Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

National neoliberalism

All along Trump has been the candidate of the military. The other two power centers of the power triangle , the corporate and the executive government (CIA), had gone for Clinton. Trump, as the Pentagon's proxy, defeated Hillary the CIA proxy -- Moon of Alabama, Oct 21, 2017

News Neoliberalism Recommended Links National Security State Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Russiagate -- a color revolution against  Trump Nation under attack meme Trump 2020 campaign Prison–industrial complex
Reversal of planned detente with Russia Big Uncle is Watching You Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism The Deep State Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Anti Trump Hysteria Demonization of Putin Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA American Exceptionalism Impulsivity and incompetence: shoot first ask questions later foreign policy Cold War II    Media-Military-Industrial Complex   The Iron Law of Oligarchy Blowback against neoliberal globalization
History of American False Flag Operations  False flag operations as important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Anti-globalization movement Doublespeak New American Militarism Bait and Switch
Trump foreign policy Trump after his Colin Powell moment Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Iran saber-rattling Korea saber-rattling Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law      
TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates Trump economic platform Predator state Corporatism Nation under attack meme Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Deception as an art form
Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Neocons Principal-agent problem  Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism Corporatist Corruption Non-Interventionism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
  The real Donald Trump has been exposed. The man who promised a sensible and non-interventionist Middle Eastern policy and a reset with Moscow has now reneged on both pledges.

His nitwit United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has directly linked Russia and Syria for punishment by the omnipotent Leader of the Free World lest anyone be confused.

The unconscionable attack on Syria based on the usual unsubstantiated allegations has shifted the playing field dramatically, with the “new sheriff in town” apparently intent on proving he is a real man who can play hardball with the rest of them.

Philip Giraldi  Iran the Destabilizer - The Unz Review April 11, 2017

“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens  

...my thesis is not that the current American political system is an inspired replica of Nazi Germany’s or George W. Bush of Hitler. References to Hitler’s Germany are introduced to remind the reader of the benchmarks in a system of power that was invasive abroad, justified preemptive war as a matter of official doctrine, and repressed all opposition at home — a system that was cruel and racist in principle and practice, deeply ideological, and openly bent on world domination. Those benchmarks are introduced to illuminate tendencies in our own system of power that are opposed to the fundamental principles of constitutional democracy. Those tendencies are, I believe, “totalizing” in the sense that they are obsessed with control, expansion, superiority, and supremacy.

Sheldon Wolin


Introduction

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action”

― Ian Fleming

It's not so simple, unfortunately. At the last presidential election in 2016,
the only choice citizens had was between two "insane rats".
They logically chose the one who lied better,
promising to change US policy - which he has not done.

Tom Welsh, sic_semper_tyrannis, Apr 14, 2018

 

After three following event there is no doubt  that Thump became a neocon stooge with the only foreign policy initiatives of his own that can be attributed to his own  impulsivity  and lack of international experience. Those three event  are as following

  1. Bombing of Syria after fake chemical attack at Khan Sheikhoun gas attack
  2. Expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats after Skripal poisoning
  3. Bombing Syria again after Douma gas attack --  yet another false flag poisoning

The initial conversion  happened  just three month after inauguration and full evolution into neocon took slightly more then a year.

It is true that like Obama before him Mr. Trump was somewhat nontraditional candidate. Like Obama he  was a  "clean slate candidate " -- a person without substantial political baggage. Which hunted Hillary Clinton all along  the way. So his electorate (like Obama electorate before) was able to project  their wished into him (without any justification; lured by just value election promises), which increased his chances of victory. He was also non-traditional candidate in several more minor aspects: 

But his election victory was just a sign that Pentagon (which supported Trump)  and CIA (which supported Hillary Clinton) clashed in the fight for top seat in government. Pentagon won, and CIA now needs to face consequences, despite vicious counterattack of remnants of Brennan troops and CIA controlled media.

They unleashed Russiagate witch hunt which rivals McCarthyism. In May 2017 managed to install the special prosecutor Mueller. Even earlier, in November, 2016,  they launched a color revolution to depose Trump (The Junta Expands Its Claim To Power). The CIA owns the large swats of the US MSM, and without an effective propaganda arm, the military might face another Vietnam.

Still the level of influence  of military in Trump cabinet is really unprecedented, even in comparison with Eisenhower administration:

On January 20, the first day of the Not-Hillary presidency, I warned:
The military will demand its due beyond the three generals now in Trump's cabinet.

With the help of the media the generals in the White House defeated their civilian adversary. In August the Trump ship dropped its ideological pilot. Steve Bannon went from board. Bannon's militarist enemy, National Security Advisor General McMaster, had won. I stated:

A military junta is now ruling the United States

and later explained:

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

The military took full control of White House processes and policies:

Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands ... To control Trump the Junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view ... The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing certain alternatives to him. The one that is most preferable to them, will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

With the power center captured the Junta starts to implement its ideology and to suppress any and all criticism against itself.

Betrayal of voters in best "change we can believe in" style

 

So Congress finally passed a budget. It’s a blockbuster—$1.3 trillion, or around four thousand dollars for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.A. Basically it is a compound made up of (a) anything Leftist Democrats could wish for, and (b) anything that the Jeb Bush wing of the Republican Party, and that wing’s Big Business donors (but I repeat myself), could wish for. But how about the things that sixty-three million of us voted for in 2016, awarding the Presidency to Donald Trump?

Border control? Enforcement of immigration law? An end to missionary wars and the World Policeman role? Economic and population policies that favor Americans rather than foreigners?

Some of that in such a colossal budget, doesn’t there? After all, Donald Trump is President, isn’t he? He signed off on this thing, doesn’t he?

...This budget bill is, in short, a middle finger to President Trump. Its larger message: populism is no match for the Deep State. The contest is an unequal one. It’s almost cruel the way the congresscritters—Chuck Ryan and Paul Schumer, Nancy McConnell and Mitch Pelosi—it’s almost cruel the way they are grinning and chuckling and high-fiving among themselves over how easy it’s been to kick sand in the President’s face.

...I see Trump there on my TV screen, in my newspaper, on my Twitter feed; but I don’t see Trumpism. Where is it?

A friend has an adjective he deploys to describe Trump: “anticompetent.” A merely in-competent ruler, my friend says — like the child rulers who sometimes took the throne in old dynastic monarchies — could skate along without doing much harm by relying on advisors. Trump goes beyond that to anti-competent, sabotaging himself at every turn, taking advice from Deep Staters who sneer him behind his back and detest the people who voted for him.
 

Deep State Rolls Trump On Budget, Immigration. Is This The End, by John Derbyshire - The Unz Review

In this sense, classic neoliberalism was/is the ideology of the emergent transnational capitalist class which has planned and constructed an architecture of global governance in response to threats from national capital, from nationalists of various flavors and from the Left.  In way it was similar to Trotskyism with its dream of Global revolution and creation of global socialist state (Permanent Revolution). Classic neoliberalism also strives to global dominance and used "regime change"  operation often in the form of wars or color revolutions to convert the states into neoliberal domain.  Since 90th  the USA is waging multiple wars and "regime change" operations directed to this purpose  (Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, etc)

National neoliberalism brakes with classic neoliberalism in several important categories and first of all in its treatment of global elites and globalization. It does not view the US elite as "the first among equals." It clearly stipulate the primacy of the USA elite and favorable for the USA forms of globalization  as a priority and is really to wage a trade war to achieve those goals.  And it is ready to engage in the trade wars to achieve the stated goals. that's why forces that support 'classic neoliberalism" launched color revolution with the goal to depose Trump. With several neoliberal countries joining domestic US forces (among them UK was probably the most important player)

National neoliberalism is the term that was probably the first introduced by Sasha Breger Bush in his December, 2016 article Trump and National Neoliberalism

Many writers and pundits are currently framing Trump’s election in terms of a dispossessed and disenfranchised white, male working class, unsatisfied with neoliberal globalization and the insecurity and hardship it has unleashed—particularly across regions of the United States that were formerly manufacturing powerhouses (like the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, four states believed to have cost Hillary Clinton the election). While there is much truth to this perspective and substantial empirical evidence to support it, it would be a mistake to see Trump’s election wholly in these terms.

"What Trump’s election has accomplished is an unmasking of the corporate state."

Trump’s election is in some ways a neoliberal apex, an event that portends the completion of the US government’s capture by wealthy corporate interests. While in my opinion Trump’s election does not signal the beginning of a rapid descent into European-style fascism, it appears to be a key stage in the ongoing process of American democratic disintegration. American democracy has been under attack from large and wealthy corporate interests for a long time, with this process accelerating and gaining strength over the period of neoliberal globalization (roughly the early 1970s to the present). This time period is associated with the rise of powerful multinational corporations with economic and political might that rivals that of many national governments.

In terms of the political consequences of these trends in the U.S., certain thinkers have argued that the U.S. political system is not democratic at all, but rather an “inverted totalitarian” system. Political commentator Chris Hedges notes: “Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state.” Citing the American political theorist Sheldon Wolin, Hedges continues, “Unlike the Nazis, who made life uncertain for the wealthy and privileged while providing social programs for the working class and poor, inverted totalitarianism exploits the poor, reducing or weakening health programs and social services, regimenting mass education for an insecure workforce threatened by the importation of low-wage workers.” Our inverted totalitarian system is one that retains the trappings of a democratic system—e.g. it retains the appearance of loyalty to “the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, [and] the independence of the judiciary”—all the while undermining the capacity of citizens to substantively participate and exert power over the system.

In my view, what Trump’s election has accomplished is an unmasking of the corporate state. Trump gives inverted totalitarianism a persona and a face, and perhaps marks the beginning of a transformation from inverted totalitarianism to totalitarianism proper. In spite of this, it makes no sense to me to call the system toward which we are heading (that is, if we do not stand up and resist with all our might right this second) “fascism” or to make too close comparisons to the Nazis. Whatever totalitarian nightmare is on our horizon, it will be uniquely American. And it will bear a striking resemblance to the corporate oriented system we’ve been living in for decades. Indeed, if the pre-Trump system of inverted totalitarianism solidified in the context of global neoliberalism, the period we are entering now seems likely to be one characterized by what I call “national neoliberalism.”

Trump’s Election Doesn’t Mean the End of Neoliberalism

Trump’s election represents a triumph of neoliberal thinking and values. Perhaps most importantly, we should all keep in mind the fact that Americans just elected a businessman to the presidency. In spite of his Wall Street background and billionaire status, Trump successfully cast himself as the “anti-establishment” candidate.

This configuration—in which a top-one-percenter real estate tycoon is accepted as a political “outsider”—is a hallmark of neoliberal thinking. The fundamental opposition between market and government is a central dichotomy in the neoliberal narrative.

In electing Trump, American voters are reproducing this narrative, creating an ideological cover for the closer connections between business and the state that are in store moving forward (indeed, Trump is already using the apparatus of the U.S. federal government to promote his own business interests). As states and markets further fuse in coming years, this representation of Trump and his administration—as being anti-government—will help immunize his administration from accusations of too-cozy relationships with big business. Trump’s attempts to “drain the swamp” by imposing Congressional term limits and constraints on lobbying activities by former political officials will also help to hide this relationship. (Has anyone else noticed that Trump only addresses half of the “revolving door,” i.e., he plans to limit the lobbying of former politicians, but not the political roles of businessmen?)

"Whatever totalitarian nightmare is on our horizon, it will be uniquely American."

Trump’s Contract with the American Voter, his plan for the first 100 days in office, discusses policies and programs many of which are consistent with neoliberal thinking. (I understand the term “neoliberalism” to emphasize at its core the importance of private property rights, market-based social organization, and the dangers of government intervention in the economy.) Trump’s plan redirects the activities of the U.S. government along the lines touted by neoliberal “market fundamentalists” like Milton Friedman, who advocate limiting government’s role to market-supportive functions like national defense (defense stocks are doing very well since the election) and domestic law and order (Trump’s proposals have a lot to do with altering immigration policy to “restore security”). Trump also plans to use government monies to revitalize physical infrastructure and create jobs. Other government functions, for example, health care provision and education as well as protecting the environment and public lands, are open for privatization and defunding in Trump’s agenda. Under Trump, the scope of federal government activities will narrow, likely to infrastructure, national defense, and domestic policing and surveillance, even if overall government spending increases (as bond markets are predicting).

Trump also seems content to take neoliberal advice in regard to business regulation (less is best) and the role of the private sector in regulating itself (industry insiders understand regulatory needs better than public officials). Trump’s plan for the first 100 days specifies “a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.” As of the time of this writing, his selection of cabinet appointees illustrate a broad willingness to appoint businesspeople to government posts. As of mid-December 2016, a Goldman Sachs veteran, Steven Mnuchin, has been appointed Secretary of the Treasury; billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been appointed Secretary of Commerce; fossil fuel industry supporter and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been appointed as EPA administrator; and fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder has been appointed as Secretary of Labor. Trump’s business council is staffed by the CEOs of major U.S. corporations including JP Morgan Chase, IBM and General Motors. To be fair, the “revolving door” between government and industry has been perpetuated by many of Trump’s predecessors, with Trump poised to continue the tradition. But this is not to say that neoliberalism will continue going in a “business as usual” fashion. The world is about to get much more dangerous, and this has serious implications for patterns of global trade and investment.

Trump’s Election Does Mean the End of Globalism

The nationalism, xenophobia, isolationism, and paranoia of Donald Trump are about to replace the significantly more cosmopolitan outlook of his post-WWII predecessors. While Trump is decidedly pro-business and pro-market, he most certainly does not see himself as a global citizen. Nor does he intend to maintain the United States’ extensive global footprint or its relatively open trading network. In other words, while neoliberalism is not dead, it is being transformed into a geographically more fragmented and localized system (this is not only about the US election, but also about rising levels of global protectionism and Brexit, among other anti-globalization trends around the world). I expect that the geographic extent of the US economy in the coming years will coincide with the new landscape of U.S. allies and enemies, as defined by Donald Trump and his administration.

Trump’s Contract with the American Voter outlines several policies that will make it more expensive and riskier to do business abroad. All of these need not occur; I think that even one or two of these changes will be sufficient to alter expectations in business communities about the benefits of certain cross-border economic relationships. Pulling the United States out of the TPP, along with threats to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and attempts to renegotiate NAFTA, is already signaling to other countries that we are not interested in international cooperation and collaboration. A crackdown on foreign trading abuses will prompt retaliation.

Labelling China a currency manipulator will sour relations between the two countries and prompt retaliation by China. As Trump goes forward with his anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, he will alienate the United States’ traditional allies in Europe (at least until Europe elects its own nationalist and xenophobic leaders) and communities across the Global South. The U.S. election has already undermined performance in emerging markets, and bigoted rhetoric and policy will only increase anti-American sentiment in struggling economies populated largely by people of color. Add to this the risk of conflict posed by any number of the following: his antagonizing China, allying with Russia, deploying ground troops to stop ISIS, and pulling out of the Korean DMZ, among other initiatives that seem likely to contribute to a more confrontational and violent international arena. All of this is to say that Trump will not have to intervene directly in the affairs of business in order to nationalize it. The new global landscape of conflict and risk, combined with elevated domestic spending on infrastructure and security, will bring U.S. business and investment back home nonetheless.

National Neoliberalism and State-Market Relations

Fascist states are corporatist in nature, a state of affairs marked by a fusion of state and business functions and interests, with an often significant role for labor interests as well. In the fascist states on the European continent in the 1930s and 1940s—systems that fall under the umbrella of “national socialism”—the overwhelming power of the state characterized this tripartite relationship. Political theorist Sheldon Wolin writes in Democracy, Inc. in regard to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (as well as Stalinist Russia), “The state was conceived as the main center of power, providing the leverage necessary for the mobilization and reconstruction of society”.

By contrast, in Trump’s America — where an emergent “national neoliberalism” may be gradually guiding us to a more overt and obvious totalitarian politics — we can expect a similar fusion of state and market interests, but one in which the marketplace and big business have almost total power and freedom of movement (I think that labor will do poorly in this configuration). State and market in the U.S. will fuse further together in the coming years, leading some to make close parallels with European fascism. But it will do so not because of heavy handed government dictates and interventions, but rather because domestic privatization initiatives, appointments of businessmen to government posts, fiscal stimulus and the business community’s need for protection abroad will bring them closer. Corporate interests will merge with state interests not because corporations are commanded to, but rather because the landscape of risk and reward will shift and redirect investment patterns to a similar effect. This may be where a budding U.S. totalitarianism differs most starkly from its European cousins.

Of course it helps that much of the fusion of state and market in the United States is already complete, what with decades of revolving doors and privatization initiatives spanning the military, police, prison, healthcare and educational sectors, among others. It will not take much to further cement the relationship.

Reaction of supporters of "classic neoliberlsim" ont he arrival of "national neoliberalism": a color revolution  against Trump

National neoliberalism rejects "classic neoliberalism" variant of globalization, while not rejecting globalization as a whole. Looks like Trump is deliberately running country into some kind of isolation. And I do not know  what is the plan but it looks like the policy somewhat similar the set of policies the USA adopted during the 1920s. Although the USA is now much more powerful (and interconnected) and can dictate its will to more countries, including EU.  But somebody said "The U.S. is reduced to a schoolyard bully who beats up his gang members because their former victims have grown too big." .  https://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/12/24/trump-and-national-neoliberalism ):

The nationalism, xenophobia, isolationism, and paranoia of Donald Trump are about to replace the significantly more cosmopolitan outlook of his post-WWII predecessors. While Trump is decidedly pro-business and pro-market, he most certainly does not see himself as a global citizen. Nor does he intend to maintain the United States’ extensive global footprint or its relatively open trading network.

In other words, while neoliberalism is not dead, it is being transformed into a geographically more fragmented and localized system (this is not only about the US election, but also about rising levels of global protectionism and Brexit, among other anti-globalization trends around the world). I expect that the geographic extent of the US economy in the coming years will coincide with the new landscape of U.S. allies and enemies, as defined by Donald Trump and his administration.

The exit from "classic neoliberalism" highway into the set of  "roads less traveled" under Trump looks impulsive, but it is not. It is part of historic transformation of neoliberalism after the crisis of 2007.   That's why it generated such a fierce resistance and attempt to state a color revolution against Trump by  forces supporting "classic neoliberalism" (with some foreign countries, notably GB participating on the side of the US plotters)  I think neoliberal revolution (or counterrevolution, if you wish) that we experienced and which have led to the dissolution of the USSR is enough for the lifetime on one person.  Now we have a color revolution against Trump here in the USA. 

After the collapse of the USSR the consensus was that a new American century arrived, and the whole world would be better off for it.  The USA looked like the sole superpower for at least another century.   27 years later we have a major economic crisis of neoliberalism as well as the crisis of neoliberalism as a social system in the USA (abstracting from petty war between factions of the US elite, NeoMcarthysim is the way to patch the divided society. And for awhile it works. 

What Gore Vidal called "United Stated of Amnesia" might bite the USA later as the collapse of the neoliberal US empire probably will resemble the Great Depression or the collapse of the USSR on a new level. Or, worse, the European conflagration of 1914-1918.  Along with  lack of interest in history, the deep provincialism of the US politicians is a serious threat.  Take Haley, or Pompeo.

In any case, Trump election does signified "the end of the beginning" of neoliberal globalization (as in Churchill's quote  "This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.").

The end of cheap oil might signify "the beginning of the end". 


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jul 17, 2019] The 'New Right' Is Not a Reaction to Neoliberalism, but Its Offspring

Notable quotes:
"... By Lars Cornelissen, who holds a PhD in the Humanities and works as a researcher and editor for the Independent Social Research Foundation. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... 'New World Order' ..."
Jul 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The 'New Right' Is Not a Reaction to Neoliberalism, but Its Offspring Posted on July 17, 2019 by Yves Smith By Lars Cornelissen, who holds a PhD in the Humanities and works as a researcher and editor for the Independent Social Research Foundation. Originally published at openDemocracy

The ongoing and increasingly intense conservative backlash currently taking place across Europe is often understood as a populist reaction to neoliberal policy. The neoliberal assault on the welfare state, as for instance Chantal Mouffe has argued , has eroded post-war social security even as it destroyed people's faith in electoral politics. Coupled with a sharp increase in inequality and rapid globalisation, the technocratic nature of neoliberal government has angered electorates across the continent. Wanting to "take back control" of their political life, these electorates have turned away from traditional centrist parties and have thrown their lot in with populist parties on the fringes of the political spectrum. Although, as Mouffe is at pains to point out , this creates a space for both left-wing and right-wing populisms, today it seems that especially its inward-looking, nationalistic variants are experiencing electoral success.

To be sure, this diagnosis is by and large correct. Decades of neoliberal hegemony have certainly served to impoverish the cultural life of many European nations. Meanwhile, neoliberal policies of privatisation and deregulation, followed after the 2008 crisis by a decade of blithe austerity measures, have gutted most of the institutions that previously carried the promise of equity and security -- even if that promise was always already a false one. The rise in jingoistic nationalism is, in this sense, without doubt a consequence of the neoliberal era.

It would be incorrect to assume, however, that these nationalisms are somehow juxtaposed to or fundamentally different from neoliberalism. It would be wrong, that is, to see the rise of the so-called "new right" as a sign of neoliberalism's demise or to see the 2008 financial crisis as marking its death rattle. Neoliberalism did not merely provide the occasion for the rise of nationalist sentiment; rather, the latter also grew out of the former. Differently put, neoliberal doctrine already carried the seeds of the kind of conservativism that is currently running rampant in Europe.

The Neoliberal Network

A good place to start is the network of neoliberal think tanks and research institutes that has served as the frontline of the neoliberal project since the 1950s. Indeed, as numerous research studies by historians and sociologists have shown, although neoliberalism first emerged as an intellectual movement spearheaded by such figures as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Walter Eucken, and Milton Friedman, crucial to the movement's success was its effort to disseminate its ideology strategically. Thus, after an initial phase in which these men prepared the philosophical grounds for the neoliberal agenda, they set out to spread their ideas, forming a Transatlantic web of intellectuals and researchers with the express objective of steadily influencing public opinion in general and policy-makers in particular.

Among the most prominent think tanks to be erected in this way are the Institute of Economic Affairs, founded by Anthony Fisher in 1955 on Hayek's explicit advice, the Cato Institute, founded in 1974, and the Adam Smith Institute, founded in 1977. They are merely the most visible core of a vast network of similar organisations, however. Whether named after neoliberalism's pioneering theorists (a small selection: the Hayek Institut; the Hayek Gesellschaft; the Ludwig von Mises Institute; the Walter Eucken Institut; the Becker Friedman Institute) or given more esoteric monikers (such as the Heritage Foundation or the Atlas Economic Research Foundation), many right-wing think tanks are of neoliberal descent. Those whose founding predates the birth of neoliberalism, such as the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, were quickly absorbed into the neoliberal project. Together these think tanks form a sprawling network of ideological entrepreneurs driven, as Anthony Fisher is reported to have said , by the desire to "litter the world with free-market think tanks."

As the primary channels through which neoliberal ideas flow to the wider public, these institutions make for a crucial weather vane for shifts unfolding within the neoliberal mindset. Any attempt to make sense of neoliberalism's many twists and turns must therefore pay attention to trends in their ideological direction and outputs. And this is where neoliberalism's recent hard turn towards conservative nationalism becomes apparent.

Neoliberal Conservatism

Neoliberalism has always had a strong conservative streak: Hayek himself was inspired by Edmund Burke at least as much as by Adam Smith, and such towering figures of German neoliberalism as Wilhem Röpke and Alexander Rüstow were deeply conservative thinkers. Conversely, Hayek in particular has exerted a considerable influence on the most recent generation of conservative philosophers, with men like Roger Scruton, Paul Cliteur, Francis Fukuyama, and Niall Ferguson routinely drawing upon his ideas about the market, law, and societal order in support of their own conservatism. (The latter, as it happens, received the Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.)

However, what originally remained an intellectual attraction between neoliberals and conservatives has in recent decades morphed into something more closely resembling a synthesis. As neoliberal hegemony reached its climax in the 1990s, its intellectual custodians began focusing their attention on what they purported to be the failures of multiculturalism. Decrying 'cultural relativism,' neoliberal think tanks began publishing pamphlets that sang the praises of western culture, which their writers regarded as inherently superior to its non-liberal (read: non-western) counterparts. They proceeded to assert the need to protect national identity from its dilution by immigration and to advocate patriotism and nationalism as a means of consolidating such identity.

It is, then, wrong to assume that neoliberal parties or intellectuals embraced nationalism only after the so-called "new right" was in its ascendency, as a means to win back voters or to assuage a supposedly vitriolic and jingoistic electorate. In truth, many of neoliberalism's ideologues had swerved firmly towards conservative nationalism well before right-wing populism became a serious political contender. In doing so, they anticipated many of the latter's principal ideological markers, including its conspiratorial conception of " cultural Marxism " and its fondness for Oswald Spengler .

In short, neoliberals had no small part in setting the stage for the recent eruption of regressive nationalism. By peddling ethnocentric, nationalistic, and xenophobic ideas they helped shift public opinion to the conservative right, rendering it ever more salonfähig. A good example of this process may be found in Dutch politics, where Islamophobia entered mainstream discourse largely due to the efforts of Frits Bolkestein, then the country's leading neoliberal politician and author. Anticipating the Islamophobia of Pim Fortuyn and later Geert Wilders by about a decade, he claimed as early as 1991 that Islam is objectively speaking inferior to western culture. In so doing, he shifted the country's national debate and gave xenophobia a gloss of legitimacy, setting the stage for his country's sharp conservative turn in the new millennium.

A Neoliberal Brexit

Neoliberalism's influence on the rise of conservatism is not exhausted by its ideological appeal, however. Think tanks are, after all, meant to direct policy, not just to elaborate an ideological doctrine. By way of example, let us consider Brexit. Indeed, the neoliberals' impact on the "new right" is nowhere clearer than in the British hard right's attempt to enforce a no-deal Brexit.

To begin, it's worth noting that the Conservative Party's most prominent cadre of Brexit-backing nationalists counts many explicit devotees of Hayek amongst its numbers, including Roger Scruton , Boris Johnson , Priti Patel , and Sajid Javid (who called Hayek a "legend" in a 2014 tweet ). Jacob Rees-Mogg's late father William was similarly an outspoken Hayekian, calling himself "an Austrian economist more than anything else" in a 2010 interview and adding for good measure that he "knew Friedrich von Hayek and liked him very much."

But neoliberalism's impact on Tory hard Brexiteers goes much further. Here again, the neoliberal network of think tanks takes centre stage. As research done by openDemocracy UK has demonstrated, the Conservative Party's nationalist wing maintains very intimate ties with the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has lobbied extensively to broaden the appeal of a hard or even no-deal Brexit. Thus it maintains very close ties with the European Research Group (ERG), a group that represents the Party's most extreme Eurosceptics, and has had the ear of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Davis, and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The IEA is but one of many neoliberal think tanks that are today advocating a hard Brexit. The same is true for, amongst other, the Adam Smith Institute , the Hayek Institut , the Austrian Economics Center , the Mises Institute , the Hoover Institute , the Cato Institute , and the Heritage Foundation . Whilst it's not true that all of those who work for such institutes are Brexiteers -- indeed, the Adam Smith Institute is very open about its internal dispute over Brexit -- it certainly is the case that neoliberalism's ideological vanguard is contributing significantly to the justification and rationalisation of a no-deal scenario.

All of these threads seem to converge in the figure of Steve Baker. Serving as Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union from June 2017 until he resigned a year later over his disagreement with the government's stance on Brexit, Baker was one of his party's leading Eurosceptical voices well before that. In 2015, he co-founded the Conservatives for Britain campaign, which was instrumental in lobbying for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. What's more, he served as Chairman of the ERG between 2016 and 2018 and as Deputy Chairman since then. Baker is also a prominent figure in the world of neoliberal think tanks, having co-founded The Cobden Centre (TCC) in 2010 and served as its director until 2017. A self-declared Austrian-inspired think tank, TCC is co-directed by hard Brexiteer Daniel Hannan , routinely posts defences of a hard Brexit, hosts material by hard-line Brexiteers such as Nigel Farage , Douglas Carswell , Michael Tomlinson , and Baker himself, and has close links to a glut of other neoliberal, pro-Brexit think tanks.

There is ample evidence that what is often seen as the "new right" is in fact not all that different from its predecessor. Several decades of neoliberal hegemony have not just triggered a backlash by the conservative right. Rather, the conservative right is a mutation of neoliberalism, one of its many outgrowths. The left is ill served by the continued assumption that it's fighting a new enemy, for clearly neoliberalism is still very much with us.


Colonel Smithers , July 17, 2019 at 6:33 am

Many thanks, Yves.

With regard to Brexit, I would just add that neo con think tanks, e.g. the Henry Jackson Society, also joined their more economics focussed brethren. Brexit is a means of weakening the EU to the benefit of the anglosphere, albeit a US led community with the UK playing Greece to the US's Rome. They are less prominent, or shouty, but I think that is by design. The likes of Richard Dearlove, Charles Guthrie and John Scarlett know how to play this game and are happy to let the loud mouths, especially the colonials like Kate Andrews, Divya Chakraborty and Chloe "low tax" Westley, or "low fact" to some, front up on air.

Steve Baker is a former Royal Air Force officer and MP for the neighbouring constituency. He straddles both camps.

There are differences, often tensions, between the Austrians, neo cons and the likes of the North family. Pete(r J) North's latest blog addresses that.

Ignacio , July 17, 2019 at 6:35 am

Indeed all confessed VOX (populist rigth, Spain) voters I know were faithful Popular Party (conservative) voters. Anecdotic but in line with this article.

Watt4Bob , July 17, 2019 at 7:37 am

The 'New Right' are the storm troopers of the neoliberal 'New World Order' , conjured deliberately, and painstakingly into existence as a bulwark against the rising tide of legitimate populist revolt against the strangle hold of neoliberal rule.

This is exactly what Jay Gould meant* when he said he could hire half the working class to murder the other half.

It's disturbing to note how obviously Trump is stirring the embers of reactionary sentiment that are never far from the surface of our national lack-of-character.

*It matters not if Jay Gould actually uttered these words, they describe the foundation of right-wing power in America.

Carolinian , July 17, 2019 at 9:23 am

Where is this "rising tide" you refer to? In the US our supposed revolutionaries are firmly within the Democratic party which is neoliberal to the core. While the above article may be correct that the nationalist new right represents fake populism in the manner of Wall Street loving Trump, there's not a lot of evidence of an anti-capitalist revolt on the left either (Elizabeth Warren: I am a capitalist). The article linked the other day on inverted totalitarianism hit the nail squarely. Whether left or right "There Is No Alternative" holds sway until the house of cards finally collapses. In the meantime our current elites will go to any extreme to keep that from happening.

Watt4Bob , July 17, 2019 at 11:35 am

The discomfort of those at the bottom results eventually in anger, and that anger looks for an outlet.

Rather than take the chance that those angry folks might seek, and eventually find solace in solidarity with left-oriented populism a la Bernie Sanders flavor of socialism, TPTB nurture a perennial alternative, the empty, but effective promise to make things 'right' by force of will, and of course, violence if necessary.

If the "rising tide" of relatively informed and activist candidates did not exist, and were not influencing the electorate, there would be fear on the part of TPTB, and so no reason to encourage the "New Right" .

I might add, that IMHO, you are swimming in that "rising tide" by your participation here at NC.

Carolinian , July 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Guess I'm old enough to remember an actual popular tide. But as we found the tide comes in and then it goes out. IMO in order to have another New Deal we are probably going to need another Great Depression. The internet including this website have become a great resource for learning what is going on. But if the plutocrats begin to bothered by it they will institute censorship (it's already happening). What they really fear is losing their money and therefore their power. Another economic crisis might do the job.

Pym of Nantucket , July 17, 2019 at 10:31 am

Whenever one attributes anything to Trump, I believe it is important to imagine him not as the mastermind, but as the catalyst. There are countless pent up forces that are using him as the figurehead or scapegoat around which a torrent of change coming which was previously held back. I feel that the damage done by his presidency was coming anyway, with him now as Court Jester leading the parade. He is the perfect hybrid of Big Brother and Emmanuel Goldstein.

A.F , July 17, 2019 at 8:18 am

Nonsense.
Neoliberalism is anti-national and anti-conservative.

Petter , July 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

Epistemology of Neoliberalism – from Phillip Mirowski video – Hell is Truth Seen Too Late.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBB4POvcH18&t=653s

1. People are sloppy undependable cognitive agents.
2. Not to worry – "The Market" is the greatest information processor in human history.
3. The problem is to get people to accept and subjugate themselves to the Market. This is called "Freedom".
4. The politics of 1-3 can get a little tricky. Best not be too literal about it.

Susan the other` , July 17, 2019 at 1:12 pm

Liberty and liberal are both words that are fraught with contradiction and confusion. Whose Liberty? Liberal for whom? That never gets parsed out because in the parsing both words lose their meaning. They are just bricks and bats and hand grenades. Hayek reads like a thoughtful, reasonable person. But what he believes to be effective economics always fails. We are all current witnesses. Austrians are conservative in defense of their liberty. They seek liberal policies and governments so they can have more individual economic freedom. And free trade. Socialism sees it differently; socialists are, by contrast, conservative. They believe in conserving social justice. Now we have a first hand understanding of the failures of neoliberalism. People at the local level, and the rural, want to be included in the liberal prosperity so they vote for more economic freedom (leave the EU); the elite and the rich want something entirely different; they want an even less restricted government so they can sail off and be neocolonialists. So just like the confusion over the word "liberal" nobody asks, Brexit for whom? It makes me weary.

tegnost , July 17, 2019 at 11:06 am

I'd say the neolibs are more afraid of sanders than they are of trump, so conservative (why can't those better republicans be like us) and also that they understand labor arbitrage requires borders and so are pro national.

Thuto , July 17, 2019 at 9:18 am

Interesting perspective this about neoliberalism and the new right drawing from the same ideological source. I would also add that Ukraine is a cautionary tale to all would-be right wing "leaders" that you can whip citizens into a frenzy (with help from Victoria Nuland, John McCain and a not insignificant coup warchest of $5bn) and ride the stirred up resentment of the establishment to the presidency but unless you deliver real, socially beneficial changes the next election you'll have your as# handed to you by a comedian, just ask Poroshenko.

Outside of the US where right wing politicians like Trump can take the credit for levers like easy credit bidding up asset prices and the gig economy putting lipstick on the unemployment pig to keep the deception going (the deception being that stock markets are at all time highs, employment numbers are up etc even as wealth and income inequality are at robber baron levels), right wing populism is hardly a viable political strategy. Once all the immigrants have been demonized and chased out and people notice that their lives are still stuck in an economic rut, the right wingers run out of targets to aim their vitriol at, their rhetoric falls flat and public trust in their divisive tactics erodes.

David , July 17, 2019 at 9:41 am

He gets several things confused, apparently as a result of an attempt to argue that immigration, multiculturalism and so forth are unproblematic, and only "islamophobes" would suggest otherwise. It's very much a view from inside the Panglossian bubble. There are at least three strands here.
Celebrations of western culture in comparison with Islam (a minority position but one which is still found) go back a long time, mainly on the Right Christian heritage, democracy etc) but also to some extent on the Left, where some writers fear that secularism and class-based politics are themselves in danger.
Opposition to explicitly multicultural policies by government (not the same as living in a society with different cultures) is largely a reaction to policies promoted by governments of the ostensible Left, although supported for entirely cynical reasons by neoliberals as a way of fragmenting resistance. This opposition comes from all parts of the political system.
Opposition to neoliberal policies, most obviously the encouragement of immigration by unskilled workers from poor countries, is based primarily on the lived experience of the poor and disadvantaged who are the main victims of immigration. (A non-negligible element of the opposition comes from past immigrants who have settled and made lives for themselves.)
There's a very elitist argument here that people are incapable of understanding their actual situations and require some right-wing pundit to explain things to them.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , July 17, 2019 at 10:56 am

Also the article elides the fact that neoliberalism has within its DNA a subspecies of Fabian Socialism that seems to assuage what little conciousness market fundamentalists have about rolling back a century of bitterly won advances by the working classes (of all erthnicities & gender identies, fixations and usages) within the insustrialized regions by diluting them with waves of foreign people made desperate by contrived colonial wars and climate disasters.
Does anyone believe that an Indonesian Muslim background person in Netherlands who's made a good living suddenly wants her children to have to compete with waves of Africans for starter jobs?
Also- we've just come off of 30 plus years of identitarian pride for all non-white people. Which is just garbage that's come out of english departments in the elite universities. White people have been told for about a decade now by everyone in academia and entertainment that they're all racist trash who need to intermarry with darker people as quickly as possible to expiate the sins of north american chattel slavery and ..muh holocaust. Somehow all the depradations, human sacrifices, genocides and repressions of and by about every group throughout all time are just 'whatabouttism' now. When you start scapegoating any group they will get their back up eventually. There's nothing conservative about it. But Disaster Capitalists are more than happy to insert themselves into the scene, supporting such causes the same way they supported #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter when it was a convenience. Never let a good disaster go to waste, right?

Clive , July 17, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Yes, and nary a mention of long-standing socialist (oft referred to in the U.K. as Bennite in "honour" of the school of thought popularised by Tony Benn, but he merely expressed much older international labour movement (note the small "l" there not a big "L") notion of global worker solidarity) opposition to the EU.

You can say many things about socialism, Bennism and their kissing cousin Communism. But "neoliberal" or "neoliberal antecedences" isn't one of them.

A nice try at constricting -- and thereby, one has to assume, attempting to constrain and frame -- Brexit as being only a right wing or conservative reactionary ideal and thereby inherently neoliberal. But that might, only might, have worked a few years ago. Too much water has passed under the bridge and too much ideological complexity has emerged around it now for that to wash.

divadab , July 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm

@David – yes! Resistance to excessive immigration is non-ideological but based on very human tribalism. Too many strangers in a society results in a loss of fellow-feeling and more division. This is, IMHO, the root of much of the rot in Western societies – the destruction of trust, aided and abetted by a ruling class that uses deception habitually to manage the masses and divide them from themselves. Can't let the cattle figure out how we're exploiting them!

John Wright , July 17, 2019 at 1:17 pm

If one views the indigenous workforce of a nation as a loosely constructed "labor union", one only has to look at the disdain that labor unions have for strike breaking "scabs" to see why there is resistance to excessive immigration.

At the top of the workforce pyramid, the well-paid upper crust views their costs for domestic help and workplace staffing dropping with increased immigration..

I suspect left leaning US politicians do not allow that many voting, low wage, workers (aka HRC deplorables) view themselves competing with immigrants for jobs, with some numerical justification, as immigrants and their US born children constitute about 28% of US population.

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states

"Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 89.4 million people, or 28 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the 2018 Current Population Survey (CPS). Pew Research Center projects that the immigrant-origin share will rise to about 36 percent by 2065."

Trump has tapped into this, but is doing it in a Potemkin village style, as I tell people that Trump likes low wage workers for his properties and construction projects. His border wall is designed for show, not effectiveness, otherwise he would enforce employer sanctions against employing non US citizens.

Off The Street , July 17, 2019 at 10:03 am

Neo-liberalism seems to me to have as a logical consequence the fostering of a Covenant-Lite approach to culture as well as markets.

The markets show that some of those Covenant-Lite Collateralized Loan Obligations are blowing up now , distressingly reminiscent of the CDOs that wrought havoc on the world financial markets last decade during the Crash.

Culture gets its turn, as it always does, this time through an anything-goes approach without any moral or ethical underpinnings, of whatever nature. It should be no surprise to anyone that there are bad actors to manipulate situations, institutions and people.

Off The Street , July 17, 2019 at 12:05 pm

See also Wolf Richter on the matter.

Hayek's Heelbiter , July 17, 2019 at 10:16 am

Glad to see my nemesis being exposed for what he truly is! :)

Amfortas the hippie , July 17, 2019 at 10:52 am

I think this is neglecting an important strand ..Neoliberalism obviously contains within itself the resistance of the Hoi Polloi even Hayek and Mises were aware of this as far back as the 40's.
People would chafe at the all against all hyperindividualist yer-on-yer-own orthodoxy and seek ways to challenge the Neoliberal Order.
The Right Wing Version of such Populist insurgency is simply one that the Neoliberal Thought Collective can more easily swallow and use towards it's own ends.
Unlike the Sanders/Veroufkas(sp-2). Melanchon(sp-2) Actual Left version of Populism, which is the antithesis of Neoliberalism.
Look to the history of things like the CIA, and the Elite neofeudalist worldview it has worked for from it's very beginnings .anything that smells of the Left must be rooted out and crushed, lest it present an alternative while Right Wing Authoritarians are supported as "Freedom Fighters" and "Liberationists" .just ignore all the corpses(or blame them on the Powerless Left)
Neoliberalism is merely the latest(and slipperiest!) version of a Capitalist World Order that itself is merely the latest iteration of the Ancient Regime.
The Elite, as a class, have been trying to undo the Enlightenment(often by coopting many of it's features) since time immemorial.
The Populist Right is a useful(if dangerous) tool in furtherance of that end, while Lefty Populism is anathema, that would undo the very foundations of their preferred Order.

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalisation- the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world - World news by Nikil Saval

Highly recommended!
Globalization was simply the politically correct term for neocolonialism.
Jul 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summers's recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a "responsible nationalism". Now he argues that politicians must recognise that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good".

One curious thing about the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality – and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

... ... ...

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years – especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) – set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the system's viability, in Rodrik's view, was its flexibility – something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade – negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational "rounds" – that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. "Gatt's purpose was never to maximise free trade," Rodrik writes. "It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful."

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreement's terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it "contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass", in Rodrik's words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim "injury" under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: "an abomination from the standpoint of free trade". These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs – duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% – faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. "If there was a golden era of globalisation," Rodrik has written, "this was it."

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries – especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places – India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced – but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summers's recent rubric on globalisation: "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good."

The critical turning point – away from this system of trade balanced against national protections – came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the world's five biggest economies and ushering in an era of "hyperglobalisation". In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the system's functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTO's appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations' tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the US's fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have "scientific justification".

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the "Washington consensus", this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: "We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow."

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002 , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentina's revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


Rodrik – perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events – was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His father's ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

"I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream," Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. "The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade." He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an "arrogance and hubris" had led many economists to ignore these implications. "Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation."

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox , Rodrik concluded that "we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation." The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. "I'm not at all surprised by the backlash," Rodrik told me. "Really, nobody should have been surprised."

