " Neoliberalism loves chaos, that has been its modus operandi since the early 1970s, but only the kind of chaos it can direct and control.

To go back to origins, the Great Depression only ended conclusively with the onset of the second world war, after which Keynesianism had the upper hand for thirty-five years. But just as the global institutions of Keynesianism, specifically the IMF and the World Bank, were being founded at the New Hampshire resort of Bretton Woods in 1944, the founders of the neoliberal revolution, namely Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, and others were forming the Mount Pelerin Society (MPS) at the eponymous Swiss resort in 1947 , creating the ideology which eventually defeated Keynesianism and gained the upper hand during the 1970s.

So what exactly is neoliberalism, and how is it different from classical liberalism, whose final manifestation came under Keynesianism?

Neoliberalism believes that markets are self-sufficient unto themselves, that they do not need regulation, and that they are the best guarantors of human welfare. Everything that promotes the market, i.e., privatization, deregulation, mobility of finance and capital, abandonment of government-provided social welfare, and the reconception of human beings as human capital, needs to be encouraged, while everything that supposedly diminishes the market, i.e., government services, regulation, restrictions on finance and capital, and conceptualization of human beings in transcendent terms, is to be discouraged.

[Jan 23, 2017] One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded. ..."
"... And this explains why the 1990s saw the simultaneous and absolutely parallel rise, under the Clintons, of both neoliberal globalization and various regimes of neoliberal disciplining, such as the shaming and exclusion of former welfare recipients (every able-bodied person should be able to find work, therefore under TANF welfare was converted to a performance management system designed to enroll everyone in the workforce, even if it meant below-subsistence wages or the loss of parental responsibilities, all of it couched in the jargon of marketplace incentives)." ..."
"... The project of neoliberalism -- i.e., the redefinition of the state, the institutions of society, and the self-has come so far along that neoliberalism is almost beyond the need of individual entities to make or break its case. Its penetration has gone too deep, and none of the democratic figureheads that come forward can fundamentally question its efficacy. ..."
Jan 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez, 2017 at 04:55 PM
You are wrong. Your definition of neoliberalism is formally right and we can argue along those lines that Hillary is a neoliberal too (Her track record as a senator suggests exactly that), it is way too narrow.

"One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings." (see below)

"Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them."

"In the current election campaign, Hillary Clinton has been the most perfect embodiment of neoliberalism among all the candidates, she is almost its all-time ideal avatar, and I believe this explains, even if not articulated this way, the widespread discomfort among the populace toward her ascendancy. People can perceive that her ideology is founded on a conception of human beings striving relentlessly to become human capital (as her opening campaign commercial so overtly depicted), which means that those who fail to come within the purview of neoliberalism should be rigorously ostracized, punished, and excluded.

This is the dark side of neoliberalism's ideological arm (a multiculturalism founded on human beings as capital), which is why this project has become increasingly associated with suppression of free speech and intolerance of those who refuse to go along with the kind of identity politics neoliberalism promotes.

And this explains why the 1990s saw the simultaneous and absolutely parallel rise, under the Clintons, of both neoliberal globalization and various regimes of neoliberal disciplining, such as the shaming and exclusion of former welfare recipients (every able-bodied person should be able to find work, therefore under TANF welfare was converted to a performance management system designed to enroll everyone in the workforce, even if it meant below-subsistence wages or the loss of parental responsibilities, all of it couched in the jargon of marketplace incentives)."

In this sense Hillary Clinton is 100% dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal and neocon ("neoliberal with the gun"). She promotes so called "neoliberal rationality" a perverted "market-based" rationality typical for neoliberalism:

See

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2017/01/links-for-01-23-17.html#comment-6a00d83451b33869e201bb09706856970d

When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts-in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance -- that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms.

In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.

One way to sum up neoliberalism is to say that everything-everything-is to be made over in the image of the market, including the state, civil society, and of course human beings. Democracy becomes reinterpreted as the market, and politics succumbs to neoliberal economic theory, so we are speaking of the end of democratic politics as we have known it for two and a half centuries.

As the market becomes an abstraction, so does democracy, but the real playing field is somewhere else, in the realm of actual economic exchange-which is not, however, the market. We may say that all exchange takes place on the neoliberal surface.

Neoliberalism is often described -- and this creates a lot of confusion -- as "market fundamentalism," and while this may be true for neoliberal's self-promotion and self-presentation, i.e., the market as the ultimate and only myth, as were the gods of the past, I would argue that in neoliberalism there is no such thing as the market as we have understood it from previous ideologies.

The neoliberal state-actually, to utter the word state seems insufficient here, I would claim that a new entity is being created, which is not the state as we have known it, but an existence that incorporates potentially all the states in the world and is something that exceeds their sum-is all-powerful, it seeks to leave no space for individual self-conception in the way that classical liberalism, and even communism and fascism to some degree, were willing to allow.

There are competing understandings of neoliberal globalization, when it comes to the question of whether the state is strong or weak compared to the primary agent of globalization, i.e., the corporation, but I am taking this logic further, I am suggesting that the issue is not how strong the state is in the service of neoliberalism, but whether there is anything left over beyond the new definition of the state. Another way to say it is that the state has become the market, the market has become the state, and therefore both have ceased to exist in the form we have classically understood them.

Of course the word hasn't gotten around to the people yet, hence all the confusion about whether Hillary Clinton is more neoliberal than Barack Obama, or whether Donald Trump will be less neoliberal than Hillary Clinton.

The project of neoliberalism -- i.e., the redefinition of the state, the institutions of society, and the self-has come so far along that neoliberalism is almost beyond the need of individual entities to make or break its case. Its penetration has gone too deep, and none of the democratic figureheads that come forward can fundamentally question its efficacy.

[Jan 22, 2017] Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit

Neoliberals seem very concerned not to have a label. I posit this is because the founders of the malign ideology didn't want their victims be able to reliably identify them. The deliberately and misleadingly promote the view of the economy as an isolated scientific subject, like the interior of a test tube, and treat politics and policy as a sort of exterior force, that can be isolated from the world of the chemist and pushed off-to-one side. Neoclassic economists consistently and deliberately blinds itself to politics and the dynamics of power, despite the deep entanglement of politics with everything economic. "I look at politics and the economy and see one thing, not two things, and I am astonished at the extent to which economists focus on the part they like to play with intellectually, while deliberately looking away from what is probably the more important part. "
Notable quotes:
"... when left-wing people say that economists are defenders and supporters of the current order of things, they have a point: ignoring power relationships and their impact on the world supports the continued existence of those relationships. ..."
"... Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit. ..."
"... Most people, esp. when young (still largely sheltered) or (still) successful, probably have an exaggerated assessment of their own merit (absolute and relative) - often actively instilled and encouraged by an "enabling" environment. ..."
"... It promises a lake Wobegon of sorts where everybody (even though not all!) are above average, and it is finally recognized. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

William Meyer, Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 12:49 PM

What Wren-Lewis misses, I think, is that something I've noticed in my roughly a decade of reading economic blogs on the Internet. Economists have blinkers on. They want to view the economy as an isolated scientific subject, like the interior of a test tube, and treat politics and policy as a sort of exterior force, that can be isolated from the world of the chemist and pushed off-to-one side. It seems fairly clear to me that the two elements--politics and the economy--are obviously continuously co-mingled, and have all sorts of feedback loops running between them.

