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[Oct 26, 2020] The Pope wanted to convey some very precise words about the risks involved in an excess of political and ideological polarization

Oct 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

H.Schmatz , Oct 25 2020 13:26 utc | 70

Reported by a center-conservative newspaper, curiously, in yesterady´s hearing with Spanish President, Pedro Sánchez, Pope Francis made a similar analysis to this one from the left, on the similarities of this moment with Weimar, and the need to low the level of political twitching, which only benefits those who seek the destruction of nation states. He referred also to what country, nation and homeland would mean ( and in this, one would say he is on the same line as Putin...)

What the Holy See could know that we do not...?

Francis talks about Weimar

H.Schmatz , Oct 25 2020 16:44 utc | 82

@

[Oct 19, 2020] Hunter Biden's Laptop -Is Not Some Russian Disinformation Campaign-; DNI Ratcliffe Slams Schiff

Oct 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

It appears the "Russia, Russia, Russia" cries from Adam Schiff and his dutiful media peons is dead (we can only hope) as Director of National Intel John Ratcliffe just confirmed to Foxx Business' Maria Bartiromo that:

"Hunter Biden's laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign."

As Politico's Quint Forgey details (@QuintForgey) , DNI Ratcliffe is asked directly whether accusations leveled against the Bidens in recent days are part of a Russian disinformation effort.

He says no:

"Let me be clear. The intelligence community doesn't believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that."

" We have shared no intelligence with Chairman Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden's laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign. It's simply not true. "

"And this is exactly what I said would I stop when I became the director of national intelligence, and that's people using the intelligence community to leverage some political narrative."

"And in this case, apparently Chairman Schiff wants anything against his preferred political candidate to be deemed as not real and as using the intelligence community or attempting to use the intelligence community to say there's nothing to see here."

"Don't drag the intelligence community into this. Hunter Biden's laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign. And I think it's clear that the American people know that."

Of course, this 'fact' from 'intelligence' is unlikely to stop the "emails are Russian" narrative growing ever louder as MSM attempt to distract from the actual content of the emails. As Caitlin Johnstone noted:

So "the emails are Russian" narrative serves the interests of political convenience, partisan media ratings, and the national security state's pre-planned agenda to continue escalating against Russia as part of its slow motion third world war against nations which refuse to bow to US dictates, and you've got essentially no critical mainstream news coverage putting the brakes on any of it. This means this narrative is going to become mainstream orthodoxy and treated as an established fact, despite the fact that there is no actual, tangible evidence for it.

Joe Biden could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and the mainstream press would crucify any journalist who so much as tweeted about it. Very little journalism is going into vetting and challenging him, and a great deal of the energy that would normally be doing so is going into ensuring that he slides right into the White House.

If the mainstream news really existed to tell you the truth about what's going on, everyone would know about every questionable decision that Joe Biden has ever made, Russiagate would never have happened, we'd all be acutely aware of the fact that powerful forces are pushing us into increasingly aggressive confrontations with two nuclear-armed nations, and Trump would be grilled about Yemen in every press conference.

But the mainstream news does not exist to tell you the truth about the world. The mainstream news exists to advance the interests of its wealthy owners and the status quo upon which they have built their kingdoms. That's why it's so very, very important that we find ways to break away from it and share information with each other that isn't tainted by corrupt and powerful interests.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

* * *

As we detailed previously, as the Hunter Biden laptop scandal threatens to throw the 2020 election into chaos with what appears to be solid, undisputed evidence of high-level corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the same crowd which peddled the Trump-Russia hoax is now suggesting that Russia is behind it all .

To wit, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who swore on National television that he had evidence Trump was colluding with Russia - now says that President Trump is handing the Kremlin a "propaganda coup from Vladimir Putin."

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1317432785070706688&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fhunter-bidens-laptop-not-some-russian-disinformation-campaign-dni-ratcliffe-slams-schiff&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has gone full tin-foil , suggesting that Giuliani was a 'key target' of 'Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.'

2/ Russia knew it had to play a different game than 2016. So it built an operation to cull virulently pro-Trump Americans as pseudo-assets, so blind in their allegiance to Trump that they'll willingly launder Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.

Guiliani was a key target.

-- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 17, 2020

Headlines in major publications are perhaps even more conspiratorial:

And of course, propagandists are doing their thing...

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1317443500330373120&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fpolitical%2Fhunter-bidens-laptop-not-some-russian-disinformation-campaign-dni-ratcliffe-slams-schiff&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Yet, if one looks at the actual facts of the case - in particular, that Hunter Biden appears to have dropped his own laptops off at a computer repair shop, signed a service ticket , and the shop owner approached the FBI first and Rudy Giuliani last after Biden failed to pick them up, the left's latest Russia conspiracy theory is quickly debunked .

* * *

Authored by Larry C Johnson via Sic Semper Tyrannis (emphasis ours)

This is the story of an American patriot, an honorable man, John Paul Mac Issac, who tried to do the right thing and is now being unfairly and maliciously slandered as an agent of foreign intelligence, specifically Russia. He is not an agent or spy for anyone. He is his own man. How do I know? I have known his dad for more than 20 years. I've known John Paul's dad as Mac. Mac is a decorated Vietnam Veteran, who flew gunships in Vietnam. And he continued his military service with an impeccable record until he retired as an Air Force Colonel. The crews of those gunships have an annual reunion and Mac usually takes John Paul along, who volunteers his computer and video skills to record and compile the stories of those brave men who served their country in a difficult war.

This story is very simple – Hunter Biden dropped off three computers with liquid damage at a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware on April 12, 2019. The owner, John Mac Issac, examined the three and determined that one was beyond recovery, one was okay and the data on the harddrive of the third could be recovered. Hunter signed the service ticket and John Paul Mac Issac repaired the hard drive and down loaded the data . During this process he saw some disturbing images and a number of emails that concerned Ukraine, Burisma, China and other issues . With the work completed, Mr. Mac Issac prepared an invoice, sent it to Hunter Biden and notified him that the computer was ready to be retrieved. H unter did not respond . In the ensuing four months (May, June, July and August), Mr. Mac Issac made repeated efforts to contact Hunter Biden. Biden never answered and never responded. More importantly, Biden stiffed John Paul Mac Issac–i.e., he did not pay the bill.

When the manufactured Ukraine crisis surfaced in August 2019, John Paul realized he was sitting on radioactive material that might be relevant to the investigation. After conferring with his father, Mac and John Paul decided that Mac would take the information to the FBI office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mac walked into the Albuquerque FBI office and spoke with an agent who refused to give his name. Mac explained the material he had, but was rebuffed by the FBI. He was told basically, get lost . This was mid-September 2019.

Two months passed and then, out of the blue, the FBI contacted John Paul Mac Issac. Two FBI agents from the Wilmington FBI office–Joshua Williams and Mike Dzielak–came to John Paul's business . He offered immediately to give them the hard drive, no strings attached. Agents Williams and Dzielak declined to take the device .

Two weeks later, the intrepid agents called and asked to come and image the hard drive. John Paul agreed but, instead of taking the hard drive or imaging the drive, they gave him a subpoena. It was part of a grand jury proceeding but neither agent said anything about the purpose of the grand jury. John Paul complied with the subpoena and turned over the hard drive and the computer.

In the ensuing months, starting with the impeachment trial of President Trump, he heard nothing from the FBI and knew that none of the evidence from the hard drive had been shared with President Trump's defense team.

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The lack of action and communication with the FBI led John Paul to make the fateful decision to contact Rudy Giuliani's office and offer a copy of the drive to the former mayor. We now know that Rudy accepted John Paul's offer and that Rudy's team shared the information with the New York Post.

John Paul Mac Issac is not responsible for the emails, images and videos recovered from Hunter Biden's computer. He was hired to do a job, he did the job and submitted an invoice for the work. Hunter Biden, for some unexplained reason, never responded and never asked for the computer. But that changed last Tuesday, October 13, 2020. A person claiming to be Hunter Biden's lawyer called John Paul Mac Issac and asked for the computer to be returned. Too late. That horse had left the barn and was with the FBI.

John Paul, acting under Delaware law, understood that Hunter's computer became the property of his business 90 days after it had been abandoned.

At no time did John Paul approach any media outlet or tabloid offering to sell salacious material . A person of lesser character might have tried to profit. But that is not the essence of John Paul Mac Issac. He had information in his possession that he learned, thanks to events subsequent to receiving the computer for a repair job, was relevant to the security of our nation. He did what any clear thinking American would do–he, through his father, contacted the FBI. When the FBI finally responded to his call for help, John cooperated fully and turned over all material requested .

The failure here is not John Paul's . He did his job. The FBI dropped the ball and, by extension, the Department of Justice. Sadly, this is becoming a disturbing, repeating theme–the FBI through incompetence or malfeasance is not doing its job.

Any news outlet that is publishing the damnable lie that John Paul is part of some subversive effort to interfere in the United States Presidential election is on notice. That is slander and defamation. Fortunately, the evidence from Hunter Biden's computer is in the hands of the FBI and Rudy Giuliani and, I suspect, the U.S. Senate. Those with the power to do something must act. John Paul Mac Issac's honor is intact. We cannot say the same for those government officials who have a duty to deal with this information.

* * *

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[Oct 19, 2020] The neocon/NATO aggressive expansionism and anti-Russian hysteria has many purposes, but one is surely domestic repression: to gaslight and cause fear-the-foreign-bogeyman trauma among the American and British people

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The neocon/NATO aggressive expansionism has many purposes, but one is surely domestic repression: to gaslight and cause fear-the-foreign-bogeyman trauma among the American and British people as a whole and make most of them become docile and lose their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyze their own societies. ..."
"... One of the best ways to lobotomize the publics of the US and UK is to very gradually impose martial law in the name of protecting national security and ensuring peace and harmony at home. ..."
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Dao Gen ,

Dao Gen , Oct 17 2020 18:05 utc | 19

The neocon/NATO aggressive expansionism has many purposes, but one is surely domestic repression: to gaslight and cause fear-the-foreign-bogeyman trauma among the American and British people as a whole and make most of them become docile and lose their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyze their own societies.

One of the best ways to lobotomize the publics of the US and UK is to very gradually impose martial law in the name of protecting national security and ensuring peace and harmony at home.

After several color revolutions succeeded, the Russiagate/Spygate op was carried out in the US, with British assistance. This op has been largely successful, though there has been limited resistance against its whole fake edifice as well as with the logic of Cold War2.0. Nevertheless, Spygate has shocked many tens of millions of Dems into a stupor, while millions more are dazed and manipulated by the Chinese bogeyman being manufactured by Trump.

The most dangerous result of the martial law lite mentality caused by Spygate and its MSM purveyors is the growing support for censorship of free speech coming mostly from the Dems, such as Schiff and Warner. The danger inherent in this trend became very clear when FaceBook and Twitter engaged in massive and unprecedented arbitrary censorship of the New York Post and of various Trump-related accounts.

This is the kind of thing you do during Stage 1 of a coup. Surely it was at least in part an experiment to see how various power points in the US would respond. Even though Twitter ended the censorship later, it was probably a successful experiment designed to gauge reactions and areas of resistance.

In November, there could be further, more serious experiments/ops. If so, the current expansionist movements being made and planned by the US and NATO may well be integral parts of a new non-democratic model of "American-style democracy" -- not constitution-based but "rules-based."

[Oct 14, 2020] The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy -- RT Op-ed

Oct 14, 2020 | www.rt.com

The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy 30 Sep, 2020 16:19 Get short URL The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo © Getty Images / Alex Wong 182 1 Follow RT on RT

Tom Fowdy is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

His Holiness declining to meet the US secretary of state when he visited the Vatican on his European tour further proves that his misguided America-first chauvinism is alienating more nations than it's winning as friends.

Pompeo, everyone's favourite Cold Warrior and American chauvinist, is on a European tour . Visiting Greece, Italy, Croatia, and notably, the Vatican, the secretary of state is on a roll to win support for American security and energy interests across the region. But he wasn't welcomed by all. Attending the Holy See today, the US' 'top diplomat' found himself snubbed by the Pope as he rolled into town peddling his vitriolic anti-China agenda, and demanding the Church take on Beijing and refuse to renew a deal that gives it a say in the appointment of bishops within that country. Pope Francis wasn't too impressed and refused to meet him accordingly.

The snub is significant, because it reflects more broadly how Pompeo's highly aggressive and evangelical foreign policy agenda is being received around the world. In short, it's a shambles. Rather than respectfully and constructively engage with the interests of other countries, on his watch, the State Department does nothing but pressure other nations. And it does this while parroting the clichéd talking points of American exceptionalism, hysterical anti-Communism, and a refusal to take into account the interests and practicalities faced by its partners. The Vatican has its differences with Beijing, but how would embarking on a collision course help it or the cause of Catholics in China? It wouldn't.

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Pompeo is repeatedly described by major US newspapers, the Washington Post among them, as " the worst secretary of state in American history," and it's no surprise why. Diplomacy requires the skills of understanding, prudence, compromise, calibration, and negotiation. The current man in charge of America's relations with the rest of the world has none of those in his armoury – only a one-sided diatribe about how every nation Washington holds a grudge against is evil and a threat to the world, and the US' own political system is far superior (as demonstrated by last night's presidential debate, perhaps ?). Pompeo repeatedly positions himself as speaking on behalf of other nations' people against their governments, while pushing a policy that amounts to little more than bullying.

A look at Pompeo and the State Department's Twitter feed shows it to be a unilateral, repetitive loop of the following topics: 'The Chinese Communist Party is evil and a threat to the world', 'Iran is an evil terrorist state', American values are the best', 'We stand with the people of X', and so on, ad nauseam. To describe it as hubris would be generous, and, of course, it does nothing to support the equally inadequate foreign policy of the United States in practice. This is further distorted by the unilateralist and anti-global governance politics of Donald Trump, which place emphasis only on the projection of power to force other countries into capitulating to American demands.

Against such a backdrop, it's no surprise that a toxic mixture of foreign policymaking has led to other countries not being willing to take notice of Washington. It's winning neither hearts nor minds, and it's this that has set the stage for not only the Vatican snub, but the largely fruitless outcomes of his European adventures. Pompeo's visit to Greece produced no meaningful agreements or outcomes of note , and he failed to get Athens to publicly commit to any anti-China measures or even statements. A similar non-result was achieved from his visit to the Czech Republic a month or so ago – the Czech prime minister even came out and played down Pompeo's comments , after he engaged in a spree of anti-Beijing vitriol.

So, what's at stake for the Vatican? Undoubtedly, religion is a sensitive topic in mainland China. The Chinese state sees unfettered religion as a threat to social stability, or as a potential vehicle for imperialism against the country, and thus has aimed to strongly regulate it under terms and conditions set by the state.

ALSO ON RT.COM Oxford University's 'scholarly' RT hit piece has no room for the mundane reality of how the world's news organisations work

This has caused tensions with the Roman Catholic Church, which maintains a strict ecclesiastical hierarchy, answering to the Vatican and not national governments. With China being the world's most populous country, having among its vast population nine million Catholics, this means the Church has had to negotiate and compromise with the Beijing government to maintain its influence and control, and to secure the rights of its members to worship. This has resulted in a 'deal' whereby the Vatican can have a say in the appointment of its bishops in China, rather than the Church being completely subordinate to the government.

But Pompeo doesn't care about these sensitivities – he wants one thing: Cold War. He wants unbridled, unrestrained, and evangelical condemnation of China and, as noted above, is utilizing his 'diplomatic visits' to push that demand. However, building a foreign policy on preaching America First unilateralism, chauvinism, and zero compromise not surprisingly has its limitations. As a result, Pompeo is finding himself isolated and ignored in more than a few areas. Thus it was that, rather than completely squandering the Vatican's interests in diplomacy with China, Pope Francis simply refused to meet him. For someone as fanatically religious and pious as Pompeo, that's a pretty damning indictment of the incompetence within the US State Department right now.

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[Oct 06, 2020] -Joe Biden's 'war economy' policies are a radical break with the status quo.- Telegraph - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Oct 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Joe Biden's 'war economy' policies are a radical break with the status quo." Telegraph


"Bidenomics is a heady brew. The Democrats' $7.9 trillion blast of extra spending is a step beyond Roosevelt's New Deal. It mimics the Keynesian expansion of the Second World War and consciously aims to run the economy at red-hot speeds of growth.

If enacted in full, it is large enough to lift the US economy out of the zero-rate deflationary trap of the last decade and entirely reshape the social and financial landscape.

The stimulus will be corralled inside the closed US economy by Joe Biden's protectionist "Buy America" policies, his industrial strategy, and his carbon border tax (i.e. disguised tariffs against China). This limits leakage.

It is a laboratory of sorts for a post-globalisation experiment in what used to be called "reflation in one country" – before the free flow of goods and capital emasculated sovereign governments.

"It's quite likely that, just as in World War II, when we push down on the economic accelerator, we will find that we have been running on one cylinder up until no w," said the Roosevelt Institute, now advisors to the Biden campaign .

This is why Moody's Analytics estimates that Bidenomics accompanied by a Democrat clean sweep of Congress would lift American GDP by an extra 4.8pc, add an extra seven million jobs, and raise per capita income by an extra $4,800 over the next four years , compared to a clean sweep by Donald Trump. Economic growth would rocket to 7.7pc in 2022." Telegraph ------------- Evans-Pritchard, the author of this piece baldly declares that the Trump tax cut failed to stimulate economic growth and that a clean sweep by the Democrats in November would lead to massive GDP growth and a reduction in present economic inequalities in American society. I will be very interested in your comments. pl

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/10/06/joe-bidens-war-economy-policies-radical-break-status-quo/


Fred , 06 October 2020 at 12:19 PM

That's a fine read Col. Thank goodness that after 47 years as a politician, including 8 years as VP - during which TARP did what? - Biden finally has a plan to Tax and Spend that beats all the Tax and Spend plans that went before this one.

Just what is this getting spent on - the same things Obama-Biden promised, "green" (the color of money) energy, solar charging stations and 1.5 million energy efficient homes (didn't the Housing bubble cause a little economic problem?), 'educaiton'! I wonder if that includes teaching us all critical race theory? and "infrastructure". And here I thought broken records were out of style.

Where's the money coming from? According to Oxfordeconomics, which the Guardian links to, Biden's raising taxes, but it won't lower consumer spending:
".... we estimate an overall multiplier of 0.25 for the individual provisions in Biden's tax package. So, for every dollar of tax increase, households would reduce their spending by 25 cents. As such, while the proposal would generate a substantial revenue inflow, we don'tbelieve it would significantly constrain consumer spending."

So what is the decline in corporate spending if you raise corporate taxes? The economists at Oxfordeconomics conveniently left that out, nor did they eplicitly tell you that a decade of tax revenue will still leave you with 60 years of tax burden from Joe's spending.

"On the corporate tax front, the most significant revenue raisers are:•A 7ppt increase in the statutory corporate tax rate to 28%, which would raise $1.3tn over 10years.•An increase in taxes on foreign earnings.•A 15% minimum tax on global book income.•The elimination of several real estate investment tax preferences." (Oooh look, Trump's screwed! Yeah! I wonder how all those REITs look with that?)

Another unasked question: Who is going to do all that economy stimulating work if there is a national lockdown due to Covid?

GEORGE CHAMBERLAIN , 06 October 2020 at 12:20 PM

what's new?

"LaRouche's comments were prompted by an article published in the Telegraph on May 19 by British intelligence stringer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, whose experience in orchestrating U.S. impeachment drives for the British goes back to his attacks on President Bill Clinton. Evans-Pritchard, on the eve of Trump's first trip abroad as President, is spreading the black propaganda line that Trump might already be incapacitated, in much the same way as President Richard Nixon was incapacitated by then-Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, who "instructed U.S. military officials to ignore any order from the Oval Office to use nuclear weapons."

Evans-Pritchard asserts that the key to overthrowing Trump is to pull Republican support away from him, which he admits is still strong. But what happens next? He quotes Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former British UN ambassador and now chairman at Gatehouse Advisory Partners: "America can be very powerful if it decides to act hard. Xi Jinping and Putin will probably wait and see whether Trump self-destructs." Evans-Pritchard then raises the question: How will Trump behave "when the special prosecutor [Robert Mueller] starts to let rip with a volley of subpoenas."

Leith , 06 October 2020 at 12:23 PM

I like the idea of a Carbon Border Tax. Or at least the one proposed by the EU, as I have not seen Biden's proposal. It has never made sense to me that we import from countries with low environmental standards when our own manufacturers are handicapped.

But unless Biden can carry Democratic Senatorial challengers against GOP incumbents it ain't gonna happen. It will be stalled in the Senate. There is no way McConnell will even allow it on the Senate floor.

Stag Deflated , 06 October 2020 at 12:40 PM

This thinking has been wrong, repeatedly so, for the last 10 years. The idea that there is just one more pedal to push down to jumpstart the economy belies the truth that we have experienced the most accommodative and expansive monetary policy on a global level in modern times.

Aside from the lack of efficacy, which I may look to discuss at length later on, there is another striking thing about this plan, and that is how it will be paid for. The reason is not the traditional "where will the money come from" I know where it will come from, cheap US debt, but it tells us two key things. The first is that the functional ideas of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that you can basically just issue debt and have your central bank both monetize it and keep the interest payments low and use that to fund largely unlimited government spending have for the most part been endorsed by those on the left as a mechanism to deliver on their grand plans. The second thing that is striking though is what they want to spend the money on, which is military spending and infrastructure and not healthcare and a green new deal. This calls into question what alignment there is on the cadres of the left or the possibility that starting with infrastructure is a way to run cover to expand these fantasy economics to social projects without reorienting the economy towards their achievement.

Veg , 06 October 2020 at 12:48 PM

Evans-Pritchard's talents are wasted on economic commentary. He writes well, but in the breathless tones of a failed thriller writer. His entire worldview is based on the notion that it is always two minutes to midnight. It's a shame that they put all of his stuff behind a paywall.

Maybe if Biden's plan is approved we will finally see the inflation that Wall Street and its media minions have been whining about for the past forty years.

I have no doubt that the collapsing pocket that is Conservative Inc will luxuriate back on the familiar loser's ground of "fiscal responsibility."

Biden's plan, such as it is, simply marries the essence of Trump's nationalist policies with Great Society spending levels. Like so much of his platform, it is designed to keep the progressives on the plantation until Nov 3 and not one minute beyond.

Deap , 06 October 2020 at 12:51 PM

Sure it will. The devil is in the details. When has any Democrat economic plan ever produced intended results. First they have to confess what went wrong with their trillion dollar "War on Poverty" that now requires another trillion to pretend to clean up that grotesquely distorted mess.

Until they confess to their sins of the past, they are doomed to repeat them. How are they going to remedy their decades of teacher union K1-2 fail turning out entire generations of dysfunctional illiterates who are somehow going to be absorbed into this dynamite economy.

They are sitting in the back room smoking dope and spinning tales. What I hear is wealth confiscation and/or turning on the printing presses. Time for a good recap of Obama's initial "Green Jobs Revolution" from his first term - who did those promise work out and why are we having to undo the piles of excrement Biden First Term left behind.

I have a bad case of deja vu When in fact the Trump Tweaking was paying long term dividends, until the deep state hijacked covid to destroy any possible Trump bragging rights. Never forget Nancy Pelosi tearing up Trump's SOTU address and declaring they were all lies -- and then carrying out her covid porn agenda to make sure she was proven correct.

Remember the three generation rule - all revolutionary and planned economies always fail by the third generation. Soviet Union, Margaret Thatcher's warning, Cuba, etc ......if all the wealth in the world was redistributed, it would be back in similar hands three generations later. Societies always stratify, even since the Sumerians.

America is unique primarily because of the mobility it offers between the strata by its relatively free market system. Don't mess with it. Democrat's heavy handed planned utopia is a nightmare.

j. casey , 06 October 2020 at 01:10 PM

"Bidenomics" is comedy gold, man. Here's another one: President "Printing Press" Harris.

A. Pols , 06 October 2020 at 01:14 PM

Yup, and I've got some ocean front property in Arizona for sale. Sounds very hopey changey to me.

Diana Croissant , 06 October 2020 at 01:17 PM

I am no economist. However, I am not in debt. I am not wealthy, but I have all I need and want. I've worked very hard during my life and enjoyed my jobs because they were suited to my training and kislls. My retirement funds keep me comfortable. My two sons are doing well in our current economy. That's, of course, a self-centered view of the situation.

But, with that in mind, I say this: "beware of Greeks bearing gifts." (I know Biden is not Greek, but I hope you get my point.)

I am also remembering the Obama administration. I may receive only an Obama phone and an EBT card.

blue peacock , 06 October 2020 at 01:27 PM

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is generally a very astute writer. However, on economics and national fiscal policies and central banking he has bought into the Davos sophistry that defies common sense for over a decade.

An example of this sophistry is this line from the passage in your post - "..lift the US economy out of the zero-rate deflationary trap of the last decade...". Ask an average American if they've seen any price deflation in their rents or house prices, their kid's tuition, their health care premiums, their cost of pharmaceuticals, the cost of tacos at their neighborhood taqueria, the cost of getting their shirt cleaned, over the past decade and they'll laugh at you. The cost of living of average Americans have risen and that is the real living experience. But of course if you're Ben Bernanke or Mario Draghi or Jerome Powell or Ms. Lagarde then we are in a "deflationary trap" and they should print more and more money that gets shipped first to their friends on Wall St. The Party of Davos as Jack called it.

Under the government enforced lockdown, how many trillions has the US federal government under the Trump administration borrowed from future generations in the first and now the second stimulus waiting for approval? How many trillions did Jerome Powell print up and send to his friends at Blackrock and Citadel?

GDP is a useless indicator IMO. Digging trenches and filling them up will raise GDP. A very important indicator however is productivity growth. That has been lagging for many years. Another are median household income & wealth, which has also been lagging. What we've seen in the US is a dramatic increase in wealth inequality between the top 0.1% vs the bottom 80% over the past 50 years and this curve continues to accelerate - second order derivative!! The second is the level of systemic debt across all sectors - individuals, corporate and government at all levels that has continuously risen over 50 years increasing systemic leverage to a point larger than during the civil war and WW II. This has occurred under both parties and the Trump presidency has actually increased it despite the rhetoric. Compare the Balance of Trade relative to the soundbites.

https://d3fy651gv2fhd3.cloudfront.net/embed/?s=ustbtot&v=202010061328V20200908&d1=20101009&h=300&w=600

A systematic restructuring of our economy away from financialization, away from bailouts of the oligarchy, away from unprecedented market concentration, away from untrammeled credit expansion to back previous credit losses and having a monetary authority with a singular focus on sound money is what's necessary. But that's not gonna happen under either Trump or Biden as it will gore the ox of the Party of Davos whose interests is what both sides primarily cater to. More debt-fueled government spending always ends up as socialism for the oligarchy which is exactly what we've had for decades. It is an economic truism that as productivity of debt continually declines, economic productivity also declines. That's the trap we are in!

LondonBob , 06 October 2020 at 01:46 PM

Been very happy with my gold investments these past two years and will stick with them thanks, Biden would supercharge them.

Longer term I am looking to have most of my money in Asia, Russian oil companies also seem to like drilling for oil, rather than desperately trying to be anything else than producing oil like BP and the rest. Demographics are dire for most of the West and the US is likely to continue transitioning in to a Latin American style country. People have been well conditioned in to not talking about such things but no point talking about the increasing economic dysfunction without talking about the underlying cause. A massive increase in immigration will lead to a surge in inequality, anemic economic growth, fiscal deficits and a decline in gdp per capita.

Time to start think about investments the way a well to do Latin would.

BillWade , 06 October 2020 at 01:57 PM

Well, Biden has to get elected first, we'll see. Carbon taxes, hmmm - another way to destroy the middle-class?

Something to think about is the European Central Bank, they are a meeting late this month with "experts" to determine if they will go to a digital currency. The ECB might then decide the "experts" are right and go full digital on Jan 1st, 2021. We might see a whole lot of Euro money coming into the USA, hope so. However, the Federal Reserve has not been printing any new bank notes so you'll have trouble finding crisp bills for Christmas gifts.

Oilman2 , 06 October 2020 at 02:10 PM

IMO, based on the debt current and future we are loading on the backs of our children, it matters not a whit which of the paths are chosen. Both will end in destruction of said debt by some method - because you can only load so much on horseback and still ride. As we stand now, we are walking alongside a swaybacked packhorse already. Closing off the country, where the only growth has been in the services sector for decades, makes sense in what universe?

Raise taxes? They have only ever increased in my lifetime, my fathers and his. At what point does the Boston Tea Party repeat? From where I sit, everything either party does is only adding fuel to a coming conflagration, as nothing is actually paid for - a ledger entry is aggregated and we march on. The piper will get paid, as he has the children...

tedrichard , 06 October 2020 at 02:32 PM

1.socialism and keynesian economics as a viable theory dead dead right now....today and politicians know it
2. central banks are trapped at zero bound interest rates with no way under heretofore main stream economic theories to stimulate their respective economies
3. politicians are largely dumb as a bag of hammers with not a shred of understanding what to do other than to listen to think tanks warmed over rehashed ideas that have not worked in the past and won't now.
4. what biden is proposing is MMT with communist thomas piketty theory disguised as classical keynesian nonsense being sold to a public almost as dumb as those doing the selling
5. in order to make this works they will have to institute guranteed basic income for the umpteen millions of people who will NEVER work again under this policy of bullshit
6. and lastly to ensure NO ONE can escape this trap which will evolve into an UGLY neo feudalism for 99% of the populace this team of genuinely EVIL people will have to CANCEL ALL paper money FORCING everyone to have a bank account for using digital money THE ONLY money that can exist if this comes to pass. banks loves this as it gives them a cut of all the action
7.as a result taxes will be anything they want and YOU have no escape or recourse whatsoever
8. say the wrong thing, think the wrong thing and your economic life under digital money will be cancelled placing you into destitution and death
9. this is a recipe for slavery on a gigantic scale ensuring the 1/10 of 1% can rule without disturbance forever
10 revolution will be the only option at that point and since the police and military will continue to be paid by the state it will be bloody

let see you pl print this

Deap , 06 October 2020 at 04:22 PM

On the other hand, if this scheme promises to bring back the Jimmy Carter 14% interest rates on CD's for us retired folks, I say bring it on. Everyone else will just have to deal with the economic rubble later on their own.

I just need another good 15 years or so myself. In other words, never believe old people when it comes to managing the US economy- our goals are selfish and very short term. So like, what's in this for meeeeeee?

Deap , 06 October 2020 at 04:27 PM

Biden must have listened to AOC for this fiscal policy advice. Bring back chicken coops and victory gardens, and turn in your scrap metal because we are WAR.

Bobo , 06 October 2020 at 05:04 PM

What in God's name is Biden having a Brit pushing his economic plan. We all know they embellish everything which then falls apart into pieces. Yes, Fred I remember those +14% interest rates I paid on my mortgage and still kick myself for not taking the 100k down payment and putting it into a 14% 30 year CD and renting. But then we all have those memories. Sure would not want my grandchildren paying those rates on a 500k mortgage as it would kill the real estate business and this country.
Sleepy Joe will be ready for the assisted living center by year two and we would be stuck with Checkbook Harris, UGH. Vote for the Bullcrapper that gets things done.

Les Priest , 06 October 2020 at 05:05 PM

Ahem; This has been done before: After Hitler was elected in 1933; He slammed the borders shut to money transfer, then started building the autobahn. It worked, Germany came out of the slump. Of course, Hitler then moved on to building planes & tanks. Also, Modern Monetary theory says you can run the printing presses & print money like mad, as long as that paper is going into a real, working economy, it gets recycled. That does not describe the current 'developed world' economy; the FIRE economy (finance, insurance, real estate) has eaten it's own tail. When all the other assets have jacked up half way to the moon, there will be another gold rush (same as 1930s) & my shack in northern BC will shake with all the helicopters flying around to work up new gold mines.

English Outsider , 06 October 2020 at 06:46 PM

Candidate Donald Trump's 2016 programme was clear. Bring industry back home. Ditto the troops. Ensure an adequate defence. Drain the swamp.

Looked good. I hadn't realised that his main achievement would be somewhat simpler. Stay functioning in office in the face of the most dangerous series of attacks on an American President that can have been seen since the early nineteenth century.

So clearly he's going to need another term in office to get on with all the things he should have been able to get on with in the first.


Candidate Joe Biden was, I thought at first, stealing part of the Trump 2016 programme. Bring industry back home. Turns out not - as far as I can see America will remain the most heavily industrialised country going. But, as in my own country, much of the industry will still be abroad. With the jobs.

As with my own country Biden's America will be environmentally virtuous. It'll hit some good targets. It'll not use as much fossil fuel. Yesterday's heavy polluters - the coal mines and steel mills - won't pollute any more.

Fake. Again as with my own country the dirty industries we still rely on will still be roaring full steam ahead. Coal will still be mined. Steel will still be produced. But elsewhere.

So Candidate Joe Biden will not be the man to put that part of the Trump 2016 programme into action. He'll be the man who continues with the fake environmentalism we've already seen so much of. Naturally, if the heavy industry is outsourced so is our pollution. Doesn't look that clever a trick to me, even if it fools the eco-warriors.

[Oct 06, 2020] In backing Biden, the leftist 'resistance' to Trump is perpetuating illegal US invasions wars, handing victory to the neocons -- RT Op-ed

Oct 06, 2020 | www.rt.com

In backing Biden, the leftist 'resistance' to Trump is perpetuating illegal US invasions & wars, & handing victory to the neocons Michael Rectenwald Michael Rectenwald

is an author of ten books, including the most recent, Beyond Woke . He was Professor of Liberal Arts at NYU from 2008 through 2019. Follow him on Twitter @TheAntiPCProf 6 Oct, 2020 17:17 Get short URL In backing Biden, the leftist 'resistance' to Trump is perpetuating illegal US invasions & wars, & handing victory to the neocons A supporter of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden wears a Captain America costume during a gathering outside Perez Art Museum before his arrival for a town hall event in Miami, Florida, U.S., October 5, 2020 © REUTERS / Marco Bello 31 Follow RT on RT Trump calls the Iraqi invasion 'a disaster,' wants to end 'endless wars,' and bring US troops home. It's this that has fueled the deep state's attempts to remove him from office by any means possible. The hawks want Biden to win.

In a recent op-ed on RT, I outlined the puzzling and ironic configuration that is the anti-Trump 'resistance.' But I didn't explore one important 'interest group' within a 'deep state' intent on destroying Trump's presidency at all costs -- namely, the neocon hawks of both major political parties and the military and intelligence establishments that defy strict party affiliation.

This contingent includes members of top military brass and intelligence officers , of course, but also military and intelligence contractors, including those employed by the permanent bureaucracy to foil Trump's first run for the presidency by attempting to tie him to "Russian collusion ."

Condemn Trump all you want. It's quite fashionable and facile to do so. The penchant has long since leaked across the Atlantic via the US and international media establishments. But critics must be either uninformed or disingenuous to liken Trump to Hitler . Hitler was, after all, a fascist strong man and supremacist intent on militarism and world expansionism. And Trump is nothing of the sort.

READ MORE Joe Biden isn't a foreign policy guru. He's a Stepford wife repeating 'War Party' talking points Joe Biden isn't a foreign policy guru. He's a Stepford wife repeating 'War Party' talking points The Trump Doctrine

Quite the contrary, Trump wants no part of expansionism. He has insisted that he deplores the endless wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan . Trump has been removing troops from both regions since his presidency began. And he's reportedly been foiled in efforts for a complete withdrawal by his generals . But now he may be prepared to flout their prerogatives and take matters into his own hands, if given a second term.

While Trump touts a strengthened military , the Trump Doctrine involves a particular brand of populist American nationalism . This includes a foreign policy stemming from 19th-century Republican politics . Those who have subscribed to this political position have been traditionally non-interventionist, while demanding that a premium be laid on national self-determination, the protection of national sovereignty via strong borders, and the promotion of national self-interest over international or global entanglements.

Trump has suggested that the military brass wants to start wars to enrich military contractors.

The hue and cry coming from the political establishment over Trump's foreign military policy is a thin scrim to cover for the interests of the military industrial complex. And the interests of the military industrial complex are for its own expansion and the profits that derive from it.

ALSO ON RT.COM The Rock may back Biden, but most celebrity endorsements are career opportunism which is why they NEVER come out for Republicans Why the hawks want Biden

Trump's foreign policy on the limited use of military force runs counter to those of the Bush-Cheney and Obama-Biden administrations. Both of these followed the orders of neocon hawks. Shocking his left-wing base, Obama retained many of Bush's top cabinet members, including war hawk Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And, of course, then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) voted in favor of and championed the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

The Obama administration not only continued the Bush campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, it extended them with record-breaking bombings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya. Recall that it was Obama who murdered, via a drone bomb, sixteen-year-old US citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Abdulrahman was the son of alleged al-Qaeda fighter (and American citizen) Anwar Awlaki, who Obama had bombed two weeks earlier, in Yemen. In fairness it must be noted that a US raid in Yemen resulted in the death of Abdulrahman's 8-year-old sister in 2017. But it was Obama who exploded the conflict in Yemen.

READ MORE Trump-Biden debate put US democracy on display – we're now little more than the world's laughing stock armed with nukes Trump-Biden debate put US democracy on display – we're now little more than the world's laughing stock armed with nukes

The Obama-Biden international adventurism extended to the invasion of Libya and the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, an escapade that destabilized that country and led directly to the arming of jihadists. Under Obama, the Pentagon and CIA directly armed and trained Syrian "rebels" fighting Bashar Assad, many of whom then grew into the ISIS caliphate. A 2016 iconic headline in the Los Angeles Times said it all: "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA ." It is interesting to note that it was Trump who ended the CIA's training of the so-called "moderate" Syrian rebels whose intent was the toppling Assad's government.

Obama was elected in 2008 on his promise to end Bush's war in Iraq, a conflict he said he opposed from the outset . Instead, Obama and his war hawks expanded this war and added several others. And all of this after Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (for no apparent reason) in 2009.

The military escalation under Obama-Biden surely explains the deep state's preference for Biden over Trump. But what about the voters? In opposing Trump and favouring Biden, the leftist 'resistance' is supporting the continuation of dodgy and illegal US invasions and endless wars. An achievement to be proud of. On the other hand, voters who support non-intervention and troop withdrawal favour the Republican, Donald Trump.

So, tell me again: who's 'left' and who's 'right' in this US presidential election?

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


[Oct 06, 2020] "FRATELLI TUTTI" (OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON THE FRATERNITY AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP),

Oct 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

suzan , Oct 5 2020 0:48 utc | 79

Posted by: bevin | Oct 4 2020 23:17 utc | 65

Hey bevin

Since you mentioned the pope, here's a link to the encyclical letter he just released, "FRATELLI TUTTI"
(OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON THE FRATERNITY AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP),
http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20201003_enciclica-fratelli-tutti.html

As (an agnostic) buddhist I find this pope's words needed in this world now. He refused to see Pompeo last week and then releases this letter. Take heed.



psychohistorian , Oct 5 2020 2:19 utc | 81

@ suzan | Oct 5 2020 0:48 utc | 79 with the link to the latest encyclical by the Catholic pope

I skimmed the link to the pope's latest and the following are a few quoted paragraphs from the more than 287 in the whole thing.

"

15. The best way to dominate and gain control over people is to spread despair and discouragement, even under the guise of defending certain values. Today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism, in a variety of ways one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion. Their share of the truth and their values are rejected and, as a result, the life of society is impoverished and subjected to the hubris of the powerful. Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people's lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others. In this craven exchange of charges and counter-charges, debate degenerates into a permanent state of disagreement and confrontation.

16. Amid the fray of conflicting interests, where victory consists in eliminating one's opponents, how is it possible to raise our sights to recognize our neighbours or to help those who have fallen along the way? A plan that would set great goals for the development of our entire human family nowadays sounds like madness. We are growing ever more distant from one another, while the slow and demanding march towards an increasingly united and just world is suffering a new and dramatic setback.

25. War, terrorist attacks, racial or religious persecution, and many other affronts to human dignity are judged differently, depending on how convenient it proves for certain, primarily economic, interests. What is true as long as it is convenient for someone in power stops being true once it becomes inconvenient. These situations of violence, sad to say, "have become so common as to constitute a real 'third world war' fought piecemeal".

28. The loneliness, fear and insecurity experienced by those who feel abandoned by the system creates a fertile terrain for various "mafias". These flourish because they claim to be defenders of the forgotten, often by providing various forms of assistance even as they pursue their criminal interests. There also exists a typically "mafioso" pedagogy that, by appealing to a false communitarian mystique, creates bonds of dependency and fealty from which it is very difficult to break free.

44. Even as individuals maintain their comfortable consumerist isolation, they can choose a form of constant and febrile bonding that encourages remarkable hostility, insults, abuse, defamation and verbal violence destructive of others, and this with a lack of restraint that could not exist in physical contact without tearing us all apart. Social aggression has found unparalleled room for expansion through computers and mobile devices.

45. This has now given free rein to ideologies. Things that until a few years ago could not be said by anyone without risking the loss of universal respect can now be said with impunity, and in the crudest of terms, even by some political figures. Nor should we forget that "there are huge economic interests operating in the digital world, capable of exercising forms of control as subtle as they are invasive, creating mechanisms for the manipulation of consciences and of the democratic process. The way many platforms work often ends up favouring encounter between persons who think alike, shielding them from debate. These closed circuits facilitate the spread of fake news and false information, fomenting prejudice and hate".[47]

46. We should also recognize that destructive forms of fanaticism are at times found among religious believers, including Christians; they too "can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned".[48] How can this contribute to the fraternity that our common Father asks of us?

170. I would once more observe that "the financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world".[147] Indeed, it appears that the actual strategies developed worldwide in the wake of the crisis fostered greater individualism, less integration and increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way to escape unscathed.

172. The twenty-first century "is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tend to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions".[149] When we talk about the possibility of some form of world authority regulated by law,[150] we need not necessarily think of a personal authority. Still, such an authority ought at least to promote more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure defence of fundamental human rights.

173. In this regard, I would also note the need for a reform of "the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth".[151] Needless to say, this calls for clear legal limits to avoid power being co-opted only by a few countries and to prevent cultural impositions or a restriction of the basic freedoms of weaker nations on the basis of ideological differences. For "the international community is a juridical community founded on the sovereignty of each member state, without bonds of subordination that deny or limit its independence".[152] At the same time, "the work of the United Nations, according to the principles set forth in the Preamble and the first Articles of its founding Charter, can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity There is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as proposed by the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm".[153] There is need to prevent this Organization from being delegitimized, since its problems and shortcomings are capable of being jointly addressed and resolved.

177. Here I would once more observe that "politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy".[158] Although misuse of power, corruption, disregard for law and inefficiency must clearly be rejected, "economics without politics cannot be justified, since this would make it impossible to favour other ways of handling the various aspects of the present crisis".[159] Instead, "what is needed is a politics which is far-sighted and capable of a new, integral and interdisciplinary approach to handling the different aspects of the crisis".[160] In other words, a "healthy politics capable of reforming and coordinating institutions, promoting best practices and overcoming undue pressure and bureaucratic inertia".[161] We cannot expect economics to do this, nor can we allow economics to take over the real power of the state.

"

Nice words but Pope Francis is still pulling punches. He knows exactly how global private finance works because before the Enlightenment the religious folk in the West ran the money system for a while. Pope Francis knows that finance is private in the West but not in China. The problem Pope Francis has with China is that the China government is the religion in China and governance is otherwise totally secular. In the West, monotheistic religions are given lots more than the lip service they are suppose to get in governance.....in the US there is suppose to be separation of church and state, correct? Do the financial holdings of the Catholic church make Pope Francis one of the elite that own global private finance in the West that I keep writing about?...I wouldn't be surprised

Jackrabbit , Oct 5 2020 2:46 utc | 82
Pope's Encyclical

I have to agree with psychohistorian on this.

The words "oligarchy" and "plutocracy" do not appear in the Pope's Encyclical. The Pope argues a moral case for feeding the poor and even calls for directing money spent on arms to the third world but he steers clear of any concern about class inequity in an age of record wealth inequality.

In this way, he "pulls punches" (as psychohistorian notes) as much as any Western politician. Many of the evils that the Pope rails against - including his remarks regarding populism vs popular government - have their origin in the extreme wealth of a small number of people.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Capitalism vs. Socialism is a red herring. The real problem is oligarch capitalism which leads to neoliberalism (a sort of fascism) and supremacist thinking of neoconservativism (a sort of aristocracy) and zionism (a sort of colonialism).

!!

Tom , Oct 5 2020 3:49 utc | 90

Posted by: suzan | Oct 5 2020 0:48 utc | 79

Thanks for the link to the latest encyclical by the Catholic pope

Some of the WOKE crowd take offence to Pope Francis encyclical. Pathetic.

"Pope slams capitalism & injustices in WOKE view on post-Covid world but gets heat for insufficiently inclusive letter"

"Although the encyclical was woke-friendly in many respects, its title, "Fratelli Tutti," translates to "Brothers All" in English – connoting male dominance to some. The Vatican said the title was taken from the words of St. Francis of Assisi, the pope's namesake, and couldn't be changed. And in any case, an encyclical is inherently addressed to the whole world, and the Italian word "Fratelli" means brothers but can be used to mean brothers and sisters."

https://www.rt.com/news/502540-pope-francis-fratelli-tutti-capitalism/

psychohistorian , Oct 5 2020 4:01 utc | 92

@ uncle tungsten | Oct 5 2020 3:28 utc | 89 who I think meant "..no one is being prosecuted in the courts."

uncle tungsten also wrote
"
So the head of the Roman Catholic Church is expressing compassion.
"
That compassion, if you read the screed, is coming from Saint Francis who was showing all this compassion to folks during the time of the Crusades......

The anglican church is a front for the faith based belief that global finance leaders are doing God's work.

.............

The commenters here making fun of the visceral fear associated with potential impending death have never faced such themselves it is clear. I am not excusing Trump's actions but Trump is having to face his mortality in a way he has not had to before and he doesn't want to give up the reins of power so he has to look like still in control. I don't think Trump is out of the woods yet and may be setting himself up for a bigger crash given all the drugs he has crammed into his body in the past 72 hours.

I was taught in my Christian youth that my body was just a vessel in the here and now but what is more important than ones body is their soul. I blame that stupidity for much of the obesity in the US....and I blame genius Trump for that stupidity as well...

[Oct 05, 2020] Neoliberal Newspeak dictionary: "tensions rising", "without evidence" and "US intelligence sources" (

Oct 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Oct 4 2020 13:55 utc | 3

The new buzz-phrase "tensions rising" is in full news-play as seen here .

librul , Oct 4 2020 14:19 utc | 5

Good one Don B. @3

A buzz-phrase I keep noticing is the use of "without evidence". For example, when Trump, or anyone the MSM wants to target, makes an accusation and the MSM has to discuss that accusation it is unsurprising to encounter the phrase "without evidence"
as seen here

If only the anonymous "US intelligence sources" (here)
that the Mouthpiece Media echo so frequently were qualified with "without evidence".

I tried combining the two phrases and instead of receiving thousands of results I received
three .

[Oct 01, 2020] Why say riot when you can be vague and sensitive instead, AP Stylebook urges in newest Orwellian guidelines by Nebojsa Malic

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... AP is hardly the Ministry of Truth, dictating Newspeak under the penalty of torture. As it turns out, it doesn't have to be. A bit of updated style – and thought – guidance announced on Twitter from time to time will do. ..."
Oct 01, 2020 | www.rt.com
Used as the journalism Bible by most English-language media, the AP Stylebook has updated its guidance for employing the word 'riot,' citing the need to avoid "stigmatizing" groups protesting "for racial justice."

While acknowledging the dictionary definition of riot as a "wild or violent disturbance of the peace," AP said the word somehow "suggests uncontrolled chaos and pandemonium."

Worse yet, "Focusing on rioting and property destruction rather than underlying grievance has been used in the past to stigmatize broad swaths of people protesting against lynching, police brutality or for racial justice " the Stylebook account tweeted on Wednesday.

The claim that something has been used in the past in a racist way has already led to banishing many English terms to the Orwellian "memory hole." It certainly appears the AP is trying to do the same with "riot" now.

Instead of promoting precision, the Stylebook is urging reporters to use euphemisms such as "protest" or "demonstration." It advises "revolt" and "uprising" if the violence is directed "against powerful groups or governing systems," in an alarming shift in focus from what is being done towards who is doing it to whom .

READ MORE: CBS News whitewashes Kenosha destruction as mostly 'peaceful protests' as city smolders in aftermath

There is even a helpful suggestion to use "unrest" because it's "a vaguer, milder and less emotional term for a condition of angry discontent and protest verging on revolt."

Translated to plain English, this means a lot more mentions of "unrest" and almost no references to "riot," in media coverage going forward, regardless of how much actual rioting is happening.

Mainstream media across the US have already gone out of their way to avoid labeling what has unfolded since the death of George Floyd in May as "riots." Though protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota turned violent within 48 hours, before spreading to other cities across the US – and even internationally – the media continued calling them "peaceful" and "protests for racial justice."

Yet in just the first two weeks of the riots, 20 people have been killed and the property damage has exceeded $2 billion , according to insurance estimates – the highest in US history.

AP is no stranger to changing the language to better comport to 'proper' political sensitivities. At the height of the riots in June, the Stylebook decided to capitalize "Black" and "Indigenous" in a "racial, ethnic or cultural sense."

We're in a sinister new era of totalitarianism, where PC combat units use social media to destroy anyone who disagrees with them

A month later, the expected decision to leave "white" in lowercase was justified by saying that "White people in general have much less shared history and culture, and don't have the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color."

Moreover, "Capitalizing the term 'white,' as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs," wrote AP's vice-president for standards John Daniszewski.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, as its full name goes, has effectively dictated the tone of English-language outlets around the world since it first appeared in 1953. It is also required reference material in journalism schools.

So when it embraces vagueness over precision and worrying about "suggestions" and "subtly conveying" things over plain meaning, that rings especially Orwellian – in both the '1984' sense of censoring speech and thought and regarding the corruption of language the author lamented in his famous 1946 essay 'Politics and the English language.'

AP is hardly the Ministry of Truth, dictating Newspeak under the penalty of torture. As it turns out, it doesn't have to be. A bit of updated style – and thought – guidance announced on Twitter from time to time will do.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic

[Oct 01, 2020] Is Hannah Arendt idea of totalitarism bunk and its in certain proportions is immanent in all modern societies, especially neoliberal like the USA

Notable quotes:
"... The reason that the "mainstream" parties are in decline is that they are no longer willing to represent the interests of ordinary people. Both are the captives of special interest groups ..."
"... What I see happening seems to me to be less explained by Hannah Arendt than by Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer. ..."
"... They are not accepting an evil, just banality of evil that goes unrecognized as evil for its very banality. They see the extremes, and as Hoffer wrote they are drawn by that extreme; that is the very appeal of it, not just something they excuse as if banal. ..."
Oct 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
L RNY 11 hours ago

The one thing I see in Maoist China, Nazi Germany and Czarist Russia/Soviet Union is that "freedom was curtailed" and the government cracked down on "law and order." If you look at the intimidation tactics of individuals, couples, families at restaurants and the assassinations of Police Officers, the violent riots, arson and looting in american cities you can see the justification for the government to "crack down on freedoms" and restore "law and order" similar to Maoist China and Pre-War Germany but for different reasons and justifications. If you look at the lefts handling of the Chinese biological weapon of terrorism COVID19 and the resulting lock down of the economy and the enforced government closing of churches, synagogues and mosques then you can see similarities in Maoist China, Nazi Germany and Bolshevik/Stalinist Soviet Union (and its satellites) but for different reasons and different justifications.

-The radical elements pushing for civil war and revolution in the US arent reacting to hunger or the economy as they did in Germany or Russia.

-The radical elements pushing for civil war and revolution in the US are fundamentally Marxist and are using feminism to pit men and women against one another, to destroy marriage and family to abort children. Marxists are using Gay Rights to pit sexual orientation of gays against sexual orientation of straights. Marxists are using the prejudice of minorities against the whites. Marxists are again pitting poor against rich. Marxists fracture society into entitled and embittered tribes. Radical elements are pushing for reparations and re-indoctrination as well as civil war and revolution. This is very close to the tactics of Maoist China and it has been proven that George Soros and Peoples Republic of China are financing Antifa and Black Lives Matters..China was too weak to fight the Maoist Communists so many fled to Taiwan. Russians were bribed to revolt against the Czar and put the Bolsheviks into power. Germans were desperate and the Pre-Nazi government was to weak to restore the economy. Americans aren't desperate. Americans are rich fat entitled and ridden with guilt for their blessings to the point where they are self destructive so Americans dont have motivational similarities to the Germans or the Russians for revolution.

Strong Correlation to today

Todays indoctrination youth with their rabid faces and penchant for violence remind me much more of indoctrinated Maoists destroying Chinese culture, attacking Chinese business owners and property owners to enforce a Cultural Revolution.

Collin Reid 10 hours ago

A Society That Values Loyalty More Than Expertise

I know people LOVE stating Ronald Reagan and 1980s was era of loyalty but I really don't see it.

1) The height of Americans moving across statelines was 1980s so everybody found new places to live all decade.

2) The 1980s Corporations moved towards primary goal of maximizing profit over worker relations

3) Weekly Church going would rise from 1975 - 1986 but began to fall after 1986 through 1995. Nobody has explained why this happened.

4) Being Gen X and entering career workforce in jobless recovery, there was clearly local institutions then.

FL Transplant Collin Reid an hour ago

There was a fairly large economic diaspora during the Reagan years, as the heavy manufacturing (steel) and assembly (auto) factories in what became know as the Rust Belt closed down and people moved South and West for better opportunities. (One of the results of that diaspora s the nationwide popularity of the Pittsburgh Steelers, as thousands upon thousands of fans left western PA and moved elsewhere but maintained their loyalty.)

phreethink 10 hours ago • edited

Hannah Arendt also said:

"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist."

Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Now, is it the right or left that is more anti-science and anti-fact? Who lies to us more, the right or left? Check PolitiFact or any other reasonably balanced fact checker before you answer (No, Media Matters doesn't count). Which party's leader said: "Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening,"

I mean neither have a clean slate here, they are human and are politicians, too. But Trump's avalanche of lies and unsupported claims in Tuesday's "debate" makes it ridiculous to argue that Trump is on the side of fact, truth, and evidence.

Augustine 10 hours ago

"Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common."

The typical Joe six pack, or even the run of the mill not religious conservative, is the social and intellectual elite now?

Kiyoshi01 Augustine 9 hours ago

Bingo. I live in an overwhelmingly liberal suburb of NYC. This place is sleepier than Mayberry. My wallet (with over $200 inside) slipped out of my pocket while I was riding my bike. The police had called me to pick it up before I even realized that it was missing.

Last week a two motorized skateboards were stolen, and someone shoplifted 5 cigars from the local tobacconist.

There is little sexual adventurism, no visible celebrations of perversion, and sexuality is largely a private matter. If you told an off-color sexual joke at the local bar, you'd likely be asked to leave.

For a guy who cautions against living by lies, Rod would do well to engage some social and intellectual elites on a regular basis. Visit places like Potomac, Maryland, or Princeton, New Jersey, or Swampscott, Massachusetts. The reality is that it's out in "Christian America" that all of this stuff is running rampant.

Rossbach 9 hours ago

"Democratic norms are under strain in many industrialized nations, with the support for mainstream parties of left and right in decline."

The reason that the "mainstream" parties are in decline is that they are no longer willing to represent the interests of ordinary people. Both are the captives of special interest groups (ethnic minorities and the radical Left in the case of the Dems, and corporations and wealthy individuals in the case of the GOP). Middle America no longer has any place to go.

Fletcher Rossbach 5 hours ago

An excellent point and a glaring flaw in the article.

a Texas libertarian 8 hours ago

Thanks for this overview of Hannah Arendt's thought and its relation to current circumstances. Very insightful. I've been wanting to read her book for a while now but have not yet done so.

"who today talks about totalitarianism?"