But what, in any case, would "more globalisation" look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesn't mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. It's not only the discourse that's changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Statistics from Global Inequality , a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanović, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising "emerging middle class", based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called "the 1%" – half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems – Wolf admitted that he was "not at all sure" that this could be ruled out – globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that "a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation – by no means all – have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than we've ever had before." Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls "premature deindustrialisation". In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become "service economies", while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. "I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what we're living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world – at least as significant as the one that brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution," Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing "a red rag to a bull" in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. "The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation," Rodrik said. "One reason that Hillary Clinton didn't get any traction with those people is that she didn't have any credibility."

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation – economic and political – is irreversible. "There is a sense that we're at a turning point," he said. "There's a lot more thinking about what can be done. There's a renewed emphasis on compensation – which, you know, I think has come rather late."

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalization's Wrong Turn by Dani Rodrik

As Noam Chomsky says, the term globalisation has been appropriated by a narrow sector of power and privilege to refer to their version of international integration and it makes sense for them to own the term because anyone who is opposed to their version becomes anti-globalisation -- someone who is primitive and wants to go back to the stone age and that everyone likes international integration but not the investor rights version of it.
In reality globalization was a politically correct term for neocolonialism
Notable quotes:
"... In finance, the change was marked by a fundamental shift in governments' attitudes away from managing capital flows and toward liberalization ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Globalization is in trouble. A populist backlash, personified by U.S. President Donald Trump, is in full swing. A simmering trade war between China and the United States could easily boil over. Countries across Europe are shutting their borders to immigrants. Even globalization's biggest boosters now concede that it has produced lopsided benefits and that something will have to change .

Today's woes have their roots in the 1990s, when policymakers set the world on its current, hyperglobalist path, requiring domestic economies to be put in the service of the world economy instead of the other way around. In trade, the transformation was signaled by the creation of the World Trade Organization, in 1995. The WTO not only made it harder for countries to shield themselves from international competition but also reached into policy areas that international trade rules had not previously touched: agriculture, services, intellectual property, industrial policy, and health and sanitary regulations. Even more ambitious regional trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, took off around the same time.

In finance, the change was marked by a fundamental shift in governments' attitudes away from managing capital flows and toward liberalization. Pushed by the United States and global organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, countries freed up vast quantities of short-term finance to slosh across borders in search of higher returns.

At the time, these changes seemed to be based on sound economics. Openness to trade would lead economies to allocate their resources to where they would be the most productive. Capital would flow from the countries where it was plentiful to the countries where it was needed. More trade and freer finance would unleash private investment and fuel global economic growth.

But these new arrangements came with risks that the hyperglobalists did not foresee, although economic theory could have predicted the downside to globalization just as well as it did the upside.

... ... ...

[Jul 01, 2019] Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Jul 1 2019 5:38 utc | 114

Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism.

The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom.

Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that.

In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself".

The neoliberal project did not liberate markets so much as protect them by protecting capitalism against the threat of democracy and to reorder the world where borders provide a captive market

Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market.

For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose.

Another example is getting government to accept monopoly capitalism over competitive capitalism and have appointed judges who believe illegal collusion is nothing more than understandable and legal "conscious parallelism"

Now it seems to me the Koch-Soros think tank is an attempt to unify the neoliberal globalist forces which represent factions from international greenies to nationalist protectionists . In other words to repackage and rename neoliberal globalism while keeping its essence. Be interesting to see what they come up with.

As for China opening to private international finance. They already did that but this takes it to a new level. Like I said. Fake wrestling. This was one of the demands in the trade negotiations by Trump. Why take one of your chips off the table if the game is for real?

China was Made in USA (includes the City of London) like the EU and Putins neoliberal Russia.
One day they will get around telling us they are all buddies, or maybe not. I suspect they have a lot of laughs playing us like they do.

I could be wrong but this is more interesting than the official and semi official narratives.


[Jul 01, 2019] Globalism is the transnational, mainly financial and legal architecture (or "system" if you will) through which neliberalim functions

Notable quotes:
"... if the US ever held unipolar control in reality it was briefly during the period after the downfall of the USSR and up until the conquest of Iraq. ..."
"... An economic system, of which the financial system is a part of, is one of the fundamental structures of any society. Societies in today's world are defined at the sovereign state level, and the economic systems are defined by the governments of these states ..."
"... 'Globalism' as discussed in these blogs, in opposition to 'multi-polarity' is not about global commerce, but rather about an effort by a certain group of wealthy elites, primarily centered in London and New York, and commonly referred to as 'Globalists' to transfer the authority for the definition and control of economic systems from sovereign states to a set of international institutions under their control. ..."
"... In doing so they strip the sovereignty from sovereign states, as as already happened with the EU, and create a global dictatorship, under the control of the 'Globalists' and completely isolated from any democratic oversight. A fascist project in the purest sense of fascism. ..."
"... The 'Multi-polar' group of nations are those nations who oppose this fascist project and who are working to maintain and restore the sovereignty of nations. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 1:38:21 PM | 15

Gzon @ 10 and james @ 1

Stating "globalism" is antithetical to "multipolarity" is a non-sequitor.

Globalism is the financial structure (or "system" if you will) through which capitalist enterprises function. This is complex of course and includes capital markets, corporations, multinational corporations, currency markets, commodities markets, trading agreements. Politicians intervene in the functioning of globalism so there is seldom if ever anything like a globalism free of political influence.

OTOH, "multipolarity" has no structure that I can see. It is an empty vessel, purely a political, statist-inspired idea (whereas globalism is a "thing" which contains political and economic ideas of course but those ideas may or may not be statist in concept depending on the context) which can mean anything to anyone at any point in time.

I guess I would say the term is purely Orwellian. Thus, without reading anything other than James's comment I would guess the author's idea is either nonsensical or propagandistic in nature.

For me, the world became "multipolar" the minute the US invaded Iraq in 2003. The idea that the US wishes to maintain its "unipolar" leadership of the world may be true in the wishful sense of some neocons, however if the US ever held unipolar control in reality it was briefly during the period after the downfall of the USSR and up until the conquest of Iraq.

Today, I view the world as both multipolar and globalist. While many of the political and economic tensions we see result from the disconnects between national political and global economic conditions, I think we must admit if we are honest that many of the more recent tensions are simply the result of Trump's presidency, which has the intended affect of being "a bull in the china shop" of the globalist system.

This is not necessarily a bad thing in theory. Sadly, however, Trump is a geopolitical and foreign policy moron who doesn't know what he is doing beyond enriching himself and creating daily fake news headlines in hopes of being re-elected on behalf of the same global elites he playacts at combatting for his worshipful audience of true believers.

dh-mtl | Jun 30, 2019 3:51:11 PM | 29

gzon , Jun 30, 2019 4:25:58 PM | 33

@donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 1:38:21 PM | 15 says:

'Globalism is the financial structure (or "system" if you will) through which capitalist enterprises function.'

What B.S.!!

An economic system, of which the financial system is a part of, is one of the fundamental structures of any society. Societies in today's world are defined at the sovereign state level, and the economic systems are defined by the governments of these states , which are supposed to function on behalf of the population of each state, and in democratic states, are also supposed to be under the control of the overall population through their democratic institutions. International institutions are there to coordinate commerce between the different economic systems of sovereign states.

'Globalism' as discussed in these blogs, in opposition to 'multi-polarity' is not about global commerce, but rather about an effort by a certain group of wealthy elites, primarily centered in London and New York, and commonly referred to as 'Globalists' to transfer the authority for the definition and control of economic systems from sovereign states to a set of international institutions under their control.

In doing so they strip the sovereignty from sovereign states, as as already happened with the EU, and create a global dictatorship, under the control of the 'Globalists' and completely isolated from any democratic oversight. A fascist project in the purest sense of fascism.

The 'Multi-polar' group of nations are those nations who oppose this fascist project and who are working to maintain and restore the sovereignty of nations.

@ donkeytale 15

I think the world has always been multipolar, the differences that give the definition coming to (being presented to) the forefront, or being dissimilated, according to choice and circumstance. The globalist direction aims to interweave or merge these differences (cultural and historic, religion, philosophy and so on), or at least bring them under a common control. So the idea that multipolarity represents anything more than increased recognition of various regional power as opposed to recognition of one regional power (say western) as more visible, is not much more than an indication of how global policy will be conducted, i.e. with an emphasis on regional responsibility.

Recent US policy is not aimed at destroying the globalist order, it is a result of the failure of one format of the globalist order, where the global financial order no longer fitted into national or regional economic sense. This was the gfc, and there is simply no way to continue the flow of trade and finance as it existed for the previous decades. The easing of rates across the globe is paliative, it is no solution, you only have to look at national debt levels to understand this, or in Eurozone try target2 differences. The world is now partly funded by negative yielding debt. All of this works contrary to capitalist (in its basic honest philosophy) understanding. In short "something" is going to happen to readjust this circumstance, planned or otherwise. I have watched how in EU the single currency has been used to takeover the traditional national hierarchies (banking, political and to a degree social), but we don't have that sort of framework accepted at global level, only various currency pegs, bilateral arrangements and so on. The IMF and sdr is not much liked. What I have noted is virtual central bank currency is being promoted in several ways, be it the bis just announcing it may become a necessity face to cryptocurrency or similar (with a caveat of harmonising monetary policy) , EU organising a parallel payment system that avoids commercial banks, even Instex is along these lines. Where the US and some others truly stand with regard to this is a different question, as for now it (et al) still enjoy a financial hegemony that is both organised and profitable. Interesting times, I just hope that a major event is not the catalyst for reform, that the various parties can agree to withdraw to more localised structure and agreement if any grand plans meet the resistance or failure that is already partly visible. I doubt that will be allowed though, by the time people really want to take part, there won't be much option left and circumstance will already be already confused and conflictive.

james , Jun 30, 2019 4:27:54 PM | 34
@31 donkeytale.. well, if the usa didn't commit as much paper money as it does to the military complex it runs, i suppose the financial complex where the us$ can be printed ad nauseam might come into question.. the sooner oil isn't pegged to the us$ and etc. etc. happens, the better off the world will be... and, i don't blame the usa people for this.. they are just being used as i see it - much the same here in canada with our politicians thinking the prudent thing to do is to support the status quo.. the problem is the status quo can only go on for so long, before a change inevitably happens...

as for swift - they went along with usa sanctions back in 2011 on iran, but then it was brought to court in europe and overturned... but again - they are back in the same place bowing down to usa exceptionalism... call it what you want.. another system needs to get made if this one that exists is beholden to a special interest group - usa-uk-europe, where others are 2nd rate citizens of the world... same deal imf... these world financial institutions need to be changed to reflect the changes that are taking place... the voting rights of the developed countries are skewed to favour the ones who have been raping and pillaging africa, and etc. etc.. you may not think it matters, but i personally do.. and i don't blame the usa for it..but they are being used as a conduit to further an agenda which is very unbalanced and unfriendly to the world as i see it..

dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 5:25:13 PM | 41
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 4:17:38 PM | 32

I am afraid that I cannot agree with much of what you said.

Dictatorship, as a governance system, has always failed, and will always fail. The 'Globalists' who grabbed power, and imposed an effective oligarchic dictatorship, in the U.S. in 1980 and the EU since 1990, have clearly demonstrated this fact through the destruction of the economies of the U.S. and much of Europe and the impoverishment of their populations. And since 2001, they have used the U.S. and British military and intelligence services and NATO as their personal bludgeon in order to force the submission of any state that did not voluntarily submit to their project of a 'Global' dictatorship.

Resistance to this 'Globalist' project is at the root of almost all conflicts in the world today. The 'Multi-Polar' nations resisting the 'Globalists', in Ukraine, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. is one front in this resistance. The other front is the resistance of 'Nationalists' (such as Trump, the Brexiteers, the Yellow Vests, and populists across Europe) to the 'Globalists.

The Trump Presidency is not the cause of tensions in the world today, as you suggest, but rather the symptom. Trump understands that without an industrial base, the U.S. is condemned to becoming the 'India' of the Americas'. The central theme of his actions is to restore the U.S. industrial base and U.S. sovereignty, which have largely been destroyed by the 'Globalists' and their 'Deep State' machine over the past 40 years. The 'Globalists' need only the U.S. military and intelligence services, and care nothing for its population and less for its sovereignty, and thus are fighting Trump every step of the way.

Trump may be coarse and a buffoon, and he may be completely wrong in carrying Israel's water with respect to Iran, but he is just about the only American politician that I see that is working on behalf of the U.S. population rather than on behalf of the 'Globalists'.

Reversing the 'Globalization' that has savaged the U.S. and Europe over the past several decades will not come easily, nor without pain and tensions, and winners and losers. However failure to do so guarantees the likely rapid and long term decline and impoverishment of all populations under 'Globalist' control.

wagelaborer , Jun 30, 2019 5:47:02 PM | 48
dh-mtl @29 explained it well, I thought, but some still don't seem to get it.
It is the difference between the UN, which has a law-based charter which upholds the national sovereignty of each nation and forbids aggression against any sovereign country, and
the WTO, which is a rules-based agreement which forbids any national government to pass laws which interfere in the profits of corporations.
Globalism is the project in which capital has complete freedom to do as it will, while humans and national governments are forbidden such freedom.
Putin and Lavrov frequently point to the difference between international law, which they support, and the "rules-based order" which the US and its partners-in-crime support, in which the rules are used to destroy sovereign countries and enrich the multi-national corporations which strip the planet at will, and go to the cheapest labor countries, with no environmental laws, for their global production lines.
A multi-polar world is one with many sovereign countries, ruled by international law, respected by all, with peaceful relations between all countries.
Globalism is when corporations rule the world, and we continue on the path of destruction of all the natural wealth of the world in the turning of nature into commodities and then trash.
psychohistorian , Jun 30, 2019 6:04:02 PM | 49
@ wagelaborer who wrote
"
Globalism is the project in which capital has complete freedom to do as it will, while humans and national governments are forbidden such freedom.
"
Perfectly stated!

I appreciate you, dh-mtl, bevin and others responding to donkeytale. I have not read the comment because donkeytale is on bypass for me but it is nice to read other commenters taking on donkeytale BS for others to see....thanks

Alexander P , Jun 30, 2019 6:06:09 PM | 50
@41 dh-mtl

Sorry if I need to pick your resopnse to donkeytale apart but there are a lot of inconsistencies in your argument.

The 'Globalists' who grabbed power, and imposed an effective oligarchic dictatorship, in the U.S. in 1980 and the EU since 1990, have clearly demonstrated this fact through the destruction of the economies of the U.S. and much of Europe and the impoverishment of their populations.

You seem to imply that the 'globalists' (illuminati, Zionist bankers etc., etc.) did not exist or had power before the 1980s, which could not be further from the truth. There are several reasons why neo-liberalism took hold in the 1980s, creating the economic narrative and agenda of today, none of which, are related to some kind of power grab by people that did not hold any power beforehand. The threat of the cold war was waning in the 1980s and elites felt less pressured by local populations potentially becoming 'too' sympathetic to communism anymore. So they began rolling back social policies implemented in the post-war years to counter communism's appeal. Computer technology going mainstream, creating all sorts of economic spillovers to be harnessed by increased open and international trade was another reason, there were many more. But the people you call 'globalists' controlled matters much, much earlier than the 1980s.

The other front is the resistance of 'Nationalists' (such as Trump, the Brexiteers, the Yellow Vests, and populists across Europe) to the 'Globalists.

If there truly were such politicians as 'nationalists' who somehow only hold the best interest of their native people at heart, then why is that most European populists cosy up to Israel? None of them have tried to reclaim control over their Central Banks and in the case of i.e. Italy, do they try to break free from the Euro? Why are Polish nationalists rabidly supporting the build up of US arms on their territory? I think it is about time to see beyond this silly dichotomy of 'Globalist' vs 'Nationalist', at least while these Nationalists do nothing substantial to actually help their lot and further squeeze the lower classes of their countries in good neo-liberal fashion, same as their Globalist political 'opponents' they claim to oppose.

Trump may be coarse and a buffoon, and he may be completely wrong in carrying Israel's water with respect to Iran, but he is just about the only American politician that I see that is working on behalf of the U.S. population rather than on behalf of the 'Globalists'.

So you admit that Trump is essentially a controlled zionist buffoon but at the same time he is working towards restoring US sovereignty on behalf of the people? You mean he worked for the US people when he lowered taxes for the rich even further, creating an ever larger US public debt, and throwing Americans further into debt servitude of private finance? Or do you mean his still open promise to invest large sums in the US crumbling infrastructure? Oh right, he has instead opted to increase defence spending to combat the US many imaginary enemies around the globe.

Look, I agree with you that global neo-liberalism is bad for the vast majority of people on this planet but don't go looking for help from false prophets, such as Trump or other 'nationalists', you will only find yourself completely disappointed before long.

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 6:48:21 PM | 58 dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 6:50:23 PM | 59
@50 Alexander P

Response to a few of your criticisms.

1. You say 'You seem to imply that the 'globalists' (illuminati, Zionist bankers etc., etc.) did not exist or had power before the 1980s'.

Not at all. They lost power from the mid-1930s to 1980. They regained power with Reagan, followed by Clinton, W, and Obama. You only need to look at any graph that shows when income inequality in the U.S. began to ramp up. The date is clear - 1980.

2. You say. 'If there truly were such politicians as 'nationalists' who somehow only hold the best interest of their native people at heart'.

I didn't say that these 'Nationalists' or 'Populists' hold the best interests of their native peoples at heart. Usually they are only interested in what they see as best for themselves. But there is no doubt that they are resisting the 'Globalists' push to strip their countries of their sovereignty, to transfer their wealth to the 'Globalist' elites, to transfer their industries to wherever labor is the cheapest. I said that this was a 'second front' against the 'Globalists'. And there is no doubt, from the fight that the 'Globalists' are waging against Trump, 'Brexit' and populists and nationalists across Europe, that the 'Globalists' take this 'front' seriously.


3. You say. 'don't go looking for help from false prophets, such as Trump'.

You are right. It is unlikely that Trump will be able to 'Make America Great Again'. At best he may be able to break the 'Globalists' hold on power in the U.S. However, this is a necessary first step if the U.S. is ever to recover wealth and power that it had during the middle of the last century, but which today is rapidly evaporating.

gzon , Jun 30, 2019 7:04:55 PM | 61
I agree with Alexander P that nationalist and populist presentation is often either controlled opposition or a method of splintering and isolating influence. That is not to say there are a lot of public in many countries who are sincere in their sentiment.

Sorry no link, recent :

"As he arrived at the Kempinski hotel lobby last December, journalists scuffled with bodyguards as they tried to get their microphones and cameras close. Despite being jostled, Zanganeh remained calm and waited to deliver a simple message: Iran can’t participate in OPEC’s production cuts as long as it remains under U.S. sanctions and won’t allow other members to steal its rightful market share."

I.E. approval for continued reduced opec oil supply to support prices depends on Iran (?), lower prices otherwise affecting all other producers, and/or Iran is making the case that sanctions are a theft of market share by other producers. The latter has been a part of the cause of hostility in the gulf.

In Germany

"The 2018 report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Germany (Bundesmat fur Verfassungsschutz, BfV), which was released on June 27, 2019 by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer and Thomas Haldenwang, head of the organization, examines the activities of the intelligence services of the Iranian regime in Germany....

The BfV annual report states: "The central task of the Iranian intelligence services is to spy against opposition movements and confront these movements. In this regard, evidences of state-sponsored terrorism in Europe, which originates in Iran, have intensified during 2018." " etc

is being used by ncr (the article source) to the effect of calling for closure of the Iranian embassy. That aside, the report does show Germany is moving towards, or is willing to, apply pressure on Iran now. France has also given indication that it is not fully behind Iran (reprimand and warning on not respecting jcpoa etc.)


karlof1 , Jun 30, 2019 7:11:31 PM | 65
dh-mtl @59--

You are correct to say inequality began rising again in 1980; however, the rise must be attributed to Carter and Volker--Reagan just continued the process. It seemed odd the GHW Bush initially opposed it as "Voodoo Economics" but readily championed it all as VEEP, making it just a political posture in the nomination race.

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 7:44:26 PM | 72
gzon @ 33

Thanks for the excellent response. One thing I failed to take into account is the difference between the EU and the US financial systems so thanks for that corrective explanation.

The Euro represents the biggest failure of the EU from where I sit. Centralised control of the currency and banking systems is a grave error in that construct and the "European Parliament" just seems too silly for me to even contemplate, although I'm sure there is some logical explanation for its existence that I'm missing.

And you bet, I'm also sure the day of reckoning for the global debt overload is fast approaching. What I don't understand is how one form of capitalism (neoliberal) versus another (state managed) makes any difference in how this debt overload developed. China, for instance, has used similar stimulus methods more frequently even than the US since 2008 to keep its economic growth chugging along and certainly way more than the EU, which under stimulated its own economy in response to the recession.

IMHO, Brexit is a forced over the top politicised reaction to this conservative German-led response in light of the fact the UK kept its own currency and banking systems separate and had the means to provide stimulus but didn't under the Tory buffoons in charge.

Grexit made much more sense to me than Brexit for many reasons. I was dismayed when the Greek people failed in their courage after voting in Syriza follow through and tell the Germans to take the Euro and their debt and put it where the sun don't shine.

What I believe people are tending to forget or overlook, such as wagelabourer @ 48 and dh-mtl elsewhere, that while these postwar international re-orderings such as NATO, the UN and the EU are nowhere near perfect, they are also not purely NWO conspiratorial constructs. Rather they were created for a very specific purpose stemming from a lesson of history which seems to have been rather easily tossed aside because of the relative success of these same institutions: that is, clashing nationalisms inevitably lead to major conflict and devastating wars, especially among the major imperialist states.

[Jun 26, 2019] Looks like war is a fun game for Trump

Jun 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

farflungstar , 1 minute ago link

George W. Trump seems to have the same Neocon hands up his *** Bush jr. did.

Guess it's hard to sound different when you're an israeli tool and surrounded by israeli agents pretending to be American.

Deep Snorkeler , 5 minutes ago link

War is a Fun Game for Trump

dramatic cliff hangers, sudden chess moves, death and comedy combined.

A ruinous trade war, diplomacy in chaos and a White House full of Himmleresque creeps -

what could possibly go wrong in our collapsing empire?

vienna_proxy , 6 minutes ago link

he just won't stfu about iran. at first i thought maybe chess but i'm afraid it's looking like unhinged obsession

[Jun 25, 2019] Empire and MIC

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Charles Peterson , Jun 24, 2019 6:13:09 PM | 87

On the surface, it appears the dying empire must finally grab everything, no matter how historically untouchable, in last ditch claim on total power.

Of course this is bad on every level, it's immoral, unethical, illegal, doomed to fail, and doomed to hasten failure of the entire enterprise.

I'm dreaming here, but the best plan is to fade slowly into the night and put on the make up tomorrow.

But anyway, the fully doomed and immoral path has a bright side for the MIC--it's a lock on anyone who would try to shut it down. We will continue to do stupid things so we must continue to do stupid things.

[Jun 24, 2019] Trump is not a perfect tool of nationalism, he is a defective tool of globalism

Trump "national neoliberalism" is a deviation from classic neoliberalism and that's why Russiagate color revolution was launched against him with full support Britain and some other EU countries. So I doubt that he is a defective tool of globalism. He destroyed existing neoliberal order by starting the trade war with China.
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
donkeytale , Jun 24, 2019 9:55:07 AM | 230
... ... ...

Trump is not a perfect tool of nationalism, he is a defective tool of globalism. He represents the slide to an international fascism bound at the top of fake nationalist authoritarians who fancy the .01% worldwide above the needs of their own subjects.

Government by the multinational corporations for the multinational corporate shareholders.

Trump's only hope to remain in power is to create a constant wartime crisis atmosphere without leading to war (so he can take credit)....or else to suspend the Constitution because of a "crisis".

Jackrabbit , Jun 24, 2019 10:27:16 AM | 232

donkeytale:
Globalism will not be defeated by China, Russia and Iran working in concert.

I don't think they're trying to defeat "Globalism", I think they're trying to defeat fascism on a global scale.

Zionist supremacist ideology + globalism = global fascism.

The economic benefits of "Globalism" have gone most to a neoliberal oligarch interests that are in cahoots with Western governments. And, as a block, they support MIC, dollar hegemony, etc. so as to secure and extend their gains.

[Jun 24, 2019] Opinion - Trump, Populists and the Rise of Right-Wing Globalization by Quinn Slobodian

Notable quotes:
"... President Trump and the far right preach not the end of globalization, but their own strain of it, not its abandonment but an alternative form. They want robust trade and financial flows, but they draw a hard line against certain kinds of migration. The story is not one of open versus closed, but of the right cherry-picking aspects of globalization while rejecting others. Goods and money will remain free, but people won't. ..."
"... The express effort is to use unilateral action to bully other countries, China in particular, into better market access for American products. The point of comparison is not the dreams of economic self-sufficiency of the 1930s but Ronald Reagan's assault on Japanese competition in the 1980s. "The basic philosophy that we have is that we want free trade without barriers," Mr. Lighthizer explained to Congress in August. ..."
"... What they share is a rejection not of the "postwar international order" -- as many pundits fruitlessly argue -- but of the order of the 1990s. In the cross hairs are the products of that decade, above all, the crown jewels of neoliberal globalism: the W.T.O., the European Union and Nafta (which was recently renegotiated and renamed). ..."
"... The formula of right-wing alter-globalization is: yes to free finance and free trade. No to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality. ..."
"... What the author is struggling to define, is called 'America First' ..."
"... America First, consequently, is about more than simply putting America first. In the sense that the author raises the subject, America First is about reforming the WTO. Come on guys, get with the program! ..."
"... The rise of the right in the US and Europe is a response to neoliberal globalization's anti-worker consequences. In the US, the working class was so desperate for someone to speak to their economic anxieties, that a large portion of them placed their hopes in the hands of a ridiculous, blow-hard billionaire. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

In a recent speech at the United Nations, President Trump railed against "the ideology of globalism" and "unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy."

For those of us who came of age in the 1990s, there was an eerie sense of déjà vu. Then, too, there were protests against global institutions insulated from democratic decision-making. In the most iconic confrontation, my college classmates helped scupper the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999.

The movement called for "alter-globalization" -- a different kind of globalization more attentive to labor and minority rights, the environment and economic equality. Two decades later, traces of that movement are hard to find. But something surprising has happened in the meantime. A new version of alter-globalization has won -- from the right.

We often hear that world politics is divided between open versus closed societies, between globalists and nationalists. But these analyses obscure the real challenge to the status quo.

President Trump and the far right preach not the end of globalization, but their own strain of it, not its abandonment but an alternative form. They want robust trade and financial flows, but they draw a hard line against certain kinds of migration. The story is not one of open versus closed, but of the right cherry-picking aspects of globalization while rejecting others. Goods and money will remain free, but people won't.

The current United States trade war is a case in point. Commentators lament that Mr. Trump is tearing up " the rules America itself created more than 80 years ago " and conjure up visions of the 1930s, when nations and empires dreamed of total self-sufficiency. Yet they overlook the fact that the actions of the president and his influential trade representative Robert Lighthizer betray no desire to withdraw from the world market.

Quite the opposite. The express effort is to use unilateral action to bully other countries, China in particular, into better market access for American products. The point of comparison is not the dreams of economic self-sufficiency of the 1930s but Ronald Reagan's assault on Japanese competition in the 1980s. "The basic philosophy that we have is that we want free trade without barriers," Mr. Lighthizer explained to Congress in August.

In Britain, the Brexit campaign was built on the demand to "take back control" and fear-mongering about refugees and immigrants. Withdrawal from the world economy was never on the program. On the contrary, the Brexiteers championed a pivot from the European economy to the global one unfettered by the regulations of Brussels and the European Court of Justice. Almost all negotiations since the vote to leave have been in pursuit of a vision in which the free flow of goods and money across the channel can be preserved while labor migration can be squelched. A recent report from British and American think tanks close to the Brexiteers proposes a new free trade agreement between the two countries that could act as an embryonic World Trade Organization 2.0 that would target more directly Chinese state subsidies for industries and the lingering state-provided social services like the National Health Service.

The pattern of right-wing alter-globalization is repeated in Germany and Austria, where the Alternative for Germany and the Austrian Freedom Party have recently recorded electoral wins. Neither party proposes national self-sufficiency or economic withdrawal. In their programs, the rejection of economic globalization is highly selective. The European Union is condemned, but the language demanding increased trade and competitiveness is entirely mainstream. The Alternative for Germany takes fiscal conservatism to an absurd degree with criminal charges demanded for policymakers who overspend. Both parties call for no inheritance tax and burdensome regulations, even as they make new promises for social spending.

Free market capitalism is not rejected but anchored more deeply in conservative family structures and in a group identity defined against an Islamic threat from the East. Several of the Alternative for Germany's leaders are also members in a society named after Friedrich Hayek, often seen as the arch-thinker of free-market globalism.

Even the alt-right, usually seen as the epitome of the fortress mentality of separatist survivalism, contains significant strains of alter-globalization. Some of the alt-right's most prominent figures, from Richard Spencer to Christopher Cantwell (better known as the " crying Nazi " from the 2017 Charlottesville, Va., protest), have expressed their sympathies for the radical form of libertarianism known as anarcho-capitalism.

Many people on the alt-right -- including the premier anarcho-capitalist thinker, the German economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe -- believe that cultural homogeneity is a precondition for socio-economic order. Mr. Hoppe envisions a dissolution of the current world map of states into thousands of tiny units the size of Hong Kong, Andorra and Monaco without representative government and ruled only by private contract.

Like Hong Kong and Singapore, these zones would not be isolated but hyper-connected, nodes for the flow of finance and trade ruled not by democracy (which would cease to exist) but market power with disputes settled through private arbitration. No human rights would exist beyond the private rights codified in contract and policed through private security forces. As Mr. Hoppe argues, the alt-right and identitarian vision of "a place for every race" need not conflict with a global division of labor. None of this need disrupt commercial exchange and the international division of labor. As Mr. Hoppe wrote, "not even the most exclusive form of segregationism has anything to do with a rejection of free trade." The maxim would be: separate but global.

The varieties of right-wing alter-globalization differ significantly in degrees of horror. What they share is a rejection not of the "postwar international order" -- as many pundits fruitlessly argue -- but of the order of the 1990s. In the cross hairs are the products of that decade, above all, the crown jewels of neoliberal globalism: the W.T.O., the European Union and Nafta (which was recently renegotiated and renamed).

The right's alter-globalizers unite in a condemnation of the structures of multilateral governance that emerged from that decade along with their implication that democracy and capitalism were twins joined at the reported "end of history."

Instead, in a forthright embrace of inegalitarianism, they question the ability of every country and every population to practice democratic capitalism and, in many cases, propose a departure from status quo democratic capitalism themselves.

The idea that openness is under attack is too vague. The formula of right-wing alter-globalization is: yes to free finance and free trade. No to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality.

Quinn Slobodian, a history professor at Wellesley College, is the author of " Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism ."


wmferree deland, fl Oct. 22, 2018

The nature of property is that nobody has any unless the rest of us agree to protect it. The left-right contest is about how much we should protect an individual's claim of property. The right-wing ideologues' design for "the free movement of goods and money, but not of people" is a plan to give property (money) an unfettered superior claim.

What fools we are if we agree to give up on every other claim, including a habitable place for our offspring a couple generations out. And freedom of movement?

Would you be okay if allowed to roam in a 10,000 mi radius? How about 1,000 or 100, or 100 yards?

arp East Lansing, MI Oct. 22, 2018
The fact that people seem to have received such differing messages from this ...essay does not mean that it is complex and sophisticated. It means tha it is one of those too clever by half pieces that serve to confuse and divide.

It is essentially disinformation passing for depth. It obscures rather than clarifies.

Arturo Manassas Oct. 22, 2018
When the NYT condemns Trump, it often cites Buckley's rejection of John Birch Society as an example of "sane" good old GOP. The sad reality is that they were right!

The hysterical fear of the UN was overblown but the emergence of the "global consensus" that Pres. Obama so often cited was very real. At core, the John Birch Society accurately predicted a cosmopolitan, coastal finance system that directed money and people in a global interest, not national.

The appeal of the right is so strong because most people can SEE that their own citizens go to work day in and day out to move capital out of their backyards into the coffers of financiers.

magicisnotreal earth Oct. 22, 2018
Globalization was always a republican ideal. This change is just the new phase of the same old thing they have been pushing on us since the 1980's.
Alina Starkov Philadelphia Oct. 22, 2018
This writer clearly has a longer memory than most commentators, who see opposition to the WTO as an exclusively right-wing issue. It's very, very important to remember and keep alive the heritage of the left-wing alter-globalisation movement. The right wing offers false solutions to a real problem: the "liberal world order" has indeed suppressed the rights of people, especially in the Third World, in order to boost the profitability of the transnationals. Workers are left behind by the current system. The only way to stop right-wing xenophobic "anti-globalism" is to return to an authentic left wing critique of the international system, rather than posturing as its defenders.
Ghost Dansing New York Oct. 22, 2018
Well the people are a commodity: Cheap Labor.
sooze nyc Oct. 22, 2018
Every president should have to take a oath stating "First do no harm." Trump is harming our country and the world. He's not remotely democratic or American. He rules by fear, blackmail and intimidation. These are not American. He likes to rile things up but that is not what you do with a country or the world. Welcome to World War III.
DB Chapel Hill, NC Oct. 22, 2018
While I agree the globalization (compliments of technological advances) has gone right wing, the politics of failure provide so much of the emotional fuel of this hard turn. A very different scenario might be playing out now if the Arab Spring had not collapsed compliments of the Saudis (what a shock) among others.

Had Obama listened to John McCain about Syria; Had George W. Bush not invaded Iraq while back-burnering Afghanistan; Had Operation Ajax not toppled the legitimate government of Iran; Had Truman supported Ho-Chi Minh instead of the French.

These abject failures in the Right Thing to Do have stressed the post WWI world to dog-eat-dog status where the rhetoric of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are being held hostage to a zero sum game where seas of migrants risk everything to avoid the final failure because everything else has failed around them. Shows you how much we've learned from all of it.

Rob Campbell Western Mass. Oct. 22, 2018
What the author is struggling to define, is called 'America First'. It's is akin to the warning you get when taking off in an airplane. If a problem occurs, (which very definitely has happened since China joined the WTO in 2001)... if a problem occurs, put on your own seatbelt, before helping others. You can't help someone else, if you, yourself are dead in the water. America First, consequently, is about more than simply putting America first. In the sense that the author raises the subject, America First is about reforming the WTO. Come on guys, get with the program!
James Young Seattle Oct. 22, 2018
@Rob Campbell Since the WTO is a United States creation, then who reforms it.
Linda East Coast Oct. 22, 2018
The dear leader wants to have it both ways. He wants free trade when it benefits him and tariffs when it doesn't. He doesn't care about the average shopper who has to pay more for necessities, which are all made in China now. Try to buy a cooking implement that's not made in China! A pot or a pan or a napkin, or a glass vessel.
Mike Livingston Cheltenham PA Oct. 22, 2018
Isn't the core of nationhood the ability to control one's borders?
James Young Seattle Oct. 22, 2018
@Mike Livingston No one, not even democrats are saying that we should have open borders, what they are saying is that this country needs comprehensive immigration reform. Which was the pretext Reagan used when giving amnesty to some 3 million Mexican immigrants. The republicans have had more than 6 years to fashion genuine immigration reform, that never happened. The reason is, the only thing that the GOP has is immigration, and fear to get elected. To try and get elected by saying we're going to pollute the air, water, ground, we're going to give some 1.5 trillion in tax breaks to corporations and the rich, we're going to balloon the national debt, that we blamed Obama for, while ignoring the economic damage we've done. We want to defund education, take away your healthcare, and destroy Social Security Medicaid, and Medicare, to pay for the 1.5 trillion in tax breaks, and the you the people will get zero. How log would a party stay in power, because that's exactly what the GOP has done. Congress, has no right to decide what or how much future generations will pay to service debt. They are supposed to contend with the here and now, not saddle generations with debt. So what happens when the national debt comes due, they won't be able to get the money from the voter, so like the British had to do after WWI, they got it from the only people that had it to give, the aristocracy, which is why most sold off vast swaths of land. And so it will go for the billionaires.
Ed Watters San Francisco Oct. 22, 2018
The rise of the right in the US and Europe is a response to neoliberal globalization's anti-worker consequences. In the US, the working class was so desperate for someone to speak to their economic anxieties, that a large portion of them placed their hopes in the hands of a ridiculous, blow-hard billionaire.

The Democrats for over two decades have worried that any pro-worker policies they might enact would threaten the flow of corporate cash that they longed for so, as Charles Schumer reasoned, "For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin." A failed strategy, but they're still going with it. That quote was from 2016 but it could as well have been from 1992 when the Democrats joined the Republicans in supporting NAFTA. For those who couldn't connect the dots, another ridiculous billionaire presidential candidate helped them out, warning of the "giant sucking sound" as jobs left the country, bound for low wage countries. All Trump had to do was walk through the door both parties had opened, promising to bring those jobs back. The centrist Dems obliged him with their self-sabotaging response that "those jobs are gone and they ain't coming back". Slobodian is wrong: the wealthy and their politicians aren't cherry-picking the parts of globalization that they want - they're cynically claiming to be on the side of workers.