The discipline really consistently and deliberately blinds itself to politics and the dynamics of power, despite the deep entanglement of politics with everything economic. Wren-Lewis admits that macroeconomists "missed" the impacts of very high financial sector leverage, but finds that now that economists have noticed it, and suggested remedies, that the power of bank lobby prevents those remedies from being enacted. But shouldn't the political power of the finance lobby been a part of economic analysis of the world along with the dangers of the financial sector's use of extreme leverage? Does he think the two phenomena are unrelated?

Shouldn't economics pay more attention to the ongoing attempts of various groups to orient government policy in their favor, just like they pay attention to the trade deficit and GDP numbers?

I look at politics and the economy and see one thing, not two things, and I am astonished at the extent to which economists focus on the part they like to play with intellectually, while deliberately looking away from what is probably the more important part. Its like economists obsessively focus on the part that can be studied via numbers (money) and don't' want to think about the part that is harder to look quantify (political policy). And there is a political issue there, which Mr. Wren-Lewis, keeps ignoring in his defense of "mainstream economics."

The neoclassical economics tendency of not looking at power relationships makes power imbalances and their great influence on economics seem like "givens" or "natural endowments", which is clearly an intellectual sin of omission.

Many people, even within the halls of mainstream economics, note economists are "uncomfortable" with distributional issues.

Whether they like the implication or not, economists need to acknowledge that this discomfort has a profoundly conservative intellectual bias, in the sense that it make the status quo arrangement of society seem "natural" and "normal", when it is obviously humanly constructed and not in any sense "natural." So when left-wing people say that economists are defenders and supporters of the current order of things, they have a point: ignoring power relationships and their impact on the world supports the continued existence of those relationships.

Mr. Wren-Lewis seems like a nice guy, but he needs to take that simple home truth in. I'm not sure why he seems to struggle so with acknowledging it.

KPl, January 21, 2017 at 11:37 PM

"...but failing to ignore their successes,..."

Oh you mean the success of being able to raise asset prices without the growth in wages, make education costly and unaffordable without student loans, not chargeable under bankruptcy, spruce up employment figures by not counting the people who have stopped look for jobs because they cannot find one, make people debt serfs, make savers miserable by keeping interest rates at zero and making them take risks that they may not want to take though it is picking pennies in front of a steamroller, keeping wages stagnant for decades and thus impoverishing people.

The list of successes is endless and you should be glad we are NOT talking about them. Because if we do, the clan called economists might well be torched.

cm -> cm... , January 22, 2017 at 08:40 AM
Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit.

Most people, esp. when young (still largely sheltered) or (still) successful, probably have an exaggerated assessment of their own merit (absolute and relative) - often actively instilled and encouraged by an "enabling" environment.

A large part is probably the idea that "markets" are "objective" or at least "impartial" in bringing out and rewarding merit - also technology and "data driven" technocratic management, which are attributed "objectivity". All in the explicitly stated or implied service of impartially recognizing merit and its lack.

It promises a lake Wobegon of sorts where everybody (even though not all!) are above average, and it is finally recognized.

libezkova : , January 22, 2017 at 07:11 PM
"Neoliberalism may have been in part so successful because it appeals to (and tries to explain many things in terms of) a narrative of competition (and assignment of reward and acknowedlgement) by merit."

A very important observation. Thank you --

[Jan 21, 2017] Disillusioned in Davos

Jan 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Larry Summers:
Disillusioned in Davos : Edmund Burke famously cautioned that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." I have been reminded of Burke's words as I have observed the behavior of US business leaders in Davos over the last few days. They know better but in their public rhetoric they have embraced and enabled our new President and his policies.

I understand and sympathize with the pressures they feel. ... Businesses who get on the wrong side of the new President have lost billions of dollars of value in sixty seconds because of a tweet. ...

Yet I am disturbed by (i) the spectacle of financiers who three months ago were telling anyone who would listen that they would never do business with a Trump company rushing to praise the new Administration (ii) the unwillingness of business leaders who rightly take pride in their corporate efforts to promote women and minorities to say anything about Presidentially sanctioned intolerance (iii) the failure of the leaders of global companies to say a critical word about US efforts to encourage the breakup of European unity and more generally to step away from underwriting an open global system (iv) the reluctance of business leaders who have a huge stake in the current global order to criticize provocative rhetoric with regard to China, Mexico or the Middle East (v) the willingness of too many to praise Trump nominees who advocate blatant protection merely because they have a business background.

I have my differences with the new Administration's economic policies and suspect the recent market rally and run of economic statistics is a sugar high. Reasonable people who I respect differ and time will tell. My objection is not to disagreements over economic policy. It is to enabling if not encouraging immoral and reckless policies in other spheres that ultimately bear on our prosperity. Burke was right. It is a lesson of human experience whether the issue is playground bullying, Enron or Europe in the 1930s that the worst outcomes occur when good people find reasons to accommodate themselves to what they know is wrong. That is what I think happened much too often in Davos this week.

JohnH -> Peter K.... , January 20, 2017 at 03:24 PM
Larry Summers lecturing us about bullies! Precious!

"Larry Summers Is An Unrepentant Bully"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-s-goodman/larry-summers-bully-fed_b_3653387.html

Like so much of the tit-for-tat between Democrats and Republicans, what's OK for to do is NOT OK for you to do!!!

anne : , January 20, 2017 at 12:24 PM
https://books.google.com/books?id=SFNADAAAQBAJ&pg=PT951&lpg=PT951&dq=%22No+man,+who+is+not+inflamed+by+vainglory+into+enthusiasm%22&source=bl&ots=ufx9GiMtls&sig=jJgSGfaCuCQFzBa9KiNBKCoaYgQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjE7YCOxtHRAhWjLMAKHVmSDFAQ6AEIHDAB#v=onepage&q=%22No%20man%2C%20who%20is%20not%20inflamed%20by%20vainglory%20into%20enthusiasm%22&f=false

1770

Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents

No man, who is not inflamed by vainglory into enthusiasm, can flatter himself that his single, unsupported, desultory, unsystematic endeavours are of power to defeat the subtle designs and united Cabals of ambitious citizens. When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

-- Edmund Burke

anne -> anne... , -1
Edmund Burke famously cautioned that "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

-- Lawrence Summers

[ Edmund Burke never cautioned this. ]

anne -> Chris G ... , January 20, 2017 at 06:42 PM
Notice the fear of association or community of Milton Friedman:

http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/libertarians/issues/friedman-soc-resp-business.html

September 13, 1970

The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits
By Milton Friedman - New York Times

When I hear businessmen speak eloquently about the "social responsibilities of business in a free-enterprise system," I am reminded of the wonderful line about the Frenchman who discovered at the age of 70 that he had been speaking prose all his life. The businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned "merely" with profit but also with promoting desirable "social" ends; that business has a "social conscience" and takes seriously its responsibilities for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers. In fact they are–or would be if they or anyone else took them seriously–preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades....