Political libertarians and social conservatives have for over 100 years been warning us of this coming totalitarianism. One was even so astute as to see past the absolute dictatorships of the 20th century to what we have at our doorstep today.

"Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." - Alexis de Tocqueville
a Texas libertarian 8 hours ago

Another Tocquevillian quote that commands attention today:

"What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish? There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called "the government." They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved. They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid. Yet as utterly as they sacrifice their own free will, they are no fonder of obedience than anyone else. They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license. When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects."
Eddie 8 hours ago

You know, I'm a full Republican conservative, but in a way, I kinda think that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a similar economy like what's in Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Iran, North Korea, etc, etc, etc, so that idiots that think that kind of life style is good. THEN when they find out what it's like living in a WORKER'S PARADISE, they'll know.

Fletcher Eddie 5 hours ago

Yeah but I don't really wish to be dragged along with that.

Mark Thomason 8 hours ago

What I see happening seems to me to be less explained by Hannah Arendt than by Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer.

We are surrounded by the extreme emotions of people feeling desperate. They are grasping at whatever is on offer, and equally likely to grasp at anything else offered.

They are not accepting an evil, just banality of evil that goes unrecognized as evil for its very banality. They see the extremes, and as Hoffer wrote they are drawn by that extreme; that is the very appeal of it, not just something they excuse as if banal.

The emotions are running to such extremes that politics breaks up longstanding friendships, and even families, as we saw in the American Civil War. That did not happen in Germany's banal acceptance of evil and power.

dbriz 8 hours ago • edited

Control requires widening the net, which requires expanding the parameters of government, which requires centralizing government power, which when done in boiling frog manner, can take a couple of centuries or so. Yet here we have arrived.

It took a long time to get from there to here and getting from here to there will require tough duty.

Sensible people might opt for a modernized Articles of Confederation with reasonable limited taxation privileges and a modified defense arrangement but of course sensible people are in low demand.

Steveb 7 hours ago

Impressive to see Godwin reach 1 so soon. I think projection should be added as a dependent variable that catalyzes Godwin logarithmically.

Richard Parker 6 hours ago

"For example, many who didn't really accept Marx's revisionist take on history -- that it is a manifestation of class struggle -- "

It is, partially.

Traditional Libertarian-Conservative here, but in my classes, I always said that Marx was a better historian than he was an economist.

cdugga Karen Richardson 5 hours ago

Should quoting you include that perhaps as many as 5 million Russian POW's also perished in the holocaust, and that it was a good thing? I am saving this RD article much more for the commentary than what rod said. Anti-fascists and the radical left? Yeah, right. Okay folks, show of hands. How many out there, identifying themselves as left or right, wish that world war 2 had lasted longer? Bone spur patriotism seems to be on full display here.

totheleftofcentre Karen Richardson 4 hours ago

One rarely sees evil so blatantly on display as in your comment.

Charles Cosimano 4 hours ago

Your book arrived today. When I think of Soft Totalitarianism I think of the Hayes Office.

Gerald Arcuri 4 hours ago

"At universities within the University of California system, for example, teachers who want to apply for tenure-track positions have to affirm their commitment to "equity, diversity, and inclusion" -- and to have demonstrated it, even if it has nothing to do with their field."

It isn't just the U.C. schools. Here in Thousand Oaks, California, sits the campus of California Lutheran University - a private institution ( though no longer "Lutheran" or indeed "Christian" in any meaningful sense of those words ). The faculty and staff are undergoing frank re-education, in preparation for the loyalty oath. And, those who dare resist ( sadly, there are few ) are simply shown the door. Any dissent is labelled "racist", "homophobic", etc., etc. The jackboots are echoing even in the quiet streets of suburbia...

And the so-called California Ethnic Studies Curriculum ( based on critical race will soon be introduced as a mandatory high school class. No class, no graduation. It's utterly chilling.

[Sep 14, 2020] While We're at It by R. R. Reno

Notable quotes:
"... On the strength of Adrian Vermeule's review last month (" Liturgy of Liberalism ," January 2017), I picked up Ryszard Legutko's The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies . Legutko sees many parallels between the communism that dominated the Poland of his youth and the political-social outlook now treated as obligatory by Eurocrats and dominant in America, which he calls "[neo]liberal democracy." ..."
"... One parallel struck me as especially important: "Communism and [neo]liberal democracy are related by a similarly paradoxical approach to politics: both promised to reduce the role of politics in human life, yet induced politicization on a scale unknown in previous history." We're aware of the totalitarian dimension of communism. But liberalism? Isn't it supposed to be neutral with respect to substantive outlooks, endorsing only the constitutional and legal frameworks for free and fair political debate? Actually, no. Liberals always assert that liberalism is the view of politics, society, and morality "most adequate of and for modern times." ..."
"... [Neo]Liberalism, Legutko points out, is committed to dualism, not pluralism. He gives the example of Isaiah Berlin, who made a great deal out of the importance of the pluralism of the liberal spirit. Yet "Berlin himself, a superbly educated man, knew very well and admitted quite frankly that the most important and most valuable fruits of Western philosophy were monistic in nature." This means that liberalism, as Berlin defines it, must classify nearly the entire history of Western thought (and that of other cultures as well) as "nonliberal." Thus, "the effect of this supposed liberal pluralism" is not a welcoming, open society in which a wide range of substantive thought flourishes, but "a gigantic purge of Western philosophy, bringing an inevitable degradation of the human mind." ..."
"... The purge mentality has a political dimension. Since 1989, European politics has shifted away from a left vs. right framework toward "mainstream" vs. "extremist." This is a telling feature of [neo]liberal democracy as an ideology. "The tricky side of 'mainstream' politics is that it does not tolerate any political 'tributaries' and denies that they should have any legitimate existence. Those outside the mainstream are believed to be either mavericks and as such not deserving to be treated seriously, or fascists who should be politically eliminated." ..."
"... Lumpenproletariat ..."
"... Legutko speaks of "lumpenintellectuals." These are the professors and journalists who buttress the status quo by rehearsing ideological catechisms and exposing heretics. We certainly have a lumpenintelligentsia ..."
"... I regularly read two lumpenintellectuals in order to understand the orthodoxies of our political mainstream: Tom Friedman over at the New York Times and Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal . The former is a cheerleader for today's globalist orthodoxies, complete with ritual expressions of misgivings. The latter eagerly plays the role of Leninist enforcer of those orthodoxies ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... The Weekly Standard ..."
Sep 14, 2020 | www.firstthings.com

♦ Boys and girls are different. There, I've said it, a heresy of our time. We're not supposed to suggest that a woman shouldn't fight in combat, or that an athletic girl doesn't have a right to play on the boys' football team -- or that a young woman doesn't run a greater risk than a young man when binge drinking. We are not supposed to reject the conceit that the sexes are interchangeable, and therefore a man can become a "woman" and use the ladies' bathroom.

Male and female God created us. I commend this heresy to readers. Remind people that boys in girls' bathrooms put girls at risk, and that Obergefell is a grotesque distortion of the Constitution. True -- and don't miss the opportunity to say, in public, that men and women are different. This is the deepest reason why gender ideology is perverse. As Peter Hitchens observes in this issue (" The Fantasy of Addiction "), there's a great liberation that comes when, against the spirit of the age, one blurts out what one knows to be true.


♦ Great Britain recently announced regulatory approval for scientists to introduce third-party DNA into the reproductive process. The technological innovation that allows for interventions into the most fundamental dimensions of reproduction and human identity is sure to accelerate. Which is a good reason for incoming President Trump to revive the President's Council on Bioethics. (It existed under President Obama, but was told to do and say nothing.) We need sober reflection on the coming revolution in reproductive technology. Trump should appoint Princeton professor Robert P. George to head the Bioethics Commission. He has the expertise in legal and moral philosophy, and he knows what's at stake. (See " Gnostic Liberalism ," December 2016.)


On the strength of Adrian Vermeule's review last month (" Liturgy of Liberalism ," January 2017), I picked up Ryszard Legutko's The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies . Legutko sees many parallels between the communism that dominated the Poland of his youth and the political-social outlook now treated as obligatory by Eurocrats and dominant in America, which he calls "[neo]liberal democracy."

One parallel struck me as especially important: "Communism and [neo]liberal democracy are related by a similarly paradoxical approach to politics: both promised to reduce the role of politics in human life, yet induced politicization on a scale unknown in previous history." We're aware of the totalitarian dimension of communism. But liberalism? Isn't it supposed to be neutral with respect to substantive outlooks, endorsing only the constitutional and legal frameworks for free and fair political debate? Actually, no. Liberals always assert that liberalism is the view of politics, society, and morality "most adequate of and for modern times."

This gives [neo]liberalism a partisan spirit all the more powerful because it is denied.

Although such words as "dialogue" and "pluralism" appear among its favorite motifs, as do "tolerance" and other similarly hospitable notions, this overtly generous rhetorical orchestration covers up something entirely different. In its essence, liberalism is unabashedly aggressive because it is determined to hunt down all nonliberal agents and ideas, which it treats as a threat to itself and to humanity.

[Neo]Liberalism, Legutko points out, is committed to dualism, not pluralism. He gives the example of Isaiah Berlin, who made a great deal out of the importance of the pluralism of the liberal spirit. Yet "Berlin himself, a superbly educated man, knew very well and admitted quite frankly that the most important and most valuable fruits of Western philosophy were monistic in nature." This means that liberalism, as Berlin defines it, must classify nearly the entire history of Western thought (and that of other cultures as well) as "nonliberal." Thus, "the effect of this supposed liberal pluralism" is not a welcoming, open society in which a wide range of substantive thought flourishes, but "a gigantic purge of Western philosophy, bringing an inevitable degradation of the human mind."


The purge mentality has a political dimension. Since 1989, European politics has shifted away from a left vs. right framework toward "mainstream" vs. "extremist." This is a telling feature of [neo]liberal democracy as an ideology. "The tricky side of 'mainstream' politics is that it does not tolerate any political 'tributaries' and denies that they should have any legitimate existence. Those outside the mainstream are believed to be either mavericks and as such not deserving to be treated seriously, or fascists who should be politically eliminated."


♦ Karl Marx coined the term Lumpenproletariat . Lumpen means "rag" in German, and its colloquial meanings include someone who is down-and-out. According to Marx, this underclass has counter-revolutionary tendencies. These people can be riled up by demagogues and deployed in street gangs to stymie the efforts of the true proletariat to topple the dominant class.

Legutko speaks of "lumpenintellectuals." These are the professors and journalists who buttress the status quo by rehearsing ideological catechisms and exposing heretics. We certainly have a lumpenintelligentsia , left and right: tenured professors, columnists, think tank apparatchiks, and human resources directors.


I regularly read two lumpenintellectuals in order to understand the orthodoxies of our political mainstream: Tom Friedman over at the New York Times and Bret Stephens at the Wall Street Journal . The former is a cheerleader for today's globalist orthodoxies, complete with ritual expressions of misgivings. The latter eagerly plays the role of Leninist enforcer of those orthodoxies.


♦ Bill Kristol recently stepped down as day-to-day editor at the Weekly Standard . .... As he put it with characteristic humor, "Here at The Weekly Standard , we've always been for regime change."...


[Aug 19, 2020] Democrats are in bed with the deep state, take billions from the largest corporations, and conduct the most undemocratic nominating process ever seen in the US, but thank God they are not fascists!

Highly recommended!
Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

MrBoompi , 3 hours ago

Democrats are in bed with the deep state, take billions from the largest corporations, and conduct the most undemocratic nominating process ever seen in the US, but thank god they are not fascists!

Trezrek500 , 2 hours ago

It is amazing, Bezos becomes the richest guy in the world and the delivery of his packages is subsidized by tax payers. The USPS should triple their rates to AMZN. Problem solved.

[Aug 02, 2020] I can't see much distinction between Neoliberalism in its purest form and authoritarian Communism

Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

cranc , says: August 1, 2020 at 12:48 pm GMT

There seems to be some dispute about whether there is a far Left socialist revolution unfolding. I can't see much distinction between 'Neoliberalism in its purest form' and authoritarian Communism. It boils down to control, whether that is in a 'market' context of monopoly corporations who are embedded within the state, or whether it is in the context of 'state enterprises' in the USSR.
What seems clear is that the society of the capitalism of small and medium sized businesses, relatively free movement, civil liberties and an open culture are being wound down and replaced by a centralised control society organised through the internet. State administration will matter less. Central banks, Blackrock investor algorithms, automated private security systems will matter more. This is not an attack on Trump, it is the bringing down and replacement of the US system per se.
Call it what you want. The jerks on the street have absolutely no idea what is taking place. They are brainwashed ideologues puppeteered by forces that operate above the distinction between 'capitalism' and 'communism'.

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: August 1, 2020 at 12:53 pm GMT

Why are there so many young people out there available to be radicalized and to just ruin and riot endlessly? Because American capitalism has devolved into a 'gig economy' where millions have no real future and nothing much to lose. People face a lifetime of meaningless, low paid service gigs that will never give them the means to have the standard of living of the previous generations. All the drug use is symptomatic of that.
Why would media and corporations promote and fund communism, being that they're the billionaire-corporate capitalist class? It's bait and switch from the class warfare of communist rhetoric to endless racial leveling and chaos along all social, racial and cultural lines. This leaves the billionaire benefactors of unisex toilets still in charge.
Small businesses are bankrupted under the guise of fighting the killer virus, their assets scooped up by the deep pockets. It's a huge transfer of wealth upwards scheme. The economy is being reset downwards using the ruin caused by these rioters and the killer virus. The mass of people will learn to adjust their expectations to fit the new grim reality. The commies, anarchists and whatever else is out there will later be rolled up. What with all the spying and fusion centers the government knows who they are. They're useful at the moment. It's a capitalist driven thing. Can't find a job after losing your business? Well here's some new legalized drugs for you and a welfare, I mean stimulus, check to tide you over at the hobo camp.

[Jul 03, 2020] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Notable quotes:
"... The interesting point of the Christianization of the USA here is not in Christianity itself, but in the socioeconomic process it represents (on the right; on the left, we already have the "wokeist" phenomenon). The USA is degenerating as a world empire and, if the USG chooses an escape route through the right end of the political spectrum, it could potentially result in a Fascist USA - an extremely virulent, fundamentalist and nihilist (and thus very dangerous) empire. ..."
"... That said, the influence of religious organizations in politics is overweight, because few other institutions that can turn out large blocs of voters. Unions used to, once. ..."
"... Nationalists claiming to represent "Judeo-Christian values" (a euphemism if ever) have been disproportionately visible in media for years. This is hardly new. Certainly as of the Bush administration. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

450.org , Jul 2 2020 16:59 utc | 16

Christianity has transformed into a business, an industry even. Since the Cold War, everything has become an opportunity to exploit for maximum gain and religion is not an exception.

vk , Jul 2 2020 20:04 utc | 34

@ Posted by: CitizenX | Jul 2 2020 19:48 utc | 33

Christianism can surive in a political form. Indeed, that was when it was at its best: using the Roman State machinery to force conversion from paganism and exterminating pagans. That's its greatest strength in comparison to, e.g. its Jewish fathers: the Jews were (still are) outright imperialists - the Chosen People - who wanted to destroy the Roman Empire from the outside; the Christians were Jews who wanted to take control of Rome from within.

For Christianism to survive, you don't need every of its followers to be an expert of Christian faith: it only needs a strong Church with direct access and control of the State.

The rehabilitation of Christianity from the High Cold War in the USA as a weapon against communism is a known fact. What I hypothesize here is that this process didn't stop: either it continues today with full-fledged support from the USG (as seen in George W. Bush's reign) and/or it got out of control (i.e. the new rapturist churches gained a life of their own, as seen by the ones funded by billionaires with the aim of aligning American Christianity with the geopolitical interests of Israel).

What I'm speculating here is that this process will suffer another metamorphosis, thanks to the rise of the so-called "woke leftism" which are allegedly commanding the Floyd revolts. This metamorphosis - I'm betting - will result in the far-rightification of the US Army and police forces (or accelerate it). Since the far-right in the USA is blatantly Christian (as we can read by their manifestos), this would result in the Christianization of the USG - even if, ultimately, it serves the more immediate interests of the Zionists (in the case of the rapturists).

The interesting point of the Christianization of the USA here is not in Christianity itself, but in the socioeconomic process it represents (on the right; on the left, we already have the "wokeist" phenomenon). The USA is degenerating as a world empire and, if the USG chooses an escape route through the right end of the political spectrum, it could potentially result in a Fascist USA - an extremely virulent, fundamentalist and nihilist (and thus very dangerous) empire.

ptb , Jul 2 2020 21:28 utc | 47
re: religion in the US...

Down 10% in past 10 years [Pew] .

That said, the influence of religious organizations in politics is overweight, because few other institutions that can turn out large blocs of voters. Unions used to, once.

Nationalists claiming to represent "Judeo-Christian values" (a euphemism if ever) have been disproportionately visible in media for years. This is hardly new. Certainly as of the Bush administration.

[Jun 25, 2020] Bayer Agrees to $10.9 Billion Glyphosate Settlement by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

Notable quotes:
"... Bayer agreed to a $10.9 billion settlement yesterday, which resolves much – but not all – of the litigation risk it assumed when in 2018 it acquired Monsanto, the original manufacturer of the glyposate-based herbicide Roundup, according to the WSJ, Bayer to Pay Up to $10.9 Billion to Settle Lawsuits Over Roundup Weedkiller . ..."
"... "We need to take the decision about carcinogenicity of the product out of the hands of juries," said Mr. Baumann. The scientists on the panel, he said, would be selected both by Bayer and plaintiffs' lawyers, to come to a "fair and solid" conclusion. ..."
"... In Europe, the shift in public opinion about glyphosate was illustrated by a 2016 poll in the five largest EU countries showing some 66% percent of respondents favoring a glyphosate ban. ..."
"... Bayer also said it would pay up to $400 million to resolve legal challenges and crop-damage claims to another of its herbicides, dicamba, which the company has marketed to kill weeds that have evolved to resist Roundup. Farmers and agricultural experts have blamed dicamba-based sprays for drifting on winds and damaging millions of acres of soybeans, peaches and other crops. ..."
Jun 25, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Bayer agreed to a $10.9 billion settlement yesterday, which resolves much – but not all – of the litigation risk it assumed when in 2018 it acquired Monsanto, the original manufacturer of the glyposate-based herbicide Roundup, according to the WSJ, Bayer to Pay Up to $10.9 Billion to Settle Lawsuits Over Roundup Weedkiller .

Plaintiffs allege its product causes cancer – a claim the company vehemently denies and insists is not supported by scientific evidence (for background on the litigation, see my previous posts, here , here , here , here , and here .)

The company has lost three multi-million dollar jury verdicts, and faced tens of thousands of pending suits. Investors have become increasingly nervous about just how much litigation risk the company had held until yesterday. Indeed, there was massive shareholder unrest over these liabilities, which spilled over to outright revolt last year.

The settlement leaves open the possibility of future litigation. Per the WSJ:

Wednesday's deal, which follows months of heated talks between Bayer and plaintiffs' attorneys, doesn't change anything in Bayer's view that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is safe and doesn't cause cancer.

Bayer didn't admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement and continued to defend its decision to purchase Monsanto. The company will continue to sell Roundup.

The agreement, however, leaves open the potential of more lawsuits being filed against the company in the future, an issue investors have been particularly concerned about.

As part of the deal, Bayer said it has set aside between $8.8 billion and $9.6 billion to settle claims brought by lawyers representing some 95,000 plaintiffs, as well as some 30,000 more claims that haven't yet agreed to the settlement. The company said it would set aside another $1.25 billion to work toward a resolution of future claims, including funding a panel to evaluate whether the product causes cancer. The findings from that panel are geared to help shape the outcome of litigation going forward.

The company seeks in these future potential lawsuits to take the determination away from juries as to whether glyphosate causes cancer. Over to the WSJ:

That Bayer's Roundup products will continue to be sold, without a cancer warning label, leaves the company exposed to future lawsuits. It creates a unique legal conundrum for the company over how best to guard itself against potential future litigation.

To attempt to resolve the key question of whether glyphosate is a carcinogen, Bayer is seeking court permission to create a class of future plaintiffs and fund a five-member scientific panel that will spend several years evaluating the link between Roundup and cancer.

The panel will report its findings to U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco. A conclusion that the product doesn't cause cancer will essentially shut down any future cases. If the panel does find a link between Roundup and cancer, Bayer would have to fight plaintiff-by-plaintiff to prove the individuals' cancer wasn't caused by the product, a point that unsettled some investors.

Mr. Baumann said on a conference call Wednesday that while "it's not 100% certain," Bayer is confident the panel will back its view that glyphosate isn't carcinogenic. The company has previously said that hundreds of regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and scientists have deemed the product safe.

"We need to take the decision about carcinogenicity of the product out of the hands of juries," said Mr. Baumann. The scientists on the panel, he said, would be selected both by Bayer and plaintiffs' lawyers, to come to a "fair and solid" conclusion.

The creation of such a court-overseen science panel is rare, said University of Georgia law professor Elizabeth Burch, and raises questions over whether future plaintiffs who may not be sick yet are getting a fair shot at pressing claims that Roundup caused their illnesses.

Bayer's Woes Not Confined to Use in US

Glyphosate is currently licensed for use throughout the EU, accordimg to Deutsche Welle, What's driving Europe's stance on glyphosate. But this use is not uncontested, According to Deutsche Welle:

The controversy surrounding glyphosate came to high drama in November 2017 when EU member states voted to extend the commercial license of the weed killer for a period of five years. The measure passed only narrowly and due to the 'yes' vote of German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.

Schmidt's unilateral decision disregarded split opinions within Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet that originally agreed Germany should abstain in the vote.

Moreover, a European Parliament report issued in January 2019 found that EU regulators based their decision to relicense glyphosate on an assessment that was plagiarized from a coalition of pesticide companies, including Monsanto.

The scandal has caused a number of countries in the bloc to introduce individual legislation banning or restricting the use of the substance.

The state of EU public opinion is such that license is unlikely to be renewed, and many EU states have already banned its use. According to the Deutsche Welle account:

In Europe, the shift in public opinion about glyphosate was illustrated by a 2016 poll in the five largest EU countries showing some 66% percent of respondents favoring a glyphosate ban.

In 2017, over 1.3 million people signed a petition calling for a European ban of glyphosate, and putting pressure on Brussels to restrict or even ban the use of the herbicide.

Two Additional Settlements

At the same time as the gylphosate settment, Bayer agreed to two other settlements, including one relating to claims for another herbicide, dicamba. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Bayer also said it would pay up to $400 million to resolve legal challenges and crop-damage claims to another of its herbicides, dicamba, which the company has marketed to kill weeds that have evolved to resist Roundup. Farmers and agricultural experts have blamed dicamba-based sprays for drifting on winds and damaging millions of acres of soybeans, peaches and other crops.

For further background on this lawsuit, see this recent post and this update by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, In Roundup settlement, Bayer reaches $400 million deal with farmers over dicamba .

The Bottom Line

Within the US, Bayer will continue to try to settle glyphosate legal claims with plantiffs who have yet to sign onto the settlement. Bayer has not admitted Roundup causes cancer – and indeed continues to insist otherwise – and persists in defending its Monsanto acquisition. Roundup will continue to be sold without any cancer warning label.

[Jun 24, 2020] Orwell called this "newspeak". That's now the language of libtards.

Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Rurik , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 11:19 pm GMT

@AnonFromTN

Orwell called this "newspeak". That's now the language of libtards.

thanks

and not just shitlibs, but across the entire length and breadth of our culture and society this Ministry of Truth-imposed doublethink masquerades as language intended to inform and explain, when it does the opposite.

George Will and Sean Hannity use newspeak with the same alacrity as Lawrence O'Donnell or Rachel Maddow. Israel has to defend itself. Putin's aggression and Russian meddling in our democracy.

'Quantitative easing' as a doubleplusgood expression for human history's most colossal case of mass-swindling the world has ever known.

it's everywhere, and the more it isn't noticed, the more sinister and diabolical it is.

It's like that Twilight Zone episode of the aliens that only wanted to 'serve man'.

'We're here to serve you'.

The writers of that episode certainly must have been thinking of a certain tribe of 'philanthropists' and owners of 'human rights' organizations.

celebrate diversity!

it's our greatest strength!

[Jun 23, 2020] Identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ( soft neoliberals ) to counter the defection of trade union members from the party

Highly recommended!
divide and conquer 1. To gain or maintain power by generating tension among others, especially those less powerful, so that they cannot unite in opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. ..."
"... If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pm

John,

I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.

You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.

See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.

When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.

Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.

Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.

Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.

They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.

If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.

Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.

So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.

The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)

That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.

[Jun 16, 2020] "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." by George Carlin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job. ..."
"... A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business. ..."
"... There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost ..."
"... Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Dave C , 4 days ago

"That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

Robert Schupp , 4 days ago

You can't just move to American cities to pursue opportunity; even the high wages paid in New York are rendered unhelpful because the cost of housing is so high.


Dingo Jones
, 3 days ago

@JOHN GAGLIANO Cost of living is ridiculous too.

Dirtysparkles , 4 days ago

Our country has become the American Nightmare

Jean-Pierre S , 4 days ago

Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified and ultimately murdered when he was helping organize a Poor People's Campaign. Racial justice means economic justice.

John Sanders , 3 days ago

Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job.

Adriano de Jesus , 4 days ago

A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business.

Ammon Weser , 4 days ago

There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost

crazyman8472 , 4 days ago

Night Owl: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"

Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it."

-- Watchmen

David Tidwell , 4 days ago

Nailed it. As a millennial, I'm sick of being told to just "deal with it" when the cards have always been stacked against me. Am I surviving? Yes. Am I thriving? No.

D dicin , 4 days ago

When the reserve status of the American dollar goes away, then it will become apparent how poor the US really is. You cannot maintain a country without retention of the ability to manufacture the articles you use on a daily basis. The military budget and all the jobs it brings will have to shrink catastrophically.

farber2 , 4 days ago

American trance. The billionaires hypnotized people with this lie.

Michael D , 4 days ago (edited)

...and sometimes you CAN'T afford to move. You can't find a decent job. You certainly can't build a meaningful savings. You can't find an apartment. And if you have kids? That makes it even harder. I've been trying to move for years, but the conditions have to be perfect to do it responsibly. The American Dream died for me once I realized that no matter the choices I made, my four years of college, my years of saving and working hard....I do NOT have upward mobility. For me, the American Dream is dead. I've been finding a new dream. The human dream.

B Sim , 3 days ago

This is a very truncated view. You need to expand your thinking. WHY has the system been so overtly corrupted? It's globalism that has pushed all this economic pressure on the millennials and the middle class. It was the elites, working with corrupt politicians, that rigged the game so the law benefited them.

This is all reversible. History shows that capitalism can be properly regulated in a way that benefits all. The answer to the problem is to bring back those rules, not implement socialism.

Trump has:

The result? before COVID hit the average American worker saw the first inflation adjusted wage increase in over 30 years!

This is why the fake news and hollywood continue to propagandize the masses into hating Trump.

Trump is implementing economic policies good for the people and bad for the elites

Sound Author , 3 days ago

The dream was never alive in the first place. It was always bullshit.

Julia Galaudet , 4 days ago

Maybe it's time for a maximum wage.

Scott Clark , 4 days ago

Private equity strips the country for years! It's the AMERICAN DREAM!!!

Siri Erieott , 4 days ago

A dream for 1%, a nightmare for 99%.

andrew kubiak , 4 days ago

Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money.

[Jun 16, 2020] Krystal Ball: The American dream is dead, good riddance

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Debt-free is the new American dream ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Krystal Ball exposes the delusion of the American dream.

About Rising: Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen.

It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.

Owen Cousino , 4 days ago

Debt-free is the new American dream

poppaDehorn , 4 days ago

Got my degree just as the great recession hit. Couldn't find real work for 3 years, not using my degree... But it was work. now after 8 years, im laid off. I did everything "right". do good in school, go to college, get a job...

I've never been fired in my life. its always, "Your contract is up" "Sorry we cant afford to keep you", "You can make more money collecting! but we'll give a recommendation if you find anything."

Now I'm back where i started... only now I have new house and a family to support... no pressure.

[Jun 16, 2020] Neoliberalism and the USA: Americans are no longer a moral and religious people even though they present the trappings of such

Notable quotes:
"... Highly recommended. America has been transformed into a public relations image - she no longer has substance. She is like a hologram - reach out to touch her and you find there is nothing there - it's all been taken and replaced with an image. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

pparalegal , 11 hours ago

John Adams 1798:

While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence.

But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World.

Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by eletion, morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other

Victor999 , 11 hours ago

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other

Key statement. Americans are no longer a moral and religious people even though they present the trappings of such.

katagorikal , 11 hours ago

The Century of the Self - Adam Curtis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s

Victor999 , 11 hours ago

Highly recommended. America has been transformed into a public relations image - she no longer has substance. She is like a hologram - reach out to touch her and you find there is nothing there - it's all been taken and replaced with an image.

[Jun 10, 2020] The Left and Wall Street are not going to go after each because at the moment they are allies pursuing a common goal; the dismantling of the traditional nation-state and its replacement by a new transnational system

Jun 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Alfa158 , says: Show Comment June 10, 2020 at 5:46 am GMT

The Left and Wall Street are not going to go after each because at the moment they are allies pursuing a common goal; the dismantling of the traditional nation-state and its replacement by a new transnational system.
Capital wants it because it wants totally free access to markets and resources, both human and natural. Natural resources and product will flow with no regulation or tariffs. Capital wants to reduce the cost of labor, at every level from manual day laborers to advanced engineers and scientists, by forcing everyone to compete with their counterparts worldwide in a wage race to the bottom. They will do it by shifting business to lower cost areas, and/or mass immigration. Energy and material resources will be plundered without hindrance from any corner of the earth. The deracinated new Brown populations will have no coherence or vision for resistance, instead everyone will be a consumer trying to improve themselves or their tribe against everyone else. Meanwhile the hyper-competent will claw their way to the top of meritocratic aristocracy. The rich don't care if police forces are de-funded. Only the middle class want police. Ancient Rome operated just fine without police. The wealthy had slaves and hired muscle to guard their person and property. The poor used local gangs to provide protection.
The Left wants the end of the nation-state because they think it will allow them to end racism by the simple measure of eliminating race, save the environment by forcing de-industrialization, and end war by ending nations. Oh, and they will be happy to accept the role of wise philosopher-kings administering the brave new world.
Both Capital and the Left think they'll suppress the other and be the ones in charge once the transnational world order is in place.
I think maybe there won't be a final struggle between the winning allies of the Left and Capital because they are merging. Look at how many plutocrats have the same political beliefs as Leftists. Try find an inch of daylight between the stated values of the HR department at a mega-corporation and a modern university.
Neither side gives a rat's ass for the working people.

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberal ideology is often presented as a natural state. This deception is a central feature of neoliberalism, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions of financial oligarchy, and to prevent challenges to the financial oligarchy rule and debt slavery

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:42

Back in the Thatcher/Reagan years there were at people around who genuinely believed in the superiority of the market, or at least, made the effort to set out an intellectual case for it.

Now we're in a different era. After 2008, hardly anyone really believes in neoliberal ideas anymore, not to the point that they'd openly make the case for them anyway. But while different visions have appeared to some extent on both left and right, most of those in positions of power and influence have so internalised Thatcher's 'there is no alternative' that it's beyond their political horizons to treat any alternatives which do emerge as serious propositions, let alone come up with their own.

So neoliberalism stumbles on almost as a reflex action. Ben Fine calls it a 'zombie' but I think the better analogy is cannibalism. Unlike the privatisations of the 80s and 90s there's barely any pretence these days that new sell-offs are anything more than simply part of a quest to find new avenues for profit-making in an economy with tons of liquid capital but not enough places to profitability put it. Because structurally speaking most of the economy is tapped out.

Privatising public services at this point is just a way to asset strip and/or funnel public revenue streams to a private sector which has been stuck in neoliberal short-term, low skill, low productivity, low wage, high debt mode for so long that it has lost the ability to grow. So now it is eating itself, or at least eating the structures which hold it up and allow it to survive.

Apomorph -> GeorgeMonbiot , 10 Apr 2019 18:19
Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions and providing means of fostering intellectual suspicion to prevent challenges or structured and coherent critiques like your own. The right engenders coalitions of people disinterested in politics and distrustful of politicians with those who feel intellectually superior but see politics as an amoral game in the pursuit of "enlightened" self-interest.

As a result, everything about it is disingenous. There is no alternative (that we want you to choose). It's not racist to (constantly, always negatively and to the expense of everything else) talk about immigration. Cutting taxes for the rich reduces inequality (because we change the criteria to exclude the richest from the calculations). This is also because there are dualities at play. Neoliberalism relies on immigration to increase worker competition and suppress wage demand but courts the xenophobic vote (which is why even with reduced EU migration Brexit has so far increased overall immigration and would continue to do so in the event of no deal or May's deal). Both Remainers and Leavers have accused the other of being a neoliberal project, and in certain aspects -because of these dualities - both sides are correct.

I also believe the disdain for "political correctness" is somewhat a result of neoliberalism, since marketisation is so fundamental to the project and the wedge of the market is advertising, the language of bullshit and manipulation. People railing against political correctness feel judged for their automatic thoughts that they identify as natural instead of culturally determined. Behavioural advertising encourages these thoughts and suppresses consideration. It is a recipe for resentment.

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
From comments: " neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation."
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
"... The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist


Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood.

A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy. The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

glisson , 12 Apr 2019 00:10
This is the best piece of writing on neoliberalism I have ever seen. Look, 'what is in general good and probably most importantly what is in the future good'. Why are we collectively not viewing everything that way? Surely those thoughts should drive us all?
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
economicalternative , 11 Apr 2019 20:42
Finally. A writer who can talk about neoliberalism as NOT being a retro version of classical laissez faire liberalism. It is about imposing "The Market" as the sole arbiter of Truth on us all.
Only the 'Market' knows what is true in life - no need for 'democracy' or 'education'. Neoliberals believe - unlike classical liberals with their view of people as rational individuals acting in their own self-interest - people are inherently 'unreliable', stupid. Only entrepreneurs - those close to the market - can know 'the truth' about anything. To succeed we all need to take our cues in life from what the market tells us. Neoliberalism is not about a 'small state'. The state is repurposed to impose the 'all knowing' market on everyone and everything. That is neoliberalism's political project. It is ultimately not about 'economics'.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.


Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

manolito22 -> MrJoe , 11 Apr 2019 08:14
Nationalised rail in the UK was under-funded and 'set up to fail' in its latter phase to make privatisation seem like an attractive prospect. I have travelled by train under both nationalisation and privatisation and the latter has been an unmitigated disaster in my experience. Under privatisation, public services are run for the benefit of shareholders and CEO's, rather than customers and citizens and under the opaque shroud of undemocratic 'commercial confidentiality'.
Galluses , 11 Apr 2019 07:26
What has been very noticeable about the development of bureaucracy in the public and private spheres over the last 40 years (since Thatcher govt of 79) has been the way systems are designed now to place responsibility and culpability on the workers delivering the services - Teachers, Nurses, social workers, etc. While those making the policies, passing the laws, overseeing the regulations- viz. the people 'at the top', now no longer take the rap when something goes wrong- they may be the Captain of their particular ship, but the responsibility now rests with the man sweeping the decks. Instead they are covered by tying up in knots those teachers etc. having to fill in endless check lists and reports, which have as much use as clicking 'yes' one has understood those long legal terms provided by software companies.... yet are legally binding. So how the hell do we get out of this mess? By us as individuals uniting through unions or whatever and saying NO. No to your dumb educational directives, No to your cruel welfare policies, No to your stupid NHS mismanagement.... there would be a lot of No's but eventually we could say collectively 'Yes I did the right thing'.
fairshares -> rjb04tony , 11 Apr 2019 07:17
'The left wing dialogue about neoliberalism used to be that it was the Wild West and that anything goes. Now apparently it's a machine of mass control.'

It is the Wild West and anything goes for the corporate entities, and a machine of control of the masses. Hence the wish of neoliberals to remove legislation that protects workers and consumers.

[May 22, 2020] It is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid's lives on the line of fire most will ran away to Canada or Mexico

May 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

milomilo , May 23 2020 0:24 utc | 44

@vk , hilarious post trying to potray modern day USN as fhe same one who fought japanese.. after WW2 all USN did was doing tag with soviets and today even their skill lost in the current situation.. The good ole US navy is gone, all that left is aging airframes and ships and confused doctrine that focused on clearing endless brush fires from restless natives..

USN are not able to fight peer enemy naval force, its man power are not sustainable in such fight , thus they will resort to military draft system again and pray tell how many foolish ignorant gung ho flag waving american would enlist ? it is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid's lives on the line of fire most will ran away to canada or mexico

[May 14, 2020] Hollowing out the classic culture is what all Postmodernism is about

May 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [339] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 14, 2020 at 9:46 am GMT

@Rahan See:
https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=z4FPcXTKh1wC&oi=fnd&pg=PA4&dq=%22van+creveld%22++1996+Paramaters+%22Fate+of+the+State%22&ots=4D9yFjPkyO&sig=z2Hz5-E0Nz9vjv1QEzNFWYrsZck#v=onepage&q=%22van%20creveld%22%20%201996%20Paramaters%20%22Fate%20of%20the%20State%22&f=false

or search Google Scholar for: "van Creveld" Parameters 1996 "Fate of the State"

Classic article, and first mention of the "hollowing out". Current crackdowns are by a government that has lost most real power (e.g. can't even suppress retail theft and has given up by making it legal), and is trying to get public submission again by over-enforcing quarantine / isolation rules. The facade of even this level of control is cracking. The problem is not an overly controlling government, it is of a government that lacks legitimacy even from its supporters (one doesn't hear POC or even the Jewish establishments praising the American form of government, even when they control it; none of them regard it as legitimate. That's what Postmodernism, for example, is about.

[Apr 16, 2020] Postmodernism is a philosophical perspective that developed in the late twentieth century, having its sources in earlier philosophers such as Nietzsche and Heidegger, both of whom cut away at the notion of a stable, "objective" truth, the kind we use in everyday life and in science.

Apr 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

lizard , Apr 15 2020 18:46 utc | 15

@Lozion

Gladly. The book makes an interesting comparison between New Thought writers like Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, who wrote a book in 1952 titled The Power of Positive Thinking, and those who practice chaos magick. Both operate under the principle that there is real power to effect one's environment through directing one's will, manifesting what you want if your belief and willpower is strong enough (Peale had a big influence on Trump's dad and Trump himself).

This concept is like meth to a malignant narcissist .

the author also discusses how post-modernism fits in to creating the condition we have today. here's an excerpt:

Postmodernism is a philosophical perspective that developed in the late twentieth century, having its sources in earlier philosophers such as Nietzsche and Heidegger, both of whom cut away at the notion of a stable, "objective" truth, the kind we use in everyday life and in science. Simply put, the essence of postmodernism -- although it would deny that it has an "essence"--can be summed up in the phrase "anything goes." For postmodernism the kind of scientific, rational certainties that built the modern world, as well as traditional values such as truth, no longer apply; at least they are seen to be much less certain than was believed.

Well before it became a political buzzword, postmodernism knew all about being "post-truth," and was aware of the "alternative facts" and "fake news" that accompany that condition.

It could even be said that postmodernism and related schools like deconstructionism prepared the ground for the epistemological skepticism pervading western consciousness today, which Trump both abets and profits by.

Rarified notions of a pliant, flexible, relative "truth" trickled down from the metaphysical heights, and infected the popular mind with what the philosopher Paul Ricoeur called the "hermeneutics of suspicion," a kind of cynical nihilism that we take for granted as part of everyday life, and which Nietzsche, more than a century ago, predicted was on its way. Hence our conspiracy ridden world, to which Trump himself contributes.

For postmodernism, the dictum "Nothing is true, everything is permitted," attributed to Hasan bin Sabbah, "the Old Man of the Mountain," leader of the ancient Islamic sect of Ismailis called the Hashashin, or Assassins, is taken as given. The same goes for chaos magick.

[Apr 05, 2020] Hegemonic ideologies tend to naturalize socioculturally-generated pathologies, often dismissing them as "human nature."

Greed is good/ Of course it is, but not for everybody ;-)
Apr 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
susan , Apr 3 2020 3:18 utc | 192
Richard Steven Hack @101

Since two others have mentioned this, I'll thrown this out.

Hegemonic ideologies tend to naturalize socioculturally-generated pathologies, often dismissing them as "human nature."

I don't understand you to be necessarily doing this when you identify "human nature" with callous self-centeredness given your other writing (and generously shared links) but it does sound like you are using the term too loosely in your post for materialists and others to philosophically stomach. I am not the only one who objected to the usage upon reading.

Can "human nature" be identified, labeled, discussed separate from historical and material conditions? Is "human nature" not constituted via dialectical processes at multiple levels occurring through time and space, not least of all cultural which is shaped by socioeconomic conditions.

[Mar 28, 2020] Neoliberal priorities: plenty of USG resources for Pentagon and to run pandemic war games but no money to create the most basic stockpiles (thermometers, face masks, gloves)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... DONALD TRUMP: Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion. ..."
"... Trump is like the kid who played video games when he should have been doing his homework, then failed miserably on the test and tried to bullshit his way through the essay questions. ..."
"... As you are probably aware, a handful of elected leaders were selling their stock while assuaging the public about the dangers of the pandemic. We've gone from incompetence, to negligence, to outright profiteering. ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Last year, the Dept. of Health and Human Services ran a 7 month long exercise code named "Crimson Contagion," a dry run response to a global pandemic which started in China and expected more than 100 million Americans to become ill.

The simulation highlighted several failures in our preparedness for such a catastrophe .

DONALD TRUMP: Nobody knew there'd be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.

The New York Times broke this story yesterday, but as it's behind a paywall I won't link to it. But there's a good interview with one of the authors conducted by NPR.

Trump is like the kid who played video games when he should have been doing his homework, then failed miserably on the test and tried to bullshit his way through the essay questions.

As you are probably aware, a handful of elected leaders were selling their stock while assuaging the public about the dangers of the pandemic. We've gone from incompetence, to negligence, to outright profiteering.


QMS on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 11:05am
good point Marie

@Marie

dropping bombs and sanctioning free commerce in other countries is the American way of protecting the proceeds of the sociopaths
not such a good way to stop pandemics. Not in my name congress

Marie on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 11:57am
We do have a weird definition of national security.

@QMS
Fifty-six years dumping an untold number of dollars into "keeping us safe" from a foreign invader and the one time it happened, not any of the resources were worth a damn.

The problem isn't so much that the real threats are unknown, at least not in broad outline form, but they're not "sexy." Not amenable to what the military and cloak and dagger spy guys are into. And the perpetual USG budgets for the sexy stuff is far more profitable. And is better suited to hiding all the graft and corruption (and employing the surplus and unskilled labor that elite universities crank out) that upset ordinary people fearful that some undeserving person would get something for free from the USG.

Cant Stop the M... on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 3:52pm
Apparently medical supplies don't count as military

@Marie

supplies, either. Well, given how the govt likely views our soldiers, I guess that's not surprising.

pandemic war games but no money to implement the most basic stockpiles (thermometers, face masks, gloves) that would be very helpful in containing a virus. The larger serious shortcomings in the US are mostly intractable due to the "best" health care system that money can buy.

[Mar 22, 2020] Mask piracy among neoliberal nations: Wonderful show of world-wide solidarity

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 1) Pompeo and Grenell reportedly arguing that coronavirus has created window of opportunity for a direct strike on a weak and divided Iran. ..."
"... Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisian has criticized the #UK for not delivering millions of masks #Iran bought in preparations ahead of #Covid19 outbreak. The London govt. refused to deliver them citing US sanctions! Note that Germany took supplies meant for Switzerland, The US via the Italian Mafia (I suppose) gets masks from Bergamo. etc. ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Stonebird , Mar 21 2020 21:25 utc | 31

I just think that the US "Intelligence" and most of the US Administration just haven't got it. I suppose when you are waiting for the "rapture" anything that can add to the chaos is to be included.

1) Pompeo and Grenell reportedly arguing that coronavirus has created window of opportunity for a direct strike on a weak and divided Iran. They were arguing about the severity of the strike.

2) Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisian has criticized the #UK for not delivering millions of masks #Iran bought in preparations ahead of #Covid19 outbreak. The London govt. refused to deliver them citing US sanctions! Note that Germany took supplies meant for Switzerland, The US via the Italian Mafia (I suppose) gets masks from Bergamo. etc. Wonderful show of world-wide solidarity.

Pompeo should hold his "rapture" in his hot little hand and .....

[Mar 13, 2020] This virus is revealing just how ineffective the neoliberal social Darwinist "every man for himself" ethos is and how deeply in denial and out of touch with reality these societies are

Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Daniel , Mar 13 2020 22:16 utc | 138

@Joanne Leon 15
The explosion of hate and blame and fear flying around online with regard to this pandemic is more than alarming and ultimately useless and damaging. In a way it scares me more than the flu itself at the moment because of the implications of how it will hinder our ability to cooperate and deal with this.

That's a good point. Western society with its twisted guiding philosophy of radical individualism and competition combined with a supremacist "that could never happen here" attitude quickly falls into panicked chaos when reality kicks in and reveals the society's underlying vulnerabilities. Countries with weak social safety nets and an ideological opposition to social responsibility are extremely vulnerable to systemic breakdown when their societies are under unexpected stress.

This virus is revealing just how ineffective the neoliberal social Darwinist "every man for himself" ethos is and how deeply in denial and out of touch with reality these societies are. Additionally, the house of cards that makes up the global economy has been in crisis mode since 2008, when it was bailed out by massive money printing in the US and EU and China pumping billions of dollars into the economy to keep it afloat, simply can't handle any additional stressors without going into breakdown mode.

In this kind of situation where clear headed cooperation and mutual effort are required the opposite happens and people go into panic and finger pointing mode looking for some external enemy to blame. Just imagine what will happen if global warming turns out to be as serious as many are predicting.

[Mar 10, 2020] Neoliberalism the ideology at the root of all our problems by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Under neoliberalism inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve: Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations and redefines citizens as consumers
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is? ..."
"... Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump . ..."
"... Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. ..."
"... Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. ..."
"... We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances. ..."
"... Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers. ..."
"... Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. ..."
"... It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative' ..."
"... Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating " investor-state dispute settlement ": offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes , protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre. ..."
"... Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one ..."
"... Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one. ..."
"... When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel . ..."
"... Those who own and run the UK's privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world's richest man. ..."
"... Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can't Afford the Rich , has had a similar impact. "Like rent," he argues, "interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort". ..."
"... Chris Hedges remarks that "fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the 'losers' who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment". When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation . To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant. ..."
"... Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities. ..."
"... The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch , two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement . We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that "in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised". ..."
"... The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years. ..."
"... What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century. ..."
Apr 16, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative? @GeorgeMonbiot

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you'll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness , the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump . But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

Inequality is recast as virtuous. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin's theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don't have a job it's because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you're feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it's your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

See also Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe, Sep 24, 2014

Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it's unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe . We are all neoliberals now.

***

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 thinktanks 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.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal . But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes 's economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, "when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up". With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter's administration in the US and Jim Callaghan's government in Britain.

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice should have been promoted with the slogan 'there is no alternative'

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, "it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised."

***

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan "there is no alternative". But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet's Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism". The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means the freedom to suppress wages. Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers , endanger workers, charge iniquitous rates of interest and design exotic financial instruments. Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Naomi Klein documented that neoliberals advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted. Photograph: Anya Chibis/The Guardian

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine , neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet's coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as "an opportunity to radically reform the educational system" in New Orleans .

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating " investor-state dispute settlement ": offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections. When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes , protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers. The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich. Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income. When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays. The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel .

In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all phone services and soon became the world's richest man. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

Those who own and run the UK's privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world's richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can't Afford the Rich , has had a similar impact. "Like rent," he argues, "interest is ... unearned income that accrues without any effort". As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money. Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich. As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains. Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land , Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course. Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes. Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to cut taxes, privatise remaining public services, rip holes in the social safety net, deregulate corporations and re-regulate citizens. The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector.

Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis. As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts. Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, people can exercise choice through spending. But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle. As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement. Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

Chris Hedges remarks that "fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the 'losers' who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment". When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation . To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power. The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to "cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them".

***

Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch , two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement . We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that "in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised".

The nouveau riche were once disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Today, the relationship has been reversed

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. "The market" sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What "the market wants" tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want. "Investment", as Sayer notes, means two quite different things. One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities, the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains. Using the same word for different activities "camouflages the sources of wealth", leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entre preneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism: the franchise model which ensures that workers do not know for whom they toil ; the companies registered through a network of offshore secrecy regimes so complex that even the police cannot discover the beneficial owners ; the tax arrangements that bamboozle governments; the financial products no one understands.

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded. Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively . But they offer us no substitute. Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom , Bureaucracy or Friedman's classic work, Capitalism and Freedom .

***

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.

Neoliberalism, Locke and the Green party | Letters Read more

Neoliberalism's triumph also reflects the failure of the left. When laissez-faire economics led to catastrophe in 1929, Keynes devised a comprehensive economic theory to replace it. When Keynesian demand management hit the buffers in the 70s, there was an alternative ready. But when neoliberalism fell apart in 2008 there was ... nothing. This is why the zombie walks. The left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years.

Every invocation of Lord Keynes is an admission of failure. To propose Keynesian solutions to the crises of the 21st century is to ignore three obvious problems. It is hard to mobilise people around old ideas; the flaws exposed in the 70s have not gone away; and, most importantly, they have nothing to say about our gravest predicament: the environmental crisis. Keynesianism works by stimulating consumer demand to promote economic growth. Consumer demand and economic growth are the motors of environmental destruction.

What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it's not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

George Monbiot's How Did We Get into This Mess? is published this month by Verso. To order a copy for £12.99 (RRP £16.99) ) go to bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.

Topics Economics

[Mar 09, 2020] The Politics of Privatization How Neoliberalism Took Over US Politics by Brett Heinz

Highly recommended!
Sep 08, 2017 | www.faireconomy.org

Many of us have come across the term "neoliberal," or "neoliberalism" before, but for all its use, few have ever taken the chance to actually explain what it is. An inadequate popular definition has allowed the term to be abused and misrepresented in a variety of ways. Despite these misrepresentations, however, "neoliberalism" is a concept that is very useful for understanding the world we live in today.

In simple terms, neoliberalism is a broad ideology that became popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970's and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980's. Neoliberalism describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society . As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. It's important to understand that "classical liberal" here refers to an older understanding of the word liberal than the one it has in modern America- it is referencing the liberalism of the Enlightenment era, represented by thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke, not modern social liberalism as embodied by Barack Obama and much of the rest of the Democratic Party. In concrete policy terms, neoliberalism means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.

Neoliberalism represents a shift in the way we look at the world: it entails seeing every aspect of society, even those typically considered civic or community affairs, in the terms of the market economy.

"Stagflation" & Schools of Economic Thought

Neoliberalism emerged as a reaction to welfare state politics and Keynesian economics that had become popular in the West following the end of World War II.

What is Keynesian Economics? Two major schools of economic thought are Classical Economics and Keynesian Economics. Adam Smith's (1723-1790) theory of Classical Economics asserts that the market is a rapidly-adjusting, self-correcting entity. John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) believed that Classical Economics was flawed. If classical economics were true, Keyes asserted, waves of massive unemployment wouldn't exist, as the market would quickly self-adjust for the downturn. Keynes theorized that during an economic downturn, consumer demand tended to drop, causing employers to lay off employees, which would then decrease overall consumer demand, and the cycle would continue. Keynes concluded that in periods of economic downturn, government could manipulate demand by hiring, directly or through policy, unemployed workers and break the cycle.

Following a long period of significant prosperity, the 1970's brought with it a phenomenon known as "stagflation" - simultaneous stagnation (where worker wages are kept flat) and inflation (where the cost of living rises). Keynesians, who had been the dominant group in American economics at the time, believed it was impossible for stagflation to exist for any extended period of time.

As the Keynesians tried to make sense of economic realities of the day, a new wave of economists began to create other schools of thought. Milton Friedman (known as "the Chicago School" or "monetarists") made the case not only for a different approach to monetary policy in order to solve stagflation, but also for the idea that many forms of governmental involvement in the economy are in fact harmful. Others, like James Buchanan pioneered a field known as "public choice theory," which made the case to the economics profession that government bureaucrats acted in personal self-interest, not in the public interest, and thus that policy prescriptions should be much more cautious in calling for governmental solutions to economic issues.

Activist Business

At the same time as the intellectual environment began to shift toward the political right in economics, the business community also began to be more aggressive in asserting their interests in politics. This development was prompted in part by soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. writing a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1971, arguing that "the American economic system is under attack" from progressive critics of big business and that the business community should fight back. A number of conservative and libertarian think tanks and advocacy organizations were created and expanded during this period in order to make the intellectual case for "freer" capitalism, including the Heritage Foundation (1973), the Cato Institute (1974), and the American Enterprise Institute (founded in 1938 but becoming influential during the 1970′s).

A Radical Message

Combine a turn against government in the field of economics and a growing assertion of political power by businesses, and throw in increased public skepticism of government after Vietnam and Watergate, and you have a recipe for fundamental political change. Between the economic disarray, the public distrust, and both intellectual and financial support for an alternative to post-war welfare statism, a new ideology became dominant in the political sphere. This ideology was encapsulated by the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who summed it up perfectly with his famous quote: "in this current crisis, government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem."

Such a claim may sound like standard conservative fare today, but both Reagan and his message were quite radical at the time, even among Republicans. At the time of his election, Reagan was seen by some ( including Gerald Ford ) as simply too far right to win. The last (elected) Republican president before him, Nixon, created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), and a number of other progressive programs. He also called for healthcare reform that could arguably be called stronger than Obamacare, and an expansion of welfare , the latter of which was the inspiration for the Earned Income Tax Credit, passed shortly after he left office. Pieces of Nixon's economic agenda were noticeably left-wing, so much so that one journalist at the time noted that he left the Democrats having to resort to "me-tooism."

Nixon took such positions because he needed to respond to political pressures from the left, the same pressures that had pushed LBJ on civil rights legislation and the war on poverty. In the late 1970's, as the activism and radicalism of the 1960's began to die out, those pressures began to be outweighed by increasing pressure from businesses in the direction of neoliberalism. This started under Jimmy Carter, who oversaw the cautious deregulation of airlines in 1978 and the trucking industry in 1980. However, it was Reagan who truly delivered the neoliberal agenda in America and institutionalized it into government.

Importantly, this era also saw the start of the growth in the importance of campaign donations. Republicans had not only a strong base of think tanks to provide them with a network of intellectual support, they also had far more money from the corporate interests they were serving. Congressional Republicans beat their Democratic counterparts in campaign expenditures in every election year from 1976 to 1992.

Traditionally, Democrats had relied on unions as a critical source of both campaign donations and organizational support. With union strength declining (a trend the Reagan administration encouraged through policy), the Democrats were being totally outgunned. According to Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson's book "Winner-Take-All Politics":

" From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, corporate PACS [political action committees] increased their expenditures in congressional races nearly five fold. Labor spending only rose about half as fast... By 1980, unions accounted for less than a quarter of all PAC donations -- down from half six years earlier."

The Third Way

Even with the emergence of conservative "Reagan Democrats" during the 1980's, the game had changed for the Democratic Party. Recognizing this, a number of Democrats (including Bill Clinton) joined together in a group called the Democratic Leadership Council with the goal of dragging the party to the right and boosting campaign contributions. They succeeded. When Clinton eventually won the presidency, he cemented neoliberalism as the law of the land by making it clear that the Democrats would not challenge the new fundamental doctrine of limited government involvement in many parts of the economy, and as a result made the Democrats politically competitive again. (Both the previously mentioned "Winner-Take-All Politics" and Thomas Ferguson and Joel Roger's "Right Turn" go more into detail on this issue, and on neoliberalism more generally).