Robert Seattle Oct. 22, 2018
Why did I, after reading a paragraph or two, mistakenly conclude that I was in disagreement with Quinn? In any case, his piece here makes sense. In short: The Trump Republicans want a right wing, white nationalist cum supremacist world. Goods and money (and rich white Republicans like Ivanka and Kushner) move (sashay) around the world, but not other people. And not democracy, human rights, decency, and ethics. According to their thinking, the old racist white prerogatives and entitlements are preserved, here and around the world. Goods and money should move to the benefit of rich white Republicans, which will be accomplished by corruption a la Russia and its oligarchs. Whenever an President Obama accomplishment can be undone or even just recreated under a Trump Republican moniker, that's all for the better. Even statements, opinions and truth would move in only one direction--outward from Trump and his cult and the other right wing, white nationalist globalists. They will say whatever they want to, however untrue, vile or silly. And the rest of us would silently slavishly abide by it. The world will be a hybrid of plantation, concentration camp, gulag, and Gilead. The rich and the white and the powerful and the males will do as they will, and the rest of us will be grateful to merely survive.
Rick Morris Montreal Oct. 22, 2018
This beast is already here and in working order: China.
Fourteen Boston Oct. 22, 2018
The Republicans are riding a global wave of republicanism that's been in the works for decades. This is a well-funded and scientifically designed plan that is sequentially rolling out with military precision. There is nothing accidental about this global Republican strategy. We are experiencing a fascist Blitzkrieg. Is this not obvious? Yet we have no plan, no strategy, and no leader. Just childish wishful thinking about being saved by the vote. Where is the global antifascist strategy from our entitled 80 year-oldster Democrat leadership? Where is the global Democratic wave? Is Pelosi is "working on it"? Wake up Democrats, the current feeble Democratic leadership is leading us down the drain. "Every generation has their Fascism" (Primo Levi) -- the Republicans are just doing what they do, while the Democrats do nothing.
Lilo Michigan Oct. 22, 2018
It doesn't make you a right-wing blood-and-soil fascist to note that mass movement of people from one country to another is VERY different than movement of funds from one country to another. And just as a broken clock is right twice a day you don't have to agree with actual Nazis to also note that the movement of people is all one way-into the "West". No one is seriously arguing that China, South Korea, India, Vietnam, or the myriad nations of Africa must have more diversity and multiculturalism regardless of what the various citizens of those places want. If we don't want increasingly right-wing governments and politicians in North America, Europe and Australia, (and I DON'T!!) we must allow space to talk about immigration, legal and illegal, how much, when, and from where. There is nothing wrong with Kenya wanting to remain Kenyan, Germany wanting to remain German, France wanting to remain French, etc. The solution to Third World problems can't be for everyone to move to Europe, Australia or the US.
Doc Oslow west coast secularist Oct. 22, 2018
Quinn Slobodian: Absolutely correct, your analysis is. What many left critiques in the '90s saw in the EU, e.g., was the free movement of goods, capital AND labor, the last being the most significant insofar as the vast majority of human beings are spoken of/for in formal policy and institutional practices. On the other hand, NAFTA was only meant to be the free movement of goods and capital, written by the leaders of the 3 capitalist states to promote the concentration of capital in North America via corporate actors. It was said then by officials in the US that uniting the three economies would be a deliberate way to compete against the European Union. The left here said the specific political difference between the two blocs reflected a crueler type of capitalism at work in North America, than the softer capitalism of the social democracies of the EU [then]. Having recently returned from Stuttgart and a trip to Süd Tyrol, it's still true. NAFTA was seriously flawed initially, insofar as it never cared to directly promote the interests of the vast majority in all 3 countries, viz., working people. Only foreign investors [from MX, CAN &/or US] and their capital movements were protected and promoted by NAFTA. Yes, now the alt-right seeks global separation [really segregation, historically], via race and socio-economic status, two social constructs. Completely inane and dangerous stuff, ideologically.
Richard Mclaughlin Altoona PA Oct. 22, 2018
There will be unintended consequences to any multi national, multi level contract. What if they built in safety valves that allowed for renegotiation.
Mister Ed Maine Oct. 22, 2018
Free global markets and capital without the people part sounds like oligarch porn.
jrinsc South Carolina Oct. 22, 2018
With either our current versions of globalism or nationalism, the loser in both is the environment. Global trade seeks to maximize national resources for transnational profits. Nationalists, like President Trump, don't care about the environment if it means we're not "winning" against other countries in jobs, trade, etc. In either case, the environment and climate is sacrificed for monetary profit and political benefit.
Mmm Nyc Oct. 22, 2018
Free trade and open borders are alternative ways to achieve the same end: cheap labor. We either outsource to cheaper labor abroad through trade or bring the cheaper labor here through immigration. But there are advantages and disadvantages of both methods. And may depend on what kind of industries we are talking about. I think it would probably be better to keep low skill, labor intensive, polluting industries abroad. Like basic materials manufacturing or scrap metal processing or something like that you see in China and India. Or perhaps natural resource extraction (you can't really choose the geography of that though). Because all those things impose a lot of negative externalities on the local environment. Look at the smog in Beijing. And these low wage workers come here and can't command high enough wages to pay for the social services they and their families utilize. And low skill workers of course have lower education attainment and language skills and so you have additional barriers to assimilation for them and their children. Contrast with engineering, advanced manufacturing or knowledge industry workers--bringing those people here and the country is probably better off because the imported workers will be higher income, net payers into the tax base. Plus they'll assimilate more easily as probably already studied English or worked at multinationals. These are the kinds of immigrants we need for the 21st century.
mijosc Brooklyn Oct. 22, 2018
"Mr. Hoppe envisions a dissolution of the current world map of states into thousands of tiny units the size of Hong Kong, Andorra and Monaco without representative government and ruled only by private contract...." I can understand why Mr. Hoppe is popular, he is actually in the ballpark as to how future societies will develop. Think of this from the point of view of any of the various political movements enjoying popularity and power today: MeToo, Black Lives Matter on the "left" (outmoded term), and Trump-style populism, White Supremacy on the "right" (outmoded term). Are any of these democratic? If, at some future date, the entities of New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, for example, declare independence from a white, monocultural "Middle Lands of America", would those entities tolerate dissent and organize along traditional democratic lines, with multiple political parties and a balance of power? No, they'd organize just like identity groups are now organizing, with social pressure to conform or be excluded. What we NEED to hope for, is that legitimate, just, legal institutions will emerge to arbitrate disputes between the new wave of micro-societies, and have the power to back up their decisions.
true patriot earth Oct. 22, 2018
Globalization has enabled the rise of the far right by destroying local economies, wages, agriculture, and jobs. It made some people very wealthy for a while, and it made millions of poor people even poorer.
Pat Somewhere Oct. 22, 2018
The truly wealthy right-wing and its money operate without regard to nationality, borders, or governments. Money flows around the world in ways no government could control even if it wished to. Countries are valued only to the extent they can be exploited (usually third-world countries with natural resources) or used to protect your interests (powerful first-world countries such as the U.S.) What makes them "right-wing" is that their only concern is to increase the upward flow of money from us to them, while defending their own interests legally, politically and militarily. They don't care in the slightest about human rights, justice, health care, voting rights etc. because they already have those things. So when the writers observe that they "propose a departure from status quo democratic capitalism" that is absolutely accurate. They only want what is best for them and the rest of us can fend for ourselves.
ubique NY Oct. 22, 2018
Corporations are people. Money is speech. We won at freedom. And all we've got to show for it is the next era of feudalism, and a glorified, national Prison-State. Bravo, folks.
winthrop staples newbury park california Oct. 22, 2018
Perhaps the author thinks that the despicable majority, those of us that did not go to ivy league schools are too ignorant to know that the flow of goods across borders and invasions of many 10's of millions foreigners across borders are fundamentally different events and so have very different effects on societies! What the various "right" groups that the author disparages and also 80% of people polled in developed nations have realized is that "free" movement of people across borders (interesting that anything can be justified by putting "free" in front of it), that this is nothing more than an elite mechanism to invade and conquer uppity native citizens, who know and insist on their rights, using foreigners as pawns and mercenaries that the 1% has devised to create a worldwide medievalist state.
trblmkr NYC Oct. 22, 2018
People like Herr Hoppe and all the lesser adherents of private sector "government" are all unwitting dupes of people like Putin and Trump. If successful (and they have been so far), the oligarchs have ZERO intention of codifying any rules-based "laws" for the unwashed masses. They will make sure they, and they alone, have the power to shape decision-making to suit whatever their needs are at that given moment. When Hoppe and the rest realize "this isn't what I signed up for" it will be too late. All you people out their tempted by a strong man leader, wake up! These men are mere gangsters, nothing more!
Fearless Fuzzy Templeton Oct. 22, 2018
"Like Hong Kong and Singapore, these zones would not be isolated but hyper-connected, nodes for the flow of finance and trade ruled not by democracy (which would cease to exist) but market power with disputes settled through private arbitration. No human rights would exist beyond the private rights codified in contract and policed through private security forces." With all the talk of Americans sorting themselves into opposing economic and ideological groups, (Fox News on every TV in the wealthy gated community, etc.), we could try this here in the US. As noted in a Brookings article regarding the 2016 Presidential election: "The less-than-500 counties that Hillary Clinton carried nationwide encompassed a massive 64 percent of America's economic activity as measured by total output in 2015. By contrast, the more-than-2,600 counties that Donald Trump won generated just 36 percent of the country's output -- just a little more than one-third of the nation's economic activity." So let's have 3000 feudal county-states divided between Blue and Red. Each with it's own independent authority, if it has an authority at all. With no over-arching federal assistance, such as health care and infrastructure, Redlandia would suddenly struggle with serious social needs and the "commoners" within those states, if not actual Democrats, would suddenly start to act like Democrats, arguing for social justice and fair treatment. Back to square one.
HL AZ Oct. 22, 2018
I live in Arizona, I'm a citizen of the USA but I'm also a human being on the planet earth. Globalism is a given. It's not going away. We are connected through the water table, ICBM's, Telecommunications in space, Oceans, Air, trade, etc., etc., etc. We have common problems, we have had horrible World conflicts. We will always have self interest but we will also always have shared interests. Those shared interests are growing faster than our self interests which are highly connected to our shared interests. Where the right gets it wrong is by destroying all norms of international law, treaties, allies, arms control, emissions controls, human rights, etc., etc., etc. it creates a huge vacuum in the areas where mutual shared interest is concerned. Mutual interest in our every increasing connected world is becoming much more important than national self interest in the ultimate peaceful survival of our planet. We just fought a 2 trillion dollar war in Iraq over WMD's. We are on the cusp of abandoning the INF treaty. Why would we spend 2 Trillion going after WMD's and bomb Syria over chemical weapons if our intent is to embark on nuclear proliferation? War, the end result of Right-Wing Globalization is flooding, killer storms and nuclear war. It must be stopped. The truth is post WW2 liberal democracy has been the greatest wealth building machine in the history of the world. The Right can't refute that.
McGloin Brooklyn Oct. 22, 2018
@HL The right is attacking everything that made our prosperity happen because they are too greedy to see that the things they attack are what made their prosperity possible. The most obvious is science. They attack scientists because they don't know how science works. They think that they can separate science that messes with their worldview from science that makes the gadgets they sell. It is all one science and if you undermine the integrity of science by politicizing it, then you end up with your leading scientists locked in a tower like Galileo, or forced to commit suicide like Plato. (Philosophy used to encompass all of the subjects we now specialize in including math, science, and engineering. Most of the philosophers built fortifications and war machines for a living.) Back when the top tax rate was 70% and the corporate rate was 50% growth averaged 3.5% and peak growth was 8%, while we paid down the still record debt (as a percent of GDP), rebuilt Europe and Japan, built the Interstate Highway system, and numerous dams, brought electricity to Texas (ingrates), and most people could live a reasonable life on one salary. Now we have cut taxes by more than half, average growth is less than 2%, and peak growth 5.1% (and that was under Obama). But corporate mass media and centrist Democrats never mention this obvious historical argument against Supply Side Economics, pretending that this hypothesis without a cause and effect linkage, or data to back it may yet work?!
Ryan Bingham Oct. 22, 2018
You make it sound so attractive to be swamped with people that don't share our values and want to collect benefits without assimilating.
trblmkr NYC Oct. 22, 2018
@Ryan When hundreds of thousands of immigrants whose first or last name was Ryan came here in the mid 19th century the result turned out pretty good! Also, check the numbers, we're hardly being "swamped."
Woof NY Oct. 22, 2018
The essential difference between neo-liberal and right wing views of globalization this: Neo-liberals dispute that globalization of goods trade will ultimately lower the wages of US workers exposed to it to the global average (roughly that of China). Their counter argument : Let workers become coders As if. IBM has now more workers in India than in the US. The PRC is leading in A.I Fact is that the money sent to ther PRC by the US trade has permitted her to gain the knowledge and industrial bas to specializes in any product it wishes to. Right winged nationalists, too, love free trade, but to gain political power write conditions into trade agreement such by 2020. in 2020, Mexican made cars and trucks must have 30 percent of the work done by workers earning $16 an hour, in 2023 , 40% There is nothing new or unexpected about the spread of tariff protection from farm products and farmers (where it has been practiced by the US since the 1920's and ifor 50 years has been practised globally) to manufactured goods and workers. It was inevitable Peter Drucker, founder of mangement theory predicted it in 2001. Read https://www.economist.com/special-report/2001/11/01/the-next-society to learn why
Andy Salt Lake City, Utah Oct. 22, 2018
Slobodian isn't talking about alternative globalism. He's not even talking about globalism. Embracing free finance and trade while rejecting migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality is not globalization, alternative or otherwise. Slobodian is describing an odd form of global corporatism wrapped in a nationalistic shell. Taken to Hoppe's extreme, you'd end up with a series of corporate micro-states competing for profit domination while collaborating to suppress the global labor market. The problem of course is humans cannot manage behavioral identity in this fashion. Finance and trade are an expression of human production. They are the abstract form of what human beings do all day. You can't divorce transactional convenience from the human experience. Not without literally enslaving the entire working population of the world. Envisioning a global labor force organized into essentially one big gig economy is delusional.
Sage Santa Cruz Oct. 22, 2018
Free movement of goods, services and capital, but not of workers, is nothing new. It was, in effect, the predominate economic ideology, from the 1920s to the 1990s, of what used to be called the "free world." Restricting migration is not at all novel; what is new about the Trump administration is HOW it is being done. Trump is not replacing free migration with blocked migration, he is replacing rule of law with rule of the jungle, multilateral agreement with bullying, respect for principles with mafioso loyalty and tribalism, objectivity with deceit, respect and tolerance with crudeness and hatred, enlightenment with spontaneously exploited ignorance, consistency, reliability and transparency with never-ending Orwellian doublespeak, and the spirit of progress with crass fearmongering. In the late 1930s, America hardly had more open borders than did Germany, Italy or Japan. Unlike them, however, it supported republican institutions and democratic mechanisms, and opposed fascism, militarism and wanton cruelty. Trump is not a fascist leader, and would not have been one in the 1930s, because he lacks leadership competence generally. He would have been, and is, a water-carrier for would-be wreckers of free institutions, freedom of ideas and expression, and respect for truth.
Steven East Coast Oct. 22, 2018
Surprise, the wealthy want it all with none of the downsides.
Ryan Bingham Oct. 22, 2018
@Steven; And the downside is immigration.
wilson.roger ATLANTA Oct. 22, 2018
There is a misnomer called "free trade." What we really `want is free outbound, but. ContROLLED inbound.
DanH North Flyover Oct. 22, 2018
Certainly fits the visible facts.
Bob Laughlin Denver Oct. 22, 2018
Welcome to the new feudalism of the future. There will be two classes of people: Those who own all the capital and control the military and the rest of us who either soldier for the haves or tend to those who do. There will be no diplomatic corp, instead they will send the military to take what they want. There will be islands of extreme wealth and luxury, guarded by private armies; while surrounded by oceans of misery and despair. I don't see who that is going to work out very well. Maybe it's just as well that we are probably going to incinerate the planet and our species in the near future.
Kai Oatey Oct. 22, 2018
So, Slobodian - A Wellesley history professor - champions the end of the West as we know it, demonizing those who want to preserve their cultures as "far right-wing". Somehow, the academics decided that wanting to keep your culture is reactionary ... if you are from the West. If you are not, then you have no responsibility to adapt because this would be cultural imperialism. Academics like this are part of the problem.
JDStebley Portola CA/Nyiregyhaza Oct. 22, 2018
@Kai Culture is the servant of power. You're suggesting that somehow preserving and defending culture is the far right's purpose and there is truth in that - certainly they don't want to share or pollute "our" culture. Both the right and the left were co-opted by those whose hands are on the levers of power generations ago in the west. In the east, they have learned the lessons of both our successes and failures. Culture is just the bait.
Robert Out West Oct. 22, 2018
It IS pesky, the way them pointy-heads look at facts and figures and draw reasoned conclusions, ain't it?
Barbara Snider Huntington Beach, CA Oct. 22, 2018
Sounds like we don't tax the wealthy enough. They've got theirs, now they want their own country, too. That way, slave wages leading to even more wealth. And since their fiefdom will be small, no need to provide more modes of transportation than is necessary to get goods and services out to customers. The rest of us aren't going anywhere other than to work. And, if you limit your workforce to one ethnic group, it's cheaper to control them. We all get to marry our cousins, which is a red state (I won't go there). I'm assuming we get lots of drugs to ease our boredom - kind of like now. These people are more than short-sighted and greedy, they are Trumpian. If Democrats do take the House, how about the first thing they do is make it easier to vote, i.e., national holiday on the weekend, fair and secure voting practices and corporations are not people.
bob adamson Canada Oct. 22, 2018
This article describes a wide range of social, economic & political models currently advocated on the world stage that address globalization in positive terms from an ultra-right political perspective. Arguably, advocates of these models may differ over the details of the reactionary utopianism each espouses but, when push comes to shove in the real world, they share an implied fallback openness to authoritarian government with quasi-fascist undertones.
Rennata Wilson Beverly Hills, CA Oct. 22, 2018
There has not been the "free movement of people" within any of our lifetimes (or our grandparent's life times). Populism is in part a reaction to global overpopulation. The developing world must get its fertility rates in check. It is not the obligation of countries like Japan, Australia, the United States or Italy to mop up the excess humanity billowing from the global south.
Racism Begets Violence, Rennata Colorado Oct. 22, 2018
@Rennata Wilson The "excess humanity?" What callous, ugly language. God forbid that those who are better off ever say those words about you or those you love when your hour of need comes. Whether struck with cancer or another car, surviving an earthquake or domestic abuse, struggling against hunger or warfare, we are all on the edge of death and violence. Do you think you and your grandchildren will be spared in perpetuity just because you're comfortable now? That you'll never need the aid of your brothers and sisters in the world? Do you really think that the lives of those in "the global south" (code word for people of color) don't matter as much as yours? What kind of person are you??? Your comment is shocking in its selfishness, arrogance, and cruelty. Hopefully you're not superstitious, for putting such ugliness into the universe should make you uneasy about you fate and that of your children.
Januarium California Oct. 22, 2018
American corporations didn't move production of goods overseas - or shift to using foreign made components in production - because they compassionately sought to boost employment in those countries. The idea that globalization ever had a rosy hued humanist element is patently absurd. It's always been this - a way for big business to work outside the system, exploit people, and maximize profits while minimizing costs. The US government has been enabling it for decades. What Reagan teed up, Clinton knocked out of the park. And of course immigration is part of all of this - it's far more profitable for domestic business interests if a significant percentage of the immigrant population is here illegally, hired illegally, and too frightened by an anti-immigration social climate to even think about reporting egregious violations of federal labor laws.
Steven East Coast Oct. 22, 2018
Spot on
McGloin Brooklyn Oct. 22, 2018
@Januarium Thank you for pointing out that both Reagan and Clinton created this disaster. Democrats the first step to bragging Republicans is to stop filtering the Clintons who sold us out and made Democrats take responsibility for Republican disasters. This started with NAFTA, which most Democrats were against and which Republicans now blame you for.
Will G-R US Oct. 22, 2018
You seem careful in your article to avoid leaning too heavily on the term "neoliberal," but one way of summarizing your article might be that it asks the question "is Trump a neoliberal?" and answers with a resounding "yes!" This probably seems jarring to a certain benighted stratum of American politicos who may still be struggling to integrate the term "neoliberal" into their political vocabulary after having first encountered it during the Clinton vs. Sanders contest in 2015-16, in which the Clinton camp's concern-trolling about racist/sexist "Bernie bros" was identified with neoliberalism. So just to clarify, yes, it's true that neoliberalism corresponds to a long tradition of essentially right-wing thought dating back to midcentury thinkers like Hayek (whose most famous book "The Road to Serfdom" was recently making the rounds again in the US as a fixture of Glenn Beck's Tea Party reading list) as well as Wilhelm Röpke, the postwar German economist who vehemently defended South African apartheid as a necessary bulwark against the socialistic redistribution of wealth. In short, when we leftists talk about neoliberalism in the context of ostensibly "progressive" or center-left politicians like Clinton, part of what we mean is to argue that such politicians have more in common with Trumpian racism -- in particular, a strong shared commitment to the racially loaded ideal of a "global division of labor" -- than they might care to openly admit.
Roger Reynolds Barnesville OH Oct. 22, 2018
This is a horrifying, inhuman vision that I believe will not be easily implemented. Is it not feudalism?
oogada Boogada Oct. 22, 2018
The basis of the Right is bully-boy ego and a will to violence. Physical, I'm gonna kill you and your children, too, violence. We are there. Its just our namby-pamby President has not yet summoned the nerve to implement. He has, however, put the bones of the machine in place, and introduced the rhetoric that will make it seem to make sense. Economically, the same. Trump and his Right-wing would-be totalitarianist cronies are for free trade as long as they think they're in charge. As soon as someone else, some other country, gains a clear advantage, even in a limited sector, there will be conflict. Trump thinks he and everything about him is the best, the invincible, the inevitable and so, of course, he endorses the law of the jungle. But he will never fight. If he can't convince some gullible general, some lunatic political movement to fight for him he will, first, resort to his bought and paid for courts or, failing that, his flaccid legislature for relief. Failing that, he'll wall himself up in the Trump compound and continue harassing independent contractors. Failing that, he will try to run away but, I suspect, find no welcoming refuge in a world civilized enough to respect the putter like Trump. This Uber-Right 'Globalization' isn't an economic idea, it isn't a system, its a demand for the world's lunch money.
Julie Carter Maine Oct. 22, 2018
So under this new system would people be confined to the country (or even the state) in which they were born? Would there be no tourism industry, only those in charge of trade agreements and shippers allowed to go between these Singapore type enclaves? And the majority of people kept in a virtual slave type existence? Takes me back to the phrase from a song of my childhood: "Don't fence me in!"
Chris DC Oct. 22, 2018
"Mr. Hoppe envisions a dissolution of the current world map of states into thousands of tiny units the size of Hong Kong, Andorra and Monaco without representative government and ruled only by private contract...." In other words, a new corporatist-styled globalized feudalism. And the vast majority of the population reduced to some new dystopian construct of peasantry. Of course, if we're in the full throes of dystopia - for here we surely are - the planet is faced with multiple crises of environmental degradation, dwindling resources and wars of conquest. And no global structure in place to resolve any of this. Part of the big problem with right wing-styled libertarianism: it doesn't deal well with large-scale events like extinction. In fact, it's utterly oblivious to them.
jmsegoiri Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain Oct. 22, 2018
@Chris Another thing is missing, tiny states are the perfect cauldron for permanent warfare of neighbours against neighbours. This phenomenon is perfectly depicted in the History of Europe.
Northwoods Cynic Wisconsin Oct. 22, 2018
@jmsegoiri Yes. And the war profiteers love that idea.
John Connecticut Oct. 22, 2018
"The formula of right-wing alter-globalization is: yes to free finance and free trade. No to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality." There is no new form of globalization here. This is exactly the formula for the corporate-led globalization we have seen since the 1980s: free flows of goods and money, but not people. The only new twist here is the abandonment of multilateralism, which was always intended by the global top 1% as a means to subvert democracy: put in place a system of global rules that no individual government can violate, even if the vast majority of its people want it to, because corporate globalization is literally killing them. Trump and the Republican party, now wholly owned by a handful of multi-billionaires, simply want to impose their own rules on the world economy, and not have to rely on multilateral rules that occasionally favor competing groups of multi-billionaires. The so-called populist masses around the world are simply being taken in by the reactionary ideology that is always used to divide and rule: scapegoat the "others," whoever they may be in any given situation.
Daniel12 Wash d.c. Oct. 22, 2018
Quinn Slobodian: "The formula of right-wing alter-globalization is: yes to free finance and free trade. No to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality." Slobodian's views are quite fascinating on this problem. In fact it's quite fascinating to ask what would occur today if nations were to become even dangerously far right as in the 1930's, but unlike the 1930's we were to have more of them, a true multipolar situation, and of course to have these nations armed with WMD, yet they would ostensibly be committed to free finance and free trade and not declaring outright war on each other. Obviously these nations would be a nightmare from perspective of migration, democracy, and human equality, but might they have a rough multilateralism (which free finance and trade roughly implies) and be prevented from outright war, and eventually be such a fierce and forward driving economic clash to point that despite all their right wing trends they drive the world up into plenty and innovation which solves many outstanding problems today such as climate change, and eventually they loosen up to act more along line of left wing globalization dreams today? Or will such a right wing trend eventually be the 1930's again but this time a terrible WW3? I guess the big question is whether we can tell if the world will swing too far right or left for that matter or if we are sensible enough to swing this way and that in uneven climb to eventual success of us all.
MickNamVet Philadelphia, PA Oct. 22, 2018
Mr. Slobodian's is a very insightful article, and you can see the influence of Bannon and the Alt-Right on Trump in this regard, and how Trump fits into this paradigm in his relationships with NAFTA, the WTO, the EU.
Ronnie Santa Cruz, CA Oct. 22, 2018
Like Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, only with borders.
NYer NYC Oct. 22, 2018
Trump and his ilk are NOT "Populists"! See definition below. Language matters! Why does the press persist in repeating this utterly inaccurate term? Whatever we think of the likes of Trump and Le Pen, etc., they are not "Populists"! pop·u·list /ˈpäpyələst • a person who holds, or who is concerned with, the views of ordinary people. • a member of the Populist Party, a US political party formed in 1891 that advocated the interests of labor and farmers, free coinage of silver, a graduated income tax, and government control of monopolies. They have no REAL interest in "ordinary people", they're demagogues. And Trump's policies (healthcare, taxes) HURT "ordinary people." As for "graduated income tax, and government control of monopolies".... we know how he feels about that!
Evans New York Oct. 22, 2018
@NYer Yes language matters, but dictionary definitions never exhaust words. 'Populist' has also come to mean, unjustly or not, someone who claims to speak for 'the people' in some unmediated and undifferentiated sense. So not a variety of groups, not ordinary people, but 'the people' in the homogenized way that Slobodian discusses. I don't expect to be able to change your mind in a few lines here, but would suggest Jan-Werner Muller's book, What is Populism? for something far richer than an older definition (but still short). I don't know if this hyperlink will be scrubbed but: http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15615.html
ed ny Oct. 22, 2018
@NYer Think about the people who were and are attracted to Trump rallies. A significant nmajority of White Americans (who consider themselves to be "real" Americans) want to take our country back and to make America great again. These are the people who voted for Donald Trump. Authoritarian leaders often gain power on the basis of popullist messaging.
Middleman MD New York, NY Oct. 22, 2018
@NYer I echo the comments of Evans. Trump isn't ideologically sophisticated enough to offer solutions that are wholly populist, and at the end of the day, he has to rely on the Republican party establishment to create legislation. His campaign, however, was a populist campaign for sure, even though this paper and many other media outlets were insistent on calling it fascist and racist... most certainly because too many of our journalists are not knowledgeable about history and has no idea what a populist was.
rumpleSS Catskills, NY Oct. 22, 2018
"The formula of right-wing alter-globalization is: yes to free finance and free trade. No to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality." So, where does Trump fit in all of this? Yes to free finance. Yes to free trade if Trump and the wealthy can get their cut. A big NO to free migration...even legal immigration. A big NO to democracy with republican lead voter suppression and vote rigging with electronic voting machines, along with propaganda meant to influence elections with fake news. A big NO to multilateralism as Trump does not believe in working for anyone's benefit but his own. And a really big NO to human equality as Trump believes no one is his equal. So, you should not be surprised that Trump doesn't have a super duper health care plan for the nation as he doesn't care about your health. Trump talks about jobs, but no infrastructure program because Trump doesn't care how well the country operates. And Trump talks about immigrants of color as an "infestation" because he is a white supremacist seeking a false purity. When will we learn that diversity is strength. True in nature...true among humans. VOTE OUT ALL REPUBLICANS
michael nyc Oct. 22, 2018
So the distinction being proposed is between global mercantilism vs. global (what? altruism? friendliness? whatever is the opposite of xenophobia?). While it's hard to justify opposition to global mercantilism in modern times, obviously there is a dark human impulse to fear and fight foreigners, however foreign is defined. Must be a sibling or close cousin to scapegoating - blaming the foreigner for deficits that are more likely domestic. Both dark impulses seem ameliorated by education and cosmopolitanism -- the latter likely helped by global trade relationships. So there is some connection. We have a real problem in figuring out how to stop amoral fascists like Trump from exploiting the dark human impulses of xenophobia and scapegoatism to gain authority and power -- and we really must wage that fight without giving up on democracy. I suspect there are deep psychological and sociological insights (see Jonathan Haidt) that we have not yet attained.
Nreb La La Land Oct. 22, 2018
Trump and the far right want to keep the free movement of goods and money, but not of people. That's RIGHT and that's GOOD!
ls123 MD Oct. 22, 2018
@Nreb The corporate elite donor class, particularly the Republican donor class, don't really want to cut off the flow of cheap labor. They just want to turn them into underground serfs instead of green card holders who can ask for higher wages when the labor market is tight.
Voter Frog Oklahoma City, OK Oct. 22, 2018
Karl Marx wasn't right about everything. He was wrong in thinking that people were good-natured-enough to be willing to work for equal wages. But, he was spot-on about class struggle. The rich and powerful strain every sinew to get richer and more powerful. If we put on our Marxist glasses while reading your article, the motives of our leaders become crystal-clear. It's about making the rich and powerful richer and more powerful. And, until we freely acknowledge the existence of a class struggle in America, we regular citizens are going to be aiming at secondary targets.
Fourteen Boston Oct. 22, 2018
@Voter Frog The class struggle in America is between the Progressives and the Democrats. That is, between the old and the new, the past and the future, the old and the young, the rulers and the ruled, democracy and fascism, the People and corporations. Republicans are the militant arm of the Democrats, they are important but secondary targets. We have to first go through the Democrats to get to the Republicans.
jim morrissette charlottesville va Oct. 22, 2018
@Voter Frog - all the secondary targets brought into focus as identity politics. Great comment, Frog, right on the money.
McGloin Brooklyn Oct. 22, 2018
@Voter Frog Yes, I am not against markets or money. These things are useful and not going away. But the global .1% are still doing what they have been doing for ten thousand years: waging class warfare against the other 99% The royalty used to tax the poor and give to themselves. That is why Robin Hood was a hero to the masses. Then we had a revolution so that the rest of us could tax the rich and invest in our children and our infrastructure. That is exactly what the Constitution says that we are supposed to do. Read it. But the global mega rich are unhappy with any system that is not designed to make them richer at our expense, so they bought the politicians and they bought the media. And these politicians and media have convinced a whole lot of people that the rich are the job creators, while they fire everyone, and they are the wealth creators even though the workers actually do the work that creates the wealth, while the rich take risks with our retirement money. A real rugged individualist is a hermit, alone and disconnected from the grid. A CEO of a global bank getting free cash from the federal Reserve is not a rugged individualist, they are semi useful parasites sucking cash from the financial veins of our economy. If you fire a CEO from a car company, it can still make cars, but if you fire the workers, it can't. Markets are good, but capitalism puts the owners of machinery above the people that do the work. Adam Smith was against this and so am I.
Alex p It Oct. 22, 2018
I urge, again, some supervisor who ACTUALLY reads the op-eds before publishing them. In this ediorial i haven't to go longer than first paragraph to read that mr. Trump and republicans are cherry-picking their own kind of globalism where goods an money are free. That, is. not. true. First globalism is something that has to do with a free circulation of people and goods ( money are included in my view within goods by necessity, unless you're thinking about a primordial society founded on exchange of good for good ) AMONG many countries. There wasn't ever a call for globalism in history because there wasn't such massive partecipation from countries. What you had in the past was bilateral or trilateral accord ( like NAFTA; recently renmed USAMCA ) over negotiated goods. Globalism won't do that by negotiating single cases, but only for general cases ( all diary, all automotive, etc.. ) Regardless that, it's been since mr. Trump's election that this presidency has imposed restrictions over goods coming from China, recently it has mined the Pan-pacific accord with asian countries, imposed tariffs on steel trade with Europe, and the list goes on and on. It's appalling, to say the least, that everything was shut down and narrowed to only the last few days data only ( that is only to consider the 100bls tradi with saudis.. in a vacuum! ) Maybe the author is not aware of the meaning of the word cherry-picking, but he is an expert of the word horse-viewing.
Homer Seattle Oct. 22, 2018
@Alex p Its a opinion piece. The author is entitled to his opinion; you are entitled to disagree. Its not an "editor" issue. You'll be alright.
Bud 1 Los Angeles Oct. 22, 2018
The "free movement of goods", when it encompasses imports from poorly regulated, authoritarian countries with no history of labor rights and with little regard for the stewardship of God's green earth, has exacerbated our climate calamity and is bringing right wing nativists, with dangerous ideologies, to power all over the developed world. But the bankers & their friends in Washington and Manhattan remain willfully blind.
Daniel A. Greenbaum New York Oct. 22, 2018
If this is true what is up with the trade war? It is about goods and services and money. Unless the Internet is coming down it will always move things in the direction of consumers and empower the movement of goods and money but do little about the movement of workers.
Geo Olson Chicago Oct. 22, 2018
Your main point: "The idea that openness is under attack is too vague. The formula of right-wing alter-globalization is: yes to free finance and free trade. No to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality." And I am assuming that saying no to free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality is bad, in your opinion. And I am assuming that you believe both finance and free trade can exist along side free migration, democracy, multilateralism and human equality. To preserve our basic values, if indeed these are an examples and I am assuming they are, we need to work harder at not simply settling for "free finance and free trade", which are far easier to achieve if you dispense with these basic values. We used to fight for human rights, we sought to be a nation that practiced democracy as a role model for the globe, and we hoped to make progress every year on improving human equality. Never perfect, but striving to abide by these values as a nation. Openness under attack is a critique that is too vague. Is you point that we sacrifice these values to quickly, and at our moral peril, if we settle for that as adequately clear and direct. I hope that is what you are saying. I agree with you. And with our vote in November we can begin the process of protecting these basic values.

[Jun 23, 2019] Brexit is the spawn of national neoliberalism....

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

shedexile , 10 Apr 2019 17:28

Brexit is the spawn of neoliberalism....

Holding up the EU as the root of all woes, while at the same time dominating political discourse and deflecting the blame from the real culprits.

All at a time when public spending cuts in the name of austerity (itself a direct reaction to the failings of the neoliberal economic system) are spreading untold misery. At a time when we finally have an opposition ready to challenge the policies of austerity, the issue has been conveniently brushed under the brexit rug.

[Jun 23, 2019] 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

Jan 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

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.

[Jun 23, 2019] The return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

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.

Pinkie123 -> economicalternative , 12 Apr 2019 02:57

Yes, the EU is an ordoliberal institution - the state imposing rules on the market from without. Thus, it is not the chief danger. The takeover of 5G, and therefore our entire economy and industry, by Huawei - now that would be a loss of state sovereignty. But because Huawei is nominally a corporation, people do not think about is a form of governmental bureaucracy, but if powerful enough that is exactly what it is.
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.
subtropics , 11 Apr 2019 13:51
Neoliberalism allows with impunity pesticide businesses to apply high risk toxic pesticides everywhere seriously affecting the health of children, everyone as well as poisoning the biosphere and all its biodiversity. This freedom has gone far too far and is totally unacceptable and these chemicals should be banished immediately.
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.

[Jun 23, 2019] with Trump the ideological patina of faith in free markets has gone and he's more or less just engaged in an asset stripping exercise

Notable quotes:
"... In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs." ..."
"... To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest -> consumerx, 10 Apr 2019 19:24

...with Trump the ideological patina of faith in free markets has gone and he's more or less just engaged in an asset stripping exercise. Thing is, though, you can't get away with that without some kind of distraction, and in Trump's case it's his country club racist's understanding of geopolitics converted into campaign rhetoric and immigration policy.

I don't think this is some masterplan -- he just happened to stumble into the stage at a point where there was an opening for his kind of rhetoric. I'm just amazed someone smarter didn't see it earlier and capitalise.

consumerx -> hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:57
Disagree,

Under Trumps tax plan, a single mother with 2 kids working fulltime at minumum wage gets 75 dollars a YEAR in childcare, about $-1.50 per week.
----------
While the rich, those making up to 400,000 per year get 2000.00 per year child credit off their taxes.
---------------
Name a benefit for the poor, that the recent tax bill passed by Trump and GREEDY GOP.


-----------------------------------------------------

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs."

To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control.

This same messy mix of free market fundamentalism and hyper-nationalistic populism is presently taking shape in Trump's proposed budget. But the apparent contradiction there isn't likely to slow down Trump's pro-market, pro-Wall Street, pro-wealth agenda.

His supporters may soon discover that his professions of care for those left behind by globalization are -- aside from some mostly symbolic moves on trade -- empty.

Just look at what has already happened with the GOP's proposed replacement for Obamacare, which if enacted would bring increased pain and suffering to the anxious voters who put their trust in Trump's populism in the first place.

While these Americans might have thought their votes would win them protection from the instabilities and austerities of market-led globalization, what they are getting is a neoliberal president in populist clothing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/22/dont-let-his-trade-policy-fool-you-trump-is-a-neoliberal/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.94fa9481fd2a

[Jun 23, 2019] Ironic isn't it, America may end up becoming the Western world's first failed state? A kind of Somalia with hamburgers,obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired gangsters

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

OceaneBorgia , 6 Mar 2012 08:06

I adore the ill educated, unintentional, satirical nature of some of the Rand supporters comments here - unsurprisingly predominantly American. Who appear to have a tenuous grasp on the nature and meaning of philosophy. Who replace rational thought with cod philosophy and hysterical rants, - that would embarrass your average cargo cult worshiper - as a justification for their own sociopathy and intellectual inadequacy. Take a bow... MoreThanExists and the even more comic BruceMajors

Ironic isn't it, America may end up becoming the Western world's first failed state? A kind of Somalia with hamburgers,obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired gangsters, funded by Wall Street parasites, with the Tea Party as the Sturm Abteilung (SA), and "Atlas Shrugged" as their most sacred holy text written by a third rate Sadeian dominatrix.

Remember the fascist war cry as they went into battle against Republican troops during the Spanish Civil War, "Death to the intellect! Long live death!". How appropriate?!! Maybe Rand's disciples could work that into a revised version of "The Star-Spangled Banner.?"

[Jun 11, 2019] In reality localists, sovereignists etc. don't really want de-globalisation for the sake of it, they mostly want to increase exports and decrease imports, and in fact these localists desires are stronger in countries (USA, UK) that are big net importers, and therefore think they are losing in the globalisation race.

Jun 11, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

MisterMr 06.11.19 at 11:16 am

@nastywoman 26

" -- seems to me a very complicated explanation for: If a country doesn't produce what it consumes Such a country is entirely F ed!"

This is totally NOT what I said, so I'll restate my point differently.

IF people (localists, sovereignists etc.) really wanted less globalisation, without global supply chains, etc., then it would be possible, at a price (in terms of productivity).

BUT in reality localists, sovereignists etc. don't really want de-globalisation for the sake of it, they mostly want to increase exports and decrease imports, and in fact these localists desires are stronger in countries (USA, UK) that are big net importers, and therefore think they are losing in the globalisation race.

The reason localists want to increase exports and decrease imports is that it is a form of mercantilism: if exports increase and imports decrease, there are more jobs and contemporaneously there are also more profits for businesses, so it's natural that countries want to import less and export more.

BUT exports are a zero sum game, so while this or that country can have some advantages by being a net exporter, this automatically means that some other country becomes a net importer, so onne can't solve the problem of unemployment by having everyone being net exporters (as Krugman once joked by having everyone export to Mars).

So the big plan of localists cannot work in aggregate, if it works for one country it creates a problem for another country. This is a really big problem that will cause increasing international tensions.

We are seeing this dinamic, IMHO, in the Brexit negotiations, where in my opinion many brexiters had mercantilist hopes, but of course the EU will not accept an accord that makes it easy for the UK to play mercantilist.

I'll add that I think that Brexiters don't really realise that they are mercantilists, but if you look at the demands and hopes of many Brexiters this is their "revealed preference".

This is also a problem because apparently many people (not only the Brexiters, see also EU's policies towards Greece) don't really realise what's the endgame for the policies they are rooting for, it seems more like a socially unconscious tendency, so it is difficult to have a rational argument with someone that doesn't really understand what he wants and what he is in practice trying to do.

The reason that every country is trying to play mercantilist is that in most countries inequality rose in the last decades, which creates a tendency towards underconsumption, that must be countered through one of these 3 channels: (1) Government deficits; (2) Easy money finance and increased levels of financial leverage; (3) net exports.

The first two channels lead to higher debt levels, the third apparently doesn't but, as on the other side of net exports there has to be a net importer, in reality it still relies on an increase in debt levels, only it is an increase in debt levels by someone else (sometimes known as the net exporter -- "vendor-financing" the net importer)

The increase in leverage goes hand in hand with an increase of the value of capital assets VS GDP, that is an increase of the wealth to income ratio.

So ultimately the increased level of inequality inside countries (as opposed to economic inequality between countries, that is falling) leads to a world where both debt levels and asset prices grow more than proportionally to GDP, hence speculative behaviour, and an economy that is addicted to the increase of debt levels, either at home or abroad (in the case of net exporting countries).

The countries that seriously want to become net exporters have to depress internal consumption, which makes the problem worse at a world level. The countries like the USA, where internal consumption is too much a big share of the pie relative to what the USA could gain by exports, are forced to the internal debt route, and so are more likely to become net importers.

However, in this situation where everyone acts mercantilist, by necessity someone will end up a net importer because import/export is a zero sum game, so it doesn't really make sense to blame this or that attitude of, for example, Americans for they being net importers: they are forced into it because otherwise they would be in perma-depression.

nastywoman 06.11.19 at 11:31 am ( 30 )

“But it is unquestionably and unarguably true that American conflict (which may or may not be of a military nature) with a rising China is literally inevitable”

As long as the US Casino -(”the stock market”) will react unfavourable to a (real) American-Chinese conflict – there will be no (real) American-Chinese conflict –
(just the games which are going on currently) – and just never forget – all of my Chinese friends are really ”tough gamblers”.

Mike Furlan 06.11.19 at 2:30 pm ( 31 )
@30

“As long as the US Casino -(”the stock market”) will react unfavourable to a (real) American-Chinese conflict – there will be no (real) American-Chinese conflict “

Crash, then conflict?

One possibility is a US market crash entirely due to domestic shenanigans, followed by demagogue blaming it all on “Chiner.”

[Jun 11, 2019] Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism by Quinn Slobodian

The author is a very fuzzy way comes to the idea that neoliberalism is in essence a Trotskyism for the rich and that neoliberals want to use strong state to enforce the type of markets they want from above. That included free movement of capital goods and people across national borders. All this talk about "small government" is just a smoke screen for naive fools.
Similar to 1930th contemporary right-wing populism in Germany and Austria emerged from within neoliberalism, not in opposition to it. They essentially convert neoliberalism in "national liberalism": Yes to free trade by only on bilateral basis with a strict control of trade deficits. No to free migration, multilateralism
Notable quotes:
"... The second explanation was that neoliberal globalization made a small number of people very rich, and it was in the interest of those people to promote a self-serving ideology using their substantial means by funding think tanks and academic departments, lobbying congress, fighting what the Heritage Foundation calls "the war of ideas." Neoliberalism, then, was a restoration of class power after the odd, anomalous interval of the mid-century welfare state. ..."
"... Neoliberal globalism can be thought of in its own terms as a negative theology, contending that the world economy is sublime and ineffable with a small number of people having special insight and ability to craft institutions that will, as I put it, encase the sublime world economy. ..."
"... One of the big goals of my book is to show neoliberalism is one form of regulation among many rather than the big Other of regulation as such. ..."
"... I build here on the work of other historians and show how the demands in the United Nations by African, Asian, and Latin American nations for things like the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, i.e. the right to nationalize foreign-owned companies, often dismissed as merely rhetorical, were actually existentially frightening to global businesspeople. ..."
"... They drafted neoliberal intellectuals to do things like craft agreements that gave foreign corporations more rights than domestic actors and tried to figure out how to lock in what I call the "human right of capital flight" into binding international codes. I show how we can see the development of the WTO as largely a response to the fear of a planned -- and equal -- planet that many saw in the aspirations of the decolonizing world. ..."
"... The neoliberal insight of the 1930s was that the market would not take care of itself: what Wilhelm Röpke called a market police was an ongoing need in a world where people, whether out of atavistic drives or admirable humanitarian motives, kept trying to make the earth a more equal and just place. ..."
"... The culmination of these processes by the 1990s is a world economy that is less like a laissez-faire marketplace and more like a fortress, as ever more of the world's resources and ideas are regulated through transnational legal instruments. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 16, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0674979524
ISBN-13: 978-0674979529

From introduction

...The second explanation was that neoliberal globalization made a small number of people very rich, and it was in the interest of those people to promote a self-serving ideology using their substantial means by funding think tanks and academic departments, lobbying congress, fighting what the Heritage Foundation calls "the war of ideas." Neoliberalism, then, was a restoration of class power after the odd, anomalous interval of the mid-century welfare state.

There is truth to both of these explanations. Both presuppose a kind of materialist explanation of history with which I have no problem. In my book, though, I take another approach. What I found is that we could not understand the inner logic of something like the WTO without considering the whole history of the twentieth century. What I also discovered is that some of the members of the neoliberal movement from the 1930s onward, including Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, did not use either of the explanations I just mentioned. They actually didn't say that economic growth excuses everything. One of the peculiar things about Hayek, in particular, is that he didn't believe in using aggregates like GDP -- the very measurements that we need to even say what growth is.

What I found is that neoliberalism as a philosophy is less a doctrine of economics than a doctrine of ordering -- of creating the institutions that provide for the reproduction of the totality [of financial elite control of the state]. At the core of the strain I describe is not the idea that we can quantify, count, price, buy and sell every last aspect of human existence. Actually, here it gets quite mystical. The Austrian and German School of neoliberals in particular believe in a kind of invisible world economy that cannot be captured in numbers and figures but always escapes human comprehension.

After all, if you can see something, you can plan it. Because of the very limits to our knowledge, we have to default to ironclad rules and not try to pursue something as radical as social justice, redistribution, or collective transformation. In a globalized world, we must give ourselves over to the forces of the market, or the whole thing will stop working.

So this is quite a different version of neoliberal thought than the one we usually have, premised on the abstract of individual liberty or the freedom to choose. Here one is free to choose but only within a limited range of options left after responding to the global forces of the market.

One of the core arguments of my book is that we can only understand the internal coherence of neoliberalism if we see it as a doctrine as concerned with the whole as the individual. Neoliberal globalism can be thought of in its own terms as a negative theology, contending that the world economy is sublime and ineffable with a small number of people having special insight and ability to craft institutions that will, as I put it, encase the sublime world economy.

To me, the metaphor of encasement makes much more sense than the usual idea of markets set free, liberated or unfettered. How can it be that in an era of proliferating third party arbitration courts, international investment law, trade treaties and regulation that we talk about "unfettered markets"? One of the big goals of my book is to show neoliberalism is one form of regulation among many rather than the big Other of regulation as such.

What I explore in Globalists is how we can think of the WTO as the latest in a long series of institutional fixes proposed for the problem of emergent nationalism and what neoliberals see as the confusion between sovereignty -- ruling a country -- and ownership -- owning the property within it.