Gibbon1 -> anne... , January 20, 2017 at 07:37 PM
When I used to read Delong's blog before Delong went off on Sanders because Delong thought that Hillary Clinton would give Delongs son a job...

There was economics student that penned a response where he mentioned that the economics profession generally dislikes models with negative externalities. But truly loath models that incorporate positive externalities.

A positive externality is where some action on your part benefits you _and_ benefits some third party.

One can assume Milton Friedman and his followers find that concept revolting indeed.

anne -> anne... , January 20, 2017 at 12:52 PM
While I was not in Davos, I read about the proceedings and meeting in the Western European and Chinese press and was impressed by the community emphasis placed on social justice. Possibly there was considerable individual resistance to the public theme, and Lawrence Summers would readily sense such resistance, but the public theme from the speech by Xi Jinping on was encouraging and portrayed in Western Europe and China as encouraging.
kthomas -> anne... , January 20, 2017 at 02:19 PM
The headline of his post is somewhat misleading. He was not really talking about Davos.
Chris G -> kthomas... , January 20, 2017 at 05:53 PM
Let me rephrase: Name me some Fortune 500 companies who consider potential societal impacts of their actions and, as a result, sometimes make decisions which don't maximize their profits but are the "right" thing to do for the community/their workers/the environment/etc.? What Fortune 500 companies are motivated by things beyond maximizing profits for shareholders?

My point is that corporate leaders who are charged to act to maximize profits will always be cowards when it comes to moral and ethical issues. If their job is to maximize profits. If they don't want to lose their job then that's what they'll do - act to maximize profits. Where would Summers get the idea that they would act any differently? Do the people he's referring to have a track record of choosing the moral high ground over profits? If they do then I could understand surprise and disappointment that they're folding. But they've never had to face that choice before let alone chosen moral high ground over money, have they?

anne -> Chris G ... , January 20, 2017 at 05:55 PM
My point is that corporate leaders who are charged to act to maximize profits will always be cowards when it comes to moral and ethical issues. If their job is to maximize profits. If they don't want to lose their job then that's what they'll do - act to maximize profits. Where would Summers get the idea that they would act any differently? Do the people he's referring to have a track record of choosing the moral high ground over profits? ...

[ Properly argued, sadly. ]

Winslow R. : , January 20, 2017 at 02:02 PM
I recall Summers/Romer with both houses and Obama blowing their chances to do something for the middle/working class.

Summers/Delong said if the stimulus was too small we could always get another later, yet that chance to do something never came and he did nothing.....

I'd like Larry to ponder whether it was he who did nothing.

[Jan 16, 2017] The Cost of Davos Man's Protectionism

Jan 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : January 16, 2017 at 06:13 AM , 2017 at 06:13 AM
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/the-cost-of-davos-man-s-protectionism?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+beat_the_press+%28Beat+the+Press%29

January 15, 2017

The Cost of Davos Man's Protectionism

I blogged yesterday * on how "Davos Man," the world's super-rich, is very supportive of all sorts of protectionist measures in spite of his reputation as a free trader. I pointed out that Davos Man is fond of items like ever stronger and longer patent and copyright protections and measures that protect doctors, dentists, and other highly paid professionals. Davos Man only dislikes protectionism when it might benefit folks like autoworkers or textile workers.

I thought it was worth pointing out that the protectionism supported by the Davos set is real money. The chart below shows the additional amount we pay for prescription drugs each year as a result of patent and related protections, the additional amount we pay for physicians as a result of excluding qualified foreign doctors, and the total annual wage income ** for the bottom 50 percent of wage earners. (I added 5 percent to the 2015 wage numbers to incorporate wage growth in the last year.)

[Graph *** ]

As can be seen, the extra amount we pay for doctors as a result of excluding foreign competition is roughly one-third of the total wage bill for the bottom half of all wage earners. The extra amount we pay for drugs as a result of patent protection is roughly twenty percent more than the total wage bill for the bottom half of wage earners. Of course we would have to pay for the research through another mechanism, but we also pay higher prices for medical equipment, software, and a wide variety of other products as a result of patent and copyright protections. In other words, there is real money here.

Davos Man isn't interested in nickel and dime protectionism, he wants to rake in the big bucks. And, the whole time he will run around saying he is a free trader (and get most of the media to believe him).

* http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/davos-man-is-a-neanderthal-protectionist

** https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2015

*** http://deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/Rigged.pdf

-- Dean Baker

anne -> anne... , January 16, 2017 at 06:14 AM
http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/davos-man-is-a-neanderthal-protectionist?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+beat_the_press+%28Beat+the+Press%29

January 14, 2017

Davos Man Is a Neanderthal Protectionist

The New York Times had an article * on the annual meeting of the world's super-rich at Davos, Switzerland. It refers to Davos Man as "an economic elite who built unheard-of fortunes on the seemingly high-minded notions of free trade, low taxes and low regulation that they championed." While "Davos Man" may like to be described this way, it is not an accurate description.

Davos Man is actually totally supportive of protectionism that redistributes income upward. In particular Davos Man supports stronger and longer patent and copyright protection. These forms of protection raise the price of protected items by factors of tens or hundreds, making them equivalent to tariffs of several thousand percent or even tens of thousands of percent. In the case of prescription drugs these protections force us to spend more than $430 billion a year (2.3 percent of GDP) on drugs that would likely cost one tenth of this amount if they were sold in a free market. (Yes, we need alternative mechanisms to finance the development of new drugs. These are discussed in my free book "Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer." ** )

Davos Man is also just fine with protectionist barriers that raise the cost of physicians services as well as pay of other highly educated professionals. For example, Davos Man has never been known to object to the ban on foreign doctors practicing in the United States unless they complete a U.S. residency program or the ban on foreign dentists who did not complete a U.S. dental school (or recently a Canadian school). Davos Man is only bothered by protectionist barriers that raise the incomes of autoworkers, textile workers, or other non-college educated workers.

Davos Man is also fine with government regulations that reduce the bargaining power of ordinary workers. For example, Davos Man has not objected to central bank rules that target low inflation even at the cost of raising unemployment. Nor has Davos Man objected to meaningless caps on budget deficits, like those in the European Union, that have kept millions of workers from getting jobs.

Davos Man also strongly supported the bank bailouts in which governments provided trillions of dollars in loans and guarantees to the world's largest banks in order to protect them from the market. This kept too big to fail banks in business and protected the huge salaries received by their top executives.