Instead of challenging the entirety of Reagan's assertion of government-as-problem, Clinton espoused a "third way" ideology: in his second inauguration, he said that "Government is not the problem, and Government is not the solution. We -- the American people -- we are the solution." Though the Clinton White House at times backed left-liberal policies like mild tax hikes on the wealthy, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Family Medical Leave Act, it also continued the neoliberal march of rolling back progressive achievements through the deregulation of Wall Street (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, etc.), conservative welfare reform in 1996, NAFTA, and the gutting of public housing .

A One-Party System

Clinton himself was aware of the way that American politics was moving to the right, and he was sometimes frustrated with it. Allegedly, he once entered a meeting in the Oval Office complaining : "Where are all the Democrats? I hope you're all aware we're all Eisenhower Republicans. We're Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn't that great?"

Despite this, however, Clinton and most of the rest of the Democratic Party accepted their role doing nothing more than, to borrow a phrase from political philosopher Roberto Unger, "to put a softer face on the agenda of their conservative opponents." They seek to make marginal improvements for poor, working class, and middle class voters here and there, but never seek to fundamentally shake up the political-economic system in any way. As one critic put it in 1990, even before Clinton's election, the Democratic Party is "...history's second-most enthusiastic capitalist party. They do not interfere with capitalist momentum, but wait for excesses and the inevitable popular reaction." This is why many left-wing critics will refer to some Democrats as neoliberals even when they don't literally advocate for free market capitalism.

Neoliberalism within the Democratic Party looks less like a proposal to privatize or abolish Social Security as much as it does a commitment to benefit-cutting "entitlement reform." It can be seen both in language (the constant discussion of education as an "investment" in "skills" necessary for "improving the workforce," instead of a guaranteed right for all citizens) and in policy (proposing tax cuts for the middle class instead of social spending even when taxes are at some of their lowest rates in decades ; compromis[ing] in advance on major policy proposals like the 2009 stimulus; advocating piecemeal technocratic reforms to healthcare and finance instead of deeper, fundamental reform; etc.).

With their opponents on the defensive and partially compliant with their agenda, the Republicans continued to push further right under the leadership of Newt Gingrich and his "Contract with America." The Democrats started to dig their heels in and push back a little for the first time during the later part of the George W. Bush administration as his (and the wars') approval ratings sank, and they now seem to have more or less stabilized. An increasingly loud progressive coalition of activists and advocates continues to push for ideas like single-payer healthcare, often dismissed as radical despite both being an international norm and the explicit goal of many mainstream Democratic politicians before neoliberalism's rise. The Democratic party establishment, on the contrary, is largely fine holding on to ideological territory that is, in certain areas, to the right of where it was several decades ago.

With the establishment of both major political parties accepting neoliberal ideology, it became default wisdom among economic, political, and media elites. Because the most powerful class of America accepted it as fact, it was instilled into the American consciousness as "common sense" that can't be seriously challenged. Ideas in direct opposition to neoliberalism were largely marginalized, and as a result, much of our modern debate now takes place within its bounds. Today, though, this marginalization is rapidly disappearing.

Today, we are witnessing the collapse of neoliberalism's "common sense" status. Republican elites took neoliberalism being one of their root organizing principles for granted while running campaigns using dog-whistle racism, never realizing that they were attracting a base of voters who hated immigrants a lot more than they hated regulation. The Republicans have drifted so far to the right that unabashed nationalists like Trump can now take the lead of the party, even as he espouses racist xenophobia-inspired protectionism that are in conflict with the neoliberal ideals of the party's business wing.

Even during their neoliberalization, the Democrats always had a left-wing occupied by social democrats. Today they largely occupy the Congressional Progressive Caucus. They were empowered by both opposition to the Iraq War late in the Bush era and the subsequent economic crash that occurred as a result of neoliberal deregulation of the finance sector. Obama ran as a semi-progressive but governed as a standard Democrat, leaving progressive disappointment and frustration to rise to the surface again once a primary was held to determine who would be the Democratic candidate after Obama: thus, the Bernie phenomenon.

Globalism & Neoliberalism

It seems as though the extinction of neoliberalism is embedded in the formula of neoliberalism itself. Neoliberalism and accompanying globalization have resulted in inequality and poverty for significant portions of the population, leaving many people economically impoverished and politically alienated. This prompts an inevitable political reaction, angry and populist in nature. The center-left (ex. Hillary Clinton) and center-right (ex. Jeb Bush) sing the praises of neoliberal globalization, while the left (ex. Bernie Sanders) vigorously attacks the "neoliberal" part of it, and the far-right (ex. Donald Trump) vigorously attack the "globalization" part of it. Today, progressives dislike neoliberalism, but also believe that the far-right's disdain for all forms of globalization is a distraction and misidentification of the root issue, using foreigners and people of color as scapegoats. The problem is not globalization, but globalization implemented in such a way so as to benefit the wealthy and powerful.

Neoliberalism is a powerful ideology and way of looking at the world. The neoliberal views most government involvement in the economy as harmful, and seeks to leave social problems to be solved by private enterprise and markets whenever possible. This is an idea that, over the last several decades, has become widely accepted to varying degrees by people across the political spectrum, and as such has been embedded into modern government and public policy.

When discussing modern politics, a recognition of the role neoliberalism has played in fueling massive increases in inequality and corrupting our democracy is vital.

A number of other industrialized countries have undergone neoliberalization on roughly the same time frame as the US, and are now experiencing similar backlashes: the U.K., neoliberalized under Margaret Thatcher and others, now has UKIP on its right and Jeremy Corbyn and social democratic Scottish nationalists on its left. France has witnessed the rise of not only the National Front on its far-right, but also the rise of populist socialists like Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Germany has the AfD and Pegida on its right and Die Linke on its left. New Zealand has New Zealand First. Sweden has the Sweden Democrats. Spain has Podemos. Additionally, backlash against "Washington Consensus" neoliberalism in Latin America contributed to a revitalization of left-populism in many countries. Though there are some nations that have experienced some form of neoliberalism without such political effects, a definite connection between neoliberalism and the emergence of anti-neoliberal populism certainly seems to exist.

[Mar 03, 2020] The neoliberals' cultural stock is in decline. caucus99percent

Notable quotes:
"... The eventual point of neoliberalism, then, is to exalt markets above people -- for the neoliberals, people are expendable but markets are superior. ..."
"... Postmodernism can give neoliberalism a cultural core ..."
"... The incubator regime for neoliberalism, as numerous authors have pointed out, was the regime in Chile under the dictatorial junta headed by Augusto Pinochet, beginning on the real September 11th, in 1973. The Department of Economics at the University of Chicago , the epicenter of neoliberal thought in America, was brought in to help Pinochet devise policy. Please keep in mind that neoliberals do not care one whit about democracy as long as the resultant regimes respect capitalism, and they're also okay with high death tolls for the same reason. Neoliberalism is a death culture. You live if you have money or if you have access to the government which invents money and forces you to use it. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

The neoliberals' cultural stock is in decline.

Cassiodorus on Sun, 03/01/2020 - 5:00pm The neoliberals' cultural stuck is in decline. When they had that suave dude Barack Obama telling everyone he was like Gandhi or Mandela, that was totally a thing. Cultural neoliberalism was rockin' da house as every branch of government, both state and Federal, was being awarded to Republicans . Then they put all of their eggs in the Hillary Clinton basket, waging a rather nasty campaign to get everyone to step in line while Clinton was and is very much about money and about the society of her John Birch Society daddy. (She and Bill did make great-looking hippies in the Sixties though, but you only see that in old photos.) Vote for her because Trump is Hitler or something.

Now they have what? Pete Buttigieg, who is smarter than you and who reeks insincerity from every pore of his skin as he delivers wooden imitations of Obama speeches? Michael Bloomberg, who brags about what he can buy? Grandpa Joe Biden, with initial-stage dementia? Hallmark card cop Amy Klobuchar, who will work with Republicans while helping maybe five or six people as she promised? Elizabeth "I'm in it for me" Warren? It's not like these people come naturally to cultural efflorescence -- they, after all, ran John Kerry, Al Gore, and Michael Dukakis -- but this has got to be a new low for them, expanding the field to twenty-plus candidates only to find themselves facing Super Tuesday with only this.

Philosophically, neoliberalism is a form of antihumanism . In an article in "American Affairs" (which I suggest you all read from beginning to end) the economist Philip Mirowski suggests several principles common to neoliberal thought. I'll just post one through four so as not to freak anyone out while making the point just as effectively:

(1) "Free" markets do not occur naturally. They must be actively constructed through political organizing.

(2) "The market" is an information processor, and the most efficient one possible -- more efficient than any government or any single human ever could be. Truth can only be validated by the market.

(3) Market society is, and therefore should be, the natural and inexorable state of humankind.

(4) The political goal of neoliberals is not to destroy the state, but to take control of it, and to redefine its structure and function, in order to create and maintain the market-friendly culture.

This then, is the core of neoliberal culture. The eventual point of neoliberalism, then, is to exalt markets above people -- for the neoliberals, people are expendable but markets are superior. It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations. Neoliberals hate Bernie Sanders because he wants to get rid of some of the markets for health insurance -- as long as people are buying health insurance, the neoliberals don't care if anyone dies because they can't afford to use it.

... ... ...

Neoliberalism has been the dominant doctrine throughout the world's universities since the Eighties. Academic vogues such as "postmodernism" can serve as Trojan Horse concepts for hegemonic neoliberalism. Postmodernism, to own a definition, is an aesthetic concept involving the juxtaposition of radically differing aesthetic concepts and celebrating surface observations over "deeper meanings." The postmodern essence of visual art is in collage; the postmodern musical form is the medley. Postmodernism is innocuous when it combines medieval architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright, or when it combines classical music with rock and roll. Neoliberalism, however, sees in postmodernism a market, something to create new products and separate people from their money. Postmodernism can give neoliberalism a cultural core .

Postmodernism is what is behind Pete Buttigieg's assertion that people do not have to choose between revolution and the status quo . (Trust me, he's been to universities .) We just combine them in some kind of postmodern market. Never mind that such an idea eviscerates the concept of revolution.

The incubator regime for neoliberalism, as numerous authors have pointed out, was the regime in Chile under the dictatorial junta headed by Augusto Pinochet, beginning on the real September 11th, in 1973. The Department of Economics at the University of Chicago , the epicenter of neoliberal thought in America, was brought in to help Pinochet devise policy. Please keep in mind that neoliberals do not care one whit about democracy as long as the resultant regimes respect capitalism, and they're also okay with high death tolls for the same reason. Neoliberalism is a death culture. You live if you have money or if you have access to the government which invents money and forces you to use it.

The task of replacing neoliberalism with something else will be a daunting one. Neoliberals rule the planet today. It appears at this point that our primary weapon is the fact that the neoliberals don't really have any specific culture; instead, they speculate in culture for the sake of the fetishes of markets and money and property through which they destroy the planet, us, and ultimately themselves.

[Feb 27, 2020] Who Cares About the Truth by MICHAEL P. LYNCH

From the issue dated September 10, 2004 by MICHAEL P. LYNCH<
Notable quotes:
"... To paraphrase Nietzsche, the truth may be good, but why not sometimes take untruth if it gets you where you want to go? ..."
"... These are important questions. At the end of the day, is it always better to believe and speak the truth? Does the truth itself really matter? While generalizing is always dangerous, the above responses to the Iraq affair indicate that many Americans would look at such questions with a jaundiced eye. We are rather cynical about the value of truth. ..."
"... what we call truth is just another name for power. ..."
Sep 10, 2004 | Free Republic

In early 2003 President Bush claimed that Iraq was attempting to purchase the materials necessary to build nuclear weapons. Although White House officials subsequently admitted they lacked adequate evidence to believe that was true, various members of the administration dismissed the issue, noting that the important thing was that the subsequent invasion of Iraq achieved stability of the region and the liberation of the country.

Many Americans apparently agreed. After all, there were other reasons to depose the Hussein regime. And the belief that Iraq was an imminent nuclear threat had rallied us together and provided an easy justification to doubters of the nobility of our cause. So what if it wasn't really true?

To many, it seemed naοve to worry about something as abstract as the truth or falsity of our claims when we could concern ourselves with the things that really mattered -- such as protecting ourselves from terrorism and ensuring our access to oil.

To paraphrase Nietzsche, the truth may be good, but why not sometimes take untruth if it gets you where you want to go?

These are important questions. At the end of the day, is it always better to believe and speak the truth? Does the truth itself really matter? While generalizing is always dangerous, the above responses to the Iraq affair indicate that many Americans would look at such questions with a jaundiced eye. We are rather cynical about the value of truth.

Politics isn't the only place that one finds this sort of skepticism. A similar attitude is commonplace among some of our most prominent intellectuals. Indeed, under the banner of postmodernism, cynicism about truth and related notions like objectivity and knowledge has become the semiofficial philosophical stance of many academic disciplines. Roughly speaking, the attitude is that objective truth is an illusion and what we call truth is just another name for power.

Consequently, if truth is valuable at all, it is valuable -- as power is -- merely as means.

[Feb 27, 2020] The Incoherence of the Philosophers The Horror of Postmodernism by The Liberal Moonbat

Notable quotes:
"... The rundown is that a pseudointellectual retreat from rationalism invited its well-deserved ridicule too late, and may have been responsible for the needless and terrible demise of a great world civilization's halcyon era, for which the whole world suffers to this day. We need to learn from that. ..."
"... If you're wondering why you're suddenly being barraged with Orwellian jargon, charged with crimethink, seeing the issues you've been harping on for years suddenly turned against you as though you've never even heard of them, get aggressively assigned identities you've never had in your life and told that the person you've always been can't possibly exist, and that the consensus, however flawed and incomplete, of the past 50 years on many hard-fought issues is quite suddenly being treated as though it was all a nefarious lie (a la 9/11-flashback), here's the root of who and what to blame: ..."
"... "Postmodernism" as sociology, on the other hand, with its denial of the very existence of the individual, and obscene redefinitions of such sacred words as "Justice", is just all but explicitly totalitarian, and would have us believe that the entire 20th Century, with all its hard-fought, bitter-bought victories and miracles, was all for nothing. ..."
"... I don't think the establishment Democrats - spineless, capitalist, militarist, insular, and ultimately authoritarian - deserve to be let anywhere near the label "liberal". ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | caucus99percent.com
The title of this bit here refers to an 11th-Century work of Islamic theology, explained here: https://existentialcomics.com/comic/126

The rundown is that a pseudointellectual retreat from rationalism invited its well-deserved ridicule too late, and may have been responsible for the needless and terrible demise of a great world civilization's halcyon era, for which the whole world suffers to this day. We need to learn from that.

Everyone here needs to be aware of this, I'm afraid: The modern Western equivalent of The Incoherence . It explains so, so much.

If you're wondering why you're suddenly being barraged with Orwellian jargon, charged with crimethink, seeing the issues you've been harping on for years suddenly turned against you as though you've never even heard of them, get aggressively assigned identities you've never had in your life and told that the person you've always been can't possibly exist, and that the consensus, however flawed and incomplete, of the past 50 years on many hard-fought issues is quite suddenly being treated as though it was all a nefarious lie (a la 9/11-flashback), here's the root of who and what to blame:

https://areomagazine.com/2017/03/27/how-french-intellectuals-ruined-the-...

The fact that institutions of higher learning have been coddling this for so long, despite the special treatment it could not survive without, and despite the fact that it bears the mantle and exploits the public clout of science, education, liberalism, and diversity, just to destroy all those things, is particularly shameful. They might as well allow Dianetics as a legitimate alternative to psychology.

Below is what I personally maintain is the Greatest Political Cartoon In American History. Though it refers to only one issue, it elegantly explains nearly everything wrong with American political thought.

Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 7:20am

That Helen Pluckrose piece is pretty funny. Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself .

When in doubt, scream and shout, run around in circles, and panic! Uh-huh. Postmodernism was the solution to an academic problem which arose in the Eighties with the proliferation of Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in the humanities. Nobody wanted to read another thesis or dissertation on Shakespeare, and all of the academic work had to be strictly original and pass increasingly onerous originality tests of the type employed by turnitin.com . Meanwhile the authors had to write these damn things if they were to receive diplomas and move on to teaching jobs. Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity. Postmodernism is the Hamburger Helper of the academic humanities, a solution to a purely practical matter.

But Pluckrose continues to panic. Here she is characterizing the postmodern perspective:

Therefore the author of a text is not the authority on its meaning.

So? Perhaps Pluckrose needs to read more undergraduate papers, in which their authors evoke an eternal authorial struggle. "Say what you mean!" my teacherly red ink continually shouts at these undergraduates. Of course this is a problem when one's undergraduates write run-on sentences or sentence fragments. But does anyone really say what they mean? I suppose we can at least try harder. Meanwhile original meanings get lost in the procession of history. A prima facie example of this is "originalism" in Constitutional jurisprudence, which claims ultimate reliance on an "original meaning" of the Constitution -- you know, that one and only one original meaning the Founders intended. Never mind that said Founders were walking contradictions. Take for instance Thomas Jefferson, that eloquent waxer upon the virtues of freedom. Now ask Sally Hemings about him.

Let's skip to Pluckrose's conclusion:

In order to regain credibility, the Left needs to recover a strong, coherent and reasonable liberalism.

I don't see why. How about if we figure out what sort of utopian dream would be appropriate for our world in our day and age, and then decide afterward if we want to call it "liberalism"? Isn't the point of the "science" which Pluckrose regards so highly to put the conclusion at the end of one's research, rather than at the beginning?

I could go on, but this is long enough for a comment in a diary. up 0 users have voted. --

"The only possible good outcome for most Americans is a Sanders win. No other path leads anywhere decent." -- Ian Welsh

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 12:49pm

"Postmodernism" may not be the ideal term

@Cassiodorus

Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity.

That's a different kind of "Postmodernism" altogether, the kind associated with (if I'm not mistaken) such Chaotic gems as MAD Magazine, Monty Python, The Far Side , and the vibrant, innovative weirdness of a wide array of 1990s art, literature, and pop culture. My very bones are built on such things.

There's also "postmodern architecture", best known for being boring (my mother has been known to call it "post-architecture").

This, though? This is something entirely anathema. The aesthetic we call "postmodern" is liberating and innovative (at least as long as it stays in the hands of people who "get it"); it teaches that there are no rules, that life is a strange and beautiful carnival, that we can be whatever we want to be, and the world can be whatever we want it to be.

"Postmodernism" as sociology, on the other hand, with its denial of the very existence of the individual, and obscene redefinitions of such sacred words as "Justice", is just all but explicitly totalitarian, and would have us believe that the entire 20th Century, with all its hard-fought, bitter-bought victories and miracles, was all for nothing.

Cassiodorus on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:26pm
Let me briefly suggest here --

@The Liberal Moonbat @The Liberal Moonbat that it is "liberalism" itself that has run out of gas.

At any rate, to deal with the objections to postmodernism: it's a performative contradiction to be an academic writing against the idea of the individual, for higher-level academia exists to adorn the resumes of self-proclaimed individuals. I just don't see postmodernism, of whatever kind you care to distinguish, as anything but harmless, useless, and pointless outside of its obvious role in contributing to the resume-building efforts of professors in the humanities, and I haven't seen anything here to change my mind about that.

Rather, the problem is that the liberals have run out of new mechanisms whereby the liberal utopia might bear fruit. The liberal trend peaked a long time ago. And, in the meantime, liberal objections to the neoliberal utopia, the utopia of total market existence for everyone as enforced by government diktat, have become toothless. In the US context the liberals appear either blind to or despairing of the fact that the best they had for politics was Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and that their hero Bernie Sanders nullified himself by endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the French contest the best they had was Macron. I suppose that there are a few islands of sanity elsewhere. But liberalism does not contribute substantially to the longevity of such islands.

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 4:42pm
That turns us to the definition of "liberalism", then

@Cassiodorus To me it just means...well, kind of just being a good, intelligent, and independent-minded person who learns from history and builds on it. If, as I've read the claim, "conservatism is the negation of ideology", I'd venture to describe liberalism as the absence of externally-derived ideology.

I don't think the establishment Democrats - spineless, capitalist, militarist, insular, and ultimately authoritarian - deserve to be let anywhere near the label "liberal".

Cassiodorus on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:57pm
Well the postcapitalists are "good, intelligent, and independent-minded" people who "learn from history and build on it."

@The Liberal Moonbat

The difference, of course, is that the postcapitalists want to jettison capitalism whereas most of the liberals want to "build on it."

"A well-regulated capitalism," they tell us, is the way to go, because history declares "Communism" anathema. Now perhaps not all liberals agree with this well-recited dogma, but its primary problem is that it does not touch capitalism's commodification of everything including governments. Thus liberals who believe in this dogma claim that they seek the best-possible accommodation with capitalism, and "well-regulated" means "regulated enough to look good." Politicians with the endorsement of liberals must keep the air and water clean in areas where the residents are rich enough to buy politicians.

Now of course the liberals will protest this characterization of them, proclaiming once again that they are "good, intelligent, and independent-minded." But where can they be seen imagining the world after capitalism? Kim Stanley Robinson at least tries:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/164911428?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Kim Stanley Robinson, Keynote from Environmental Humanities Center on Vimeo .

The Liberal Moonbat on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 11:41am
Having formally studied economics I've come away with the conclusion that the very concept is, at best, nothing more than a kind of subtopic of history, and at worst, outright pseudoscience, if not religion.

@Cassiodorus

My attitude has since spread to much of the rest of that which bills itself as "social science" - sociology's one thing, of course, and so is modern psychology, having dumped Freud, but I think the notion of "social science" is finally revealing itself to mostly be just another disastrous 19th-Century conceit. Free will is kryptonite to science. "The economy", "society", "culture", people labor under these things because they believe they're unavoidably real, but it's really all just a game , and the rules can be almost whatever we want them to be.

You can try to make anything into a "science" - but not everything can or should. Case in point: After World War II, the Soviet Union decided that military strategy and tactics were a science, and that it had natural laws or whatever that could be honed to the same degree of precision as the laws of physics; with time, they believed, they'd be able to predict the outcome of a battle before a single shot had been fired. This "science" crashed and burned when they invaded Afghanistan.

As to the question of "what do we replace capitalism with?", my honest answer is: Nothing. Stop believing in "economics", and just do what makes sense based on situational necessity and a long-term vision of what we want. A "mixed economy" like those of Norway, 1970s Britain, or (arguably) New Deal America is really just an economy that has broken free of the religion of "economics," and plays by its own, common sense/common morality rules. The best economic policy MO I've ever heard of is Finland's: "Let's do what makes our people HAPPY!" (I read a dandy article about that a while back, but I can't seem to find it now).

travelerxxx on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 5:22pm
Like to read that...

@The Liberal Moonbat

The best economic policy MO I've ever heard of is Finland's: "Let's do what makes our people HAPPY!" (I read a dandy article about that a while back, but I can't seem to find it now).

TLM, if you recall that article, I'd be interested in reading it. You can shoot me a PM here.

arendt on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 3:57pm
Interesting, if overly long, talk by KSR

@Cassiodorus

I have seen his books for a long time, but never was that interested. Now that I know he is a politically active sci-fi writer - who is not a screaming libertarian fuckhead like Neal Stephenson or Vernor Vinge - I will pick up one of his books.

He says some very radical things (nationalize the banks, end austerity, stop burning fossil fuels), but he does so in such a droning, sophorific manner that you don't quite appreciate how extreme his stance is. Perhaps that is an intentional tactic.

Anyway, thanks for linking the video.

on the cusp on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 11:32am
I recently visited UAE.

I enjoyed a museum visit in Sharza, where one section of the complex had displays of incredible scientific contributions I had never associated with this part of the world.

When I left that section, everything became examples and displays of Islam. Korans, proper clothing, a few weapons. Thinking back, the science section pre-dated this philosopher.

I saw his influence, just didn't know it until today. Very interesting essay.

Azazello on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 2:21pm
Former philosophy major here.

I never could understand Postmodernism. Is this because I am a white male or because I find Enlightenment concepts more coherent and more useful in my everyday life and politics ?

Whatever, I remain happily stuck in the late 18th century.

Good to see a mention of Alan Sokal in the linked article.

MrWebster on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 12:05pm
What I remember about Shakespeare in college

And other literature courses was that the classes were about the schools of literary criticism on Shakespeare, rather than about the students doing a close reading of Shakespeare. And then of course, critiques on the schools of literary criticism.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Democrats' Quandary In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year ..."
"... Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class? ..."
"... This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent. ..."
"... But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC. ..."
"... Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again. ..."
"... So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day. ..."
"... Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton. ..."
"... And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy. ..."
"... I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez. ..."
"... I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

To hear the candidates debate, you would think that their fight was over who could best beat Trump. But when Trump's billionaire twin Mike Bloomberg throws a quarter-billion dollars into an ad campaign to bypass the candidates actually running for votes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, it's obvious that what really is at issue is the future of the Democrat Party. Bloomberg is banking on a brokered convention held by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in which money votes. (If "corporations are people," so is money in today's political world.)

Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class?

This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent.

All this sounds like Rome at the end of the Republic in the 1st century BC. The way Rome's constitution was set up, candidates for the position of consul had to pay their way through a series of offices. The process started by going deeply into debt to get elected to the position of aedile, in charge of staging public games and entertainments. Rome's neoliberal fiscal policy did not tax or spend, and there was little public administrative bureaucracy, so all such spending had to be made out of the pockets of the oligarchy. That was a way of keeping decisions about how to spend out of the hands of democratic politics. Julius Caesar and others borrowed from the richest Bloomberg of their day, Crassus, to pay for staging games that would demonstrate their public spirit to voters (and also demonstrate their financial liability to their backers among Rome's One Percent). Keeping election financing private enabled the leading oligarchs to select who would be able to run as viable candidates. That was Rome's version of Citizens United.

But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC.

Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times have been busy spreading their venom against Sanders. On Sunday, February 23, CNN ran a slot, "Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders, immediately."[1]Given Sanders' heavy national lead, CNN warned, the race suddenly is almost beyond the vote-fixers' ability to fiddle with the election returns. That means that challengers to Sanders should focus their attack on him; they will have a chance to deal with Bloomberg later (by which CNN means, when it is too late to stop him).

The party's Clinton-Obama recipients of Donor Class largesse pretend to believe that Sanders is not electable against Donald Trump. This tactic seeks to attack him at his strongest point. Recent polls show that he is the only candidate who actually would defeat Trump – as they showed that he would have done in 2016.

The DNC knew that, but preferred to lose to Trump than to win with Bernie. Will history repeat itself? Or to put it another way, will this year's July convention become a replay of Chicago in 1968?

A quandary, not a problem . Last year I was asked to write a scenario for what might happen with a renewed DNC theft of the election's nomination process. To be technical, I realize, it's not called theft when it's legal. In the aftermath of suits over the 2016 power grab, the courts ruled that the Democrat Party is indeed controlled by the DNC members, not by the voters. When it comes to party machinations and decision-making, voters are subsidiary to the superdelegates in their proverbial smoke-filled room (now replaced by dollar-filled foundation contracts).

I could not come up with a solution that does not involve dismantling and restructuring the existing party system. We have passed beyond the point of having a solvable "problem" with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That is what a quandary is. A problem has a solution – by definition. A quandary does not have a solution. There is no way out. The conflict of interest between the Donor Class and the Voting Class has become too large to contain within a single party. It must split.

A second-ballot super-delegate scenario would mean that we are once again in for a second Trump term. That option was supported by five of the six presidential contenders on stage in Nevada on Wednesday, February 20. When Chuck Todd asked whether Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar would support the candidate who received the most votes in the primaries (now obviously Bernie Sanders), or throw the nomination to the super-delegates held over from the Obama-Clinton neoliberals (75 of whom already are said to have pledged their support to Bloomberg), each advocated "letting the process play out." That was a euphemism for leaving the choice to the Tony-Blair style leadership that have made the Democrats the servants' entrance to the Republican Party. Like the British Labour Party behind Blair and Gordon Brown, its role is to block any left-wing alternative to the Republican program on behalf of the One Percent.

This problem would not exist if the United States had a European-style parliamentary system that would enable a third party to obtain space on the ballots in all 50 states. If this were Europe, the new party of Bernie Sanders, AOC et al. would exceed 50 percent of the votes, leaving the Wall Street democrats with about the same 8 percent share that similar neoliberal democratic parties have in Europe ( e.g ., Germany's hapless neoliberalized Social Democrats), that is, Klobocop territory as voters moved to the left. The "voting Democrats," the 99 Percent, would win a majority leaving the Old Neoliberal Democrats in the dust.

The DNC's role is to prevent any such challenge. The United States has an effective political duopoly, as both parties have created such burdensome third-party access to the ballot box in state after state that Bernie Sanders decided long ago that he had little alternative but to run as a Democrat.

The problem is that the Democrat Party does not seem to be reformable. That means that voters still may simply abandon it – but that will simply re-elect the Democrats' de facto 2020 candidate, Donald Trump. The only hope would be to shrink the party into a shell, enabling the old guard to go way so that the party could be rebuilt from the ground up.

But the two parties have created a legal duopoly reinforced with so many technical barriers that a repeat of Ross Perot's third party (not to mention the old Socialist Party, or the Whigs in 1854) would take more than one election cycle to put in place. For the time being, we may expect another few months of dirty political tricks to rival those of 2016 as Obama appointee Tom Perez is simply the most recent version of Florida fixer Debbie Schultz-Wasserman (who gave a new meaning to the Wasserman Test).

So we are in for another four years of Donald Trump. But by 2024, how tightly will the U.S. economy find itself tied in knots?

The Democrats' Vocabulary of Deception

How I would explain Bernie's program. Every economy is a mixed economy. But to hear Michael Bloomberg and his fellow rivals to Bernie Sanders explain the coming presidential election, one would think that an economy must be either capitalist or, as Bloomberg put it, Communist. There is no middle ground, no recognition that capitalist economies have a government sector, which typically is called the "socialist" sector – Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, roads, anti-monopoly regulation, and public infrastructure as an alternative to privatized monopolies extracting economic rent.

What Mr. Bloomberg means by insisting that it's either capitalism or communism is an absence of government social spending and regulation. In practice this means oligarchic financial control, because every economy is planned by some sector. The key is, who will do the planning? If government refrains from taking the lead in shaping markets, then Wall Street takes over – or the City in London, Frankfurt in Germany, and the Bourse in France.

Most of all, the aim of the One Percent is to distract attention from the fact that the economy is polarizing – and is doing so at an accelerating rate. National income statistics are rigged to show that "the economy" is expanding. The pretense is that everyone is getting richer and living better, not more strapped. But the reality is that all the growth in GDP has accrued to the wealthiest 5 Percent since the Obama Recession began in 2008. Obama bailed out the banks instead of the 10 million victimized junk-mortgage holders. The 95 Percent's share of GDP has shrunk.

The GDP statistics do not show is that "capital gains" – the market price of stocks, bonds and real estate owned mainly by the One to Five Percent – has soared, thanks to Obama's $4.6 trillion Quantitative Easing pumped into the financial markets instead of into the "real" economy in which wage-earners produce goods and services.

How does one "stay the course" in an economy that is polarizing? Staying the course means continuing the existing trends that are concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the One Percent, that is, the Donor Class – while loading down the 99 Percent with more debt, paid to the One Percent (euphemized as the economy's "savers"). All "saving" is at the top of the pyramid. The 99 Percent can't afford to save much after paying their monthly "nut" to the One Percent.

If this economic polarization is impoverishing most of the population while sucking wealth and income and political power up to the One Percent, then to be a centrist is to be the candidate of oligarchy. It means not challenging the economy's structure.

Language is being crafted to confuse voters into imagining that their interest is the same as that of the Donor Class of rentiers , creditors and financialized corporate businesses and rent-extracting monopolies. The aim is to divert attention from voters' their own economic interest as wage-earners, debtors and consumers. It is to confuse voters not to recognize that without structural reform, today's "business as usual" leaves the One Percent in control.

So to call oneself a "centrist" is simply a euphemism for acting as a lobbyist for siphoning up income and wealth to the One Percent. In an economy that is polarizing, the choice is either to favor them instead of the 99 Percent.

That certainly is not the same thing as stability. Centrism sustains the polarizing dynamic of financialization, private equity, and the Biden-sponsored bankruptcy "reform" written by his backers of the credit-card companies and other financial entities incorporated in his state of Delaware. He was the senator for the that state's Credit Card industry, much as former Democratic VP candidate Joe Lieberman was the senator from Connecticut's Insurance Industry.

A related centrist demand is that of Buttigieg's and Biden's aim to balance the federal budget. This turns out to be a euphemism for cutting back Social Security, Medicare and relate social spending ("socialism") to pay for America's increasing militarization, subsidies and tax cuts for the One Percent. Sanders rightly calls this "socialism for the rich." The usual word for this is oligarchy . That seems to be a missing word in today's mainstream vocabulary.

The alternative to democracy is oligarchy. As Aristotle noted already in the 4 th

Confusion over the word "socialism" may be cleared up by recognizing that every economy is mixed, and every economy is planned – by someone. If not the government in the public interest, then by Wall Street and other financial centers in their interest. They fought against an expanding government sector in every economy today, calling it socialism – without acknowledging that the alternative, as Rosa Luxemburg put it, is barbarism.

I think that Sanders is using the red-letter word "socialism" and calling himself a "democratic socialist" to throw down the ideological gauntlet and plug himself into the long and powerful tradition of socialist politics. Paul Krugman would like him to call himself a social democrat. But the European parties of this name have discredited this label as being centrist and neoliberal. Sanders wants to emphasize that a quantum leap, a phase change is in order.

If he can be criticized for waving a needlessly red flag, it is his repeated statement that his program is designed for the "working class." What he means are wage-earners and this includes the middle class. Even those who make over $100,000 a year are still wage earners, and typically are being squeezed by a predatory financial sector, a predatory medical insurance sector, drug companies and other monopolies.

The danger in this terminology is that most workers like to think of themselves as middle class, because that is what they would like to rise into. That is especially he case for workers who own their own home (even if mortgage represents most of the value, so that most of the home's rental value is paid to banks, not to themselves as part of the "landlord class"), and have an education (even if most of their added income is paid out as student debt service), and their own car to get to work (involving automobile debt).

The fact is that even $100,000 executives have difficulty living within the limits of their paycheck, after paying their monthly nut of home mortgage or rent, medical care, student loan debt, credit-card debt and automobile debt, not to mention 15% FICA paycheck withholding and state and local tax withholding.

Of course, Sanders' terminology is much more readily accepted by wage-earners as the voters whom Hillary called "Deplorables" and Obama called "the mob with pitchforks," from whom he was protecting his Wall Street donors whom he invited to the White House in 2009. But I think there is a much more appropriate term: the 99 Percent, made popular by Occupy Wall Street. That is Bernie's natural constituency. It serves to throw down the gauntlet between democracy and oligarchy, and between socialism and barbarism, by juxtaposing the 99 Percent to the One Percent.

The Democratic presidential debate on February 25 will set the stage for Super Tuesday's "beauty contest" to gauge what voters want. The degree of Sanders' win will help determine whether the byzantine Democrat party apparatus that actually will be able to decide on the Party's candidate. The expected strong Sanders win is will make the choice stark: either to accept who the voters choose – namely, Bernie Sanders – or to pick a candidate whom voters already have rejected, and is certain to lose to Donald Trump in November.

If that occurs, the Democrat Party will evaporate as its old Clinton-Obama guard is no longer able to protect its donor class on Wall Street and corporate America. Too many Sanders voters would stay home or vote for the Greens. That would enable the Republicans to maintain control of the Senate and perhaps even grab back the House of Representatives.

But it would be dangerous to assume that the DNC will be reasonable. Once again, Roman history provides a "business as usual" scenario. The liberal German politician Theodor Mommsen published his History of Rome in 1854-56, warning against letting an aristocracy block reform by controlling the upper house of government (Rome's Senate, or Britain House of Lords). The leading families who overthrew the last king in 509 BC created a Senate chronically prone to being stifled by its leaders' "narrowness of mind and short-sightedness that are the proper and inalienable privileges of all genuine patricianism."[2]

These qualities also are the distinguishing features of the DNC. Sanders had better win big!

________________

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/22/opinions/bloomberg-needs-to-take-down-sanders-lockhart/index.html . Joe Lockhart, opinion. For the MSNBC travesty see from February 23, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/23/msnbc-full-blown-freakout-mode-bernie-sanders-cements-status-democratic-frontrunner, by Jake Johnson.

[2]Mommsen, History of Rome , 1911: 268.


divadab , February 25, 2020 at 7:55 am

I wonder how much of the rot at the top of the Dem party is simple dementia. By the age of 70, half of people have some level of dementia. Consider Joe Biden – is anyone in the public sphere going to state the obvious – that he has dementia and as such is unfit for office?

Fred1 , February 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

First, my priors. I voted for Sanders in 2016, will vote for him in 2020, and expect him to be elected president. Further I believe that where we find ourselves today is the result of at least 40 years of intentional bi-partisan policies. Both parties are responsible.

If Sanders, upon being elected, were able to snap his fingers and call into existence his entire program, it would immediately face a bi-partisan opposition that would be funded by billions of dollars, which would be willing to take as long as necessary, even decades, to roll it back.

Just electing Sanders is only the first step. There must be a committed, determined follow through that must be willing to last decades as well for his program to stick. And there will be defeats along the way.

Several observations. If Hillary had beaten Trump, Sanders would have trudged back to Vermont and would never have been heard from again. The MSM would have dismissed his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class. But she didn't, so here we are, which is fantastic.

Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again.

So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day.

If he loses to Trump, but closely, which can mean a lot of different things, his program would live to fight another day. Moreover, if the D's are seen to actively collude with Trump, this less bad outcome would be even better.

I am an old geezer and don't expect to live long enough to see how all of this plays out. But I am very optimistic about his program's long term prospects. There is only one bad outcome, a Trump 48 state sweep, which I consider very unlikely. But most importantly, the best outcome, his election, and the two least bad outcomes, the D's stealing the nomination from him or his losing a close general election, all still will require a decades long commitment to make his program permanent.

I wish I were younger.

a different chris , February 25, 2020 at 8:55 am

>a Trump 48 state sweep

Where do people get this? Take a deep breath. Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton.

And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy.

Hammered by a 5 star general. The Deplorables kids were raised to look up to generals, not New Yawk dandys. How does this affect them? And it's still February.

Sailor Bud , February 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

Just an FYI: The five-volume Mommsen "History of Rome" referenced in the text is available in English on Project Gutenberg, free and legal to download. Probably everyone here knows this, but just in case

Dan , February 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

How about Bernie call himself "Roosevelt Democrat" instead of "Democratic Socialist". It would give all those in the senior demographic a better understanding of what Sander's policies mean to them as opposed to the scary prospect of the "Socialist" label.

Oxley Creek Boy , February 25, 2020 at 10:12 am

The Democrats should have been slowly disarming the word "socialist" for at least the last decade. In principle, it's not difficult – as Michael Hudson says – "Every economy is a mixed economy" – and in a very real sense everyone's a socialist (even if only unconsciously). I'm not saying that bit of rhetorical jujitsu would magically turn conservative voters progressive but you'll never get to the point where you can defend socialist programs on the merits if you always dodge that fight. It's just a shame that Bernie Sanders has to do it all in a single election cycle and I don't think choosing a different label now would help him much.

flora , February 25, 2020 at 11:37 am

He could even compare himself to the earlier Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt.

By 1900 the old bourbon Dem party was deeply split between its old, big business and banking wing – the bourbons – and the rising progressive/populist wing. It was GOP pres Roosevelt who first pushed through progressive programs like breaking up railroad and commodity monopolies, investigating and regulating meat packing and fraudulent patent medicines, etc. Imagine that.

lyman alpha blob , February 25, 2020 at 1:30 pm

I just finished Stoller's book Goliath and according to him, Teddy wasn't quite as progressive as we are often led to believe. He wasn't so much opposed to those with enormous wealth – he just wanted them to answer to him. He did do the things you mentioned, but after sending the message to the oligarchs, he then became friendly with them once he felt he'd brought them to heel. He developed quite the soft spot for JP Morgan, according to Stoller.

TR wanted to be the Boss, the center of attention with everyone looking up to him. As one of his relatives said, he wanted to be the baby at every christening and the corpse at every funeral.

I find Bernie to be a lot more humble.

Balakirev , February 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I have a sense that changing his party affiliation label at any point in time since Sanders began running for president in 2016 would be a godsend to his enemies in both hands of the Duopoly. They'd tar him loudly as a hypocrite without an ounce of integrity, using personal politics to distract from the issues.

Meanwhile, we can expect to see the Socialist (and Communist, and Russia-Russia-Russia) nonsense reiterated as long as Sanders has strong visibility. He's extremely dangerous to both parties and their owners. I don't' believe the DNC will let him take the convention, but if he does, I'll bet the Dems give him minimal support and hope he fails–better the devil you know, etc.

political economist , February 25, 2020 at 9:56 am

It's time to put your money in reality futures by putting all that you can into supporting Bernie, AOC, etc. and all your local candidates that support at least democratic socialism and ourrevolution the DSA Justice Dems or other groups that have people but need money. I was having a conversation with a friend who was complaining that he was getting too many emails from Bernie asking for money after he had given the campaign a "modest amount". My suggestion was in honor of his children and grandchildren he should instead GIVE 'TIL IT FEELS GOOD. My spouse and I, I told him, gave the max to Bernie and now we don't give upset when he asks for more. There will likely never be a moment like this in history and there may not be much of a history if things go the wrong way now. He agreed.

Debra D. , February 25, 2020 at 10:11 am

Exactly right. I gave Bernie the max in 2019 and will keep giving throughout 2020. This campaign is about not just me, but all of us. It's now. We must fight for this change as has always been the historical precedent.

BillC , February 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

OK, you two gave me the push I needed to max out my contributions to Bernie too. Let's hope Bernie's (oops OUR) bandwagon keeps gathering steam!

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Another 2019 Bernie maxer here.

I feel blessed to have been able to give at this level. And I believe that I did this for a lot of people who aren't able to donate at all.

steven , February 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez.

I am coming to understand that might have been necessary within the context of one last desperate attempt to work with the Democratic party. But now I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings?

Little as it has been the answer has a lot to do with my willingness to pour more money into repetitively self-defeating behavior.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Bernie is a long-distance runner and strategizes like one. First work on finishing your races. Then worry about where you place.

Debra R. , February 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

I am a somewhat old geezer, too, who caucused for Bernie in 2016 and 2020. This article is very good and helps me understand why I feel the way I do. I was disappointed in Obama, who didn't follow through on the things I cared about, and I was devastated when Clinton was crowned the Democratic nominee well before the Convention, all the while holding onto a smidgen of hope that somehow Bernie would pull through as the nominee.

I was ecstatic when Bernie announced his candidacy for 2020. He is our only hope, and now we have a second chance. But now I am spending half my time screaming at people on tv and online who can't even hear me, and even if they could, they don't give a s–t what I think. It's Clinton 2.0–same thing all over again, four years later. Just who do these people (DNC, MSM, and others with a voice) think they are, to decide for the Democratic voters which candidate will be the nominee, who won't be the nominee, without regard to what the voters want? They are a bunch of pompous as–s who have some other motive that I am not savvy enough to understand. Is it about money in their pockets or what?

It should be as simple as this–Bernie is leading in the polls, if they are to be believed, and good people of all demographics want him to be our next President. He is a serious contender for the nomination. Show the man some much-earned respect and put people on MSM and publish articles by writers who help us understand what the anti-Bernie panic is about and why we shouldn't panic. Help us to explain his plans if he hasn't explained it thoroughly enough instead of calling him crazy. But to dismiss him as if he has the plague is not furthering the truth, and it is a serious injustice to the voting public. Naked Capitalism can't do it alone.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm

There is a lot of good analysis out there, mainly on Youtube. I particularly like The Hill's Rising. A young progressive Democrat and a young progressive Republican (who even knew there was such a thing!) 'splain a lot of the antipathy. Another good source is Nomiki Konst, who is working on reforming the Dem party from within. Here she talks to RJ Eskow about how the DNC is structured and how she hopes to provide tools for rank-and-file Dems to wrest the levers of power from the establishment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ7wm6DCPV4

notabanktoadie , February 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Private sector cannot operate without same. Harrold

The problem is that the population, including FDR in his time, have been duped into believing that the private sector REQUIRES government privileges for private depository institutions, aka "the banks."

So currently we have no truly private sector to speak of but businesses and industry using the public's credit but for private gain.

Susan the other , February 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Last night's Democracy Now was interesting. Amy seems to be less of a commie hater than she recently was with her participation in the Russia-Russia-Russia smears against Trump. She held court last night with Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff discussing just exactly what "socialism" means. It was a great performance.

Krug seemed a little shellshocked about the whole discussion and he said we shouldn't even use the term "socialism" at all because all the things Bernie wants are just as capitalist – that capitalism encompasses socialism. But he stuttered when he discussed "single-payer" which he claimed he supported – his single payer is like Pete Buttigieg's single-payer-eventually. He tried to change the subject and Amy brought him straight back.

Then Wolff, who was in excellent form, informed the table that "socialism" is a moveable feast because it can be and has been many things for the advancement of societies, etc. But the term always means the advancement of society. Then Krug dropped a real bomb – he actually said (this is almost a quote) that recently he had been informed by Powell that debt isn't really all that important.

Really, Krug said that. And he tried to exetend that thought to the argument that anybody can provide social benefits – it doesn't require a self-proclaimed "socialist".

Richard Wolff confronted that slide with pointing out that it hasn't happened yet – and he left Krug with no excuses. It was quite the showdown. Nice Richard Wolff is so firmly in Bernie's camp.

Krug looked evasive – and I kept wishing they had invited Steve Keen to participate.

[Feb 24, 2020] Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals by Martin Lukacs

Highly recommended!
This is a dirty trick to avoid regulation of buiness, nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... Stop obsessing with how personally green you live – and start collectively taking on corporate power ..."
"... The freedom of these corporations to pollute – and the fixation on a feeble lifestyle response – is no accident. It is the result of an ideological war, waged over the last 40 years, against the possibility of collective action. Devastatingly successful, it is not too late to reverse it. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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." ..."
Jul 17, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Stop obsessing with how personally green you live – and start collectively taking on corporate power

Would you advise someone to flap towels in a burning house? To bring a flyswatter to a gunfight? Yet the counsel we hear on climate change could scarcely be more out of sync with the nature of the crisis.

The email in my inbox last week offered thirty suggestions to green my office space: use reusable pens, redecorate with light colours, stop using the elevator.

Back at home, done huffing stairs, I could get on with other options: change my lightbulbs, buy local veggies, purchase eco-appliances, put a solar panel on my roof.

And a study released on Thursday claimed it had figured out the single best way to fight climate change: I could swear off ever having a child.

These pervasive exhortations to individual action -- in corporate ads, school textbooks, and the campaigns of mainstream environmental groups, especially in the west -- seem as natural as the air we breathe. But we could hardly be worse-served.

While we busy ourselves greening our personal lives, fossil fuel corporations are rendering these efforts irrelevant. The breakdown of carbon emissions since 1988? A hundred companies alone are responsible for an astonishing 71% . You tinker with those pens or that panel; they go on torching the planet.

The freedom of these corporations to pollute – and the fixation on a feeble lifestyle response – is no accident. It is the result of an ideological war, waged over the last 40 years, against the possibility of collective action. Devastatingly successful, it is not too late to reverse it.

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.

[Feb 22, 2020] Jane Mayer, Dark Money

Feb 16, 2016 | www.youtube.com

In her fourth book Mayer draws on court records, extensive interviews, and many private archives to examine the growing political influence of extreme libertarians among the one percent, such as the Koch brothers, tracing their ideas about taxation and government regulation and their savvy use of lobbyists to further an agenda that advances their own interests at the expense of meaningful economic, environmental, and labor reform. Mayer is in conversation with James Bennet, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic.


Anita Clarke , 2 years ago

People elected a billionaire that is appointing other billionaires to fix the system that made them billionaires .... thats a special kind of stupid !!!

It's Time for Fiscal Policy for Public Purpose , 1 year ago

Neoliberalism opened the public sector up to the predatory capitalists. Financial markets love sick and violent people to increase healthcare profits and keep the slave wage prison factories pumping. This is why Thatcher had to say "there's no such thing as society" so she could embark on this fascist agenda to decimate the middle class. Fast forward 40 years, we now have tent villages, medical bankruptcies, opioid suicides, increased school shootings, mass incarceration, media consolidated Pentagon mouthpieces, educational corrosion and "market ideology" professors, fracking, poisoned aquifers, a defunct voting system, career politicians who no longer write legislation, a bloated administrative unelected bureaucracy of agencies addicted to the MIC budget. The Kochs choked democracy, nearly drowned government in the bathtub, as was their wish.

tomitstube , 2 years ago

i've often wondered how certain memes seem to pop up out of thin air and take on a life of their own, ever notice when a democrat is in the white house the biggest concern is the debt and federal budget? republicans use this non-stop rhetoric to stop any social programs, even gut them. this stuff goes back a while like the "liberal media", this election cycle i was repeatedly confronted with "taxes are theft" when defending social programs, and during the health care debate there was this "ayn rand" renaissance of "greed is good" taking hold. mayer is dead on with the corporate elites buying our government, it's nothing less than a coup of our democracy, and they are shredding it to pieces.

HOBO RAIDERS , 1 year ago

Why haven't the Kochs been arrested yet? They've been prosecuted dozens of times for violating government regulations and pollution requirements. It does explain their economic libertarianism though, the sociopathic businessmen like the Koch's want to get away with unreasonable pollution and paying workers 3 dollars an hour.

justgivemethetruth , 3 years ago

Earned income and capital gains should be taxed at the same MUCH MORE PROGRESSIVE RATE, and at this point in our monstrous debt we need to consider a surcharge on huge wealth. This situation has been brought about by the extreme right wingers like the Koch Brothers to try to bandrupt the country into shutting down the whole social spending aspect of government ... which is basically fascist and anti-democratic. Want to do the right thing. I think you create a list of human rights, and back up it but a UBI Universal Basic Income, and then get rid of the minimum wage and let people find out where they stand in the economy on their own merits. BUT, they also need free education and an infrastructure of government jobs to offer some competition and experience to people so they can if they want and show the aptitude for private for-profit work.

Stephen Cotton , 1 year ago

Very interesting that you say that the Devos family is very much involved in changing the education system to a right wing system... And Trump has Betsy Devos as his education head. But I would say that public schooling has been degraded and moved to privately owned and run Charter Schools since the first Bush President - and continued under Bill Clinton, Bush II and Obama. Both Democrats and Republicans have been pushing the agenda to the right - where education is concerned. It is an illusion to believe that the Democrats would move the needle in the opposite direction. The goal is to enslave all middle and working class people with student debt. Student debt is the only debt you cannot extinguish through bankruptcy... it stays with you until death. This debt enslavement then creates a society of desperate and compliant workers. This is the goal and it is an agenda that corporations want - served by both democrats and republicans. And for most part it the agenda has been achieved. So the dark money does coalesce for certain agendas. But the Devos's have a religious agenda where education is concerned... they want to make sure Genesis is taught as science and ban the teaching of evolution and things like that.

It's Time for Fiscal Policy for Public Purpose , 1 year ago

1984. Truly the symbolic year that the Orwellian neoliberal war on Americans began. Why? To "lower our expectations" of the 60's decade. Democracy is fine until it's been activated. Then the hammer comes down. But other countries enjoy a high quality of life, no threats of revolt or overthrow, so why does this unnecessarily continue? It must just be greed. Exploiting the public sector for profit.

Howard Switzer , 2 months ago (edited)

I think the key strategic 'leverage point' is the money, specifically the money system. We need to elect a Congress and President ethical enough to pass the NEED Act which would create a public for-care money system, stop banks from creating our money for profit and establish a monetary authority that would only be tasked with determining the amount of new money required each year to support public objectives determined by Congress, like healthcare, education, infrastructure and a citizen's dividend.

JC Hines , 10 months ago

Excellent review and information on KOCH BROS. Enjoyed. Thank you. Hope more people listen MORE about these Brothers (2) knowing how they have infiltrated into our GOVT and now own GOP Congress/PENCE (lobbied for them w/Manafort) and TRUMP. The are also friends w/Bush. Hence, Kavanaugh was put in as SCOTUS. Citizens United MUST BE REMOVED! Our democracy is in danger. Hope it's not too late. I want my country back.

It's Time for Fiscal Policy for Public Purpose , 1 year ago

"To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment ...would result in the demolition of society." ~ Karl Polanyi, 1944 We've had a President Koch for 40 years now. This book explains their takeover of government so that predatory capitalists could turn social services into financial markets for exploitation and profit. This destroys society but they didn't care.

Shirley Hill , 5 months ago

Fred Koch made his money building an oil industry for Stalin, then became anti-communist after returning with the money? Sounds like guilt to me. Then Fred Koch worked for Hitler's war efforts. Fred became a John Bircher and his money went to his four trust fund sons, the Koch Bros. who now stealth control U.S. politics and Republican politicians from the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Tea Party with black money support, including funding rightwing chairs and think tanks .at all the Ivy League universities.They have much, much, much too much money. it's time to tax their pants off so they understand what work. is.

wterwt werewrewr , 1 year ago

- Koch brothers story is hillarious , just for example Charles Koch got Defender of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers , LOL

wterwt werewrewr , 1 year ago

- Koch brothers story is hillarious , just for example Charles Koch got Defender of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers , LOL

Bijou Smith , 1 year ago

It's fascinating the Koch Brothers do not truly believe their own philosophy, because if they did they would go all the way in and champion worker cooperatives = complete freedom, freedom from government and freedom from a dictator boss. Like all ideologues with a quasi-engineering view of human relations and a Freudian fear of communism, they are blinded by the merits of anything that sounds remotely like socialism even when it logically matches their more reasonable libertarian ideals. In other words, they are fake libertarians, they are rank abusive authoritarian oligarchs, wannabe plutocrats. Ironically the Koch Bros are closer to Stalin in their ideology than they are to Reagan.

Albert Morris, 1 year ago

Jane Mayer is in a class all her own as a journalist. God bless her. I hope her next project is on the corporate media itself and its shameful railroading of Julian Assange. We need all the good journalism we can get.

James Gillis, 2 years ago

"Free Market is a utopia". I'm glad you said that so I can read your book knowing your political philosophy...

[Feb 22, 2020] The Red Thread A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Diana West

Highly recommended!
She does not use the term neoliberalism but she provide interesting perspective about connection of neoliberalism and Trotskyism. It is amazing fact that most of them seriously studied communist ideology at universities.
Trotskyites are never constrained by morality and they are obsessed with raw power (especially political power) and forceful transformation of the society. They are for global dominance so they were early adherents of "Full spectrum Dominance" doctirne approporitated later be US neocons. Their Dream -- global run from Washington neoliberal empire is a mirror of the dream of Trotskyites of global communist empire run from Moscow (Trotsky "Permanent war" till the total victory of communism idea)
Inability to understand that neoliberal is undermines Diana West thinking, but still she is a good researcher and she managed to reveal some interesting facts and tendencies. She intuitively understand that both are globalist ideologies, but that about all she managed to understand. Bad for former DIA specialist on the USSR and former colleague of Colonel Lang (see Sic Semper Tyrannis)
It is funny that Sanders is being accused of being a 'self-identified' socialist, while neoliberal elite is shoulder-deep in socialism for the 1% and enjoy almost unlimited access to free Fed funds.
Feb 22, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Boston Bill , March 23, 2019

Programs, programs, get your program here.

I received my copy just a few days before the Mueller investigation closed shop. There is an old saying "You can't tell the players without a program." As the aftermath of the Mueller investigation begins, you need this book. Some pundits and observers of the political scene have observed that the Mueller investigation didn't come about because of any real concern about "Trump Russia collusion," it was manufactured to protect the deep state from a non-political interloper. That's the case Diana West makes and does it with her exceptional knowledge of the Cold War and the current jihad wars. Not to mention her deadly aim with her rhetorical darts.

Erving L. Briggs , April 2, 2019
History Repeats

The Red Thread by Diana West
Diana states, "the anti-Trump conspiracy is not about Democrats and Republicans. It is not about the ebb and flow of political power, lawfully and peacefully transferred. It is about globalists and nationalists, just as the president says. They are locked in the old and continuous Communist/anti-Communist struggle, and fighting to the end, whether We, the anti-Communists, recognize it or not."