I build here on the work of other historians and show how the demands in the United Nations by African, Asian, and Latin American nations for things like the Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources, i.e. the right to nationalize foreign-owned companies, often dismissed as merely rhetorical, were actually existentially frightening to global businesspeople.

They drafted neoliberal intellectuals to do things like craft agreements that gave foreign corporations more rights than domestic actors and tried to figure out how to lock in what I call the "human right of capital flight" into binding international codes. I show how we can see the development of the WTO as largely a response to the fear of a planned -- and equal -- planet that many saw in the aspirations of the decolonizing world.

Perhaps the lasting image of globalization that the book leaves is that world capitalism has produced a doubled world -- a world of imperium (the world of states) and a world of dominium (the world of property). The best way to understand neoliberal globalism as a project is that it sees its task as the never-ending maintenance of this division. The neoliberal insight of the 1930s was that the market would not take care of itself: what Wilhelm Röpke called a market police was an ongoing need in a world where people, whether out of atavistic drives or admirable humanitarian motives, kept trying to make the earth a more equal and just place.

The culmination of these processes by the 1990s is a world economy that is less like a laissez-faire marketplace and more like a fortress, as ever more of the world's resources and ideas are regulated through transnational legal instruments. The book acts as a kind of field guide to these institutions and, in the process, hopefully recasts the 20th century that produced them.


Mark bennett

One half of a decent book

3.0 out of 5 stars One half of a decent book May 14, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase This is a rather interesting look at the political and economic ideas of a circle of important economists, including Hayek and von Mises, over the course of the last century. He shows rather convincingly that conventional narratives concerning their idea are wrong. That they didn't believe in a weak state, didn't believe in the laissez-faire capitalism or believe in the power of the market. That they saw mass democracy as a threat to vested economic interests.

The core beliefs of these people was in a world where money, labor and products could flow across borders without any limit. Their vision was to remove these subjects (tariffs, immigration and controls on the movement of money) from the control of the democracy-based nation-state and instead vesting them in international organizations. International organizations which were by their nature undemocratic and beyond the influence of democracy. That rather than rejecting government power, what they rejected was national government power. They wanted weak national governments but at the same time strong undemocratic international organizations which would gain the powers taken from the state.

The other thing that characterized many of these people was a rather general rejection of economics. While some of them are (at least in theory) economists, they rejected the basic ideas of economic analysis and economic policy. The economy, to them, was a mystical thing beyond any human understanding or ability to influence in a positive way. Their only real belief was in "bigness". The larger the market for labor and goods, the more economically prosperous everyone would become. A unregulated "global" market with specialization across borders and free migration of labor being the ultimate system.

The author shows how, over a period extending from the 1920s to the 1990s, these ideas evolved from marginal academic ideas to being dominant ideas internationally. Ideas that are reflected today in the structure of the European Union, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the policies of most national governments. These ideas, which the author calls "neoliberalism", have today become almost assumptions beyond challenge. And even more strangely, the dominating ideas of the political left in most of the west.

The author makes the point, though in a weak way, that the "fathers" of neoliberalism saw themselves as "restoring" a lost golden age. That golden age being (roughly) the age of the original industrial revolution (the second half of the 1800s). And to the extent that they have been successful they have done that. But at the same time, they have brought back all the political and economic questions of that era as well.

In reading it, I started to wonder about the differences between modern neoliberalism and the liberal political movement during the industrial revolution. I really began to wonder about the actual motives of "reform" liberals in that era. Were they genuinely interested in reforms during that era or were all the reforms just cynical politics designed to enhance business power at the expense of other vested interests. Was, in particular, the liberal interest in political reform and franchise expansion a genuine move toward political democracy or simply a temporary ploy to increase their political power. If one assumes that the true principles of classic liberalism were always free trade, free migration of labor and removing the power to governments to impact business, perhaps its collapse around the time of the first world war is easier to understand.

He also makes a good point about the EEC and the organizations that came before the EU. Those organizations were as much about protecting trade between Europe and former European colonial possessions as they were anything to do with trade within Europe.

To me at least, the analysis of the author was rather original. In particular, he did an excellent job of showing how the ideas of Hayek and von Mises have been distorted and misunderstood in the mainstream. He was able to show what their ideas were and how they relate to contemporary problems of government and democracy.

But there are some strong negatives in the book. The author offers up a complete virtue signaling chapter to prove how the neoliberals are racists. He brings up things, like the John Birch Society, that have nothing to do with the book. He unleashes a whole lot of venom directed at American conservatives and republicans mostly set against a 1960s backdrop. He does all this in a bad purpose: to claim that the Kennedy Administration was somehow a continuation of the new deal rather than a step toward neoliberalism. His blindness and modern political partisanship extended backward into history does substantial damage to his argument in the book. He also spends an inordinate amount of time on the political issues of South Africa which also adds nothing to the argument of the book. His whole chapter on racism is an elaborate strawman all held together by Ropke. He also spends a large amount of time grinding some sort of Ax with regard to the National Review and William F. Buckley.

He keeps resorting to the simple formula of finding something racist said or written by Ropke....and then inferring that anyone who quoted or had anything to do with Ropke shared his ideas and was also a racist. The whole point of the exercise seems to be to avoid any analysis of how the democratic party (and the political left) drifted over the decades from the politics of the New Deal to neoliberal Clintonism.

Then after that, he diverts further off the path by spending many pages on the greatness of the "global south", the G77 and the New International Economic Order (NIEO) promoted by the UN in the 1970s. And whatever many faults of neoliberalism, Quinn Slobodian ends up standing for a worse set of ideas: International Price controls, economic "reparations", nationalization, international trade subsidies and a five-year plan for the world (socialist style economic planning at a global level). In attaching himself to these particular ideas, he kills his own book. The premise of the book and his argument was very strong at first. But by around p. 220, its become a throwback political tract in favor of the garbage economic and political ideas of the so-called third world circa 1974 complete with 70's style extensive quotations from "Senegalese jurists"

Once the political agenda comes out, he just can't help himself. He opens the conclusion to the book taking another cheap shot for no clear reason at William F. Buckley. He spends alot of time on the Seattle anti-WTO protests from the 1990s. But he has NOTHING to say about BIll Clinton or Tony Blair or EU expansion or Obama or even the 2008 economic crisis for that matter. Inexplicably for a book written in 2018, the content of the book seems to end in the year 2000.

I'm giving it three stars for the first 150 pages which was decent work. The second half rates zero stars. Though it could have been far better if he had written his history of neoliberalism in the context of the counter-narrative of Keynesian economics and its decline. It would have been better yet if the author had the courage to talk about the transformation of the parties of the left and their complicity in the rise of neoliberalism. The author also tends to waste lots of pages repeating himself or worse telling you what he is going to say next. One would have expected a better standard of editing by the Harvard Press. Read less 69 people found this helpful Helpful Comment Report abuse

Jesper Doepping
A concise definition of neoliberalism and its historical influence

5.0 out of 5 stars A concise definition of neoliberalism and its historical influence November 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Anybody interested in global trade, business, human rights or democracy today should read this book.

The book follow the Austrians from the beginning in the Habsburgischer empire to the beginning rebellion against the WTO. However, most importantly it follows the thinking and the thoughts behind the building of a global empire of capitalism with free trade, capital and rights. All the way to the new "human right" to trade. It narrows down what neoliberal thought really consist of and indirectly make a differentiation to the neoclassical economic tradition.

What I found most interesting is the turn from economics to law - and the conceptual distinctions between the genes, tradition, reason, which are translated into a quest for a rational and reason based protection of dominium (the rule of property) against the overreach of imperium (the rule of states/people). This distinction speaks directly to the issues that EU is currently facing.

Jackal
A historian with an agenda

3.0 out of 5 stars A historian with an agenda October 22, 2018 Format: Hardcover Author is covering Mises, Hayek, Machlup in Vienna. How to produce order once the Habsburg empire had been broken after 1918? They pioneered data gathering about the economy. However, such data came to be used by the left as well. This forced the people mentioned to become intellectual thinkers as opposed to something else(??). I like how the author is situating the people in a specific era, but he is reading history backwards. The book moves on, but stays in Central Europe. Ordocapitalism followed after Hitler. It was a German attempt to have a both strong state and strong by market, which given Europe's fragmentation required international treaties. This was seen as a way to avoid another Hitler. Later, international organisations like IMF and TWO became the new institutions that embedded the global markets. The book ends in the 90s. So in reading history backwards, the author finds quotations of Mises and Hayek that "prove" that they were aiming to create intellectual cover for the global financial elite of the 2010s.

Nevertheless, the book is interesting if you like the history of ideas. He frames the questions intelligently in the historical context at the time. However a huge question-mark for objectivity. The book is full of lefty dog whistles: the war making state, regulation of capitalism, reproducing the power of elites, the problem [singular] of capitalism. In a podcast the author states point blank "I wanted the left to see what the enemy was up too". I find it pathetic that authors are so blatantly partisan. How can we know whether he is objective when he doesn't even try? He dismissively claims that the neoliberal thinkers gave cover to what has become the globalist world order. So why should we not consider the current book as intellectual cover for some "new left" that is about to materialise? Maybe the book is just intellectual cover for the globalist elite being educated in left-wing private colleges.

[Jun 10, 2019] Can globalization be reversed Part 1 Trade (wonkish)

Jun 10, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Lupita 06.09.19 at 6:02 pm

The first explicit reaction against globalization to gain popular attention was the Battle of Seattle in 1999

Why not the Zapatista uprising in 1994? It was explicitly against Nafta and neoliberalism. The 1997 Asian financial crisis also triggered a very strong reaction against the US centered globalized financial system, its hedge funds, and the IMF.

the neoliberal ideology on which it rested, didn't face any serious challenge until the Global Financial Crisis of 2008

In 2003, the unified challenge of the poorer countries was so serious that it the collapsed the WTO talks to the point that it has never recovered. 2008 was simply catastrophic.

More than globalization being challenged, I think it is US hegemony. Trump is definitely uniting its challengers with his media circus in Venezuela, disruptive tariff threats against Mexico, and the blacklisting of Huawei.

Likbez 06.09.19 at 11:38 pm (no link)

Trump election in 2016 was in essence a rejection of neoliberal globalization by the American electorate which showed the USA neoliberal establishment the middle finger. That's probably why Russiagate hysteria was launched to create a smoke screen and patch the cracks.

The same is probably true about Brexit. That's also explains Great Britain prominent role in pushing anti-Russia hysteria.

I think the collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 (along with the collapse of financial markets) mortally wounded "classic" neoliberal globalization. That's why we see the conversion of classic neoliberalism into Trump's "national neoliberalism" which rejects "classic" neoliberal globalization based on multinational treaties like WTO.

As the result of crisis of neoliberal ideology we see re-emergence of far-right on the political scene. We might also see the emergence of hostile to each other trading blocks (China Russia Turkey Iran; possibly plus Brazil and India ) vs G7. History repeats

I suspect that the USA neoliberal elite (financial oligarchy and MIC) views the current trade war with China as the key chance to revitalize Cold War schemes and strategically organize US economic, foreign and security policies around them. It looks like this strategic arrangement is very similar to the suppression of the USSR economic development during the Cold War.

The tragedy is that Trump administration is launching the conflict with China, while simultaneously antagonizing Russia, attacking EU and undermining elements of the postwar world order which propelled the USA to its current hegemonic position.

[May 06, 2019] We would have to sacrifice considerable sovereignty to the world organization to enable them to levy taxes in their own right to support themselves.

May 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

LOL123 , 53 minutes ago link

When you hear the same cue words you know exactly where it comes from.

Peace as its goal through staged wars ( undeclared since WW11).

"

February 9, 1950 -- The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee introduces Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 which begins:

"Whereas, in order to achieve universal peace and justice, the present Charter of the United Nations should be changed to provide a true world government constitution."

The resolution was first introduced in the Senate on September 13, 1949 by Senator Glen Taylor (D-Idaho). Senator Alexander Wiley (R-Wisconsin) called it "a consummation devoutly to be wished for" and said, "I understand your proposition is either change the United Nations, or change or create, by a separate convention, a world order." Senator Taylor later stated:

"We would have to sacrifice considerable sovereignty to the world organization to enable them to levy taxes in their own right to support themselves."

Me**** the problem with this draft of war plan is that if you are pointing fingers of a " Presidential coup" at home and expect the Treasonous culprits to do time, you can't purpose the same scheme in a foreign country without reprecusions.

And I think that is the Traitors in the White House plan to save their slimy asses.... Expose the undeclared coup through media ( weaponized as usual) and bring down Barrs attempts to clean up our own swamp.

As commander in chief Trump has a n op problem.

Whoever inititated this because of ecconomic warefare ( bankers... How the web catches you at every corner) both at home ( USA) and world.

War, undeclared, declared, either way and use universal peace as goal equals profits for the war machine and depopulation for the world.

Win win situation for the original planers of one world govetnment.

You remember Dulles don't you ( Dulles airport).

New plan same as the old plan:

April 12, 1952 -- John Foster Dulles, later to become Secretary of State, says in a speech to the American Bar Association in Louisville, Kentucky, that "treaty laws can override the Constitution." He says treaties can take power away from Congress and give them to the President. They can take powers from the States and give them to the Federal Government or to some international body and they can cut across the rights given to the people by their constitutional Bill of Rights.

A Senate amendment, proposed by GOP Senator John Bricker, would have provided that no treaty could supersede the Constitution, but it fails to pass by one vote."

[Apr 16, 2019] Putin, Xi, Assad, Maduro vs. the American Hegemon

This is an interesting but probably way too simplistic view. The USA as a neoliberal superpower can't change its course. It now depends and it turn needs to support all the neoliberal empire superstructure no matter what. Or vanish as en empire. Which is not in Washington and MIC or Wall Street interests.
So "Empire Uber Alles" is the current policy which will remain in place. Even a slight deviation triggers the reaction of the imperial caste (Mueller witch hunt is one example, although I do not understand why it lasted so long, as Trump folded almost instantly and became just Bush III with the same set of neocons driving the USA foreign policy )
The internal logic of neoliberal empire is globalization -- enforcing opening of internal markets of other countries for the US multinationals and banks. So the conflict with the "nationalist" (as as neocon slur them "autocratic") states, which does not want to became the USA vassals ( like the Russia and China ) is not the anomaly, but the logical consequence of the USA status and pretenses as imperial center. Putin tried to establish some kind of détente several time. He failed: "Carnage needs to be destroyed" is the only possible attitude and it naturally created strong defensive reaction which in turn strains the USA resources.
Meantime the standard of living of workers and middle class dropped. While most of the drop is attributable to neoliberalism redistribution of wealth up, part of it is probably is attributable to the imperial status of the USA.
The USA neoliberal elite after 1991 became completely detached from reality (aka infected with imperil hubris) and we have what we have.
Those 700 billions that went to Pentagon speak for themselves.
And in turn create the caste of imperial servants that are strongly interested in maintaining the status quo and quite capable to cut short any attempts to change it. The dominance of neocons (who are essentially lobbyists of MIC) in the Department of State is a nice illustration of this mouse trap.
So the core reason of the USA current neocon foreign policy is demands and internal dynamics of neoliberal globalization and MIC.
In other words, as Dani Rodik said "...today's Sino-American impasse is rooted in "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The American foreign policy Blob's latest worry is that Venezuela's radical leftist government is reaching out to the Middle East for support against growing pressure from Washington.

Specifically, President Nicolás Maduro is reportedly trying to establish extensive political and financial links with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah . The latter has repeatedly condemned U.S. policy towards Maduro , and already appears to have shadowy economic ties to Caracas. There are indications that Maduro's regime may be utilizing Hezbollah to launder funds from the illegal drug trade.

Washington's fear is that lurking behind an Assad-Hezbollah-Maduro alliance is America's arch-nemesis, Iran, which has close relations with both Assad and Hezbollah. Tehran's apparent objective would be to strengthen the Venezuelan regime, boost anti-U.S. sentiment in the Western Hemisphere, and perhaps acquire some laundered money from a joint Maduro-Hezbollah operation to ease the pain of U.S. economic sanctions re-imposed following the Trump administration's repudiation of the nuclear deal.

Although Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah remain primarily concerned with developments in their own region, the fear that they want to undermine Washington's power in its own backyard is not unfounded. But U.S. leaders should ask themselves why such diverse factions would coalesce behind that objective.

Advertisement

It is hardly the only example of this to emerge in recent years, and the principal cause appears to be Washington's own excessively belligerent policies. That approach is driving together regimes that have little in common except the need to resist U.S. pressure. Washington's menacing posture undermines rather than enhances American security, and especially in one case -- provoking an expanding entente between Russia and China -- it poses a grave danger.

The current flirtation between Caracas and anti-American factions in the Middle East is not the first time that American leaders have worried about collaboration among heterogeneous adversaries. U.S. intelligence agencies and much of the foreign policy community warned for years about cooperation between Iran and North Korea over both nuclear and ballistic missile technology . During the Cold War, a succession of U.S. administrations expressed frustration and anger at the de facto alliance between the totalitarian Soviet Union and democratic India. Yet the underlying cause for that association was not hard to fathom. Both countries opposed U.S. global primacy. India was especially uneasy about Washington's knee-jerk diplomatic and military support for Pakistan , despite that country's history of dictatorial rule and aggression.

Alienating India was a profoundly unwise policy. So, too, has been Washington's longstanding obsession with weakening and isolating Iran and North Korea. Those two countries have almost nothing in common, ideologically, politically, geographically, or economically. One is a weird East Asian regime based on dynastic Stalinism, while the other is a reactionary Middle East Muslim theocracy. Without the incentive that unrelenting U.S. hostility provides, there is little reason to believe that Tehran and Pyongyang would be allies. But Washington's vehemently anti-nuclear policy towards both regimes, and the brutal economic sanctions that followed, have helped cement a de facto alliance between two very strange bedfellows.

Iranian and North Korean leaders have apparently reached the logical conclusion that the best way to discourage U.S. leaders from considering forcible regime change towards either of their countries was to cooperate in strengthening their respective nuclear and missile programs. Washington's regime change wars , which ousted Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Moammar Gaddafi -- and the unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Syria's Assad -- reinforced such fears.

Nicaragua: Washington's Other Hemispheric Nemesis Washington's Incoherent Policy Towards Dictators

The most worrisome and potentially deadly case in which abrasive U.S. behavior has driven together two unlikely allies is the deepening relationship between Russia and China. Washington's "freedom of navigation" patrols in the South China Sea have antagonized Beijing, which has extensive territorial claims in and around that body of water. Chinese protests have grown in both number and intensity. Bilateral relations have also deteriorated because of Beijing's increasingly aggressive posture toward Taiwan and Washington's growing support for the island's de facto independence. The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has only added to the animosity. Chinese leaders see American policy as evidence of Washington's determination to continue its status of primacy in East Asia, and they seek ways to undermine it.

Russia's grievances against the United States are even more pronounced. The expansion of NATO to the borders of the Russian Federation, Washington's repeated trampling of Russian interests in the Balkans and the Middle East, the imposition of economic sanctions in response to the Crimea incident, the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, U.S. arms sales to Ukraine , and other provocations have led to a new cold war . Russia has moved to increase diplomatic, economic, and even military cooperation with China. Beijing and Moscow appear to be coordinating policies on an array of issues, complicating Washington's options .

Close cooperation between Russia and China is all the more remarkable given the extent of their bitterly competing interests in Central Asia and elsewhere. A mutual fear of and anger toward the United States, however, seems to have overshadowed such potential quarrels -- at least for now.

There even appears to be a "grand collusion" of multiple U.S. adversaries forming. Both Russia and China are increasing their economic links with Venezuela , and Russia's military involvement with the Maduro regime is also on the rise. Last month, Moscow dispatched two nuclear-capable bombers to Caracas along with approximately 100 military personnel. The latter contingent's mission was to repair and refurbish Venezuela's air defense system in light of Washington's menacing rhetoric. That move drew a sharp response from President Trump.

Moscow's policy toward the Assad government, Tehran, and Hezbollah has also become more active and supportive. Indeed, Russia's military intervention in Syria, beginning in 2015, was a crucial factor in tilting the war in favor of Assad's forces, which have now regained control over most of Syria. Washington is thus witnessing Russia getting behind two of its major adversaries: Venezuela and an Iran-led coalition in the Middle East.

This is a classic example of balancing behavior on the part of countries worried about a stronger power that pursues aggression. Historically, weaker competitors face a choice when confronting such a power: bandwagon or attempt to balance against that would-be hegemon. Some very weak nations may have little choice but to cower and accept dependent status, but most midsize powers (and even some small ones) will choose the path of defiance. As part of that balancing strategy, they tend to seek any allies that might prove useful, regardless of differences. When the perceived threat is great enough, such factors are ignored or submerged. The United States and Britain did so when they formed the Grand Alliance with the totalitarian Soviet Union in World War II to defeat Nazi Germany. Indeed, the American revolutionaries made common cause with two reactionary autocracies, France and Spain, to win independence from Britain.

The current U.S. policy has produced an array of unpleasant results, and cries out for reassessment. Washington has created needless grief for itself. It entails considerable ineptitude to foster collaboration between Iran and North Korea, to say nothing of adding Assad's secular government and Maduro's quasi-communist regime to the mix. Even worse are the policy blunders that have driven Russia to support such motley clients and forge ever-closer economic and military links with a natural rival like China. It is extremely unwise for any country, even a superpower, to multiply the number of its adversaries needlessly and drive them together into a common front. Yet that is the blunder the United States is busily committing.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at , is the author of 12 books and more than 800 articles. His latest book is Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (2019).



Higdon Kirt April 14, 2019 at 9:15 pm

"I never thought I'd be saying this, but if the Soviet Union still existed, the United States would not dare to do what it is doing now" – said to me by an anti-Communist Romanian who had fled Romania when it was still Communist ruled. We were attending a demonstration against the Clinton air war which was the final death blow to Yugoslavia.

The emergence of a powerful anti-American world coalition is a good thing; US world hegemony has been good neither for the US nor for the world. The main danger is that the US, seeing its power slip away, will resort to all out war, even nuclear war. I pray that the US rulers are at least sane even if they are quite evil and over-bearing.

Whine Merchant , , April 14, 2019 at 9:16 pm
Current US foreign policy, set by the White House and Commander-in-Chief, reflects the beliefs of the Deplorables who put Trump into office: sadly, most of these dupes believe the myth of American Exceptionalism [copyright Sarah Palin]. The nexus of confusing social media and reality TV with genuine reality, and 1950s Hollywood jingoism, has them waiting for a crisis [possibly a gay Star Wars/Kardashian-type monster] that can only be saved before the final commercial by their 'Hero'.
Fayez Abedaziz , , April 15, 2019 at 12:10 am
Hello,
Let's see here.
It's gotten to the point where the great United States is ruled by Trump and the strangest of people, like freak Bolton and Pompeo and the Presidents son in law?
Are the voters nuts? The lousy choices of war mongers Hillary and Trump?
Look at the foreign leaders in the pictures.
Then look at the nasty hate filled, historically ignorant bums I named above.
The difference?
They, the leaders of those four nations threaten no one and no other nation, but clown Trump and his advisers do every day.
Take away any power from Trump and his advisers, yeah, wishful thinking, I know, and read a book by Noam Chomsky or an article or three by Bernie Sanders and maybe you will see what a circus the white house is, of this nation. Ironically, America has never been LESS great. What a damn crying shame, know what I mean?
Christian J Chuba , , April 15, 2019 at 7:20 am
There is a diverse coalition of weaker countries opposing the U.S. because
A. Each have been the target of regime change and figure they they better pool their resources and help each other when they can 'the axis of resistance'.
or
B. The wolves are waiting at the wood's edge just waiting to humiliate the United States, the last flickering light of all that is good.

Well since we are a nation of narcissists we believe B because we cannot fathom that other countries act in their own interests.

[Apr 15, 2019] Neoliberal globalization is under sieve, countries that refuse to unconditionally open markts to transnationals and be vassal of Washington are now labeled as authoritarian

This slur "authoritarian state" is now peddled by neocons as synonym for the "countries we do not like"
This neocons in not very inventive... We already saw this line from Robert Kagan, who actually is a better writer. This neocon/neolib pressitute can't even use proper terms such as "neoliberalism" and "Washington consensus"
And slide to far-right nationalism and neo-fascism is direct result of neoliberalism dominance for the last 40 years (since Carter) and sliding of the standard of living of workers and the middle class.
Notable quotes:
"... Both countries have touted the virtues of their systems, while arguing that Western values are a source of decadence, amorality and disorder in the Western world. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Liberalism Is Under Siege. Conservatives Can Save It. - Bloomberg By Hal Brands

As international rivalry intensifies, the core strategic task for the U.S.-led democratic community is to contain the geopolitical influence and political disruption caused by authoritarian great powers, namely China and Russia. Yet that task is made all the harder because illiberalism -- and sympathy for those illiberal powers -- is simultaneously surging among key actors on the political right. If the U.S. and its allies are to succeed in the great global rivalry of the 21st century, the right must confront the threat of illiberalism within its ranks -- just as the left did during a previous twilight struggle in the 20th century.

... ... ...

This time, the threat is not expansionist communism, but a combination of autocracy and geopolitical revisionism. China has been moving toward a dystopian future of high-tech authoritarianism, as it pushes for greater power and influence overseas. Putin's Russia has consolidated an illiberal oligarchy, while using information warfare, political meddling and other tools to subvert liberal democracies in Europe, the U.S. and beyond.

Both countries have touted the virtues of their systems, while arguing that Western values are a source of decadence, amorality and disorder in the Western world.

... ... ...

It is not for nothing that the political scientist Marc Plattner has written that the gravest threat to liberal democracy today is “that it will end up being abandoned by substantial segments of the right.” And even in the U.S., there are alarming signs that conservative commitment to the norms of liberal democracy is under strain.

Hal Brands at Hal.Brands@jhu.edu

or sign up with Disqus or pick a name
Disqus is a discussion network

Read full terms and conditions


Che Guevara10 hours ago ,

Communism was not a threat, but actually benefited the world in many ways.
It was communism that put pressure on capitalism to provide labor a fair share of wealth and income. As soon as Soviet communism collapsed, capitalism returned to its avaricious roots, resulting in stagnant wages for the working class. And the pauperization of the working class in recent decades is the cause for the current revolt against liberal capitalism.
So it was the competition from communism that was helping capitalism to stay healthy. Without it capitalism has degenerated into a Dickensian dystopia. We should therefore welcome any alternative socio-economic models to liberal capitalism.

EmilyEnso Che Guevara7 hours ago ,

It was communism that put pressure on capitalism to provide labor a fair
share of wealth and income. As soon as Soviet communism collapsed,
capitalism returned to

Thats a great point Che.
I have never ever looked at it from that angle.
Interesting.

EeeYepBlowing Whistles EmilyEnso7 hours ago ,

The odd thing is that both communism and capitalism are both controlled from the same evil hidden hand!!!

George Evans Che Guevara8 hours ago ,

the success of the Chinese efforts may just be the spur needed...

brad_sk13 hours ago ,

Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, who has long been a leading conservative intellectual, warns that this disillusion with liberal democracy “is clearly present among American conservatives, and not just among the ‘alt-right.’

Honest and real conservatives are far and fewer in today's MAGA/tea party infested GOP. Forget career politicians like Ted Cruz or McConnell, even the previously decent conservative think tanks/pundits like from NR or Erik Erickson or others have all given up on any principles and just bow at the altar of Trump now.

Sebastian Cremmington brad_sk29 minutes ago ,

No they haven’t, Trump decided to put McConnell in charge so of course the #neverTrumpers like the McConnell presidency...which consists of appointing Republican judges at record pace and little else.

johnny sunshine brad_sk4 hours ago ,

Or they've become the right wing of the Democratic party.

dnjake12 hours ago ,

The biggest need is to resist holy warriors like Hal Brands who want to destroy the world if it resists their version of revealed truth. They are the biggest threat to the human future. The United States has to learn to live in a world that it cannot control. The American goal should be to work towards a constructive human future not some kind of holy war to impose American control on the rest of the world. The United States is the biggest military spender. In recent history, It has been the world's global aggressor.

It has an history of wars that have made little difference whether America won or lost them. Perhaps the United States could succeed with some kind of genocide that wiped out all of the parts of the world that refuse to accept American supremacy. But, short of that kind of disgrace, the United States is not going to succeed in achieving any meaningful goal through war. As long as America does not destroy the world, the future is going to be determined by economic competition and the destinies that the people of different parts of the world choose for themselves.

dav123411 hours ago ,

The author needs a reality check. Much of what he says is in his imagination.

emno33 hours ago ,

I had wondered if it was noticed the Liberalism was dying. The world has turned hard right, with all the anger, nationalism, do-as-I-say, and social intolerance. I don't even the children of today.

Camus534 hours ago ,

I might suggest that liberals themselves are destroying their freedoms with illogical illiberal liberalism.

YOU can't do that, say that, act like that, think like that...no no no...we must act and be correct, nice, polite, all forgiving and never critical.

Huh?

The freedoms that so many of us marched for, fought for, voted for, sang about (thank gawd the music still lives), got bloody for, even died for, are slipping away quicker than you can say me, me, me...it's all about me.

Maybe...small maybe...our youth can once again awaken America and the world's conscience. Maybe? Maybe not!

Mark Miller9 hours ago ,

"Just as the Cold War left broke with communism"

Wha? It seems our LIttle Cultural Revolution is just warming up. Wait till AOC et al are all growed up.

"This is a moment when the “free world” needs to be strong and united."

Is this the same "free" world that jails grandmothers over contested historical views? That has reneged on free speech?

Thanks to a truly ethnomasochistic immigration policy, I assure you that this will not happen. The West will be lucky if squeaks through this period without a civil war.

[Apr 15, 2019] Peaceful Coexistence 2.0 by Dani Rodrik

Notable quotes:
"... Today's Sino-American impasse is rooted in "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. But a global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world's largest trading economy is a regime in urgent need of repair. ..."
"... Today's impasse between the US and China is rooted in the faulty economic paradigm I have called "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies maximally, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. This requires that national economic models – the domestic rules governing markets –converge considerably. Without such convergence, national regulations and standards will appear to impede market access. They are treated as "non-tariff trade barriers" in the language of trade economists and lawyers. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Peaceful Coexistence 2.0 Apr 10, 2019 Dani Rodrik

Today's Sino-American impasse is rooted in "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. But a global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world's largest trading economy is a regime in urgent need of repair.

CAMBRIDGE – The world economy desperately needs a plan for "peaceful coexistence" between the United States and China. Both sides need to accept the other's right to develop under its own terms. The US must not try to reshape the Chinese economy in its image of a capitalist market economy, and China must recognize America's concerns regarding employment and technology leakages, and accept the occasional limits on access to US markets implied by these concerns.

The term "peaceful coexistence" evokes the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev understood that the communist doctrine of eternal conflict between socialist and capitalist systems had outlived its usefulness. The US and other Western countries would not be ripe for communist revolutions anytime soon, and they were unlikely to dislodge the Communist regimes in the Soviet bloc. Communist and capitalist regimes had to live side by side.

Peaceful coexistence during the Cold War may not have looked pretty; there was plenty of friction, with each side sponsoring its own set of proxies in a battle for global influence. But it was successful in preventing direct military conflict between two superpowers armed to the hilt with nuclear weapons. Similarly, peaceful economic coexistence between the US and China is the only way to prevent costly trade wars between the world's two economic giants

Today's impasse between the US and China is rooted in the faulty economic paradigm I have called "hyper-globalism," under which countries must open their economies to foreign companies maximally, regardless of the consequences for their growth strategies or social models. This requires that national economic models – the domestic rules governing markets –converge considerably. Without such convergence, national regulations and standards will appear to impede market access. They are treated as "non-tariff trade barriers" in the language of trade economists and lawyers.

Thus, the main US complaint against China is that Chinese industrial policies make it difficult for US companies to do business there. Credit subsidies keep state companies afloat and allow them to overproduce. Intellectual property rules make it easier for copyrights and patents to be overridden and new technologies to be copied by competitors. Technology-transfer requirements force foreign investors into joint ventures with domestic firms. Restrictive regulations prevent US financial firms from serving Chinese customers. President Donald Trump is apparently ready to carry out his threat of slapping additional punitive tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports if China does not yield to US demands in these areas.

For its part, China has little patience for arguments that its exports have been responsible for significant whiplash in US labor markets or that some of its firms are stealing technological secrets. It would like the US to remain open to Chinese exports and investment. Yet China's own opening to world trade was carefully managed and sequenced, to avoid adverse impacts on employment and technological progress.

Peaceful coexistence would require that US and China allow each other greater policy space, with international economic integration yielding priority to domestic economic and social objectives in both countries (as well as in others). China would have a free hand to conduct its industrial policies and financial regulations, in order to build a market economy with distinctive Chinese characteristics. The US would be free to protect its labor markets from social dumping and to exercise greater oversight over Chinese investments that threaten technological or national security objectives.

The objection that such an approach would open the floodgates of protectionism, bringing world trade to a halt, is based on a misunderstanding of what drives open trade policies. As the principle of comparative advantage indicates, countries trade because it is in their own interest. When they undertake policies that restrict trade, it is either because they reap compensating benefits elsewhere or because of domestic political failures (for example, an inability to compensate the losers).

In the first instance, freer trade is not warranted because it would leave society worse off. In the second case, freer trade may be warranted, but only to the extent that the political failure is addressed (and compensation is provided). International agreements and trade partners cannot reliably discriminate between these two cases. And even if they could, it is not clear they can provide the adequate remedy (enable compensation, to continue the example) or avoid additional political problems (capture by other special interests such as big banks or multinational firms).

Consider China in this light. Many analysts believe that China's industrial policies have played a key role in its transformation into an economic powerhouse. If so, it would be neither in China's interests, nor in the interest of the world economy, to curb such practices. Alternatively, it could be that these policies are economically harmful on balance, as others have argued. Even in that case, however, the bulk of the costs are borne by the Chinese themselves. Either way, it makes little sense to empower trade negotiators – and the special interests lurking behind them – to resolve fundamental questions of economic policy on which there is little agreement even among economists.

Those who worry about the slippery slope of protectionism should take heart from the experience under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade prior to the establishment of the World Trade Organization. Under the GATT regime, countries had much greater freedom to pursue their own economic strategies. Trade rules were both weaker and less encompassing. Yet world trade expanded (relative to global output) at a more rapid clip in the three and a half decades after World War II than it has under the post-1990 hyper-globalist regime. Similarly, one can make a convincing case that, thanks to its unorthodox growth policies, China today is a larger market for foreign exporters and investors than if it had stuck to WTO-compliant policies.

Finally, some may say that these considerations are irrelevant, because China has acceded to the WTO and must play by its rules. But China's entry into the WTO was predicated on the idea that it had become a Western-style market economy, or would become one soon. This has not happened, and there is no good reason to expect that it will (or should). A mistake cannot be fixed by compounding it.

A global trade regime that cannot accommodate the world's largest trading economy – China – is a regime in urgent need of repair.

[Apr 13, 2019] Russia Warns New World Order Being Formed

Notable quotes:
"... "The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said. ..."
"... "The US and its allies are trying to impose their approaches on others," Lavrov noted. ..."
"... "They are guided by a clear desire to preserve their centuries-long dominance in global affairs although from the economic and financial standpoint, the US – alone or with its allies – can no longer resolve all global economic and political issues," he said. ..."
"... "In order to preserve their dominance and recover their indisputable authority, they use blackmail and pressure. They don't hesitate to blatantly interfere in the affairs of sovereign states." ..."
"... Agree with the assessment other than the claim the US has had centuries long global dominance, or even influence. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared today that the Western, liberal model of society is dying, and a new world order is taking its place.

Lavrov made the comments at his annual meeting with students and professors at the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

"The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said.

According to him, global development is guided "by processes aimed at boosting multipolarity and what we call a polycentric world order."

"Clearly, multipolarity and the emergence of new centers of power in every way requires efforts to maintain global stability and search for a balance of interests and compromises, so diplomacy should play a leading role here," Lavrov went on to say.

"Particularly because there are a lot of issues that require generally acceptable solutions."

These include regional conflicts, international terrorism, food security and environmental protection. This is why we believe that only diplomacy can help make agreements and reach sustainable decisions that will be accepted by all.

"The US and its allies are trying to impose their approaches on others," Lavrov noted.

"They are guided by a clear desire to preserve their centuries-long dominance in global affairs although from the economic and financial standpoint, the US – alone or with its allies – can no longer resolve all global economic and political issues," he said.

"In order to preserve their dominance and recover their indisputable authority, they use blackmail and pressure. They don't hesitate to blatantly interfere in the affairs of sovereign states."

Perry Colace

When I was a kid, the Soviet Union was the enemy. Now Russia (with an economy, population, military and world influence the fraction of the United States) seems to be one of the few places in the world that makes any bit of sense and ACTUALLY cares a little bit about its culture and people.

Fluff The Cat

"The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all.Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said.

A Judaic-Masonic world order is the end goal. It entails the complete loss of sovereignty for all Western nations and the slow genocide of white Christians via miscegnation and displacement by third-worlders.

lnardozi

I can't think of a man more American than Putin.

Sell the bases, come home, stop bothering others and trying to run world affairs.

Then we can spend a nice nice century or so rebuilding our infrastructure and trimming our out-of-control federal government.

The clue is right there in the name - the united STATES of America. A state is a sovereign country with its own laws - except for those powers enumerated in the Constitution which the federal government should have.

That's the whole point - competition in government. You don't like the state you're in - you're guaranteed the choice of 49 others, along with all your possessions.

notfeelinthebern

Agree with the assessment other than the claim the US has had centuries long global dominance, or even influence.

johnnycanuck

Western global dominance, US took over from the British Empire with the assistance of the banksters class. It's all there in the history books, you just need to spend time

consider me gone

As much as I hate to say it, this was Winston Churchill's idea. Even as the war was just starting, he was a major advocate for the West controlling the globe after WWII.

But I'll bet he had no idea that the West would abandon traditional Western values in the process. He wouldn't watch TV and predicted it would turn society into unthinking idiots. He nailed that one anyhow.

The Alliance

"...many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it," Lavrov said.

Skeptical?

I, for one, would show up early and highly motivated to march against, and to destroy, these treasonous, malevolent, collectivist Globalists.

The Globalists within the United States government are traitors--traitors, by definition. They have declared war on our republic.

CDN_Rebel

Russia works because they have a ruthless tyrant who happens to be incredibly competent. That same system with a weak ruler will collapse entirely in a matter of months. I like Putin, but he needs to groom an ironfisted successor pronto.

As for the chows - they need to print half a trillion a month to stay afloat and that's your model?

The west is only fucked because the sleeping masses refuse to acknowledge that Marxists have undermined our institutions... It would take only a few years to scrub these subversive ***** from our society if we had the balls to do it

johnnycanuck

yadda yadda yadda.. marxists, subversives, commies, all the catch phrases of ye old Joe McCarthy. Russia works because Russians have a history of enduring adversity. Unlike Americans.

Moribundus

It is eventually end of era of western imperialism, era that lasted 900 years. Game is over

[Apr 12, 2019] Trump s Betrayal of White America by Alex Graham

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's failure here is his alone. Closing the border could be accomplished with a simple executive order. It has happened before: Reagan ordered the closing of the border when DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was murdered on assignment in Mexico in 1985, for instance. ..."
"... Trump's empty threats over the past two years have had real-world consequences, prompting waves of migrants trying to sneak into the country while they still have the chance. His recent move to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is another empty gesture that will probably have similar consequences. The funds directed to those countries were used for programs that provided citizens with incentives not to migrate elsewhere. (The situation was not ideal from an isolationist point of view, but a wiser man would have built the wall before cutting off the aid.) ..."
"... Trump's betrayal of American workers is perhaps best encapsulated by the fact that one of the members of the advisory board of his National Council for the American Worker (which claims to "enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages") is the CEO of IBM, a company that has expressed a preference for F-1 and H-1B visa holders in its job postings. ..."
"... There are more former Goldman Sachs employees in the Trump White House than in the Obama and Bush administrations combined. ..."
"... It is hard to escape the conclusion that Trump is not actually interested in curbing immigration and reversing America's demographic decline. He is a con artist and a coward who is willing to betray millions of white Americans so that he can remain in the good graces of establishment neoconservatives ..."
"... As Ann Coulter has put it, "He's like a waiter who compliments us for ordering the hamburger, but keeps bringing us fish. The hamburger is our signature dish, juicy and grilled to perfection, you've made a brilliant choice . . . now here's your salmon. " ..."
"... Third, he put an end to American funding for Palestinians. This coincided with the passing of a bill that codified a $38 billion, ten-year foreign aid package for Israel. Trump also authorized an act allocating an additional $550 million toward US-Israel missile and tunnel defense cooperation. ..."
"... Trump's track record on Israel shows that he is capable of exercising agency and getting things done. But he has failed to address the most pressing issue that America currently faces: mass immigration and the displacement of white Americans. The most credible explanation for his incompetence is that he has no intention of delivering on his promises. There is no "Plan," no 4-D chess game. The sooner white Americans realize this, the better. ..."
"... We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more" ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | www.unz.com
"Unlike other presidents, I keep my promises," Trump boasted in a speech delivered on Saturday to the Republican Jewish Congress at a luxury hotel in Las Vegas. Many in the audience wore red yarmulkes emblazoned with his name. In his speech, Trump condemned Democrats for allowing "the terrible scourge of anti-Semitism to take root in their party" and emphasized his loyalty to Israel.

Trump has kept some of his promises. So far, he has kept every promise that he made to the Jewish community. Yet he has reneged on his promises to white America – the promises that got him elected in the first place. It is a betrayal of the highest order: millions of white Americans placed their hopes in Trump and wholeheartedly believed that he would be the one to make America great again. They were willing to endure social ostracism and imperil their livelihoods by supporting him. In return, Trump has turned his back on them and rendered his promises void.

The most recent example of this is Trump's failure to keep his promise to close the border. On March 29, Trump threatened to close the border if Mexico did not stop all illegal immigration into the US. This would likely have been a highly effective measure given Mexico's dependence on cross-border trade. Five days later, he suddenly retracted this threat and said that he would give Mexico a " one-year warning " before taking drastic action. He further claimed that closing the border would not be necessary and that he planned to establish a twenty-five percent tariff on cars entering the US instead.

Trump's failure here is his alone. Closing the border could be accomplished with a simple executive order. It has happened before: Reagan ordered the closing of the border when DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was murdered on assignment in Mexico in 1985, for instance.

Trump's empty threats over the past two years have had real-world consequences, prompting waves of migrants trying to sneak into the country while they still have the chance. His recent move to cut all foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador is another empty gesture that will probably have similar consequences. The funds directed to those countries were used for programs that provided citizens with incentives not to migrate elsewhere. (The situation was not ideal from an isolationist point of view, but a wiser man would have built the wall before cutting off the aid.)