In short, Davos Man has no particular interest in a free market or unregulated economic system. They only object to interventions that reduce their income. Of course, Davos Man is happy to have the New York Times and other news outlets describe him as a devotee of the free market, as opposed to simply getting incredibly rich.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/14/business/world-economic-forum-davos-agenda-slap-in-the-face.html

** http://deanbaker.net/images/stories/documents/Rigged.pdf

-- Dean Baker

[Jan 13, 2017] Making America Great Again Isnt Just About Money and Power

Notable quotes:
"... Excellent article by an economist who understands that economic extends beyond markets and intersects with political enlightenment. Were more economists that inclusive and divorced from self promotion the study would have more effective application. ..."
"... For many today, greatness is simply a government in the business of actively governing, as opposed to shying away from it under one excuse or the other. One example: the meteoric rise of incomes for the wealthy, which is a direct result of less financial regulation. First discovered by Reagan, then perfected by Clinton, the method involves highlighting regulation as a dirty word and overstating its link to American Capitalism, and in the bargain achieving less work for government, plus bag brownie points for patriotism. ..."
"... But what it really was, was a reluctance to govern for almost thirty years. Thank goodness Trump called it out for the fraud it was, and Obama decided he would spend his last month making a show of "governing". ..."
"... So that's what greatness means to most today: Government, please show up for work every day and just do your job. Not draw lines in sand and unlock every bathroom in sight and let illegals in. Just your job please, that's all. Yes? Grrreaat, thank you Donald. ..."
"... I doubt many think that the greatness of America is just about money and power. But many corporations are run on exactly this limited idea of the greatness of corporations. ..."
"... And, unfortunately, these same misguided bottom-line corporations now control Congress and the GOP. Corporate control of Congress should not be primarily for increasing corporate profits. Part of the profits stemming from automation should be used to mitigate the tremendous disappearance of jobs that corporations are causing by introducing AI and automation. ..."
"... I have traveled overseas enough to have an idea of life in other countries. My father shared something with other veterans--a sense of belonging to something bigger than them based on being "in the service." ..."
"... That comradeship, born of intense experience while young, is rare. In terms of the sense of belonging to a city or state, the most successful of us move around and cities have lost most of what made them unique. ..."
"... there is no central cultural core to being American--as compared to being French or British--other than technology and the meritocracy of money, a personal sense of ownership in America on the part of a majority of Americans runs contrary to contemporary experience. ..."
"... The first step on this path is real social & economic justice for all in our wonderful country. The current economic inequality in the U.S. is a disgrace to any just & civil society. We must figure out a way to fairly deal with that & our other inequalities of education, opportunity & racial injustices, if we are to achieve our potential of being that 'shining city on the hill' that the rest of the world will want to follow. ..."
"... A Great Society cannot be great in any meaningful sense unless it is determinedly honest -- not just self-relievingly frank. Thus, although I was happy to see this article, which I judge to be 'exemplarily' honest, I had disappointment that, in an age when the term post-truth is being used to describe conversation in English-speaking society, it neglects to emphasize the essentiality of honesty in any debate about what being a great society entails. Adam Smith did his best to point that out, but the rich and powerful and especially those in public office and those of capitalistic ideological bent appear these days to be letting us all down in this respect. ..."
"... This article is long overdue. Mr Trump has never explained is what MADE America great in the past. If questioned, he demurred. His shallow approach to policy and his poor understanding of American history and civics makes any answer from him questionable. ..."
"... Our current Free Trade pacts make it too easy for employers to shift jobs abroad. Other countries protect their industries. We should do the same, by again placing tariffs on any goods which have been manufactured abroad which could be made here. This would not be "forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs". It would be saying that if you want to sell your products here, then you will either make them here or pay tariffs on them. ..."
"... The Free Trade pacts have an additional problem. They allow international corporations to sue us if they think that one of our laws or regulations is keeping them from making as much money as they otherwise could. These lawsuits are conducted in special courts whose decisions cannot be appealed. This allows international corporations to interfere with our democracy. They should not be allowed to sue us for enforcing our own laws. ..."
"... The issue isn't what the definition of "great" is. It's who America is great *for.* America is outstandingly great for a very slim slice at the tip-top of the economy. ..."
"... The GOP are now proving that they are traitors to the general welfare. They are determined to make this nation's chief goal be to protect the welfare of the wealthiest and best-connected. If we are depending on a free press or the voting booth to protect us, we are fooling ourselves. The forces that have seized our democracy are going to gut both the press, and our civil liberties, so that this country can never again be "of, for and by the people." It will henceforth be for the plutocrats. ..."
"... The rest of us should just go quietly, and die on our own. ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

"Make America Great Again," the slogan of President-elect Donald J. Trump 's successful election campaign, has been etched in the national consciousness. But it is hard to know what to make of those vague words.

We don't have a clear definition of "great," for example, or of the historical moment when, presumably, America was truly great. From an economic standpoint, we can't be talking about national wealth, because the country is wealthier than it has ever been: Real per capita household net worth has reached a record high, as Federal Reserve Board data shows.

But the distribution of wealth has certainly changed: Inequality has widened significantly. Including the effects of taxes and government transfer payments, real incomes for the bottom half of the population increased only 21 percent from 1980 to 2014. That compares with a 194 percent increase for the richest 1 percent, according to a new study by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

That's why it makes sense that Mr. Trump's call for a return to greatness resonated especially well among non-college-educated workers in Rust Belt states - people who have been hurt as good jobs in their region disappeared. But forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs isn't reasonable, and creating sustainable new jobs is a complex endeavor.

Difficult as job creation may be, making America great surely entails more than that, and it's worth considering just what we should be trying to accomplish. Fortunately, political leaders and scholars have been thinking about national greatness for a very long time, and the answer clearly goes beyond achieving high levels of wealth.

Adam Smith, perhaps the first true economist, gave some answers in " An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations ." That treatise is sometimes thought of as a capitalist bible. It is at least partly about the achieving of greatness through the pursuit of wealth in free markets. But Smith didn't believe that money alone assured national stature. He also wrote disapprovingly of the single-minded impulse to secure wealth, saying it was "the most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments." Instead, he emphasized that decent people should seek real achievement - "not only praise, but praiseworthiness."

Strikingly, national greatness was a central issue in a previous presidential election campaign: Lyndon B. Johnson , in 1964, called for the creation of a Great Society, not merely a rich society or a powerful society. Instead, he spoke of achieving equal opportunity and fulfillment. "The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents," he said. "It is a place where leisure is a welcome chance to build and reflect, not a feared cause of boredom and restlessness."

President Johnson's words still ring true. Opportunity is not equal for everyone in America. Enforced leisure has indeed become a feared cause of boredom and restlessness for those who have lost jobs, who have lost overtime work, who hold part-time jobs when they desire full-time employment, or who were pushed into unwanted early retirement.

But there are limits to what government can do. Jane Jacobs , the great urbanist, wrote that great nations need great cities, yet they cannot easily create them. "The great capitals of modern Europe did not become great cities because they were the capitals," Ms. Jacobs said. "Cause and effect ran the other way. Paris was at first no more the seat of French kings than were the sites of half a dozen other royal residences."

Cities grow organically, she said, capturing a certain dynamic, a virtuous circle, a specialized culture of expertise, with one industry leading to another, and with a reputation that attracts motivated and capable immigrants.

America still has cities like this, but a fact not widely remembered is that Detroit used to be one of them. Its rise to greatness was gradual. As Ms. Jacobs wrote, milled flour in the 1820s and 1830s required boats to ship the flour on the Great Lakes, which led to steamboats, marine engines and a proliferation of other industries, which set the stage for automobiles, which made Detroit a global center for anyone interested in that technology.

I experienced the beauty and excitement of Detroit as a child there among relatives who had ties to the auto industry. Today, residents of Detroit and other fading metropolises want their old cities back, but generations of people must create the fresh ideas and industries that spawn great cities, and they can't do it by fiat from Washington.