Diana traces the Red Thread running through the swamp, she names names and relates the history of the Red players. She asks the questions, Why? Why so many Soviet-style acts of deception perpetrated from inside the federal government against the American electoral process? Why so many uncorroborated dossiers of Russian provenance influencing our politics? Why such a tangle of communist and socialist roots in the anti-Trump conspiracy?
In this book, these questions will be answered.

If you have read her book "American Betrayal," I'm sure you will have a good idea about what is going on. I did. I just didn't know the major players and the red history behind each of them.

The book is very interesting and short, only 104 pages, but it is not finished yet. Easy to read but very disturbing to know the length and width of the swamp, the depth, we may not know for a long time. I do feel better knowing that there are people like Diana uncovering and shining a light into the darkness. Get the book, we all need to know why this is happening and who the enemies are behind it. Our freedom depends on it.

[Feb 22, 2020] Diana West on influence of Comminist ideology on the US neoliberal elite and on neoliberalism as being Trotskyism for the rich

On the influence of Trotskyism on the US and British elite including such figures as Comey, Hillary, Brennan, etc.
Jan 13, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Why does Diana West believe that communist ideology has infiltrated America's intelligence agencies?

After looking into key figures involved in the Spygate scandal, what information did Diana West uncover about their ideological beliefs?


RED PILL PORTAL , 1 month ago

"In America moral relativism is now so deeply embed that there is no ideology, including communism, that can bar you from joining our most powerful intelligence agency (which was essentially stood up to fight communism) and even rise to control it and all of its secrets." –Diana West, The Red Thread

Jerk Joker , 1 month ago

Nellie Ohr: Stalin's techniques might be useful in getting a confession from her & Bruce

Judith Gervais , 2 days ago

I think Diana West might want to consider the "just war" theory as something Niebuhr.would have been talking about. I do not know the writings of either Niebuhr or Tillich well but it is my understanding that both did much good in the world so I wouldn't write them off without very careful consideration. Many deeply religious people I know consider some of the ideas contained within socialism to be Christian friendly. Thank you for considering my statements.

Tamas Hadaszy , 3 weeks ago

"The ends justify the means" is the false and evil doctrine of collectivist. "We will force our utopia on you, even if we have to kill you to do it".

Minecraft gaming channel gamer girl , 1 month ago (edited)

For 3 years i argued with my Left wing friend. One day he called out "I just want to control people". Talk about 'the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks'. I finally worked out what made my friend consider government programs as the solution to every problem: He is a closet control freak! Every person on the Left is a control freak hiding in the closet!! Beware of these dictators coming to control your life!!!

[Feb 07, 2020] The favored candidate of the DNC is clearly Trump

Trump is Hillary2020 ;-)
Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bubbles , Feb 6 2020 20:57 utc | 74

Yes pft, the favored candidate of the DNC is clearly Trump.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Feb 6 2020 19:25 utc | 58


Only if the ungrateful commoners who identify as Democrats or moderates can't be brought to heel and give their full throated support for the DNC's favoured Cookie Cutter candidate who might as well be one of those dolls with a string and a recording you hear when you pull the string.

Then yes, they would prefer 'fore moar years!!' of the Ugliest American ever to be installed as President of the United States.

One of things I respect about Tulsi Gabbard is she ain't no Doll with a string attached. When she made the comment about cleaning out the rot in the Democratic Party, she left no doubt her intent and goals. And to take on hillary, the Red Queen to boot, why that was simply delicious.

Alas, the View, the DNC, it's web of evil rich and the media will never forgive her for Soldiering for her Country.

[Feb 07, 2020] The democratic party must be thee only political party in all world history that actively suppresses people who want to vote for them.

Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Erelis , Feb 6 2020 19:43 utc | 61

The democratic party must be thee only political party in all world history that actively suppresses people who want to vote for them.

Looks like the democrats are set to lose the same way they did in 2016. Basically as Matt Bruenig wrote in his article "The Boring Story of the 2016 Election

Donald Trump did not win because of a surge of white support. Indeed he got less white support than Romney got in 2012. Nor did Trump win because he got a surge from other race+gender groups. The exit polls show him doing slightly better with black men, black women, and latino women than Romney did, but basically he just hovered around Romney's numbers with every race+gender group, doing slightly worse than Romney overall.

However, support for Hillary was way below Obama's 2012 levels, with defectors turning to a third party. Clinton did worse with every single race+gender combo except white women, where she improved Obama's outcome by a single point. Clinton did not lose all this support to Donald. She lost it into the abyss. Voters didn't like her but they weren't wooed by Trump .

The Third Wave neocons pointed out an interesting fact. Clinton won bigly CA, NY, and MA which gave her something like 7 million votes. However, Trump won the remaining 47 states by four million.

Willy2 , Feb 6 2020 23:19 utc | 92

- Caitlin Johnstone: It wasn't "incompetence", it was intentionally.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/02/06/the-myth-of-incompetence-dnc-scandals-are-a-feature-not-a-bug

[Feb 07, 2020] Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose

Notable quotes:
"... How can they change? The owners are the warmongering monopoly capitalist ruling class. Are you imagining that any decision can ever be made by the lowly peons, the rank and file? ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose Trisha , Feb 6 2020 16:12 utc | 6

The Democratic Party seems to intend to lose the 2020 elections.

The idiotic impeachment attempt against Trump ended just as we predicted at its beginning:

After two years of falsely accusing Trump of having colluded with Russia [the Democrats] now allege that he colludes with Ukraine. That will make it much more difficult for the Democrats to hide the dirty hands they had in creating Russiagate. Their currently preferred candidate Joe Biden will get damaged.
...
Trump should be impeached for his crimes against Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

But the Democrats will surely not touch on those issues. They are committing themselves to political theater that will end without any result. Instead of attacking Trump's policies and proposing better legislation they will pollute the airwaves with noise about 'crimes' that do not exist.

There is no case for impeachment. Even if the House would vote for one the Senate would never act on it. No one wants to see a President Pence.

The Democrats are giving Trump the best campaign aid he could have wished for. Trump will again present himself as the victim of a witch hunt. He will again argue that he is the only one on the side of the people. That he alone stands with them against the bad politicians in Washington DC. Millions will believe him and support him on this. It will motivate them to vote for him.

The Senate acquitted Trump of all the nonsense the Democrats have thrown against him.


bigger

Biden lost in Iowa and his poll numbers elsewhere are not much better. His meddling in Ukrainian politics will continue to be investigated.

Iowa caucuses count was intentionally sabotaged, first through an appn created by incompetent programmers on the payroll of a Buttigieg related company , then by a manipulated manual count by the Iowa Democratic party:

Chris Schwartz @SchwartzForIowa - 22:01 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

The state party is now being forced to walk back their error of giving @BernieSanders delegates to @DevalPatrick who received zero votes in Black Hawk County. Press can dm me.

We have known for over 24 hours as verified by our county party that @BernieSanders won the #iacaucuses in Black Hawk County with 2,149 votes, 155 County Delegates. #NotMeUs #IowaCaucuses


bigger

The whole manipulation was intended to enable Buttigieg to claim that he led in Iowa even though it is clear that Bernie Sanders won the race. It worked:

29 U.S.C. § 157 @OrganizingPower - 4:13 UTC · Feb 6, 2020

Post Iowa, Buttigieg has gotten a 9pt bounce in Emerson's tracking poll of NH. A bounce based on a caucus he didn't win.

All this is clearly following a plan:

Lee Camp [Redacted] @LeeCamp - 16:58 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

If a progressive is about to win #IowaCaucuses:
- remove final polls
- use mysterious app created by former Clinton staffers
- Funnel results thru untested app
- Claim app fails
- Hold results
- Reveal only 62% to give false impression of who won
- Refuse to reveal final results

But the cost of such open manipulations is the loss of trust in the Democratic Party and in elections in general:

In sum: We are 24 hours into the 2020 campaign, and Democrats have already humiliated their party on national television, alienated their least reliable progressive supporters, demoralized their most earnest activists, and handed Trump's campaign a variety of potent lines of attack.

This so obvious that has to wonder if these outcomes are considered to be features and not bugs .

Buttigieg is by the way a terrible candidate. His work for McKinsey, the company that destroyed the middle class , smells of work for some intelligence agency . His hiring of a Goldman Sachs executive as national policy director makes it clear what his policies will be.

The other leading candidates are not much better. Sanders might have a progressive agenda in domestic policies, but his foreign policies are fully in line with his party. Matt Duss, Sanders' foreign policy advisor, is the son of a lifelong key front man for CIA proxy organizations. He spills out mainstream imperial blabber:

Matt Duss @mattduss - 2:38 UTC · Feb 5, 2020

The only thing that Trump's Venezuela regime change policy achieved is giving Russia an opportunity to screw with the US in our own hemisphere. That's what they were applauding.

Giving a standing ovation to Trump's SOTU remarks on Venezuela were of course the Democratic "resistance" and Nancy Pelosi . That was before she theatrically ripped up her copy of Trump's speech, the show act of a 5 year old and one which she had trained for . She should be fired.

Impeachment, the Iowa disaster and petty show acts will not win an election against Donald Trump. While they do not drive away core Democratic voters, they do make it difficult to get the additional votes that are needed to win. Many on the left and the right who dislike Trump will rather abstain or vote for a third party than for a party which is indistinguishable from the currently ruling one.

Meanwhile Trump hauls in record amounts in donations and, with 49%, achieved his best personal approval rate ever .

Either the Democrats change their whole course of action or they will lose in November to an extend that will be breathtaking. It would be well deserved.

Posted by b on February 6, 2020 at 15:57 UTC | Permalink The donor class owners of the "Democratic" party have every incentive to support Trump, who has cut their taxes, hugely inflated the value of their assets, and mis-directed attention away from substantial issues that might degrade either their assets or their power, by focusing on identity politics.


SharonM , Feb 6 2020 16:15 utc | 7

It's obvious to me that the two war parties function as one. The Democrats have been winning since Trump took office--they get their money and they get their wars. If Trump wins, the Democrats win as billionaires flood more money into the DNC. If Trump loses, the Republicans win for the same reasons.
Bruce , Feb 6 2020 16:36 utc | 10
The behavior of a five year old is an appropriate reference point for most of the people working in DC, albeit engaged parents expect more of their children. This vaudeville routine is giving satisfaction to Republicans, Trump supporters, and those who have been looking for a clearer opportunity to say "I told you so" to diehard Democratic believers (who will continue to refuse to listen).
For an American, even one who has always been somewhat cynical regarding cultural notions of democracy and the "American Way," the show has become patently and abusively vulgar and revulsive. It does not appear to be anywhere near "hitting bottom." There can be no recovery without emotional maturity, and the leaders in Washington exhibit nothing of the kind. The level of maturity and wisdom of the individuals involved is determinative of the political result, not the alleged quality of the politics they purport to sell. Right now we don't have that.
Piero Colombo , Feb 6 2020 17:07 utc | 19
"Unless They Change The Democrats Deserve To Lose"

Aren't there 2 levels of "change"?

1. How can they change? The owners are the warmongering monopoly capitalist ruling class. Are you imagining that any decision can ever be made by the lowly peons, the rank and file? If you thought anything like that, you should try to find one single instance, in all history, of this "party" ever having done anything at all out of line with the express policy of the owners of the country (the high level of people-friendly noise, intended for the voting peons, never translates into any action of that sort.)

2. If you mean change the electoral policy to win this election, how could they conceivably manage to change this late? Like a supertanker launched at full speed trying to make a sharp turn a few seconds before hitting the shore, you mean?

Anyway, in both cases forget what it "deserves", it should be destroyed and buried under, not only lose.

ak74 , Feb 6 2020 17:08 utc | 21
American democracy is Kabuki Theater and Professional Wrestling.

It is the ultimate Reality TV show for the sheeple to think that they have a political voice.

Remember what Frank Zappa said: "Politics is the Entertainment Division of the Military-Industrial Complex."

jared , Feb 6 2020 17:30 utc | 26
It would take extreme mental contortions to take U.S. "democracy" seriously at this point.
I would like to believe that it makes some difference who is elected, but increasingly doubtful.
How different would it really have been had Hillary been elected (much as it pains me to consider such a scenario)?
Trump was elected (aside from interference from AIPAC) partly because he was republican candidate and for some that's all it takes but aside from that because;
- end pointless wars
- improve healthcare
- control immigration
- jobs for coal miners
- somehow address corruption and non-performance of government
- improve US competitiveness, bring back jobs, promote business, improve economy
He claims having improved the economy but more likely is done juice from the FED.
So really, what grade does he deserve?
And yet people are rallying to his side.
Personally I think that the entrenched interests have moulded Trump to meet their requirements and now it is inconvenient to have to start work on a new president, unless it would be one of their approved choices.
I voted for Trump because of Hillary.
Now I would not vote for Trump given a decent choice. Fortunately there is an excellent alternative.
Noirette , Feb 6 2020 17:37 utc | 29
All who count have known for a long time that Trump will have a second term. Baked in. (1)

The Dems agitate and raucously screech and try to impeach to distract or whatever to show da base that they hate Trump and hope to slaughter! him! a rapist! mysoginist! racist! liar ! He is horrors! in touch with the malignant criminal authoritarian ex-KGB Putin! Russia Russia Russia - and remember Stormy Daniels! ( :) ! )

The top corp. Dems prefer to lose to Trump, I have said this for years, as have many others. In rivalry of the Mafia type, it is often better to submit to have a share of the pie. Keep the plebs on board with BS etc. Victim status, underdog pretense, becomes ever more popular.

1. Trump might fall ill / dead / take Melania's advice and wishes into account, or just quit.

Jackrabbit , Feb 6 2020 17:47 utc | 31
People still talk like democracy really exists in USA.

They channel their anger toward Party and personality.

If only the democrats would ... If only Sanders would ... If only people would see that ...

A few understand the way things really are, but most are still hoping that somehow that the bed-time stories and entertaining kayfabe are a sort of democracy that they can live with.

But the is just normalcy bias. A Kool-Aid hang-over. This is not democracy. It is a soft tyranny encouraged by Empire stooges, lackeys, and enabled by ignorance.

The lies are as pervasive as they are subtle: half-truths; misdirection; omitting facts like candidate/party affiliations with the Zionist/Empire Death Cult.

The REAL divide among people in the West is who benefits from an EMPIRE/ZIONIST FIRST orientation that has polluted our politics and our culture and the rest of us.

Wake up. War is on the horizon. And Central Banks can't print money forever.

/rage, rage against the dying of the light

!!

par4 , Feb 6 2020 17:52 utc | 34
After watching Pelosi it reminded me that during the Geo. W. Bush era the Democrats were always claiming to be the adults in the room. It's odd that Mayo Pete's 'husband' is never seen or heard from. I wonder why? Biden's toast and Epstein didn't kill himself. AND Seth Rich leaked Hillary's emails to Wikileaks.
Qparticle , Feb 6 2020 18:11 utc | 41
-- --
The Clinton-Obama administration had scores of corrupt officials and associates (the Podestas, for instance). It was necessary to create a firewall once Trump won the nomination. As so, they attacked his campaign manager, his national security adviser, his family, himself, using all the means of FISA, wire tapping done by NSA and CIA and Mi6 and probably Mossad.

Red Ryder | Feb 6 2020 16:56 utc | 14
-- --

Trump is an installment of The Mossad via blackmail and media manipulation, check "Black Cube Intelligence", a Mossad front operating from City of London. It would make sense the establishment in the US would eavesdrop on him. Mossad on the other hand would wiretap the wiretapers and give feedback on Trump. The Podesta you mentioned once threatened the factions with "disclosure" possibly to keep the runaway black projects crazies in check not that I wish to play advocate of these people.

-- --
After they lose again in November, they will unleash their street thugs, Antifa, to terrorize the winners. Meanwhile for the purists of the Liberal Cult there will be many real suicides. So, bloodshed and death will become reality.

Red Ryder | Feb 6 2020 16:56 utc | 14
-- --

Yes, what we need is just a nazi party in the US to keep communism in check, right? We are half way there with Trump already aren't we? "Black Sun" technologies (which a part off I described above) already there, leaking to anyone interested enough that would aid in the great outsourcing for the Yinon project, so why not? "Go Trump 2020"! (sarcasm)

DannyC , Feb 6 2020 18:12 utc | 42
For whatever reason the only thing the Dems seem to find more terrible than a loss to Trump is a win with Bernie. I'm no fan of Bernie but it's clear they're out to sabotage the one guy that would actually beat Trump in an election
VeraK , Feb 6 2020 18:16 utc | 43
While I have no illusions that a Sanders administration will have good foreign policy objectives, is there not something to be said for shifting money away from the military-industrial complex in the US? In general Sanders gives me the impression that he wants to reduce US intervention in foreign affairs in favor of spending more money on domestic issues. Even a slight reduction in pressure is helpful for giving other countries the ability to expand their spheres of influence and becoming more legitimate powers in opposition to the US and EU. Based on this I still see voting for Sanders as helpful even if he won't bring about any meaningful change in the US's foreign policy.
Pft , Feb 6 2020 19:10 utc | 56
it's not an actual Stalin quote, but often used as such
he did say something in the same vein, though.
it IS absolutely spot on here:

"It's not who vote that counts, it's who counts the votes"

congratulations, DNC, you're on a par with Joseph Stalin; the most ruthless chairman the Sovyets have ever had.
so here is your real Russia Gate.
oh, come and smell the Irony. In fake wrestling the producers determine the winner in advance and the wrestlers ate given their script to follow. The Dems have no intention to win this, look at the clowns they have running the show not to mention the flawed candidates . The script calls for the king of fake wrestling, Trump himself, to win yet again. Only a concerted effort by the Dems and Deep State media, along with some tech help from Bibis crew can engineer this result, but they are all on board. Dems willing to wait for 2024 when the producers will write them in for a big Win over somebody not named Trump. The world will be ready for a Green change by then, and Soros/Gates boys will have their chance to step up to the plate again.

Enjoy the show if you wish, I'm changing the channel.

[Feb 07, 2020] It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian2 , Feb 6 2020 20:02 utc | 65

It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

I honestly can't see Sanders getting the nomination with all the corruption openly being displayed. I would be pleasantly surprised if Sanders did manage to get it, but he still have to deal with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE (EC). The Electors have the final say. Yes, one can point out that some States have laws forcing Electors to vote what the populace wants, but that is being challenged in court. The debate on whether such laws are unconstitutional or not, remains to be seen. It's too late now to deal with the EC for this election, but people need to be more active in politics at the State level as that's where Electors are (s)elected.

IF Sanders is genuine then he should prepare to run as an independent just to get the EC attention.

ben , Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 79

RR @ 14;
Everything in the U$A today, is driven by the unofficial Party of $, and it's reach transcends both Dems & repubs. It's cadre is the majority of the D.C. "rule makers", so we get what they want, not what "we the people" want or need.

They own the banks, MSM media, and even our voting systems.

IMO, to assume one party is to blame for conditions in the U$A is a bit naive.

Question is, can anything the masses do, change the system? Or is rank and file America just along for the ride?

I'm assuming us peons will get what the party of $ wants this November also.

P.S. If any blame is given, it needs to go to the American public, because " you get the kind of Gov. you deserve" through your inactions...

It's a lot like living, death is certain, but until that occurs, I'll move forward trying to mitigate current paradigms.

[Feb 01, 2020] Neoliberalism is another Trotskyist attempt at convincing people they don't need nations anymore

Feb 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

NemesisCalling , Jan 31 2020 19:31 utc | 16

Another Trotskyist attempt at convincing people they don't need nations anymore. No need to feel proud in your cultural difference which makes the world a beautiful and ineffable place.

Instead, they want monoculture ruled by Technocrats. How "eastern."

I don't mind, because I know that in Christianity's early days, many converts had to hide to preserve the faith.

Indeed, Philip K. Dick had fever dreams about being a Christian in ancient MENA and hiding himself amongst the Romans. Jews, similarly, I am sure, felt something akin during the war in Germany and occupied territory.

[Jan 24, 2020] German Language Police Group Decides To 'UnWord' The Term Climate Hysteria by Paul Joseph Watson

Jan 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

A German panel of linguists which decides on a new word to 'ban' every year has announced the 'un-wording' of the term "climate hysteria" because it undermines propaganda about man-made global warming.

First of all, just let it sink in that there is an organization comprised of linguists which exists solely to 'ban' words and terms that they don't like. Their action is known as 'Un-word of the year' .

They're literally attempting to re-create 1984's Newspeak dictionary , which shrank in size year after year in order to eliminate language and limit free thought and free speech, making it harder for the plebs to vocalize their opposition to The Party.

As you may have suspected, every word or term already 'banned' by the group in recent years are ones used by conservatives to challenge leftist political tropes. Imagine my shock.

Terms 'un-worded' in recent years include "alternative facts," "do-gooder," "Lügenpresse" (liar press) and "welfare tourism" (referring to "foreigners in Germany allegedly leeching on the welfare system.")

The panel says it exists to discourage the use of words that "discriminate against societal groups or may be euphemistic, disguising or misleading."

Perhaps nervous that more Germans appear to be rejecting the cult of man-made climate change despite vociferous propaganda, this year the panel has chosen to 'un-word' the term "climate hysteria."

According to the panel, which contains no scientists, the term "defames climate protection efforts and the climate protection movement, and discredits important discussions about climate protection."

"Keeping the Newspeak Dictionary as thin as possible in hopes that this will narrow our range of thought is a progressive priority," writes Dave Blount .

"Any word or term that can be used to undermine leftist ideology will eventually be removed from the permissible vocabulary. That's the point of having a Newspeak Dictionary."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qX86OnqAxBs

* * *

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[Jan 19, 2020] The neoliberal hopes -- and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too

Jan 19, 2020 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory."

J.R.R. Tolkien

"We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination."

C.S. Lewis

"If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it."

G.K. Chesterton

"The barbarian hopes -- and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too. He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles."

Hilaire Belloc

"In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists."

Hannah Arendt

[Jan 01, 2020] Radical "essentialist identity" left is just tools of financial oligarchy and/or stooges of intelligence agencies and always has been

Jan 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.31.19 at 2:25 pm

Tim 12.31.19 at 3:46 am @3

"If this succeeds, we'll be well on the path to dictatorship." This seems predicated on the idea that 'whites' will only be able to hold onto power by Dictatorship. Population trends suggest whites will still be the largest group [just under half] in 2055. A considerable group given their, to borrow the phrase, 'privilege'. Add conservative Asian and even Catholic Latino voters, is it that difficult to envisage a scenario where Republicans sometimes achieve power without Dictatorship? They are already benefiting from the radical left helping drive traditional working class white voters to the right [helped by Republican/Fox etc hyperbole].

Radical left is either idiots of stooges of intelligence agencies and always has been.

IMHO the idea that " whites" are or will be the force behind the move to the dictatorship is completely naïve. Dictatorship is needed for financial oligarchy and it is the most plausible path of development due to another factor -- the collapse of neoliberal ideology and complete discrediting of neoliberal elite. At least in the USA. Russiagate should be viewed as an attempt to stage a color revolution and remove the President by the USA intelligence agencies (in close cooperation with the "Five eyes") .

I would view Russiagate is a kind of Beer Hall Putsch with intelligence agencies instead of national-socialist party. A couple conspirators might be jailed after Durham investigation is finished (Hilter was jailed after the putsch), but the danger that CIA will seize the political power remains. After all KGB was in this role in the USSR for along time. Is the USA that different? I don't think so. There is no countervailing force: the number of people with security clearance in the USA exceed five million. This five million and not "whites" like some completely naïve people propose is the critical mass for the dictatorship.
https://news.yahoo.com/durham-surprises-even-allies-statement-202907008.html

The potential explosiveness of Durham's mission was further underscored by the disclosure that he was examining the role of John O. Brennan, the former CIA director, in how the intelligence community assessed Russia's 2016 election interference.

BTW "whites" are not a homogeneous group. There is especially abhorrent and dangerous neoliberal strata of "whites" including members of financial oligarchy, the "professional class" and "academia" (economics department are completely infected.) as well as MIC prostitutes in MSM.

[Dec 22, 2019] This Is Neoliberalism: An Introducing the Invisible Ideology (Part 1)

Mar 01, 2018 | www.youtube.com

If you've ever wanted to understand what neoliberalism is, this is the series for you.

Neoliberalism is an economic ideology that exists within the framework of capitalism. Over four decades ago, neoliberalism become the dominant economic paradigm of global society. In this video series, we'll trace the history of neoliberalism, starting with a survey of neoliberal philosophy and research, a historical reconstruction of the movement pushing for neoliberal policy solutions, witnessing the damage that neoliberalism did to its first victims in the developing world, and then charting neoliberalism's infiltration of the political systems of the United States and the United Kingdom. Learn how neoliberalism is generating crises for humanity at an unprecedented rate.


jonathan bacon , 10 months ago

Our "education" system has raised generations of useful idiots, unable to fight back or even recognize the threat of the establishments breakaway civilization.

Franz1987 , 2 months ago

It's socialism for the rich, 'markets' for everyone else...

Ganzorf , 5 months ago

Good video. Reminded me of this bit I saved from Twitter some time ago:

"Probably no man in history has had so little understanding of the workings of his own society – and hence so little power to effect change – as liberal democratic man. We talk about this with regard to capitalism – we're (supposedly) buffeted by impersonal and unaccountable 'market forces' – but not with liberal democratic politics, although it's fundamentally the same thing. Even if you could organize an angry mob, whose residence would you march on? The serf knew, the slave knew. You do not. You have no idea who your masters are or where they live. A 'liberal democracy' is a political system where you have no idea who's in charge, no idea what they're planning, no idea why they have the policies they have, and no idea of how to change any of it."

Carlos Marks , 2 months ago

Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie: Neo-liberalism in short.

Cisco Rodriguez , 8 months ago

When neoliberalism was implemented in Mexico in the early 1990s it destroyed the country in every aspect u can think of

eottoe2001 , 11 months ago

Neoliberalism is a religion.

lance ringquist , 2 months ago

"free traders mistake money for wealth, wealth is derived from making things, money is just a medium of exchange: any government that prints money with no regard to its material basis in commodity production risks disaster."

lance ringquist , 2 months ago

"Whenever you hear the words "a country has to be competitive," it's not more competition among businesses, it's that every country has to do whatever it can to make available the closest thing to slave labor as possible. Period. No wishy-washy jargon needed to cover the basic fact"

Snakewhisperer , 8 months ago (edited)

Excellent vid. Really puts it all together well. The Neoliberals are sucking as much money and work out of us folks as they can get away with before they kill us all off and use robots.

the annointed one , 6 months ago

If only the whole world knew about this. They want us only discussing petty social issues.

Chris Duane , 6 months ago

Neo-Liberalism is why they now call Earth the Prison Planet.

Bill Huston Podcast , 8 months ago

I love the content, just not the pacing. If you listen to most documentaries, you will notice the is a pacing or cadence in the spoken narrative. Speak a little, then give some time to absorb. This series would be a lot easier to listen to with some added space... thanks. Look forward to this series.

PecosoSenior , 2 months ago

I live in Argentina, and the concept of neoliberalism is pretty commonly known

Maveric , 2 months ago

You have a criminally low amount of subs for the quality of work that you're putting out. I'm about to watch part 2 right now!

lance ringquist , 2 months ago

"one of the main reasons why even sophisticated societies fall into this suicidal spiral is the conflict between the short-term interests of decision-making elites and the long-term interests of society as a whole, especially if the elites are able to insulate themselves from the consequences of their actions. the reason why even sophisticated societies fail is because the elites are never made to pay a price for their follies"

Marshall's Weather & Hiking , 2 months ago

What's not mentioned is this second phase of "liberalism" is the most dangerous because we are more dependent on capitalist production than ever before. People exist on a razors edge.

Paul Birtwell , 6 months ago

"All this is contrary to what classical economists urged. Their objective was for governments elected by the population at large to receive and allocate the economic surplus. Presumably this would have been to lower the cost of living and doing business, provide a widening range of public services at subsidized prices or freely, and sponsor a fair society in which nobody would receive special privileges or hereditary rights. Financial sector advocates have sought to control democracies by shifting tax policy and bank regulation out of the hands of elected representatives to nominees from world's financial centers.

The aim of this planning is not for the classical progressive objectives of mobilizing savings to increase productivity and raise populations out of poverty.

The objective of finance capitalism is not capital formation, but acquisition of rent-yielding privileges for real estate, natural resources and monopolies. These are precisely the forms of revenue that centuries of classical economists sought to tax away or minimize. By allying itself with the rentier sectors and lobbying on their behalf – so as to extract their rent as interest – banking and high finance have become part of the economic overhead from which classical economists sought to free society.

The result of moving into a symbiosis with real estate, mining, oil, other natural resources and monopolies has been to financialize these sectors. As this has occurred, bank lobbyists have urged that land be un-taxed so as to leave more rent (and other natural resource rent) "free" to be paid as interest – while forcing governments to tax labor and industry instead. To promote this tax shift and debt leveraging, financial lobbyists have created a smokescreen of deception that depicts financialization as helping economies grow. They accuse central bank monetizing of budget deficits as being inherently inflationary – despite no evidence of this, and despite the vast inflation of real estate prices and stock prices by predatory bank credit.

Money creation is now monopolized by banks, which use this power to finance the transfer of property – with the source of the quickest and largest fortunes being infrastructure and natural resources pried out of the public domain of debtor countries by a combination of political insider dealing and debt leverage – a merger of kleptocracy with the world's financial centers. The financial strategy is capped by creating international financial institutions (the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank) to bring pressure on debtor economies to take fiscal policy out of the hands of elected parliaments and into those of institutions ruling on behalf of bankers and bondholders. This global power has enabled finance to override potentially debtor-friendly governments." Excerpt From Killing the Host Michael Hudson

Sasha Da Masta , 2 months ago (edited)

16:23 "Chile experienced a peaceful democratic rule for 41 years, that now has violently come to an end. Pinochet and his followers described the coup as 'a war'. It definitely looked that way. It was a Chilean example of 'instilling shock and awe'. The days thereafter saw 13000 opposers arrested and locked up ." may be too much of a literal translation but Dutch isn't my first language. (edited the time stamp)

[Dec 13, 2019] Who Are The Globalists And What Do They Want

Dec 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

I get the question often, though one would think it's obvious - Who are these "globalists" we refer to so much in the liberty movement? Sometimes the request comes from honest people who only want to learn more. Sometimes it comes from disinformation agents attempting to mire discussion on the issue with assertions that the globalists "don't exist". The answer to the question can be simple and complex at the same time. In order to understand who the globalists are, we first have to understand what they want.

We talk a lot about the "globalists" because frankly, their agenda has become more open than ever in the past ten years. There was a time not long ago when the idea of the existence of "globalists" was widely considered "conspiracy theory". There was a time when organizations like the Bilderberg Group did not officially exist and the mainstream media rarely ever reported on them. There was a time when the agenda for one world economy and a one world government was highly secretive and mentioned only in whispers in the mainstream. And, anyone who tried to expose this information to the public was called a "tinfoil hat wearing lunatic".

Today, the mainstream media writes puff-pieces about the Bilderberg Group and even jokes about their secrecy. When members of Donald Trump's cabinet, Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, attended Bilderberg in 2019, the mainstream media was wallpapered with the news .

When the World Government Summit meets each year in Dubai, attended by many of the same people that attend Bilderberg as well as shady mainstream icons and gatekeepers like Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson, they don't hide their discussions or their goals, they post them on YouTube .

I remember when talking about the US dollar being dethroned and replaced with a new one world currency system and a cashless society controlled by the IMF was treated as bizarre theory. Now it's openly called for by numerous leaders in the financial industry and in economic governance . The claim that these things are "conspiracy theory" no longer holds up anymore. In reality, the people who made such accusations a few years ago now look like idiots as the establishment floods the media with information and propaganda promoting everything the liberty movement has been warning about.

The argument on whether or not a globalist agenda "exists" is OVER. The liberty movement and the alternative media won that debate, and through our efforts we have even forced the establishment into admitting the existence of some of their plans for a completely centralized global system managed by them. Now, the argument has changed. The mainstream doesn't really deny anymore that the globalists exist; they talk about whether or not the globalist agenda is a good thing or a bad thing.

First , I would point out the sheer level of deception and disinformation used by the globalists over the past several decades. This deceptions is designed to maneuver the public towards accepting a one world economy and eventually one world governance . If you have to lie consistently to people about your ideology in order to get them to support it, then there must be something very wrong with your ideology.

Second , the establishment may be going public with their plans for globalization, but they aren't being honest about the consequences for the average person. And, there are many misconceptions out there, even in the liberty movement, about what exactly these people want.

So, we need to construct a list of globalist desires vs globalist lies in order to define who we are dealing with. These are the beliefs and arguments of your run-of-the-mill globalist:

Centralization

A globalist believes everything must be centralized, from finance to money to social access to production to government. They argue that centralization makes the system "more fair" for everyone, but in reality they desire a system in which they have total control over every aspect of life. Globalists, more than anything, want to dominate and micro-manage every detail of civilization and socially engineer humanity in the image they prefer.

One World Currency System And Cashless Society

As an extension of centralization, globalists want a single currency system for the world. Not only this, but they want it digitized and easy to track. Meaning, a cashless society in which every act of trade by every person can be watched and scrutinized. If trade is no longer private, preparation for rebellion becomes rather difficult. When all resources can be manged and restricted to a high degree at the local level, rebellion would become unthinkable because the system becomes the parent and provider and the source of life. A one world currency and cashless system would be the bedrock of one world governance. You cannot have one without the other.

One World Government

Globalists want to erase all national borders and sovereignty and create a single elite bureaucracy, a one world empire in which they are the "philosopher kings" as described in Plato's Republic.

As Richard N. Gardner, former deputy assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations under Kennedy and Johnson, and a member of the Trilateral Commission, wrote in the April, 1974 issue of the Council on Foreign Relation's (CFR) journal Foreign Affairs (pg. 558) in an article titled 'The Hard Road To World Order' :

" In short, the 'house of world order' will have to be built from the bottom up rather than from the top down. It will look like a great 'booming, buzzing confusion,' to use William James' famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault."

This system would be highly inbred, though they may continue to give the masses the illusion of public participation and "democracy" for a time. Ultimately, the globalists desire a faceless and unaccountable round table government, a seat of power which acts as an institution with limited liability, much like a corporation, and run in the same sociopathic manner without legitimate public oversight. In the globalist world, there will be no redress of grievances.

Sustainability As Religion

Globalists often use the word "sustainability" in their white papers and agendas, from Agenda 21 to Agenda 2030. Environmentalism is the facade they employ to guilt the population into supporting global governance, among other things. As I noted in my recent article 'Why Is The Elitist Establishment So Obsessed With Meat' , fake environmentalism and fraudulent global warming "science" is being exploited by globalists to demand control over everything from how much electricity you can use in your home, to how many children you can have, to how much our society is allowed to manufacture or produce, to what you are allowed to eat.

The so-called carbon pollution threat, perhaps the biggest scam in history, is a key component of the globalist agenda. As the globalist organization The Club Of Rome, a sub-institution attached to the United Nations, stated in their book 'The First Global Revolution' :

" In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes. and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself."

In other words, by presenting human beings as a species as the great danger, the globalists hope to convince humanity to sublimate itself before the mother earth goddess and beg to be kept in line. And, as the self designated "guardians" of the Earth, the elites become the high priests of the new religion of sustainability. They and they alone would determine who is a loyal servant and who is a heretic. Carbon pollution becomes the new "original sin"; everyone is a sinner against the Earth, for everyone breaths and uses resources, and we must all do our part to appease the Earth by sacrificing as much as possible, even ourselves.

The elites don't believe in this farce, they created it. The sustainability cult is merely a weapon to be used to dominate mass psychology and make the populace more malleable.

Population Control

Globalists come from an ideological background which worships eugenics – the belief that genetics must be controlled and regulated, and those people they deem to be undesirables must be sterilized or exterminated.

The modern eugenics movement was launched by the Rockefeller Foundation in the early 1900's in America , and was treated a a legitimate scientific endeavor for decades. Eugenics was taught in schools and even celebrated at the World's Fair. States like California that adopted eugenics legislation forcefully sterilized tens of thousands of people and denied thousands of marriage certificates based on genetics. The system was transferred to Germany in the 1930's were it gained world renown for its inherent brutality.

This ideology holds that 4% or less of the population is genetically worthy of leadership, and the elites conveniently assert that they represent part of that genetic purity.

After WWII the public developed a distaste for the idea of eugenics and population control, but under the guise of environmentalism the agenda is making a comeback, as population reduction in the name of "saving the Earth" is in the mainstream media once again . The Question then arises - Who gets to decide who lives and who dies? Who gets to decide who is never born? And, how will they come to their decisions? No doubt a modern form of eugenics will be presented as the "science" used to "fairly" determine the content of the population if the elites get their way.

Narcissistic Sociopathy

It is interesting that the globalists used to present the 4% leadership argument in their eugenics publications, because 4% of the population is also consistent with the number of people who have inherent sociopathy or narcissistic sociopathy , either in latent or full-blown form, with 1% of people identified as full blown psychopaths and the rest as latent. Coincidence?

The behavior of the globalists is consistent with the common diagnosis of full-blown narcopaths, a condition which is believed to be inborn and incurable. Narcopaths (pyschopaths) are devoid of empathy and are often self obsessed. They suffer from delusions of grandeur and see themselves as "gods" among men. They believe other lowly people are tools to be used for their pleasure or to further their ascendance to godhood. They lie incessantly as a survival mechanism and are good at determining what people want to hear. Narcopaths feel no compassion towards those they harm or murder, yet crave attention and adoration from the same people they see as inferior. More than anything, they seek the power to micro-manage the lives of everyone around them and to feed off those people like a parasite feeds off a host victim.

Luciferianism

It is often argued by skeptics that psychopaths cannot organize cohesively, because such organizations would self destruct. These people simply don't know what they're talking about. Psychopaths throughout history organize ALL THE TIME, from tyrannical governments to organized crime and religious cults. The globalists have their own binding ideologies and methods for organization. One method is to ensure benefits to those who serve the group (as well as punishments for those who stray). Predators often work together as long as there is ample prey. Another method is the use of religious or ideological superiority; making adherents feel like they are part of an exclusive and chosen few destined for greatness.

This is a highly complicated issue which requires its own essay to examine in full. I believe I did this effectively in my article 'Luciferians: A Secular Look At A Destructive Globalist Belief System' . Needless to say, this agenda is NOT one that globalists are willing to admit to openly very often, but I have outlined extensive evidence that luciferianism is indeed the underlying globalist cult religion. It is essentially an ideology which promotes moral relativism, the worship of the self and the attainment of godhood by any means necessary – which fits perfectly with globalism and globalist behavior.

It is also the only ideological institution adopted by the UN , through the UN's relationship with Lucis Trust, also originally called Lucifer Publishing Company . Lucis Trust still has a private library within the UN building today .

So, now that we know the various agendas and identifiers of globalists, we can now ask "Who are the globalists?"

The answer is – ANYONE who promotes the above agendas, related arguments, or any corporate or political leader who works directly with them. This includes presidents that claim to be anti-globalist while also filling their cabinets with people from globalist organizations.

To make a list of names is simple; merely study the membership rosters of globalists organizations like the Bilderberg Group, the Council On Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, Tavistock Institute, the IMF, the BIS, World Bank, the UN, etc. You will find a broad range of people from every nation and every ethnicity ALL sharing one goal – A world in which the future for every other person is dictated by them for all time; a world in which freedom is a memory and individual choice is a commodity only they have the right to enjoy.

* * *

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[Dec 02, 2019] A bunch of neocons in key positions in Trump administration really represents a huge threat to world peace

Notable quotes:
"... No. My point was it's very misleading. Misleading to set the parameters of discussion on U.S. posture toward Russia in such a way as to assume that Putin's actions against a purported Russian "democracy" have anything at all to do with USian antagonism of Russia. I'm sure you'll note current U.S. military cooperation with that boisterous hotbed of democratic activity, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. Our allies in the house of Saud require help in defending their democratic way of life against the totalitarianism of Yemeni tribes, you see. The U.S. opposes anti-democratic forces whenever and where ever it can, especially in the Middle East. I guess that explains USian antipathy to Russia. ..."
Oct 28, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
Howard Frank in this blog provides a good example of Vichy left thinking...

Howard Frant 10.26.16 at 6:19 am 73

Stephen @58

Howard Frant 10.26.16 at 6:19 am ( )

Stephen @58

Yes, it was late and I was tired, or I wouldn't have said something so foolish. Still, the point is that after centuries of constant war, Europe went 70 years without territorial conquest. That strikes me as a significant achievement, and one whose breach should not be taken lightly.

phenomenal cat @64

So democratic structures have to be robust and transparent before we care about them? I'd give a pretty high value to an independent press and contested elections. Those have been slowly crushed in Russia. The results for transparency have not been great. Personally, I don't believe that Ukraine is governed by fascists, or that Ukraine shot down that jetliner, but I'm sure a lot of Russians do.

Russian leaders have always complained about "encirclement," but we don't have to believe them. Do you really believe Russia's afraid of an attack from Estonia? Clearly what Putin wants is to restore as much of the old Soviet empire as possible. Do you think the independence of the Baltic states would be more secure or less secure if they weren't members of NATO? (Hint: compare to Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova.)

phenomenal cat 10.26.16 at 6:55 pm 84

"So democratic structures have to be robust and transparent before we care about them?"

No. My point was it's very misleading. Misleading to set the parameters of discussion on U.S. posture toward Russia in such a way as to assume that Putin's actions against a purported Russian "democracy" have anything at all to do with USian antagonism of Russia. I'm sure you'll note current U.S. military cooperation with that boisterous hotbed of democratic activity, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen. Our allies in the house of Saud require help in defending their democratic way of life against the totalitarianism of Yemeni tribes, you see. The U.S. opposes anti-democratic forces whenever and where ever it can, especially in the Middle East. I guess that explains USian antipathy to Russia.

"I'd give a pretty high value to an independent press and contested elections."

Yeah, it'd be interesting to see what the U.S. looked like with those dynamics in place.

"Those have been slowly crushed in Russia. The results for transparency have not been great."

If you say so. For now I'll leave any decisions or actions taken on these outcomes to Russian citizens. I would, however, kindly tell Victoria Nuland and her ilk to fuck off with their senile Cold War fantasies, morally bankrupt, third-rate Great Game machinations, and total spectrum dominance sociopathy.

"Personally, I don't believe that Ukraine is governed by fascists, or that Ukraine shot down that jetliner, but I'm sure a lot of Russians do."

There's definitely some of 'em hanging about, but yeah it mostly seems to be a motley assortment of oligarchs, gangsters, and grifters tied into international neoliberal capital and money flows. No doubt Russian believe a lot things. I find Americans tend to believe a lot things as well.

[Dec 02, 2019] The Vichy left – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their own prosperity

Notable quotes:
"... Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned. ..."
"... Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class". ..."
"... Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch". ..."
Oct 24, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

Sanjait -> Sandwichman ... October 24, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Some paranoid claptrap to go along with your usual anti intellectualism.

Interestingly, with your completely unrelated non sequitur, you've actually illustrated something that does relate to Krugmans post. Namely that there are wingnuts among us. They've taken over the Republican Party, but the left has some too. Fortunately though the Democratic Party hasn't been taken over by them yet, and is still mostly run by grown ups.

Sandwichman -> Sanjait... , October 24, 2016 at 10:42 AM

I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations.
likbez -> Sandwichman ...
"I am confident that what you say here is consistent with your methods and motivations."

Pretty consistent, I agree. IMHO Sanjait might belong to the category that some people call the "Vichy left" – essentially people who are ready to sacrifice all principles to ensure their 'own' prosperity and support the candidate who intends to protect it, everybody else be damned.

Very neoliberal approach if you ask me. Ann Rand would probably be proud for this representative of "creative class".

Essentially the behavior that we've had for the last 8 years with the king of "bait and switch".

[Dec 01, 2019] Neoliberalism Tells Us We're Selfish Souls How Can We Promote Other Identities by Christine Berry,

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As the Gramscian theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau observed, our political identities are not a 'given' – something that emerges directly from the objective facts of our situation. We all occupy a series of overlapping identities in our day-to-day lives – as workers or bosses, renters or home-owners, debtors or creditors. Which of these define our politics depends on political struggles for meaning and power. ..."
"... The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open. ..."
"... More generally, there is some evidence that neoliberalism didn't really succeed in making us see ourselves as selfish rational maximisers – just in making us believe that everybody else was . For example, a 2016 survey found that UK citizens are on average more oriented towards compassionate values than selfish values, but that they perceive others to be significantly more selfish (both than themselves and the actual UK average). Strikingly, those with a high 'self-society gap' were found to be less likely to vote and engage in civic activity, and highly likely to experience feelings of cultural estrangement. ..."
"... Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried." ..."
"... They tried running an economy on debt in the 1920s. The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics. ..."
"... Keynes looked at the problems of the debt based economy and came up with redistribution through taxation to keep the system running in a sustainable way and he dealt with the inherent inequality capitalism produced. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma. ..."
"... The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? ..."
Nov 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: Not sure the soul is an identity, but authors don't write the headlines. Read on!

By Christine Berry, a freelance researcher and writer and was previously Director of Policy and Government for the New Economics Foundation. She has also worked at ShareAction and in the House of Commons. Originally published at Open Democracy .

"Economics is the method: the object is to change the soul." Understanding why Thatcher said this is central to understanding the neoliberal project, and how we might move beyond it. Carys Hughes and Jim Cranshaw's opening article poses a crucial challenge to the left in this respect. It is too easy to tell ourselves a story about the long reign of neoliberalism that is peopled solely with all-powerful elites imposing their will on the oppressed masses. It is much harder to confront seriously the ways in which neoliberalism has manufactured popular consent for its policies.

The left needs to acknowledge that aspects of the neoliberal agenda have been overwhelmingly popular: it has successfully tapped into people's instincts about the kind of life they want to lead, and wrapped these instincts up in a compelling narrative about how we should see ourselves and other people. We need a coherent strategy for replacing this narrative with one that actively reconstructs our collective self-image – turning us into empowered citizens participating in communities of mutual care, rather than selfish property-owning individuals competing in markets.

As the Gramscian theorists Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau observed, our political identities are not a 'given' – something that emerges directly from the objective facts of our situation. We all occupy a series of overlapping identities in our day-to-day lives – as workers or bosses, renters or home-owners, debtors or creditors. Which of these define our politics depends on political struggles for meaning and power.

Part of the job of politics – whether within political parties or social movements – is to show how our individual problems are rooted in systemic issues that can be confronted collectively if we organise around these identities. Thus, debt becomes not a source of shame but an injustice that debtors can organise against. Struggles with childcare are not a source of individual parental guilt but a shared societal problem that we have a shared responsibility to tackle. Podemos were deeply influenced by this thinking when they sought to redefine Spanish politics as 'La Casta' ('the elite') versus the people, cutting across many of the traditional boundaries between right and left.

The architects of neoliberalism understood this process of identity creation. By treating people as selfish, rational utility maximisers, they actively encouraged them to become selfish, rational utility maximisers. As the opening article points out, this is not a side effect of neoliberal policy, but a central part of its intention. As Michael Sandel pointed out in his 2012 book 'What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets' , it squeezes out competing values that previously governed non-market spheres of life, such as ethics of public service in the public sector, or mutual care within local communities. But these values remain latent: neoliberalism does not have the power to erase them completely. This is where the hope for the left lies, the crack of light through the doorway that needs to be prised open.

The Limits of Neoliberal Consciousness

In thinking about how we do this, it's instructive to look at the ways in which neoliberal attempts to reshape our identities have succeeded – and the ways they have failed. While Right to Buy might have been successful in identifying people as home-owners and stigmatising social housing, this has not bled through into wider support for private ownership. Although public ownership did become taboo among the political classes for a generation – far outside the political 'common sense' – polls consistently showed that this was not matched by a fall in public support for the idea. On some level – perhaps because of the poor performance of privatised entities – people continued to identify as citizens with a right to public services, rather than as consumers of privatised services. The continued overwhelming attachment to a public NHS is the epitome of this tendency. This is partly what made it possible for Corbyn's Labour to rehabilitate the concept of public ownership, as the 2017 Labour manifesto's proposals for public ownership of railways and water – dismissed as ludicrous by the political establishment – proved overwhelmingly popular.

More generally, there is some evidence that neoliberalism didn't really succeed in making us see ourselves as selfish rational maximisers – just in making us believe that everybody else was . For example, a 2016 survey found that UK citizens are on average more oriented towards compassionate values than selfish values, but that they perceive others to be significantly more selfish (both than themselves and the actual UK average). Strikingly, those with a high 'self-society gap' were found to be less likely to vote and engage in civic activity, and highly likely to experience feelings of cultural estrangement.

This finding points towards both the great conjuring trick of neoliberal subjectivity and its Achilles heel: it has successfully popularised an idea of what human beings are like that most of us don't actually identify with ourselves. This research suggests that our political crisis is caused not only by people's material conditions of disempowerment, but by four decades of being told that we can't trust our fellow citizens. But it also suggests that deep down, we know this pessimistic account of human nature just isn't who we really are – or who we aspire to be.

An example of how this plays out can be seen in academic studies showing that, in game scenarios presenting the opportunity to free-ride on the efforts of others, only economics students behaved as economic models predicted: all other groups were much more likely to pool their resources. Having been trained to believe that others are likely to be selfish, economists believe that their best course of action is to be selfish as well. The rest of us still have the instinct to cooperate. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: after all, as George Monbiot argues in 'Out of the Wreckage' , cooperation is our species' main survival strategy.

What's Our 'Right to Buy?'

The challenge for the left is to find policies and stories that tap into this latent sense of what makes us human – what Gramsci called 'good sense' – and use it to overturn the neoliberal 'common sense'. In doing so, we must be aware that we are competing not only with a neoliberal identity but also with a new far-right that seeks to promote a white British ethno-nationalist group identity, conflating 'elites' with outsiders. How we compete with this is the million dollar question, and it's one we have not yet answered.

Thatcher's use of flagship policies like the Right to Buy was a masterclass in this respect. Deceptively simple, tangible and easy to grasp, the Right to Buy also communicated a much deeper story about the kind of nation we wanted to be – one of private, property-owning individuals – cementing home-ownership as a cultural symbol of aspiration (the right to paint your own front door) whilst giving millions an immediate financial stake in her new order. So what might be the equivalent flagship policies for the left today?

Perhaps one of the strongest efforts to date has been the proposal for ' Inclusive Ownership Funds ', first developed by Mathew Lawrence in a report for the New Economics Foundation, and announced as Labour policy by John McDonnell in 2018. This would require companies to transfer shares into a fund giving their workers a collective stake that rises over time and pays out employee dividends. Like the Right to Buy, as well as shifting the material distribution of wealth and power, this aims to build our identity as part of a community of workers taking more collective control over our working lives.

But this idea only takes us so far. While it may tap into people's desire for more security and empowerment at work, more of a stake in what they do, it offers a fairly abstract benefit that only cashes out over time, as workers acquire enough of a stake to have a meaningful say over company strategy. It may not mean much to those at the sharpest end of our oppressive and precarious labour market, at least not unless we also tackle the more pressing concerns they face – such as the exploitative practices of behemoths like Amazon or the stress caused by zero-hours contracts. We have not yet hit on an idea that can compete with the transformative change to people's lives offered by the Right to Buy.

So what else is on the table? Perhaps, when it comes to the cutting edge of new left thinking on these issues, the workplace isn't really where the action is – at least not directly. Perhaps we need to be tapping into people's desire to escape the 'rat race' altogether and have more freedom to pursue the things that really make us happy – time with our families, access to nature, the space to look after ourselves, connection with our communities. The four day working week (crucially with no loss of pay) has real potential as a flagship policy in this respect. The Conservatives and the right-wing press may be laughing it down with jokes about Labour being lazy and feckless, but perhaps this is because they are rattled. Ultimately, they can't escape the fact that most people would like to spend less time at work.

Skilfully communicated, this has the potential to be a profoundly anti-neoliberal policy that conveys a new story about what we aspire to, individually and as a society. Where neoliberalism tapped into people's desire for more personal freedom and hooked this to the acquisition of wealth, property and consumer choice, we can refocus on the freedom to live the lives we truly want. Instead of offering freedom through the market, we can offer freedom from the market.

Proponents of Universal Basic Income often argue that it fulfils a similar function of liberating people from work and detaching our ability to provide for ourselves from the marketplace for labour. But in material terms, it's unlikely that a UBI could be set at a level that would genuinely offer people this freedom, at least in the short term. And in narrative terms, UBI is actually a highly malleable policy that is equally susceptible to being co-opted by a libertarian agenda. Even at its best, it is really a policy about redistribution of already existing wealth (albeit on a bigger scale than the welfare state as it stands). To truly overturn neoliberalism, we need to go beyond this and talk about collective ownership and creation of wealth.

Policies that focus on collective control of assets may do a better job of replacing a narrative about individual property ownership with one that highlights the actual concentration of property wealth in the hands of elites – and the need to reclaim these assets for the common good. As well as Inclusive Ownership Funds, another way of doing this is through Citizens' Wealth Funds, which socialise profitable assets (be it natural resources or intangible ones such as data) and use the proceeds to pay dividends to individuals or communities. Universal Basic Services – for instance, policies such as free publicly owned buses – may be another.

Finally, I'd like to make a plea for care work as a critical area that merits further attention to develop convincing flagship policies – be it on universal childcare, elderly care or support for unpaid carers. The instinctive attachment that many of us feel to a public NHS needs to be widened to promote a broader right to care and be cared for, whilst firmly resisting the marketisation of care. Although care is often marginalised in political debate, as a new mum, I'm acutely aware that it is fundamental to millions of people's ability to live the lives they want. In an ageing population, most people now have lived experience of the pressures of caring for someone – whether a parent or a child. By talking about these issues, we move the terrain of political contestation away from the work valued by the market and onto the work we all know really matters; away from the competition for scarce resources and onto our ability to look after each other. And surely, that's exactly where the left wants it to be.

This article forms part of the " Left governmentality" mini series for openDemocracy.

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm

The problem is that people are selfish–me included–and so what is needed is not better ideas about ourselves but better laws. And for that we will need a higher level of political engagement and a refusal to accept candidates who sell themselves as a "lesser evil." It's the decline of democracy that brought on the rise of Reagan and Thatcher and Neoliberalism and not some change in public consciousness (except insofar as the general public became wealthier and more complacent). In America incumbents are almost universally likely to be re-elected to Congress and so they have no reason to reject Neoliberal ideas.

So here's suggesting that a functioning political process is the key to reform and not some change in the PR.

Angie Neer , November 1, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Carolinian, like you, I try to include myself in statements about "the problem with people." I believe one of the things preventing progress is our tendency to believe it's only those people that are the problem.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , November 1, 2019 at 4:55 pm

Human nature people are selfish. It's like the Christian marriage vow – which I understand is a Medieval invention and not something from 2,000 years ago – for better or worse, meaning, we share (and are not to be selfish) the good and the bad.

"Not neoliberals, but all of us." "Not the right, but the left as well." "Not just Russia, but America," or "Not just America, but Russia too."

Carolinian , November 1, 2019 at 5:54 pm

Perhaps a rational system is one that accepts selfishness but keeps it within limits. Movements like the Chicago school that pretend to reinvent the wheel with new thinking are by this view a scam. As J.K. Galbraith said: "the problem with their ideas is that they have been tried."

The Rev Kev , November 1, 2019 at 8:06 pm

My small brain got stuck on your reference to a 'Christian marriage vow'. I was just sitting back and conceiving what a Neoliberal marriage vow would sound like. Probably a cross between a no-liabilities contract and an open-marriage agreement.

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 9:05 pm

"people are selfish"?; or "people can sometimes act selfishly"? I think the latter is the more accurate statement. Appeal to the better side, and more of it will be forthcoming.
Neolib propaganda appeals to trivial, bleak individualism..

Carolinian , November 2, 2019 at 9:14 am

I'm not sure historic left attempts to appeal to "the better angels of our nature" have really moved the ball much. It took the Great Depression to give us a New Deal and WW2 to give Britain the NHS and the India its freedom. I'd say events are in the saddle far more than ideas.