The past two years have seen a surge in illegal immigration without precedent in the past decade. Since late December, the Department of Homeland Security has released 125,565 illegal aliens into the country. In the past two weeks alone, 6,000 have been admitted. According to current projections, 2019 will witness around 500,000 to 775,000 border crossings. Additionally, about 630,000 illegal aliens will be added to the population after having overstayed their visas. By the end of the year, more than one million illegal aliens will have been added to the population:

These projections put the number of illegal aliens added to the U.S. population at around one to 1.5 million, on top of the 11 to 22 million illegal aliens who are already living across the country. This finding does not factor in the illegal aliens who will be deported, die over the next year, or leave the U.S. of their own will. As DHS data has revealed, once border crossers and illegal aliens are released into the country, the overwhelming majority are never deported.

In February, Trump signed a bill allowing the DHS secretary to add another 69,320 spots to the current H-2B cap of 66,000. On March 29, DHS began this process by announcing that it would issue an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this year. The H-2B visa program allows foreign workers to come to the US and work in non-agricultural occupations. Unlike the H-1B program, a Bachelor's degree is not required; most H-2B workers are employed in construction, maintenance, landscaping, and so on. The demographic most affected by the expansion of the H-2B program will be unemployed working-class Americans. This flies in the face of Trump's promise to protect American workers and stop importing foreigners.

Trump has indicated that he has plans to expand the H-1B visa program as well. "We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.," he said in a tweet in January.

Trump's betrayal of American workers is perhaps best encapsulated by the fact that one of the members of the advisory board of his National Council for the American Worker (which claims to "enhance employment opportunities for Americans of all ages") is the CEO of IBM, a company that has expressed a preference for F-1 and H-1B visa holders in its job postings.

Trump has been working on legal immigration with Jared Kushner, who has quietly been crafting a plan to grant citizenship to more "low- and high-skilled workers, as well as permanent and temporary workers" (so, just about everyone). Kushner's plan proves the folly of the typical Republican line that legal immigration is fine and that only illegal immigration should be opposed. Under his plan, thousands of illegal aliens will become "legal" with the stroke of a pen.

There is a paucity of anti-immigration hardliners in Trump's inner circle (though Stephen Miller is a notable exception). Trump has surrounded himself with moderates: the Kushners, Mick Mulvaney, Alex Acosta, and others. There are more former Goldman Sachs employees in the Trump White House than in the Obama and Bush administrations combined.

The new DHS secretary, Kevin McAleenan, who was appointed yesterday following Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation, is a middle-of-the-road law enforcement official who served under Obama and Bush and is responsible for the revival of the " catch-and-release " policy, whereby illegal aliens are released upon being apprehended. It was reported last week that Trump was thinking of appointing either Kris Kobach or Ken Cuccinelli to a position of prominence (as an " immigration czar "), but this appears to have been another lie.

Trump's failure to deliver on his promises cannot be chalked up to congressional obstruction. Congress. As Kobach said in a recent interview , "It's not like we're powerless and it's not like we have to wait for Congress to do something. . . . No, we can actually solve the immediate crisis without Congress acting." Solving the border crisis would simply demand "leadership in the executive branch willing to act decisively." Kobach recently outlined an intelligent three-point plan that Trump could implement:

Publish the final version of the regulation that would supersede the Flores Settlement. The initial regulation was published by the Department of Homeland Security in September 2018. DHS could have published the final regulation in December. Inexplicably, DHS has dragged its feet. Finalizing that regulation would allow the United States to detain entire families together, and it would stop illegal aliens from exploiting children as get-out-of-jail free cards. Set up processing centers at the border to house the migrants and hold the hearings in one place. The Department of Justice should deploy dozens of immigration judges to hear the asylum claims at the border without releasing the migrants into the country. FEMA already owns thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes that it has used to address past hurricane disasters. Instead of selling them (which FEMA is currently doing), FEMA should ship them to the processing centers to provide comfortable housing for the migrants. In addition, a fleet of passenger planes should deployed to the processing centers. Anyone who fails in his or her asylum claim, or who is not seeking asylum and is inadmissible, should be flown home immediately. It would be possible to fly most migrants home within a few weeks of their arrival. Word would get out quickly in their home countries that entry into the United States is not as easy as advertised. The incentive to join future caravans would dissipate quickly. Publish a proposed Treasury regulation that prohibits the sending home of remittances by people who cannot document lawful presence in the United States. This will hit Mexico in the pocketbook: Mexico typically brings in well over $20 billion a year in remittances , raking in more than $26 billion in 2017. Then, tell the government of Mexico that we will finalize the Treasury regulation unless they do two things to help us address the border crisis: (1) Mexico immediately signs a "safe third country agreement" similar to our agreement with Canada. This would require asylum applicants to file their asylum application in the first safe country they set foot in (so applicants in the caravans from Central America would have to seek asylum in Mexico, rather than Canada); and (2) Mexico chips in $5 billion to help us build the wall. The threat of ending remittances from illegal aliens is a far more powerful one than threatening to close the border. Ending such remittances doesn't hurt the U.S. economy; indeed, it helps the economy by making it more likely that such capital will be spent and circulate in our own country. We can follow through easily if Mexico doesn't cooperate.

It would not be all that difficult for Trump to implement these proposals. Kobach still has faith in Trump, but his assessment of him appears increasingly to be too generous. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Trump is not actually interested in curbing immigration and reversing America's demographic decline. He is a con artist and a coward who is willing to betray millions of white Americans so that he can remain in the good graces of establishment neoconservatives . At the same time, he wants to maintain the illusion that he cares about his base.

As Ann Coulter has put it, "He's like a waiter who compliments us for ordering the hamburger, but keeps bringing us fish. The hamburger is our signature dish, juicy and grilled to perfection, you've made a brilliant choice . . . now here's your salmon. "

Nearly everything Trump has done in the name of restricting immigration has turned out to be an empty gesture and mere theatrics: threatening to close the border, offering protections to "Dreamers" in exchange for funding for the ever-elusive wall, threatening to end the "anchor baby" phenomenon with an executive order (which never came to pass), cutting off aid to Central American countries, claiming that he will appoint an "immigration czar" (and then proceeding to appoint McAleenan instead of Kobach as DHS secretary), and on and on.

While Trump has failed to keep the promises that got him elected, he has fulfilled a number of major promises that he made to Israel and the Jewish community.

First, he moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump claimed that the move would only cost $200,000, but in reality it will end up being more than $20 million . The construction of the embassy also led to a series of bloody protests; it is located in East Jerusalem, which is generally acknowledged to be Palestinian territory.

Second, he pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu claimed on Israeli TV that Israel was responsible for convincing him to exit the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. (Both Trump and Netanyahu falsely alleged that Iran lied about the extent of its nuclear program; meanwhile, Israel's large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons has escaped mention.) Third, he put an end to American funding for Palestinians. This coincided with the passing of a bill that codified a $38 billion, ten-year foreign aid package for Israel. Trump also authorized an act allocating an additional $550 million toward US-Israel missile and tunnel defense cooperation.

Fourth, he recognized Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights (in defiance of the rest of the world, which recognizes the Golan Heights as Syrian territory under Israeli occupation). Trump's Golan Heights proclamation was issued on March 21 and was celebrated by Israel. Trump's track record on Israel shows that he is capable of exercising agency and getting things done. But he has failed to address the most pressing issue that America currently faces: mass immigration and the displacement of white Americans. The most credible explanation for his incompetence is that he has no intention of delivering on his promises. There is no "Plan," no 4-D chess game. The sooner white Americans realize this, the better.


aandrews , says: April 10, 2019 at 3:17 am GMT

Kushner, Inc. Book Review Part I: The Rise of The Kushner Crime Family

Kushner, Inc. Book Review Part II: The Fall of The Kushner Crime Family

If you haven't picked up a copy of Vicky Ward's book, Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump , you really should.

I haven't read Mr. Graham's essay yet, but I thought those two links would fit in nicely. I stay in a low boil, like it is, and having plodded through both those reviews, I can't stand reading too much on this topic at once.

Something's gotta give. Or are the brainless goy just going to let themselves be led off a cliff?

Oh, yes. There's an interview with Ward on BookTV .

Thinker , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:16 am GMT
Yep. Trump's a lying POS pond scum like the rest of the DC swamp that he said he was going to drain, turns out he is one of them all along. We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more. He needs to change his campaign slogan to MIGA, Make Israel Great Again, that was the plan of his handlers all along.

What I want to know is, who are those idiots who still keep showing up at his rallies? Are they really that dumb?

Even Sanders came out and said we can't have open borders. I've also heard him said back in 2015 that the H1b visa program is a replacement program for American workers. If he grows a pair and reverts back to that stance, teams up with Tulsi Gabbard, I'll vote for them 2020. Fuck Trump! Time for him and his whole treasonous rat family to move to Israel where they belong.

jbwilson24 , says: April 10, 2019 at 4:51 am GMT
@Thinker " We elected America's first Jewish president, nothing more"

Afraid not, there's plenty of reason to believe that the Roosevelt family and Lyndon Johnson were Jewish.

Your major point stands, though. He's basically a shabbesgoy.

peterAUS , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:05 am GMT
@Dr. Robert Morgan

His "implicitly white" supporters would have abandoned him in droves, not wanting to be associated with a racist, thus pointing up the weakness of implicit whiteness as a survival strategy. And is it actually a survival strategy? A closer look at it makes me think it's more of a racial self-extermination strategy. After all, what kind of a survival strategy is it that can't even admit its goals to itself? And it's exactly this refusal of whites to explicitly state that they collectively want to continue to exist as a race that is the greatest impediment to their doing so. It's an interesting problem with no easy solution. How do you restore the will to live to a race that seems to have lost it? And not only lost its will to live, but actually prides itself on doing so? Accordingly, this "betrayal" isn't a betrayal at all. It's what American whites voted for and want. Giving their country away and accepting their own demographic demise is proof of their virtue; proof of their Christian love for all mankind.

You are definitely onto something here.

Still, I feel it's not that deep and complicated. It could be that they simply don't believe that the danger is closing in.

Boils down to wrong judgment. People who haven't had the need to think hard about serious things tend to develop that weakness.
I guess that boils down to "good times make weak men."

Hard times are coming and they'll make hard men. The catch is simple: will be enough of them in time ?

Real Buddy Ray , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@Thomm https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/09/trumps-proposal-for-legal-immigration/499061/
JNDillard , says: April 10, 2019 at 5:20 am GMT
Switching to the Democrats is no solution. The DNC has proven itself to be a criminal organization through sabotaging Sander's campaign and then being instrumental in creating Russophobia, in collusion with Obama, the CIA, the FBI, and the DoJ. The DNC has rules in place stating that super delegates – elitists aligned with the DNC – can vote if one nominee does not win on the first ballot at the National Convention.

Because we have a HUGE number of hats in the Democratic ring, the chances that the nomination will not be decided on a first vote are extremely high, with the result being that the Democratic nominee is not going to be decided by voters in the primaries but by super delegates, i.e., the elitists and plutocrats.

Democracy exists when we vote to support candidates chosen by the elites for the elites; when we stop doing that, the elites turn on democracy. It is a sham; we will have a choice in 2020: between Pepsi and Coke. You are free to choose which one you prefer, because you live in a democracy. For more on the rigging of the democratic primaries for 2020, see

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/09/packed-primary-may-let-superdelegates-screw-progressives-again/

[Mar 31, 2019] Because of the immediate arrival of the Russia collusion theory, neither MSM honchos nor any US politician ever had to look into the camera and say, I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. ..."
"... Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | link

Here is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OT

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

The take away quote

" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.

Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."

As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense

[Mar 25, 2019] Trump betrayed all three his election time promises about changes to Obamacare: everybody got to be covered, no cuts to Medicaid, and Every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc June 25, 2017 at 09:27 AM

Here is a 5 day old article on Trump deregulating Big Pharma that directly impacts the skyrocketing costs of American Health Care to go with the above posts re the Republican Party's AHCA cutting of coverage and transfer of wealth to the wealthiest in America

Trump is the #1 problem with American Health Care today, he works for the interests of the corporations not the people's

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/health/draft-order-on-drug-prices-proposes-easing-regulations.html

"Draft Order on Drug Prices Proposes Easing Regulations"

By SHEILA KAPLAN and KATIE THOMAS...JUNE 20, 2017

"In the early days of his administration, President Trump did not hesitate to bash the drug industry. But a draft of an executive order on drug prices appears to give the pharmaceutical industry much of what it has asked for - and no guarantee that costs to consumers will drop.

The draft, which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday, is light on specifics but clear on philosophy: Easing regulatory hurdles for the drug industry is the best way to get prices down.

The proposals identify some issues that have stoked public outrage - such as the high out-of-pocket costs for medicines - but it largely leaves the drug industry unscathed. In fact, the four-page document contains several proposals that have long been championed by the industry, including strengthening drugmakers' monopoly power overseas and scaling back a federal program that requires pharmaceutical companies to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve low-income patients.

Mr. Trump has often excoriated the drug industry for high prices, seizing on an issue that stirs the anger of Republicans and Democrats alike. He has accused the industry of "getting away with murder," and said that he wanted to allow the federal government to negotiate directly with drug companies over the price of drugs covered by Medicare.

But the proposed order does little to specifically call out the drug industry and instead focuses on rolling back regulations, a favorite target of the administration..."

im1dc -> im1dc... , June 25, 2017 at 09:37 AM
Additional evidence of Trump lying about his and the Republican AHCA repeal of Obamacare

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/06/24/promises-trump-made-health-care-repeal-plans/426089001/

"3 promises Trump made about health care that repeal plans haven't kept"

Eliza Collins , USA TODAY ...June 24, 2017

"...Here are three promises Trump made that will not come true under the current bills moving through Congress:

  1. 'Everybody's got to be covered.'...
  2. 'No cuts' to Medicaid"...
  3. 'Every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as Obamacare.'...
im1dc -> pgl... , June 25, 2017 at 11:53 AM
Cuts, cuts, and more cuts to reimbursement that's the Trump Republican AHCA in a nutshell.

All it will accomplish is to transfer $Billions to 'Trump's People', his fellow $Billionaires and MegaMillionaires.

It will not deliver on any Promise Trump made on Health Care and when he and the Republicans say it does they are lying, pure and simple.

More care does not come from far less money spent especially as the need increases due to population and need.

im1dc -> im1dc... , June 25, 2017 at 09:45 AM
I don't know the reason for persistence at attempts to understand the Economics of Trump's and the Republican various remake of the American Economy from an academic Economics perspective by this blog.

It is not possible to do any such rational analysis, b/c as Paul Krugman has pointed out recently and pointedly, there is no rhythm or reason to what they are doing except to obtain the sole single outcome of a major transfer of wealth to the wealthiest Americans in the form of a huge tax cut for most of America's Billionaires and Mega-Millionaires by eliminating as much as possible of the American Safety Net and other protections from the 99%.

[Mar 25, 2019] Trump Privatizes America by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Now, America's first professor of economics at the first business school, Simon Patten, said public infrastructure is a fourth factor of production, but unlike labor, land, and capital, the role of public infrastructure is not to make a profit. It's to provide public services that are basic for the economy's living standards and capacity to produce at a subsidized rate. So, America got rich and came to dominate the world industrial economy by subsidizing all of the basic costs. Low-cost roads, low-cost infrastructure. The government bore these costs so that, in effect, public infrastructure subsidizes the economy to lower the cost of production. ..."
"... Look at the, for instance, the Indiana Toll Road. That was done by a Trump-style private and public infrastructure and the toll roads are so high to try to pay off the hedge fund backers that people don't use them. They go on the free, slower internal roads. And that sort of is a horror story that anyone who's thinking of Trump's plan should be there. ..."
"... Well, under Trump's plan, the cities, in order to get federal funding, would have to help themselves by recapturing the real estate value created by this added transportation instead of leaving it in the hands of the landlords as the Second Avenue Subway extension was left or as the West Side extension to the Javits Center increased value of real estate all along there or the Wall Street luxurious restructuring at the subway, another 3 billion there. ..."
"... The government would finance it, and it would finance it by creating its own credit in the same way that it created the 4.6 trillion to bailout the banks on Wall Street. Instead of creating money to give to Wall Street, you'd spend money into the economy to build up the infrastructure. And ideally, you'd tax the rich for this, but now that Trump has untaxed the wealthy, the only way that you could possibly do it under his tax giveaway to Wall Street is for the government simply to print the money, create the money as the Federal Reserve or the Treasure can easily do, and finance it all public, and provide the basic infrastructure services at cost or freely. So, instead of tripling the cost of water, instead of tripling the cost of transportation, you'd actually reduce the cost of transportation, you'd reduce the cost of water, and you'd still get the value recapture tax but at least, the whole idea is you'd make it less expensive for the economy to produce and to live. ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, many states and localities have blocks to prevent privatization, and they want to prevent what's happening to them from what happened in Indiana with the toll road. They say, "Wait a minute. Privatization is going to be a giveaway. It's going to triple the costs of providing infrastructure services. It's going to price our cities and states out of the market if we try to go along with this plan." And Trump says, "Well, in order to qualify for public funding, you have to abolish these restrictions on private funding."

You have to let yourself be robbed blind by the hedge funds and Wall Street. That's basically what he said. He said just as the hedge funds robbed Chicago blind on the parking meters getting a huge rate of return that probably will force Mayor Rahm out of office, you have to let other privatizers come in and vastly increase your cost of living.

So, the infrastructure is going to really destroy America's competitiveness instead of contributing to it. It's going to vastly raise the price of the cost of living rather than providing more resources and making things easier for the population.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, the American Society of Civil Engineers agrees with you that this is inadequate in terms of funding, that the Trump plan is just not sufficient. In fact, it needs, they say, just to deal with the backlog a $4.6-trillion investment by 2025 and Trump's plan doesn't even come close. What do you make of this?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, to begin with, Trump's plan would triple the cost of what the engineers say to $22 trillion and the reason is that it's a Thatcherite privatization plan. Trump's plan reverses the last 150 years of public infrastructure. And in fact, it's the biggest attack on industrial capitalism in over 100 years, more serious than a socialist attack.

Now, America's first professor of economics at the first business school, Simon Patten, said public infrastructure is a fourth factor of production, but unlike labor, land, and capital, the role of public infrastructure is not to make a profit. It's to provide public services that are basic for the economy's living standards and capacity to produce at a subsidized rate. So, America got rich and came to dominate the world industrial economy by subsidizing all of the basic costs. Low-cost roads, low-cost infrastructure. The government bore these costs so that, in effect, public infrastructure subsidizes the economy to lower the cost of production.

Trump's plan is to vastly increase it because he forces all of this into the marketplace. Instead of offering, say, roads at the cost of production, he'd actually triple the cost of production by insisting that it be privately financed, probably by hedge funds and by bank credit that would add the interest charges, the capital gains charges, the management fees, the oversight charges and the fines for criminal fraud that goes with it by factoring all these prices into the cost.

Look at the, for instance, the Indiana Toll Road. That was done by a Trump-style private and public infrastructure and the toll roads are so high to try to pay off the hedge fund backers that people don't use them. They go on the free, slower internal roads. And that sort of is a horror story that anyone who's thinking of Trump's plan should be there.

Trump mentions, for instance, water privatization. All you have to do is look at Thatcher's water privatization in Britain, which has vastly increased the price of water. The water companies have been bought out by hedge funds, registered abroad by foreign owners that are opaque and it's become probably the most unpopular privatization plan of all. So that part's a disaster.

SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, another part of the plan is what is known as value capture financing in order to raise more funds. First of all, what is value capture financing? And what are its implications for states and communities that apply this principle?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Value capture financing is a wonderful idea. It's so wonderful I don't know how it got into the plan. It says that if you build transportation along a route, sort of like the Second Avenue Subway in New York, that transportation is going to increase the value of land and real estate all along the route because now people are going to be closer in access to the subways, to the roads, to the railroads. Many Hollywood movies in the 1930s were all about building roads up to politicians' houses.

So, the idea is that in the future, if New York City were to do something like build the Second Avenue Subway for $3 billion, that this would raise the rental value, already has raised the rental value along the subway line by $6 billion because now, I'm sorry, 6 trillion, I forget whether it's billion or trillion at this point. But at any rate, it's raised it by so much because now people don't have to walk a mile to an overcrowded Lexington Subway.

Well, under Trump's plan, the cities, in order to get federal funding, would have to help themselves by recapturing the real estate value created by this added transportation instead of leaving it in the hands of the landlords as the Second Avenue Subway extension was left or as the West Side extension to the Javits Center increased value of real estate all along there or the Wall Street luxurious restructuring at the subway, another 3 billion there.

This is the best idea of the plan and the one thing that should be kept, which is, of course, why the Democrats don't mention it at all because they're backing the real estate and the financial interest in this. It's such a good idea, I don't know how, Rick Rybeck has written a wonderful article on this recently. So, there are a lot of followers of Henry George that love this aspect of the plan.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Michael, this is your opportunity to lay out a infrastructure plan that you think will work for this country.

MICHAEL HUDSON: The government would finance it, and it would finance it by creating its own credit in the same way that it created the 4.6 trillion to bailout the banks on Wall Street. Instead of creating money to give to Wall Street, you'd spend money into the economy to build up the infrastructure. And ideally, you'd tax the rich for this, but now that Trump has untaxed the wealthy, the only way that you could possibly do it under his tax giveaway to Wall Street is for the government simply to print the money, create the money as the Federal Reserve or the Treasure can easily do, and finance it all public, and provide the basic infrastructure services at cost or freely. So, instead of tripling the cost of water, instead of tripling the cost of transportation, you'd actually reduce the cost of transportation, you'd reduce the cost of water, and you'd still get the value recapture tax but at least, the whole idea is you'd make it less expensive for the economy to produce and to live.

SHARMINI PERIES: And Michael, much of this country doesn't believe that government is capable of doing this because they have been given example after example of how government bureaucratic structures aren't working. And, of course, this deterioration of the civil service, it plays a big role in all of this. How do you rebuild confidence in the state structures?

MICHAEL HUDSON: You write a history of America's success in doing this. You can look at Eisenhower's road building plan of the 1950s, for instance. You can look at the whole history of America's infrastructure spending and the whole logic that was spelled out by Simon Patten at the Wharton School and by the economic theorists of industrial capitalism when America was really taking off in the late 19th and early 20th century. The whole history of how America built its roads, how it built the communication system, public health are examples of how governments make things work.

ORDER IT NOW

You can look at Germany, you can look at other successful economies. And you look at what went well, but you have to look at what went wrong so you see how the financial interests can take over these plans, privatize them, and somehow gut them, and turn them around and make them predatory instead of productive.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Michael. As always, great pleasure to have you on and thank you for joining us.

MICHAEL HUDSON: Thank you. It's good to be here, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.

Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of many books, including The Bubble and Beyond, and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents, Killing the Host- How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy , and most recently J is for Junk Economics: A Survivor's Guide to Economic Vocabulary in an Age of Deception .

[Mar 25, 2019] The US steel industry problems are systemic in nature; tariffs are just band aid, more is needed to be done to revive this industry

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The whole thing is classic Trumpian right move for the wrong reason ..."
"... IMO steel manufacturing in America became unsustainable because manufacturers chose not to reinvest in newer tech/newer processes that would make production more efficient. Plus the neolibs refused to force foreign manufacturers to wear a surcharge based upon the (at that time) superior working conditions of American steel workers. Anyone else conclude that the badly thought through 'plan' was to force American steel workers to give up their conditions? ..."
"... I suspect Trump will encourage the growth of non-union 'scab' steel plants to get around one issue while 'trusting' amerikan manufacturers to wake the fuck up amd modernise to cover the other. ..."
Mar 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Just on a different note, we haven't discussed donny senior's somewhat limpwristed attempt to reintroduce protected markets into the amerikan economy.

There is no doubt that 'something must be done' to provide a lifeline to the people of the Midwest aka 'the rustbelt'. I'm not sure that resurrecting old programs is the best way forward; at least not solely. There must be more diversification if any resurrection hopes to endure.
The whole thing is classic Trumpian right move for the wrong reason

When I began thinking about this I had a quick scout of the web to try to find out which nation is the largest supplier of steel to the US market. The financial times was about the only site which appeared to answer the query, but that was behind Murdoch's pay wall.

I have watched mainstream US/Oz/englander & Aotearoa coverage since donny said he was gonna tax steel imports and to my knowledge none of them have actually named the 'perps' aside from vague inferences vis a vis the People's Republic of China.

The allusions to China which is by far the largest producer of steel on the planet don't mention history. The Chinese did invent the steel-making process after all, but since 2007's allegations of dumping, China has moved well down the hierarchy of amerikan steel suppliers to somewhere around #8.

I don't like to guess but I suspect South Korea is copping the rough end of the pineapple too. That leaves India, Mexico, Brazil and Canada as the likely 'top 4'.

IMO steel manufacturing in America became unsustainable because manufacturers chose not to reinvest in newer tech/newer processes that would make production more efficient. Plus the neolibs refused to force foreign manufacturers to wear a surcharge based upon the (at that time) superior working conditions of American steel workers. Anyone else conclude that the badly thought through 'plan' was to force American steel workers to give up their conditions?

I suspect Trump will encourage the growth of non-union 'scab' steel plants to get around one issue while 'trusting' amerikan manufacturers to wake the fuck up amd modernise to cover the other.

I doubt the latter will eventuate to the point donny anticipates. Where new plants are constructed it will be in regions where there wasn't a steel industry previously so as to make acceptance of non-union plants easier.

Nobody ever screwed up underestimating Wall St cupidity & where possible there will be little investment in new steel manufacturing tech as that is akin to robbing stockholders as far as corporate capitalists believe.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Mar 5, 2018 9:19:41 PM | 87 NemesisCalling , Mar 6, 2018 1:31:42 AM | 92

@87 deb
There is no doubt that 'something must be done' to provide a lifeline to the people of the midwest aka 'the rustbelt'. I'm not sure that resurrecting old programs is the best way forward; at least not solely. There must be more diversification if any resurrection hopes to endure. The whole thing is classic trumpian right move for the wrong reason.

This is the same logic that Obama used to defend neoliberalism: "those jobs aren't coming back." Oh yeah...Americans can't make shoes and clothes anymore, huh? Too beneath us? Is that why the international intelligentsia rails against the ignorance of the fly-over states? Same twisted logic...same obfuscation. So which is it? Is America still a potentially diverse working force which needs a little help from combatting the hella-not-free-Chinese-protectionism and outright theft of intellectual property? Or are those days over with so America really doesn't need market commodities like domestically-produced shoes, clothes, steel, etc.? Did I miss something, because a lot of people feel like since the iPAD was created, we don't need a darn thing as long as Foxconn over in China is holding a gun to their workers temple and keeping up with demand. Or making a pair of Nikes for a dollar and selling it for $200.

My friend...anything would be an improvement.

[Mar 23, 2019] Airbus and Boeing Are Signing Economic Suicide Pacts With China naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... I don't see how nations- or states- can develop other than with a mercantilist mindset. Doesn't the failure of globalization demand a return to mercantilist methods in order to have a functioning society in the modern, technological world? ..."
"... From my limited and naive understanding of history, it seems to me that the opportunity for peaceful coexistence on the planet is consistently being squandered by Western nations -- particularly the US. ..."
Mar 23, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and commentator.Produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute

Airbus is considering whether or not to shift the assembly process of its latest generation of A330 planes to China as part of a bid to increase its market share in the world's fastest-growing civil aviation market .

The European multinational is following a trend started by Boeing, which recently opened a new completion plant in China. On the face of it, the decision by the two companies (which dominate the civilian aviation market) makes sense: build where your biggest customer lives, especially as China does not yet have a fully homegrown civil aviation industry ready to compete globally. The benefits are many, including the goodwill and esteem of the country that would be buying these planes. In the long term, however, that might prove to be a costly miscalculation. Based on its recent history ( here and here ), it won't take long for China to catch up and largely displace both companies domestically in Beijing's home aviation market, as well as seizing a large chunk of the corporate duopoly's global market share. Airbus and Boeing could therefore be making short-term decisions with negative long-term consequences for their future profitability.

Given China's formidable economic advancement, none of this should come as a surprise to either Airbus or Boeing. Nor should it shock Western governments. The problem is that everybody has historically been guided by the naïve assumption that simply admitting China to organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) would induce Beijing to, in the words of Philip Pan , "eventually bend to what were considered the established rules of modernization: Prosperity would fuel popular demands for political freedom and bring China into the fold of democratic nations. Or the Chinese economy would falter under the weight of authoritarian rule and bureaucratic rot." China has unquestionably modernized, but its politically illiberal, dirigiste polity has, if anything, massively moved in the opposite direction, strengthened by that very modernization process that has done anything but falter. Furthermore, the country has many aims and goals that are antithetical to the long-term prosperity of Western companies and economies (as the European Union is beginning to recognize ).

Boeing and Airbus might simply become the latest Western sacrificial lambs. Beijing has explicitly targeted wide-bodied aircrafts as one of its 10 new priority sectors for import substitution in its " Made in China 2025 " document, so whatever short-term gains Airbus and Boeing receive in terms of securing additional orders from China could well be undermined longer-term. The resultant technology transfers and lower labor costs will almost certainly give Beijing a quantum leap toward competing directly and ultimately displacing both companies. Given the merger with McDonnell Douglas, Boeing will continue its march toward effectively becoming a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense, as its civilian market share crashes, but Airbus doesn't really have the luxury of a military alternative, given the relative paucity of European defense expenditures.

As if Boeing needed any further problems, the 737 fiasco represents the latest in a series of setbacks for the company. Boeing's 737 global recall, coming on the heels of the initial launch problems of the 787 Dreamliner some six years ago (where the " demoduralization " of production meant that Boeing "could not fully account for stress transmission and loading at the system level," as Gary Pisano and Willy Shih write ), together illustrate the dangers of spreading manufacturing too far across the globe: Engineers, notes CUNY fellow Jon Rynn , "need to 'kick the tires' of the new production processes they design. So while a market may be global, production and the growth of production take place most efficiently" in relatively close geographic quarters.

American companies such as Boeing consistently underestimate the value of closely integrating R&D and manufacturing, while underplaying the risks of separating them ( as recent events have demonstrated again to the company's cost ). By deciding to expand its A330 production in China, Airbus looks poised to repeat Boeing's error, a potential miscalculation that most European Union companies have hitherto largely avoided, because the EU has prioritized domestic manufacturing/discouraged offshoring more than its U.S. counterparts (in regard to the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs attributable to China, the American Economic Review paper by Justin R. Pierce and Peter K. Schott specifically notes that there was "no similar reaction in the European Union, where policy did not change").

Beijing itself has historically balanced its purchases from both major civil aviation manufacturers to ensure that it does not rely too heavily on one aircraft supplier, which means that Airbus will likely benefit from the void created by the 737 recall. All the more reason why the European conglomerate should be wary of following the pied piper-like expansion into China. (The 737 recall also complicates resolution of the U.S.-China trade conflict, which had appeared closer to resolution in light of Beijing's proposal to buy an additional $1.2tn in U.S. exports over six years. Boeing aircraft purchases featured heavily on Beijing's shopping list.)

But the longer-term challenges relate to China's economic development path and its corresponding move up the high-tech curve, which have largely been characterized by mercantilist policies of protection and heavy government subsidy. In this regard, the Chinese state has followed a national development strategy first outlined in the mid-19th century by the German economist Friedrich List , who argued that the national government should play a crucial role in promoting, guiding, and regulating the process of national economic advancement.

Protectionism, List argued, should play a role here as well during the country's "catch up" phase of technological development. List wrote the analysis against a historic backdrop where Germany was beginning to challenge the dominant economic power of its time, the United Kingdom. So the defenders of Beijing might well point to his work to show that there is nothing new about using the state as a principal instrument to accelerate economic development and innovation.

However, List was analyzing two capitalist economies operating within the context of a 19th-century gold standard global financial system, which invariably circumscribed the scope of state involvement (the finite availability of gold reserves limiting fiscal policy options). By contrast, today the global economy operates under a fiat currency system, and what therefore distinguishes China's economic domestic development from its 19th century predecessors is the sheer scale of fiscal resources it can deploy in the furtherance of its economic (and military) objectives. Some of these objectives might not be so benign to the West longer-term.

Which points to another consideration for the West: for all of its supposed embrace of capitalism, China is still primarily a state-dominated economy, which eschews the disciplines of a free market economy. This means it has the capacity (and ideological predisposition) to use the national fiscal policy as a loss leader, absorbing losses well beyond what would be tolerated in an economy dominated by private enterprise (private companies, of course, can go bust). Beijing underwrites its designated national champions by relying on a combination of subsidies (some disguised, as they flow through state-backed investment funds and the financial sectors) and "Buy China" preferences to develop Chinese products, even though these policies are contrary to the rules of WTO membership, which China eagerly joined in 2001. As the economist Brad Setser argues , "various parts of the Chinese state compete, absorb losses, and then consolidat[e ] around the successful firms. Other countries [might] worry about the [scale of the cumulative] losses," notes Setser, but not the Chinese government, which simply socializes the losses at the national level, and writes them off.

In this regard, Boeing and Airbus would do well to consider China's experience in the solar industry. Designating this as another strategic sector for growth in the 1990s, Chinese solar companies, with the explicit backstop of the state, ultimately raised enough funding via debt to build sufficient solar capacity for the world three times over. The overinvestment ultimately killed the cash flows of major Western competitors and knocked them out of the business, leaving the market free for China to dominate. Commenting on the trend, Scientific American highlighted that "between 2008 and 2013, China's fledgling solar-electric panel industry dropped world prices by 80 percent, a stunning achievement in a fiercely competitive high-tech market. China had leapfrogged from nursing a tiny, rural-oriented solar program in the 1990s to become the globe's leader in what may soon be the world's largest renewable energy source."

Here was a classic case of state-guided/supported commercial companies receiving benefits that went far beyond anything in, say, Korea or Taiwan, or even Japan in the earlier part of their development. Now this trend is manifesting itself across the entire spectrum of the Chinese guided economy, including agricultural equipment, industrial machinery, telecommunications, AI, computer chips, and civil aviation. In another disturbing parallel that Boeing and Airbus would do well to consider, "[t]he timeline of China's rise began in the late 1990s when Germany, overwhelmed by the domestic response to a government incentive program to promote rooftop solar panels, provided the capital, technology and experts to lure China into making solar panels to meet the German demand," according to Scientific American . Much like the German solar companies, which shipped valuable manufacturing and technological expertise to China, to sustain demand, Boeing and Airbus could well be signing their economic death warrants by agreeing to offshore increasing amounts of production in China to sustain their global market shares (aided and abetted by their more market-oriented governments, which frown on the idea of national industrial policy).

The same thing is happening in wind power in China, which is expected to see offshore wind capacity grow from 2 gigawatts last year to 31 gigawatts in the next decade. China's expansion here has already forced Siemens and Gamesa to merge to cope with the rising competitive challenge. As far as aviation itself goes, Setser makes the point that "China may cut into the United States' future exports by building its own competitor to the 737 and also cut into Europe's future exports if Airbus decides to build the A330 in China and China buys 'Made in China' Rolls-Royce engines for the C929 and the A330." Even if this allows the duopoly to maintain its dominance in global civil aviation, it is hard to see how shifting manufacturing production of aircraft components to China to get orders constitutes a "win" for the U.S. or European workers who are already being displaced. And Boeing's weak-kneed response to the 737 crisis will likely exacerbate the company's problems going forward.

The bottom line is that both Western governments and Western corporations have persistently underestimated the power of China's economic development model, and the corresponding economic threat that it poses to the West's own affluence. The usual criticism leveled against the Chinese growth model is that a country that subsidizes its industries ends up with inefficient industries, because heavily protected local firms are shielded from global competition, ultimately leaving the country that resorts to protectionism with inferior products. The idea of national champions, built up via state dirigisme, according to classic liberal economic doctrine, ultimately ensures that economic efficiency and commercial considerations get squeezed out. Rent-seeking and corruption become institutionalized, goes the argument, so these national champions ultimately will not be able to compete in the global marketplace. That was certainly the assumption of Milton Friedman, who called the Chinese Communist Party's state-driven strategy "an open invitation to corruption and inefficiency." By contrast, according to Defense and the National Interest , the governing assumptions of capitalist economies is that "[t]he discipline of the 'marketplace,'" not the state, is better suited to choose winners and knock out losers "who cannot offer the prices or quality or features of their competitors."

China represents the ultimate repudiation of these seemingly ironclad economic laws. The country's success has come across a slew of industries: clean tech, notably wind and solar power, internet companies (despite overwhelming censorship, China has corporate behemoths, such as Alibaba, or Baidu, which rival Google in scale and scope), and more recently, in the telecommunications sector (where Huawei has clearly benefited from "Buy China" preferences created by the state via its state-owned telecommunications enterprises and now is considered to be the global leader in 5G telephony). In practice, therefore, there is no reason why the same model cannot work with regard to civil aviation even as Airbus and Boeing eagerly provide the rope with which they may hang their respective companies in the future.

foppe , March 23, 2019 at 4:16 am

Designating this as another strategic sector for growth in the 1990s, Chinese solar companies, with the explicit backstop of the state, ultimately raised enough funding via debt to build sufficient solar capacity for the world three times over.

I'm confused. Why should it matter that they raised funding via debt? It kinda reads like Auerback feels this should shock us, or make us think China is "cheating" or somesuch. But iirc there's a nice book by Mazzucato that proves something that Chomsky's been saying since forever about the US (federal) govt. Now to be sure, the US govt tends to mainly simply give away money, rather than extending loans, but..

Susan the other` , March 23, 2019 at 11:08 am

Fiat economies have solidly proved that debt is just noise. Unless politicians use it as a cudgel to kill good fiscal governance. I am confused about the use of the term "socializing losses" here because what really seems to be happening is China is creating social value. When our corporations are coddled and their externalized costs and losses are socialized we, the tax payers, are the ones who suffer the austerity in order to keep the dollar "strong" and etc. I'll never forgive this country for allowing our corporations to murder American labor in the 80s and hot-foot it off to China to make their profit. Now that was definitely socializing losses – in fact it was socializing losses in advance. I don't think we will ever recover from that little episode of free marketeering. China might be scary because they are so very powerful, pragmatic and adaptable. But they are no more "illiberal" than we are. It's time to set some standards.

eg , March 23, 2019 at 11:27 am

Regarding your confusion, I infer that the implication is that we had better start using debt the same way China does.

Marshall Auerback , March 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm

Not trying to scare anybody. Just indicating that it was largely funded via debt as opposed to equity. You're reading WAY too much into this.

PlutoniumKun , March 23, 2019 at 5:24 am

Just to point out that Airbus has had an assembly plant in Tianjin in China since 2010. I recall reading a few years ago that Airbus found costs were so high because of a shortage of the right workers it would actually have been cheaper to make them in France. Airbus also assemble aircraft in the US for precisely the same reason – to get a manufacturing 'foothold' in important markets to prevent mercantilist retaliation.

But as the article says, many a manufacturer has found to their cost that the Chinese simply don't play fair, they will extract every bit of information they can from those plants and use it for their new Comac aircraft (which so far are not very impressive, nobody wants to buy them).

Jay Gallivan , March 23, 2019 at 8:00 am

" the Chinese simply don't play fair "

An American and European elites do?

Ignacio , March 23, 2019 at 8:38 am

You may consider that chinese don't play fair, it also migth be considered that Airbus strategy is just another way of economic colonization and to prevent the surge of new competitors maintaining the duopoly. Is it fair?

Given the recent drift of political geostrategy leaded by the US in which anything is "fair" to defend particular interests, my opinion is that China interest on developing their own airplane industry is not only fair but very reasonable. One wonders when the US will put in place another arbitrary ban.

Fairness is gone with the wind

Norb , March 23, 2019 at 9:44 am

I don't see how nations- or states- can develop other than with a mercantilist mindset. Doesn't the failure of globalization demand a return to mercantilist methods in order to have a functioning society in the modern, technological world?

The argument that globalization has not failed is tested by growing social tensions and inequality around the world. A return to mercantilism, or a version thereof seems logical. Thriving internal markets linked to strong alliances seem to offer a path into the future that is workable. Peaceful nations trading among themselves. Over time, resource issues can be worked out peacefully. The competition will be over functioning economies, not world domination. But to get there, nations have to have both security and technical ability. Should the Chinese or the Russians be trusted to bring about a positive transformation in world society? Time will tell. I would hope so.

From my limited and naive understanding of history, it seems to me that the opportunity for peaceful coexistence on the planet is consistently being squandered by Western nations -- particularly the US.

If a functioning world government is not possible, than the next best thing would be functioning national governments that set standards and economic policy that benefited the majority of citizens, not just the elite. It seems the truly intelligent, and wise ones see this.

JBird4049 , March 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm

If a functioning world government is not possible, than the next best thing would be functioning national governments that set standards and economic policy that benefited the majority of citizens, not just the elite. It seems the truly intelligent, and wise ones see this.

This is what we had under the Bretton Woods system from appoximately 1945 to 1973. Moderate free trade with each country setting its own goals, policies, and standards, yet being connected economically to other countries. An intermediate level between full mercantilist protectionism and completely open free trade and unrestricted currency flows. It was replaced by neoliberalism's goal of open borders with unrestricted free trade, currency flows, and labor.

Norb , March 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Yes, but a return seems inevitable. If not, serfdom and peasantry brought back due to excessive crapification of production and rent seeking by a global oligarchy is in our future.

Native populations would gladly buy less advanced goods and services if produced locally and offered secured jobs and livelihoods. Made in China, Made in USA, Made in Russia- makes perfect sense. Supplying the world through monopolistic corporations is only feasible if not weaponized. But that is the path not taken.

If you ask a neoliberal what the end game would look like, and they are forced to answer, most people would be horrified by the answer.

Brexit is a good analogy. The transition could be a managed affair with less pain to go around, or a crash out.

In the end, saner heads will prevail if only for growing grass roots efforts to create a fairer economy and necessity.

Yikes , March 23, 2019 at 12:49 pm

US forced UK to break and give up jet turbine, Radar, and many other technologies. Philips, Dutch under Nazi occupation, had all it's patents abrogated and USA assets seized and never returned. WW 2 made USA a world power not just from being isolated from war but because USA stole everything and everyone of any value.

JBird4049 , March 23, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Blame the United States for many things, but realize that technology like radar and jet turbines were extremely important during the Second World War.

During a major war everything is open to theft, or even just being given away, by everyone as merely surviving becomes more important than any other concern by the various states. There are also the large businesses that often, very illegally and even treasonously, continue to do business with their country's enemies. Those businesses just get nasty words usually and keep their profits (of course).