All of which is to say that government intervention to enhance greatness will not be a simple matter. There is a risk that well-meaning change may make matters worse. Protectionist policies and penalties for exporters of jobs may not increase long-term opportunities for Americans who have been left behind. Large-scale reduction of environmental or social regulations or in health care benefits, or in America's involvement in the wider world may increase our consumption, yet leave all of us with a sense of deeper loss.

Greatness reflects not only prosperity, but it is also linked with an atmosphere, a social environment that makes life meaningful. In President Johnson's words, greatness requires meeting not just "the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community."

sufferingsuccatash ohio 3 hours ago

Excellent article by an economist who understands that economic extends beyond markets and intersects with political enlightenment. Were more economists that inclusive and divorced from self promotion the study would have more effective application.

TMK New York, NY 5 hours ago

For many today, greatness is simply a government in the business of actively governing, as opposed to shying away from it under one excuse or the other. One example: the meteoric rise of incomes for the wealthy, which is a direct result of less financial regulation. First discovered by Reagan, then perfected by Clinton, the method involves highlighting regulation as a dirty word and overstating its link to American Capitalism, and in the bargain achieving less work for government, plus bag brownie points for patriotism.

But what it really was, was a reluctance to govern for almost thirty years. Thank goodness Trump called it out for the fraud it was, and Obama decided he would spend his last month making a show of "governing".

But Reagan did not hesitate to govern on the international stage. That credit goes solely to Obama, a president who's turned non-governance into something of an art. From refusing to regulate bathroom etiquette, to egging people to have more casual sex (condoms on government, no worries, go at it all you want), to unleashing 5 million illegals on domestic soil with a stroke of the pen, this President has been the most ungoverning president in US history.

So that's what greatness means to most today: Government, please show up for work every day and just do your job. Not draw lines in sand and unlock every bathroom in sight and let illegals in. Just your job please, that's all. Yes? Grrreaat, thank you Donald.

John Brews Reno, NV 6 hours ago

I doubt many think that the greatness of America is just about money and power. But many corporations are run on exactly this limited idea of the greatness of corporations.

And, unfortunately, these same misguided bottom-line corporations now control Congress and the GOP. Corporate control of Congress should not be primarily for increasing corporate profits. Part of the profits stemming from automation should be used to mitigate the tremendous disappearance of jobs that corporations are causing by introducing AI and automation.

Duane Coyle Wichita, Kansas 7 hours ago

I was born in America in 1956 to native-born Americans. My father served starting right after the Berlin Blockade, up through the Korean Conflict. My political consciousness was formed by Vietnam, Kent State, the COINTELPRO Papers, the Pentagon Papers, the Church Committee reports.

My father had trust in the federal government, whereas I have none. I became a lawyer, and married a lawyer. My brothers and my wife's sisters are all college-educated professionals.

Financially speaking, America has been very good to me. But as far as having any intellectual or visceral concept of what America is, or what being an American means, I couldn't tell you.

I have traveled overseas enough to have an idea of life in other countries. My father shared something with other veterans--a sense of belonging to something bigger than them based on being "in the service."

That comradeship, born of intense experience while young, is rare. In terms of the sense of belonging to a city or state, the most successful of us move around and cities have lost most of what made them unique.

Given how very little we are expected to contribute to our city, state or country, or even our neighbors, and as there is no central cultural core to being American--as compared to being French or British--other than technology and the meritocracy of money, a personal sense of ownership in America on the part of a majority of Americans runs contrary to contemporary experience.

Wayne Hild Nevada City, CA 9 hours ago

I think this article touches on not only what will make America great, but also on how we should act in order to show the rest of the world why liberal democracies are truly the path to prosperity & peace in this oh so imperfect world.

How do we go about defeating ISIL & winning the smoldering economic/military contest with Russia & China & other authoritarian regimes? By living righteously & daily demonstrating that treating the planet & each other justly & humanely is the way to real happiness on Earth. & that we can at the same time create plenty of wealth & life-fulfilling opportunities for all our citizens.

The first step on this path is real social & economic justice for all in our wonderful country. The current economic inequality in the U.S. is a disgrace to any just & civil society. We must figure out a way to fairly deal with that & our other inequalities of education, opportunity & racial injustices, if we are to achieve our potential of being that 'shining city on the hill' that the rest of the world will want to follow.

If the great liberal democracies of Europe & North America & the southern pacific region can reinvigorate our optimism & our commitment to the communal values that have driven the world's prosperity since WWII, we can surely convince the rest of the world through the awesome leverage of 'social media' that our liberal values of education, fairness, & love for all of our fellow humans is the true path to happiness & peace on Earth.

Angus Cunningham Toronto 9 hours ago

As a Britisher, educated at Wharton by the grace of an American-owned company, I feel gratitude for American generosity; yet I am now a Canadian citizen, having decided that the US in the time of Nixon could never be a place where my family could be happy. So I write this with mixed feelings.

A Great Society cannot be great in any meaningful sense unless it is determinedly honest -- not just self-relievingly frank. Thus, although I was happy to see this article, which I judge to be 'exemplarily' honest, I had disappointment that, in an age when the term post-truth is being used to describe conversation in English-speaking society, it neglects to emphasize the essentiality of honesty in any debate about what being a great society entails. Adam Smith did his best to point that out, but the rich and powerful and especially those in public office and those of capitalistic ideological bent appear these days to be letting us all down in this respect.

Having made a modest livelihood as an executive coach, I do not pretend that being honest (without being self-relievingly so) is easy in high-level negotiations. Indeed it requires enormous courage, intellect, empathy, and articulation skills. So I have enormous grief and considerable anxiety for the state of US society today. But efforts like this one by the New York Times are certain to be helpful. Thank you. I hope my contribution will be valuable to this fine newspaper and its readers alike.

R Charlotte 9 hours ago

This article is long overdue. Mr Trump has never explained is what MADE America great in the past. If questioned, he demurred. His shallow approach to policy and his poor understanding of American history and civics makes any answer from him questionable.

FreedomAndJusticeForAll United States 9 hours ago

Hope and Change.

Tom is a trusted commenter Midwest 9 hours ago

Yet almost every policy and piece of legislation by Republicans seems aimed at making more money for business. They assume it will trickle down to the workers (and we have seen over 30 years of how good that is working). So Republicans will ignore your plea or denigrate it. Doing anything close to what you suggest gets in the way of making money.

ann Seattle 10 hours ago

"But forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs isn't reasonable, "

Our current Free Trade pacts make it too easy for employers to shift jobs abroad. Other countries protect their industries. We should do the same, by again placing tariffs on any goods which have been manufactured abroad which could be made here. This would not be "forcing employers to restore or maintain jobs". It would be saying that if you want to sell your products here, then you will either make them here or pay tariffs on them.

The Free Trade pacts have an additional problem. They allow international corporations to sue us if they think that one of our laws or regulations is keeping them from making as much money as they otherwise could. These lawsuits are conducted in special courts whose decisions cannot be appealed. This allows international corporations to interfere with our democracy. They should not be allowed to sue us for enforcing our own laws.

Let's restore our sovereignty.

Jack and Louise North Brunswick NJ, USA 10 hours ago

The issue isn't what the definition of "great" is. It's who America is great *for.* America is outstandingly great for a very slim slice at the tip-top of the economy.