Mark Anderlik , November 2, 2019 at 10:58 am

I rather look at it as a "both and" rather than an "either or." If the political groundwork is not done beforehand and during, the opportunity events afford will more likely be squandered.

And borrowing from evolutionary science, this also holds with the "punctuated equilibrium" theory of social/political change. The strain of a changed environment (caused by both events and intentionally created political activity) for a long time creates no visible change to the system, and so appears to fail. But then some combination of events and conscious political work suddenly "punctuates the equilibrium" with the resulting significant if not radical changes.

Chile today can be seen as a great example of this: "Its not 30 Pesos, its 30 Years."

J4Zonian , November 2, 2019 at 4:40 pm

Carolinian, you provide a good illustration of the power of the dominant paradigm to make people believe exactly what the article said–something I've observed more than enough to confirm is true. People act in a wide variety of ways; but many people deny that altruism and compassion are equally "human nature". Both parts of the belief pointed out here–believing other people are selfish and that we're not–are explained by projection acting in concert with the other parts of this phenomenon. Even though it's flawed because it's only a political and not a psychological explanation, It's a good start toward understanding.

"You and I are so deeply acculturated to the idea of "self" and organization and species that it is hard to believe that man [sic] might view his [sic] relations with the environment in any other way than the way which I have rather unfairly blamed upon the nineteenth-century evolutionists."

Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, p 483-4
This is part of a longer quote that's been important to me my whole life. Worth looking up. Bateson called this a mistake in epistemology–also, informally, his definition of evil.
http://anomalogue.com/blog/category/systems-thinking/

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
― Frédéric Bastiat

Doesn't mean it's genetic. In fact, I'm pretty sure it means it's not.

Capital fn 4 , November 1, 2019 at 1:11 pm

The desire for justice is the constant.

The Iron Lady once proclaimed, slightly sinisterly: "Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul." She meant that British people had to rediscover the virtue of traditional values such as hard work and thrift. The "something for nothing" society was over.

But the idea that the Thatcher era re-established the link between virtuous effort and just reward has been effectively destroyed by the spectacle of bankers driving their institutions into bankruptcy while being rewarded with million-pound bonuses and munificent pensions.

The dual-truth approach of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (thanks, Mirowski) has been more adept at manipulating narratives so the masses are still outraged by individuals getting undeserved social benefits rather than elites vacuuming up common resources. Thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, we have ended up with socialism for the rich, and everyone else at the mercy of 'markets'.

Pretending that there are not problems with free riders is naive and it goes against people's concern with justice. Acknowledging free riders on all levels with institutions that can constantly pursue equity is the solution.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:09 am

At some points in life, everyone is a free rider. As for the hard workers, many of them are doing destructive things which the less hard-working people will have to suffer under and compensate for. (Neo)liberalism and capitalism are a coherent system of illusions of virtue which rest on domination, exploitation, extraction, and propaganda. Stoking of resentment (as of free riders, the poor, the losers, foreigners, and so on) is one of the ways those who enjoy it keep it going.

Capital fn. 4 , November 1, 2019 at 1:16 pm

The desire for justice is the constant.

The Iron Lady once proclaimed, slightly sinisterly: "Economics is the method. The object is to change the soul." She meant that British people had to rediscover the virtue of traditional values such as hard work and thrift. The "something for nothing" society was over.

But the idea that the Thatcher era re-established the link between virtuous effort and just reward has been effectively destroyed by the spectacle of bankers driving their institutions into bankruptcy while being rewarded with million-pound bonuses and munificent pensions.

The dual-truth approach of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (thanks, Mirowski) has been more adept at manipulating narratives so the masses are still outraged by individuals getting undeserved social benefits rather than elites vacuuming up common resources. Thanks to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, we have ended up with socialism for the rich, and everyone else at the mercy of 'markets'.

Pretending that there are not problems with free riders is naive and it goes against people's concern with justice. Acknowledging free riders on all levels with institutions that can constantly pursue equity is the solution.

Synoia , November 2, 2019 at 12:58 pm

The Iron Lady had a agenda to break the labor movement in the UK.

What she did not understand is Management gets the Union (Behavior) it deserves. If there is strife in the workplace, as there was in abundance in the UK at that time, the problem is the Management, (and the UK class structure) not the workers.

As I found out when I left University.

Thatcher set out to break the solidarity of the Labor movement, and used the neo-liberal tool of selfishness to achieve success, unfortunately,

The UK's poor management practices, (The Working Class can kiss my arse) and complete inability to form teams of "Management and Workers" was, IMHO, is the foundation of today's Brexit nightmare, a foundation based on the British Class Structure.

And exploited, as it ever was, to achieve ends which do not benefit workers in any manner.

The Historian , November 1, 2019 at 1:43 pm

The left needs to acknowledge that aspects of the neoliberal agenda have been overwhelmingly popular: it has successfully tapped into people's instincts about the kind of life they want to lead, and wrapped these instincts up in a compelling narrative about how we should see ourselves and other people.

Sigh, no this is not true. This author is making the mistake that everyone is like the top 5% and that just is not so. Perhaps she should get out of her personal echo chamber and talk to common people.

In my travels I have been to every state and every major city, and I have worked with just about every class of people, except of course the ultra wealthy and ultra powerful – they have people to protect them from the great unwashed like me – and it didn't take me long to notice that the elite are different from the rest of us but I could never explain exactly why. After I retired, I started studying and I've examined everything from Adam Smith, to Hobbes, to Kant, to Durkheim, to Marx, to Ayn Rand, to tons of histories and anthropologies of various peoples, to you name it and I've come to the conclusion that most of us are not neoliberal and do not want what the top 5% want.

Most people are not overly competitive and most do not seek self-interest only. That is what allows us to live in cities, to drive on our roadways, to form groups that seek to improve conditions for the least of us. It is what allows soldiers to protect each other on the battlefield when it would be in their self interest to protect themselves. It is what allowed people in Europe to risk their own lives to save Jews. And it is also what allows people to live under the worst dictators without rebelling. Of course we all want more but we have limits on what we will do to get that more – the wealthy and powerful seem to have no limits. For instance, most of us won't screw over our co-workers to make ourselves look better, although some will. Most of us won't turn on our best friends even when it would be to our advantage to do so, although some will. Most of us won't abandon those we care about, even when it means severe financial damage to us, although some will.

For lack of a better description, I call what the 5% have the greed gene – a gene that allows them to give up empathy and compassion and basic morality – what some of us call fairness – in the search for personal gain. I don't think it is necessarily genetic but there is something in their makeup that cause them to have more than the average self interest. And because most humans are more cooperative than they are competitive, most humans just allow these people to go after what they want and don't stand in their way, even though by stopping them, they could make their own lives better.

Most history and economics are theories and stories told by the rich and powerful to justify their behavior. I think it is a big mistake to attribute that behavior to the mass of humanity. Archeology is beginning to look more at how average people lived instead of seeking out only the riches deposited by the elite, and historians are starting to look at the other side of history – average people – to see what life was really like for them, and I think we are seeing that what the rulers wanted was never what their people wanted. It is beginning to appear obvious that 95% of the people just wanted to live in their communities safely, to have about what everyone else around them had, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of shelter, enough food, and warm companionship.

I'm also wondering why the 5% think that all of us want exactly what they want. Do they really think that they are somehow being smarter or more competent got them there while 95% of the population – the rest of us – failed?

At this point, I know my theory is half-baked – I definitely need to do more research, but nothing I have found yet convinces me that there isn't some real basic difference between those who aspire to power and wealth and the rest of us.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 5:09 pm

" ..and I've come to the conclusion that most of us are not neoliberal and do not want what the top 5% want. Most people are not overly competitive and most do not seek self-interest only. That is what allows us to live in cities, to drive on our roadways, to form groups that seek to improve conditions for the least of us. It is what allows soldiers to protect each other on the battlefield when it would be in their self interest to protect themselves. "

I really liked your comment Historian. Thanks for posting. That's what I've felt in my gut for a while, that the top 5% and the establishment are operating under a different mindset, that the majority of people don't want a competitive, dog eat dog, self interest world.

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 5:52 pm

me too, great observation and well put. Made me feel better too! Heartfelt thanks

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:00 pm

I agree with Foy Johnson. I've been reading up on Ancient Greece and realizing all the time that 'teh Greeks' are maybe only about thirty percent of the people in Greece. Most of that history is how Greeks were taking advantage of each other with little mention of the majority of the population. Pelasgians? Yeah, they came from serpents teeth, the end.

I think this is a problem from the Bronze Age that we have not properly addressed.

Mystery Cycles are a nice reminder that people were having fun on their own.

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Thanks very much for this comment, Historian.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 5:22 pm

I have more or less the same view. I think the author's statement about neoliberalism tapping into what type of life people want to lead is untenable. Besides instinct (are we all 4-year olds?), what people want is also very much socially constructed. And what people do is also very much socially coerced.

One anecdote: years ago, during a volunteer drive at work, I worked side by side with the company's CEO (company was ~1200 headcount, ~.5bn revenue) sorting canned goods. The guy was doing it like he was in a competition. So much so that he often blocked me when I had to place something on the shelves, and took a lot of space in the lineup around himself while swinging his large-ish body and arms, and wouldn't stop talking. To me, this was very rude and inconsiderate, and showed a repulsive level of disregard to others. This kind of behavior at such an event, besides being unpleasant to be around, was likely also making work for the others in the lineup less efficient. Had I or anyone else behaved like him, we would have had a good amount of awkwardness or even a conflict.

What I don't get is, how does he and others get away with it? My guess is, people don't want a conflict. I didn't want a conflict and said nothing to that CEO. Not because I am not competitive, but because I didn't want an ugly social situation (we said 'excuse me' and 'sorry' enough, I just didn't think it would go over well to ask him to stop being obnoxious and dominant for no reason). He obviously didn't care or was unaware – or actually, I think he was behaving that way as a tactical habit. And I didn't feel I had the authority to impose a different order.

So, in the end, it's about power – power relations and knowing what to do about it.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:43 pm

Yep, I think you've nailed it there deplorado, types like your CEO don't care at all and/or are socially unaware, and is a tactical habit that they have found has worked for them in the past and is now ingrained. It is a power relation and our current world unfortunately is now designed and made to suit people like that. And each day the world incrementally moves a little bit more in their direction with inertia like a glacier. Its going to take something big to turn it around

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 6:49 pm

I too believe "most of us are not neoliberal". But if so, how did we end up with the kind of Corporate Cartels, Government Agencies and Organizations that currently prey upon Humankind? This post greatly oversimplifies the mechanisms and dynamics of Neoliberalism, and other varieties of exploitation of the many by the few. This post risks a mocking tie to Identity Politics. What traits of Humankind give truth to Goebbels' claims?

There definitely is "some real basic difference between those who aspire to power and wealth and the rest of us" -- but the question you should ask next is why the rest of us Hobbits blindly follow and help the Saurons among us. Why do so many of us do exactly what we're told? How is it that constant repetition of the Neoliberal identity concepts over our media can so effectively ensnare the thinking of so many?

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 7:47 pm

Maybe it's something similar to Milgram's Experiment (the movie the Experimenter about Milgram was on last night – worth watching and good acting by Peter Sarsgaard, my kind of indie film), the outcome is just not what would normally be expected, people bow to authority, against their own beliefs and interests, and others interests, even though they have choice. The Hobbits followed blindly in that experiment, the exact opposite outcome as to what was predicted by the all the psychology experts beforehand.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:12 pm

people bow to authority , against their own beliefs and interests, and others interests, even though they have choice

'Don't Make Waves' is a fundamentally useful value that lets us all swim along. This can be manipulated. If everyone is worried about Reds Under the Beds or recycling, you go along to get along.

Some people somersault to Authority is how I'd put it.

Foy , November 1, 2019 at 11:17 pm

Yep, don't mind how you put that Mo, good word somersault.

One of the amusing tests Milgram did was to have people go into the lift but all face the back of the lift instead of the doors and see what happens when the next person got in. Sure enough, with the next person would get in, face the front, look around with some confusion at everyone else and then slowly turn and face the back. Don't Make Waves its instinctive to let us all swim along as you said.

And 'some people' is correct. It was actually the majority, 65%, who followed directions against their own will and preferred choice in his original experiment.

susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 8:07 pm

thank you, historian

The Rev Kev , November 1, 2019 at 8:14 pm

That's a pretty damn good comment that, Historian. Lots to unpick. It reminded me too of something that John Wyndham once said. He wrote how about 95% of us wanted to live in peace and comfort but that the other 5% were always considering their chances if they started something. He went on to say that it was the introduction of nuclear weapons that made nobody's chances of looking good which explains why the lack of a new major war since WW2.

Mr grumpy , November 1, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Good comment. My view is that it all boils down to the sociopathic personality disorder. Sociopathy runs on a continuum, and we all exhibit some of its tendencies. At the highest end you get serial killers and titans of industry, like the guy sorting cans in another comment. I believe all religions and theories of ethical behavior began as attempts to reign in the sociopaths by those of us much lower on the continuum. Neoliberalism starts by saying the sociopaths are the norm, turning the usual moral and ethical universe upside down.

Janie , November 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Your theory is not half-baked; it's spot-on. If you're not the whatever it takes, end justifies the means type, you are not likely to rise to the top in the corporate world. The cream rises to the top happens only in the dairy.

Grebo , November 2, 2019 at 12:25 am

Your 5% would correspond to Altemeyer's "social dominators". Unfortunately only 75% want a simple, peaceful life. 20% are looking for a social dominator to follow. It's psychological.

Kristin Lee , November 2, 2019 at 5:21 am

Excellent comment. Take into consideration the probability that the majority of the top 5% have come from a privileged background, ensconced in a culture of entitlement. This "greed" gene is as natural to them as breathing. Consider also that many wealthy families have maintained their status through centuries of calculated loveless marriages, empathy and other human traits gene-pooled out of existence. The cruel paradox is that for the sake of riches, they have lost their richness in character.

Davenport , November 2, 2019 at 7:57 am

This really chimes with me. Thanks so much for putting it down in words.

I often encounter people insisting humans are selfish. It is quite frustrating that this more predominant side of our human nature seems to become invisible against the propaganda.

Henry Moon Pie , November 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

I'm barely into Jeremy Lent's The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning , but he's already laid down his central thesis in fairly complete form. Humans are both competitive and cooperative, he says, which should surprise no one. What I found interesting is that the competitive side comes from primates who are more intensely competitive than humans. The cooperation developed after the human/primate split and was enabled by "mimetic culture," communication skills that importantly presuppose that the object(s) of communication are intentional creatures like oneself but with a somewhat different perspective. Example: Human #1 gestures to Human #2 to come take a closer look at whatever Human #1 is examining. This ability to cooperate even came with strategies to prevent a would-be dominant male from taking over a hunter-gatherer band:

[I]n virtually all hunter-gatherer societies, people join together to prevent powerful males from taking too much control, using collective behaviors such as ridicule, group disobedience, and, ultimately, extreme sanctions such as assassination [This kind of society is called] a "reverse dominant hierarchy because rather than being dominated, the rank and file manages to dominate.

SKM , November 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

yes, this chimes in with what I`ve been thinking for years after puzzling about why society everywhere ends up as it does – ie the fact that in small groups as we evolved to live in, we would keep a check on extreme selfish behaviour of dominant individuals. In complex societies (modern) most of us become "the masses" visible in some way to the system but the top echelons are not visible to us and are able to amass power and wealth out of all control by the rest of us. And yes, you do have to have a very strange drive (relatively rare, ?pathological) to want power and wealth at everyone else`s expense – to live in a cruel world many of whose problems could be solved (or not arise in the first place) by redistributing some of your wealth to little palpable cost to you

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Africa over a few million years of Ice Ages seems to have presented our ancestors with the possibility of reproducing only if you can get along in close proximity to other Hominids without killing each other. I find that a compelling explanation for our stupidly big brains; it's one thing to be a smart monkey, it's a whole different solution needed to model what is going on in the brain of another smart monkey.

And communications: How could spoken language have developed without levels of trust and interdependence that maybe we can not appreciate today? We have a word for 'Blue' nowadays, we take it for granted.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:18 am

There is a theory that language originated between mothers and their immediate progeny, between whom either trust and benevolence exist, or the weaker dies. The mother's chances for survival and reproduction are enhanced if she can get her progeny to, so to speak, help out around the house; how to do that is extended by symbolism and syntax as well as example.

chuck roast , November 1, 2019 at 2:00 pm

I recall the first day of Econ 102 when the Prof. (damned few adjuncts in those days) said, "Everything we discuss hereafter will be built on the concept of scarcity." Being a contrary buggah' I thought, "The air I'm breathing isn't scarce." I soon got with the program supply and demand upward sloping, downward sloping, horizontal, vertical and who could forget kinked. My personal favorite was the Giffen Good a high priced inferior product. Kind of like Micro Economics.

Maybe we could begin our new Neo-Economics 102 with the proviso, "Everything we discuss hereafter will be based on abundance." I'm gonna' like this class!

Off The Street , November 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Neo-lib Econ does a great job at framing issues so that people don't notice what is excluded. Think of them as proto-Dark Patternists.

If you are bored and slightly mischievous, ask an economist how theory addresses cooperation, then assume a can opener and crack open a twist-top beer.

jrs , November 1, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Isn't one of the problems that it's NOT really built on the concept of scarcity? Most natural resources run into scarcity eventually. I don't know about the air one breaths, certainly fish species are finding reduced oxygen in the oceans due to climate change.

shtove , November 2, 2019 at 3:45 am

Yes, I suppose people in cities in south-east Asia wearing soot-exclusion masks have a different take on the abundance of air.

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 6:57 pm

If you would like that class on abundance you would love the Church of Abundant Life which pushes Jesus as the way to Abundant Life and they mean that literally. Abundant as in Jesus wants you to have lots of stuff -- so believe.

I believe Neoliberalism is a much more complex animal than an economic theory. Mirowski builds a plausible argument that Neoliberalism is a theory of epistemology. The Market discovers Truth.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 8:53 pm

"The air I'm breathing isn't scarce."

Had a lovely Physics class where the first homework problem boiled down to "How often do you inhale a atom (O or N) from Julius Caesar's last breath". Great little introduction to the power and pratfalls of 'estimations by Physicists' that xkcd likes to poke at. Back then we used the CRC Handbook to figure it out.

Anyway, every second breath you can be sure you have shared an atom with Caesar.

Susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 2:08 pm

I don't think Maggie T. or uncle Milty were thinking about the future at all. Neither one would have openly promoted turfing quadriplegic 70-year-olds out of the rest home. That's how short sighted they both were. And stupid. We really need to call a spade a spade here. Milty doesn't even qualify as an economist – unless economics is the study of the destruction of society. But neoliberalism had been in the wings already, by the 80s, for 40 years. Nobody took into account that utility-maximizing capitalism always kills the goose (except Lenin maybe) – because it's too expensive to feed her. The neoliberals were just plain dumb. The question really is why should we stand for another day of neoliberal nonsense? Albeit Macht Frei Light? No thanks. I think they've got the question backwards – it shouldn't be how should "we" reconstruct our image now – but what is the obligation of all the failed neoliberal extractors to right society now? I'd just as soon stand back and watch the dam burst as help the neolibs out with a little here and a little there. They'll just keep taking as long as we give. This isn't as annoying as Macron's "cake" comment, but it's close. I did like the last 2 paragraphs however.

Susan the Other , November 1, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Here's a sidebar. A universal one. There is an anomaly in the universe – there is not enough accumulated entropy. It screws up theoretical physics because the missing entropy needs to be accounted for for their theories to work to their satisfaction. It seems to be a phenomenon of evolution. Thus it was recently discovered by a physics grad student that entropy by heat dissipation is the "creator" of life. Life almost spontaneously erupts where it can take advantage of an energy source. And, we are assuming, life thereby slows entropy down. There has to be another similar process among the stars and the planets as well, an evolutionary conservation of energy. So evolution takes on more serious meaning. From the quantum to the infinite. And society – it's right in the middle. So it isn't too unreasonable to think that society is extremely adaptable, taking advantage of any energy input, and it seems true to think that. Which means that society can go long for its goal before it breaks down. But in the end it will be enervated by lack of "resources" unless it can self perpetuate in an evolving manner. That's one good reason to say goodbye to looney ideologies.

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 3:05 pm

For a view of humanity that is not as selfish, recommend "The Gift" by Marcel Mauss. Basically an anthropological study of reciprocal gift giving in the oceanic potlatch societies. My take is that the idea was to re-visit relationships, as giving a gift basically forces a response in the receiver, "Am I going to respond in kind, perhaps even upping what is required? Or am I going to find that this relationship simply isn't worth it and walk away?"

Kind of like being in a marriage. The idea isn't to walk away, the idea is you constantly need to re-enforce it. Except with the potlatch it was like extending that concept to the clan at large, so that all the relationships within the clan were being re-enforced.

Amfortas the hippie , November 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm

"Kind of like being in a marriage. The idea isn't to walk away, the idea is you constantly need to re-enforce it. "
amen.
we, the people, abdicated.

as for humans being selfish by default i used to believe this, due to my own experiences as an outlaw and pariah.
until wife's cancer and the overwhelming response of this little town,in the "reddest" congressional district in texas.
locally, the most selfish people i know are the one's who own everything buying up their neighbor's businesses when things get tough.
they are also the most smug and pretentious(local dems, in their hillforts come a close second in this regard) and most likely to be gop true believers.
small town and all everybody literally knows everybody, and their extended family and those connections are intertwined beyond belief.
wife's related, in some way, to maybe half the town.
that matters and explains my experience as an outcast: i never belonged to anything like that and such fellowfeeling and support is hard for people to extend to a stranger.
That's what's gonna be the hard sell, here, in undoing the hyperindividualist, "there is no such thing as society" nonsense.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 9:23 pm

I grew up until Junior High in a fishing village on the Maine coast that had been around for well over a hundred years and had a population of under 1000. By the time I was 8 I realized there was no point in being extreme with anyone, because they were likely to be around for the rest of your life.

I fell in love with sun and warmth when we moved away and unfortunately it's all gentrified now, by the 90s even a tar paper shack could be sold for a few acres up in Lamoine.

djrichard , November 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Yep, small towns are about as close as we get to clans nowadays. And just like clans, you don't want to be on the outside. Still when you marry in, it would be nice if the town would make you feel more a member like a clan should / would. ;-)

But outside of the small town and extended families I think that's it. We've been atomized into our nuclear families. Except for the ruling class – I think they have this quid pro quo gift giving relationship building figured out quite nicely. Basically they've formed their own small town – at the top.

By the way, I understand Mauss was an influence on Baudrillard. I could almost imagine Baudrillard thinking how the reality of the potlatch societies was so different than the reality of western societies.

Anarcissie , November 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

That's the big problem I see in this discussion. We know, or at least think we know, what's wrong, and what would be better; but we can't get other people to want to do something about it, even those who nominally agree with us. And I sure don't have the answer.

David , November 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Neoliberalism, in its early guise at least, was popular because politicians like Thatcher effectively promised something for nothing. Low taxes but still decent public services. The right to buy your council house without putting your parents' council house house in jeopardy. Enjoying private medical care as a perk of your job whilst still finding the NHS there when you were old and sick. And so on. By the time the penny dropped it was too late.
If the Left is serious about challenging neoliberalism, it has to return to championing the virtues of community, which it abandoned decades ago in favour of extreme liberal individualism Unfortunately, community is an idea which has either been appropriated by various identity warriors (thus fracturing society further) or dismissed (as this author does) because it's been taken up by the Right. A Left which explained that when everybody cooperates everybody benefits, but that when everybody fights everybody loses, would sweep the board.

deplorado , November 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

>>Neoliberalism, in its early guise at least, was popular because politicians like Thatcher effectively promised something for nothing.

This. That's it.

Thank you David, for always providing among the most grounded and illuminating comments here.

Mo's Bike Shop , November 1, 2019 at 9:54 pm

If the Left is serious about challenging neoliberalism, it has to return to championing the virtues of community

I agree. The tenuous suggestions offered by the article are top down. But top-down universal solutions can remove the impetus for local organization. Which enervates the power of communities. And then you can't do anything about austerity, because your Rep loves the PowerPoints and has so much money from the Real Estate community.

Before one experiences the virtue, or power, of a community, one has to go through the pain in the ass of contributing to a community. It has to be rewarding process or it won't happen.

No idea how to do that from the top.

Capital fn. 4 , November 1, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Jeez louise-
one more attempt to get past Skynet

PKMKII , November 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Anyone have a link to the studies mentioned about how Econ majors were the only ones to act selfishly in the game scenarios?

Rod , November 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm

this may not get the ECON majors specifically but this will raise your eyebrows

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/embark-essay-tragedy-of-the-commons-greed-common-good/

this is next gen coming up here

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:33 pm

"An example of how this plays out can be seen in academic studies showing that, in game scenarios presenting the opportunity to free-ride on the efforts of others, only economics students behaved as economic models predicted: all other groups were much more likely to pool their resources. Having been trained to believe that others are likely to be selfish, economists believe that their best course of action is to be selfish as well. The rest of us still have the instinct to cooperate. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising: after all, as George Monbiot argues in 'Out of the Wreckage', cooperation is our species' main survival strategy."

Since so many people believe their job is their identity, would be interssting to know what the job training or jobs were of the "others."

Summer , November 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm

"Ultimately, they can't escape the fact that most people would like to spend less time at work."

And that is a key point!

Carey , November 1, 2019 at 7:39 pm

>so many people believe their job is their identity

Only because the social sphere, which in the medium and long term we *all depend on* to survive, has been debased by 24/7/365 neolib talking points, and their purposeful economic constrictions..

Jeremy Grimm , November 1, 2019 at 7:13 pm

How many people have spent their lives working for the "greater good"? How many work building some transcendental edifice from which the only satisfaction they could take away was knowing they performed a part of its construction? The idea that Humankind is selfish and greedy is a projection promoted by the small part of Humankind that really is selfish and greedy.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 4:59 am

Let's work out the basics, this will help.

Where does wealth creation actually occur in the capitalist system?

Nations can do well with the trade, as we have seen with China and Germany, but this comes at other nation's expense.
In a successful global economy, trade should be balanced over the long term.
Keynes was aware of this in the past, and realised surplus nations were just as much of a problem as deficit nations in a successful global economy with a long term future.

Zimababwe has lots of money and it's not doing them any favours. Too much money causes hyper-inflation.
You can just print money, the real wealth in the economy lies somewhere else.
Alan Greenspan tells Paul Ryan the Government can create all the money it wants and there is no need to save for pensions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNCZHAQnfGU
What matters is whether the goods and services are there for them to buy with that money. That's where the real wealth in the economy lies.
Money has no intrinsic value; its value comes from what it can buy.
Zimbabwe has too much money in the economy relative to the goods and services available in that economy. You need wheelbarrows full of money to buy anything.
It's that GDP thing that measures real wealth creation.

GDP does not include the transfer of existing assets like stocks and real estate.
Inflated asset prices are just inflated asset prices and this can disappear all too easily as we keep seeing in real estate.
1990s – UK, US (S&L), Canada (Toronto), Scandinavia, Japan
2000s – Iceland, Dubai, US (2008)
2010s – Ireland, Spain, Greece
Get ready to put Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Hong Kong on the list.
They invented the GDP measure in the 1930s, to track real wealth creation in the economy after they had seen all that apparent wealth in the US stock market disappear in 1929.
There was nothing really there.

Now, we can move on further.

The UK's national income accountants can't work out how finance adds any value (creates wealth).
Banks create money from bank loans, not wealth.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
We have mistaken inflating asset prices for creating wealth.

How can banks create wealth with bank credit?
The UK used to know before 1980.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)
After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don't result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)
What happened in 1979?
The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

Real estate does make the economy boom, but there is no real wealth creation in inflating asset prices.
What is really happening?
When you use bank credit to inflate asset prices, the debt rises much faster than GDP.
https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
The bank credit of mortgages is bringing future spending power into today.
Bank loans create money and the repayment of debt to banks destroys money.
https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
In the real estate boom, new money pours into the economy from mortgage lending, fuelling a boom in the real economy, which feeds back into the real estate boom.
The Japanese real estate boom of the 1980s was so excessive the people even commented on the "excess money", and everyone enjoyed spending that excess money in the economy.
In the real estate bust, debt repayments to banks destroy money and push the economy towards debt deflation (a shrinking money supply).
Japan has been like this for thirty years as they pay back the debts from their 1980s excesses, it's called a balance sheet recession.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk
Bank loans effectively take future spending and bring it in today.
Jam today, penury tomorrow.
Using future spending power to inflate asset prices today is a mistake that comes from thinking inflating asset prices creates real wealth.
GDP measures real wealth creation.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 5:37 am

Did you know capitalism works best with low housing costs and a low cost of living? Probably not, you are in the parallel universe of neoliberalism.

William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s

He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years.

Some very important things got lost 100 years ago.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

"Wait a minute, employees get their money from wages and businesses have to cover high housing costs in wages reducing profit" the CBI

It's all about the economy, and UK businesses will benefit from low housing costs. High housing costs push up wages and reduce profits. Off-shore to make more profit, you can pay lower wages where the cost of living is lower, e.g. China; the US and UK are rubbish.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 8:11 am

What was Keynes really doing? Creating a low cost, internationally competitive economy. Keynes's ideas were a solution to the problems of the Great Depression, but we forgot why he did, what he did.

They tried running an economy on debt in the 1920s. The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

Keynes looked at the problems of the debt based economy and came up with redistribution through taxation to keep the system running in a sustainable way and he dealt with the inherent inequality capitalism produced.

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

Disposable income = wages - (taxes + the cost of living)

High progressive taxation funded a low cost economy with subsidised housing, healthcare, education and other services to give more disposable income on lower wages.

Employers and employees both win with a low cost of living.

Keynesian ideas went wrong in the 1970s and everyone had forgotten the problems of neoclassical economics that he originally solved.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 2, 2019 at 8:44 am

Economics, the time line:

We thought small state, unregulated capitalism was something that it wasn't as our ideas came from neoclassical economics, which has little connection with classical economics.

On bringing it back again, we had lost everything that had been learned in the 1930s, by which time it had already demonstrated its flaws.

Kristin Lee , November 2, 2019 at 5:54 am

Ultimately, neoliberalism is about privatization and ownership of everything. This is why it's so important to preserve the Common Good, the vital resources and services that support earthly existence. The past 40 years has shown what happens when this falls out of balance. Our value system turns upside down – the sick become more valuable than the healthy, a violent society provides for the prisons-for-profit system and so on. The biggest upset has been the privatization of money creation.

This latest secret bank bailout (not really secret as Dodd-Frank has allowed banks to siphon newly created money from the Fed without Congressional approval. No more public embarrassment that Hank Paulson had to endure.) They are now up to $690 billion PER WEEK while the media snoozes. PPPs enjoy the benefits of public money to seed projects for private gain. The rest of us have to rely on predatory lenders, sinking us to the point of Peak Debt, where private debt can never be paid off and must be cancelled, as it should be because it never should've happened in the first place.

"Neoliberalism, which has influenced so much of the conventional thinking about money, is adamant that the public sector must not create ('print') money, and so public expenditure must be limited to what the market can 'afford.' Money, in this view, is a limited resource that the market ensures will be used efficiently. Is public money, then, a pipe dream? No, for the financial crisis and the response to it undermined this neoliberal dogma.

The financial sector mismanaged its role as a source of money so badly that the state had to step in and provide unlimited monetary backing to rescue it. The creation of money out of thin air by public authorities revealed the inherently political nature of money. But why, then, was the power to create money ceded to the private sector in the first place -- and with so little public accountability? And if money can be created to serve the banks, why not to benefit people and the environment? "

Paul Hirshman , November 2, 2019 at 3:33 pm

The Commons should have a shot at revival as the upcoming generation's desires are outstripped by their incomes and savings. The conflict between desires and reality may give a boost to alternate notions of what's desirable. Add to this the submersion of cities under the waves of our expanding oceans, and one gets yet another concrete reason to think that individual ownership isn't up to the job of inspiring young people.

A Commons of some sort will be needed to undo the cost of generations of unpaid negative externalities. Fossil fuels, constant warfare, income inequality, stupendous idiocy of kleptocratic government these baked in qualities of neo-liberalism are creating a very large, dissatisfied, and educated population just about anywhere one looks. Suburbia will be on fire, as well as underwater. Farmlands will be parched, drenched, and exhausted. Where will Larry Summers dump the garbage?

[Nov 24, 2019] Chris Hedges: Who Killed the American Dream On Civil Society

Aug 27, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Dan Harris , 1 year ago (edited)

Chris Hedges is our very own modern day Thomas Paine. Too bad most the sheep don't even know he exists let alone be fired by his deeply powerful words and ideas. He is so dangerous he is universally banned by any and all major media. He is so smart, so well read and so incredibly morally powerful, they make sure only those few who like myself, go looking can actually find him.

Supernautiloid , 1 year ago

I only recently discovered Hedges myself. Needless to say, his speeches have blown my mind. It only requires one to take a look at the world around us to see he speaks the truth. If only more would wake up to this truth.

Bergur Rasmussen , 3 months ago div class="comment-

renderer-text-content expanded"> There is this Frank Zappa quote, I keep thinking of when listening to Chris Hedges "The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." The illusion is hastily crumbling ... thanks CH for wording the decay so clearly

Doug N , 11 months ago (edited)

Four cops were recently indicted for beating an under cover cop posing as a protester during the recent St Louis race riots. Chris is absolutely correct when he says antifa is half cops. The oligarchs want Marshall Law. And cops are playing their part in seeing that it comes to pass.

[Nov 24, 2019] Chris Hedges on Death of the Liberal Class - YouTube

Highly recommended!
Jan 04, 2011 | www.youtube.com

riccardo estavans , 4 months ago

Colin Shaw , 5 months ago Think Mackay , 5 months ago

Bill Clinton destroyed the USA economy and middle class like no president has ever done. Bush II and Obama exacerbated the destruction by the hundred folds.

Orion's Ghost , 5 months ago

I believe Hedges statement that "the true correctives to society were social movements that never achieved formal political power" is perhaps one of the most important things for each of us to understand.

Fred Slocombe , 3 months ago (edited)
Ali Naderzad , 3 months ago (edited)

16:50 GENIUS. WELL DONE. So true.go Chris !!!

cubismo85 , 4 weeks ago

hauntingly accurate in every aspect, im speehless

Eris123451 , 3 days ago

I watched this with interest and curiosity and growing skepticism although he makes some killer points and cites some extremely disturbing facts; above all he accepts and uncritically so the American narrative of history.

Brian Valero , 4 months ago

The message from democrats is "hey we're not bigots". Most people (repubs+dems) aren't. If they keep calling on that for energy the Dems will forever continue to lose. If they don't come back to the working class they might as well just call themselves conservatives.

jimmyolsenblues , 4 months ago

he did/wrote this in 2011, he really understood then how things are in 2019.

Andy Russ , 3 years ago (edited)

Prescient 'post-mortem' of the 2016 election

2009starlite , 5 months ago (edited)

Those of us who seek the truth can't stop looking under every stone. The truth will set you free but you must share it with those who are ready to hear it and hide it from those who can hurt you for exposing it. MT

Aubrey De Bliquy , 2 days ago (edited)

"A Society that looses the capacity for the sacred cannibalizes itself until it dies because it exploits the natural world as well as human beings to the point of collapse."

Clark WARS News , 1 day ago

I learned something from watching this thank you powerful teacher love you ⭐

Rebel Scum , 5 months ago

I think he meant Washington State University which is in Pullman. The University of Washington is in Seattle. 16:43

phuturephunk , 6 years ago

Damn, he's grim...but he makes a whole lot of sense.

davekiernan1 , 2 weeks ago

Like Mr bon ribentrof said in monty Python. He's right you know...

Rich Keal , 5 months ago

Search YouTube for Dr. Antony Sutton the funding of the Bolshevik Revolution. The Act of 1871 as well. Take the Red Pill and go deeper.

kevin joseph , 5 days ago

loony republicans? did they open the borders, legalize late abortions and outright infanticide?

Michael Maya , 5 months ago

I've listened to this twice both twice it played on accident bcuz I had you tube on autoplay, it woke me up while I was sleeping but I'm glad it did.

Bryce Hallam , 1 week ago

Set the Playback Speed to: 1.25 . Great lecture.

Buddy Aces , 5 months ago

It makes sense and we can smell it! Those varmints must be shown no mercy.

VC YT , 5 months ago

To get in the mood, I watched this lecture from behind some Hedges. :-)

Orion's Ghost , 5 months ago

I believe Hedges statement that "the true correctives to society were social movements that never achieved formal political power" is perhaps one of the most important things for each of us to understand.

Fred Slocombe , 3 months ago (edited)

15:05 The subjugation of Education 21:15 Theatrical Manipulation of Expectations 24:08 U.S. Debt and Borrowing

Ali Naderzad , 3 months ago (edited)

16:50 GENIUS. WELL DONE. So true.go Chris !!!

cubismo85 , 4 weeks ago

hauntingly accurate in every aspect, im speehless

Eris123451 , 3 days ago

I watched this with interest and curiosity and growing skepticism although he makes some killer points and cites some extremely disturbing facts; above all he accepts and uncritically so the American narrative of history. The Progressive movement, for example, (written into American history as being far more important that it ever really was,) unlike Socialism or Communism was primarily just a literary and a trendy intellectually movement that attempted, (unconvincingly,) to persuade poor, exploited and abused Americans that non of those other political movements, (reactive and grass-roots,) were needed here and that capitalism could and might of itself, cure itself; it conceded little, promised much and unlike either Communism or Socialism delivered fuck all. Personally I remain unconvinced also by, "climate science," (which he takes as given,) and which seems to to me to depend far too much on faith and self important repeatedly insisting that it's true backed by lurid and hysterical propaganda and not nearly enough on rational scientific argument, personally I can't make head nor tail of the science behind it ? (it may well be true, or not; I can't tell.) But above all and stripped of it his pretensions his argument is just typical theist, (of any flavor you like,) end of times claptrap all the other systems have failed, (China for example somewhat gives the lie to death of Communism by the way and so on,) the end is neigh and all that is left to do is for people to turn to character out of first century fairly story. I wish him luck with that.

penny kannon , 5 months ago

CHRIS HEDGES YOUR BOOK MUST BE HIGH SCHOOL STUDY!!! wtkjr.!!!

Brian Valero , 4 months ago

The message from democrats is "hey we're not bigots". Most people (repubs+dems) aren't. If they keep calling on that for energy the Dems will forever continue to lose. If they don't come back to the working class they might as well just call themselves conservatives.

jimmyolsenblues , 4 months ago

he did/wrote this in 2011, he really understood then how things are in 2019.

Andy Russ , 3 years ago (edited)

Prescient 'post-mortem' of the 2016 election

Jean Lloyd Bradberry , 5 months ago

Shared! Excellent presentation!

Mike van Wijngaarden , 4 months ago

What if, to fail is the objective? That would mean they planned everything that's happened and will happen.

Michael Hutz , 1 month ago (edited)

Loved Chris in this one. First time I've heard him talking naturally instead of reading verbatim from a text which makes him sound preachy.

Bill Mccloy , 4 months ago (edited)

Chris is our canary in a coal mine! Truly a national treasure and a champion for humanity. And he's more Christian than he thinks he is.

Herr Pooper , 4 months ago

I have always loved Chris Hedges, but ever since becoming fully awake it pains me to see how he will take gigantic detours of imagination to never mention Israel, AIPAC or Zionism, and their complete takeover of the US. What a shame.

ISIS McCain , 4 months ago

Hey Chris, please look up Dr. Wolfe and have a big debate with him!!! I believe you guys would mostly hit it off, but please look him up!

UtopiaMinor666 , 8 years ago

The reality of this is enough to make you want to cry.

Terri Pebsworth , 3 months ago

Excellent! And truer today (2019) than even in 2010.

Russell Olausen , 4 months ago

Notes From the Underground,my favourite book.

John Doe , 3 weeks ago

Gosh I thought it was being broadcasted today. Then I heard it and it was really for today.

George C. May , 2 months ago

Not once did I hear the word corruption which in this speech sums up the bureaucratic control of the country !

L N , 5 months ago

I think Chris Has saved my life! ✊🏼✌️ 👍🏼🌅

Laureano Luna , 4 months ago

43:53 Cicero did not even live the imperial period of Rome...

andrew domenitz , 4 months ago

The continued growth of unproductive debt against the low or nonexistent growth of GDP is the recipe for collapse, for the whole world economic system.

Thomas Simmons , 5 months ago

I agree with Chris about the tragedy of the Liberal Church. Making good through identity politics however, is every bit as heretical and tragic as Evangelical Republican corrupted church think, in my humble, Christian opinion.

Alexandros Aiakides , 2 weeks ago (edited)

The death of the present western hemisphere governments and "democratic" institutions must die right now for humanity to be saved from the zombies that rule it. 'Cannibalization" of oikonomia was my idea, as well as of William Engdahl. l am glad hearing Hedges to adopt the expression of truth. ( November 2019. from Phthia , Hellas ).

Heathcliff Earnshaw , 4 months ago div cl

ass="comment-renderer-text-content expanded"> Gosh , especially that last conclusion ,was terrific so I want to paste the whole of that Auden poem here:- September 1, 1939 W. H. Auden - 1907-1973

... ... ...

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

[Nov 21, 2019] How Neoliberal Thinkers Spawned Monsters They Never Imagined

Highly recommended!
Nov 21, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 20, 2019 by Yves Smith By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Political theorist Wendy Brown's latest book, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West , traces the intellectual roots of neoliberalism and reveals how an anti-democratic project unleashed monsters – from plutocrats to neo-fascists – that its mid-20 th century visionaries failed to anticipate. She joins the Institute for New Economic Thinking to discuss how the flawed blueprint for markets and the less-discussed focus on morality gave rise to threats to democracy and society that are distinct from what has come before.

Lynn Parramore: To many people, neoliberalism is about economic agendas. But your book explores what you describe as the moral aspect of the neoliberal project. Why is this significant?

Wendy Brown: Most critical engagement with neoliberalism focuses on economic policy deregulation, privatization, regressive taxation, union busting and the extreme inequality and instability these generate. However, there is another aspect to neoliberalism, apparent both in its intellectual foundations and its actual roll-out, that mirrors these moves in the sphere of traditional morality. All the early schools of neoliberalism (Chicago, Austrian, Freiburg, Virginia) affirmed markets and the importance of states supporting without intervening in them.

But they also all affirmed the importance of traditional morality (centered in the patriarchal family and private property) and the importance of states supporting without intervening in it. They all supported expanding its reach from the private into the civic sphere and rolling back social justice previsions that conflict with it. Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets.

Concretely this means challenging, in the name of freedom, not only regulatory and redistributive economic policy but policies aimed at gender, sexual and racial equality. It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom). Because neoliberalism has everywhere carried this moral project in addition to its economic one, and because it has everywhere opposed freedom to state imposed social justice or social protection of the vulnerable, the meaning of liberalism has been fundamentally altered in the past four decades.

That's how it is possible to be simultaneously libertarian, ethnonationalist and patriarchal today: The right's contemporary attack on "social justice warriors" is straight out of Hayek.

LP: You discuss economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek at length in your book. How would you distribute responsibility to him compared to other champions of conservative formulations for how neoliberalism has played out? What were his blind spots, which seem evidenced today in the rise of right-wing forces and angry populations around the world?

WB: Margaret Thatcher thumped Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty and declared it the bible of her project. She studied it, believed it, and sought to realize it. Reagan imbibed a lot of Thatcherism. Both aimed to implement the Hayekian view of markets, morals and undemocratic statism. Both accepted his demonization of society (Thatcher famously quotes him, "there's no such thing") and his view that state policies aimed at the good for society are already on the road to totalitarianism. Both affirmed traditional morality in combination with deregulated markets and attacks on organized labor.

I am not arguing that Hayek is the dominant influence for all times and places of neoliberalization over the past four decades -- obviously the Chicago Boys [Chilean economists of the '70s and '80s trained at the University of Chicago] were key in Latin America while Ordoliberalism [a German approach to liberalism] has been a major influence in the European Union's management of the post-2008 crises. "Progressive neoliberals" and neoliberalized institutions hauled the project in their own direction. But Hayek's influence is critical to governing rationality of neoliberalism in the North and he also happens to be a rich and complex thinker with a fairly comprehensive worldview, one comprising law, family, morality, state, economy, liberty, equality, democracy and more.

The limitations? Hayek really believed that markets and traditional morality were both spontaneous orders of action and cooperation, while political life would always overreach and thus required tight constraints to prevent its interventions in morality or markets. It also needed to be insulated from instrumentalism by concentrated economic interests, from aspiring plutocrats to the masses. The solution, for him, was de-democratizing the state itself. He was, more generally, opposed to robust democracy and indeed to a democratic state. A thriving order in his understanding would feature substantial hierarchy and inequality, and it could tolerate authoritarian uses of political power if they respected liberalism, free markets and individual freedom.

We face an ugly, bowdlerized version of this today on the right. It is not exactly what Hayek had in mind, and he would have loathed the plutocrats, demagogues and neo-fascist masses, but his fingerprints are on it.

LP: You argue that there is now arising something distinct from past forms of fascism, authoritarianism, plutocracy, and conservatism. We see things like images of Italian right groups giving Fascist salutes that have been widely published. Is that merely atavism? What is different?

WB: Of course, the hard right traffics in prior fascist and ultra-racist iconography, including Nazism and the Klan. However, the distinctiveness of the present is better read from the quotidian right than the alt-right.

We need to understand why reaction to the neoliberal economic sinking of the middle and working class has taken such a profoundly anti-democratic form. Why so much rage against democracy and in favor of authoritarian statism while continuing to demand individual freedom? What is the unique blend of ethno-nationalism and libertarianism afoot today? Why the resentment of social welfare policy but not the plutocrats? Why the uproar over [American football player and political activist] Colin Kaepernick but not the Panama Papers [a massive document leak pointing to fraud and tax evasion among the wealthy]? Why don't bankrupt workers want national healthcare or controls on the pharmaceutical industry? Why are those sickened from industrial effluent in their water and soil supporting a regime that wants to roll back environmental and health regulations?

Answers to these questions are mostly found within the frame of neoliberal reason, though they also pertain to racialized rancor (fanned by opportunistic demagogues and our mess of an unaccountable media), the dethronement of white masculinity from absolute rather than relative entitlement, and an intensification of nihilism itself amplified by neoliberal economization.

These contributing factors do not run along separate tracks. Rather, neoliberalism's aim to displace democracy with markets, morals and liberal authoritarian statism legitimates a white masculinist backlash against equality and inclusion mandates. Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions. Individual freedom in a world of winners and losers assaults the place of equality, access and inclusion in understandings of justice.

LP: Despite your view of democratized capitalism as an "oxymoron," you also observe that capitalism can be modulated in order to promote equality among citizens. How is this feasible given the influence of money in politics? What can we do to mitigate the corruption of wealth?

WB: Citizens United certainly set back the project of achieving the political equality required by and for democracy. I wrote about this in a previous book, Undoing the Demos , and Timothy Kuhner offers a superb account of the significance of wealth in politics in Capitalism V. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution . Both of us argue that the Citizens United decision, and the several important campaign finance and campaign speech decisions that preceded it, are themselves the result of a neoliberalized jurisprudence. That is, corporate dominance of elections becomes possible when political life as a whole is cast as a marketplace rather than a distinctive sphere in which humans attempt to set the values and possibilities of common life. Identifying elections as political marketplaces is at the heart of Citizens United.

So does a future for democracy in the United States depend on overturning that decision?

Hardly. Democracy is a practice, an ideal, an imaginary, a struggle, not an achieved state. It is always incomplete, or better, always aspirational. There is plenty of that aspiration afoot these days -- in social movements and in statehouses big and small. This doesn't make the future of democracy rosy. It is challenged from a dozen directions divestment from public higher education, the trashing of truth and facticity, the unaccountability of media platforms, both corporate and social, external influence and trolling, active voter suppression and gerrymandering, and the neoliberal assault on the very value of democracy we've been discussing. So the winds are hardly at democracy's back.


Bruce Bartlett , November 20, 2019 at 10:05 am

I think Milton Friedman was vastly more important than Hayek is shaping the worldview of American conservatives on economic policy. Until Hayek won the Nobel he was virtually forgotten in the US. Don't know about the UK, but his leaving the London School of Economics undoubtedly reduced his influence there. Hayek was very isolated at the University of Chicago even from the libertarians at the Department of Economics, largely due to methodological issues. The Chicago economists thought was really more of as philosopher, not a real economist like them.

Grebo , November 20, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Friedman was working for Hayek, in the sense that Hayek instigated the program that Friedman fronted.

I was amused by a BBC radio piece a couple of years ago in which some City economist was trying to convince us that Hayek was a forgotten genius who we ought to dig up and worship, as if he doesn't already rule the World from his seat at God's right hand.

rd , November 20, 2019 at 10:34 am

A couple of thoughts:

Citizens United: The conservative originalists keep whining about activist judges making up rights, like the "right to privacy" in Roe v. Wade. Yet they were able to come up with Citizens United that gave a whole new class of rights to corporations to effectively give them the rights of individuals (the People that show up regularly in the Constitution, including the opening phrase). If you search the Constitution, "company", "corporation" etc. don't even show up as included in the Constitution. "Commerce" shows up a couple of times, specifically as something regulated by Congress. Citizens United effectively flips the script of the Constitution in giving the companies doing Commerce the ability to regulate Congress. I think Citizen's United is the least conservative ruling that the conservative court could have come up with, bordering on fascism instead of the principles clearly enunciated throughout the Constitution. It is likely to be the "Dred Scott" decision of the 21st century.

2. Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies. This is the difference between Thaler's "econs" vs "humans". It works in theory, but not in practice because people are not purely rational and the behavioral aspects of the people and societies throw things out of kilter very quickly. That is a primary purpose of regulation, to be a rational fly-wheel keeping things from spinning out of control to the right or left. Marxism quickly turned into Stalinism in Russia while Friedman quickly turned into massive inequality and Donald Trump in the US. The word "regulate" shows up more frequently in the Constitution than "commerce", or "freedom" (only shows up in First Amendment), or "liberty" (deprivation of liberty has to follow due process of law which is a form of regulation). So the Constitution never conceived of a self-regulating society in the way Hayek and Friedman think things should naturally work – writing court rulings on the neo-liberal approach is a radical activist departure from the Constitution.

voteforno6 , November 20, 2019 at 11:50 am

The foundation was laid for Citizens United long before, I think, when the Supreme Court decided that corporations were essentially people, and that money was essentially speech. It would be nice if some justice started hacking away at those erroneous decisions (along with what they did with the 2nd Amendment in D.C. v Heller .)

BlakeFelix , November 20, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I honestly think the corporations are people was good and the money is speech is terrible. If most of the big corporations were actually treated like people those people would be in jail. They are treated better than people are now. Poor people, anyway. When your corporation is too big not to commit crimes, it's too big and should go in time out at least.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 1:37 pm

My understanding is that corporate personhood arose as a convenience to allow a corporation to be named as a single entity in legal actions, rather than having to name every last stockholder, officer, employee etc. Unfortunately the concept was gradually expanded far past its usefulness for the rest of us.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

"If most of the big corporations were actually treated like people those people would be in jail."

Thats part of the problem: Corporations CANNOT be put in jail because they are organizations, not people, but they are given the same 'rights' as people. That is fundamentally part of the problem.

inode_buddha , November 20, 2019 at 4:16 pm

True, but corporations are directed by people who *can* be jailed. Often they are compensated as if they were taking full liability when in fact they face none. I think its long past time to revisit the concept of limited liability.

Allegorio , November 20, 2019 at 9:50 pm

"Limited Liability" is basic to the concept of the corporation. How about some "limited liability" for individuals? The whole point of neo-liberalism is "lawlessness" or the "Law of the Jungle" in unfettered markets. The idea is to rationalize raw power, both over society and the family, the last stand of male dominance, the patriarchy. The women who succeed in this eco-system, eschew the nurturing feminine and espouse the predatory masculine. "We came, we saw, he died." Psychopaths all!

Ford Prefect , November 20, 2019 at 8:11 pm

The executives need to go to jail. Until then, corporate fines are just a cost of doing business and white collar lawbreaking will continue. Blowing up the world's financial system has less legal consequence than doing 80 in a 65 mph zone. Even if they just did civil asset forfeiture on executives based on them having likely committed a crime while in their house and using their money would go along ways to cleaning things up.

The whittling away of white collar crime by need to demonstrate intent beyond reasonable doubt means the executives can just plead incompetence or inattention (while collecting their $20 million after acquittal). Meanwhile, a poor person with a baggie of marijuana in the trunk of their car goes to jail for "possession" where intent does not need to be shown, mere presence of the substance. If they used the same standard of the mere presence of a fraud to be sufficient to jail white collar criminals, there wouldn't be room in the prisons for poor people picked up for little baggies of weed.

Procopius , November 21, 2019 at 8:49 am

Actually, if you research the history, the court DID NOT decide that corporations are people. The decision was made by the secretary to the court, who included the ruling in the headnote to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886. The concept was not considered in the case itself nor in the ruling the judges made. However, it was so convenient for making money that judges and even at least one justice on the supreme court publicized the ruling as if it were an actual legal precedent and have followed it ever since. I am not a lawyer, but I think that ruling could be changed by a statute, whereas Citizens United is going to require an amendment to the constitution. On the other hand, who knows? Maybe the five old, rich, Republican, Catholic Men will rule that it is embedded in the constitution after all. I think it would be worth a try.

Patrick Thornton , November 21, 2019 at 9:11 am

Santa Clara Count v Southern Pacific RR 1886 – SCOTUS Court Reporter Bancroft Davis, a former RR executive, claimed in his headnote summary of the case that the Court had ruled that corporations are entitled to 14th Amendment protections (thus preventing their regulation by an individual state) thus establishing the legal precedent that corporations are "persons" with speech rights. In fact, the Court never made that determination. The result is a legal precedent established by a bit of legal trickery. Buckley v Valeo 1976: giving money to a political campaign=speech. Citizens 2010: no limit on "speech" (money). The 14 amendment was established to protect former slaves and was used by the court instead to protect corporations (property).

New Wafer Army , November 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

"Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies."

Marx analysed 19th Century capitalism; he wrote very little on what type of system should succeed capitalism. This is in distinct contrast to neo-liberalism which had a well plotted path to follow (Mirowski covers this very well). Marxism did not turn into Stalinism; Tsarism turned into Leninism which turned into Stalinism. Marx had an awful lot less to do with it than Tsar Nicholas II.

GramSci , November 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm

+1000. I think it was Tsar Nicholas II who said, L'etat, c'est moi"./s; Lenin just appropriated this concept to implement his idea of "the dictatorship of the proletariat."

JBird4049 , November 20, 2019 at 11:10 pm

IIRC Lenin did warn about Stalin.

J7915 , November 20, 2019 at 11:25 pm

Louis 4 of France is the state, and the state was him.
Lenin is better known, IIRC for identifying capitalists as useful idiots.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:33 pm

"Neo-liberalism is like Marxism and a bunch of other isms, where the principles look fine on paper until you apply them to real-world people and societies."

I'm sorry, but this is fundamentally intellectually lazy. Marxism isn't so much a way to structure the world, like Neoliberalism is, but a method of understanding Capitalism and class relations to capitalism.

Edit: I wrote this before I saw New Wafer Army's post since I hadnt refreshed the page since I opened it. They said pretty much what I wanted to say, so kudos to them.

salvo , November 20, 2019 at 2:51 pm

yep, Marx would never have called himself a Marxist :-)

"Marxism" is just a set of analytic tools to describe the capitalist society and power relations

those who consciously call themselves "Marxist" do it clarify their adherence to those tools not to express an ideological position

Anthony K Wikrent , November 20, 2019 at 10:41 am

These critiques of neoliberalism are always welcome, but they inevitably leave me with irritated and dissatisfied with their failure or unwillingness to mention the political philosophy of republicanism as an alternative, or even a contrast.