Examples of both are the Polish and French work on the German Enigma encryption system given to the British, the Soviet theft and reverse engineering of American technology, IBM's leasing and maintaining its punchcard machines (census records used in Holocaust) Ford's manufacturing and maintaining its vehicles and Standard Oil's running its refineries in, and shipping when possible oil, into Europe for the Nazis, the Nazis stold from everyone (technology in armored vehicles, artillery, radar, radio) likewise the Japanese who also got technology from the Nazis. And everyone stold from the Germans.

The only reason the United States got to take full use of what it got was because it's universities, businesses, and factories were all intact afterwards.

Oh , March 23, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Nobody wants to buy them now but in a few years they will just like cars from S. Korea were looked upon as inferior to Japanese ones but now they they're deemed to be just as good and better value for the money.

Dirk77 , March 23, 2019 at 7:52 am

When I worked there, it seemed that Boeing was always on the cutting edge of bad corporate ideas. So it's baffling to me that it's taken them so long to have their guts carved out by China. I mean, the peer pressure at the corporate country club I infer is rather intense. But I appreciate it as my pension from them is now in a seaparate autonomous account. That is no guarantee it will be truly insulated but it helps.

John Wright , March 23, 2019 at 11:30 am

I have worked in the electronics industry in Northern California for many years and watched the outsourcing of manufacturing and some design overseas.

I believe that many in the industry have realized that moving manufacturing and design overseas has helped to create some very worthy competitors.

Some years ago, I was told of a company that wanted a low end product for an existing product line.

The company negotiated with a Chinese company and rebranded one of their inexpensive products, but only after the Chinese company was told of design changes/improvements.

As I was told, the USA company realized they had helped bring a competitor up the learning curve and would not do it again.

I remember reading that the telecom companies also went into China with assembly plants and found they did not see the revenue they projected because they "trained new competition" that opened their own facilities.

Probably there will be considerable lower-level resistance inside Boeing to moving assembly/design to China, but the "big picture" executives will rule the day.

People will get with the program, as one technician who was being laid off about 20 years ago related to me. "They told me I could leave that day, or get more pay by training my overseas replacement for two weeks."

He stayed the additional two weeks.

JBird4049 , March 23, 2019 at 4:32 pm

People will get with the program, as one technician who was being laid off about 20 years ago related to me. "They told me I could leave that day, or get more pay by training my overseas replacement for two weeks."

This has been happening in the United States since the 80s. I am surprised we have workers, knowledge, or equipment left to be stolen, sold, given away, or thrown away for our Blessed Elites' God Mamon.

I expect the Chinese to be fools as, for a very old civilization, they are surprisingly parochial and shortsighted, but seeing my fellow Americans throwing everyone else, including most Americans, into the compost pile because "greed, for lack of a better word, is good" makes me want to drink.

Once you impoverish and enrage the population of a nation as large as the United States what does anyone expect to happen? To everyone else?

drumlin woodchuckles , March 23, 2019 at 5:50 pm

This was made possible by keeping the decision secret from the targeted technician(s) until the last moment before implementation. If the company had told these technicians several years ahead of time that " in several years time we will give you the choice of leaving immediately or working for two weeks to train the overseas replacement we will replace you with" . . . . that the technician(s) in question would have saved up two weeks worth of living expenses so as to be able to surprise the company with their own last-second refusal to train the replacement for two weeks pay when the time came.

Which is why the company never told these technicians about this "train your replacement" plan several years in advance. I sincerely hope this technician was able to withhold certain key information from his trainee. Even better would be if he had been able to give his new trainee certain subtle dis-information and dis-training would which lead to downstream decay in the foreign replacements' performance sometime after the replacement was made. Hopefully to the detriment of the company which pulled that stunt.

Young , March 23, 2019 at 6:35 pm

I had to do it twice. I trained my Indian replacement for my world-leader high-tech employer.
Ten years later, trained my Chinese replacement for my other world-leader employer.

human , March 23, 2019 at 8:15 am

Other countries [might] worry about the [scale of the cumulative] losses," notes Setser, but not the Chinese government, which simply socializes the losses at the national level, and writes them off.

Hmmm

Peter , March 23, 2019 at 9:05 am

Auerback's entirely right on this. But I disagree completely: Boeing and Airbus should sign suicide pacts. The capitalists are selling China the rope to hang them with – and please, China, do hang them! While you're at it, keep developing the green tech the species needs to survive.

Ptb , March 23, 2019 at 9:56 am

"Considering" a move overseas sounds like an indirect way of asking for more special treatment in the two companies' respective home markets. Which they will probably need – the market for airliners might be overextended even without the Boeing fiasco.

shinola , March 23, 2019 at 11:01 am

"Airbus and Boeing could therefore be making short-term decisions with negative long-term consequences for their future profitability."

So what? – that seems to be SOP for exec's these days. By the time the SHTF, IBGYBG.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 23, 2019 at 5:54 pm

It is not "Boeing" and "Airbus" as such which are making these decisions. It is actual human executive persons inside offices in buildings called "Boeing" and "Airbus" who are making these decisions.

In the current Forced Free Trade environment, if those executives making those decisions will make more personal money with in order to retire richer with by relocating the bussiness to China, they will relocate the bussiness to China. If it goes extinct after they have taken their personal money and run; it is no longer their problem to care about. So they won't care about it.

Keith newman , March 23, 2019 at 11:07 am

My main take-away from Marshall's post is that China is harnessing the power of fiat money to develop its economy. Why shouldn't all countries do that? It seems to me ideological blinders are preventing it except perhaps in military expenditures in the U.S. All caveats regarding human rights, inequality, corruption, environment, etc., apply of course.

vomkammer , March 23, 2019 at 11:15 am

There is an alternative reading.

Airbus has plant in Tianjin since 2010. The information that China managed to extract from it did not make the COMAC C919 a competitive aircraft.

So, Airbus and Boeing may think now that the risks of setting a plant in China are less than expected.

Civil aviation is a particular industry. There is a lot of know-how in the design offices and in the supply chains. This know-how cannot be copied from a manufacturing plant.

cbu , March 23, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Same thing with the conventional auto industry, however, it's a totally different story with high speed rail, ship-building, and telecommunications, for which China has caught up. China's electric vehicle industry also seems promising. I think Comac's ARJ21 and C919 are good enough to be competitive on China's domestic market.

Pookah Harvey , March 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

"Airbus and Boeing could therefore be making short-term decisions with negative long-term consequences".
Isn't that the neoliberal business model?

georgieboy , March 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm

BIngo!

It is also the publicly-held stock company model, whereby management and boards compute risk/reward far out enough to match their personal enrichment deadlines, no more.

Oh , March 23, 2019 at 3:27 pm

Neoliberals concentrate on the next quarter's earnings; these companies are pr0bably eyeing the cheaper labor in the plants in China. I can see that as their main incentive.

Steven , March 23, 2019 at 11:53 am

Combine the insights of this post with MMT and you have a winner. With a few qualifications:
1. success (wealth creation?) should be measured by the ability of the nation, with perhaps a few of its closets friends, to support and defend itself – NOT by how fast the number of zeros in the financial portfolios of its citizens grows;
2. nor should it be measured by how (temporarily?) cheaply Western consumers can continue the consumption of the cars, televisions, etc that powers the growth of those portfolios.

Auerbac's choice of the future for the Western airline industry as a potential object of concern is, however, interesting. It suggests he hasn't been reading Naked Capitalism's warnings about that industry's planet-killing potential.

Eclair , March 23, 2019 at 12:00 pm

I'm catching up on NC post reading this morning and had just finished the post from earlier this week, "Work of the Past " before I read this one. Autour's study of the widening wage gap increases between workers with low and high education levels, which, as commenters there pointed out, were seen as almost natural phenomena, no agency involved, segues nicely into this post. And, resulted in my thinking about the rise of so-called 'toxic masculinity.'

When I moved to Long Beach, California in the '80's, I lived just a few miles from the then-thriving McDonnell-Douglas assembly plant. Driving by, you could see the end product planes, still an unpainted dull metallic gray, sitting in a row on the tarmac. Crews would then paint on the distinctive livery of the purchasing airline and the new plane, in glowing color, would be rolled out. The CEO of the airline would arrive, have his tie cut off (don't ask!) and take delivery of the new plane in a ceremony that involved the proud workers.

For a short time, I worked there, hiring training pilots. The esprit-de-corps in the plant was infectious. People were immensely proud to be working there and had a vested interest in each plane as it rolled off the assembly line. (There was a growing concern with workers going out for Friday lunch and never coming back; or returning and then falling asleep inside the wings or engine cowlings, but that was at the end, when workers knew the company was contracting.)

I was there when the company sold plants in San Diego and older guys with years of experience came up to Long Beach to work as temporary contractors. Then the LB plant closed.

All those employees, mainly white males, who had good jobs, worked hard, crafting a product they were proud of, that flew all over the world (spewing carbon dioxide, but that's another tale), owned a nice little house, took family vacations, cut adrift.

Our nation's lack of an industrial policy not only strips workers of their jobs, their sources of income and their pensions, but takes away their dignity, their reason for getting up in the morning. It strips away the bonds they have forged with their co-workers and smashes the pride they had in their product. It emasculates them. And, what is left becomes poisoned and toxic, turns to hate and despair.

Oh , March 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm

We do have an industrial policy – go to war for the oil companies to name one objective. Our government concludes pacts to force other countries to buy our grain, pharma, planes, medical equipment etc. etc.
Unfortunately, this plicy do not translate into manufacturing in this countries because these companies chase cheap labor elsewhere around the world.

Steven Greenberg , March 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm

China is still primarily a state-dominated economy, which eschews the disciplines of a free market economy.

This is the most hilarious quote I think I have ever seen on Naked Capitalism.

If your competitor's strategy is having them eat your lunch, rather than criticize that strategy, maybe you might consider learning a thing or two from it.

Oh , March 23, 2019 at 3:35 pm

What free market economy? Where?

Glen , March 23, 2019 at 3:04 pm

One assumes that the CEOs of these companies making these decisions actually care about the future of the company, the future of their country. They don't. They care about getting rich. They live in a different world than the rest of us. End of story.

China has taken a different course with regard to it's CEOs:
https://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-white-collar-criminals-death-sentence-2013-7

Inode_buddha , March 23, 2019 at 4:22 pm

"Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain. "

Attr. Napoleon Bonaparte

(the Rothschilds and Medicis were infamous for funding both sides of European conflicts)

mauisurfer , March 23, 2019 at 3:14 pm

China is doing what Japan did with automobiles and consumer electronics after WW2.
Toyota was once warehouse with a dormitory, and the workers found out if they were going to work today by looking out the window to see if there was smoke coming from the warehouse chimney.
And I am glad it happened, my 1995 Toyota Tacoma is better and cheaper than anything made in USA. Also true for my 2004 Mazda3.
The contributors to this blog seem to have no regard for USA consumers.
Yes my local clothing store closed down long ago, but they never had my size pants anyway. Walmart does, Costco does, and for far less $.
Do you really think that Boeing deserves our support? Do you really think they have acted responsibly?
I think Boeing is just another oligarch, like VW, that will do anything to increase profits.

thesaucymugwump , March 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

"Yes my local clothing store closed down long ago, but they never had my size pants anyway. Walmart does, Costco does, and for far less $."

You must be both not so old and not so tall. I'm both. Nike used to make XL t-shirts that fit me, but now its XXLs are too small. I have one Nike t-shirt from at least thirty years ago and it fits perfectly, so my body isn't what changed.

And if you don't realize that Walmart quality is far below what one would have found in US clothing stores thirty years ago, there's nothing more to say.

mauisurfer , March 23, 2019 at 5:36 pm

Walmart and Amazon sell the same socks, t shirts, and pants.
And so does Hanes if you order direct online.
I don't think any of them are made in USA.
I used to buy fine cotton t shirts made in L.A (CA)
They are no longer in business because they cost $20, and Hanes now sells for $5 online.
Walmart quality varies, so do their prices.
I know what I want, and am glad to buy it for less anywhere that sells it.

mauisurfer , March 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm

I am older than you are
born well before ww2
and i am 6.3 tall

Altandmain , March 23, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Most of the CEOs don't care about the worker that works for them.

They largely see them as something to exploit so that they can get their big stock options bonus. Boeing is no different, nor is Airbus.

From the CEO's point of view, they outsource, they transfer technology, and for a few years, the profits will be good. Then when the full extent of the failure becomes apparent, they will be gone anyways, having cashed in on their stock options and a new CEO will be there to take the fall.

It's the MBA culture run amok and it has been responsible for a large amount of the damage done to the middle classes of the Western world. They are creating future competitors and destroying their own communities.

A while back, Eamonn Fingleton noted this problem – only for Japan.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/boeing-goes-to-pieces/

The Chinese have long wanted to develop their own domestic aerospace industry. An example of one area that China needs to master is the jet turbine blade manufacturing. It's an extremely difficult part of making a competent aircraft, as higher inlet temperatures mean more efficient aircraft.

The difference is that China takes a more long term view of what is in the best interest of their nation, however flawed and corrupt the CCP may be. The US ruling oligarchs are a naked kleptocracy that milk their population.

thesaucymugwump , March 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

"China has unquestionably modernized"

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, that depends upon the definition of "modernized." China will always be the preeminent communist country, but Deng and others realized that China could earn big bucks by playing a capitalist game, as long as Chinese businessmen do not interfere with the government.

Airbus and Boeing are merely the latest suckers to believe that China will ever change. Der Spiegel noted years ago that Chinese engineers were videotaped in the middle of the night taking measurements of Germany's Transrapid train. Today China has the best technology from all major train manufacturers, with short-sighted entities such as the state of California seriously considering buying Chinese trains (before the new governor canceled the project, of course).

The aircraft horse has already left the barn. China's C919 is a 737 clone which will allow China to stop buying smaller airliners, with many countries naively buying it to save money. Obtaining Airbus and Boeing technology will allow China to do the same for larger airliners.

If you want a real laugh, read the articles written by libertarians about how Americans will always be more productive than Chinese, so allowing China into the WTO and giving it PNTR will not hurt us in the long run.

VietnamVet , March 23, 2019 at 7:39 pm

The basic problem in the West is that the neo-liberal ideology has merged with human greed to form an economic/political system that is divorced from reality. At least the Party in China has Russia as an example and must deal with the real world to stay in power less they lose their mandate to rule. America has its exceptionalism. China has its chauvinism. My opinion is that the iPhone sales cratered there for one reason; Trump's trade war. Boeing's boneheaded decision to add a fatally flawed fly-by-wire system to the 737 Max without telling anyone and with no training deserves prison time for Chicago executives for manslaughter. They won't go to jail and the last manufacturing American led industry will die away. Mid-America is a colony to global oligarchs and their bi-coastal lackeys. The only way to turn our fate around is to restore democracy and government by and for the people.

[Mar 21, 2019] We can spend endless amounts of money on the NSA, wars overseas, political campaigns and bailing out banks, tha we canaffort single payer healthcare system

Highly recommended!
Jun 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. , June 28, 2017 at 08:10 AM

We can spend endless amounts of money on the NSA, wars overseas, political campaigns and bailing out banks, but PGL and the weak tea centrists demand "how are we going to pay for it???" now that single-payer is becoming a real possibility. Every other advanced nation does it better with massive savings for their taxpayers.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-pollin-single-payer-healthcare-healthy-california-20170621-story.html

Op-Ed Single-payer healthcare for California is, in fact, very doable

by Robert Pollin

June 21, 2017

The California Senate recently voted to pass a bill that would establish a single-payer healthcare system for the entire state. The proposal, called the Healthy California Act, will now be taken up by the state Assembly. [not]

The plan enjoys widespread support - a recent poll commissioned by the California Nurses Assn. found that 70% of all Californians are in favor of a single-payer plan - and with good reason. Under Healthy California, all residents would be entitled to decent healthcare without having to pay premiums, deductibles or copays.

But as critics of the bill have pointed out, a crucial question remains: Is Healthy California economically viable? According to research I conducted with three colleagues at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the answer is yes.

Enacting Healthy California would entail an overhaul of the state's existing healthcare system, which now constitutes about 14% of California's GDP. In particular, it would mean replacing the state's private health insurance industry with government-managed insurance. Our study - which was also commissioned by the California Nurses Assn. - concludes not only that the proposal is financially sound, but that it will produce greater equity in the healthcare sector for families and businesses of all sizes.

California will spend about $370 billion on healthcare in 2017. Assuming the state's existing system stayed intact, the cost of extending coverage to all California residents, including the nearly 15 million people who are currently uninsured or underinsured, would increase healthcare spending by about 10%, to roughly $400 billion.

That's not the full story, though. Enacting a single-payer system would yield considerable savings overall by lowering administrative costs, controlling the prices of pharmaceuticals and fees for physicians and hospitals, reducing unnecessary treatments and expanding preventive care. We found that Healthy California could ultimately result in savings of about 18%, bringing healthcare spending to about $331 billion, or 8% less than the current $370 billion.

How would California cover this $331-billion bill? For the most part, much the same way it covers healthcare spending right now. Roughly 70% of the state's current spending is paid for through public programs, including Medicare and MediCal. This funding - totaling about $225 billion - would continue, as is required by law. It would simply flow through Healthy California rather than existing programs.

The state would still need to raise about $106 billion a year to cover the cost of replacing private insurance. This could be done with two new taxes.

First, California could impose a gross receipts tax of 2.3% on businesses, but with an exemption for the first $2 million of revenue. Through such an exemption, about 80% of all businesses in California - small firms - would pay nothing in gross receipts tax, and medium-sized businesses would pay an effective tax rate of less than 1%.

Second, the state could institute a sales tax increase of 2.3%. The tax would not apply to housing, utilities, food purchased for the home or a range of services, and it could be offset for low-income families with a 2% income tax credit.

Relative to their current healthcare costs, most Californian families will end up spending less, even with these new taxes, and some will even enjoy large gains. Net healthcare spending for middle-income families would fall by between 2.6% and 9.1% of income. Most businesses would also see a drop in spending. Small firms that have been providing health insurance for their workers will see costs fall by 22% as a share of payroll. For medium-sized firms, costs will fall by an average of between 6.8% and 13.4% as a share of payroll. Even most large firms will see costs fall, by an average of between 0.6% and 5% of payroll.

At the moment, about 2.7 million of California's residents, or about 8% of the population, have no health insurance. Another 12 million residents, or about 33% of the population, are underinsured. A large proportion of the remaining 60% of the population who are adequately insured still face high costs, as well as anxiety over President Trump's proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Healthy California is capable of generating substantial savings for families at most income levels and businesses of most sizes. These savings are in addition to the benefits that the residents of California will gain through universal access to healthcare.

[Feb 09, 2019] Government shutdown, Venezuela Donald Trump evolves into the best propagator of neoliberal fascism that tends to become a norm

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, a year later, Trump built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish neocons. And then, he ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neocolonial friends. ..."
"... Trump conducted the longest experiment on neoliberals' ultimate goal: abolishing the annoying presence of the state. And this was just a taste of what Trump is willing to do in order to satisfy all neoliberals' wet dreams. ..."
"... And perhaps the best proof for that is a statement by one of the most warmongering figures of the neocon/neoliberal cabal, hired by Trump . As John Bolton cynically and openly admitted recently, " It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. " ..."
"... Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Government shutdown, Venezuela: Donald Trump evolves into the best propagator of neoliberal fascism that tends to become a norm February 07, 2019 by system failure

Even before the 2016 US presidential election, this blog supported that Donald Trump is a pure sample of neoliberal barbarism . Many almost laughed at this perception because Trump was being already promoted, more or less, as the 'terminator' of the neoliberal establishment. And many people, especially in the US, tired from the economic disasters, the growing inequality and the endless wars, were anxious to believe that this was indeed his special mission.

Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Trump sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008.

In 2017 , Trump bombed Syria for the first time, resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of the confrontation with Russia.

Indeed, a year later, Trump built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish neocons. And then, he ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neocolonial friends.

In the middle of all this 'orgy' of pro-establishment moves, Trump offered a controversial withdrawal of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan to save whatever was possible from his 'anti-interventionist' profile. And it was indeed a highly controversial action with very little value, considering all these US military bases that are still fully operational in the broader Middle East and beyond. Not to mention the various ways through which the US intervenes in the area (training proxies, equip them with heavy weapons, supporting the Saudis and contribute to war crimes in Yemen, etc.)

And then , after this very short break, Trump returned to 'business as usual' to satisfy the neoliberal establishment with a 'glorious' record. He achieved a 35-day government shutdown, which is the "longest shutdown in US history" .

Trump conducted the longest experiment on neoliberals' ultimate goal: abolishing the annoying presence of the state. And this was just a taste of what Trump is willing to do in order to satisfy all neoliberals' wet dreams.

And now, we have the Venezuela issue. Since Hugo Chavez nationalized PDVSA, the central oil and natural gas company, the US empire launched a fierce economic war against the country. Yet, while all previous US administrations were trying to replace legitimate governments with their puppets as much silently as possible through slow-motion coup operations, Trump has no problem to do it in plain sight.

And perhaps the best proof for that is a statement by one of the most warmongering figures of the neocon/neoliberal cabal, hired by Trump . As John Bolton cynically and openly admitted recently, " It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. "

Therefore, one should be very naive of course to believe that the Western imperialist gang seriously cares about the Venezuelan people and especially the poor. Here are three basic reasons behind the open US intervention in Venezuela:

  1. The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel, as well as the great untapped natural resources , particularly gold (mostly for the Canadian companies).
  2. Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy, which is mainly funded by the oil production. The imperialists know that they must interrupt the path of Venezuela to real Socialism by force if necessary. Neoliberalism must prevail by all means for the benefit of the big banks and corporations.
  3. Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war. The country may find an alternative to escape the Western sanctions in order to fund its social programs for the benefit of the people. And, of course, the West will never accept the exploitation of the Venezuelan resources by the Sino-Russian bloc.

So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision.

This is something we have never seen before. The 'liberal democracies' of the West - only by name - immediately, uncritically and without hesitation jumped on the same boat with Trump towards this outrageously undemocratic action. They recognized Washington's puppet as the legitimate president of a third country. A man that was never elected by the Venezuelan people and has very low popularity in the country. Even worse, the EU parliament approved this action , killing any last remnants of democracy in the Union.

Yet, it seems that the US is finding increasingly difficult to force many countries to align with its agenda. Even some European countries took some distance from the attempted constitutional coup, with Italy even trying to veto EU's decision to recognize Guaido.

Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance.

This unprecedented action by the Western neoliberal powers to recognize Guaido is a serious sign that neoliberalism returns to its roots and slips towards fascism. It appears now that this is the only way to maintain some level of power.

[Feb 05, 2019] Trump and His Golfing Buddies Continue Neoliberalism s Assault on the Veteran s Administration by Lambert Strether

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... It's almost like there's a neo-liberal playbook, isn't there? No underpants gnomes , they! (1) Defund or sabotage, (2) Claim crisis, (3) Call for privatization (4) Profit! [ka-ching]. Congress underfunds the VA, then overloads it with Section 8 patients, a crisis occurs, and Obama's first response is send patients to the private system . ..."
"... Assuming that wait time is a function of resources, you can easily see how the playbook would work: (1) Reduce resources, (2) whinge about wait time, and (3) drain patients from the VA system, for profit! (Note that while Democrats are ostensibly jumping on board the #MedicareForAll train, they are, in the main, silent -- Warren and Sanders being the only notable exceptions -- about the destruction of an existing ..."
"... "This is nothing short of a steady march toward the privatization [1] of the VA," Sanders said. "It's going to happen piece by piece by piece until over a period of time there's not much in the VA to provide the quality care that our veterans deserve." ..."
"... Now, just because privatizing the Veterans Administration is a project of the political class as a whole doesn't mean that the Trump Administration hasn't brought its own special mix of corruption and buffoonery to the table. Indeed it has! Who, we might ask, were the actual factions in the Republican administration pushing for VA Mission? Three of Trump's squillionaire golfing buddies at Mar-a-Lago[2], as it all-too-believably turns out. From Pro Publica, " The Shadow Rulers of the VA ": ..."
"... The wretched excess of Trump's policy-by-golfing buddies aside, I don't see why privatiizing the Veterans Administration shouldn't become a major campaign issue, especially given Sanders' presence on the relevant committee. We send our children off to die in wars for regime change where the only winners are military contractors. ..."
Feb 03, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

February 3, 2019 By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

With the release of new proposed eligibility rules under the VA Mission Act, we see that privatization at the Veterans Administration (VA) continues to unfold, as outlined in the neoliberal playbook , to which we have alluded before:

The stories intertwine because they look like they're part of the neoliberal privatization playbook , here described in a post about America's universities:

It's almost like there's a neo-liberal playbook, isn't there? No underpants gnomes , they! (1) Defund or sabotage, (2) Claim crisis, (3) Call for privatization (4) Profit! [ka-ching]. Congress underfunds the VA, then overloads it with Section 8 patients, a crisis occurs, and Obama's first response is send patients to the private system .

Congress imposes huge unheard-of, pension requirements on the Post Office, such that it operates at a loss, and it's gradually cannibalized by private entities, whether for services or property. And charters are justified by a similar process.

(I've helpfully numbered the steps, and added 'sabotage' alongside defunding, although defunding is neoliberalism's main play, based on the ideology of austerity.)

We can see this process play out not only in public universities, public schools, the Post Office, and the TSA , but in Britain's NHS, a national treasure that the Tories are systematically and brutally dismantling .)

The political class has been trying to privatize the VA across several administrations -- " Veterans groups are angry after President Obama told them Monday that he is still considering a proposal to have treatment for service-connected injuries charged to veterans' private insurance plan" -- although it is true that the Trump administration has brought its own special brand of crassness to the project, as we shall see. As we might expect , the project has nothing to do with the wishes of veterans :

Nearly two-thirds of veterans oppose "privatizing VA hospitals and services," according to a poll released Tuesday by the Vet Voice Foundation. And some 80 percent of the veterans surveyed believe veterans "deserve their health care to be fully paid for, not vouchers which may not cover all the costs."

A plurality of veterans, or 42 percent of those surveyed, agreed with the statement that the VA "needs more doctors," according to the poll, indicating they believe the VA's problems are at least partly due to a personnel shortage [Step (1)].

Although Vet Voice is a progressive organization, the poll of 800 veterans was jointly conducted by a Democratic polling firm and a Republican one.

And the Veterans are right, because VA hospitals provide better care. Besides many anecdotes , we have this in Stars and Stripes, " Dartmouth study finds VA hospitals outperform others in same regions ":

A new study by Dartmouth College that compares Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals with other hospitals in the same regions found VA facilities often outperform others when it comes to mortality rates and patient safety.

Researchers compared performance data at VA hospitals against non-VA facilities in 121 regions. In 14 out of 15 measures, the VA performed "significantly better" than other hospitals, according to results from the study.

"We found a surprisingly high, to me, number of cases where the VA was the best hospital in the region," said Dr. William Weeks, who led the study. "Pretty rarely was it the worst hospital." "One has to wonder whether outsourcing care is the right choice if we care about veterans' outcomes," Weeks said. "The VA is, for the most part, doing at least as well as the private sector in a local setting, and pretty often are the best performers in that setting."

"One has to wonder" indeed! Be that it may, the new VA eligibility rules accelerate privatization. USA Today :

Nearly four times as many veterans could be eligible for private health care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs under sweeping rules the agency proposed Wednesday.

VA officials estimated the plan could increase the number of veterans eligible for private care to as many as 2.1 million – up from roughly 560,000 .

And here are the rules (apparently modeled after TriCare Prime , the military's insurance plan):

Assuming that wait time is a function of resources, you can easily see how the playbook would work: (1) Reduce resources, (2) whinge about wait time, and (3) drain patients from the VA system, for profit! (Note that while Democrats are ostensibly jumping on board the #MedicareForAll train, they are, in the main, silent -- Warren and Sanders being the only notable exceptions -- about the destruction of an existing , and highly functional, single payer system. So how do we get to this point? A previous iteration of the neoliberal playbook, of course!

* * *

Our story begins with the " hastily enacted " Veterans Choice Program of 2014 :

The program, which began in 2014, was supposed to give veterans a way around long waits in the VA. But veterans using the Choice Program still had to wait longer than allowed by law. And according to ProPublica and PolitiFact's analysis of VA data, the two companies hired to run the program [TriWest and Health Net] took almost $2 billion in fees, or about 24 percent of the companies' total program expenses .

More on those fees from Pacific Standard :

According to the agency's inspector general, the VA was paying the contractors at least $295 every time it authorized private care for a veteran. The fee was so high because the VA hurriedly launched the Choice Program as a short-term response to a crisis. Four years later, the fee never subsided -- it went up to as much as $318 per referral .. In many cases, the contractors' $295-plus processing fee for every referral was bigger than the doctor's bill for services rendered, the analysis of agency data showed.

Ka-ching! So, step (3) -- profit! -- worked out very well for TriWest and Health Net, piling up $2 billion in loot. ( Step (2) was a scandal of "35 veterans who had died while waiting for care in the Phoenix VHA system," step (1) being the usual denial of resources/sabotage). The VA Mission Act was the legislative response to Veterans Choice debacle. Naturally, it moved the privatization ball down the field. The American Prospect :

Only two of the 42 members on the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee opposed Mission last year , when it came up for a vote.

In other words, privatizing the Veterans Administration has strong bipartisan support. But:

One of those lawmakers, Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Democrat, reiterated his opposition to Mission in December.

"This is nothing short of a steady march toward the privatization [1] of the VA," Sanders said. "It's going to happen piece by piece by piece until over a period of time there's not much in the VA to provide the quality care that our veterans deserve."

Now, just because privatizing the Veterans Administration is a project of the political class as a whole doesn't mean that the Trump Administration hasn't brought its own special mix of corruption and buffoonery to the table. Indeed it has! Who, we might ask, were the actual factions in the Republican administration pushing for VA Mission? Three of Trump's squillionaire golfing buddies at Mar-a-Lago[2], as it all-too-believably turns out. From Pro Publica, " The Shadow Rulers of the VA ":

[Bruce Moskowitz, is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service "concierge" medical care] is one-third of an informal council that is exerting sweeping influence on the VA from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's private club in Palm Beach, Florida. The troika is led by Ike Perlmutter, the reclusive chairman of Marvel Entertainment, who is a longtime acquaintance of President Trump's. The third member is a lawyer named Marc Sherman. None of them has ever served in the U.S. military or government .

The arrangement is without parallel in modern presidential history.

Everything is like CalPERS.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 provides a mechanism for agencies to consult panels of outside advisers, but such committees are subject to cost controls, public disclosure and government oversight. Other presidents have relied on unofficial "kitchen cabinets," but never before have outside advisers been so specifically assigned to one agency. During the transition, Trump handed out advisory roles to several rich associates, but they've all since faded away. The Mar-a-Lago Crowd, however, has deepened its involvement in the VA.

In September 2017, the Mar-a-Lago Crowd weighed in on the side of expanding the use of the private sector. "We think that some of the VA hospitals are delivering some specialty healthcare when they shouldn't and when referrals to private facilities or other VA centers would be a better option," Perlmutter wrote in an email to Shulkin and other officials. "Our solution is to make use of academic medical centers and medical trade groups, both of whom have offered to send review teams to the VA hospitals to help this effort."

In other words, they proposed inviting private health care executives to tell the VA which services they should outsource to private providers like themselves. It was precisely the kind of fox-in-the-henhouse scenario that the VA's defenders had warned against for years.

While it is true that the ideological ground for privatization was laid by the Koch Brothers , among others, the actual vector of tranmission, as it were, seems to have been the Mar-a-Lago crowd. There has been pushback against them, in the form of a Congressional request for a GAO investigation , and a lawsuit by veterans , but as we have seen, the neoliberal play continues to run.

* * *

The wretched excess of Trump's policy-by-golfing buddies aside, I don't see why privatiizing the Veterans Administration shouldn't become a major campaign issue, especially given Sanders' presence on the relevant committee. We send our children off to die in wars for regime change where the only winners are military contractors.

Then, when our children come home, we're going to send them into a health care system that's been as crapified as everybody else's (and that's before we get to PTSD, homelessness, and suicide). Surely a pitch along those lines would play in the heartland? If Sanders doesn't pick up the ball and run with it, Gabbard should.

NOTES

[1] More from Sanders. Common Dreams :

[SANDERS:] No one disagrees that veterans should be able to seek private care in cases where the VA cannot provide the specialized care they require, or when wait times for appointments are too long or when veterans might have to travel long distances for that care. The way to reduce wait times is to make sure that the VA is able to fill the more than 30,000 vacancies it currently has. This bill provides $5 billion for the Choice program. It provides nothing to fill the vacancies at the VA. That is wrong . My fear is that this bill will open the door to the draining, year after year, of much needed resources from the VA.

In other words, the way to solve the problem is not to take Step 1: Give the VA the resources that it needs.

[2] I continue to believe that golf play, or knowledge of golf play, should be a disqualification for high office.

[Dec 24, 2018] How to fix America's dysfunctional trade system by Ryan Cooper

Dec 20, 2018 | theweek.com
America's trade policy is in incoherent shambles. Decades of neoliberal "free trade" pacts -- which as often as not simply gave corporations an end run around the state, or their very own rigged, pseudo-legal system -- have created terrible social carnage around the world and a furious political backlash. And President Trump's incoherent, haphazard response has done little to change the system, let alone reform it in a sensible fashion.

Overhauling such a gargantuan, world-spanning system is a dizzying task. But Timothy Meyer and Ganesh Sitaraman at the Great Democracy Initiative have a new paper that presents a solid starting point for developing a fundamental reform of American trade structure.

Meyer and Sitaraman identify three large problems with the status quo, and propose policy solutions for each:

Let's take these in turn.

The extant trade bureaucracy -- as usual for the American state -- is highly fragmented and bizarrely structured. There is the Department of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, plus the International Development Finance Corporation coming soon. Then there are a slew of other agencies that have some bearing on trade-related security or economic development.

Meyer and Sitaraman logically suggest combining most of these functions into a single Department of Economic Growth and Security. The point is not just to streamline the trade oversight structure, but also to make it consider a broader range of objectives. Neoliberals insist that trade is simply about making the self-regulating market more "efficient," but trade very obviously bears on employment, domestic industry, and especially security.

For instance, for all its other disastrous side effects, Trump's haphazard tax on aluminum has dramatically revived the American aluminum industry . Ensuring a reasonable domestic supply of key metals like that is so obviously a security concern -- for military and consumer uses alike -- that it wouldn't have even occurred to New Deal policymakers to think otherwise. It takes a lot of ideological indoctrination to think there's no problem when a small price disadvantage causes a country to lose its entire supply chain of key industrial commodities.

Then there is the problem of pro-rich bias. Put simply, the last few decades of trade deals have been outrageously biased towards corporations and the rich. They have powerfully enabled the growth of parasitic tax havens , which allow companies to book profits in low-tax jurisdictions, starving countries of rightful revenue (and often leading to companies piling up gargantuan dragon hoards of cash they don't know what to do with).

Corporations, meanwhile, have gotten their own fake legal system in the form of Investor-State Dispute Settlement trade deal stipulations. As I have written before , the point of these arbitration systems is to create a legal system ludicrously slanted in favor of the corporation -- allowing them not just to win almost every time, but to sue over nonsensical harms like "taking away imaginary future profits."

Meyer and Sitaraman suggest renegotiating the tax portions of trade deals to enforce a "formulary" tax system -- in which profits are taxed where they are made, not where they are booked. This would go a considerable distance towards cracking down on tax havens -- who knows, perhaps Luxembourg might even develop some productive business.

Finally, there is the problem of distributive justice. Again contrary to neoliberal dogma, trade very often creates winners and losers -- witness the wreckage of Detroit and the fat salaries of the U.S. executive class. Meyer and Sitaraman suggest new mechanisms to consider the side effects of trade deals (and ways to compensate the losers), to take action against abusive foreign nations (for example, by dumping their products below cost, or violating environmental or labor standards), and finally directly taxing the beneficiaries.

Something the authors don't discuss is the problem of trade imbalances . When one country develops a surplus (that is, it exports more than it imports), another country must of necessity be in a deficit. The deficit country in turn must finance its imports, usually by borrowing. That can easily create a severe economic crisis if the deficit country suddenly loses access to loans -- which then harms the exporting country, though not as much. This has been a disastrous problem in the eurozone.

The U.S. does have extremely wide latitude to run a trade deficit, because it controls the global reserve currency, meaning a strong demand for dollar-denominated assets so other countries can settle their international accounts. But this creates its own problems, as discussed above.

More Perspectives James Mattis. Matthew Walther The failure and delusions of the adults in the room Beto ORourke. Matthew Walther The 2020 Democratic frontrunner is a Republican

To be fair, this is not exactly an omission for a paper focused on domestic policy. Creating a specifically international trade architecture would require an entire paper of its own, if not a book or three. But it would be something future trade policymakers will have to consider.

At any rate, it's quite likely that trade policy will be a major topic of discussion in 2020 -- if for no reason other than Trump's ridiculous shenanigans in the area. However, even that demonstrates an important fact: The U.S. president has a great deal of unilateral authority over trade. Democrats should be thinking hard about how they would change things. This paper is a great place to start.

[Dec 23, 2018] Trump proposes cutting food stamps for over 700,000 people just before Christmas by Matthew Rozsa

Dec 20, 2018 | www.salon.com

President Donald Trump is planning on using his executive powers to cut food stamps for more than 700,000 Americans.

The United States Department of Agriculture is proposing that states should only be allowed to waive a current food stamps requirement -- namely, that adults without dependents must work or participate in a job-training program for at least 20 hours each week if they wish to collect food stamps for more than three months in a three-year period -- on the condition that those adults live in areas where unemployment is above 7 percent, according to The Washington Post . Currently the USDA regulations permit states to waive that requirement if an adult lives in an area where the unemployment rate is at least 20 percent greater than the national rate. In effect, this means that roughly 755,000 Americans would potentially lose their waivers that permit them to receive food stamps.

The current unemployment rate is 3.7 percent.

The Trump administration's decision to impose the stricter food stamp requirements through executive action constitutes an end-run around the legislative process. Although Trump is expected to sign an $870 billion farm bill later this week -- and because food stamps goes through the Agriculture Department, it contains food stamp provisions -- the measure does not include House stipulations restricting the waiver program and imposing new requirements on parents with children between the ages of six and 12. The Senate version ultimately removed those provisions, meaning that the version being signed into law does not impose a conservative policy on food stamps, which right-wing members of Congress were hoping for.

"Congress writes laws, and the administration is required to write rules based on the law," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told The New York Times (Stabenow is the top Democrat on the Senate's agriculture committee). "Administrative changes should not be driven by ideology. I do not support unilateral and unjustified changes that would take food away from families."

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

[Nov 07, 2018] We are being played by an establishment that wants to move the country to the right. MAGA! is a bi-partisan effort fueled by the challenge from China and Russia

When people who voted for Obama realized the Obama is a fraud with strong CIA connections it was too late...
When people who voted for Trump realized that Trump was a fraud with strong Israeli connections it was too late.
Notable quotes:
"... Nor does the caravan 'fix' or even illuminate decades of US abuses in Central and South America. It simply gives Trump an opportunity to grandstand and urge his voters to go to the polls. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 11:56:59 PM | link

...And it seems likely, if not certain, that the caravan is a political stunt that will end in disappointment for the caravan migrants. So I fail to see why you are so angry Debs. Our discussion doesn't ignore the realities. Nor does the caravan 'fix' or even illuminate decades of US abuses in Central and South America. It simply gives Trump an opportunity to grandstand and urge his voters to go to the polls.

We are being played by an establishment that wants to move the country to the right. MAGA! is a bi-partisan effort fueled by the challenge from China and Russia. This is clear from Democratic Party priorities and actions as well as what they don't say or do.

[Nov 03, 2018] Trump is that quintessential Amerikkkan salesman: the grifter.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump has succeeded in implementing some of his campaign ideas and not all of them are 100% evil or wrongheaded. He has shaken the long term calcification of the US foreign and trade policy, has introduced tariffs especially to combat clearly unfair Chinese trade practices while demanding European and Asian allies pay more for their defense of empire. ..."
"... As b stated recently, Trump is an astute salesman (unfortunately, that is all he is) but what is left unmentioned is that he is of the sales school that is totally unmoored for any sense of ethical, moral or legal responsibility. ..."
"... The US political system was invested with an ability to self-correct, or self-police through separation of powers within the tripartite political system. It is hardly news this system is about dead, starting not with Trump of course, but now reaching its absolute low point under his rule and the acquiescence of the spineless GOP. ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Nov 3, 2018 1:48:14 PM | 13 ">link

Trump's has been the "goofy foot" presidency.

That is, he started off on the wrong foot. Campaigning as a populist who eschewed accepted mainstream "progressive" and "conservative" political positions, he completely cratered the unpopular Republican orthodoxy during the 2016 primaries by promising such heretical ideas as a non-interventionist foreign policy, protection for Medicare/Medicaid and social security, improvement on Obamacare, higher taxes on the wealthiest and a massive infrastructure program to rebuild the decaying facilities of this so-called once grate nation.

These are all ideas that gained the support of enough Obama voters and independents in just the right flyover states to lead Trump to an improbable victory while being soundly thrashed in the popular voting nationwide. A stunning, historical accomplishment as much as and as much in reaction too, the 2008 Obama victory.

Of course, to those of us who understand the modern GOP and the history of the lying-ass self promotion of the Trump entertainment spectacle its own self, we were neither duped nor surprised when the initial 2017 legislative agenda items proferred were none of the populist agenda but instead were the repeal of Obamacare, massive tax cuts for the wealthy and the reversal of all Obama executive orders, most notably in the areas of refugee resettlement and immigration.

Trump, the so-called change agent who in fact was and still is clueless regarding how to function as President simply let the craven Obama opposition leaders of the prior 8 years, McConnell and Ryan set out the typical GOP legislative agenda, which is opposed by a majority, in some cases overwhelming majority, of Amerikkkans.

Obamacare repeal failed memorably based on but one late night thumb's down taken more out of personal revenge than the ideology of a very soon to be dead Senator.

Trump's ruling style in large part has substituted for any sense of a coherent agenda in that he obviously cares only about his base (an obdurate block of 36% of the electorate consisting almost entirely of white, entitled, racist baby boomers who have devolved into anti-democratic fascists now that they no longer represent a majority of the US population and believe (falsely) they have something to protect).

Trump has succeeded in implementing some of his campaign ideas and not all of them are 100% evil or wrongheaded. He has shaken the long term calcification of the US foreign and trade policy, has introduced tariffs especially to combat clearly unfair Chinese trade practices while demanding European and Asian allies pay more for their defense of empire.