It's great for the Trumps and his cabinet members. These people have so much wealth that they have bought our government. The gleeful look on McConnell's face last night after the GOP moved to get rid of health care for millions, and to turn it back to the whim of the insurance companies, said it all: America is great again for him. It's great for his owners.

The GOP are now proving that they are traitors to the general welfare. They are determined to make this nation's chief goal be to protect the welfare of the wealthiest and best-connected. If we are depending on a free press or the voting booth to protect us, we are fooling ourselves. The forces that have seized our democracy are going to gut both the press, and our civil liberties, so that this country can never again be "of, for and by the people." It will henceforth be for the plutocrats.

The rest of us should just go quietly, and die on our own.

[Jan 13, 2017] They pretend to make statements that corresponded to reality, and we pretend to believe them.

Notable quotes:
"... For him, the Soviet Union was once a stable, entrenched, conservative state and the majority of Russian people -- actually myself included -- thought it would last forever. But the way people employ language and read ideologies can change. That change can be undetectable at first, and then unstoppable. ..."
Jan 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Igor Biryukov on November 1, 2012

A cautionary tale

" In America there was once a popular but simplistic image of the Soviet Russia as the Evil Empire destined to fall, precisely because it was unfree and therefore evil. Ronald Reagan who advocated it also once said that the Russian people do not have a word for "freedom". Not so fast -- says Alexei Yurchak. He was born in the Soviet Union and became a cultural anthropologist in California. He employs linguistic structural analysis in very interesting ways. For him, the Soviet Union was once a stable, entrenched, conservative state and the majority of Russian people -- actually myself included -- thought it would last forever. But the way people employ language and read ideologies can change. That change can be undetectable at first, and then unstoppable.

Yurchak's Master-idea is that the Soviet system was an example of how a state can prepare its own demise in an invisible way. It happened in Russia through unraveling of authoritative discourse by Gorbachev's naive but well-meaning shillyshallying undermining the Soviet system and the master signifiers with which the Soviet society was "quilted" and held together. According to Yurchak "In its first three or four years, perestroika was not much more than a deconstruction of Soviet authoritative discourse". This could a cautionary tale for America as well because the Soviet Union shared more features with American modernity than the Americans themselves are willing to admit.

The demise of the Soviet Union was not caused by anti-modernity or backwardness of Russian people. The Soviet experiment was a cousin of Western modernity and shared many features with the Western democracies, in particular its roots in the Enlightenment project. The Soviet Union wasn't "evil" in late stages 1950-1980s. The most people were decent. The Soviet system, despite its flaws, offered a set of collective values. There were many moral and ethical aspects to Soviet socialism, and even though those values have been betrayed by the state, they were still very important to people themselves in their lives. These values were: solidarity, community, altruism, education, creativity, friendship and safety. Perhaps they were incommensurable with the "Western values" such as the rule of law and freedom, but for Russians they were the most important. For many "socialism" was a system of human values and everyday realities which wasn't necessarily equivalent of the official interpretation provided by the state rhetoric.

Yurchak starts with a general paradox within the ideology of modernity: the split between ideological enunciation, which reflects the theoretical ideals of the Enlightenment, and ideological rule, which are the practical concerns of the modern state's political authority. In Soviet Union the paradox was "solved" by means of dogmatic political closure and elevation of Master signifier [Lenin, Stalin, Party] but it doesn't mean the Western democracies are immune to totalitarian temptation to which the Soviet Union had succumbed. The vast governmental bureaucracy and Quango-state are waiting in the shadows here as well, may be ready to appropriate discourse.

It is hard to agree with everything in his book. But it is an interesting perspective. I wish Alexei Yurchak would explore more implications of Roman Jacobson's "poetic function of language" and its connection to Russian experiment in communism. It seems to me, as a Russian native speaker, that Russians put stress on form, sound, and poetics. The English-language tradition prioritizes content and meaning. Can we speak of "Hermeneutics" of the West versus "Poetics" of Russia? Perhaps the tragedy of Russia was under-development of Hermeneutics? How does one explain the feeble attempts to throw a light of reason into the loopy texts and theories of Marks, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin? Perhaps the Russians read it as a kind of magical text, a poetry, a bad poetry -- not Pasternak or Blok -- but kind of poetry nevertheless?

Nils Gilman on April 23, 2014

A brilliant account of the interior meaning of everyday life for ordinary soviet citizens

Just loved this -- a brilliant study of how everyday citizens (as opposed to active supporters or dissidents) cope with living in a decadent dictatorship, through strategies of ignoring the powerful, focusing on hyperlocal socialities, treating ritualized support for the regime as little more than an annoying chore, and withdrawal into subcultures. Yurchak demolishes the view that the only choices available to late Soviet citizens were either blind support (though his accounts of those figures who chose this path are deeply chilling) or active resistance, while at the same time showing how many of the purported values of Soviet socialism (equality, education, friendship, community, etc) were in fact deeply held by many in the population. While his entire account is a tacit meditation on the manifold unpleasantnesses of living under the Soviet system, Yurchak also makes clear that it was not all unpleasantness and that indeed for some people (such as theoretical physicists) life under Soviet socialism was in some ways freer than for their peers in the West. All of which makes the book function (sotto voce) as an explanation for the nostalgia that many in Russia today feel for Soviet times - something inexplicable to those who claim that Communism was simply and nothing but an evil.

The theoretical vehicle for Yurchak's investigation is the divergence between the performative rather than the constative dimensions of the "authoritative discourse" of the late Soviet regime. One might say that his basic thesis is that, for most Soviet people, the attitude toward the authorities was "They pretend to make statements that corresponded to reality, and we pretend to believe them." Yurchak rightly observes that one can neither interpret the decision to vote in favor of an official resolution or to display a pro-government slogan at a rally as being an unambiguous statement of regime support, nor assume that these actions were directly coerced. People were expected to perform these rituals, but they developed "a complexly differentiating relationship to the ideological meanings, norms, and values" of the Soviet state. "Depending on the context, they might reject a certain meaning, norm or value, be apathetic about another, continue actively subscribing to a third, creatively reinterpret a fourth, and so on." (28-29)

The result was that, as the discourse of the late Soviet period ossified into completely formalist incantations (a process that Yurchak demonstrates was increasingly routinized from the 1950s onwards), Soviet citizens participated in these more for ritualistic reasons than because of fervent belief, which in turn allowed citizens to fill their lives with other sources of identity and meaning. Soviet citizens would go to cafes and talk about music and literature, join a rock band or art collective, take silly jobs that required little effort and thus left room for them to pursue their "interests." The very drabness of the standardizations of Soviet life therefore created new sorts of (admittedly constrained) spaces within which people could define themselves and their (inter)subjective meanings. All of which is to say that the book consists of a dramatic refutation of the "totalitarianism" thesis, demonstrating that despite the totalitarian ambitions of the regime, citizens were continually able to carve out zones of autonomy and identification that transcended the ambitions of the Authoritative discourse.