The key is found in Brown's statement " It also needed to be insulated from instrumentalism by concentrated economic interests, from aspiring plutocrats to the masses. The solution, for him [von Hayek], was de-democratizing the state itself. He was, more generally, opposed to robust democracy and indeed to a democratic state."

Contrast this to Federalist Paper No. 10, Madison's famous discourse on factions. Madison writes that 1) factions always arise from economic interests ["But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property."], and 2) therefore the most important function of government is to REGULATE the clash of these factions ["The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government."

In a very real sense, neoliberalism is an assault on the founding principles of the American republic.

Which should not really surprise anyone, since von Hayek was trained as a functionary of the Austro-Hungarian empire. And who was the first secretary of the Mont Pelerin Society that von Hayen founded to promote neoliberalist doctrine and propaganda? Non other than Max Thurn, of the reactionary Bavarian Thurn und Taxis royal family.

deplorado , November 20, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Thank you for illuminating a deeper viewpoint.

WJ , November 20, 2019 at 9:57 pm

Madison's Federalist 10 is much like Aristotle's Politics and the better Roman historians in correctly tracing back the fundamental tensions in any political community to questions of property and class.

And, much like Aristotle's "mixed regime," Madison proposes that the best way of overcoming these tensions is to institutionalize organs of government broadly representative of the two basic contesting political classes–democratic and oligarchic–and let them hash things out in a way that both are forced to deal with the other. This is a simplification but not a terribly inaccurate one.

The problem though so far as I can tell is that it almost always happens that the arrangement is set up in a way that structurally privileges existing property rights (oligarchy) over social freedoms (democracy) such that the oligarchic class quickly comes to dominate even those governmental organs designed to be "democratic". In other words, I have never seen a theorized republic that upon closer inspection was not an oligarchy in practice.

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 11:15 am

The Progressive Approach in a nutshell:

1) Support welfare for the banks (e.g. deposit guarantees) and the rich (e.g. non-negative yields and interest on the inherently risk-free debt of monetary sovereigns).
2) Seek to regulate the thievery inherent in 1).
3) Bemoan the inevitable rat-race to the bottom when 2) inevitably fails because of unenforceable laws, such as bans on insider trading, red-lining, etc.

Shorter: Progressives ENABLE the injustice they profess, no doubt sincerely at least in some cases, to oppose.

Rather stupid from an engineering perspective, I'd say. Or more kindly, blind.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

"welfare banks deposit guarantees"

Don't know about you, but I like being protected from losing all my money if the bank goes under

Arizona Slim , November 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Yeah, me too!

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:17 pm

I lived in Tucson for a while. Met the love of my life there.

Show some loyalty, gal!

flora , November 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm

+1

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:11 pm

Accounts at the Central Bank are inherently risk-free.

So why may only depository institutions have those?

Hmmm? Violation of equal protection under the law much?

Or would the TRS-80 at the Fed be overloaded otherwise?

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

I'm fine with the federal government providing basic banking services (which would inherently protect depositors) but your initial post didn't say anything about that. If we continue with a private banking system I want deposit guarantees even if they somehow privilege the banks better than nothing

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 2:53 pm

My apologies for not detailing everything in every comment. :)

Welcome aboard or rather hello brother!

Lambert Strether , November 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm

> your initial post

No biggie, but this is not a board. It's a blog. Here, you are referring to a comment , not the original post authored by Lynn Parramore.

LifelongLib , November 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm

Point taken!

Procopius , November 21, 2019 at 8:59 am

I have read that originally conservatives (including many bankers) opposed deposit insurance because it would lead people to be less careful when they evaluated the banking institution they would entrust with their money. They did not seem to notice that however much diligence depositors used, they ended up losing their life's savings over and over. Just as they do not seem to notice that despite having employer-provided insurance tens of thousands of people every year go bankrupt because of medical bills. Funny how that works.

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm

I don't understand how this is linked to progressives when most of what you describe is the neoliberal approach to banks. Could you explain?

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 3:03 pm

See Warren Mosler's Proposals for the Banking System, Treasury, Fed, and FDIC (draft)

Also, government insurance of private liabilities, including privately created liabilities, was instituted under FDR in 1932, iirc.

And I've had innumerable debates with MMT advocates who have stubbornly defended deposit guarantees and other privileges for the banks.

notabanktoadie , November 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Adding that rather than deposit guarantees, the US government could have expanded the Postal Savings Service to provide the population with what private banks had so miserably failed to provide – the safe storage of their fiat.

JBirc4049 , November 20, 2019 at 11:28 pm

The banking system was failing in 1932, as was the financial system in 2008, not necessarily because of any lack of solvency of an individual business although some were, but because of the lack of faith in the whole system; bank panics meant that every depositor was trying to get their money out at the same time. People lost everything. It is only the faith in the system that enables the use of bits of paper and plastic to work. So having a guarantee in big, bold letters of people's savings is a good idea.

Synoia , November 20, 2019 at 11:37 am

Personally, I see little distance between the Neo Liberal treatment of Market and Naked Greed, coupled with a complete rejection of Rule of Law for the Common Good.

Carla , November 20, 2019 at 11:47 am

I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that

A. Wendy Brown focuses on big money in politics as the biggest threat to democracy without mentioning never-intended corporate constitutional rights.

B. Lynn Parramore does not call her on it.

What a huge missed opportunity. What a fatal blind spot.

https://movetoamend.org/sites/default/files/how_corporate_constitutional_rights_harm_you_your_family_your_community_your_environment_and_your_democracy.pdf

jsn , November 20, 2019 at 1:13 pm

" It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom)."

I'm not seeing the blind spot.

Carla , November 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

The blind spot is her focus on "money as speech" to the exclusion of the constitutional nightmares created by "corporations are people."

To see why this is such an important (and common) error, please see the link I provided.

jsn , November 20, 2019 at 8:04 pm

She didn't write the article you wanted, but specifically addresses "corporations as people." That doesn't make her blind to your concern.

I share your concern, but don't criticize m I my allies for having marginally different priorities.

But that's just me.

David , November 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

"We need to understand why reaction to the neoliberal economic sinking of the middle and working class has taken such a profoundly anti-democratic form." Really? Does anybody here believe that? This reads like another clumsy attempt to dismiss actual popular anger against neoliberalism in favour of pearl-clutching progressive angst, by associating this anger with the latest target for liberal hate, in this case blah blah patriarchy blah blah. The reality is that liberalism has always been about promoting the freedom of the rich and the strong to do whatever they feel like, whilst keeping the ordinary people divided and under control. That's why Liberals have always hated socialists, who think of the good of the community rather than of the "freedom" of the rich, powerful and well connected.
The "democracy" that is being defended here is traditional elite liberal democracy, full of abstract "rights" that only the powerful can exert, dominated by elite political parties with little to choose between them, and indifferent or hostile to actual freedoms that ordinary people want in their daily lives. Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto).
I think of this every time I wall home through the local high street, where within thirty metres I pass two elderly eastern European men aggressively begging. (It varies in France, but this is slightly closer than the average for a city). I reflect that twenty years of neoliberal policies in France have given these people freedom of movement, and the freedom to sit there in the rain with no home, no job and no prospects. Oh, and now of course they are free to marry each other.

Tangfwa , November 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Bingo

Jeremy Grimm , November 20, 2019 at 1:14 pm

I agree with your analysis and assessment of Wendy Brown, as she is portrayed in her statements in this post. However I quibble your assertion: "Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto)." The word "Neoliberalism" is indeed commonly used as a label as you assert but Neoliberalism as a philosophy is obscured in that common usage.

At its heart I believe Neoliberalism might best be characterized as an epistemology based on the Market operating as the all knowing arbiter of Truth. Hayek exercises notions of 'freedom' in his writing but I believe freedom is a secondary concern once it is defined in terms of its relation to the decisions of the Market. This notion of the Market as epistemology is completely absent from Wendy Brown's discussion of her work in this post.

Her assertion that "neoliberalism's aim [is] to displace democracy with markets, morals and liberal authoritarian statism legitimates a white masculinist backlash against equality and inclusion mandates" collapses once the Market is introduced as epistemology. Neoliberalism does not care one way or another about any of Wendy Brown's concerns. Once the Market decides -- Truth is known. As a political theorist I am surprised there is no analysis of Neoliberalism as a tool the Elite have used to work their will on society. I am surprised there is no analysis of how the Elites have allowed themselves to be controlled within and even displaced by the Corporate Entities they created and empowered using their tool. I am surprised there is no analysis of the way the Corporate Entities and their Elite have worked to use Neoliberalism to subordinate nation states under a hierarchy driven by the decisions of the World Market.

[I admit I lack the stomach to read Hayek -- so I am basing my opinions on what I understand of Phillip Mirowski's analysis of Neoliberalism.]

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:06 pm

I don't disagree with you: I suppose that having been involved in practical politics rather than being a political theorist (which I have no pretensions to being) I am more interested of the reality of some of these ideas than their theoretical underpinnings. I have managed to slog my way through Slobodian's book, and I think your presentation of Hayek's writing is quite fair: I simply wonder how far it is actually at the origin of the destruction we see around us. I would suggest in fact that, once you have a political philosophy based on the value-maximising individual, rather than traditional considerations of the good of society as a whole, you eventually wind up where we are now, once the constraints of religious belief, fear of popular uprisings , fear of Communism etc. have been progressively removed. It's for that reason that I argue that neoliberalism isn't really new: it represents the essential form of liberalism unconstrained by outside forces – almost a teleological phenomenon which, as its first critics feared, has wound up destroying community, family, industries, social bonds and even – as you suggest – entire nation states.

Jeremy Grimm , November 21, 2019 at 9:10 am

Your response to my comment, in particular your assertion "neoliberalism isn't really new" coupled with your assertion apparently equating Neoliberalism with just another general purpose label for a "political philosophy based on the value-maximizing individual, rather than traditional ", is troubling. When I put your assertions with Jerry B's assertion at 6:58 pm:
" many people over focus on a word or the use of a word and ascribe way to literal view of a word. I tend to view words more symbolically and contextually."
I am left wondering what is left to debate or discuss. If Neoliberalism has no particular meaning then perhaps we should discuss the properties of political philosophies based on the value-maximizing-individual, and even that construct only has meaning symbolically and contextually, which is somehow different than the usual notion of meaning as a denotation coupled with a connotation which is shared by those using a term in their discussion -- and there I become lost from the discussion. I suppose I am too pedantic to deviate from the common usages of words, especially technical words like Neoliberalism.

GramSci , November 20, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Yes, but what is "The Market" but yet another name for "God, Almighty"?
Plus ça change

Massinissa , November 20, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Considering how elites throughout history have used religion as a bulwark to guard their privileges, it should be of no surprise that they are building a new one, only this time they are building one that appeals to the religious and secular alike. Neoliberalism will be very difficult to dismantle.

Susan the Other , November 21, 2019 at 10:23 am

But what ironies we create. Citizens United effectively gave political control to the big corporations. In a time when society has already evolved lots of legislation to limit the power and control of any group and especially in commercial/monopoly cases. So that what CU created was a new kind of "means of production" because what gets "produced" these days is at least 75% imported. The means of production is coming to indicate the means of political control. And that is fitting because ordinary people have become the commodity. Like livestock. So in that sense Marx's view of power relationships is accurate although civilization has morphed. Politics is, more and more, the means of production. The means of finance. Just another reason why we would achieve nothing in this world trying to take over the factories. What society must have now is fiscal control. It will be the new means of production. I'm a dummy. I knew fiscal control was the most important thing, but I didn't quite see the twists and turns that keep the fundamental idea right where it started.

PlutoniumKun , November 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Exactly. The writer seems determined to tie in neoliberalism with a broader conservative opposition to modern social justice movements, when in reality neoliberalism (the 'neo' part anyway) was more than happy to co-opt feminism, anti-racism, etc., into its narrative. The more the merrier, as 'rights' became associated entirely with social issues, and not economic rights.

Chip Otle , November 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm

This is the best comment of this thread so far.

NancyBoyd , November 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The co-optation neoliberalism has exacted on rights movements has dovetailed nicely with postmodernism's social-constructivism, an anti-materialist stance that posits discourse as shaping the world and one that therefore privileges subjectivity over material reality.

What this means in practice is that "identity" is now a marketplace too, in which individuals are naming their identities as a form of personal corporate branding. That's why we have people labeling themselves like this: demisexual queer femme, on the spectrum, saying hell no to my tradcath roots, into light BDSM, pronouns they/them.

And to prove this identity, the person must purchase various consumer products to garb and decorate themselves accordingly.

So the idea of civil rights has now become utterly consumerist and about awarding those rights based on subjective feelings rather than anything to do with actual material exploitation.

The clue is in the way the words "oppression" and "privilege" are used. Under those words, exploitation, discrimination, disadvantage, and simple dislike are conflated, though they're very different and involve very different remedies.

In this way, politics is drained of politics.

Carey , November 20, 2019 at 1:38 pm

+100 Thank you.

Joe Well , November 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm

The law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges and stealing bread = classical Liberalism.

The bizarre thing is to meet younger neoliberal middle class people whom neoliberalism has priced out of major cities, who have hardly any real savings, and who still are on board with the project. The dream dies hard.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 4:21 pm

David – I enjoy reading your comments on NC as they are well reasoned and develop an argument or counter argument. The above comment reads more like a rant. I do not disagree with most of your comment. From my experience with Wendy Brown's writing your statement below is not off base.:

This reads like another clumsy attempt to dismiss actual popular anger against neoliberalism in favour of pearl-clutching progressive angst, by associating this anger with the latest target for liberal hate, in this case blah blah patriarchy blah blah

However, in reading Wendy Brown's comments I did not have the same emotional reaction that comes across in your comment. I have read the post twice to make sure I understand the points Wendy Brown is trying to make and IMO she is "not wrong" either. . I would advise you to not "throw out the baby with the bathwater".

As KLG mentions below, WB is a very successful academic at Berkeley who worked with Sheldon Wolin as a graduate student IIRC (Sheldon Wolin wrote a terrific book entitled Democracy Incorporated), so she is not just some random journalist.

Much of WB's writing has gender themes in it and there are times I think she goes over the top, BUT, IMO there is also some truth to what she is saying. Much of the political power and economic power in the US and the world is held by men so that may be where WB's reference to patriarchy comes in.

How could there be patriarchy with men begging in the streets is a valid point. And that is where I divert with WB, in that the term patriarchy paints with too broad a brush. But speaking specifically to neo-liberalism and not liberalism as you refer to it, that is where WB's reference to patriarchy may have some merit. Yes, there are many exceptions to the neoliberalism and patriarchy connection such as Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, etc., so again maybe painting with too broad a brush, but it would be wise not to give some value.

The sociologist Raewyn Connell has written about the connection between neoliberalism and version of a certain type of masculinity embedded with neoliberalism. Like Wendy Brown, Connell seems to gloss over the examples of Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and the class based elite bourgeois feminism as counterpoints to neoliberal patriarchy. There are exceptions to every rule.
Women have made enormous strides in politics and the boardroom. But in the halls of political and economic power the majority of the power is still held by men, and until women become close to 50% or more of the seats of power, to ignore the influence of patriarchy/oligarch version of masculinity(or whatever term a person is comfortable with) on neoliberalism would be foolish.

Neoliberalism is simply a label for its economic views (that haven't changed much over the centuries) whereas social justice is the label for its social wing (ditto).

I disagree. IMO, neoliberalism is a different animal than the "traditional elite liberal democracy", and neoliberalism is much darker and as WB mentions "Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets".

If you have not I would highly recommend reading Sheldon Wolin's Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism It is an excellent book.

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:23 pm

I haven't read that book by Wolin, though his Politics and Vision is in the bookcase next to me. I'll try to get hold of it. I didn't know she was his student either.
I think the issues she raises about gender are a different question from neoliberalism itself, and that it's not helpful to believe that you can fight neoliberalism by "legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates" whatever that means. Likewise, it's misleading to suggest that "Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions", since the actual result is the opposite, as you will realise when you see that London buses have the same logo as the ones in Paris, and electricity in the UK is often supplied by a French company, EDF. Indeed, to the extent that there is a connection with "nativism" it is that privatisation has enabled an international network of distant and unaccountable private companies to take away management of national resources and assets from the people. Likewise, neoliberalism is entirely happy to trample over traditional gender roles in the name of efficiency and increasing the number of workers chasing the same job.
In other words, I was irritated (and sorry if I ranted a bit, I try not to) with what I saw as someone who already knows what the answer is, independent of what the question may be. I suspect her analysis of, say, Brexit, would be very similar. I think that kind of person is potentially dangerous.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 6:58 pm

Thanks David.

==I think the issues she raises about gender are a different question from neoliberalism itself==

Again as I said in my comment I would agree in a theoretical sense that gender and neoliberalism are different issues but again I believe there is a thread of gender, i.e. oligarchic patriarchy, of the type of neoliberalism that WB talks about.

===not helpful to believe that you can fight neoliberalism by "legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates" whatever that means===

What I think that means is the more libertarian version of neoliberalism. That maybe where our differences lie, in that my sense is WB is talking about a specific form of neoliberalism and your view is broader.

===it's misleading to suggest that "Privatization of the nation legitimates "nativist" exclusions"===

On this I see your disagreement with WB and understand your reference to "that privatisation has enabled an international network of distant and unaccountable private companies to take away management of national resources and assets from the people".

Where I think WB is coming from is the more nationalistic, Anglosphere that the Trump administration is pushing with his border wall, etc. In this WB does expose her far left priors but again there is some value in her points. From her far left view my sense it Wendy Brown is reacting to the sense that Trump wants to turn the US into the US of the 1950's and 60's and on many fronts that ship has sailed.

=== Indeed, to the extent that there is a connection with "nativism" it is that privatisation has enabled an international network of distant and unaccountable private companies to take away management of national resources and assets from the people. Likewise, neoliberalism is entirely happy to trample over traditional gender roles in the name of efficiency and increasing the number of workers chasing the same job. ===

Excellent point and having read some of Wendy Brown's books and paper is a point she would agree with while still seeing some patriarchial themes running through neoliberalism. To your point above I would recommend reading some of Cynthia Enloe's work specifically Bananas, Beaches and Bases.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_Enloe#Bananas,_Beaches,_and_Bases

====I think that kind of person is potentially dangerous====

Wow. Dangerous??? Clearly the post has hit a nerve. Many people in our current society are dangerous but IMO Wendy Brown is not one of them. A bit hyperbolic in her focus on gender? Maybe but not wrong. A bit too far left (of the bleeding heart kind)? Maybe. But to call someone who worked for Sheldon Wolin dangerous. C'mon man.

I have gotten into disputes on NC as IMO many people over focus on a word or the use of a word and ascribe way to literal view of a word. I tend to view words more symbolically and contextually. I do not overreact to the use a word and instead try to step back and glean a message or the word in context of what is the person trying to say? So for instance when WB uses the phrase "Privatization of the nation" I am not going to react because my own interpretation is WB is reacting to Trump's nationalism and not to the type of privatization that your example of London shows.

I am disappointed that most of the comments to this post seem to take a critical view of Wendy Brown's comments. Is she a bit too far left and gender focused (identity political) for my tastes? Yes and that somewhat hurts her overall message and the arguments she is trying to discuss which are not unlike her mentor Sheldon Wolin.

Thanks for the reply David. My sense is we have what I call a "positional" debate (i.e. Tastes Great! Less Filling!). And positional debates tend to go nowhere.

Nancy Boyd , November 21, 2019 at 2:22 pm

When WB speaks of gender, note that she then mentions sex, followed by race. By "gender" she is NOT talking about the rights and power of female people under neoliberalism.

She is speaking of the rights of people to claim, that they are the opposite sex and therefore entitled to the rights, set-asides and affirmative discrimination permitted that sex -- for instance, to compete athletically on that sex's sports teams, to be imprisoned if convicted in that sex's prisons, to be considered that sex in instances where sex matters in employment such as a job as a rape counselor or a health care position performing intimate exams where one is entitled to request a same-sex provider, and to apply for scholarships, awards, business loans etc. set aside for that sex.

WB, in addition to being a professor at Berkeley, is also the partner of Judith Butler, whose book "Gender Trouble" essentially launched the postmodern idea that subjective sense of one's sex and how one enacts that is more meaningful than the lived reality people experience in biologically sexed bodies.

By this reasoning, a male weightlifter can become a woman, can declare that he's in fact always been a woman -- and so we arrive at the farce of a male weightlifter (who, granted, must under IOC policy reduce his testosterone for one year to a low-normal male range that is 5 standard deviations away from the female mean) winning a gold medal in women's weightlifting in the Pan-Pacific games and likely to win gold again in the 2020 Olympics.

If that's not privileging individual freedom over collective rights, I don't know what is.

Vegetius , November 20, 2019 at 6:03 pm

>That's how it is possible to be simultaneously libertarian, ethnonationalist and patriarchal today: The right's contemporary attack on "social justice warriors" is straight out of Hayek.

Anyone who could write such a statement understands neither libertarianism nor ethnonationalism. The last half-decade has seen a constant intellectual attack by ethnonationalists against libertarianism. An hour's examination of the now-defunct Alt Right's would confirm this.

Similarly, the contemporary attack on SJW's comes not out of Hayek, but from Gamergate. If you do not know what Gamergate is, you do not understand where the current rightwing and not-so-rightwing thrust of contemporary white identity politics is coming from. My guess is Brown has never heard of it.

Far from trying to uphold patriarchy, Contemporary neoliberalism seeks a total atomization of society into nothing but individual consumers of product. Thus what passes for liberalization of a society today consists in little more than staging sham elections, opening McDonalds, and holding a gay pride parade.

This is why ethnonationalism and even simple nationalism poses a mortal threat to neoliberalism, in a way that so-called progressives never will: both are a threat to globalization, while the rainbow left has shown itself to be little more than the useful idiots of capital.

Brown strikes me as someone who has a worldview and will distort the world to fit that view, no matter how this jibes with facts or logic. The point is simply to array her bugbears into a coalition, regardless of how ridiculous it seems to anyone who knows anything about it.

KLG , November 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Actually, maybe not "Bingo," if by that you mean Wendy Brown is a typical representative of "pearl clutching progressive angst." Yes, WB is a very successful academic at Berkeley who worked with Sheldon Wolin as a graduate student IIRC (who was atypical in just about every important way), but this book along with its predecessor Undoing the Demos are much stronger than the normative "why are the natives so restless?" bullshit coming from my erstwhile tribe of "liberals," most of whom are incapacitated by a not unrelated case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Susan the Other , November 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

Hayek was eloquent. Too bad he didn't establish some end goals. Think of all the misery that would have been avoided. I mean, how can you rationalize some economic ideology to "deregulate the social sphere" – that's just the snake eating its tail. That's what people do who don't have boundaries. Right now it looks like there's a strange bedfellowship, a threesome of neoliberal nazis, globalists, and old communists. Everybody and their dog wants the world to work – for everyone. But nobody knows how to do it. And we are experiencing multiple degrees of freedom to express our own personal version of Stockholm syndrome. Because identity politics. What a joke. Maybe we need to come together over something rational. Something fairly real. Instead of overturning Citizens United (which is absurd already), we should do Creatures United – rights for actual living things on this planet. And then we'd have a cause for the duration.

Sol , November 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Well stated. The -isms seem like distractions, almost red herrings leading us down the primrose path to a ceaseless is/ought problem. Rather than discuss the way the world is, we argue how it ought to be.

Not to say theory, study, and introspection aren't important. More that we appear paralyzed into inaction since everyone doesn't agree on the One True Way yet.

JBird4049 , November 21, 2019 at 12:26 am

Let us not get to simplistic here. It helps to understand the origins of political, economic, and even social ideals. The origin of modern capitalism, for there were different and more limited earlier forms, was in the Dutch Republic and was part of the efforts of removing and replacing feudalism; liberalism arose from the Enlightenment, which itself was partly the creation of the Wars of Religion, which devastated Europe. The Thirty Years War, which killed ½ of the male population of the Germanies, and is considered more devastating to the Germans than both world wars combined had much of its energy from religious disagreements.

The Age of Enlightenment, along with much of political thought in the Eighteenth Century, was a attempt to allow differences in belief, and the often violent passions that they can cause, to be fought by words instead of murder. The American Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the whole political worldview, that most Americans unconsciously have, comes from from those those times.

Democracy, Liberalism, even Adam Smith's work in the Wealth of Nations were attempts to escape the dictatorship of kings, feudalism, serfdom, violence. Unfortunately, they have all been usurped. Adam Smith's life's work has been perverted, liberalism has been used to weaken the social bonds by making work and money central to society. Their evil child Neoliberalism, a creation of people like Hayek, was supposed to reduce wars (most of the founders were survivors of the world wars) and was supposed to be be partly antidemocratic.

Modern Neoliberalism mutates and combines the partly inadvertent atomizing effects of the ideas of the Enlightenment, Liberalism, Dutch and British Capitalism, the Free Markets of Adam Smith, adds earlier mid twentieth century Neoliberalism as a fuel additive, and creates this twisted flaming Napalm of social atomizing; it also clears out any challenges to money is the worth of all things. Forget philosophy, religion, family, government, society. Money determines worth. Even speech is only worth the money spent on it and not any inherent worth. Or the vote.

Susan the Other , November 21, 2019 at 10:34 am

"the twisted flaming napalm of social atomizing" – that's a keeper.

Math is Your Friend , November 21, 2019 at 1:38 pm

"liberalism has been used to weaken the social bonds by making work and money central to society"

I think you may have swapped the cart and the horse.

Money evolved as a way of aiding and organizing useful interactions within groups larger than isolated villages of a hundred people.

It also enabled an overall increase in wealth through specialization.

Were it not for money, there would be a difficult mismatch between goods of vastly differing value. A farmer growing wheat and carrots has an almost completely divisible supply of goods with which to trade. Someone building a farm wagon a month, or making an iron plough every two weeks has a problem exchanging that for items orders of magnitude less valuable.

Specialization is a vital step in improving resources and capabilities within societies. I've hung out with enough friends who are blacksmiths to know that every farmer hammering out their own plough is a non-starter, for many reasons.

And I've followed enough history to know that iron ploughs mean a lot more food, which allows someone to specialize in making ploughs rather than growing food for personal consumption.

The obvious need is for a way of dividing the value of the plough into many smaller amounts that can be used to obtain grain, cloth, pottery, and so on.

While the exact form of money is not rigidly fixed, at lower technological levels one really needs something that is portable, doesn't spontaneously self destruct, and has a clearly definable value . and exists in different concentrations of worth, to allow flexibility in transport and use.

Various societies have come up with various tokens of value, from agricultural products to bank drafts, each with different advantages and disadvantages, but for most of history, precious metals, base metals, and coinage have been the most practical representation of exchangeable value.

Money is almost certainly an inevitable and necessary consequence of the invention of agriculture, and the corresponding increase in population density.

David , November 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Agreed, but as I've suggested elsewhere liberalism always had the capacity within it to destroy social bonds, societies and even nations, it's just that, at the time, this was hidden behind the belief that a just God would not allow it to happen. I see liberalism less as mutating or being usurped than finally being freed of controls. Paradoxically, of course, this "freedom" requires servitude for others, so that no outside forces (trades unions for example) can pollute the purity of the market. It's the same thing with social justice: freedom for identity group comes through legal controls over the behaviour of others, which is why the contemporary definition of a civil rights activist is someone who wants to introduce lots of new laws to prevent people from doing things.

shinola , November 20, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Neoliberalism is just a new label for an old (and, supposedly, discredited) social theory. It used to be called Social Darwinism.

salvo , November 20, 2019 at 2:43 pm

frankly, I don't believe the "monsters" neoliberalism has helped create are an unwanted side effect of their approach, on the contrary, neoliberalism needs those "monsters", like the authoritarian state, to impose itself on society (ask the mutilated gilets jaunes). Repression, inequality, poverty, abuse, dispossession, disfranchisement, enviromental degradation are certainly "monstrous" to those who have to endure them, but not to those who profit the most from the system and sit on the most powerful positions. Of course, the degree of exposure to those monstrosities is dependent on the relative position in the pyramid shaped neoliberal society, the bottom has to endure the most. On the other side, the middle classes tend to support the neoliberal model as long as it ensures them a power position relative to the under classes, and the moment those middle classes feel ttheir position relative to the under classes threatened, the switch to open fascism is not far, we can see this in Bolivia.

Carey , November 20, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for this comment.

eg , November 20, 2019 at 4:41 pm

"neoliberalism needs those "monsters", like the authoritarian state, to impose itself on society"

If I understood Quinn Slobodian's "Globalists" correctly it was precisely this -- that the neoliberal project while professing that markets were somehow "natural" spent an inordinate amount of time working to ensure that legal structures be created to insulate them from the dirty demos.

Their actions in this respect don't square with a serious belief that markets are natural at all -- if they were, they wouldn't need so damned much hothousing, right?

KLG , November 20, 2019 at 5:28 pm

Exactly!

David , November 20, 2019 at 5:30 pm

I think the argument was that markets were "natural", but vulnerable to interference, and so had to be protected by these legal structures. There's a metaphor there, but it's too late here for me to find it.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 7:08 pm

Thanks eg!

===spent an inordinate amount of time working to ensure that legal structures be created to insulate them from the dirty demos===

I enjoyed Slobodian's book as well. Interestingly, there is a new book out called The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality by Katharina Pistor that discusses those "legal structures".

https://www.amazon.com/Code-Capital-Creates-Wealth-Inequality/dp/0691178976

deplorado , November 20, 2019 at 8:36 pm

If you check out Katharina Pistor on Twitter, you can also find good commentaries and even videos of talks discussing the book and the matter – it is very edifying to open your eyes to the fundamental role of law in creating such natural phenomena as markets and, among other things, billionaires.

Jerry B , November 20, 2019 at 9:58 pm

Thanks deplorado. I do not frequent Pistor's twitter page as much as I would like.

In reading Pistor's book and some of the interviews with Pistor and some of her papers discussing the themes in the book, I had the same reaction as when I read some of Susan Strange's books such as The Retreat of the State: complete removal of any strand of naïveté I may have had as to how the world works. And how hard it will be to undo the destruction.

As you mention the "dirty demos" above, one of Wendy Brown's recent books was Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution.

JCC , November 21, 2019 at 9:47 am

Never having read any of Susan Strange's writings, I decided to find a book review of The Retreat of the State. I found this one and found it very interesting, enough so that I'll go to abebooks.com and get a copy to read.

https://www.academia.edu/6452889/The_Retreat_of_the_State_A_Book_Review

Thank You for the recommendation.

Paul O , November 21, 2019 at 4:57 am

Thank you for this recommendation. Anything that comes as an audiobook is a massive plus for me.

flora , November 20, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Academics promoting neoliberalim: so many false assumptions (or self-exculpating excuses), so little time.

The Rev Kev , November 20, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Hmm. Definitely Monsters from the Id at work here. I am going with the theory that the wealthier class pushed this whole project all along. In the US, Roosevelt had cracked down and imposed regulations that stopped, for example, the stock market from being turned into a casino using ordinary people's saving. He also pushed taxes on them that exceeded 90% which tended to help keep them defanged.
So lo and behold, after casting about, a bunch of isolated rat-bag economic radicals was found that support getting rid of regulations, reducing taxes on the wealthy and anything else that they wanted to do. So money was pumped into this project, think tanks were taken over or built up, universities were taken over to teach this new theories, lawyers and future judges were 'educated' to support their fight and that is what we have today.
If WW2 had not discredited fascism, the wealthy would have use this instead as both Mussolini and Hitler were very friendly to the wealthy industrialists. But they were so instead they turned to neoliberalism instead. Yes, definitely Monsters from the Id.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 21, 2019 at 3:23 am

William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s
He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years.
This is why we think small state, unregulated capitalism is something it never was when it existed before.

We don't understand the monetary system or how banks work because:
Our knowledge of privately created money has been going backwards since 1856.
Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory
"A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence" Richard A. Werner
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477
This is why we come up with crazy ideas like "financial liberalisation".

Steve Ruis , November 21, 2019 at 8:11 am

If corporations are to be people, then they, like the extremely wealthy, need to be reined in politically. One step we could take is to only allow money donations to political campaigns to take place when the person is subject or going to be subject to the politicians decisions. I live in Illinois, I should be able to donate money to the campaigns of those running for the U.S> Senate from Illinois, but Utah? If I donate money to a Utah candidate for the Senate, I am practicing influence peddling because that Senator does not represent me.

If corporations are to be people, they need a primary residence. The location of their corporate headquarters should suffice to "place" them, and donations to candidates outside of their set of districts would be forbidden.

Of course, we do have free speech, so people are completely free to speak over the Internet, TV, hire halls in the district involved and go speak in person. They just couldn't pay to have someone else do that for them.

To allow unfettered political donations violates the one ma, one vote principle and also encourages influence peddling. In fact, it seems as if our Congress and Executive operates only through influence peddling.

[Nov 14, 2019] Neoliberalism Paved the Way for Authoritarian Right-Wing Populism by Henry A. Giroux

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. ..."
"... This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair. ..."
"... Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ." ..."
"... As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. ..."
Sep 26, 2019 | truthout.org

Part of the Series The Public Intellectual

Talk of a looming recession is heating up as the global economy slows and President Trump's tiff with China unsettles financial markets. As world trade contracts, stock markets drop, the manufacturing sector in the United States is in decline for the first time in a decade , and farmers and steel workers continue losing their income and jobs.

Rumors of a coming recession accentuate fears about the further deterioration of conditions faced by workers and the poor, who are already suffering from precarious employment, poverty, lack of meaningful work and dwindling pensions. A global economic slump would make living standards for the poor even worse. As Ashley Smith points out , levels of impoverishment in the United States are already shocking, with "four out of every ten families [struggling] to meet the costs of food, housing, health care, and utilities every month."

Just as the 2008 global economic crisis revealed the failures of liberal democracy and the scourge of neoliberalism, a new economic recession in 2019 could also reveal how institutions meant to serve the public interest and offer support for a progressive politics now serve authoritarian ideologies and a ruling elite that views democracy as the enemy of market-based freedoms and white nationalism.

What has not been learned from the 2008 crisis is that an economic crisis neither unites those most affected in favor of a progressive politics nor does it offer any political guarantees regarding the direction of social change. Instead, the emotions that fueled massive public anger toward elites and globalization gave rise to the celebration of populist demagogues and a right-wing tsunami of misdirected anger, hate and violence toward undocumented immigrants, refugees, Muslims and people of color.

The 2008 financial crisis wreaked havoc in multiple ways. Yet there was another crisis that received little attention: a crisis of agency. This crisis centered around matters of identity, self-determination and collective resistance, which were undermined in profound ways, giving rise to and legitimating the emergence of authoritarian populist movements in many parts of the world, such as United States, Hungary, Poland and Brazil.

At the heart of this shift was the declining belief in the legitimacy of both liberal democracy and its pledges about trickle-down wealth, economic security and broadening equal opportunities preached by the apostles of neoliberalism. In many ways, public faith in the welfare state, quality employment opportunities, institutional possibilities and a secure future for each generation collapsed. In part, this was a consequence of the post-war economic boom giving way to massive degrees of inequality, the off-shoring of wealth and power, the enactment of cruel austerity measures, an expanding regime of precarity, and a cut-throat economic and social environment in which individual interests and needs prevailed over any consideration of the common good. As liberalism aligned itself with corporate and political power, both the Democratic and Republican Parties embraced financial reforms that increased the wealth of the bankers and corporate elite while doing nothing to prevent people from losing their homes, being strapped with chronic debt, seeing their pensions disappear, and facing a future of uncertainty and no long-term prospects or guarantees.

Neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality.

In an age of economic anxiety, existential insecurity and a growing culture of fear, liberalism's overheated emphasis on individual liberties "made human beings subordinate to the market, replacing social bonds with market relations and sanctifying greed," as noted by Pankaj Mishra. In this instance, neoliberalism became an incubator for a growing authoritarian populism fed largely by economic inequality. The latter was the outcome of a growing cultural and political polarization that made "it possible for haters to come out from the margins, form larger groups and make political trouble." This toxic polarization and surge of right-wing populism produced by casino capitalism was accentuated with the growth of fascist groups that shared a skepticism of international organizations, supported a militant right-wing nationalism, and championed a surge of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-democratic values.

This apocalyptic populism was rooted in a profound discontent for the empty promises of a neoliberal ideology that made capitalism and democracy synonymous, and markets the model for all social relations. In addition, the Democratic proponents of neoliberalism, such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, participated in the dismantling of the social contract, widening economic inequality, and burgeoning landscapes of joblessness, misery, anger and despair.

At the same time, they enacted policies that dismantled civic culture and undermined a wide range of democratic institutions that extended from the media to public goods such as public and higher education. Under such circumstances, democratic narratives, values and modes of solidarity, which traded in shared responsibilities and shared hopes, were replaced by a market-based focus on a regressive notion of hyper-individualism, ego-centered values and a view of individual responsibility that eviscerated any broader notion of social, systemic, and corporate problems and accountability.

Ways of imagining society through a collective ethos became fractured, and a comprehensive understanding of politics as inclusive and participatory morphed into an anti-politics marked by an investment in the language of individual rights, individual choice and the power of rights-bearing individuals.

Under the reign of neoliberalism, language became thinner and more individualistic, detached from history and more self-oriented, all the while undermining viable democratic social spheres as spaces where politics bring people together as collective agents and critically engaged citizens. Neoliberal language is written in the discourse of economics and market values, not ethics. Under such circumstances, shallowness becomes an asset rather than a liability. Increasingly, the watered-down language of liberal democracy, with its over-emphasis on individual rights and its neoliberal coddling of the financial elite, gave way to a regressive notion of the social marked by rising authoritarian tendencies, unchecked nativism, unapologetic expressions of bigotry, misdirected anger and the language of resentment-filled revolt. Liberal democracies across the globe appeared out of touch with not only the misery and suffering caused by neoliberal policies, they also produced an insular and arrogant group of politicians who regarded themselves as an enlightened political formation that worked " on behalf of an ignorant public ."

The ultimate consequence was to produce later what Wolfgang Merkel describes as "a rebellion of the disenfranchised." A series of political uprisings made it clear that neoliberalism was suffering from a crisis of legitimacy further accentuated by the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the election of Donald Trump, support for the National Rally ( formerly known as the National Front ) in France, and the emergence of powerful right-wing populist movements across the globe.

What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists.

As a regime of affective management, neoliberalism created a culture in which everyone was trapped in his or her own feelings, emotions and orbits of privatization. One consequence was that legitimate political claims could only be pursued by individuals and families rather than social groups. In this instance, power was removed from the social sphere and placed almost entirely in the hands of corporate and political demagogues who used it to enrich themselves for their own personal gain.

Power was now used to produce muscular authority in order "to secure order, boundaries, and to divert the growing anger of a declining middle and working-class," Wendy Brown observes . Both classes increasingly came to blame their economic and political conditions that produced their misery and ravaged ways of life on "'others': immigrants, minority races, 'external' predators and attackers ranging from terrorists to refugees." Liberal-individualistic views lost their legitimacy as they refused to indict the underlying structures of capitalism and its winner-take-all ethos.

Functioning largely as a ruthless form of social Darwinism, economic activity was removed from a concern with social costs, and replaced by a culture of cruelty and resentment that disdained any notion of compassion or ethical concern for those deemed as "other" because of their class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. This is a culture marked by gigantic hypocrisies, "the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events," widespread viciousness, "great concentrations of wealth," "surveillance overkill," and the "unceasing despoliation of biospheres for profit."

George Monbiot sums up well some of the more toxic elements of neoliberalism, which remained largely hidden since it was in the mainstream press less as an ideology than as an economic policy. He writes :

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning. Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimized, public services should be privatized. The organization of labor and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

In the neoliberal worldview, those who are unemployed, poor consumers or outside of the reach of a market in search of insatiable profits are considered disposable. Increasingly more people were viewed as anti-human, unknowable, faceless and symbols of fear and pathology. This included undocumented immigrants in the United States and refugees in Europe, as well as those who were considered of no value to a market society, and thus eligible to be deprived of the most basic rights and subject to the terror of state violence.

Marking selected groups as disposable in both symbolic and material forms, the neoliberal politics of disposability became a machinery of political and social death -- producing spaces where undesirable members are abused, put in cages , separated from their children and subject to a massive violation of their human rights. Under a neoliberal politics of disposability, people live in spaces of ever-present danger and risk where nothing is certain; human beings considered excess are denied a social function and relegated to what Ιtienne Balibar calls the "death zones of humanity." These are the 21st century workstations designed for the creation and process of elimination; a death-haunted mode of production rooted in the "absolute triumph of irrationality."

Economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine.

Within this new political formation, older forms of exploitation are now matched, if not exceeded, by a politics of racial and social cleansing, as entire populations are removed from ethical assessments, producing zones of social abandonment. In this new world, there is a merging of finance capital and a war culture that speaks to a moral and political collapse in which the welfare state is replaced by forms of economic nationalism and a burgeoning carceral state .

Furthermore, elements of this crisis can be seen in the ongoing militarization of everyday life as more and more institutions take on the model of the prison. Additionally, there is also the increased arming of the police, the criminalization of a wide range of behaviors related to social problems, the rise of the surveillance state, and the ongoing war on youth, undocumented immigrants, Muslims and others deemed enemies of the state.

Under the aegis of a neoliberal war culture, we have witnessed increasing immiseration for the working and middle classes, massive tax cuts for the rich, the outsourcing of public services, a full-fledged attack on unions, the defunding of public goods, and the privatization of public services extending from health and education to roads and prisons. This ongoing transfer of public resources and services to the rich, hedge fund managers, and corporate elite was matched by the corporate takeover of the commanding institutions of culture, including the digital, print and broadcast media. What has been vastly underestimated in the rise of right-wing populism is the capture of the media by authoritarian populists and its flip side, which amounts to a full-fledged political attack on independent digital, online and oppositional journalists.

While it is generally acknowledged that neoliberalism was responsible for the worldwide economic crisis of 2008, what is less acknowledged is that structural crisis produced by a capitalism on steroids was not matched by subjective crisis and consequently gave rise to new reactionary political populist movements. As economic collapse became visceral, people's lives were upended and sometimes destroyed. Moreover, as the social contract was shredded along with the need for socially constructed roles, norms and public goods, the "social" no longer occupied a thick and important pedagogical space of solidarity, dialogue, political expression, dissent and politics.

As public spheres disappeared, communal bonds were weakened and social provisions withered. Under neoliberalism, the social sphere regresses into a privatized society of consumers in which individuals are atomized, alienated, and increasingly removed from the variety of social connections and communal bonds that give meaning to the degree to which societies are good and just.

Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

People became isolated, segregated and unable " to negotiate democratic dilemmas in a democratic way " as power became more abstract and removed from public participation and accountability. As the neoliberal net of privilege was cast wider without apology for the rich and exclusion of others, it became more obvious to growing elements of the public that appeals to liberal democracy had failed to keep its promise of a better life for all. It could no longer demand, without qualification, that working people should work harder for less, and that democratic participation is exclusively about elections. What could not be hidden from many disenfranchised groups was that ruling elites produced what Adam Tooze describes as "a disastrous slide from the hypocrisies and compromises of the previous status quo into something even [more dangerous]."

As the global crisis has intensified since 2008, elements of a political and moral collapse at the heart of an authoritarian society are more obvious and find their most transparent expression of ruthlessness, greed and unchecked power in the rule of Donald Trump. As Chris Hedges points out :

The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military "virtues" are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch . Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages.

The slide into authoritarianism was made all the easier by the absence of a broad-based left mass movement in the United States, which failed to provide both a comprehensive vision of change and an alignment of single-issue groups and smaller movements into one mass movement. Nancy Fraser rightly observes that following Occupy, "potential links between labour and new social movements were left to languish. Split off from one another, those indispensable poles of a viable left were miles apart, waiting to be counterposed as antithetical."

Since the 1970s, there has been a profound backlash by economic, financial, political and religious fundamentalists and their allied media establishments against labor, an oppositional press, people of color and others who have attempted to extend the workings of democracy and equality.

As the narrative of class and class struggle disappeared along with the absence of a vibrant socialist movement, the call for democracy no longer provided a unifying narrative to bring different oppressed groups together. Instead, economic and cultural nationalism has become a rallying cry to create the conditions for merging a regressive neoliberalism and populism into a war machine. Under such circumstances, politics is imagined as a form of war, repelling immigrants and refugees who are described by President Trump as "invaders," "vermin" and "rapists." The emergence of neoliberalism as a war machine is evident in the current status of the Republican Party and the Trump administration, which wage assaults on anything that does not mimic the values of the market. Such assaults take the form of fixing whole categories of people as disposable, as enemies, and force them into conditions of extreme precarity -- and in increasingly more instances, conditions of danger. Neoliberal capitalism radiates violence, evident in its endless instances of mass shooting, such as those that took place most recently in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. This should not be surprising for a society that measures power by the speed that it removes itself from any sense of ethical and social responsibility. As Beatrix Campbell puts it ,

The richest society on the planet is armed. And it invests in one of the largest prison systems in the world. Violence circulates between state and citizen. Drilled to kill, doomed to die: mastery and martyrdom is the heartbreaking dialectic of the manufacture of militarized, violent masculinity . The making and maintaining of militarised masculinities is vital to these new modes of armed conflict that are proliferating across the flexible frontiers of globalized capitalism, between and within states.

What has become clear is that the neoliberal agenda has been a spectacular failure . Moreover, it has mobilized on a global level the violent political, social, racial and economic energies of a resurgent fascist politics. Across the globe, right-wing modes of governance are appearing in which the line collapses between "outside foreign enemies" such as refugees and undocumented immigrants, on the one hand, and on the other, inside "dangerous" or "treasonous" classes such as critical journalists, educators and dissidents.

As neoliberal economies increasingly resort to violence and repression, fear replaces any sense of shared responsibilities, as violence is not only elevated to an organizing principle of society, but also expands a network of extreme cruelty. Imagining politics as a war machine, more and more groups are treated as excess and inscribed in an order of power as disposable, enemies, and [forced] into conditions of extreme precarity. This is a particularly vicious form of state violence that undermines and constrains agency, and subjects individuals to zones of abandonment, as evident in the growth of immigrant jails and an expanding carceral complex in the United States and other countries, such as Hungary.

As neoliberalism's promise of social mobility and expanding economic progress collapsed, it gave way to an authoritarian right-wing populism looking for narratives on which to pin the hatred of governing elites who, as Paul Mason notes , "capped health and welfare spending, [imposed] punitive benefit withdraws [that] forced many families to rely on food banks [and] withdraw sickness and disability benefits from one million former workers below retirement age."

Across the globe, a series of uprisings have appeared that signal new political formations that rejected the notion that there was no alternative to neoliberal hegemony. This was evident not only with the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but also with the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and support for popular movements such as the National Rally in France. Establishment politics lost its legitimacy, as voters rejected the conditions produced by financialized capitalism.

In the United States, both major political parties were more than willing to turn the economy over to the bankers and hedge fund managers while producing policies that shaped radical forms of industrial and social restructuring, all of which caused massive pain, suffering and rage among large segments of the working class and other disenfranchised groups. Right-wing populist leaders across the globe recognized that national economies were in the hands of foreign investors, a mobile financial elite and transnational capital. In a masterful act of political diversion, populist leaders attacked all vestiges of liberal capitalism while refusing to name neoliberal inequities in wealth and power as a basic threat to their societies. Instead of calling for an acceleration of the democratic ideals of popular sovereignty and equality, right-wing populist leaders, such as Trump, Bolsonaro and Hungary's Viktor Orbαn defined democracy as the enemy of those who wish for unaccountable power. They also diverted genuine popular anger into the abyss of cultural chauvinism, anti-immigrant hatred, a contempt of Muslims and a targeted attack on the environment, health care, education, public institutions, social provisions and other basic life resources. As Arjun Appadurai observes , such authoritarian leaders hate democracy, capture the political emotions of those treated as disposable, and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

In this scenario, we have the resurgence of a fascist politics that capitalizes on the immiseration, fears and anxieties produced by neoliberalism without naming the underlying conditions that create and legitimate its policies and social costs. While such populists comment on certain elements of neoliberalism such as globalization, they largely embrace those ideological and economic elements that concentrate power and wealth in the hands of a political, corporate and financial elite, thus reinforcing in the end an extreme form of capitalism. Moreover, right-wing populists may condemn globalization, but they do so by blaming those considered outside the inclusive boundaries of a white homeland even though the same forces victimize them . At the same time, such leaders mobilize passions that deny critical understanding while simultaneously creating desires and affects that produce toxic and hypermasculine forms of identification.

Authoritarian leaders hate democracy and do everything they can to hide the deep contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.

In this instance, an oppressive form of education becomes central to politics and is used as a tool of power in the struggle over power, agency and politics. What is at stake here is not simply a struggle between authoritarian ideas and democratic ideals, but also a fierce battle on the part of demagogues to destroy the institutions and conditions that make critical thought and oppositional accounts of power possible. This is evident, for example, in Trump's constant attack on the critical media, often referring to them as "'the enemy of the people' pushing 'Radical Left Democrat views,'" even as journalists are subject to expulsion, mass jailing and assassination across the world by some of Trump's allies.

Waging war on democracy and the institutions that produce it, neoliberalism has tapped into a combination of fear and cathartic cruelty that has once again unleashed the mobilizing passions of fascism, especially the historically distinct registers of extreme nationalism, nativism, white supremacy, racial and ethnic cleansing, voter suppression, and an attack on a civic culture of critique and resistance. The result is a new political formation that I have called neoliberal fascism, in which the principles and practices of a fascist past and neoliberal present have merged, connecting the worst dimensions and excesses of gangster capitalism with the fascist ideals of white nationalism and racial supremacy associated with the horrors of a fascist past.

Neoliberal fascism hollows out democracy from within, breaks down the separation of power while increasing the power of the presidency, and saturates cultural and social life with its ideology of self-interest, a survival-of-the-fittest ethos, and regressive notions of freedom and individual responsibility.

What needs to be acknowledged is that neoliberalism as an extreme form of capitalism has produced the conditions for a fascist politics that is updated to serve the interest of a concentrated class of financial elite and a rising tide of political demagogues across the globe.

The mass anger fueling neoliberal fascism is a diversion of genuine resistance into what amounts to a pathology, which empties politics of any substance. This is evident also in its support of a right-wing populism and its focus on the immigrants and refugees as "dangerous outsiders," which serves to eliminate class politics and camouflage its own authoritarian ruling class interests and relentless attacks on social welfare.

A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy.

In the face of a looming global recession, it is crucial to understand the connection between the rise of right-wing populism and neoliberalism, which emerged in the late 1970s as a commanding ideology fueling a punitive form of globalization. This historical moment is marked by unique ideological, economic and political formations produced by ever-increasing brutal forms of capitalism, however diverse.

Governing economic and political thinking everywhere, neoliberalism's unprecedented concentration of economic and political power has produced a toxic state modeled after the models of finance and unchecked market forces. It has also produced a profound shift in human consciousness, agency and modes of identification. The consequences have become familiar and include cruel austerity measures, adulation of self-regulating markets, the liberating of capital from any constraints, deregulation, privatization of public goods, the commodification of everyday life and the gutting of environmental, health and safety laws. It has also paved the way for a merging of extreme market principles and the sordid and mushrooming elements of white supremacy, racial cleansing and ultranationalism that have become specific to updated forms of fascist politics.

Such policies have produced massive inequities in wealth, power and income, while further accelerating mass misery, human suffering, the rise of state-sanctioned violence and ever-expanding sites of terminal exclusion in the forms of walls, detention centers and an expanding carceral state. An impending recession accentuates the antagonisms, instabilities and crisis produced by the long history and reach of neoliberal ideologies and policies.

A new economic slump would further fuel forces of repression and strengthen the forces of white supremacy, Islamophobia, nativism and misogyny. In the face of such reactionary forces, it is crucial to unite various progressive forces of opposition into a powerful anti-capitalist movement that speaks not only to the range of oppressions exacerbated by neoliberalism, but also to the need for new narratives that speak to overturning a system steeped in the machineries of war, militarization, repression and death.

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. His most recent books include: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education (Haymarket 2014), The Violence of Organized Forgetting (City Lights 2014), Dangerous Thinking in the Age of the New Authoritarianism (Routledge, 2015), America's Addiction to Terrorism (Monthly Review Press, 2016), America at War with Itself (City Lights, 2017), The Public in Peril (Routledge, 2018) and American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism (City Lights, 2018) and The Terror of the Unforeseen (LARB Books, 2019). Giroux is also a member of Truthout 's Board of Directors.

[Nov 06, 2019] Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one

Highly recommended!
Nov 06, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.06.19 at 4:07 am 47

@Z 11.05.19 at 9:23 am @45

It seems to me an important tenet of the neoliberal ideology is the arbiter (or auctioneer) role it gives the state and other political institutions with respect to markets. Markets are the locus of justice and efficiency, but political institutions have the essential task of organizing them and the competitions that takes place within them, supposedly at least.

In practice, this translated in a central role of political power not only in privatizing and breaking state monopolies, but also in the creation, sometimes ex nihilo, of markets supervised by state or quasi-state agencies (shielded of electoral choices by regulatory or ideally constitutional provisions) whose role was to organize concurrence in domains classical liberal economic theory would consider natural monopolies or natural public properties (education, health service, energy distribution, infrastructure of transportation, telecommunication, postal and banking service etc.)

What an excellent and deep observation ! Thank you ! This is the essence of the compromises with financial oligarchy made by failing social democratic parties. Neoliberalism is kind of Trotskyism for the rich in which the political power is used to shape the society "from above". As Hayek remarked on his visit to Pinochet's Chile – "my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism".

George Monblot observed that "Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket [of the financial oligarchy], but it rapidly became one." ( The Guardian, Apr 15, 2016):

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

The free (as in absence of regulation for FIRE) market produces a tiny cadre of winners and an enormous army of losers (10% vs 90%) – and the losers, looking for revenge, have turned to Trump. Now entrenched centers of "resistance" (and first of all CIA, the Justice Department, The Department of State and a part of Pentagon) are trying to reverse the situation. Failing to understand that they created Trump and each time will reproduce it in more and more dangerous variant.

Trumpism is the inevitable result of the gap between the utopian ideal of the free (for the FIRE sector only ) market and the dystopian reality for the majority of the population ("without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape" Pope Francis, "Evangelii Gaudium")

The situation in which the financial sector generates just 4% of employment, but accounts for more than 25% of corporate profits is unsustainable. It should be reversed and it will be reversed.