While I have my own view of whether any of Trump's policies contain great value from a long term historical perspective, I do recognize Trump's appeal to certain sectors of the internet, including most obviously certain useful idiots of the ultra left.

I do not believe his victory to be a fluke of nature but rather in keeping with the current worldwide trend borne of aging whitebread fear, cyncism and disenchantment with elitist political/economic establishments and which has been amped to a viral degree by a staggering wealth disparity, but only as it impacts the formerly entitled feeling, aging white people situated in western countries.

The natural response to any socially or cultural threat is to band together tribally and fight back. And the main threat, when it is boiled down, is the fear of overpopulation (and its accompnaying unstoppable environmental degradation) driven by what is viewed through the Trump voter political lens as non-white, primitive, illsuited people from shithole countries who are and will continue to ruin Amerikkka and Western Europe.

As perfectly illustrated by the migrant caravan heading to Tijuana.

Unfortunately, Trump through disinterest or incompetence or both hasn't followed through either with enough of the promises he made that are actually meaningful to most people, whether GOP or Democratic. He has been able to bind his tribe to him and conquer the GOP political apparatus simply because the Party platform was already so badly decayed (overcooked Reagan leftovers) and out of touch with reality pre-Trump that the Donald could bend delusional conservative tropes in any way he saw fit to his electoral advantage. As long as he infotained well, and he has indeed, he would dominate.

As b stated recently, Trump is an astute salesman (unfortunately, that is all he is) but what is left unmentioned is that he is of the sales school that is totally unmoored for any sense of ethical, moral or legal responsibility.

In other words, Trump is that quintessential Amerikkkan salesman: the grifter. This particular breed of business person is not an exception in the US but rather the rule. In fact, the US system has devolved to the point where laws and regulations now enfranchise what previously had been considered illegal activity. Amerikkkans are heavily incentivised these days by the call to a form of monopolistic, crony capitalism and institulionised rigged gambling ("Wall Street"), which in more quaint times was considered mobsterism.

Institutions have been purposefully compromised so they no longer support whatever criminal laws still exist. It is not by accident that the IRS is now chronically understaffed and has no effective way to stop income tax cheating or collection of the minimal taxes now due.

It is not by accident that Trump's main role as President is to weaken institutions such as the media, to further debase language and kill whatever generally accepted objective truth remain extant in the land. He is recognisable to all Amerikkkans as a CEO in support of this ongoing wave of legal criminality through which the 1% and their lackeys section have prospered at the expense of the 99%.

The US political system was invested with an ability to self-correct, or self-police through separation of powers within the tripartite political system. It is hardly news this system is about dead, starting not with Trump of course, but now reaching its absolute low point under his rule and the acquiescence of the spineless GOP.

And no, I don't believe the Demotardic Party to be absolved of blame in any way. Rather, the Demotards have entirely gone along to get along with this same trend because of course the Party leaders have been able to criminally enrich themselves and their cronies along the way too.

However, let's be real for minute and drop all pretense of holier than thou keyboard revolutionism. The ultimate solution of the world's disease is not going to be resolved in 2018 through a political revolution, especially one inspired by the disharmony and fraud of internet based social media and its acolytes. D'uh.

Look around. Since we have been blogging our lives away the world has only grown further away from leftism. We live in a fascist police state owned and operated by teh ultra wealthy who have dropped pretense of any humanitarian or religious concern for those less firtunated than themselves.

Donald Trump has one more chance to make himself truly into the transformational leader he believes himself to be in his degraded soul.

The first bill on the 2019 legislative needs to be a bipartisan infrastructure bill of such scope and magnitude that it will serve not only a political change of direction but also redirect the economy in such way that wealth is re-directed from the wealthy to the rest of us, particularly those able bodied non-college educated people who have suffered through the last several decades without hope or gain.

Trump must dictate to his party that Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security will not only be maintained but strengthened through improved benefits.

Am I dreaming? Yes, I admit that I am. But I'm also calling out to the criminal conman in chief: it's not too late to reclaim your own legacy.

Wake the fock up, dude...

[Nov 02, 2018] They say they're gonna give you better health insurance

Nov 02, 2018 | twitter.com

[Oct 27, 2018] A Class War the Right Can Win The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... , F.H. Buckley, Encounter Books, 200 pages ..."
Oct 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed , F.H. Buckley, Encounter Books, 200 pages

Among the many untruths told about Donald Trump is the claim that his is not a movement of ideas. As a candidate in 2016, Trump may not have spoken the language of the policy wonks. But unlike those Republicans who did, his view of the world was not a stale ideological cliche. It was instead refreshingly frank: about a foreign policy that couldn't win the wars it waged, an economy that imperiled middle- and working-class America, and an immigration regime only the employers of illegal nannies could love. Trump recognized reality, and that drew to his cause independent-minded intellectuals who had also done so. The Trump movement suffers not from a dearth of ideas or thinkers, but a dearth of institutions. It has thinkers but no think tank.

F.H. Buckley, Foundation Professor at George Mason University's Scalia School of Law, is one of its thinkers. His new book, The Republican Workers Party , comes from a publisher -- Encounter -- led by another, Roger Kimball. Buckley is no relation to William F., who as writer, editor, and Firing Line host did more than anyone to make conservatism a byword for eloquence in the latter half of the 20th century. But much as the other Buckley remade the Right by founding National Review in 1955, this one aims to bring about a profound change of heart and mind among conservatives. He wants to make good on the promise of the GOP as a party for American workers.

It was a promise made right from the beginning, when in the mid-19th century the Republicans were the party of free labor against the slavocracy. But the GOP and the country lost their way. Today, in Buckley's telling, a self-perpetuating "New Class" of administrators and mandarins runs the country from perches of privilege in the academy and nonprofit sector, as well as the media, government, and much of the business world. Republicans of the Never Trump variety are as much a part of this ruling caste as Clinton-Schumer-Pelosi Democrats are. And if you might wonder whether someone in Buckley's position isn't part of the same professional stratum, his answer is that he very much aspires to be a traitor to his class, just as Donald Trump is.

Trump, writes Buckley, is "unlike anything we've seen before, for the simple reason that he's up against something that we've never seen before: a liberalism that has given up on the American Dream of a mobile and classless society." Those who today style themselves as progressives are nothing of the sort -- they are not revolutionaries but the new aristocrats: "They are Bourbons who seek to pass themselves off as Jacobins. They have bought into a radical leftism, while resisting the call to unseat a patrician class that leftists in the past would have opposed."

This is an eloquent explanation for an inversion that has puzzled many observers. Today's Left, at least the mainstream Left represented by the Democratic Party, is now establishmentarian. The Republican Right is now populist, if not downright revolutionary. "When the upper class is composed of liberals who support socialist measures to keep us immobile and preserve their privileged position," Buckley argues, "class warfare to free up our economy by tearing down an aristocracy is conservative and just, as well as popular."

Buckley came to these conclusions before the rise of Donald Trump. They are at the heart of his last two books, The Way Back and The Republic of Virtue . He recognized in Trump a force for salutary change. So in early 2016, he signed up as a speechwriter for the candidate and his family. At one point, this attracted unwanted attention: a speech delivered by Donald Trump Jr. was found to have plagiarized an article in . Except it wasn't plagiarism: Buckley was the author of both. I was editor of the magazine at the time, and Buckley is correct when he says in The Republican Workers Party that I enjoyed the non-scandal -- because it brought attention to an essay I thought deserved a brighter spotlight than it had initially received.

Trump's Working Class, Conservative, Populist Realignment How the GOP Can Hang on to the Working Class

A further disclosure or two is in order: I also published some of the material that appears in The Republican Workers Party in the journal I now edit, Modern Age , and I'm thanked in the book's acknowledgments. My warm words for Buckley's last volume are quoted on the dust jacket of this one. The review you're reading now is honest, but subjective -- I'm a part of the story. Only a small one, however: Buckley reveals many details of the Trump campaign and post-election transition that I had never heard before, including how Michael Anton came to be hired and fired.

The campaign memoir is intriguing in its own right, but it's in the service of the book's larger purpose. I've known Buckley to refer to himself as an economic determinist, and he's also said that the future will be decided by a fight between the right-wing Marxists and the left-wing Marxists. But those are exaggerations, and The Republican Workers Party isn't primarily about economics: quite the contrary, it's about solidarity, humanity, and the Christian spirit of brotherhood. The book is informed by a religious sensibility as much as it is by policy acumen. But it's a religious sensibility that addresses the soul through material conditions. Buckley is critical of attempts at a "moral rearmament crusade" that amounts to shaming the poor and blaming them for their own condition.

On this, Buckley is at odds with what movement conservatism has promoted over the last 30-odd years, which is a pure moralism alongside a theoretically pure free-market economism, each restricted to its own categorical silo. An economic conservative or libertarian might thus approach Buckley's book with the trepeditation of a holy Inquisitor fearful that a friend will be found committing heresy. But there is little in these pages that a free-market conservative can quibble with at the policy level: rather it is the spirit in which economic conservatives conduct politics that Buckley criticizes. He is even on the side of conservative orthodoxy, more or less, when it comes to tariffs. He's a free trader at heart, though not a dogmatic one.

On immigration, he favors a more Canadian-like, points-based system that would prioritize skills, with a view toward providing maximum benefit for our current citizens, especially the least well off among them. The present system "admits people who underbid native-born Americans for low-skill jobs, while refusing entry to people with greater skills who would make life better for all Americans." Canada lets in many more immigrants in proportion to its population than the United States does, but "Canadians see an immigration policy designed to benefit the native-born, so they don't think their government wants to stick it to them," even when it comes to generous admission of refugees.

Buckley speaks from experience about immigration and Canada -- he was born, brought up, and lived most of his life there before becoming a U.S. citizen in 2014. Like Alexander Hamilton, whose Caribbean origins gave him a view of America's national economy unprejudiced by sectional interests, Buckley's Canadian background gives him an independent vantage from which to consider our characteristic shibboleths unsparingly. The separation of powers, for one, is a dismal failure that "has given us two or more different Republican parties: a presidential party, which today is the Republican Workers Party, but also congressional Republican parties rooted in the issues and preference of local members. There's the Freedom Caucus composed of Tea Party members, the more moderate Main Street Partnership and whatever maverick senators were thinking this morning." Federalism too is a mixed bag. These are themes touched lightly upon here but worked out in detail in such earlier Buckley books as The Once and Future King .

That's not to say there's something alien about Buckley's ideas. He's an heir to Viscount Bolingbroke, as were many of the Founding Fathers. (He contrasts Bolingbroke's disinterested ideal of a patriot king, for example, with the identity-driven politics of the Democratic Party.) But Buckley is also an heir to George Grant and the Anglo-Canadian tradition of Red Toryism, a form of conservatism that does not bother itself with anti-government formulas that never seem to reduce the size of government one iota anyway. Buckley's heroes are "leaders such as Disraeli, Lord Randolph Churchill (Winston's father) and even Winston Churchill himself." "They were conservative" but "they supported generous social welfare policies."

The policies that Buckley is most concerned about, however, are those that generate social mobility. Education is thus high on his agenda. He is a strong supporter of vouchers and school choice and points again to Canada as a success story for private schools receiving public funds. But America is a rather different country, and as popular as vouchers are on the Right, some of us can't help but wonder whether they would lead to the same outcome in primary and secondary education that federal financial aid has produced in higher education. With the money comes regulation, and usually soaring prices, too.

But Buckley is right that the defects of our present education system go a long way toward explaining the rise of the new status class, and other countries have found answers to the questions that perplex American politics -- or some of them at least. More adventurous thinking is required if anything is to be saved of the American dream of mobility, in place of the nightmare of division into static castes of winners and losers.

Libertarian economists and blame-the-poor moralizers are not the only figures on the Right Buckley criticizes. He has no patience for the barely disguised Nietzscheanism of certain "East Coast" Straussians, who imagine themselves to be philosopher-princes, educating a class of obedient gentlemen who will in turn dominate a mass of purely appetitive worker bees and cannon fodder.

Buckley's book is an argument against right-wing heartlessness. Its title may conjure in some minds phantoms of the National Socialist German Workers Party or America's own penny-ante white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party, on which the media has lavished a certain amount of attention in recent years. But fascists are not traditionalists, workers, or even, properly speaking, socialists -- they simply steal whatever terms happen to be popular. Buckley refuses to concede their claims and appease them.

He is eloquent in his American -- not white -- nationalism. "There isn't much room for white nationalism in American culture," he writes, "For alongside baseball and apple pie, it includes Langston Hughes and Amy Tan, Tex-Mex food and Norah Jones. You can be an American if you don't enjoy them, but you might be a wee bit more American if you do." It's populism, not nationalism, that he considers a toxic term, its genealogy tracing to figures like "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman, a Jim Crow proponent and defender of lynch mobs.

He is right to defend the honor of nationalism, but Buckley may be mistaken in his animus toward "populism," a word that for most people is more likely to bring to mind William Jennings Bryan than the Ku Klux Klan.

Buckley's project in The Republican Workers Party parallels on the Right the task taken up by Mark Lilla on the Left in last year's The Once and Future Liberal . Like Lilla, Buckley wants to see a revival of mid-20th-century liberalism. For both, politics is ultimately class-based, not identity-based. Lilla trains his fire on the identity-parsing Left, while Buckley rebukes the Right for failing to fight the class war -- or rather, for fighting on the wrong side, that of the self-serving New Class, the aristocracy of education, connections, and right-thinking opinion.

This may seem nostalgic, but it's not: Buckley does not expect a return to JFK or Camelot, even if, like Lilla, he once borrowed a title from T.H. White. The 21st century can only give us a new and very different Kennedy or Disraeli -- an insurgent from the Right to retake the center. In Donald Trump, F.H. Buckley found such a figure, but a movement needs a program as well as a leader, and the program has to be grounded in an idea of humanity and the limits of politics. The nation defines those limits, and while not every Trump supporter will agree with Buckley's policy thought in all its specifics, the spirit of Buckley's endeavor represents what is finest in the Trump moment, and what is best in conservatism, too.

Daniel McCarthy is the editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Review.

[Oct 27, 2018] Calling Brazil's Presidential Frontrunner 'Neofascist' is Accurate

Notable quotes:
"... As to your question about who votes for Bolsonaro, I think we can break this down into three or four categories. His hard core is the sort of middle class of small business owners, plus members of the police and the armed forces. This would be, I guess, your classic fascist constituency, if you want to call it that. But you know, that's a very small proportion. ..."
"... Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is a former academic sociologist who was exiled during the military dictatorship and was president of Brazil in the late '90s. He has yet to endorse Haddad, despite the fact that Bolsonaro previously said something about 10 years ago that Fernando Henrique Cardoso should have been killed by the military dictatorship. This is a real, in my opinion, a real failure of character, a real cowardice from the Brazilian supposedly-centrist elite to defend democracy against the very obvious threat that Bolsonaro poses. ..."
Oct 27, 2018 | therealnews.com

As to your question about who votes for Bolsonaro, I think we can break this down into three or four categories. His hard core is the sort of middle class of small business owners, plus members of the police and the armed forces. This would be, I guess, your classic fascist constituency, if you want to call it that. But you know, that's a very small proportion. And certainly in terms of his voters, in terms of his voter base, that's a small proportion. What you have, then, is the rich, amongst whom he has a very significant lead. He polls 60-65 percent amongst the rich. And these people are motivated by what is called [inaudible]machismo, which is anti-Worker's Party sentiment, which is really a sort form of barely-disguised class loathing which targets the Worker's Party, rails against corruption, but of course turns a blind eye to corruption amongst more traditional right-wing politicians.

These are the people who, at the end of the day, are quite influential, and have probably proved decisive for Bolsonaro. But that isn't to say that he doesn't have support amongst the poor, and this is the real issue. Bolsonaro would not win an election with just the support of the reactionary middle class and the rich. He needs the support amongst the broad masses, and he does have that to a significant degree, unfortunately.

What are they motivated by? They're motivated by a sense that politics has failed them, that their situation is pretty hopeless. The security situation is very grave. And Bolsonaro seems to be someone who might do something different, might change things. It's a bit of a rolling of the dice kind of situation. And you know, here the Worker's Party does bear some blame. They've lost a large section of the working class. A large section of the poor feel like they were betrayed by the Worker's Party, who didn't stay true to its promises. The Worker's Party implemented the austerity in its last government under Dilma, which led to a ballooning of unemployment. And you know, there's a sense that- well, what have you done for us? A lot of people don't want to return to the path. They want something better, and kind of roll the dice hoping that maybe Bolsonaro does something, even though all evidence points to the fact that he'll be a government for the rich, and the very rich, and for the forces of repression.

GREG WILPERT: So finally, in the little time that we have remaining, what is happening to Brazil's left? Is it supporting the Haddad campaign wholeheartedly?

ALEX HOCHULI: Yes, absolutely. It's pretty much uniform amongst the left. Certainly in terms of, you know, in terms of individuals, in terms of groups, in terms of movements. Everyone, from even the kind of far-left Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party who hate PT have told its members that they should vote for Fernando Haddad who, it should be noted, is a figure to the right of that of PT, I guess, within the party. He's a much more centrist figure. So that's kind of notable.

What hasn't happened is a broad front against fascism. That hasn't really materialized, because the Brazilian center has failed to defend its democratic institutions against the very obvious threat that Bolsonaro represents. You know, just to highlight one thing, Eduardo Bolsonaro, who is Jair Bolsonar's son and a congressman, has threatened the Supreme Court, saying that you could close down the Supreme Court. All you have to do is send one soldier and one corporal, and they'll shut down the Supreme Court. I mean, this is a pretty brave threat against Brazilian institutions. And a lot of the center has failed to really manifest itself, really failed to take a stand. Marina Silva, who was at one point polling quite high about six months ago, who is a kind of an environmentalist and an evangelical and a centrist, and who is known for always in her speeches talking about doing things democratically, even she- it took her until this week to finally endorse Haddad, lending Haddad critical support.

The center right, which should be the, you know, the Brazilian establishment, the ones upholding the institutions, have broadly failed to endorse Haddad as the democratic candidate. Which is really, really striking. I mean, just to give you one example, probably the best known figure for your viewers outside of Brazil who might not know the ins and outs and all the players involved, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is a former academic sociologist who was exiled during the military dictatorship and was president of Brazil in the late '90s. He has yet to endorse Haddad, despite the fact that Bolsonaro previously said something about 10 years ago that Fernando Henrique Cardoso should have been killed by the military dictatorship. This is a real, in my opinion, a real failure of character, a real cowardice from the Brazilian supposedly-centrist elite to defend democracy against the very obvious threat that Bolsonaro poses.

GREG WILPERT: Wow. Amazing. We'll definitely keep our eyes peeled for what happens on Sunday. We'll probably have you back soon. I'm speaking to Alex Hochuli, researcher and communication consultant based in Sao Paulo. Thanks again, Alex, for having joined us today.

[Oct 16, 2018] How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

From the book How Fascism Works The Politics of Us and Them Jason Stanley Amazon.com Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Random House (September 4, 2018)
Fascism is always eclectic and its doctrine is composed of several sometimes contradicting each other ideas. "Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." (Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." )
Some ideas are "sound bite only" and never are implemented and are present only to attract sheeple (looks National Socialist Program ). he program championed the right to employment , and called for the institution of profit sharing , confiscation of war profits , prosecution of usurers and profiteers, nationalization of trusts , communalization of department stores, extension of the old-age pension system, creation of a national education program of all classes, prohibition of child labor , and an end to the dominance of investment capital "
There is also "bait and switch" element in any fascism movement. Original fascism was strongly anti-capitalist, militaristic and "national greatness and purity" movement ("Make Germany great again"). It was directed against financial oligarchy and anti-semantic element in it was strong partially because it associated Jews with bankers and financial industry in general. In a way "Jews" were codeword for investment bankers.
For example " Arbeit Macht Frei " can be viewed as a neoliberal slogan. Then does not mean that neoliberalism. with its cult of productivity, is equal to fascism, but that neoliberal doctrine does encompass elements of the fascist doctrine including strong state, "law and order" mentality and relentless propaganda.
The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it lost its meaning. The Nazi Party (NSDAP) originated as a working-class political party . This is not true about Trump whom many assume of having fascist leanings. His pro white working class rhetoric was a fig leaf used for duration or elections. After that he rules as a typical Republican president favoring big business. And as a typical neocon in foreign policy.
From this point of view Trump can't be viewed even as pro-fascist leader because first of all he does not have his own political movement, ideology and political program. And the second he does not strive for implementing uniparty state and abolishing the elections which is essential for fascism political platform, as fascist despise corrupt democracy and have a cult of strong leader.
All he can be called is neo-fascist s his some of his views do encompass ideas taken from fascist ideology (including "law and order"; which also is a cornerstone element of Republican ideology) as well as idealization and mystification of the US past. But with Bannon gone he also can't even pretend that he represents some coherent political movement like "economic nationalism" -- kind of enhanced mercantilism.
Of course, that does not mean that previous fascist leaders were bound by the fascism political program, but at least they had one. Historian Karl Dietrich Bracher writes that, "To [Hitler, the program] was little more than an effective, persuasive propaganda weapon for mobilizing and manipulating the masses. Once it had brought him to power, it became pure decoration: 'unalterable', yet unrealized in its demands for nationalization and expropriation, for land reform and 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'. Yet it nonetheless fulfilled its role as backdrop and pseudo-theory, against which the future dictator could unfold his rhetorical and dramatic talents."
Notable quotes:
"... Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago. ..."
"... Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics. ..."
"... In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence. ..."
"... fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. ..."
"... The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle. ..."
Oct 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chapter 1: The Mythic Past

It's in the name of tradition that the anti-Semites base their "point of view." It's in the name of tradition, the long, historical past and the blood ties with Pascal and Descartes, that the Jews are told, you will never belong here.

-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago.

Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics.

In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence.

These myths are generally based on fantasies of a nonexistent past uniformity, which survives in the traditions of the small towns and countrysides that remain relatively unpolluted by the liberal decadence of the cities. This uniformity -- linguistic, religious, geographical, or ­ethnic -- ​can be perfectly ordinary in some nationalist movements, but fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. For example, in the fascist imagination, the past invariably involves traditional, patriarchal gender roles. The fascist mythic past has a particular structure, which supports its authoritarian, hierarchical ideology. That past societies were rarely as patriarchal -- or indeed as glorious -- as fascist ideology represents them as being is beside the point. This imagined history provides proof to support the imposition of hierarchy in the present, and it dictates how contemporary society should look and behave.

In a 1922 speech at the Fascist Congress in Naples, Benito Mussolini declared:

We have created our myth. The myth is a faith, a passion. It is not necessary for it to be a reality. . . . Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation! And to this myth, this greatness, which we want to translate into a total reality, we subordinate everything.

The patriarchal family is one ideal that fascist politicians intend to create in society -- or return to, as they claim. The patriarchal family is always represented as a central part of the nation's traditions, diminished, even recently, by the advent of liberalism and cosmopolitanism. But why is patriarchy so strategically central to fascist politics?

In a fascist society, the leader of the nation is analogous to the father in the traditional patriarchal family. The leader is the father of his nation, and his strength and power are the source of his legal authority, just as the strength and power of the father of the family in patri­archy are supposed to be the source of his ultimate moral authority over his children and wife. The leader provides for his nation, just as in the traditional family the father is the provider. The patriarchal father's authority derives from his strength, and strength is the chief authoritarian value. By representing the nation's past as one with a patriarchal family structure, fascist politics connects nostalgia to a central organizing hierarchal authoritarian structure, one that finds its purest representation in these norms.

Gregor Strasser was the National Socialist -- Nazi -- Reich propaganda chief in the 1920s, before the post was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. According to Strasser, "for a man, military service is the most profound and valuable form of participation -- for the woman it is motherhood!" Paula Siber, the acting head of the Association of German Women, in a 1933 document meant to reflect official National Socialist state policy on women, declares that "to be a woman means to be a mother, means affirming with the whole conscious force of one's soul the value of being a mother and making it a law of life . . . ​the highest calling of the National Socialist woman is not just to bear children, but consciously and out of total devotion to her role and duty as mother to raise children for her people." Richard Grunberger, a British historian of National Socialism, sums up "the kernel of Nazi thinking on the women's question" as "a dogma of inequality between the sexes as immutable as that between the races." The historian Charu Gupta, in her 1991 article "Politics of Gender: Women in Nazi Germany," goes as far as to argue that "oppression of women in Nazi Germany in fact furnishes the most extreme case of anti-feminism in the 20th century."

Here, Mussolini makes clear that the fascist mythic past is intentionally mythical. The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle.

With the creation of a mythic past, fascist politics creates a link between nostalgia and the realization of fascist ideals. German fascists also clearly and explicitly appreciated this point about the strategic use of a mythological past. The leading Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, editor of the prominent Nazi newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, writes in 1924, "the understanding of and the respect for our own mythological past and our own history will form the first condition for more firmly anchoring the coming generation in the soil of Europe's original homeland." The fascist mythic past exists to aid in changing the present.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; More about Jason Stanley

5.0 out of 5 stars

July 17, 2018 Format: Hardcover Vine

Highly readable

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36R5FWIWTP6F0/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525511830">

By Joel E. Mitchell on September 13, 2018
Massive Partisan Bias

This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:

- The Mythic Past
- Propaganda
- Anti-Intellectual
- Unreality
- Hierarchy
- Victimhood
- Law & Order
- Sexual Anxiety
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- Arbeit Macht Frei

Ironically (given the book's subtitle) the author used his book divisively: to laud his left-wing political views and demonize virtually all distinctively right-wing views. He uses the term "liberal democracy" inconsistently throughout, disengenuously equivocating between the meaning of "representative democracy as opposed to autocratic or oligarchic government" (which most readers would agree is a good thing) and "American left-wing political views" (which he treats as equally self-evidently superior if you are a right-thinking person). Virtually all American right-wing political views are presented in straw-man form, defined in such a way that they fit his definition of fascist politics.

I was expecting there to be a pretty heavy smear-job on President Trump and his cronies (much of it richly deserved...the man's demagoguery and autocratic tendencies are frightening), but for this to turn into "let's find a way to define virtually everything the Republicans are and do as fascist politics" was massively disappointing. The absurdly biased portrayal of all things conservative and constant hymns of praise to all things and all people left-wing buried some good historical research and valid parallels under an avalanche of partisanism.

If you want a more historical, less partisan view of the rise of fascist politics, I would highly recommend Darkness Over Germany by E. Amy Buller (Review Here). It was written during World War II (based on interviews with Germans before WWII), so you will have to draw your own contemporary parallels...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

[Oct 02, 2018] A Rational Backlash Against Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. Haha, Lambert's volatility voters thesis confirmed! They are voting against inequality and globalization. This important post also explains how financialization drives populist rebellions.

By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality.

The ongoing pushback against globalization in the West is a defining phenomenon of this decade. This pushback is best exemplified by two momentous 2016 votes: the British vote to leave the EU ('Brexit') and the election of a protectionist, Donald Trump, to the US presidency. In both cases, rich-country electorates voted to take a step back from the long-standing process of global integration. "Today, globalization is going through a major crisis" (Macron 2018).

Some commentators question the wisdom of the voters responsible for this pushback. They suggest Brexit and Trump supporters have been confused by misleading campaigns and foreign hackers. They joke about turkeys voting for Christmas. They call for another Brexit referendum, which would allow the Leavers to correct their mistakes.

Rational Voters

We take a different perspective. In a recent paper, we develop a theory in which a backlash against globalization happens while all voters are perfectly rational (Pastor and Veronesi 2018). We do not, of course, claim that all voters are rational; we simply argue that explaining the backlash does not require irrationality. Not only can the backlash happen in our theory; it is inevitable.

We build a heterogeneous-agent equilibrium model in which a backlash against globalization emerges as the optimal response of rational voters to rising inequality. A rise in inequality has been observed throughout the West in recent decades (e.g. Atkinson et al. 2011). In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. Over time, global growth exacerbates inequality, which eventually leads to a pushback against globalization.

Who Dislike Inequality

Agents in our model like consumption but dislike inequality. Individuals may prefer equality for various reasons. Equality helps prevent crime and preserve social stability. Inequality causes status anxiety at all income levels, which leads to health and social problems (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009, 2018). In surveys, people facing less inequality report being happier (e.g. Morawetz et al. 1977, Alesina et al. 2004, Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Ramos 2014). Experimental results also point to egalitarian preferences (e.g. Dawes et al. 2007).

We measure inequality by the variance of consumption shares across agents. Given our other modelling assumptions, equilibrium consumption develops a right-skewed distribution across agents. As a result, inequality is driven by the high consumption of the rich rather than the low consumption of the poor. Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

Besides inequality aversion, our model features heterogeneity in risk aversion. This heterogeneity generates rising inequality in a growing economy because less risk-averse agents consume a growing share of total output. We employ individual-level differences in risk aversion to capture the fact that some individuals benefit more from global growth than others. In addition, we interpret country-level differences in risk aversion as differences in financial development. We consider two 'countries': the US and the rest of the world. We assume that US agents are less risk-averse than rest-of-the-world agents, capturing the idea that the US is more financially developed than the rest of the world.

At the outset, the two countries are financially integrated – there are no barriers to trade and risk is shared globally. At a given time, both countries hold elections featuring two candidates. The 'mainstream' candidate promises to preserve globalization, whereas the 'populist' candidate promises to end it. If either country elects a populist, a move to autarky takes place and cross-border trading stops. Elections are decided by the median voter.

Global risk sharing exacerbates US inequality. Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions. The agents holding the most aggressive positions benefit disproportionately from global growth. The resulting inequality leads some US voters, those who feel left behind by globalization, to vote populist.

Why Vote Populist?

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents. After a move to autarky, US agents can no longer borrow from the rest of the world to finance their excess consumption. But their inequality drops too, because the absence of cross-border leverage makes their portfolio positions less disperse.

As output grows, the marginal utility of consumption declines, and US agents become increasingly willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for more equality. When output grows large enough -- see the vertical line in the figure below -- more than half of US agents prefer autarky and the populist wins the US election. This is our main result: in a growing economy, the populist eventually gets elected. In a democratic society that values equality, globalization cannot survive in the long run.

Figure 1 Vote share of the populist candidate

Equality Is a Luxury Good

Equality can be interpreted as a luxury good in that society demands more of it as it becomes wealthier. Voters might also treat culture, traditions, and other nonpecuniary values as luxury goods. Consistent with this argument, the recent rise in populism appears predominantly in rich countries. In poor countries, agents are not willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for nonpecuniary values.

Globalization would survive under a social planner. Our competitive market solution differs from the social planner solution due to the negative externality that the elites impose on others through their high consumption. To see if globalization can be saved by redistribution, we analyse redistributive policies that transfer wealth from low risk-aversion agents, who benefit the most from globalization, to high risk-aversion agents, who benefit the least. We show that such policies can delay the populist's victory, but cannot prevent it from happening eventually.

Which Countries Are Populist?

Our model predicts that support for populism should be stronger in countries that are more financially developed, more unequal, and running current account deficits. Looking across 29 developed countries, we find evidence supporting these predictions.

Figure 2 Vote share of populist parties in recent elections

The US and the UK are good examples. Both have high financial development, large inequality, and current account deficits. It is thus no coincidence, in the context of our model, that these countries led the populist wave in 2016. In contrast, Germany is less financially developed, less unequal, and it runs a sizable current account surplus. Populism has been relatively subdued in Germany, as our model predicts. The model emphasises the dark side of financial development – it spurs the growth of inequality, which eventually leads to a populist backlash.

Who are the Populist Voters?

The model also makes predictions about the characteristics of populist voters. Compared to mainstream voters, populist voters should be more inequality-averse (i.e. more anti-elite) and more risk-averse (i.e. better insured against consumption fluctuations). Like highly risk-averse agents, poorer and less-educated agents have less to lose from the end of globalization. The model thus predicts that these agents are more likely to vote populist. That is indeed what we find when we examine the characteristics of the voters who supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum and Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The model's predictions for asset prices are also interesting. The global market share of US stocks should rise in anticipation of the populist's victory. Indeed, the US share of the global stock market rose steadily before the 2016 Trump election. The US bond yields should be unusually low before the populist's victory. Indeed, bond yields in the West were low when the populist wave began.

Backlash in a booming economy

In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. The model helps us understand why the backlash is occurring now, as the US economy is booming. The economy is going through one of its longest macroeconomic expansions ever, having been growing steadily for almost a decade since the 2008 crisis.

This study relates to our prior work at the intersection of finance and political economy. Here, we exploit the cross-sectional variation in risk aversion, whereas in our 2017 paper, we analyse its time variation (Pastor and Veronesi 2017). In the latter model, time-varying risk aversion generates political cycles in which Democrats and Republicans alternate in power, with higher stock returns under Democrats. Our previous work also explores links between risk aversion and inequality (Pastor and Veronesi 2016).

Conclusions

We highlight the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. In our model, a pushback against globalization arises as a rational voter response. When a country grows rich enough, it becomes willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for a more equal society. Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model. Our formal model supports the narrative of Rodrik (1997, 2000), who argues that we cannot have all three of global economic integration, the nation state, and democratic politics.

If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world.

See original post for references


JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

"rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. " For which definition of growth? Or maybe, observing that cancer is the very model of growth, for any definition?

Nice model and graphs, though.

What kind of political economy is to be discerned, and how is one to effectuate it with systems that would have to be so very different to have a prayer of providing lasting homeostatic functions?

The Rev Kev , September 28, 2018 at 10:50 am

And what happens in a world where, due to depleted resources, growth is no longer an option and we start living in a world of slow contraction?

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Starvation pain and death absent some kind of (fair) rationing mechanisms.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Actually, I can hardly wait. If nothing else will get folks motivated to effect change – this could (let's hope).

drumlin woodchuckles , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

The global overclass can hardly wait too. They think they are in position to guide the change to their desired outcome. Targeted applied Jackpot Engineering, you know.

joey , September 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

hoping for an alpha test tube environment or better soma in my next go round?

Bobby Gladd , September 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Frase's "Quadrant IV" – Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (see "Four Futures")

d , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

At some point if the majority dont think they get any benefit from the economy, they will put a stake through it, and replace it with some thing that works?now that could be some thing very different, but it will happen

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

I had the same thought – growth as defined in the current, neoliberal model. There is nothing inevitable about inequality – it is caused by political choices.

Tony Wikrent , September 28, 2018 at 10:44 am

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

Not from my perspective. Or from the perspectives of the work force or the industrial base replacing themselves. Or the perspective of a 4 to 5 trillion dollar shortfall in infrastructure funding.

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

Well, that simply did not happen 1946 to 1971.

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

REALLY? Consumption of WHAT? Designer handbags and jeans? What about consumption of mass public transit and health care services? I'm very confident that a populist government that found a way to put a muzzle on Wall Street and the banksters would increase consumption of things I prefer while also lessening inequality.

Reading through this summary of modeling, it occurred to me that the operative variable was not inequality so much as "high financial development."

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

Agreed, BS but likely to be skewered as the comment section picks up steam.

There's a lot of skeptics lurking here.

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for pointing out the weaknesses in the article.

a different chris , September 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Posting doesn't apply "acceptance" at NC. I think that has been made pretty darn clear on a number of occasions.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Yes and also, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. These days, just saying that globalisation leads to inequality and people act rationally, when they push back – even though choices are limited – is pretty revolutionary. We need other analyses along those lines, maybe with a few corrections. Thanks for posting!

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

That's nice. But in what universe do these "frictionless, complete-markets" actually exist?

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm

" In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. "

Yes to the above comments. This sentence really stuck in my throat. A strong economy to me is one that achieves balanced equality. Somehow this article avoids the manner in which the current economy became "strong". Perhaps a better word is "corrupt". (No 'perhaps' really; I'm just being polite.)

Otherwise some good points being made here.

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I also didn't like that the anti-neoliberalists are being portrayed as not having sympathy for the poor. Gosh, we are a hard-hearted lot, only interested in our own come-uppance and risk-adversity.

Robert Valiant , September 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Isn't equality just a value?

A "strong" economy is one that is growing as measured by GDP – full stop. Inequality looks to me like a feature of our global economic value system, not a bug.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Inequality is a problem of distribution. Is a strong economy one that provides the most to a few or a fair share to the many?

High GDP growth could reflect either but which is most important?

If your neighbor is out of work it looks like a recession, if you're out of work it feels like a depression.

Synoia , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Friction-less Markets exist in where there is much lube.

Trump is probably an expert in that area.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:30 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

This is complete BS. So is your model.

Kit , September 28, 2018 at 5:36 pm

A universe with spherical consumers of uniform size and density.

Economics is like physics, or wants to be. If you want practicality, you need something more like engineering.

Andrew Watts , September 28, 2018 at 5:56 pm

I only read these articles to see what the enemy is thinking. The vast majority of economists are nothing more than cheerleaders for capitalism. I imagine anybody who strays too far from neoliberal orthodoxy is ignored.

Patrick , September 28, 2018 at 10:56 am

the Trump/Brexit populist thinking has nothing to do with equality. it has do do with who should get preferential treatment and why -- it's about drawing a tight circle on who get's to be considered "equal".

not sure how you can pull a desire for equality from this (except through statistics, which can be used to "prove" anything).

Outis Philalithopoulos , September 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I'm confused – so the evidence of statistics should be discounted, in favor of more persuasive evidence? Consisting of your own authoritative statements about the motives of other people?

In the future, please try to think about what sorts of arguments are likely to be persuasive to people who don't already agree with you.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

In the Trump/neoliberal world we get what we "deserve". Or do we deserve what we get?

The majority of the population believes the losers didn't try hard enough.

In a world full of Einsteins the bottom 20% would still live in poverty. Life is graded on a curve.

Louis Fyne , September 28, 2018 at 10:57 am

If you consider yourself an "environmentalist," then you have to be against globalization.

(From the easiest to universally agree upon) the multi-continental supply chain for everything from tube socks to cobalt to frozen fish is unsustainable, barring Star Trek-type transport tech breakthroughs.

(to the less easily to universally agree upon) the population of the entire developed (even in the US) would be stablized/falling/barely rising, but for migration.

mass migration-fueled population growth/higher fertility rates of migrants in the developed world and increased resource footprint is bad for both the developed world and developing world.

Jeremy Grimm , September 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The long, narrow, and manifold supply lines which characterize our present systems of globalization make the world much more fragile. The supply chains are fraught with single points of systemic failure. At the same time Climate Disruption increases the risk that a disaster can affect these single points of failure. I fear that the level of instability in the world systems is approaching the point where multiple local disasters could have catastrophic effects at a scale orders of magnitude greater than the scale of the triggering events -- like the Mr. Science demonstration of a chain-reaction where he tosses a single ping pong ball into a room full of mousetraps set with ping pong balls. You have to be against globalization if you're against instability.

The entire system of globalization is completely dependent on a continuous supply of cheap fuel to power the ships, trains, and trucks moving goods around the world. That supply of cheap fuel has its own fragile supply lines upon which the very life of our great cities depends. Little food is grown where the most food is eaten -- this reflects the distributed nature of our supply chains greatly fostered by globalization.

Globalization increases the power and control Corporate Cartels have over their workers. It further increases the power large firms have over smaller firms as the costs and complexities of globalized trade constitute a relatively larger overhead for smaller firms. Small producers of goods find themselves flooded with cheaper foreign knock-offs and counterfeits of any of their designs that find a place in the market. It adds uncertainty and risk to employment and small ventures. Globalization magnifies the power of the very large and very rich over producers and consumers.

I believe the so-called populist voters and their backlash in a "booming" economy are small indications of a broad unrest growing much faster than our "booming" economies. That unrest is one more risk to add to the growing list of risks to an increasingly fragile system. The world is configured for a collapse that will be unprecedented in its speed and scope.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Actually, the way I see it – if one considers oneself an environmentalist, one has to be against capitalism, not just globalization. Capitalism is built on constant growth – but on a planet, with limited resources, that simply cannot work. Not long term unless we're prepared to dig up and/or pave over everything. Only very limited-scale, mom-and-pop kind of capitalism can try to work long term – but the problem is, it would not stay that way because greed gets in the way every time and there's no limiting greed. (Greed as a concept was limited in the socialist system – but some folks did not like that.)

tagyoureit , September 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm

"Capitalism is built on constant growth." I have a 'brand new' view of photosynthesis. Those plants (pun intended) are 'capitalist pigweeds'

John Wright , September 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

The paper posits:

" Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions."

That low risk aversion could be driven by the willingness of the US government to provide military/diplomatic/trade assistance to US businesses around the word. The risk inherent in moving factories, doing resource extraction and conducting business overseas is always there, but if one's government lessens the risk via force projection and control of local governments, a US agent could appear to be "less risk averse" because the US taxpayer has "got their back".

This paper closes with

"If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world."

Ah yes, to EVENTUALLY lower inequality, the USA needs to "improve the financial systems of less-well developed countries"

Perhaps the USA needs to improve its OWN financial system first?

Paul Woolley has suggested, the US and UK financial systems are 2 to 3 times they should be.

And the USA's various financial industry driven bubbles, the ZIRP rescue of the financial industry, and mortgage security fraud seem all connected back to the USA financial industry.

Inequality did not improve in the aftermath of these events as the USA helped preserve the elite class.

Maybe the authors have overlooked a massive home field opportunity?

That being that the USA should consider "improving" its own financial system to help inequality.

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm

In my model, eventually, we are all equally dead.

Lee , September 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

I'm glad to see that issues and views discussed pretty regularly here in more or less understandable English have been translated into Academese. Being a high risk averse plebe, who will not starve for lack of trade with China, but may have to pay a bit more for strawberries for lack of cheap immigrant labor, I count myself among the redistributionist economic nationalists.

jrs , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

I suspect strawberries would be grown elsewhere than the U.S., without cheap immigrant labor (unless picking them is somehow able to be automated).

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Yes, it's called u-pickum @ home ..

Right now I'm making raisins from the grapes harvested here at home .. enough to last for a year, or maybe two. Sure, it's laborous to some extent, but the supply chain is very short .. the cost, compared to buying the same amount at retait rates, is minuscule, and they're as 'organic' as can be. The point I'm trying to make is that wth some personal effort, we can all live lighter, live slower, and be, for the most part, contented.
Might as well step into collapse, gracefully, and avoid the rush, as per J. M. Greer's mantra.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm

The UK had become somewhat dependent on Switzerland for wristwatches prior to WW2, and all of the sudden France falls and that's all she wrote for imports.

Must've been a mad scramble to resurrect the business, or outsource elsewhere.

My wife and I were talking about what would happen if say the reign of error pushes us into war with China, and thanks to our just in time way of life, the goods on the shelves of most every retailer, would be plundered by consumers, and maybe they could be restocked a few times, but that's it.

Now, that would shock us to our core consumerism.

Inode _buddha , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

People might actually start learning how to fix stuff again, and value things that can be fixed.