[Jan 13, 2017] Hypernormalisation

Notable quotes:
"... Normalisation is what has historically happened in the wake of financial crises. During the booms that precede busts, low interest rates encourage people to make investments with borrowed money. However, even after all of the prudent investment opportunities have been taken, people continue borrowing to invest in projects and ideas that are unlikely to ever generate profits. ..."
"... Eventually, the precariousness of some of these later investments becomes apparent. Those that arrive at this realization early sell up, settle their debts and pocket profits, but their selling often triggers a rush for the exits that bankrupts companies and individuals and, in many cases, the banks which lent to them. ..."
"... By contrast, the responses of policy-makers to 2008's financial crisis suggest the psychology of hypernormalisation. Quantitative easing (also known as money printing) and interest rate suppression (to zero percent and, in Europe, negative interest rates) are not working and will never result in sustained increases in productivity, income and employment. However, as our leaders are unable to consider alternative policy solutions, they have to pretend that they are working. ..."
"... Statistical chicanery has helped understate unemployment and inflation while global cooperation has served to obscure the currency depreciation and loss of confidence in paper money (as opposed to 'hard money' such as gold and silver) that are to be expected from rampant money printing. ..."
"... The recent fuss over 'fake news' seems intended to remove alternative news and information sources from a population that, alarmingly for those in charge, is both ever-more aware that the system is not working and less and less willing to pretend that it is . Just this month U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act into law. United States, meet your Ministry of Truth. ..."
"... Great article. I think it does describe the USSA at the present time. Everything works until it doesn't. ..."
"... The funny thing is I had almost identical thoughts just a few days ago. But I was thinking in comparison more of East Germany's last 20 years before they imploded - peacefully, because not a single non-leading-rank person believed any of the official facts anymore (and therefore they even simply ignored orders from high command to crush the Leipzig Monday demonstrations.) ..."
"... I'm ok with a world led by Trump and Putin. ..."
"... I recall the joke from the old Soviet Union: "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work." In the USSA these last few years, Barry pretends to tell the truth. Libtards pretend to believe him. ..."
"... Wrong. They believe him. Look at the gaggle of libtard/shiteaters at Soetero's Friday night bash at the White House. ..."
"... Reagan used to quip that in the Soviet Union, the people pretend to work and the government pretends to pay them. We're not the Soviet Union, but we have become a farce. Next stop - the fall. Followed by chaos, then onto something new. The new elites will just be the old elites, well, the ones that escape the noose. ..."
"... The real ugly problem with the Soviet Union is that whatever they broke it into isn't working well either. ..."
"... Russia's problem post collapse was the good ol' USSA and its capitalist, plunderer banking mavens. ..."
"... The only way to normalize banking in a contemporary banking paradigm of QE Infinity & Beyond is to start over again without the bankers & accountants that knowingly bet the ranch for a short term gain at the expense of long term profitability. In Japan an honourable businessman/CEO would suicide for bringing this kind of devastation to the company shareholders. ..."
"... In America they don't give a shit because it is always someone else other than the CEO that takes the fall. ..."
"... This, after I'd point out his evasion and deflection every time I addressed his bias and belief in the MSM propaganda mantras of racism, misogyny, xenophobia - all the usual labeling bullshit up to insinuating Russia hacked the election ..."
"... I've been using the term Hypernormalisation to describe aspects of western society for the last 15 years, before Adam Curtis's brilliant BBC documentary Hypernormalisation , afflicting western society and particularly politics. There are lies and gross distortions everywhere in western society and it straddles/effects all races, colours, social classes and the disease is most acute in our politics. ..."
"... We all know the hypernoprmalisation in politics, as we witness stories everyday on Zerohedge of the disconnect from reality ..."
"... It is called COGNITIVE DISSONANCE .. ..."
"... "When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit with the core belief." ..."
"... During their final days as a world power, the Soviet Union allowed cognitive dissonance to rule its better judgment as so many Americans are doing in 2012. The handwriting on the wall was pretty clear for Gorbachev. The Soviet economy was failing. They did none of the necessary things to save their economy. In 2012, the handwriting on the wall is pretty clear for the American people. The economy is failing. The people and the Congress do none of the necessary things to save their economy. Why? Go re-read the definition of cognitive dissonance. That's why. We have a classic fight going on between those who want government to take care of them who will pay the price of lost freedom to get that care, and those who value freedom above all else. ..."
"... to me the PTB are "Japanifying" the u.s. (decades of no growth, near total demoralization of a generation of worker bees (as in, 'things will never get any better, be glad for what little you've got' etc... look what they've done to u.s. millenials just since '08... fooled (crushed) them TWICE already) ..."
"... But the PTB Plan B is to emulate the USSR with a crackup, replete with fire sale to oligarchs of public assets. ..."
Jan 08, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Bryce McBride via Mises Canada,

This past November, the filmmaker Adam Curtis released the documentary Hypernormalisation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-fny99f8amM

The term comes from Alexei Yurchak's 2006 book Everything was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation. The book argues that over the last 20 years of the Soviet Union, everyone knew the system wasn't working, but as no one could imagine any alternative, politicians and citizens were resigned to pretending that it was. Eventually this pretending was accepted as normal and the fake reality thus created was accepted as real, an effect which Yurchak termed "hypernormalisation."

Looking at events over the past few years, one wonders if our own society is experiencing the same phenomenon. A contrast with what economic policy-makers term "normalisation" is instructive.

Normalisation is what has historically happened in the wake of financial crises. During the booms that precede busts, low interest rates encourage people to make investments with borrowed money. However, even after all of the prudent investment opportunities have been taken, people continue borrowing to invest in projects and ideas that are unlikely to ever generate profits.

Eventually, the precariousness of some of these later investments becomes apparent. Those that arrive at this realization early sell up, settle their debts and pocket profits, but their selling often triggers a rush for the exits that bankrupts companies and individuals and, in many cases, the banks which lent to them.

In the normalisation which follows (usually held during 'special' bank holidays) auditors and accountants go through financial records and decide which companies and individuals are insolvent (and should therefore go bankrupt) and which are merely illiquid (and therefore eligible for additional loans, pledged against good collateral). In a similar fashion, central bank officials decide which banks are to close and which are to remain open. Lenders made freshly aware of bankruptcy risk raise (or normalise) interest rates and in so doing complete the process of clearing bad debt out of the system. Overall, reality replaces wishful thinking.

While this process is by no means pleasant for the people involved, from a societal standpoint bankruptcy and higher interest rates are necessary to keep businesses focused on profitable investment, banks focused on prudent lending and overall debt levels manageable.

By contrast, the responses of policy-makers to 2008's financial crisis suggest the psychology of hypernormalisation. Quantitative easing (also known as money printing) and interest rate suppression (to zero percent and, in Europe, negative interest rates) are not working and will never result in sustained increases in productivity, income and employment. However, as our leaders are unable to consider alternative policy solutions, they have to pretend that they are working.

To understand why our leaders are unable to consider alternative policy solutions such as interest rate normalization and banking reform one only needs to understand that while such policies would lay the groundwork for a sustained recovery, they would also expose many of the world's biggest banks as insolvent. As the financial sector is a powerful constituency (and a generous donor to political campaigns) the banks get the free money they need, even if such policies harm society as a whole.