[Nov 04, 2019] Postmodernism The Ideological Embellishment of Neoliberalism by Vaska

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Robert Pfaller: Until the late 1970s, all "Western" (capitalist) governments, right or left, pursued a Keynesian economic policy of state investment and deficit spending. (Even Richard Nixon is said to have once, in the early 1970ies, stated, "We are all Keynesians"). This lead to a considerable decrease of inequality in Western societies in the first three decades after WWII, as the numbers presented by Thomas Piketty and Branko Milanovic in their books prove. Apparently, it was seen as necessary to appease Western workers with high wages and high employment rates in order to prevent them from becoming communists. ..."
"... Whenever the social-democratic left came into power, for example with Tony Blair, or Gerhard Schroeder, they proved to be the even more radical neoliberal reformers. As a consequence, leftist parties did not have an economic alternative to what their conservative and liberal opponents offered. Thus they had to find another point of distinction. This is how the left became "cultural" (while, of course, ceasing to be a "left"): from now on the marks of distinction were produced by all kinds of concerns for minorities or subaltern groups. And instead of promoting economic equality and equal rights for all groups, the left now focused on symbolic "recognition" and "visibility" for these groups. ..."
"... Thus not only all economic and social concerns were sacrificed for the sake of sexual and ethnic minorities, but even the sake of these minorities itself. Since a good part of the problem of these groups was precisely economic, social and juridical, and not cultural or symbolic. And whenever you really solve a problem of a minority group, the visibility of this group decreases. But by insisting on the visibility of these groups, the policies of the new pseudo-left succeded at making the problems of these groups permanent – and, of course, at pissing off many other people who started to guess that the concern for minorities was actually just a pretext for pursuing a most brutal policy of increasing economic inequality. ..."
"... The connection to neoliberalism is the latter's totalitarian contention of reducing the entirety of human condition into a gender-neutral cosmopolitan self expressing nondescript market preferences in a conceptual vacuum, a contention celebrated by its ideologues as "liberation" and "humanism" despite its inherent repression and inhumanity. ..."
"... "..'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political.." ..."
"... Agreed. And the truth is that the message is much clearer than that of the critics, below. So it ought to be for the world, sliding into fascism, in which we live in might have been baked by the neo-liberals but it was iced by 57 varieties of Blairites . The cowards who flinched led by the traitors who sneered. ..."
"... 'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political, namely, the fight for an equitable production and distribution of goods, both material and cultural, ensuring a decent life for all. ..."
"... Why bother getting your hands dirty with an actual worker's struggle when you can write yet another glamorously "radical" critique of the latest Hollywood blockbuster (which in truth just ends up as another advert for it)? ..."
"... The One Per Cent saw an opportunity of unlimited exploitation and they ran with it. They're still running (albeit in jets and yachts) and us Proles are either struggling or crawling. Greed is neither Left or Right. It exists for its own self gratification. ..."
"... Actually, post-modernism doesn't include everybody -- just the 'marginalized' and 'disenfranchised' minorities whom Michel Foucault championed. The whole thing resembles nothing so much as the old capitalist strategy of playing off the Lumpenproletariat against the proletariat, to borrow the original Marxist terminology. ..."
"... if you don't mind me asking, exactly at what point do you feel capitalism was restored in the USSR? It was, I take it, with the first Five Year Plan, not the NEP? ..."
"... Also, the Socialist or, to use your nomenclature, "Stalinist" system, that was destroyed in the the USSR in the 1990s–it was, in truth, just one form of capitalism replaced by another form of capitalism? ..."
OffGuardian
Robert Pfaller interviewed by Kamran Baradaran, via ILNA
The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face.

Robert Pfaller is one of the most distinguished figures in today's radical Left. He teaches at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria. He is a founding member of the Viennese psychoanalytic research group 'stuzzicadenti'.

Pfaller is the author of books such as On the Pleasure Principle in Culture: Illusions Without Owners , Interpassivity: The Aesthetics of Delegated Enjoyment , among others. Below is the ILNA's interview with this authoritative philosopher on the Fall of Berlin Wall and "Idea of Communism".

ILNA: What is the role of "pleasure principle" in a world after the Berlin Wall? What role does the lack of ideological dichotomy, which unveils itself as absent of a powerful left state, play in dismantling democracy?

Robert Pfaller: Until the late 1970s, all "Western" (capitalist) governments, right or left, pursued a Keynesian economic policy of state investment and deficit spending. (Even Richard Nixon is said to have once, in the early 1970ies, stated, "We are all Keynesians"). This lead to a considerable decrease of inequality in Western societies in the first three decades after WWII, as the numbers presented by Thomas Piketty and Branko Milanovic in their books prove. Apparently, it was seen as necessary to appease Western workers with high wages and high employment rates in order to prevent them from becoming communists.

Ironically one could say that it was precisely Western workers who profited considerably of "real existing socialism" in the Eastern European countries.

At the very moment when the "threat" of real existing socialism was not felt anymore, due to the Western economic and military superiority in the 1980ies (that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall), the economic paradigm in the Western countries shifted. All of a sudden, all governments, left or right, pursued a neoliberal economic policy (of privatization, austerity politics, the subjection of education and health sectors under the rule of profitability, liberalization of regulations for the migration of capital and cheap labour, limitation of democratic sovereignty, etc.).

Whenever the social-democratic left came into power, for example with Tony Blair, or Gerhard Schroeder, they proved to be the even more radical neoliberal reformers. As a consequence, leftist parties did not have an economic alternative to what their conservative and liberal opponents offered. Thus they had to find another point of distinction. This is how the left became "cultural" (while, of course, ceasing to be a "left"): from now on the marks of distinction were produced by all kinds of concerns for minorities or subaltern groups. And instead of promoting economic equality and equal rights for all groups, the left now focused on symbolic "recognition" and "visibility" for these groups.

Thus not only all economic and social concerns were sacrificed for the sake of sexual and ethnic minorities, but even the sake of these minorities itself. Since a good part of the problem of these groups was precisely economic, social and juridical, and not cultural or symbolic. And whenever you really solve a problem of a minority group, the visibility of this group decreases. But by insisting on the visibility of these groups, the policies of the new pseudo-left succeded at making the problems of these groups permanent – and, of course, at pissing off many other people who started to guess that the concern for minorities was actually just a pretext for pursuing a most brutal policy of increasing economic inequality.

ILNA: The world after the Berlin Wall is mainly considered as post-ideological. Does ideology has truly decamped from our world or it has only taken more perverse forms? On the other hand, many liberals believe that our world today is based on the promise of happiness. In this sense, how does capitalism promotes itself on the basis of this ideology?

Robert Pfaller: The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face. This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism". It consists of neoliberalism, plus postmodernism as its ideological superstructure.

The ideology of postmodernism today has some of its most prominent symptoms in the omnipresent concern about "discrimination" (for example, of "people of color") and in the resentment against "old, white men". This is particularly funny in countries like Germany: since, of course, there has been massive racism and slavery in Germany in the 20th century – yet the victims of this racism and slavery in Germany have in the first place been white men (Jews, communists, Gypsies, red army prisoners of war, etc.).

Here it is most obvious that a certain German pseudo-leftism does not care for the real problems of this society, but prefers to import some of the problems that US-society has to deal with. As Louis Althusser has remarked, ideology always consists in trading in your real problems for the imaginary problems that you would prefer to have.

The general ideological task of postmodernism is to present all existing injustice as an effect of discrimination. This is, of course, funny again: Since every discrimination presupposes an already established class structure of inequality. If you do not have unequal places, you cannot distribute individuals in a discriminating way, even if you want to do so. Thus progressive neoliberalism massively increases social inequality, while distributing all minority groups in an "equal" way over the unequal places.


MASTER OF UNIVE

Abbreviate & reduce to lowest common denominator which is hyperinflation by today's standards given that we are indeed all Keynesians now that leveraged debt no longer suffices to prop Wall Street up. Welcome to the New World Disorder. Screw 'postmodernism' & Chicago School 'neoliberalism'!

MOU

Danubium
There is no such thing as "post-modernism". The derided fad is an organic evolution of the ideologies of "modernity" and the "Enlightenment", and represents the logical conclusion of their core premise: the "enlightened self" as the source of truth instead of the pre-modern epistemologies of divine revelation, tradition and reason.

It does not represent any "liberation" from restrictive thought, as the "self" can only ever be "enlightened" by cult-like submission to dogma or groupthink that gives tangible meaning to the intangible buzzword, its apparent relativism is a product of social detachment of the intellectual class and its complete and utter apathy towards the human condition.

The connection to neoliberalism is the latter's totalitarian contention of reducing the entirety of human condition into a gender-neutral cosmopolitan self expressing nondescript market preferences in a conceptual vacuum, a contention celebrated by its ideologues as "liberation" and "humanism" despite its inherent repression and inhumanity.

The trend is not to successor or opponent, but rather modernism itself in its degenerative, terminal stage.

Monobazeus
Well said
bevin
"..'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political.."

Agreed. And the truth is that the message is much clearer than that of the critics, below. So it ought to be for the world, sliding into fascism, in which we live in might have been baked by the neo-liberals but it was iced by 57 varieties of Blairites . The cowards who flinched led by the traitors who sneered.

Norman Pilon
So cutting through all of the verbiage, the upshot of Pfaller's contentions seems to be that 'identity politics,' which pretty much encapsulate the central concerns of what these days is deemed to represent what little of the 'left' survives, plays into the hands of the neoliberal ruling establishment(s), because at bottom it is a 'politics' that has been emptied of all that is substantively political, namely, the fight for an equitable production and distribution of goods, both material and cultural, ensuring a decent life for all.

Difficult not to agree.

For indeed, "If you do not have unequal places, you cannot distribute individuals in a discriminating way, even if you want to do so."

Capricornia Man
You've nailed it, Norman. In many countries, the left's obsession with identity politics has driven class politics to the periphery of its concerns, which is exactly where the neoliberals want it to be. It's why the working class just isn't interested.
Martin Usher
It must be fun to sit on top of the heap watching the great unwashed squabbling over the crumbs.
Red Allover
The world needs another put down of postmodern philosophy like it needs a Bob Dylan album of Sinatra covers . . .
maxine chiu
I'm glad the article was short .I don't think I'm stupid but too much pseudo-intellectualism makes me fall asleep.
Tim Jenkins
Lol, especially when there are some galling glaring errors within " too much pseudo-intellectualism "

Thanks for the laugh, maxine,

Let them stew & chew (chiu) on our comments 🙂

Bootlyboob
As with any use of an -ism though, you need sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to using 'postmodernism'. Do you mean Baudrillard and Delueze? or do you mean some dirty cunt like Bernard Henri-Levy. There is a bit of a difference.
Bootlyboob
Ok, so Levi is not really a postmodernist. But still, there are philosphers of postmodernism that were, and still are, worth reading.
BigB
Postmodernism: what is it? I defy anyone to give a coherent and specific definition. Not least, because the one 'Classical Liberal' philosopher who did – Stephen Hicks – used the term as a blanket commodification of all post-Enlightenment thought starting with Rousseau's Romanticism. So PoMo has pre-Modern roots? When the left start playing broad and wide with political philosophical categories too – grafting PoMo onto post-Classical roots as a seeming post-Berlin Wall emergence what actually is being said? With such a depth and breadth of human inquiry being commodified as 'PoMo' – arguably, nothing useful.

Neoliberalism is Classic Liberalism writ large. The basic unit of Classicism is an individuated, independent, intentional, individual identitarianism as an atom of the rational ('moral') market and its self-maximising agency. Only, the 'Rights of Man' and the 'Social Contract' have been transfered from the Person (collectively: "We the People " as a the democratic sovereign power) to the Corporation as the new 'Neo-Classicist' supranational sovereign. Fundamentally, nothing has changed.

As pointed out below: this was already well underway by November 1991 – as a structural-function of the burgeoning Euromarkets. These were themselves on the rise as the largest source of global capital *before* the Nixon Shock in 1971. There is an argument to be made that they actually caused the abandoning of Breton Woods and the Gold Standard. Nonetheless, 1991 is a somewhat arbitrary date for the transition from 'High Modernity' to 'PostModernity'. Philosophers. political, and social scientists – as Wittgenstein pointed out – perhaps are victims of their own commodification and naming crisis? Don't get me started on 'post-Humanism' but what does PoMo actually mean?

As the article hints at: the grafting of some subjectivist single rights issues to the ultra-objectivist core market rationality of neoliberalism is an intentional character masking. Even the 'neoliberal CNS' (central nervous system) of the WEF admits to four distinct phases of globalisation. The current 'Globalisation 4.0' – concurrent with the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' – is a further development of this quasi-subjectivist propagandic ploy. Globalisation is now humanist, sovereigntist, environmentalist, and technologist (technocratic). Its ultimate *telos* is 'fully automated luxury communism' or the harmoniousness of man and nature under an ecolological *Tianxia* the sustainable 'Ecological Civilisation'. Which, I would hope, absolutely nobody is gullible enough to believe?

Who says the leopard cannot change its spots? It can, and indeed does. Neoliberalism is a big-data micromarketing driven technocratic engine of reproduction tailored to the identitarian individual. PoMo – in one sense – is thus the logical extremisation of Classical Liberalism which is happening within the Classical Liberal tradition. It is certainly not a successor state or 'Fourth Political Theory' which is one of the few things Aleksandr Dugin gets right.

This is why the term needs defintion and precisification or, preferably, abandoning. If both the left and right bandy the term around as a eupehemism for what either does not like – the term can only be a noun of incoherence. Much like 'antisemitism': it becomes a negative projection of all undesirable effects onto the 'Other'. Which, when either end of the political spectrum nihilates the Other leaves us with the vicious dehumanisation of the 'traditional' identitarian fascist centre. All binary arguments using shared synthetic terminology – that are plastic in meaning depending on who is using the term – cancel each other out.

Of which, much of which is objectified and commodified as 'PoMo' was a reaction against. A reaction that anticipated the breakdown of the identitarian and sectarian 'technological postmodern' society. So how can that logically be a 'reaction against' and an 'embelishment to' neoliberalism'?

This is not a mere instance of pedantry: I/we are witnessing the decoherence of language due to an extremisation of generalisation and abstraction of sense and meaning. That meaning is deferred is a post-structuralist tenet: but one that proceeds from the extreme objectivisation of language (one to one mapping of meaning as the analytical signified/signifier relationship) and the mathematicisation of logic (post-Fregian 'meta-ontology') not its subjectivisation.

If PoMo means anything: it is a rich and authentic vein of human inquiry that was/is a creative attempt to rescue us from a pure objectivist Hell (David Ray Griffin's "positive postmodernism"). One that was/is not entirely satisfactory; merely because it has not yet completed. In the midst: we have the morbid hybrid symptomatology of the old Classical Libertarian fascism trying to recuperate the new Universal Humanism for which PoMo is a meaningless label. Especially if it is used to character masque the perennial philosophy of Humanism that has been dehumanised and subjugated by successive identitarian regimes of knowledge and power since forever in pre-Antiquity.

We are all human: only some humans are ideologically more human than others is the counter-history of humanity. When we encounter such ideologically imprecise degenerative labels as 'PoMo' – that can mean anything to anyone (but favours the status quo) this makes a nonsense of at least 5,000 years of thought. Is it any wonder that we are super-ordinated by those who can better dictate who we are? Language is overpower and writing is supra-sovereign administration and bureaucracy over the 'owness' of identity. Its co-option by the pseudoleft is a complete denigration and betrayal of the potential of a new Humanism. The key to which is the spiritual recovery and embodiment of who we really are – proto-linguistically and pre-ontologically – before all these meaningless labels get in the way.

Bootlyboob
You said it better than I ever could.

Stephen Hick's book is quite the laugh. I tried to read it but it made no sense. From memory, it starts at Kant and Hegel and gets them completely wrong, (he even draws little charts with their ideas in tabulated form, WTF?) so I quickly deleted the .pdf. Any book that begins with a summary of these two philosophers and then thinks they can hold my attention until they get to their take on 'postmodernism' is sorely mistaken. Postmodernism is a made up label for about four or five French intellectuals in the 1970's that somehow took over the world and completely fucked it up. Why do I somehow not follow this line of 'thought'?

Reg
No, Postmodernism is a real thing, it is the capitalist assimilation of situationism to overcome the crisis of profit in the 70s caused by overproduction and the attempt by the 1% to recapture a greater a greater % of GDP that they had lost due to the post war settlement. This was an increasingly a zero sum game economy after Germany and Japan had rebuilt their manufacturing capacity, with the US constrained by a widening trade deficit and the cost of the cold and Vietnam war increasing US debt. The inflation spikes in the 70s is only reflective of these competing demands.

The problem of modernism is than peoples needs are easily saited, particularly in conditions of overproduction. Postmodern production is all about creating virtual needs that are unsatisfied. The desire for status or belonging or identity are infinite, and overcomes the dead time of 'valourisation' (time taken for investment to turn into profit) of capital by switching to virtual production of weightless capitalism. The creation of 'intangible asset's such as trade marks, while off shoring production is central. This is a form of rentier extraction, as the creation of a trade mark creates no real value if you have offshored not only production but R&D to China. This is why fiance, and free movement of capital supported by monetary policy and independent central banks are central to Postmodern neo-liberal production. The problem being that intangible assets are easy to replace and require monopoly protection supported by a Imperial hegemon to maintain rentier extraction. Why does China need a US or UK trade mark of products where both innovation and production increasingly come from China? How long can the US as a diminishing empire maintain rentier extraction at the point of a military it increasingly cannot afford, particularly against a military and economic superpower like China? It is no accident US companies that have managed to monetise internet technologies are monopolies, google, microsoft, Apple. An operating system for example has a reproduction cost of zero, the same can be said of films or music, so the natural price is zero, only a monopoly maintains profit.

The connection to situationism is the cry of May 68 'Make your dreams reality', which was marketised by making peoples dreams very interesting ones about fitted kitchens, where even 'self actualisation was developed into a product, where even ones own body identity became a product to be developed at a price. This is at the extreme end of Marxist alienation as not only work or the home becomes alienated, but the body itself.
David Harvey covers some of this quite well in his "The condition of Postmodernity". Adam Curtis also covers quite well in 'The Trap' and the 'Century of the self'.

BigB
I'm inclined to agree with everything you write. It would fall into what I called 'precisification' and actual definition. What you describe is pure Baudrillard: that capitalism reproduces as a holistic system of objects that we buy into without ever satisfying the artificial advertorial need to buy. What we actually seek is a holism of self that cannot be replaced by a holism of objects hence an encoded need for dissatisfaction articulated as dissatisfaction a Hyperrealism of the eternally desiring capitalist subject. But Baudrillard rejected the label too.

What I was pointing out was the idea of 'contested concept'. Sure, if we define terms, let's use it. Without that pre-agreed defintion: the term is meaningless. As are many of our grandiloquent ideas of 'Democracy', 'Freedom', 'Prosperity', and especially 'Peace'. Language is partisan and polarised. Plastic words like 'change' can mean anything and intentionally do. And the convention of naming creates its own decoherence sequence. What follows 'postmodernism'? Post-humanism is an assault on sense and meaning. As is the current idea that "reality is the greatest illusion of all".

We are having a real communication breakdown due to the limitations of the language and out proliferation of beliefs. Baudrillard also anticipated the involution and implosion of the Code. He was speaking from a de Saussurian (semiologic) perspective. Cognitive Linguistics makes this ever more clear. Language is maninly frames and metaphors. Over expand them over too many cognitive domains: and the sense and meaning capability is diluted toward meaninglessnes – where reality is no longer real. This puts us in the inferiorised position of having our terms – and thus our meaning – dictated by a cognitive elite a linguistic 'noocracy' (which is homologous with the plutocracy – who can afford private education).

Capitalism itself is a purely linguistic phenomena: which is so far off the beaten track I'm not even going to expand on it. Except to say: that a pre-existing system of objects giving rise to a separate system of thoughts – separate objectivity and subjectivity – is becoming less tenable to defend. I'd prefer to think in terms of 'embodiment' and 'disembodiment' rather than distinct historical phases. And open and closed cognitive cycles rather than discreet psycholgical phases. We cannot be post-humans if we never embodied our humanism fully. And we cannot be be post-modern when we have never fully lived in the present having invented a disembodied reality without us in it, which we proliferated trans-historically the so-called 'remembered present'.

Language and our ideas of reality are close-correlates – I would argue very close correlates. They are breaking down because language and realism are disembodied which, in itself is ludicrous to say. But we have inherited and formalised an idealism that is exactly that. Meaning resides in an immaterial intellect in an intangible mind floating around in an abstract neo-Platonic heaven waiting for Reason to concur with it. Which is metaphysical bullshit, but it is also the foundation of culture and 'Realism'. Which makes my position 'anti-Realist'. Can you see my problem with socio-philosophical labels now!? They can carry sense if used carefully, as you did. In general discourse they mean whatever they want to mean. Which generally means they will be used against you.

Ramdan
"the SPIRITUAL RECOVERY and embodiment of who we really are – PROTO-LINGUISTICALLY and PRE-ONTOLOGICALLY – BEFORE all these MEANINGLESS LABELS get in the way."

Thanks BigB. I just took the liberty to add emphasis.

Robbobbobin
Smarty pants (label).
Robert Laine
A reply to the article worthy of another Off-G article (or perhaps a book) which would include at a minimum the importance of non-dualistic thinking, misuse of language in the creation of MSM and government narratives and the need to be conscious of living life from time to time while we talk about it. Thankyou, BigB.
Simon Hodges
Don't you love how all these people discuss postmodernism without ever bothering to define what it is. How confused. Hicks and Peterson see postmodernists as Neo-Marxists and this guy sees them as Neoliberals. None of the main theorists that have been associated with Postmodernism and Post-Structuralism and I'm thinking Derrida, Baudrillard and Foucault here (not that I see Foucault as really belonging in the group) would not even accept the term 'postmodernism' as they would see it as an inappropriate form of stereo-typography with no coherent meaning or definition and that presupposing that one can simply trade such signifiers in 'transparent' communication and for us all to think and understand the same thing that 'postmodernism' as a body of texts and ideas might be 'constituted by' is a large part of the problem under discussion. I often think that a large question that arises from Derrida's project is not to study communication as such but to study and understand miss-communication and how and why it comes about and what is involved in our misunderstandings. If people don't get that about 'postmodern' and post-structuralist theories then they've not understood any thing about it.
BigB
You are absolutely right: the way we think in commodities of identities – as huge generalizations and blanket abstractions – tends toward grand narration and meaninglessness. Which is at once dehumanising, ethnocentric, exceptionalist, imperialist in a way that favours dominion and overpower. All these tendencies are encoded in the hierarchical structures of the language – as "vicious" binary constructivisms. In short, socio-linguistic culture is a regime of overpower and subjugation. One that is "philosopho-political" and hyper-normalises our discrimination.

Deleuze went further when he said language is "univocal". We only have one equiprimordial concept of identity – Being. It is our ontological primitive singularity of sense and meaning. Everything we identity – as "Difference" – is in terms of Being (non-Being is it's binary mirror state) as an object with attributes (substances). Being is differentiated into hierarchies (the more attributes, the more "substantial"- the 'greater' the being) which are made "real" by "Repetition" hence Difference and Repetition. The language of Dominion, polarization, and overpower is a reified "grand ontological narrative" constructivism. One dominated by absolutised conceptual Being. That's all.

[One in which we are naturally inferiorised in our unconscious relationship of being qua Being in which we are dominated by a conceptual "Oedipal Father" – the singularity of the Known – but that's another primal 'onto-theocratic' narrative the grandest of then all].

One that we are born and acculturated into. Which the majority accept and never question. How many people question not just their processes of thought but the structure of their processes of thought? A thought cannot escape its own structure and that structure is inherently dominative. If not in it's immediacy then deferred somewhere else via a coduit of systemic violence structured as a "violent hierarchy" of opposition and Othering.

Which is the ultimate mis-communication of anything that can be said to be "real" non-dominative, egalitarian, empathic, etc. Which, of course, if we realise the full implications we can change the way we think and the "naturalised" power structures we collectively validate.

When people let their opinions be formed for them, and commodify Romanticism, German Idealism, Marxism, Phenomenology, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Existentialism, etc as the pseudo-word "PoMo" – only to dismiss it they are unbeknowingly validating the hegemony of power and false-knowledge over. Then paradoxically using those binary power structures to rail about being dominated!

Those linguistic power structures dominate politics too. The "political unconscious" is binary and oppositional which tends toward negation and favours the status quo but how many people think in terms of the psychopolitical and psycholinguistic algorithms of power and politics?

Derrida's project is now our project and it has hardly yet begun. Not least because cognitive linguistics were unkown to Derrida. That's how knowledge works by contemporising and updating previous knowledge from Structuralism to Post-Structuralism to

Nihilating anything that can be called "PoMo" (including that other pseudo-label "Cultural Marxism") condemns us to another 200 years of Classical Liberalism which should be enough impetus to compel everyone to embrace the positive aspects of PoMo! Especially post-post-structuralism that stupid naming convention again

Simon Hodges
I think a lot of people forget that both Derrida and Baudrillard died before the financial crisis. I don't think either of them like myself at that time paid much attention to economics and markets as they worked within very specific and focused fields. Derrida spent his whole life analysing phonocentrism and logocentrism throughout the history of philosophy and Baudrillard was more a cultural sociologist then anything else. They like most people assumed that neoliberalism was working and they enjoyed well paid jobs and great celebrity so they didn't have much cause to pay that much attention to politics. Following the Invasion of Iraq Derrida did come out very strongly against the US calling it the biggest and most dangerous rogue state in the world and he cited and quoted Chomsky's excellent work. We should also include the UK as the second biggest rogue state.

Once the GFC happened I realized that my knowledge on those subjects was virtually zero and I have since spent years looking at them all very closely. I think Derrida and Baudrillard would have become very political following the GFC and even more so now given current events with the yellow vests in France. Shame those two great thinkers died before all the corruption of neoliberalism was finally revealed. I believe that would have had a great deal to say about it Derrida at least was a very moral and ethical man.

Bootlyboob
I think you would like this essay if you have not read it already.

https://cidadeinseguranca.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/deleuze_control.pdf

Simon Hodges
There's a good video by Cuck Philosophy on YouTube covering control societies below.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_i8_WuyqAY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&start=3&wmode=transparent

If anyone wants a good overview of postmodernism and post-structuralism Cuck philosophy has has some excellent videos covering the subject matter and ideas. He explains how postmodernism has nothing to do with identity politics and shows how Hick and Peterson have fundamentally misunderstood postmodernism. He also has 3 videos covering postmodern basics and some others on Derrida and Baudrillard. You will not find the concepts explained better though one can never give a comprehensive review as such things are essentially beyond us.

He puts too much weight on Foucault for my liking but that's just the fact that my understanding of postmodernism is obviously different to his because all of our largely chance encounters with different texts at different times, which mean that we all come away with slightly different ideas about what these things might mean at any given time. Even in relation to differences in our own ideas from day to day or year to year.

Bootlyboob
Yes, that's why I mentioned the article in relation to your earlier comment. I don't think any of these philosophers would have changed their stances based on the events 20 or 30 post their deaths. They essentially predicted the course that society has taken.
Simon Hodges
Judith Butler took part in the occupy wall street movement and she's a post-structuralist so she has clearly changed her mind since the GFC. Deleuze may have to a certain extent have predicted such things but that doesn't necessarily mean they would have been happy about them. Derrida always spoke of the 'democracy' to come. Instead what we are looking forward to is tech based technocratic totalitarianism. I don't go along with Deleuze on that matter anyway. I don't see a discreet transition from one to the other but rather see us having to endure the combined worst of both scenarios.
Bootlyboob
In relation to Peterson. I did write an email to him once and he wrote back to me saying he does indeed like the writings of Deleuze and Baudrillard. But it was a one line response. I'm still assuming he merely uses a false reading of Derrida as a prop to advance his own arguments.
Simon Hodges
Peterson doesn't understand that postmodernism is not the source of identity politics or cultural marxism. That source is Anglo sociology. I was doing an MSc in sociology back in 1994/95 and they had been transitioning away from Marx and class conflict to Nietzsche and power conflicts understood within a very simplistic definition of power as a simple binary opposition of forces between and 'oppressor' and a 'resistor'.

They borrow a bit from Foucault but they cannot accept his postmodern conclusions as power is necessarily revealed as a positive force that actually constructs us all: in which case one cannot really object to it on political grounds. Let's face it, these cultural ex-Marxists (now actually an elitist Nietzschean ubermench) don't seem to object to power's miss-functioning at all on any kind of institutional level but solely concentrate on supposed power relations at the personal level.

That's all if you buy into 'power'at all as such. Baudrillard wrote 'Forget Foucault' and that 'the more one sees power everywhere the less one is able to speak thereof'. I try and stay clear of any theory that tries to account for everything with a single concept or perspective as they end up over-determining and reductionist.

Steve Hayes
A major benefit (for the elites) of postmodernism is its epistemological relativism, which denies the fundamentally important commitments to objectivity, to facts and evidence. This results in the absurd situation where all the matters is the narrative. This obvious fact is partially obscured by the substitution of emotion for evidence and logic. https://viewsandstories.blogspot.com/2018/06/emotion-substitutes-for-evidence-and.html
Seamus Padraig
Yup. Among other things, po-mo 'theory' enables Orwell's doublethink .
BigB
This is exactly the misunderstanding of a mythical "po-mo 'theory'" – if such a thing exists – that I am getting at. 'Po-mo theory' is in fact a modernity/postmodernity hybrid theory. Pomo theory is yet to emerge.

For instance: Derrida talked of the 'alterity' of language and consciousness that was neither subjectivist nor objectivist. He also spoke of 'inversion/subversion' – where one bipolar oppositional term becomes the new dominant ie 'black over white' or 'female over male'. This, he made specifically clear, was just as violent a domination as the old normal. How is this enabling 'doublethink'.

If you actually study where Derrida, Baudrillard, Deleuze; etc where taking their 'semiotics' it was to the 'Middle Way' of language – much the same destination as Buddhism. This is the clear and precise non-domination of either extreme of language. Only, they never supplied the praxis; and their followers and denigrators where not as prescient.

There is so much more to come from de Saussurian/Piercian semiotics and Bergsonian/Whiteheadian process philosophy. We have barely scratched the surface. One possibility is the fabled East/West synthesis of thought that quantum physics and neuroscience hint at.

What yo do not realise is that our true identity is lost in the language. Specifically: the Law of Identity and the Law of the Excluded Middle of our current Theory of Mind prevent the understanding of consciousness. To understand why you actually have to read and understand the linguistic foundations of the very theory you have just dismissed.

Robbobbobin
"Specifically: the Law of Identity and the Law of the Excluded Middle of our current Theory of Mind prevent the understanding of consciousness."

Yes, but. What do you mean by " our current Theory of Mind"?

Tim Jenkins
Was that a promo for Po-mo theory, BigB ? (chuckle)
BigB
In fact: if followed through – PoMo leads to the point of decoherence of all narrative constructivism. Which is the same point the Buddhist Yogacara/Madhyamaka synthesis leads to. Which is the same point quantum physics and contemporary cognitive neuroscience leads to. The fact of a pre-existent, mind-independent, objective ground for reality is no longer tenable. Objectivism is dead. But so is subjectivism.

What is yet to appear is a coherent narrative that accommodates this. Precisely because language does not allow this. It is either subjectivism or objectivism tertium non datur – a third is not given. It is precisely within the excluded middle of language that the understanding of consciouness lies. The reason we have an ontological cosmogony without consciousness lies precisely in the objectification and commodification of language. All propositions and narratives are ultimately false especially this one.

Crucially, just because we cannot create a narrative construction or identity for 'reality' – does not mean we cannot experience 'reality'. Which is what a propositional device like a Zen koan refers to

All linguistic constructivism – whether objective or subjective – acts as a covering of reality. We take the ontological narrative imaginary for the real 'abhuta-parikalpa'. Both object and subject are pratitya-samutpada – co-evolutionary contingent dependendencies. The disjunction of all dualities via ersatz spatio-temporality creates Samsara. The ending of Samsara is the ending and re-uniting of all falsely dichotomised binary definitions. About which: we can say precisely nothing.

Does this mean language is dead? No way. Language is there for the reclamation by understanding its superimpositional qualitiy (upacara). A metaphoric understanding that George Lakoff has reached with Mark Johnston totally independently of Buddhism. I call it 'poetic objectivism' of 'critical realism' which is the non-nihilational, non-solipsistic, middle way. Which precisely nihilates both elitism and capitalism: which is why there is so much confusion around the language. There is more at stake than mere linguistics. The future of humanity will be determined by our relationship with our languages.

vexarb
@BigB: "The fact of a pre-existent, mind-independent, objective ground for reality is no longer tenable. Objectivism is dead."

Do you mean that there is more to life than just "atoms and empty space"? Plato, Dante and Blake (to name the first 3 who popped into my head) would have agreed with that: the ground of objective reality is mind -- the mind of God.

"The atoms of Democritus, and Newton's particles of Light,
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright".

Tim Jenkins
Funnily enough, I was only writing just yesterday on OffG's 'India's Tryst with Destiny' article, just what poor standards we have in the Education of our children today, in urgent need of massive revisions, which I've highlighted and how the guilt lays squarely on the shoulders of Scientists & Academia in our Universities, from Physics to History & Law & the 'Physiology of Psychology' these guys really just don't 'cut it' anymore resting on Laurels, living in Fear and corrupted by capitalism >>> wholly !

Somebody should be shot, I say for Terrorist Acts !

Corruption is the Destruction of Culture &

"The Destruction of Culture is a Terrorist Act", now officially,
in international Law @UNESCO (thanks, Irina Bokova)

Would the author of this piece like to review & correct some obviously glaring errors ?

George
Good article. On this topic, I read an essay by the late Ellen Meiksins Wood where she noted that our splendid "new Left" are all at once too pessimistic and too optimistic. Too pessimistic because they blandly assume that socialism is dead and so all struggles in that direction are futile. Too optimistic because they assume that this (up till now) bearable capitalism around them can simply continue with its shopping sprees, pop celebrity culture, soap operas, scandal sheets, ineffectual though comfortable tut-tutting over corrupt and stupid politicians and – best of all – its endless opportunity for writing postmodernist deconstructions of all those phenomena.

Why bother getting your hands dirty with an actual worker's struggle when you can write yet another glamorously "radical" critique of the latest Hollywood blockbuster (which in truth just ends up as another advert for it)?

Fair Dinkum
During the 50's and 60's most folks living in Western cultures were happy with their lot: One house, one car, one spouse, one job, three or four kids and enough money to live the 'good life' Then along came Vance Packard's 'Hidden Persuaders' and hell broke loose.

The One Per Cent saw an opportunity of unlimited exploitation and they ran with it. They're still running (albeit in jets and yachts) and us Proles are either struggling or crawling. Greed is neither Left or Right. It exists for its own self gratification.

Seamus Padraig
Excellent article and very true. Just one minor quibble:

This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism".

Actually, post-modernism doesn't include everybody -- just the 'marginalized' and 'disenfranchised' minorities whom Michel Foucault championed. The whole thing resembles nothing so much as the old capitalist strategy of playing off the Lumpenproletariat against the proletariat, to borrow the original Marxist terminology.

Stephen Morrell
The following facile claim doesn't bear scrutiny: "At the very moment when the "threat" of real existing socialism was not felt anymore, due to the Western economic and military superiority in the 1980ies (that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall), the economic paradigm in the Western countries shifted."

The economic paradigm shifted well before the 1980s and it had nothing to do with "Western economic and military superiority in the 1980ies". The death knell of Keynesianism was sounded with the de-linking of the US dollar and the gold standard in 1971 and the first oil crisis of 1973. Subsequently, the 1970s were marked by a continuous and escalating campaign of capital strikes which produced both high inflation and high unemployment ('stagflation') in the main imperial centres. These strikes persisted until the bourgeoisie's servants were able to implement their desired 'free market' measures in the 1980s, the key ones being smashing of trade union power and consequent devastation of working conditions and living standards, privatisation of essential services, dissolution of social welfare and all the rest. All in the name of 'encouraging investment'.

The fear of 'existing socialism' (and of the military might of Eastern Europe and the USSR) persisted right up to the restoration of capitalism in the USSR in 1991-92. The post-soviet triumphalism (to that moronic and ultimate post-modernist war cry, 'The End of History') only opened the floodgates for the imposition of the neoliberal paradigm over the whole globe. The real essence of the 'globalisation' ideology has been this imposition of imperial monopoly and hegemony on economically backward but resource-rich countries that hitherto could gain some respite or succour from the USSR and Eastern Europe as an alternative to the tender mercies of the World Bank and IMF whose terms correspondingly centred on the neoliberal paradigm.

The key class-war victories of the 1980s by the ruling class, especially in the main Anglophone imperial centres (exemplified by the air traffic controllers strike in Reagan's US and the Great Coal Strike in Thatcher's England), were the necessary condition to them getting their way domestically. However, the dissolution of the USSR not only allowed the imperialists to rampage internationally (through the World Bank, IMF, WTO, etc) but gave great fillip to their initial class-war victories at home to impose with impunity ever more grinding impoverishment and austerity on the working class and oppressed -- from the 1990s right up to fraught and crisis-ridden present. The impunity was fuelled in many countries by that domestic accompaniment to the dissolution of the USSR, the rapidly spiralling and terminal decline of the mass Stalinist Communist parties, the bourgeoisie's bogeyman.

Finally, productivity in the capitalist west was always higher than in post-capitalist countries. The latter universally have been socialised economies built in economically backward countries and saddled with stultifying Stalinist bureaucracies, including in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Capitalist productivity didn't suddenly exceed that in the USSR or Eastern Europe in the 1980s.

So, overall, the 'triumph' of the neoliberal paradigm didn't really have much to do with the imperialist lie of "Western economic and military superiority in the 1980ies". That fairytale might fit into some post-modernist relativist epistemology of everything being equally 'true' or 'valid', but in the real world it doesn't hold up empirically or logically. In Anglophone philosophic academia at least, post-modernism really picked up only after Althusser strangled his wife, and hyper-objectivist structuralism correspondingly was strangled by hyper-subjectivist post-modernism.

Seamus Padraig

The death knell of Keynesianism was sounded with the de-linking of the US dollar and the gold standard in 1971 and the first oil crisis of 1973.

Not really, no. In fact, we still do have Keynesianism; but now, it's just a Keynsianism for the banks, the corporations and the MIC rather than the rest of us. But check the stats: the governments of West are still heavily involved in deficit spending–US deficits, in fact, haven't been this big since WW2! Wish I got some of that money

Tim Jenkins
I find this kind of a pointless discussion on Keynes & so on

"Capitalism has Failed." Christine Lagarde 27/5/2014 Mansion House

"Socialism for the Rich" (Stiglitz: Nobel Economic laureate, 2008/9)

More important is the structuring of Central Banks to discuss and
Richard A. Werner's sound observations in the link

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477

Riddle me this Seamus: this year we just got a new statue of Woodrow Wilson in Plovdiv BG.
Last year we got a statue of John no-name McCain in Sofia Bulgaria
See the patterns in the most poverty stricken EU nation ?
Not difficult !

vexarb
Seamus, me too! At least, wish I could get some of my own money back.
Tim Jenkins
Whenever I think about some serious R.O.I. of time & money & family contributions to Tech. Designs, lost in the '80's, I have to play some music or switch to Zen mode 🙂
vexarb
@Tim: "R.O.I (Return On Investment)". The first time I have come across that P.O.V (Point Of View) on this site. The essence of Darwin's theory of evolutionary progress: to slowly build on an initial slight advantage. The 80s (I was there), Maggie Snatcher, Baroness Muck, no such thing as Society, the years that the Locust has eaten. Little ROI despite a tsunami of fiat money swirling around the electronic world. Where is the ROI from capital in the WC.Clinton / B.Liar / Brown regimes, that were so boastful of their economic policies. Where are the snows of yesteryear?
Tim Jenkins
Well said, Stephen: this wholly weird wee article certainly begs the question, how old is & where was this tainted memory & member of academia in the 'Winter of '79' ? and how could he have possibly missed all the denationalisation/privatisation, beginning with NFC and onwards, throughout the '80's, under Thatcher ? Culminating in screwing UK societal futures, by failing to rollout Fibre Optic Cable in the UK, (except for the Square Mile city interests of London) which Boris now promises to do today, nationwide,

a mere 30 years too damn late, when it would have been so cheap, back then and production costs could have been tied to contracts of sale of the elite British Tech. at that time

http://www.techradar.com/news/world-of-tech/how-the-uk-lost-the-broadband-race-in-1990-1224784/2

Worth reading both part one & two of that link, imo scandalous !

Nice wholly suitable reference to Althusser 😉 say no more.

Talk about 'Bonkers' 🙂 we shan't be buying the book, for sure 🙂

Your comment was way more valuable. Do people get paid for writing things like this, these days. I was just outside Linz for 2 months, just before last Christmas and I found more knowledgeable people on the street, in & around Hitler's ole' 'patch', during his formative years, on the streets of Linz: where the joke goes something along the lines of

"If a homeless unemployed artist can't make it in Austria, he has nothing to fear, knowing that he can be on the road to becoming the Chancellor of Germany in just another year "

BigB
I was right with you to the end, Stephen. Althusser killed his wife for sure: but he was deemed insane and never stood trial. He was almost certainly suffering from a combination of conditions, exacerbated by a severe form of PTSD, as we would call it now.

Whether or not one has sympathy for this has become highly politicised. Classic Liberals, anti-communists, and radical feminists always seem to portray the 'murder' as a rational act of the misogynistic male in the grips of a radical philosophy for which wife murder is as natural a consequence as the Gulag. His supporters try to portray the 'mercy' killing of Helene as an 'act of love'. It wasn't that simple though, was it? Nor that black and white.

I cannot imagine what life was like in a German concentration camp for someone who was already suffering from mental illness. From what I have read: the 'treatment' available in the '50s was worse than the underlying condition. He was also 'self-medicating'. I cannot imagine what the state of his mind was in 1980: but I am inclined to cut him some slack. A lot of slack.

I cannot agree with your last statement. Althusser's madness was not a global trigger event – proceeding as a natural consequence from "hyper-subjectivist post-modernism". Which makes for a literary original, but highly inaccurate metaphor. Not least because Althusser was generally considered as a Structuralist himself.

Other than that, great comment.

Stephen Morrell
I understand your sentiments toward Althusser, and am sorry if my remarks about him were insensitive or offensive. However, I know from personal experience of hardline Althusserian academic philosophers who suddenly became post-modernists after the unfortunate incident. The point I was trying to make was that his philosophy wasn't abandoned for philosophical reasons but non-philosophical, moral ones. It wasn't a condemnation of Althusser. It was a condemnation of many of his followers.

I made no claim that this was some kind of 'global trigger event'. Philosophy departments, or ideas as such, don't bring change. If post-modernism didn't become useful to at least some sectors of the ruling class at some point, then it would have remained an academic backwater (as it should have). Nor that post-modernism was some kind of 'natural consequence' of structuralism (which is what I think you meant). Philosophically, it was a certainly one reaction to structuralism, one among several. Other more rational reactions to structuralism included EP Thompson's and Sebastiano Timpinaro's.

As Marx said, "the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas" [German Ideology], and if the ruling class finds some of them useful they'll adopt them. Or as Milton Friedman, one of the main proponents of neoliberalism, proclaimed: "Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around." Post-modernism, as a philosophy 'lying around', serves as a nice philosophical/ideological fit for the intelligentsia to rationalise the anti-science ideology the ruling class today is foisting on rest of the population.

Politically, Althusser was disowned by many French leftists for his support of the thoroughly counter-revolutionary role of the Stalinist PCF in the 1968 May events. His authority lasted for over a decade longer in the Anglophone countries.

Lochearn
"In Anglophone philosophic academia at least, post-modernism really picked up only after Althusser strangled his wife, and hyper-objectivist structuralism correspondingly was strangled by hyper-subjectivist post-modernism."

Wonderful sentence. I'll keep that – if I may – for some imaginary dinner table with some imaginary academic friends.

Tim Jenkins
I was thinking exactly the same and imagining the window of opportunity to provoke some sound conversation, after some spluttering of red w(h)ine
Stephen Morrell
Thank you. I'll rephrase it to improve it slightly if you like:

In Anglophone philosophic academia at least, post-modernism really picked up only after Althusser strangled his wife, and in revenge hyper-objectivist structuralism was strangled by hyper-subjectivist post-modernism.

Red Allover
Mr. Morrell's use of the phrase "stultifying Stalinist bureaucracies," to describe the actually existing Socialist societies of the Eastern bloc, indicates to me that he is very much of the bourgeois mind set that he purports to criticize. This "plague on both your houses" attitude is very typical of the lower middle class intellectual in capitalist countries, c.f. Chomsky, Zizek, etc.
Stephen Morrell
On the contrary, all the remaining workers states (China, North Korea, Viet Nam, Laos and Cuba) must be defended against imperialist attack and internal counterrevolution despite the bureaucratic castes that hold political power in these countries. Political, not social, revolutions are needed to sweep away these bureaucracies to establish organs of workers democracy and political power (eg soviets) which never existed in these countries (unlike in the first years of the USSR).

To his last days, the dying Lenin fought the rising bureaucracy led by Stalin, but Russia's backwardness and the failure of the revolution to spread to an advanced country (especially Germany, October 1923) drove its rise. Its ideological shell was the profoundly reactionary outlook and program of 'Socialism in One Country' (and only one country). And while Stalin defeated him and his followers, it was Trotsky who came to a Marxist, materialist understanding of what produced and drove the Soviet Thermidor. Trotsky didn't go running off to the bourgeoisie of the world blubbering about a 'new class' the way Kautsky, Djilas, Shachtman, Cliff, et al. did.

The restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union was a profound defeat for the working class worldwide, as it would be for the remaining workers states. Now if that's a 'bourgeois mindset' of a 'lower middle class intellectual', be my guest and nominate the bourgeois or petty bourgeois layers that hold such views. Certainly Chomsky, Zizek et al. couldn't agree with such an outlook, but it's only the bourgeoisie and the Stalinists who contend that the workers states are 'socialist' or 'communist'. Only a true post-modernist could delude themselves into concurring, or claim that the political repression, censorship and corrupting bureaucratism of the Stalinist regimes were indeed not stultifying.

Red Allover
Thanks for your intelligent response. I am very familiar with the Trotskyist positions you outline. I could give you the Leninist rebuttal to each of them, but you are probably familiar with them as well. I don't want to waste your time, or mine. However, if you don't mind me asking, exactly at what point do you feel capitalism was restored in the USSR? It was, I take it, with the first Five Year Plan, not the NEP?

Also, the Socialist or, to use your nomenclature, "Stalinist" system, that was destroyed in the the USSR in the 1990s–it was, in truth, just one form of capitalism replaced by another form of capitalism? Would this summarize your view accurately?

Stephen Morrell
Capitalism was restored in the USSR in 1991-92. Stalinism was not another form of capitalism, as the Third Campists would contend. The Stalinist bureaucracy rested on exactly the same property relations a socialist system would which were destroyed with Yeltsin's (and Bush's) counterrevolution. Last, I've never labelled the Stalinist bureaucracy as a 'system'.
GMW
Perhaps if you changed your moniker to: "Troll Allover" one could take you seriously, well, not really – 'seriously' – but at least in a sort of weird, twisted & warped post-modern sense – eh?
Red Allover
I'm sorry, what is the argument you are making? I know name calling is beneath intelligent, educated people.

[Nov 04, 2019] Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Nov 04, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 11.04.19 at 8:33 pm

Reverting to the first point, my main problem with your explanation of how you use the term 'neoliberal' is that your definition of 'neoliberal' depends on your definition of 'classical liberal', and you haven't explained how you use the term 'classical liberal'.

IMHO, neoliberalism has probably closer connection to Trotskyism then to the classic liberalism and Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Some commonalities (in no particular order, or importance):
-- The brutal suppression of organized labor
-- Rampant militarism as the method of controlling of the population; outsized role on intelligence agencies in the society; the regime of total surveillance; the conversion of the state into the national security state
-- Scapegoating and victimization of Untermensch
-- The mantle of inevitability (famous TINA statement of Margaret Thatcher )
-- The concept of the "new class" as the driving force in history which is destined to guide the humanity forward ( with the replacement of "proletariat" with the "creative class".) See also Rand positivism with its cult of entrepreneurs.
-- The implicit rejection of the normal interpretation of the rule of the law for "The Masters of the Universe" and the idea of "neoliberal justice" (tough justice for Untermensch only).
-- Messianic zeal and hate for the "old order"
-- Rejection of the ideas of universal truth, adoption of variation of "a class truth" via postmodernism; neoliberals reject the idea that there are any universal and/or religious (for example Christian) moral values and the concept of truth.
-- Implicit denial of the idea of "free press". The press is converted into neoliberal propaganda machine and journalists, writers, etc are viewed as "the solders of the ideology" who should advance neoliberalism
-- The use of university economics courses for the indoctrination
-- Pervasive use of academic science and "think tanks" for brainwashing of the population.
-- The idea of the Uniparty -- a single party system, with the ruling party serves as the vanguard of the hegemonic neoliberal class (top 1%) and represents only its interests. Which was adapted in the USA to a two Party system to preserve the illusion of democracy.
-- Economic fetishism, the deliberate conversion of the ideology into a secular religion, questioning postulates of which can lead to ostracism. Neoliberals see the market as a sacred element of human civilization. Like is the case with Marxism, "Neoliberal rationality" is heavily tilted toward viewing the people as "homo economicus". (See Professor Wendy Brown discussion on the subject)
-- Cult of GDP with GDP growth as the ultimate goal of any society. Measurement of GDP became "number racket" and is distorted for political gains. Like Marxism, neoliberalism reduces individuals to statistics contained within aggregate economic performance.
-- Justification of the use of violence as the political tool. The idea of Permanent [neoliberal] revolution to bring to power the new hegemonic class in all countries of the globe despite the resistance of the population. Like Trotskyism, neoliberalism consider wars to impose a neoliberal society on weaker countries (which in modern times are countries without nuclear weapons) which cannot give a fair fight to Western armies as inherently just
-- The idea of artificial creation of the "revolutionary situation" for overthrow of "unfriendly" regimes ( via color revolution methods); assigning similar roles to students and media in such a coup d'état.
-- Reliance on international organizations to bully countries into submission (remember Communist International (aka Comintern) and its network of spies and Communist Parties all over the world).

[Nov 01, 2019] Orwell on corruption of the language

Nov 01, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Hidari 11.01.19 at 11:42 am

'It will be seen that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else .

In certain kinds of writing it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning .. When one critic writes, 'The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality', while another writes, 'The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness', the reader accepts this as a simple difference of opinion.

If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused.

The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable' .Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary .' (Orwell).

[Sep 22, 2019] Society has been corrupted by the promotion of cost-benefit moral thinking to a point where nobody can be trusted to do their job if they think it might be better overall to act corruptly.

Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

The Jeffrey Epstein case is notable for the ups and downs in media coverage it's gotten over the years. Everybody, it seems, in New York society knew by 2000 that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell were corrupting teenage girls, but the press wouldn't cover it. Articles by New York in 2002 and Vanity Fair in 2003 alluded to it gently, while probing Epstein's finances more closely. In 2005, the Palm Beach police investigated. The county prosecutor, Democrat Barry Krischer, wouldn't prosecute for more than prostitution, so they went to the federal prosecutor, Republican Alexander Acosta, and got the FBI involved. Acosta's office prepared an indictment, but before it was filed, he made a deal: Epstein agreed to plead guilty to a state law felony and receive a prison term of 18 months. In exchange, the federal interstate sex trafficking charges would not be prosecuted by Acosta's office. Epstein was officially at the county jail for 13 months, where the county officials under Democratic Sheriff Ric Bradshaw gave him scandalously easy treatment , letting him spend his days outside, and letting him serve a year of probation in place of the last 5 months of his sentence. Acosta's office complained, but it was a county jail, not a federal jail, so he was powerless.

Epstein was released, and various lawsuits were filed against him and settled out of court, presumably in exchange for silence. The media was quiet or complimentary as Epstein worked his way back into high society. Two books were written about the affair, and fell flat.

The FBI became interested again around 2011 ( a little known fact ) and maybe things were happening behind the scenes, but the next big event was in 2018 when the Miami Herald published a series of investigative articles rehashing what had happened. In 2019 federal prosecutors indicted Epstein, he was put in jail, and he mysteriously died.

Now, after much complaining in the press about how awful jails are and how many people commit suicide, things are quiet again, at least until the Justice Department and the State of Florida finish their investigation a few years from now. (For details and more links, see " Investigation: Jeffrey Epstein "at Medium.com and " Jeffrey Epstein " at Wikipedia .)

jack daniels , says: September 2, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT

I am shocked that nobody is asking Barr why Epstein's autopsy hasn't been made public.

Also, why is nobody asking Acosta who told him that Epstein should be treated gently because he "belongs to intelligence" and what they meant by that. Rumor is that Mueller told him. So, Mueller has been making the rounds, yet nobody asks him.

Also, Epstein's seized video collection shows various individuals committing serious crimes so why is nobody going through it and charging those individuals who can be identified? Is the DOJ now of the opinion that these crimes are not important enough to pursue? And if they should point to a blackmailing operation involving a major intelligence service, that might be worth exposing?

I feel like I am almost the only person in the world asking.

Society has been corrupted by the promotion of cost-benefit moral thinking to a point where nobody can be trusted to do their job if they think it might be 'better overall' to act corruptly.

I keep thinking of innocent Joe DiGenova assuring us that however frustrating it has been in the past, the appointment of Bob Barr will turn everything around. Nonsense. Barr is a fat man, and as James Watson reminds us, you never want to give a fat man a critical job. So far he is acting like a fat man. Firing a couple minor players is window dressing at best.

[Sep 22, 2019] Neoliberalism Political Success, Economic Failure Portside by Robert Kuttner

Highly recommended!
The key to the success of neoliberal was a bunch on bought intellectual prostitutes like Milton Friedman and the drive to occupy economic departments of the the universities using money from the financial elite. which along with think tank continued mercenary army of neoliberalism who fought and win the battle with weakened New Del capitalism supporters. After that neoliberalism was from those departments like the centers of infection via indoctrination of each new generation of students. Which is a classic mixture of Bolsheviks methods and Trotskyite theory adapted tot he need of financial oligarchy.
Essentially we see the tragedy of Lysenkoism replayed in the USA. When false theory supported by financial oligarchy and then state forcefully suppressed all other economic thought and became the only politically correct theory in the USA and Western Europe.
Notable quotes:
"... The neoliberal counterrevolution, in theory and policy, has reversed or undermined nearly every aspect of managed capitalism -- from progressive taxation, welfare transfers, and antitrust, to the empowerment of workers and the regulation of banks and other major industries. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's premise is that free markets can regulate themselves; that government is inherently incompetent, captive to special interests, and an intrusion on the efficiency of the market; that in distributive terms, market outcomes are basically deserved; and that redistribution creates perverse incentives by punishing the economy's winners and rewarding its losers. So government should get out of the market's way. ..."
"... Now, after nearly half a century, the verdict is in. Virtually every one of these policies has failed, even on their own terms. ..."
"... Economic power has resulted in feedback loops of political power, in which elites make rules that bolster further concentration. ..."
"... The culprit isn't just "markets" -- some impersonal force that somehow got loose again. This is a story of power using theory. The mixed economy was undone by economic elites, who revised rules for their own benefit. They invested heavily in friendly theorists to bless this shift as sound and necessary economics, and friendly politicians to put those theories into practice. ..."
"... The grand neoliberal experiment of the past 40 years has demonstrated that markets in fact do not regulate themselves. Managed markets turn out to be more equitable and more efficient. ..."
"... The British political economist Colin Crouch captured this anomaly in a book nicely titled The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism . Why did neoliberalism not die? As Crouch observed, neoliberalism failed both as theory and as policy, but succeeded superbly as power politics for economic elites. ..."
"... The neoliberal ascendance has had another calamitous cost -- to democratic legitimacy. As government ceased to buffer market forces, daily life has become more of a struggle for ordinary people. ..."
"... After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, ours was widely billed as an era when triumphant liberal capitalism would march hand in hand with liberal democracy. But in a few brief decades, the ostensibly secure regime of liberal democracy has collapsed in nation after nation, with echoes of the 1930s. ..."
"... As the great political historian Karl Polanyi warned, when markets overwhelm society, ordinary people often turn to tyrants. In regimes that border on neofascist, klepto-capitalists get along just fine with dictators, undermining the neoliberal premise of capitalism and democracy as complements. ..."
"... Classically, the premise of a "free market" is that government simply gets out of the way. This is nonsensical, since all markets are creatures of rules, most fundamentally rules defining property, but also rules defining credit, debt, and bankruptcy; rules defining patents, trademarks, and copyrights; rules defining terms of labor; and so on. Even deregulation requires rules. In Polanyi's words, "laissez-faire was planned." ..."
"... Around the same time, the term neoconservative was used as a self-description by former liberals who embraced conservatism, on cultural, racial, economic, and foreign-policy grounds. Neoconservatives were neoliberals in economics. ..."
"... Lavishly funded centers and tenured chairs were underwritten by the Olin, Scaife, Bradley, and other far-right foundations to promote such variants of free-market theory as law and economics, public choice, rational choice, cost-benefit analysis, maximize-shareholder-value, and kindred schools of thought. These theories colonized several academic disciplines. All were variations on the claim that markets worked and that government should get out of the way. ..."
"... Market failure was dismissed as a rare special case; government failure was said to be ubiquitous. Theorists worked hand in glove with lobbyists and with public officials. But in every major case where neoliberal theory generated policy, the result was political success and economic failure. ..."
"... For example, supply-side economics became the justification for tax cuts, on the premise that taxes punished enterprise. ..."
"... Robert Bork's "antitrust paradox," holding that antitrust enforcement actually weakened competition, was used as the doctrine to sideline the Sherman and Clayton Acts. Supposedly, if government just got out of the way, market forces would remain more competitive because monopoly pricing would invite innovation and new entrants to the market. In practice, industry after industry became more heavily concentrated. ..."
"... Human capital theory, another variant of neoliberal application of markets to partly social questions, justified deregulating labor markets and crushing labor unions. Unions supposedly used their power to get workers paid more than their market worth. Likewise minimum wage laws. But the era of depressed wages has actually seen a decline in rates of productivity growth ..."
"... Financial deregulation is neoliberalism's most palpable deregulatory failure, but far from the only one ..."
"... Air travel has been a poster child for advocates of deregulation, but the actual record is mixed at best. Airline deregulation produced serial bankruptcies of every major U.S. airline, often at the cost of worker pay and pension funds. ..."
"... Ticket prices have declined on average over the past two decades, but the traveling public suffers from a crazy quilt of fares, declining service, shrinking seats and legroom, and exorbitant penalties for the perfectly normal sin of having to change plans. ..."
"... A similar example is the privatization of transportation services such as highways and even parking meters. In several Midwestern states, toll roads have been sold to private vendors. The governor who makes the deal gains a temporary fiscal windfall, while drivers end up paying higher tolls often for decades. Investment bankers who broker the deal also take their cut. Some of the money does go into highway improvements, but that could have been done more efficiently in the traditional way via direct public ownership and competitive bidding. ..."
"... The Affordable Care Act is a form of voucher. But the regulated private insurance markets in the ACA have not fully lived up to their promise, in part because of the extensive market power retained by private insurers and in part because the right has relentlessly sought to sabotage the program -- another political feedback loop. The sponsors assumed that competition would lower costs and increase consumer choice. But in too many counties, there are three or fewer competing plans, and in some cases just one. ..."
"... In practice, this degenerates into an infinite regress of regulator versus commercial profit-maximizer, reminiscent of Mad magazine's "Spy versus Spy," with the industry doing end runs to Congress to further rig the rules. Straight-ahead public insurance such as Medicare is generally far more efficient. ..."
"... Several forms of deregulation -- of airlines, trucking, and electric power -- began not under Reagan but under Carter. Financial deregulation took off under Bill Clinton. Democratic presidents, as much as Republicans, promoted trade deals that undermined social standards. Cost-benefit analysis by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) was more of a choke point under Barack Obama than under George W. Bush. ..."
"... Dozens of nations, from Latin America to East Asia, went through this cycle of boom, bust, and then IMF pile-on. Greece is still suffering the impact. ..."
"... In fact, Japan, South Korea, smaller Asian nations, and above all China had thrived by rejecting every major tenet of neoliberalism. Their capital markets were tightly regulated and insulated from foreign speculative capital. They developed world-class industries as state-led cartels that favored domestic production and supply. East Asia got into trouble only when it followed IMF dictates to throw open capital markets, and in the aftermath they recovered by closing those markets and assembling war chests of hard currency so that they'd never again have to go begging to the IMF ..."
"... The basic argument of neoliberalism can fit on a bumper sticker. Markets work; governments don't . If you want to embellish that story, there are two corollaries: Markets embody human freedom. And with markets, people basically get what they deserve; to alter market outcomes is to spoil the poor and punish the productive. That conclusion logically flows from the premise that markets are efficient. Milton Friedman became rich, famous, and influential by teasing out the several implications of these simple premises. ..."
"... The failed neoliberal experiment also makes the case not just for better-regulated capitalism but for direct public alternatives as well. Banking, done properly, especially the provision of mortgage finance, is close to a public utility. Much of it could be public. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
The invisible hand is more like a thumb on the scale for the world's elites. That's why market fundamentalism has been unmasked as bogus economics but keeps winning politically. This article appears in the Summer 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here .