As we live in a democratic society, it is necessary for our leaders to convince us that there are no other solutions and that the monetary policy fixes of the past 8 years have been effective and have done no harm.

Statistical chicanery has helped understate unemployment and inflation while global cooperation has served to obscure the currency depreciation and loss of confidence in paper money (as opposed to 'hard money' such as gold and silver) that are to be expected from rampant money printing.

Looking at unemployment figures first, while the unemployment rate is currently very low, the number of Americans of working age not in the labour force is currently at an all-time high of over 95 million people. Discouraged workers who stop looking for work are no longer classified as unemployed but instead become economically inactive, but clearly many of these people really should be counted as unemployed. Similarly, while government statistical agencies record inflation rates of between one and two percent, measures that use methodologies used in the past (such as John Williams' Shadowstats measures) show consumer prices rising at annual rates of 6 to 8 percent. In addition, many people have noticed what has been termed 'shrinkflation', where prices remain the same even as package sizes shrink. A common example is bacon, which used to be sold by the pound but which is now commonly sold in 12 ounce slabs.

Meanwhile central banks have coordinated their money printing to ensure that no major currency (the dollar, the yen, the euro or the Chinese renminbi) depreciates noticeably against the others for a sustained period of time. Further, since gold hit a peak of over $1900 per ounce in 2011, central banks have worked hard to keep the gold price suppressed through the futures market. On more than a few occasions, contracts for many months worth of global gold production have been sold in a matter of a few minutes, with predictable consequences for the gold price. At all costs, people's confidence in and acceptance of the paper (or, more commonly, electronic) money issued by central banks must be maintained.

Despite these efforts people nonetheless sense that something is wrong. The Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump to the White House represent to a large degree a rejection of the fake reality propagated by the policymaking elite. Increasingly, people recognize that a financial system dependent upon zero percent interest rates is not sustainable and are responding by taking their money out of the banks in favour of holding cash or other forms of wealth. In the face of such understanding and resistance, governments are showing themselves willing to use coercion to enforce acceptance of their fake reality.

The recent fuss over 'fake news' seems intended to remove alternative news and information sources from a population that, alarmingly for those in charge, is both ever-more aware that the system is not working and less and less willing to pretend that it is . Just this month U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act into law. United States, meet your Ministry of Truth.

Meanwhile, in India last month, people were told that the highest denomination bills in common circulation would be 'demonetized' or made worthless as of December 30th. People were allowed to deposit or exchange a certain quantity of the demonetized bills in banks but many people who had accumulated their savings in rupee notes (often the poor who did not have bank accounts) have been ruined. Ostensibly, this demonetization policy was aimed at curbing corruption and terrorism, but it is fairly obvious that its real objective was to force people into the banking system and electronic money. Unsurprisingly, the demonetization drive was accompanied by limits on the quantity of gold people are allowed to hold.

Despite such attempts to influence our thinking and our behaviour, we don't need to resign ourselves to pretending that our system is working when it so clearly isn't. Looking at the eventual fate of the Soviet Union, it should be clear that the sooner we abandon the drift towards hypernormalisation and start on the path to normalisation the better off we will be.

DontGive Jan 7, 2017 9:03 PM

CB's printing is not a bug. It's a feature.

Long debt bitches.

Doña K TBT or not TBT Jan 8, 2017 12:05 AM

I did not learn anything from that movie. One man's collage of events.

We just take revenge on the system by living well.

Luc X. Ifer TBT or not TBT Jan 8, 2017 12:06 AM

Correct. I seen with sufficient level of comprehending consciousness the last 5 years of it - copy-cat perfection with the current times in US(S)A, terrifying how similar the times are as it is a clear indication of the times to come.

HRH Feant Jan 7, 2017 9:06 PM

Great article. I think it does describe the USSA at the present time. Everything works until it doesn't.

malek HRH Feant Jan 7, 2017 11:40 PM

The funny thing is I had almost identical thoughts just a few days ago. But I was thinking in comparison more of East Germany's last 20 years before they imploded - peacefully, because not a single non-leading-rank person believed any of the official facts anymore (and therefore they even simply ignored orders from high command to crush the Leipzig Monday demonstrations.)

navy62802 Jan 7, 2017 9:14 PM

I'm ok with a world led by Trump and Putin.

christiangustafson Jan 7, 2017 9:17 PM

Great piece!

I was just thinking that the whole economic world sees us in a sort of equilibrium at the moment. There will be some adjustments under Trump, but nothing serious. We shall see ..

Eeyores Enigma Jan 7, 2017 9:17 PM

Repeat something often enough and it becomes hypernormalised. With that in mind the number of eyes/minds/hits is all that matters. This has been known and exploited for hundreds of years.

That a handful of individuals can have a monopoly over the single most important aspect of whether you live or die is the ultimate success of hypernormalisation. CENTRAL BANKING.

Manipuflation Jan 7, 2017 9:22 PM

Mrs.M is of the last Soviet generation. Her .gov papers say so. There is never a day when I don't hear something soviet. She still has a her red pioneer ribbon. I have tried to encourage her to write about it on ZH so that we know. Do you think she will? No. She's says that we can't understand what it was like no matter what she says.

Mrs.M was born in 1981 so she has lived an interesting life. I married her in 2004 after much paperwork and $15000. I wanted that female because we got along quite well. She is who I needed with me this and I would do it all over again.

Needless to say, I do not support any aggression towards Russia. And to my fellow Americans, I advise caution because the half you are broke ass fucks and are already ropes with me.

That is the only news anyone needs to know.

wisebastard Jan 7, 2017 9:25 PM

the monkeys made me think ZH should make a post with monkeys evolving into humans that then de-evolve into Paul Krugman

GeezerGeek Jan 7, 2017 9:34 PM

I recall the joke from the old Soviet Union: "They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work." In the USSA these last few years, Barry pretends to tell the truth. Libtards pretend to believe him.

BabaLooey GeezerGeek Jan 7, 2017 11:05 PM

Wrong. They believe him. Look at the gaggle of libtard/shiteaters at Soetero's Friday night bash at the White House.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/01/07/stars-obamas-white-hou...

Fucks. ALL of them.

max_leering GeezerGeek Jan 7, 2017 11:35 PM

Geezer, I'd change only one thing... I believe libtards bought Barry's bullshit hook, line and sinker... it was the rest of us who not-so-subtly were saying WTF!!!

Salzburg1756 Jan 7, 2017 9:35 PM

White Nationalists have lived in the real world for decades; the rest of you need to catch up.

JustPastPeacefield Jan 7, 2017 10:06 PM

Reagan used to quip that in the Soviet Union, the people pretend to work and the government pretends to pay them. We're not the Soviet Union, but we have become a farce. Next stop - the fall. Followed by chaos, then onto something new. The new elites will just be the old elites, well, the ones that escape the noose.

evokanivo JustPastPeacefield Jan 7, 2017 10:23 PM

what noose? you think joe 6p is going to identify the culprits? i think not. "no one saw this coming!!!" is still ringing in my ears from the last time.

jm Jan 7, 2017 10:14 PM

I really don't know how people can keep on getting clicks with this tired crap. It didn't happen in 2008 just get over it. The delusional people are the people that think the world is going to end tomorrow.