Since the late 1970s, we've had a grand experiment to test the claim that free markets really do work best. This resurrection occurred despite the practical failure of laissez-faire in the 1930s, the resulting humiliation of free-market theory, and the contrasting success of managed capitalism during the three-decade postwar boom.

Yet when growth faltered in the 1970s, libertarian economic theory got another turn at bat. This revival proved extremely convenient for the conservatives who came to power in the 1980s. The neoliberal counterrevolution, in theory and policy, has reversed or undermined nearly every aspect of managed capitalism -- from progressive taxation, welfare transfers, and antitrust, to the empowerment of workers and the regulation of banks and other major industries.

Neoliberalism's premise is that free markets can regulate themselves; that government is inherently incompetent, captive to special interests, and an intrusion on the efficiency of the market; that in distributive terms, market outcomes are basically deserved; and that redistribution creates perverse incentives by punishing the economy's winners and rewarding its losers. So government should get out of the market's way.

By the 1990s, even moderate liberals had been converted to the belief that social objectives can be achieved by harnessing the power of markets. Intermittent periods of governance by Democratic presidents slowed but did not reverse the slide to neoliberal policy and doctrine. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party approved.

Now, after nearly half a century, the verdict is in. Virtually every one of these policies has failed, even on their own terms. Enterprise has been richly rewarded, taxes have been cut, and regulation reduced or privatized. The economy is vastly more unequal, yet economic growth is slower and more chaotic than during the era of managed capitalism. Deregulation has produced not salutary competition, but market concentration. Economic power has resulted in feedback loops of political power, in which elites make rules that bolster further concentration.

The culprit isn't just "markets" -- some impersonal force that somehow got loose again. This is a story of power using theory. The mixed economy was undone by economic elites, who revised rules for their own benefit. They invested heavily in friendly theorists to bless this shift as sound and necessary economics, and friendly politicians to put those theories into practice.

Recent years have seen two spectacular cases of market mispricing with devastating consequences: the near-depression of 2008 and irreversible climate change. The economic collapse of 2008 was the result of the deregulation of finance. It cost the real U.S. economy upwards of $15 trillion (and vastly more globally), depending on how you count, far more than any conceivable efficiency gain that might be credited to financial innovation. Free-market theory presumes that innovation is necessarily benign. But much of the financial engineering of the deregulatory era was self-serving, opaque, and corrupt -- the opposite of an efficient and transparent market.

The existential threat of global climate change reflects the incompetence of markets to accurately price carbon and the escalating costs of pollution. The British economist Nicholas Stern has aptly termed the worsening climate catastrophe history's greatest case of market failure. Here again, this is not just the result of failed theory. The entrenched political power of extractive industries and their political allies influences the rules and the market price of carbon. This is less an invisible hand than a thumb on the scale. The premise of efficient markets provides useful cover.

The grand neoliberal experiment of the past 40 years has demonstrated that markets in fact do not regulate themselves. Managed markets turn out to be more equitable and more efficient. Yet the theory and practical influence of neoliberalism marches splendidly on, because it is so useful to society's most powerful people -- as a scholarly veneer to what would otherwise be a raw power grab. The British political economist Colin Crouch captured this anomaly in a book nicely titled The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism . Why did neoliberalism not die? As Crouch observed, neoliberalism failed both as theory and as policy, but succeeded superbly as power politics for economic elites.

The neoliberal ascendance has had another calamitous cost -- to democratic legitimacy. As government ceased to buffer market forces, daily life has become more of a struggle for ordinary people. The elements of a decent middle-class life are elusive -- reliable jobs and careers, adequate pensions, secure medical care, affordable housing, and college that doesn't require a lifetime of debt. Meanwhile, life has become ever sweeter for economic elites, whose income and wealth have pulled away and whose loyalty to place, neighbor, and nation has become more contingent and less reliable.

Large numbers of people, in turn, have given up on the promise of affirmative government, and on democracy itself. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, ours was widely billed as an era when triumphant liberal capitalism would march hand in hand with liberal democracy. But in a few brief decades, the ostensibly secure regime of liberal democracy has collapsed in nation after nation, with echoes of the 1930s.

As the great political historian Karl Polanyi warned, when markets overwhelm society, ordinary people often turn to tyrants. In regimes that border on neofascist, klepto-capitalists get along just fine with dictators, undermining the neoliberal premise of capitalism and democracy as complements. Several authoritarian thugs, playing on tribal nationalism as the antidote to capitalist cosmopolitanism, are surprisingly popular.

It's also important to appreciate that neoliberalism is not laissez-faire. Classically, the premise of a "free market" is that government simply gets out of the way. This is nonsensical, since all markets are creatures of rules, most fundamentally rules defining property, but also rules defining credit, debt, and bankruptcy; rules defining patents, trademarks, and copyrights; rules defining terms of labor; and so on. Even deregulation requires rules. In Polanyi's words, "laissez-faire was planned."

The political question is who gets to make the rules, and for whose benefit. The neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman invoked free markets, but in practice the neoliberal regime has promoted rules created by and for private owners of capital, to keep democratic government from asserting rules of fair competition or countervailing social interests. The regime has rules protecting pharmaceutical giants from the right of consumers to import prescription drugs or to benefit from generics. The rules of competition and intellectual property generally have been tilted to protect incumbents. Rules of bankruptcy have been tilted in favor of creditors. Deceptive mortgages require elaborate rules, written by the financial sector and then enforced by government. Patent rules have allowed agribusiness and giant chemical companies like Monsanto to take over much of agriculture -- the opposite of open markets. Industry has invented rules requiring employees and consumers to submit to binding arbitration and to relinquish a range of statutory and common-law rights.

Neoliberalism as Theory, Policy, and Power

It's worth taking a moment to unpack the term "neoliberalism." The coinage can be confusing to American ears because the "liberal" part refers not to the word's ordinary American usage, meaning moderately left-of-center, but to classical economic liberalism otherwise known as free-market economics. The "neo" part refers to the reassertion of the claim that the laissez-faire model of the economy was basically correct after all.

Few proponents of these views embraced the term neoliberal . Mostly, they called themselves free-market conservatives. "Neoliberal" was a coinage used mainly by their critics, sometimes as a neutral descriptive term, sometimes as an epithet. The use became widespread in the era of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

To add to the confusion, a different and partly overlapping usage was advanced in the 1970s by the group around the Washington Monthly magazine. They used "neoliberal" to mean a new, less statist form of American liberalism. Around the same time, the term neoconservative was used as a self-description by former liberals who embraced conservatism, on cultural, racial, economic, and foreign-policy grounds. Neoconservatives were neoliberals in economics.

Beginning in the 1970s, resurrected free-market theory was interwoven with both conservative politics and significant investments in the production of theorists and policy intellectuals. This occurred not just in well-known conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage, Cato, and the Manhattan Institute, but through more insidious investments in academia. Lavishly funded centers and tenured chairs were underwritten by the Olin, Scaife, Bradley, and other far-right foundations to promote such variants of free-market theory as law and economics, public choice, rational choice, cost-benefit analysis, maximize-shareholder-value, and kindred schools of thought. These theories colonized several academic disciplines. All were variations on the claim that markets worked and that government should get out of the way.

Each of these bodies of sub-theory relied upon its own variant of neoliberal ideology. An intensified version of the theory of comparative advantage was used not just to cut tariffs but to use globalization as all-purpose deregulation. The theory of maximizing shareholder value was deployed to undermine the entire range of financial regulation and workers' rights. Cost-benefit analysis, emphasizing costs and discounting benefits, was used to discredit a good deal of health, safety, and environmental regulation. Public choice theory, associated with the economist James Buchanan and an entire ensuing school of economics and political science, was used to impeach democracy itself, on the premise that policies were hopelessly afflicted by "rent-seekers" and "free-riders."

Click here to read how Robert Kuttner has been unmasking the fallacies of neoliberalism for decades

Market failure was dismissed as a rare special case; government failure was said to be ubiquitous. Theorists worked hand in glove with lobbyists and with public officials. But in every major case where neoliberal theory generated policy, the result was political success and economic failure.

For example, supply-side economics became the justification for tax cuts, on the premise that taxes punished enterprise. Supposedly, if taxes were cut, especially taxes on capital and on income from capital, the resulting spur to economic activity would be so potent that deficits would be far less than predicted by "static" economic projections, and perhaps even pay for themselves. There have been six rounds of this experiment, from the tax cuts sponsored by Jimmy Carter in 1978 to the immense 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by Donald Trump. In every case some economic stimulus did result, mainly from the Keynesian jolt to demand, but in every case deficits increased significantly. Conservatives simply stopped caring about deficits. The tax cuts were often inefficient as well as inequitable, since the loopholes steered investment to tax-favored uses rather than the most economically logical ones. Dozens of America's most profitable corporations paid no taxes.

Robert Bork's "antitrust paradox," holding that antitrust enforcement actually weakened competition, was used as the doctrine to sideline the Sherman and Clayton Acts. Supposedly, if government just got out of the way, market forces would remain more competitive because monopoly pricing would invite innovation and new entrants to the market. In practice, industry after industry became more heavily concentrated. Incumbents got in the habit of buying out innovators or using their market power to crush them. This pattern is especially insidious in the tech economy of platform monopolies, where giants that provide platforms, such as Google and Amazon, use their market power and superior access to customer data to out-compete rivals who use their platforms. Markets, once again, require rules beyond the benign competence of the market actors themselves. Only democratic government can set equitable rules. And when democracy falters, undemocratic governments in cahoots with corrupt private plutocrats will make the rules.

Human capital theory, another variant of neoliberal application of markets to partly social questions, justified deregulating labor markets and crushing labor unions. Unions supposedly used their power to get workers paid more than their market worth. Likewise minimum wage laws. But the era of depressed wages has actually seen a decline in rates of productivity growth. Conversely, does any serious person think that the inflated pay of the financial moguls who crashed the economy accurately reflects their contribution to economic activity? In the case of hedge funds and private equity, the high incomes of fund sponsors are the result of transfers of wealth and income from employees, other stakeholders, and operating companies to the fund managers, not the fruits of more efficient management.

There is a broad literature discrediting this body of pseudo-scholarly work in great detail. Much of neoliberalism represents the ever-reliable victory of assumption over evidence. Yet neoliberal theory lived on because it was so convenient for elites, and because of the inertial power of the intellectual capital that had been created. The well-funded neoliberal habitat has provided comfortable careers for two generations of scholars and pseudo-scholars who migrate between academia, think tanks, K Street, op-ed pages, government, Wall Street, and back again. So even if the theory has been demolished both by scholarly rebuttal and by events, it thrives in powerful institutions and among their political allies.

The Practical Failure of Neoliberal Policies

Financial deregulation is neoliberalism's most palpable deregulatory failure, but far from the only one. Electricity deregulation on balance has increased monopoly power and raised costs to consumers, but has failed to offer meaningful "shopping around" opportunities to bring down prices. We have gone from regulated monopolies with predictable earnings, costs, wages, and consumer protections to deregulated monopolies or oligopolies with substantial pricing power. Since the Bell breakup, the telephone system tells a similar story of re-concentration, dwindling competition, price-gouging, and union-bashing.

Air travel has been a poster child for advocates of deregulation, but the actual record is mixed at best. Airline deregulation produced serial bankruptcies of every major U.S. airline, often at the cost of worker pay and pension funds.

Ticket prices have declined on average over the past two decades, but the traveling public suffers from a crazy quilt of fares, declining service, shrinking seats and legroom, and exorbitant penalties for the perfectly normal sin of having to change plans. Studies have shown that fares actually declined at a faster rate in the 20 years before deregulation in 1978 than in the 20 years afterward, because the prime source of greater efficiency in airline travel is the introduction of more fuel-efficient planes.

The roller-coaster experience of airline profits and losses has reduced the capacity of airlines to purchase more fuel-efficient aircraft, and the average age of the fleet keeps increasing. The use of "fortress hubs" to defend market pricing power has reduced the percentage of nonstop flights, the most efficient way to fly from one point to another.

Robert Bork's spurious arguments that antitrust enforcement hurt competition became the basis for dismantling antitrust. Massive concentration resulted. Charles Tasnadi/AP Photo

In addition to deregulation, three prime areas of practical neoliberal policies are the use of vouchers as "market-like" means to social goals, the privatization of public services, and the use of tax subsides rather than direct outlays. In every case, government revenues are involved, so this is far from a free market to begin with. But the premise is that market disciplines can achieve public purposes more efficiently than direct public provision.

The evidence provides small comfort for these claims. One core problem is that the programs invariably give too much to the for-profit middlemen at the expense of the intended beneficiaries. A related problem is that the process of using vouchers and contracts invites corruption. It is a different form of "rent-seeking" -- pursuit of monopoly profits -- than that attributed to government by public choice theorists, but corruption nonetheless. Often, direct public provision is far more transparent and accountable than a web of contractors.

A further problem is that in practice there is often far less competition than imagined, because of oligopoly power, vendor lock-in, and vendor political influence. These experiments in marketization to serve social goals do not operate in some Platonic policy laboratory, where the only objective is true market efficiency yoked to the public good. They operate in the grubby world of practical politics, where the vendors are closely allied with conservative politicians whose purposes may be to discredit social transfers entirely, or to reward corporate allies, or to benefit from kickbacks either directly or as campaign contributions.

Privatized prisons are a case in point. A few large, scandal-ridden companies have gotten most of the contracts, often through political influence. Far from bringing better quality and management efficiency, they have profited by diverting operating funds and worsening conditions that were already deplorable, and finding new ways to charge inmates higher fees for necessary services such as phone calls. To the extent that money was actually saved, most of the savings came from reducing the pay and professionalism of guards, increasing overcrowding, and decreasing already inadequate budgets for food and medical care.

A similar example is the privatization of transportation services such as highways and even parking meters. In several Midwestern states, toll roads have been sold to private vendors. The governor who makes the deal gains a temporary fiscal windfall, while drivers end up paying higher tolls often for decades. Investment bankers who broker the deal also take their cut. Some of the money does go into highway improvements, but that could have been done more efficiently in the traditional way via direct public ownership and competitive bidding.

Housing vouchers substantially reward landlords who use the vouchers to fill empty houses with poor people until the neighborhood gentrifies, at which point the owner is free to quit the program and charge market rentals. Thus public funds are used to underwrite a privately owned, quasi-social housing sector -- whose social character is only temporary. No permanent social housing is produced despite the extensive public outlay. The companion use of tax incentives to attract passive investment in affordable housing promotes economically inefficient tax shelters, and shunts public funds into the pockets of the investors -- money that might otherwise have gone directly to the housing.

The Affordable Care Act is a form of voucher. But the regulated private insurance markets in the ACA have not fully lived up to their promise, in part because of the extensive market power retained by private insurers and in part because the right has relentlessly sought to sabotage the program -- another political feedback loop. The sponsors assumed that competition would lower costs and increase consumer choice. But in too many counties, there are three or fewer competing plans, and in some cases just one.

As more insurance plans and hospital systems become for-profit, massive investment goes into such wasteful activities as manipulation of billing, "risk selection," and other gaming of the rules. Our mixed-market system of health care requires massive regulation to work with tolerable efficiency. In practice, this degenerates into an infinite regress of regulator versus commercial profit-maximizer, reminiscent of Mad magazine's "Spy versus Spy," with the industry doing end runs to Congress to further rig the rules. Straight-ahead public insurance such as Medicare is generally far more efficient.

An extensive literature has demonstrated that for-profit voucher schools do no better and often do worse than comparable public schools, and are vulnerable to multiple forms of gaming and corruption. Proprietors of voucher schools are superb at finding ways of excluding costly special-needs students, so that those costs are imposed on what remains of public schools; they excel at gaming test results. While some voucher and charter schools, especially nonprofit ones, sometimes improve on average school performance, so do many public schools. The record is also muddied by the fact that many ostensibly nonprofit schools contract out management to for-profit companies.

Tax preferences have long been used ostensibly to serve social goals. The Earned Income Tax Credit is considered one of the more successful cases of using market-like measures -- in this case a refundable tax credit -- to achieve the social goal of increasing worker take-home pay. It has also been touted as the rare case of bipartisan collaboration. Liberals get more money for workers. Conservatives get to reward the deserving poor, since the EITC is conditioned on employment. Conservatives get a further ideological win, since the EITC is effectively a wage subsidy from the government, but is experienced as a tax refund rather than a benefit of government.

Recent research, however, shows that the EITC is primarily a subsidy of low-wage employers, who are able to pay their workers a lot less than a market-clearing wage. In industries such as nursing homes or warehouses, where many workers qualified for the EITC work side by side with ones not eligible, the non-EITC workers get substandard wages. The existence of the EITC depresses the level of the wages that have to come out of the employer's pocket.

Neoliberalism's Influence on Liberals

As free-market theory resurged, many moderate liberals embraced these policies. In the inflationary 1970s, regulation became a scapegoat that supposedly deterred salutary price competition. Some, such as economist Alfred Kahn, President Carter's adviser on deregulation, supported deregulation on what he saw as the merits. Other moderates supported neoliberal policies opportunistically, to curry favor with powerful industries and donors. Market-like policies were also embraced by liberals as a tactical way to find common ground with conservatives.

Several forms of deregulation -- of airlines, trucking, and electric power -- began not under Reagan but under Carter. Financial deregulation took off under Bill Clinton. Democratic presidents, as much as Republicans, promoted trade deals that undermined social standards. Cost-benefit analysis by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) was more of a choke point under Barack Obama than under George W. Bush.

"Command and control" became an all-purpose pejorative for disparaging perfectly sensible and efficient regulation. "Market-like" became a fashionable concept, not just on the free-market right but on the moderate left. Cass Sunstein, who served as Obama's anti-regulation czar,uses the example of "nudges" as a more market-like and hence superior alternative to direct regulation, though with rare exceptions their impact is trivial. Moreover, nudges only work in tandem with regulation.

There are indeed some interventionist policies that use market incentives to serve social goals. But contrary to free-market theory, the market-like incentives first require substantial regulation and are not a substitute for it. A good example is the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which used tradable emission rights to cut the output of sulfur dioxide, the cause of acid rain. This was supported by both the George H.W. Bush administration and by leading Democrats. But before the trading regime could work, Congress first had to establish permissible ceilings on sulfur dioxide output -- pure command and control.

There are many other instances, such as nutrition labeling, truth-in-lending, and disclosure of EPA gas mileage results, where the market-like premise of a better-informed consumer complements command regulation but is no substitute for it. Nearly all of the increase in fuel efficiency, for example, is the result of command regulations that require auto fleets to hit a gas mileage target. The fact that EPA gas mileage figures are prominently disclosed on new car stickers may have modest influence, but motor fuels are so underpriced that car companies have success selling gas-guzzlers despite the consumer labeling.

Image removed

Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, were big promoters of financial deregulation.

Politically, whatever rationale there was for liberals to make common ground with libertarians is now largely gone. The authors of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made no attempt to meet Democrats partway; they excluded the opposition from the legislative process entirely. This was opportunistic tax cutting for elites, pure and simple. The right today also abandoned the quest for a middle ground on environmental policy, on anti-poverty policy, on health policy -- on virtually everything. Neoliberal ideology did its historic job of weakening intellectual and popular support for the proposition that affirmative government can better the lives of citizens and that the Democratic Party is a reliable steward of that social compact. Since Reagan, the right's embrace of the free market has evolved from partly principled idealism into pure opportunism and obstruction.

Neoliberalism and Hyper-Globalism

The post-1990 rules of globalization, supported by conservatives and moderate liberals alike, are the quintessence of neoliberalism. At Bretton Woods in 1944, the use of fixed exchange rates and controls on speculative private capital, plus the creation of the IMFand World Bank, were intended to allow member countries to practice national forms of managed capitalism, insulated from the destructive and deflationary influences of short-term speculative private capital flows. As doctrine and power shifted in the 1970s, the IMF, the World Bank, and later the WTO, which replaced the old GATT, mutated into their ideological opposite. Rather than instruments of support for mixed national economies, they became enforcers of neoliberal policies.

The standard package of the "Washington Consensus" of approved policies for developing nations included demands that they open their capital markets to speculative private finance, as well as cutting taxes on capital, weakening social transfers, and gutting labor regulation and public ownership. But private capital investment in poor countries proved to be fickle. The result was often excessive inflows during the boom part of the cycle and punitive withdrawals during the bust -- the opposite of the patient, long-term development capital that these countries needed and that was provided by the World Bank of an earlier era. During the bust phase, the IMF typically imposes even more stringent neoliberal demands as the price of financial bailouts, including perverse budgetary austerity, supposedly to restore the confidence of the very speculative capital markets responsible for the boom-bust cycle.

Dozens of nations, from Latin America to East Asia, went through this cycle of boom, bust, and then IMF pile-on. Greece is still suffering the impact. After 1990, hyper-globalism also included trade treaties whose terms favored multinational corporations. Traditionally, trade agreements had been mainly about reciprocal reductions of tariffs. Nations were free to have whatever brand of regulation, public investment, or social policies they chose. With the advent of the WTO, many policies other than tariffs were branded as trade distorting, even as takings without compensation. Trade deals were used to give foreign capital free access and to dismantle national regulation and public ownership. Special courts were created in which foreign corporations and investors could do end runs around national authorities to challenge regulation for impeding commerce.

At first, the sponsors of the new trade regime tried to claim the successful economies of East Asia as evidence of the success of the neoliberal recipe. Supposedly, these nations had succeeded by pursuing "export-led growth," exposing their domestic economies to salutary competition. But these claims were soon exposed as the opposite of what had actually occurred. In fact, Japan, South Korea, smaller Asian nations, and above all China had thrived by rejecting every major tenet of neoliberalism. Their capital markets were tightly regulated and insulated from foreign speculative capital. They developed world-class industries as state-led cartels that favored domestic production and supply. East Asia got into trouble only when it followed IMF dictates to throw open capital markets, and in the aftermath they recovered by closing those markets and assembling war chests of hard currency so that they'd never again have to go begging to the IMF. Enthusiasts of hyper-globalization also claimed that it benefited poor countries by increasing export opportunities, but as the success of East Asia shows, there is more than one way to boost exports -- and many poorer countries suffered under the terms of the global neoliberal regime.

Nor was the damage confined to the developing world. As the work of Harvard economist Dani Rodrik has demonstrated, democracy requires a polity. For better or for worse, the polity and democratic citizenship are national. By enhancing the global market at the expense of the democratic state, the current brand of hyper-globalization deliberately weakens the capacity of states to regulate markets, and weakens democracy itself.

When Do Markets Work?

The failure of neoliberalism as economic and social policy does not mean that markets never work. A command economy is even more utopian and perverse than a neoliberal one. The practical quest is for an efficient and equitable middle ground.

The neoliberal story of how the economy operates assumes a largely frictionless marketplace, where prices are set by supply and demand, and the price mechanism allocates resources to their optimal use in the economy as a whole. For this discipline to work as advertised, however, there can be no market power, competition must be plentiful, sellers and buyers must have roughly equal information, and there can be no significant externalities. Much of the 20th century was practical proof that these conditions did not describe a good part of the actual economy. And if markets priced things wrong, the market system did not aggregate to an efficient equilibrium, and depressions could become self-deepening. As Keynes demonstrated, only a massive jolt of government spending could restart the engines, even if market pricing was partly violated in the process.

Nonetheless, in many sectors of the economy, the process of buying and selling is close enough to the textbook conditions of perfect competition that the price system works tolerably well. Supermarkets, for instance, deliver roughly accurate prices because of the consumer's freedom and knowledge to shop around. Likewise much of retailing. However, when we get into major realms of the economy with positive or negative externalities, such as education and health, markets are not sufficient. And in other major realms, such as pharmaceuticals, where corporations use their political power to rig the terms of patents, the market doesn't produce a cure.

The basic argument of neoliberalism can fit on a bumper sticker. Markets work; governments don't . If you want to embellish that story, there are two corollaries: Markets embody human freedom. And with markets, people basically get what they deserve; to alter market outcomes is to spoil the poor and punish the productive. That conclusion logically flows from the premise that markets are efficient. Milton Friedman became rich, famous, and influential by teasing out the several implications of these simple premises.

It is much harder to articulate the case for a mixed economy than the case for free markets, precisely because the mixed economy is mixed. The rebuttal takes several paragraphs. The more complex story holds that markets are substantially efficient in some realms but far from efficient in others, because of positive and negative externalities, the tendency of financial markets to create cycles of boom and bust, the intersection of self-interest and corruption, the asymmetry of information between company and consumer, the asymmetry of power between corporation and employee, the power of the powerful to rig the rules, and the fact that there are realms of human life (the right to vote, human liberty, security of one's person) that should not be marketized.

And if markets are not perfectly efficient, then distributive questions are partly political choices. Some societies pay pre-K teachers the minimum wage as glorified babysitters. Others educate and compensate them as professionals. There is no "correct" market-derived wage, because pre-kindergarten is a social good and the issue of how to train and compensate teachers is a social choice, not a market choice. The same is true of the other human services, including medicine. Nor is there a theoretically correct set of rules for patents, trademarks, and copyrights. These are politically derived, either balancing the interests of innovation with those of diffusion -- or being politically captured by incumbent industries.

Governments can in principle improve on market outcomes via regulation, but that fact is complicated by the risk of regulatory capture. So another issue that arises is market failure versus polity failure, which brings us back to the urgency of strong democracy and effective government.

After Neoliberalism

The political reversal of neoliberalism can only come through practical politics and policies that demonstrate how government often can serve citizens more equitably and efficiently than markets. Revision of theory will take care of itself. There is no shortage of dissenting theorists and empirical policy researchers whose scholarly work has been vindicated by events. What they need is not more theory but more influence, both in the academy and in the corridors of power. They are available to advise a new progressive administration, if that administration can get elected and if it refrains from hiring neoliberal advisers.

There are also some relatively new areas that invite policy innovation. These include regulation of privacy rights versus entrepreneurial liberties in the digital realm; how to think of the internet as a common carrier; how to update competition and antitrust policy as platform monopolies exert new forms of market power; how to modernize labor-market policy in the era of the gig economy; and the role of deeper income supplements as machines replace human workers.

The failed neoliberal experiment also makes the case not just for better-regulated capitalism but for direct public alternatives as well. Banking, done properly, especially the provision of mortgage finance, is close to a public utility. Much of it could be public. A great deal of research is done more honestly and more cost-effectively in public, peer-reviewed institutions such as the NIH than by a substantially corrupt private pharmaceutical industry.

Social housing often is more cost-effective than so-called public-private partnerships. Public power is more efficient to generate, less prone to monopolistic price-gouging, and friendlier to the needed green transition than private power. The public option in health care is far more efficient than the current crazy quilt in which each layer of complexity adds opacity and cost. Public provision does require public oversight, but that is more straightforward and transparent than the byzantine dance of regulation and counter-regulation.

The two other benefits of direct public provision are that the public gets direct evidence of government delivering something of value, and that the countervailing power of democracy to harness markets is enhanced. A mixed economy depends above all on a strong democracy -- one even stronger than the democracy that succumbed to the corrupting influence of economic elites and their neoliberal intellectual allies beginning half a century ago. The antidote to the resurrected neoliberal fable is the resurrection of democracy -- strong enough to tame the market in a way that tames it for keeps.


Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy . In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books.

Read the original article at Prospect.org.

Used with the permission. © The American Prospect, Prospect.org, 2019. All rights reserved.

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[Sep 17, 2019] Now and again, both in professional political writings and here as I read, the term Trotskyism is used but though I have looked up the term a few times I have no real idea what it is supposed to mean.

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , September 15, 2019 at 02:32 PM

Correcting my punctuation:

Now and again, both in professional political writings and here as I read, the term Trotskyism is used but though I have looked up the term a few times I have no real idea what it is supposed to mean. Possibly a reader could explain. After all, the term tankie was explained by a prominent economist at the University of California only a few days ago and I realized the term was absurd, simply an empty personal insult. Possibly Trotskyism is as empty.

likbez -> anne... , September 16, 2019 at 09:32 PM
Hi Anne,

You are in a bad position. Generally this needs some acquaintance with Marxism as Trotskyism is one of the most influential "deviation" from Classic Marxism (Bolshevism was yet another).

Both used to believe in the special role of "proletariat" as the new class that will depose older ruling classes all over the globe. Both believed in "class struggle" as the main force of historical development of humanity. One of the key ideas of Trotskyism was the idea of Permanent revolution -- forceful introduction of socialist regimes using subversion, external financial injections, and armed struggle (kind of "regime change" strategy that the USA practices now for introduction of neoliberal regimes.)

The idea of class struggle transposed as the struggle within the elite and between states for supremacy was borrowed by the US turncoats from Trotskyism (see for example -- renegade Trotskyite James Burnham book THE MACHIAVELLIANS: THE DEFENDERS OF FREEDOM ) who later formed the core of the neocon movement.

Still you might try to read some sources on the WEB like:

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

Or something from one of the few remaining Forth International (Trotskyite) sites like wsws.org:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/09/13/lec6-s13.html

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/08/23/rowe-a23.html

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/10/mdbv-m10.html

[Sep 02, 2019] Where is Margaret Thatcher now?

Highly recommended!
Sep 02, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , August 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

Thatcher was an English politico. It is not what she said, but what she did that counts. She is probably down in Dante's Inferno, Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10. (Frauds and false councilors.) See, oh wayward sinners: http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/circle8b.html

The Rev Kev , , September 2, 2019 at 12:37 am

Ring 8, sub-rings 7-10? She will probably find Milton Friedman in the basement there.

ambrit , September 2, 2019 at 7:09 am

Ah, you think that Milton should be at the bottom, eh? Then, I hope that he knows how to ice skate. (He was the worst kind of 'class traitor.' [His parents were small store owner/managers.])

Ring 8 of the Inferno is for 'frauds' of all sorts, sub-rings 7-10 are reserved for Thieves, Deceivers, Schismatics, and Falsifiers. Maggie should feel right at home there.

[Aug 24, 2019] Elusive and allusive indeterminacy characterizes everything in the culture of postmodernity

Notable quotes:
"... To say "we will never know" is the mantra of a postmodern culture created to keep people running in circles. (Note the commentaries about the Jeffrey Epstein case.) Elusive and allusive indeterminacy characterizes everything in the culture of postmodernity. ..."
"... The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face. ..."
"... This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism". It consists of neoliberalism, plus postmodernism as its ideological superstructure. ..."
"... Money buys souls, and the number of those who have sold theirs is numerous, including those leftists who have been bought by the CIA, as Cord Meyer, the CIA official phrased it so sexually in the 1950s: we need to "court the compatible left." He knew that drawing leftists into the CIA's orbit was the key to efficient propaganda. ..."
"... For so many of the compatible left, those making a lot of money posing as opponents of the ruling elites but taking the money of the super-rich, the JFK assassination and the truth of September 11, 2001 are inconsequential, never to be broached, as if they never happened, except as the authorities say they did. ..."
"... By ignoring these most in-your-face events with their eyes wide shut, a coterie of influential leftists has done the work of Orwell's crime-stop and has effectively succeeded in situating current events in an ahistorical and therefore misleading context that abets U.S. propaganda. ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | off-guardian.org

People hunger for these stories, not for the real truth that impacts their lives, but for the titillation that gives a frisson to their humdrum lives. It is why post-modern detective stories are so popular, as if never solving the crime is the point.

To say "we will never know" is the mantra of a postmodern culture created to keep people running in circles. (Note the commentaries about the Jeffrey Epstein case.) Elusive and allusive indeterminacy characterizes everything in the culture of postmodernity.

Robert Pfaller, a professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria and a founding member of the Viennese psychoanalytic research group "stuzzicandenti," put it clearly in a recent interview :

The ruling ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or even earlier, is postmodernism. This is the ideological embellishment that the brutal neoliberal attack on Western societies' welfare (that was launched in the late 1970s) required in order to attain a "human", "liberal" and "progressive" face.

This coalition between an economic policy that serves the interest of a tiny minority, and an ideology that appears to "include" everybody is what Nancy Fraser has aptly called "progressive neoliberalism". It consists of neoliberalism, plus postmodernism as its ideological superstructure.

The propagandists know this; they created it. They are psychologically astute, having hijacked many intelligent but soul-less people of the right and left to do their handiwork.

Money buys souls, and the number of those who have sold theirs is numerous, including those leftists who have been bought by the CIA, as Cord Meyer, the CIA official phrased it so sexually in the 1950s: we need to "court the compatible left." He knew that drawing leftists into the CIA's orbit was the key to efficient propaganda.

For so many of the compatible left, those making a lot of money posing as opponents of the ruling elites but taking the money of the super-rich, the JFK assassination and the truth of September 11, 2001 are inconsequential, never to be broached, as if they never happened, except as the authorities say they did.

By ignoring these most in-your-face events with their eyes wide shut, a coterie of influential leftists has done the work of Orwell's crime-stop and has effectively succeeded in situating current events in an ahistorical and therefore misleading context that abets U.S. propaganda.

[Aug 05, 2019] Something about Department of Homeland Security

Actually KGB is an abbreviation for the "Committee for State Security" --
Aug 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Viral Architect , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:51 am GMT

[Aug 03, 2019] Why Trump hates regulations

Trump converted himself from a "billionaire for working people" into Evil Orange Clown (TM) in less then 3 years.
Aug 03, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Tomonthebeach , August 3, 2019 at 1:40 pm

Trump clearly hates being regulated, as do most bus billionaire cronies. They want to drill for oil on the White House lawn if there is potential. They would mine sulfur from Old Faithful if it was profitable.

[Jun 23, 2019] Theory and practice of neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:40

Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare.

Love it. When push comes to shove all those ideologies and beliefs crumble into the dust of practical needs. Another individual who cloaked the self-interest of the rich and powerful into some kind of spurious ideology.

George wrote a rather good article about Von Hayek a few years ago I seem to remember.

[Jan 24, 2019] Stockman about Vichy left

Jan 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

mauisurfer , Jan 23, 2019 11:02:14 AM | link

best ever from Stockman

Trump Derangement Syndrome and the NATO Fetish of the Progressive Left
by David Stockman Posted on January 23, 2019

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2019/01/22/trump-derangement-syndrome-and-the-nato-fetish-of-the-progressive-left/

[Apr 27, 2018] Chomsky joined Vichy left on Syria

Apr 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tobin Paz | Apr 26, 2018 5:37:44 PM | 40

Wow, Syria is going to wipeout the majority of the "Left":

Chomsky Among "Progressives" Calling for US Military Involvement in Syria

Since most progressive figures would never publicly call for extending a U.S.-led military occupation, this petition shows that the war propaganda in Syria – particularly as it relates to the Kurds – has been highly effective in subverting the progressive anti-war left as it relates to the Syrian conflict.

How he's going to explain supporting kidnappers, murders, drug dealers:

Ethnic cleaners:

Thieves:

Child soldier recruiters:

Allen , Apr 26, 2018 8:56:52 PM | 64

Don't miss this piece:

Another Beautiful Soul: Counterpunching the Global Assault on Dissent

I was recently alerted to Sonali Kolhatkar's Truth Dig article, "Why Are Some on the Left Falling for Fake News on Syria?", which Counterpunch found important enough to republish under the title, "The Left, Syria and Fake News." Kolhatkar's article was introduced to me as the work of a "beautiful soul."

...

The beautiful soul is consumed with "philanthropic fantasies and sentimental phrases about fraternity", Engels once remarked. They advocate "edifying humanism" and "generic, vague, moral appeals" not "concrete political action" to challenge "a specific social system".* It's not clear what Counterpunch is counterpunching, but in the case of Draitser and Kolhatkar, it's certainly not US imperialism.

Beautiful souls appear not to recognize that the war in Syria is a concrete political struggle connected to a specific social system related to empire; it is the struggle of the United States to extend its dictatorship over all of the Arab world and of Arab nationalists in Damascus and their allies to counter US imperial designs. All the beautiful soul recognizes is that people are being killed, families are being uprooted, small children are being terrorized, and they wish it would all just end. They're not for justice, or an end to oppression and the dictatorship of the United States, or for equality; they're for the absence of conflict. And they don't seem to particularly care how it's brought about.

...

In any event, whatever left Kolhatkar is part of, is not a left that has much to do with challenging and overcoming a real world system of domination, oppression and exploitation. It's a left whose goal is the absence of conflict, not the presence of justice; it's for pious expressions of benevolence, not engagement with a real world struggle against dictatorship on an international level.

https://gowans.wordpress.com/2018/04/24/another-beautiful-soul-counterpunching-the-global-assault-on-dissent/

paul , Apr 26, 2018 9:31:37 PM | 68
what Chomsky is doing now re. Syria should raise big questions about what his role has been for the left in the past.

[Apr 23, 2018] Neoliberals are statists, much like Trotskyites are

Highly recommended!
Apr 23, 2018 | americanaffairsjournal.org

From Neoliberalism The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name - American Affairs Journal

While it is undeniable that neoliberals routinely disparage the state, both back then and now, it does not follow that they are politically libertarian or, as David Harvey would have it, that they are implacably opposed to state interventions in the economy and society. Harvey's error is distressing, since even Antonio Gramsci understood this: "Moreover, laissez-faire liberalism, too, must be introduced by law, through the intervention of political power: it is an act of will, not the spontaneous, automatic expression of economic facts." 6 From the 1940s onward, the distinguishing characteristic of neoliberal doctrines and practice is that they embrace this prospect of repurposing the strong state to impose their vision of a society properly open to the dominance of the market as they conceive it. Neoliberals from Friedrich Hayek to James Buchanan to Richard Posner to Alexander Rüstow (who invented the term Vitalpolitik , which became Foucault's "biopolitics") to Jacques Rueff, not to mention a plethora of figures after 1970, all explicitly proposed policies to strengthen the state. 7

Friedman's own trademark proposals, like putting the money supply on autopilot, or replacing public schools with vouchers, required an extremely strong state to enforce them. While neoliberal think tanks rile up the base with debt clocks and boogeyman statistics of ratios of government expenditure to GDP, neoliberal politicians organize a host of new state activities to fortify their markets. They extravagantly increase incarceration and policing of those whom they deem unfit for the marketplace. They expand both state and corporate power to exercise surveillance and manipulation of subject populations while dismantling judicial recourse to resist such encroachments. Neoliberals introduce new property rights (like intellectual property) to cement into place their extensions of market valuations to situations where they were absent. They strengthen international sanctions such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and investor-state dispute settlement schemes to circumvent and neutralize national social legislation they dislike. They bail out and subsidize private banking systems at the cost of many multiples of existing national income. And they define corporations as legal persons in order to facilitate the buying of elections.

The blue-sky writings of neoliberals with regard to the state are, if anything, even more daunting. In the imaginary constitution proposed in Hayek's Law, Legislation and Liberty , he suggests that politicians be rendered more powerful : in the imagined upper legislative house, Hayek stipulates, only men of substantial property over age forty-five would be eligible to vote or be elected; no political parties would be allowed; and each member would stand for a hefty fifteen-year term. 8 This illustrates the larger neoliberal predisposition to be very leery of democracy, and thus to stymie public participation through the concentration of political power in fewer hands. James Buchanan proposed something very similar. 9 This is just about as far from libertarianism as one could get, short of brute dictatorship.

So here is the answer to my first question: people think the label "neoliberalism" is an awful neologism because the neoliberals have been so good at covering their tracks, obscuring what they stand for, and denying the level of coherence which they have achieved in their long march to legitimacy. Back when some of these proposals were just a gleam in Hayek's eye, they did explicitly use the term "neoliberalism" to describe the project that, back then, did not yet exist -- even Milton Friedman used it in print! 10 But once their program looked like it would start to jell, and subsequently start reshaping both the state and the market more to their liking, they abruptly abjured any reference to that label, and sometime in the later 1950s, following the lead of Hayek, they began to call themselves "classical liberals." This attempt at rebranding was an utter travesty because, as they moved from reconceptualization of one area of human experience to another, the resulting doctrines contradicted classical liberalism point by point, and term by term. It might be worthwhile for us who come after to insist upon the relevance of things that put the neo- in neoliberalism.

What's New about Neoliberalism?

In a nutshell, classical liberalism imagined a night watchman state that would set the boundaries for the natural growth of the market, like a shepherd tending his flock. Markets were born, not made. The principles of good governance and liberty would be dictated by natural rights of individual humans, or perhaps by the prudent accretion of tradition. People needed to be nurtured first to find themselves, in order to act as legitimate citizens in liberal society. Society would be protected from the disruptive character of the market by something like John Stuart Mill's "harm principle": colloquially, the freedom of my fist stops at the freedom of your face. The neoliberals were having none of that, and explicitly said so.

Far from trying to preserve society against the unintended consequences of the operations of markets, as democratic liberalism sought to do, neoliberal doctrine instead set out actively to dismantle those aspects of society which might resist the purportedly inexorable logic of "catallactics," and to reshape it in the market's image. For neoliberals, freedom and the market would be treated as identical. Their rallying cry was to remove the foundation of liberty from natural rights or tradition, and reposition it upon an entirely novel theory concerning what a market was, or should be. They could not acknowledge individual natural rights, because they sought to tutor the masses to become the agent the market would be most likely to deem successful. The market no longer gave you what you wanted; you had to capitulate to what the market wanted. All areas of life could be better configured to behave as if they were more market-like. Gary Becker, for example, a member of the Mont Pèlerin Society, proposed a market-based approach to allow for a socially optimal level of crime, and advocated a revolutionary extension of marginal calculus to include the "shadow costs" and benefits associated with "children, prestige or esteem, health, altruism, envy, and pleasure of the senses." Becker even proposed an economic model of the "dating market," one consequence of which was the proposition that polygamy for successful, wealthy men could be politically rationalized. And voilà! The Sunday New York Times produced an article saying just that, as if it were real news. Classical liberals like Mill or Michael Oakeshott would be spinning in their graves. 11

The intellectual content of neoliberalism is something that warrants sustained discussion, but this can only happen once critical historians can admit they are no longer basing their evaluations on the isolated writings of a single author. There is no convenient crib sheet describing what the modern neoliberal thought collective (for brevity, NTC) actually believes. Nevertheless, neoliberalism does have certain themes that are regularly sounded in emanations from the NTC:

No wonder outsiders are dazed and confused. The neoliberal revolutionaries, contemptuous of tradition, conjured a fake tradition to mask their true intentions. They did this while explicitly abjuring the label of "conservative." But there is one more reason that outsiders tend to think it a mistake to posit an effective intellectual formation called "neoliberalism." Nowadays we doubt that ideas, and particularly political ideas, are the product of the concerted efforts of some thought collective stretching over generations, engaging in critique and reconstruction, fine-tuning and elaborating doctrine, while keeping focused upon problems of implementation and feasibility. Indeed, that doubt is evidence of neoliberal preconceptions having seeped into all of our thought processes. Yet that is an exact description of how neoliberalism developed, in the manner (as I insist on calling it) of a thought collective: sanctioned members are encouraged to innovate and embellish in small ways, but an excess of doctrinal heresy gets one expelled from participation. Central dogmas are not codified or dictated by any single prophet; no one delivers the Tablets down from the "Mont"; and you cannot adequately understand neoliberalism solely by reading Hayek or Milton Friedman, for that matter. While we can locate its origins in 1947, it has undergone much revision since then, and is still a hydra-headed Gorgon to this very day.

[Apr 16, 2018] The Incoherence of the Philosophers The Horror of Postmodernism by The Liberal Moonbat

Notable quotes:
"... The rundown is that a pseudo-intellectual retreat from rationalism invited its well-deserved ridicule too late, and may have been responsible for the needless and terrible demise of a great world civilization's halcyon era, for which the whole world suffers to this day. We need to learn from that. ..."
"... The Incoherence ..."
"... @Cassiodorus ..."
"... @The Liberal Moonbat ..."
"... @The Liberal Moonbat ..."
"... @Cassiodorus ..."
"... @The Liberal Moonbat ..."
"... @Cassiodorus ..."
"... it's really all just a game ..."
Apr 15, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 7:20am

The title of this bit here refers to an 11th-Century work of Islamic theology, explained here: https://existentialcomics.com/comic/126

The rundown is that a pseudo-intellectual retreat from rationalism invited its well-deserved ridicule too late, and may have been responsible for the needless and terrible demise of a great world civilization's halcyon era, for which the whole world suffers to this day. We need to learn from that.

Everyone here needs to be aware of this, I'm afraid: The modern Western equivalent of The Incoherence . It explains so, so much. If you're wondering why you're suddenly being barraged with Orwellian jargon, charged with crimethink, seeing the issues you've been harping on for years suddenly turned against you as though you've never even heard of them, get aggressively assigned identities you've never had in your life and told that the person you've always been can't possibly exist, and that the consensus, however flawed and incomplete, of the past 50 years on many hard-fought issues is quite suddenly being treated as though it was all a nefarious lie (a la 9/11-flashback), here's the root of who and what to blame:

https://areomagazine.com/2017/03/27/how-french-intellectuals-ruined-the-...

The fact that institutions of higher learning have been coddling this for so long, despite the special treatment it could not survive without, and despite the fact that it bears the mantle and exploits the public clout of science, education, liberalism, and diversity, just to destroy all those things, is particularly shameful. They might as well allow Dianetics as a legitimate alternative to psychology.

Below is what I personally maintain is the Greatest Political Cartoon In American History. Though it refers to only one issue, it elegantly explains nearly everything wrong with American political thought.

arendt on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 9:29am
Good topic...

I'm going to post what I wrote ten years ago in a separate thread, giving you full credit for bringing up the subject.

Cassiodorus on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 1:31pm
That Helen Pluckrose piece is pretty funny.

Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself .

When in doubt, scream and shout, run around in circles, and panic! Uh-huh. Postmodernism was the solution to an academic problem which arose in the Eighties with the proliferation of Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in the humanities. Nobody wanted to read another thesis or dissertation on Shakespeare, and all of the academic work had to be strictly original and pass increasingly onerous originality tests of the type employed by turnitin.com . Meanwhile the authors had to write these damn things if they were to receive diplomas and move on to teaching jobs. Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity. Postmodernism is the Hamburger Helper of the academic humanities, a solution to a purely practical matter.

But Pluckrose continues to panic. Here she is characterizing the postmodern perspective:

Therefore the author of a text is not the authority on its meaning.

So? Perhaps Pluckrose needs to read more undergraduate papers, in which their authors evoke an eternal authorial struggle. "Say what you mean!" my teacherly red ink continually shouts at these undergraduates. Of course this is a problem when one's undergraduates write run-on sentences or sentence fragments. But does anyone really say what they mean? I suppose we can at least try harder. Meanwhile original meanings get lost in the procession of history. A prima facie example of this is "originalism" in Constitutional jurisprudence, which claims ultimate reliance on an "original meaning" of the Constitution -- you know, that one and only one original meaning the Founders intended. Never mind that said Founders were walking contradictions. Take for instance Thomas Jefferson, that eloquent waxer upon the virtues of freedom. Now ask Sally Hemings about him.

Let's skip to Pluckrose's conclusion:

In order to regain credibility, the Left needs to recover a strong, coherent and reasonable liberalism.

I don't see why. How about if we figure out what sort of utopian dream would be appropriate for our world in our day and age, and then decide afterward if we want to call it "liberalism"? Isn't the point of the "science" which Pluckrose regards so highly to put the conclusion at the end of one's research, rather than at the beginning?

I could go on, but this is long enough for a comment in a diary.

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 12:49pm
"Postmodernism" may not be the ideal term

@Cassiodorus

Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity.

That's a different kind of "Postmodernism" altogether, the kind associated with (if I'm not mistaken) such Chaotic gems as MAD Magazine, Monty Python, The Far Side , and the vibrant, innovative weirdness of a wide array of 1990s art, literature, and pop culture. My very bones are built on such things.

There's also "postmodern architecture", best known for being boring (my mother has been known to call it "post-architecture").

This, though? This is something entirely anathema. The aesthetic we call "postmodern" is liberating and innovative (at least as long as it stays in the hands of people who "get it"); it teaches that there are no rules, that life is a strange and beautiful carnival, that we can be whatever we want to be, and the world can be whatever we want it to be.

"Postmodernism" as sociology, on the other hand, with its denial of the very existence of the individual, and obscene redefinitions of such sacred words as "Justice", is just all but explicitly totalitarian, and would have us believe that the entire 20th Century, with all its hard-fought, bitter-bought victories and miracles, was all for nothing.

Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself .

When in doubt, scream and shout, run around in circles, and panic! Uh-huh. Postmodernism was the solution to an academic problem which arose in the Eighties with the proliferation of Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in the humanities. Nobody wanted to read another thesis or dissertation on Shakespeare, and all of the academic work had to be strictly original and pass increasingly onerous originality tests of the type employed by turnitin.com . Meanwhile the authors had to write these damn things if they were to receive diplomas and move on to teaching jobs. Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity. Postmodernism is the Hamburger Helper of the academic humanities, a solution to a purely practical matter.

But Pluckrose continues to panic. Here she is characterizing the postmodern perspective:

Therefore the author of a text is not the authority on its meaning.

So? Perhaps Pluckrose needs to read more undergraduate papers, in which their authors evoke an eternal authorial struggle. "Say what you mean!" my teacherly red ink continually shouts at these undergraduates. Of course this is a problem when one's undergraduates write run-on sentences or sentence fragments. But does anyone really say what they mean? I suppose we can at least try harder. Meanwhile original meanings get lost in the procession of history. A prima facie example of this is "originalism" in Constitutional jurisprudence, which claims ultimate reliance on an "original meaning" of the Constitution -- you know, that one and only one original meaning the Founders intended. Never mind that said Founders were walking contradictions. Take for instance Thomas Jefferson, that eloquent waxer upon the virtues of freedom. Now ask Sally Hemings about him.

Let's skip to Pluckrose's conclusion:

In order to regain credibility, the Left needs to recover a strong, coherent and reasonable liberalism.

I don't see why. How about if we figure out what sort of utopian dream would be appropriate for our world in our day and age, and then decide afterward if we want to call it "liberalism"? Isn't the point of the "science" which Pluckrose regards so highly to put the conclusion at the end of one's research, rather than at the beginning?

I could go on, but this is long enough for a comment in a diary.

Cassiodorus on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 6:26pm
Let me briefly suggest here --

@The Liberal Moonbat @The Liberal Moonbat that it is "liberalism" itself that has run out of gas.

At any rate, to deal with the objections to postmodernism: it's a performative contradiction to be an academic writing against the idea of the individual, for higher-level academia exists to adorn the resumes of self-proclaimed individuals. I just don't see postmodernism, of whatever kind you care to distinguish, as anything but harmless, useless, and pointless outside of its obvious role in contributing to the resume-building efforts of professors in the humanities, and I haven't seen anything here to change my mind about that.

Rather, the problem is that the liberals have run out of new mechanisms whereby the liberal utopia might bear fruit. The liberal trend peaked a long time ago. And, in the meantime, liberal objections to the neoliberal utopia, the utopia of total market existence for everyone as enforced by government diktat, have become toothless. In the US context the liberals appear either blind to or despairing of the fact that the best they had for politics was Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and that their hero Bernie Sanders nullified himself by endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the French contest the best they had was Macron. I suppose that there are a few islands of sanity elsewhere. But liberalism does not contribute substantially to the longevity of such islands.

#2

Postmodernism to the rescue! Postmodernism as such was an aesthetic movement, revealing with drab uniformity the juxtaposition of everything in an era in which everything was a commodity.

That's a different kind of "Postmodernism" altogether, the kind associated with (if I'm not mistaken) such Chaotic gems as MAD Magazine, Monty Python, The Far Side , and the vibrant, innovative weirdness of a wide array of 1990s art, literature, and pop culture. My very bones are built on such things.

There's also "postmodern architecture", best known for being boring (my mother has been known to call it "post-architecture").

This, though? This is something entirely anathema. The aesthetic we call "postmodern" is liberating and innovative (at least as long as it stays in the hands of people who "get it"); it teaches that there are no rules, that life is a strange and beautiful carnival, that we can be whatever we want to be, and the world can be whatever we want it to be. "Postmodernism" as sociology, on the other hand, with its denial of the very existence of the individual, and obscene redefinitions of such sacred words as "Justice", is just all but explicitly totalitarian, and would have us believe that the entire 20th Century, with all its hard-fought, bitter-bought victories and miracles, was all for nothing.

The Liberal Moonbat on Sun, 04/15/2018 - 4:42pm
That turns us to the definition of "liberalism",