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm

I recently purchased a cabinet/shelf for 20 tubmans, from a repurposing/recycling business, and, after putting a couple of hundred moar tubmans into it .. some of which included recycled latex paints and hardware .. transformed it into a fabulous stand-alone kitchen storage unit. If I were to purchase such at retail, it would most likely go for close to $800- $1000.00 easy !!
With care, this 'renewed' polecat heirloom will certainly outlive it's recreator, and pass on for generations henceforth.

Duck1 , September 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

I thought a Tubman was a double sawbuck, or at least a Hamilton. Otherwise, you're doing it right kid.

HotFlash , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Oh well, Canada not on any of the charts. Again. We are most certainly chopped moose liver. Wonder what the selection criteria were?

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Yes, thank goodness there was no mention of Canada's failure to negotiate a trade treaty with our best friend. All of a sudden, Canadians seem to be the target of a lot of ill will in other articles.

JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

I think it's just ill- informed jealousy. Us US mopes think Canadians are much better off than we Yanks, health care and such. You who live there have your own insights, of course. Trudeau and the Ford family and tar sands and other bits.

And some of us are peeved that you don't want us migrating to take advantage of your more beneficent milieu.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm

It's a different vibe up over, their housing bubble crested and is sinking, as the road to HELOC was played with the best intentions even more furiously than here in the heat of the bubble.

Can Canada bail itself out as we did in the aftermath, and keep the charade going?

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Do they have a sovereign currency, and as yet not exhausted real world extractable resources?

And I guess by "Canada" you are talking about the elite and the FIRE, right? "There are many Canadas " https://www.youtube.com/user/RedGreenTV

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Feel free to fill out that 8 inch high pile of Canadian immigration documentation, so ya'all can come on up and join the party. Or just jump on your pony and ride North into the Land of the Grandmother. Trudeau wants more people and has failed to offer proper sacrifice to the god Terminus, the god of borders, so .

Just don't move to "Van" unless you have a few million to drop on a "reno'ed" crack shack. When the god Pluto crawls back into the earth, the housing bubble will burst, and it's not going to be pretty.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

That's funny as our dam here is called the Terminus Reservoir, if the name fits

I'm just looking for an ancestral way out of what might prove to be a messy scene down under, i'd gladly shack up in one of many of my relatives basements if Max Mad breaks out here.

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Handwriting's been on the wall. Canada's very nice, not perfect, but what place is? And: It's not the imperial homeland.

JerryDenim , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Great article, interesting data points, but besides placing tariffs on Chinese imports there is nothing populist about Trump, just empty rhetoric. Highly regressive tax cuts for the wealthy, further deregulation, wanton environmental destruction, extremist right-wing ideologues as judges, a cabinet full of Wall Street finance guys, more boiler-plate Neo-Lib policies as far as I can tell.

I fear Trump and the Brexiters are giving populism a bad name. A functioning democracy should always elect populists. A government of elected officials who do not represent the public will is not really a democracy.

feox , September 28, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

That's ridiculous. Indeed, the Brexit campaign was all about othering the poor and powerless immigrants, as well as the cultural, artistic, urban and academic elites, never the the moneyed elites, not the 1%. The campaign involved no dicussion what's so ever of the actual numbers of wealth inequality.

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents.

How can anyone possibly write such a thing? The multi-trillion tax cut from Donald Trump represents a massive long time rise in inequality. Vis-à-vis Brexit, the entire campaign support for that mad endeavor came from free-trader fundamentalists who want to be free to compete with both hands in the global race-to-the-bottom while the EU is (barely) restraining them.

Trump and Brexit voters truly are irrational turkeys (that's saying a lot for anyone who's met an actual turkey) voting for Christmas.

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Some of us mopes who voted for Trump did so as a least-bad alternative to HER, just to try to kick the hornet's nest and get something to fly out: So your judgment is that those folks are "irrational turkeys," bearing in mind how mindless the Christmas and Thansgiving turkeys have been bred to be?

Better to arm up, get out in the street, and start marching and chanting and ready to confront the militarized police? I'd say, face it: as people here have noted there is a system in place, the "choices" are frauds to distract us every couple of years, and the vectors all point down into some pretty ugly terrain.

Bless those who have stepped off the conveyor, found little places where they can live "autarkically," more or less, and are waiting out the Ragnarok/Gotterdammerung/Mad Max anomie, hoping not to be spotted by the warbands that will form up and roam the terrain looking for bits of food and fuel and slaves and such. Like one survivalist I spotted recently says as his tag-line, "If you have stuff, you're a target. If you have knowledge. you have a chance–" this in a youtube video on how to revive a defunct nickel-cadmium drill battery by zapping it with a stick welder. (It works, by the way.)He's a chain smoker and his BMI must be close to 100, but he's got knowledge

precariat , September 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

The papers's framing of the issues is curious: the populace has 'envy' of the well-off; and populism (read envy) rises when the economy is strong and inequality rises (read where's my yaht?).

The paper lacks acknowledgement of the corruption, fraud, and rigging of policy that rises when an overly financialized economy is 'good.' This contributes to inequality. Inequality is not just unequal, but extremely disproportionate distributions which cause real suffering and impoverishment of the producers. It follows (but not to the writer of this paper) that the citizens take offense at and objection to the disproprtionate takings of some and the meager receipts of the many. It's this that contributes to populism.

And the kicker: to save globalization, let's financialize the less developed economies to mitigate cross-border inequalities. Huh? Was not the discussion about developed nations' voters to rising inequality in face of globalization? The problem is not cross-border 'envy.' It's globalization instrinsically and how it is gamed.

Mark Pontin , September 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Short version: It's the looting, stupid.

Agreed.

knowbuddhau , September 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

I'm with Olga. It's good to see that voting "wrong" taken seriously, and seen as economically rational. Opposing globalization makes sense, even in the idiosyncratic usage of economics.

The trouble, of course, is that the world of economics is not the world we live in.

Why does the immigrant cross the border? Is it only for "pecuniary interests," only for the money? Then why do so many send most of it back across the border, in remittances?

If people in poor countries aren't willing to sacrifice for "luxuries," like a dignified human life, who was Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara, or more recently, Berta Cáceres?

Seems to be a weakness of economic models in general: it's inconceivable that people do things for other than pecuniary interests. In the reductionist terms of natural science, we're social primates, not mechanical information engines.

If this model were a back patio cart, like the one I'm building right now, I wouldn't set my beer on it. Looks like a cart from a distance, though, esp when you're looking for one.

Darthbobber , September 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

To the extent that the backlash has irrational aspects in the way it manifests, I would suspect that it relates to the refusal of the self-styled responsible people to participate in opening more rational paths to solutions, or even to acknowledge the existence of a problem. When the allegedly responsible and knowledgeable actors refuse to act, or even see a need to act, it's hardly surprising that the snake oil vendors grow in influence.

Charlie , September 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

I'm always leery of t-test values being cited without the requisite sample size being noted. You need that to determine effect size. While the slope looks ominously valid for the regression model, effects could be weak and fail to show whether current account deficits are the true source. Financialization seems purposely left out of the model.

[Sep 16, 2018] The Enigma of Orwellian Donald Trump -- How Does He Get Away with It So Easily by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

This is a very weak article, but it raises several important questions such as the role or neoliberal MSM in color revolution against Trump and which social group constituted the voting block that brought Trump to victory. The author answers incorrectly on both those questions.
I think overall Tremblay analysis of Trump (and by extension of national neoliberalism he promotes) is incorrect. Probably the largest group of voters which voted for Trump were voters who were against neoliberal globalization and who now feel real distrust and aversion to the ruling neoliberal elite.
Trump is probably right to view neoliberal journalists as enemies: they are tools of intelligence agencies which as agents of Wall Street promote globalization
At the same time Trump turned to be Obama II: he instantly betrayed his voters after the election. His election slogan "make Ameraca great again" bacem that same joke as Obama "Change we can believe in". And he proved to be as jingoistic as Obama (A Nobel Pease Price laureate who was militarists dream come true)
In discussion of groups who votes for Trump the author forgot to mention part of professional which skeptically view neoliberal globalization and its destrction of jobs (for example programmer jobs in the USA) as well as blue color workers decimated by offshoring of major industries.
Notable quotes:
"... "Just stick with us, don't believe the crap you see from these people [journalists], the fake news Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening. " ..."
"... Donald Trump (1946- ), American President, (in remarks made during a campaign rally with Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Kansas City, July 24, 2018) ..."
"... "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." ..."
"... This is a White House where everybody lies ..."
"... I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power ..."
"... The second one can be found in Trump's artful and cunning tactics to unbalance and manipulate the media to increase his visibility to the general public and to turn them into his own tools of propaganda. ..."
"... ad hominem' ..."
"... Donald Trump essentially has the traits of a typical showman diva , behaving in politics just as he did when he was the host of a TV show. Indeed, if one considers politics and public affairs as no more than a reality show, this means that they are really entertainment, and politicians are first and foremost entertainers or comedians. ..."
"... He prefers to rely on one-directional so-called 'tweets' to express unfiltered personal ideas and emotions (as if he were a private person), and to use them as his main public relations channel of communication. ..."
"... checks and balance ..."
"... The centralization of power in the hands of one man is bound to have serious political consequences, both for the current administration and for future ones. ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

"Just stick with us, don't believe the crap you see from these people [journalists], the fake news Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening. "

Donald Trump (1946- ), American President, (in remarks made during a campaign rally with Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Kansas City, July 24, 2018)

"The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command."

George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) (1903-1950), English novelist, essayist, and social critic, (in '1984', Ch. 7, 1949)

" This is a White House where everybody lies ." Omarosa Manigault Newman (1974- ), former White House aide to President Donald Trump, (on Sunday August 12, 2018, while releasing tapes recording conversations with Donald Trump.)

" I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power ." Benjamin Franklin ( 17061790 ), American inventor and US Founding Father, (in 'Words of the Founding Fathers', 2012).

***

In this day and age, with instant information, how does a politician succeed in double-talking, in bragging, in scapegoating and in shamefully distorting the truth, most of the time, without being unmasked as a charlatan and discredited? Why? That is the mysterious and enigmatic question that one may ask about U. S. President Donald Trump, as a politician.

The most obvious answer is the fact that Trump's one-issue and cult-like followers do not care what he does or says and whether or not he has declared a war on truth and reality , provided he delivers the political and financial benefits they demand of him, based on their ideological or pecuniary interests. These groups of voters live in their own reality and only their personal interests count.

1- Four groups of one-issue voters behind Trump

There are four groups of one-issue voters to whom President Donald Trump has delivered the goodies:

With the strong support of these four monolithic lobbies -- his electoral base -- politician Donald Trump can count on the indefectible support of between 35 percent and 40 percent of the American electorate. It is ironic that some of Trump's other policies, like reducing health care coverage and the raising of import taxes, will hurt the poor and the middle class, even though some of Trump's victims can be considered members of the above lobbies.

Moreover, some of Trump's supporters regularly rely on hypocrisy and on excuses to exonerate their favorite but flawed politician of choice. If any other politician from a different party were to say and do half of what Donald Trump does and says, they would be asking for his impeachment.

There are three other reasons why Trump's rants, his record-breaking lies , his untruths, his deceptions and his dictatorial-style attempts to control information , in the eyes of his fanatical supporters, at least, are like water on the back of a duck. ( -- For the record, according to the Washington Post , as of early August, President Trump has made some 4,229 false claims, which amount to 7.6 a day, since his inauguration.)

Is Trump a New Kind of Fascist?

2- Show Politics and public affairs as a form of entertainment

Donald Trump does not seem to take politics and public affairs very seriously, at least when his own personal interests are involved. Therefore, when things go bad, he never volunteers to take personal responsibility, contrary to what a true leader would do, and he conveniently shifts the blame on somebody else. This is a sign of immaturity or cowardice. Paraphrasing President Harry Truman, "the buck never stops at his desk."

Donald Trump essentially has the traits of a typical showman diva , behaving in politics just as he did when he was the host of a TV show. Indeed, if one considers politics and public affairs as no more than a reality show, this means that they are really entertainment, and politicians are first and foremost entertainers or comedians.

3- Trump VS the media and the journalists

Donald Trump is the first U.S. president who rarely holds scheduled press conferences. Why would he, since he considers journalists to be his "enemies"! It doesn't seem to matter to him that freedom of the press is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution by the First Amendment. He prefers to rely on one-directional so-called 'tweets' to express unfiltered personal ideas and emotions (as if he were a private person), and to use them as his main public relations channel of communication.

The ABC News network has calculated that, as of last July, Trump has tweeted more than 3,500 times, slightly more than seven tweets a day. How could he have time left to do anything productive! Coincidently, Donald Trump's number of tweets is not far away from the number of outright lies and misleading claims that he has told and made since his inauguration. The Washington Post has counted no less than 3,251 lies or misleading claims of his, through the end of May of this year, -- an average of 6.5 such misstatements per day of his presidency. Fun fact: Trump seems to accelerate the pace of his lies. Last year, he told 5.5 lies per day, on average. Is it possible to have a more cynical view of politics!

The media in general, (and not only American ones), then serve more or less voluntarily as so many resonance boxes for his daily 'tweets', most of which are often devoid of any thought and logic.

Such a practice has the consequence of demeaning the public discourse in the pursuit of the common good and the general welfare of the people to the level of a frivolous private enterprise, where expertise, research and competence can easily be replaced by improvisation, whimsical arbitrariness and charlatanry. In such a climate, only the short run counts, at the expense of planning for the long run.

Conclusion

All this leads to this conclusion: Trump's approach is not the way to run an efficient government. Notwithstanding the U.S. Constitution and what it says about the need to have " checks and balance s" among different government branches, President Donald Trump has de facto pushed aside the U.S. Congress and the civil servants in important government Departments, even his own Cabinet , whose formal meetings under Trump have been little more than photo-up happenings, to grab the central political stage for himself. If such a development does not represent an ominous threat to American democracy, what does?

The centralization of power in the hands of one man is bound to have serious political consequences, both for the current administration and for future ones.

*

This article was originally published on the author's blog site: rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com .

International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book " The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles ", and of "The New American Empire" . Please visit Dr. Tremblay's sites : http://rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com/ and http://rodriguetremblay.blogspot.com/

[Sep 10, 2018] Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important forces working against classic neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value. ..."
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

EarlyBird September 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value.

Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important energies. But being Trump, he's poisoned these issues for a couple of generations. No serious leader will be able to touch these things.

Add this to all the institutional and political ruin he has created.

[Sep 08, 2018] Any of Trump's opponents in the 2016 primaries would have followed the same policies

Notable quotes:
"... he has brought North Korea away from the edge of nuclear war and established at least tentative diplomatic relations with that nation, something no president has done before him. Against frenzied opposition from the American Establishment, he has somewhat softened U.S. relations with Russia. ..."
"... On domestic and environmental matters, Trump is pro-plutocrat, a climate change denier, and the installer of arch-reactionary Supreme Court justices. But this is more a function of the current national Republican party than of Trump himself. Any of Trump's opponents in the 2016 primaries would have followed the same policies. ..."
Sep 08, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Caleb Melamed says: September 8, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Trump is not crazy at all. He is the proponent of a particular philosophy, Trumpism, which he follows very clearly and consistently.

As president, he has had significant successes. Notably, he has brought North Korea away from the edge of nuclear war and established at least tentative diplomatic relations with that nation, something no president has done before him. Against frenzied opposition from the American Establishment, he has somewhat softened U.S. relations with Russia.

On domestic and environmental matters, Trump is pro-plutocrat, a climate change denier, and the installer of arch-reactionary Supreme Court justices. But this is more a function of the current national Republican party than of Trump himself. Any of Trump's opponents in the 2016 primaries would have followed the same policies.

Trumpism is undeniably a form of near-fascism. Trump has followed viciously anti-immigrant tendencies, and this, along with his ties to out-and-out racists, is the worst part of his presidency. But these horrible aspects do not at all show that he is crazy. He has used them coldly and calculatedly to gain power.

And while his schtick and bluster are indeed bizarre, he has used them very consistently to keep a 40%-plus approval rating in the face of an Establishment opposition the like of which has used against a president at least in our lifetimes.

As I have commented here before, except for Trump's disgusting anti-immigration policies, George W. Bush was on balance a far worse president.

[Aug 22, 2018] Beijing s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump by Alfred McCoy

This is partially incorrect view on Trump foreign policy. At the center of which is careful retreat for enormous expenses of keeping the global neoliberal empire, plus military Keyseanism to revive the us economy. Which means tremendous pressure of arm sales as the only way to improve trade balance.
NATO was always an instrument of the USA hegemony, so Trump behavior is perfectly compatible with this view -- he just downgraded vassals refusing usual formal respect for them, as they do no represent independent nations. That's why he addressed them with the contempt. He aptly remarked that German stance of relying on Russia hydrocarbons and still claiming the it needs the USA defense is pure hypocrisy. On the other side china, Russia and North Korea can't be considered the USA vassals.
China is completely dependent on the USA for advanced technologies so their dreams of becoming the world hegemon is such exist are premature.
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's dominance over the world economy had begun to wither and its once-superior work force to lose its competitive edge. ..."
"... By 2016, in fact, the dislocations brought on by the economic globalization that had gone with American dominion sparked a revolt of the dispossessed in democracies worldwide and in the American heartland, bringing the self-proclaimed "populist" Donald Trump to power. ..."
"... Determined to check his country's decline, he has adopted an aggressive and divisive foreign policy that has roiled long-established alliances in both Asia and Europe and is undoubtedly giving that decline new impetus. ..."
"... On the realpolitik side of that duality, Washington constructed a four-tier apparatus -- military, diplomatic, economic, and clandestine -- to advance a global dominion of unprecedented wealth and power. This apparatus rested on hundreds of military bases in Europe and Asia that made the U.S. the first power in history to dominate (if not control) the Eurasian continent. ..."
"... Instead of reigning confidently over international organizations, multilateral alliances, and a globalized economy, Trump evidently sees America standing alone and beleaguered in an increasingly troubled world -- exploited by self-aggrandizing allies, battered by unequal trade terms, threatened by tides of undocumented immigrants, and betrayed by self-serving elites too timid or compromised to defend the nation's interests. ..."
"... Instead of multilateral trade pacts like NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or even the WTO, Trump favors bilateral deals rewritten to the (supposed) advantage of the United States. ..."
"... As he took office, the nation, it claimed, faced "an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats." ..."
"... Despite such grandiose claims, each of President Trump's overseas trips has been a mission of destruction in terms of American global power. Each, seemingly by design, disrupted and possibly damaged alliances that have been the foundation for Washington's global power since the 1950s ..."
"... Donald Trump acted more like Argentina's former presidente Juan Perón, minus the medals. ..."
"... Beijing's low-cost infrastructure loans for 70 countries from the Baltic to the Pacific are already funding construction of the Mediterranean's busiest port at Piraeus, Greece, a major nuclear power plant in England, a $6 billion railroad through rugged Laos, and a $46 billion transport corridor across Pakistan. If successful, such infrastructure investments could help knit two dynamic continents, Europe and Asia -- home to a full 70% percent of the world's population and its resources -- into a unified market without peer on the planet. ..."
"... In January, to take advantage of Arctic waters opened by global warming, Beijing began planning for a "Polar Silk Road," a scheme that fits well with ambitious Russian and Scandinavian projects to establish a shorter shipping route around the continent's northern coast to Europe. ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Yet neither China nor any other state seems to have the full imperial complement of attributes to replace the United States as the dominant world leader. ..."
"... In addition to the fundamentals of military and economic power, "every successful empire," observes Cambridge University historian Joya Chatterji, "had to elaborate a universalist and inclusive discourse" to win support from the world's subordinate states and their leaders. ..."
"... China has nothing comparable. Its writing system has some 7,000 characters, not 26 letters. ..."
"... During Japan's occupation of Southeast Asia in World War II, its troops went from being hailed as liberators to facing open revolt across the region after they failed to propagate their similarly particularistic culture. ..."
"... A test of its attitude toward this system of global governance came in 2016 when the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled unanimously that China's claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea "are contrary to the Convention [on the Law of the Sea] and without lawful effect." ..."
Aug 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

...Although they started this century on generally amicable terms, China and the U.S. have, in recent years, moved toward military competition and open economic conflict. When China was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, Washington was confident that Beijing would play by the established rules and become a compliant member of an American-led international community. There was almost no awareness of what might happen when a fifth of humanity joined the world system as an economic equal for the first time in five centuries.

By the time Xi Jinping became China's seventh president, a decade of rapid economic growth averaging 11% annually and currency reserves surging toward an unprecedented $4 trillion had created the economic potential for a rapid, radical shift in the global balance of power. After just a few months in office, Xi began tapping those vast reserves to launch a bold geopolitical gambit, a genuine challenge to U.S. dominion over Eurasia and the world beyond. Aglow in its status as the world's sole superpower after "winning" the Cold War, Washington had difficulty at first even grasping such newly developing global realities and was slow to react.

China's bid couldn't have been more fortuitous in its timing. After nearly 70 years as the globe's hegemon, Washington's dominance over the world economy had begun to wither and its once-superior work force to lose its competitive edge.

By 2016, in fact, the dislocations brought on by the economic globalization that had gone with American dominion sparked a revolt of the dispossessed in democracies worldwide and in the American heartland, bringing the self-proclaimed "populist" Donald Trump to power.

Determined to check his country's decline, he has adopted an aggressive and divisive foreign policy that has roiled long-established alliances in both Asia and Europe and is undoubtedly giving that decline new impetus.

Within months of Trump's entry into the Oval Office, the world was already witnessing a sharp rivalry between Xi's advocacy of a new form of global collaboration and Trump's version of economic nationalism. In the process, humanity seems to be entering a rare historical moment when national leadership and global circumstances have coincided to create an opening for a major shift in the nature of the world order.

Trump's Disruptive Foreign Policy

Despite their constant criticism of Donald Trump's leadership, few among Washington's corps of foreign policy experts have grasped his full impact on the historic foundations of American global power. The world order that Washington built after World War II rested upon what I've called a "delicate duality": an American imperium of raw military and economic power married to a community of sovereign nations, equal under the rule of law and governed through international institutions such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

On the realpolitik side of that duality, Washington constructed a four-tier apparatus -- military, diplomatic, economic, and clandestine -- to advance a global dominion of unprecedented wealth and power. This apparatus rested on hundreds of military bases in Europe and Asia that made the U.S. the first power in history to dominate (if not control) the Eurasian continent.

Even after the Cold War ended, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned that Washington would remain the world's preeminent power only as long as it maintained its geopolitical dominion over Eurasia. In the decade before Trump's election, there were, however, already signs that America's hegemony was on a downward trajectory as its share of global economic power fell from 50% in 1950 to just 15% in 2017. Many financial forecasts now project that China will surpass the U.S. as the world's number one economy by 2030, if not before.

In this era of decline, there has emerged from President Trump's torrent of tweets and off-the-cuff remarks a surprisingly coherent and grim vision of America's place in the present world order. Instead of reigning confidently over international organizations, multilateral alliances, and a globalized economy, Trump evidently sees America standing alone and beleaguered in an increasingly troubled world -- exploited by self-aggrandizing allies, battered by unequal trade terms, threatened by tides of undocumented immigrants, and betrayed by self-serving elites too timid or compromised to defend the nation's interests.

Instead of multilateral trade pacts like NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or even the WTO, Trump favors bilateral deals rewritten to the (supposed) advantage of the United States. In place of the usual democratic allies like Canada and Germany, he is trying to weave a web of personal ties to avowedly nationalist and autocratic leaders of a sort he clearly admires: Vladimir Putin in Russia, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Narendra Modi in India, Adel Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt, and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Instead of old alliances like NATO, Trump favors loose coalitions of like-minded countries. As he sees it, a resurgent America will carry the world along, while crushing terrorists and dealing in uniquely personal ways with rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

His version of a foreign policy has found its fullest statement in his administration's December 2017 National Security Strategy. As he took office, the nation, it claimed, faced "an extraordinarily dangerous world, filled with a wide range of threats." But in less than a year of his leadership, it insisted, "We have renewed our friendships in the Middle East to help drive out terrorists and extremists America's allies are now contributing more to our common defense, strengthening even our strongest alliances." Humankind will benefit from the president's "beautiful vision" that "puts America First" and promotes "a balance of power that favors the United States." The whole world will, in short, be "lifted by America's renewal."

Despite such grandiose claims, each of President Trump's overseas trips has been a mission of destruction in terms of American global power. Each, seemingly by design, disrupted and possibly damaged alliances that have been the foundation for Washington's global power since the 1950s. During the president's first foreign trip in May 2017, he promptly voiced withering complaints about the supposed refusal of Washington's European allies to pay their "fair share" of NATO's military costs, leaving the U.S. stuck with the bill and, in a fashion unknown to American presidents, refused even to endorse the alliance's core principle of collective defense. It was a position so extreme in terms of the global politics of the previous half-century that he was later forced to formally back down . (By then, however, he had registered his contempt for those allies in an unforgettable fashion.)

During a second, no-less-divisive NATO visit in July, he charged that Germany was "a captive of Russia" and pressed the allies to immediately double their share of defense spending to a staggering 4% of gross domestic product (a level even Washington, with its monumental Pentagon budget, hasn't reached) -- a demand they all ignored. Just days later, he again questioned the very idea of a common defense, remarking that if "tiny" NATO ally Montenegro decided to "get aggressive," then "congratulations, you're in World War III."

Moving on to England, he promptly kneecapped close ally Theresa May, telling a British tabloid that the prime minister had bungled her country's Brexit withdrawal from the European Union and "killed off any chance of a vital U.S. trade deal." He then went on to Helsinki for a summit with Vladimir Putin, where he visibly abased himself before NATO's nominal nemesis, completely enough that there were even brief, angry protests from leaders of his own party.

During Trump's major Asia tour in November 2017, he addressed the Asian-Pacific Economic Council (APEC) in Vietnam, offering an extended "tirade" against multilateral trade agreements, particularly the WTO. To counter intolerable "trade abuses," such as "product dumping, subsidized goods, currency manipulation, and predatory industrial policies," he swore that he would always "put America first" and not let it "be taken advantage of anymore." Having denounced a litany of trade violations that he termed nothing less than "economic aggression" against America, he invited everyone there to share his "Indo-Pacific dream" of the world as a "beautiful constellation" of "strong, sovereign, and independent nations," each working like the United States to build "wealth and freedom."

Responding to such a display of narrow economic nationalism from the globe's leading power, Xi Jinping had a perfect opportunity to play the world statesman and he took it, calling upon APEC to support an economic order that is "more open, inclusive, and balanced." He spoke of China's future economic plans as an historic bid for "interconnected development to achieve common prosperity on the Asian, European, and African continents."

As China has lifted 60 million of its own people out of poverty in just a few years and was committed to its complete eradication by 2020, so he urged a more equitable world order "to bring the benefits of development to countries across the globe." For its part, China, he assured his listeners, was ready to make "$2 trillion of outbound investment" -- much of it for the development of Eurasia and Africa (in ways, of course, that would link that vast region more closely to China). In other words, he sounded like a twenty-first century Chinese version of a twentieth-century American president, while Donald Trump acted more like Argentina's former presidente Juan Perón, minus the medals. As if to put another nail in the coffin of American global dominion, the remaining 11 Trans-Pacific trade pact partners, led by Japan and Canada, announced major progress in finalizing that agreement -- without the United States.

In addition to undermining NATO, America's Pacific alliances, long its historic fulcrum for the defense of North America and the dominance of Asia, are eroding, too. Even after 10 personal meetings and frequent phone calls between Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Donald Trump during his first 18 months in office, the president's America First trade policy has placed a "major strain" on Washington's most crucial alliance in the region. First, he ignored Abe's pleas and cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and then, as if his message hadn't been strong enough, he promptly imposed heavy tariffs on Japanese steel imports. Similarly, he's denounced the Canadian prime minister as "dishonest" and mimicked Indian Prime Minister Modi's accent, even as he made chummy with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and then claimed , inaccurately , that his country was "no longer a nuclear threat."

It all adds up to a formula for further decline at a faster pace.

Beijing's Grand Strategy

While Washington's influence in Asia recedes, Beijing's grows ever stronger. As China's currency reserves climbed rapidly from $200 billion in 2001 to a peak of $4 trillion in 2014, President Xi launched a new initiative of historic import. In September 2013, speaking in Kazakhstan, the heart of Asia's ancient Silk Road caravan route, he proclaimed a "one belt, one road initiative" aimed at economically integrating the enormous Eurasian land mass around Beijing's leadership. Through "unimpeded trade" and infrastructure investment, he suggested, it would be possible to connect "the Pacific and the Baltic Sea" in a proposed "economic belt along the Silk Road," a region "inhabited by close to 3 billion people." It could become, he predicted, "the biggest market in the world with unparalleled potential."

Within a year, Beijing had established a Chinese-dominated Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank with 56 member nations and an impressive $100 billion in capital, while launching its own $40 billion Silk Road Fund for private equity projects. When China convened what it called a "belt and road summit" of 28 world leaders in Beijing in May 2017, Xi could, with good reason, hail his initiative as the "project of the century."

Although the U.S. media has often described the individual projects involved in his "one belt, one road" project as wasteful , sybaritic , exploitative , or even neo-colonial , its sheer scale and scope merits closer consideration. Beijing is expected to put a mind-boggling $1.3 trillion into the initiative by 2027, the largest investment in human history, more than 10 times the famed American Marshall Plan, the only comparable program, which spent a more modest $110 billion (when adjusted for inflation) to rebuild a ravaged Europe after World War II.

Beijing's low-cost infrastructure loans for 70 countries from the Baltic to the Pacific are already funding construction of the Mediterranean's busiest port at Piraeus, Greece, a major nuclear power plant in England, a $6 billion railroad through rugged Laos, and a $46 billion transport corridor across Pakistan. If successful, such infrastructure investments could help knit two dynamic continents, Europe and Asia -- home to a full 70% percent of the world's population and its resources -- into a unified market without peer on the planet.

Underlying this flurry of flying dirt and flowing concrete, the Chinese leadership seems to have a design for transcending the vast distances that have historically separated Asia from Europe. As a start, Beijing is building a comprehensive network of trans-continental gas and oil pipelines to import fuels from Siberia and Central Asia for its own population centers. When the system is complete, there will be an integrated inland energy grid (including Russia's extensive network of pipelines) that will extend 6,000 miles across Eurasia, from the North Atlantic to the South China Sea. Next, Beijing is working to link Europe's extensive rail network with its own expanded high-speed rail system via transcontinental lines through Central Asia, supplemented by spur lines running due south to Singapore and southwest through Pakistan.

Finally, to facilitate sea transport around the sprawling continent's southern rim, China has already bought into or is in the process of building more than 30 major port facilities, stretching from the Straits of Malacca across the Indian Ocean, around Africa, and along Europe's extended coastline. In January, to take advantage of Arctic waters opened by global warming, Beijing began planning for a "Polar Silk Road," a scheme that fits well with ambitious Russian and Scandinavian projects to establish a shorter shipping route around the continent's northern coast to Europe.

Though Eurasia is its prime focus, China is also pursuing economic expansion in Africa and Latin America to create what might be dubbed the strategy of the four continents. To tie Africa into its projected Eurasian network, Beijing already had doubled its annual trade there by 2015 to $222 billion, three times that of the United States, thanks to a massive infusion of capital expected to reach a trillion dollars by 2025. Much of it is financing the sort of commodities extraction that has already made the continent China's second largest source of crude oil. Similarly, Beijing has invested heavily in Latin America, acquiring, for instance, control over 90% of Ecuador's oil reserves. As a result, its commerce with that continent doubled in a decade, reaching $244 billion in 2017, topping U.S. trade with what once was known as its own "backyard."

A Conflict with Consequences

This contest between Xi's globalism and Trump's nationalism has not been safely confined to an innocuous marketplace of ideas. Over the past four years, the two powers have engaged in an escalating military rivalry and a cutthroat commercial competition. Apart from a shadowy struggle for dominance in space and cyberspace, there has also been a visible, potentially volatile naval arms race to control the sea lanes surrounding Asia, specifically in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea. In a 2015 white paper, Beijing stated that "it is necessary for China to develop a modern maritime military force structure commensurate with its national security." Backed by lethal land-based missiles, jet fighters, and a global satellite system, China has built just such a modernized fleet of 320 ships, including nuclear submarines and its first aircraft carriers.

Within two years, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson reported that China's "growing and modernized fleet" was "shrinking" the traditional American advantage in the Pacific, and warned that "we must shake off any vestiges of comfort or complacency." Under Trump's latest $700-billion-plus defense budget, Washington has responded to this challenge with a crash program to build 46 new ships, which will raise its total to 326 by 2023. As China builds new naval bases bristling with armaments in the Arabian and South China seas, the U.S. Navy has begun conducting assertive "freedom-of-navigation" patrols near many of those same installations, heightening the potential for conflict.

It is in the commercial realm of trade and tariffs, however, where competition has segued into overt conflict. Acting on his belief that "trade wars are good and easy to win," President Trump slapped heavy tariffs, targeted above all at China, on steel imports in March and, just a few weeks later, punished that country's intellectual property theft by promising tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports. When those tariffs finally hit in July, China immediately retaliated against what it called "typical trade bullying" with similar tariffs on U.S. goods. The Financial Times warned that this "tit-for-tat" can escalate into a "full bore trade war that will be very bad for the global economy." As Trump threatened to tax $500 billion more in Chinese imports and issued confusing, even contradictory demands that made it unlikely Beijing could ever comply, observers became concerned that a long-lasting trade war could destabilize what the New York Times called the "mountain of debt" that sustains much of China's economy. In Washington, the usually taciturn Federal Reserve chairman issued an uncommon warning that "trade tensions could pose serious risks to the U.S. and global economy."

China as Global Hegemon?

Although a withering of Washington's global reach, abetted and possibly accelerated by the Trump presidency, is already underway, the shape of any future world order is still anything but clear. At present, China is the sole state with the obvious requisites for becoming the planet's new hegemon. Its phenomenal economic rise, coupled with its expanding military and growing technological prowess, provide that country with the obvious fundamentals for superpower status.

Yet neither China nor any other state seems to have the full imperial complement of attributes to replace the United States as the dominant world leader. Apart from its rising economic and military clout, China, like its sometime ally Russia, has a self-referential culture, non-democratic political structures, and a developing legal system that could deny it some of the key instruments for global leadership.

In addition to the fundamentals of military and economic power, "every successful empire," observes Cambridge University historian Joya Chatterji, "had to elaborate a universalist and inclusive discourse" to win support from the world's subordinate states and their leaders. Successful imperial transitions driven by the hard power of guns and money also require the soft-power salve of cultural suasion for sustained and successful global dominion. Spain espoused Catholicism and Hispanism, the Ottomans Islam, the Soviets communism, France a cultural francophonie , and Britain an Anglophone culture.

Indeed, during its century of global dominion from 1850 to 1940, Britain was the exemplar par excellence of such soft power, evincing an enticing cultural ethos of fair play and free markets that it propagated through the Anglican church, the English language and its literature, and the virtual invention of modern athletics (cricket, soccer, tennis, rugby, and rowing). Similarly, at the dawn of its global dominion, the United States courted allies worldwide through soft-power programs promoting democracy and development. These were made all the more palatable by the appeal of such things as Hollywood films, civic organizations like Rotary International , and popular sports like basketball and baseball.

China has nothing comparable. Its writing system has some 7,000 characters, not 26 letters. Its communist ideology and popular culture are remarkably, even avowedly, particularistic. And you don't have to look far for another Asian power that attempted Pacific dominion without the salve of soft power. During Japan's occupation of Southeast Asia in World War II, its troops went from being hailed as liberators to facing open revolt across the region after they failed to propagate their similarly particularistic culture.

As command-economy states for much of the past century, neither China nor Russia developed an independent judiciary or the autonomous rules-based order that undergirds the modern international system. From the foundation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 1899 through the formation of the International Court of Justice under the U.N.'s 1945 charter, the world's nations have aspired to the resolution of conflicts via arbitration or litigation rather than armed conflict. More broadly, the modern globalized economy is held together by a web of conventions, treaties, patents, and contracts grounded in law.

From its founding in 1949, the People's Republic of China gave primacy to the party and state, slowing the growth of an autonomous legal system and the rule of law. A test of its attitude toward this system of global governance came in 2016 when the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruled unanimously that China's claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea "are contrary to the Convention [on the Law of the Sea] and without lawful effect." Beijing's Foreign Ministry simply dismissed the adverse decision as "invalid" and without "binding force." President Xi insisted China's "territorial sovereignty and maritime rights" were unchanged, while the state Xinhua news agency called the ruling "naturally null and void."

If Donald Trump's vision of world disorder is a sign of the American future and if Beijing's projected $2 trillion in infrastructure investments, history's largest by far, succeed in unifying the commerce and transport of Asia, Africa, and Europe, then perhaps the currents of financial power and global leadership will indeed transcend all barriers and flow inexorably toward Beijing, as if by natural law. But if that bold initiative ultimately fails, then for the first time in five centuries the world may face an imperial transition without a clear successor as global hegemon. Moreover, it will do so on a planet where the " new normal " of climate change -- the heating of the atmosphere and the oceans , the intensification of flood, drought, and fire , the rising seas that will devastate coastal cities, and the cascading damage to a densely populated world -- could mean that the very idea of a global hegemon is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular , is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade , the now-classic book which probed the conjuncture of illicit narcotics and covert operations over 50 years, and the recently published In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power (Dispatch Books).

[Aug 18, 2018] https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/3/15914750/steve-bannon-trump-tax-rich

Aug 18, 2018 | www.vox.com

That might have been true .then. However, Bannon was never the puppet master (Trump is a capitalist who has never listened to anyone else apart from his own messy ego in his life: the idea that he would be a puppet for anyone, Bannon, Putin or whatever, is risible). Without wanting to raise from the dead the 'Trump is teh Hitler' meme: there is a very very tiny grain of truth in it, just as there is a very very tiny grain of truth in the right wing idea that Hitler was a socialist because his party had the word 'socialist' in it. Hitler's initial programme really did have a tiny element of 'socialism' in it, and some elements of the working class (shamefully) swallowed the lies and gained him votes.

But it was never real and Hitler was never going to deliver. He dealt with the Brownshirts (the most authentically 'working class' and 'socialist' part of the Nazi movement) in the Night of the Long Knives, and from that point on, the 'socialist' parts of the Nazi programme were steadily ditched, as the regime became more and more strongly right wing throughout the '30s.

Same with Trump (in this respect only). It's true that in the run up to the election he threw some scraps to the working class, and some of his protectionist rhetoric swung him some states in the Rust Belt. Some union supporters, to their shame, trooped along to the White House soon after.

But Trump, a right wing Republican who is, as I've said, far more orthodox a Republican than the media would have you believe, was never going to deliver. Bannon was the most 'left wing' of Trump's circle (and as his admiration for Thatcher makes clear, he was never very left wing) and he was quickly cast out. Trump did not, in fact, 'drain the swamp' and nor did he try. His major economic policy has turned out to be .tax cuts for the rich. And he has totally failed to follow through on the (interesting) isolationist rhetoric he used in his election campaign (despite the fact that some of us hoped otherwise). He has turned out to be as much of a warmonger as Obama or even Bush jr (even towards Russia, again despite what the media would have you believe).

And we haven't heard too much about that 'trillion dollar' investment in infrastructure recently have we?

The problem is that the Democrats have concentrated on the (mainly trivial and uninteresting) ways in which Trump differs from previous Republican Presidents (the lies, the silly tweets, the dubious rhetoric) and have therefore persuaded themselves that this 'unorthodox' President will have to be removed by 'unorthodox means'. 'Tain't so. Trump will be removed the only way any President (except Nixon) has ever been removed since the dawn of the Republic: by the opposing party organising, developing a strong program that people can believe in, and getting out the core vote. No election has ever been won any other way. In the case of the Democrats this means using the might and money of organised labour and activists to get candidates who can inspire and who have a genuinely progressive message that resonates with people.

Democrats, #Russiagate will not save you. Getting your core vote out to vote for a genuinely progressive candidate, will.

Likbez

@Hidari 08.18.18 at 6:41 pm

Powerful post and a veryclear thinking. Thank you !

Also an interesting analogy with NSDAP the 25-point Plan of 1928

Hitler's initial programme really did have a tiny element of 'socialism' in it, and some elements of the working class (shamefully) swallowed the lies and gained him votes.

But it was never real, and Hitler was never going to deliver. He dealt with the Brownshirts (the most authentically 'working class' and 'socialist' part of the Nazi movement) in the Night of the Long Knives, and from that point on, the 'socialist' parts of the Nazi programme were steadily ditched, as the regime became more and more strongly right wing throughout the '30s.

Same with Trump (in this respect only). It's true that in the run-up to the election he threw some scraps to the working class, and some of his protectionist rhetoric swung him some states in the Rust Belt. Some union supporters, to their shame, trooped along to the White House soon after.

Actually NSAP program of 1928 has some political demands which are to the left of Sanders such as "Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes", ".We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts)." and "We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries."

7.We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens... ... ...

... ... ...

9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work mentally or physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:

11.Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.

12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13.We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.

15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

... ... ...

21.The state is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

22.We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

23.We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press...

.... ... ...

24.We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race...

But I think Trump was de-facto impeached with the appointment of Mueller. And that was the plan ( "insurance" as Strzok called it). Mueller task is just to formalize impeachment.

Pence already is calling the shots in foreign policy via members of his close circle (which includes Pompeo). The recent "unilateral" actions of State Department are a slap in the face and, simultaneously, a nasty trap for Trump (he can cancel those sanctions only at a huge political cost to himself) and are a clear sign that Trump does not control even his administration. Here is how <a href="http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/august/17/america-the-punitive/">Philip Giraldi</a> described this obvious slap in the face:

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

From the very beginning, any anti-globalization initiative of Trump was sabotaged and often reversed. Haley is one example here. She does not coordinate some of her actions with Trump or the Secretary of State unliterary defining the US foreign policy.

Her ambitions worry Trump, but he can so very little: she is supported by Pence and Pence faction in the administration. Rumors "Haley/Pence 2020" surfaced and probably somewhat poison atmosphere in the WH.

Add to this that Trump has hostile to him Justice Department, CIA, and FBI. He also does not control some critical appointments such as the recent appointment of CIA director (who in no way can be called Trump loyalist).

Which means that in some ways Trump already is a hostage and more ceremonial President than a real.

[Aug 12, 2018] What is Trumpism by Sanjay Reddy

Notable quotes:
"... By Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.ineteconomics.org

... ... ...

Grappling with the shock of Donald Trump's election victory, most analysts focus on his appeal to those in the United States who feel left behind, wish to retrieve a lost social order, and sought to rebuke establishment politicians who do not serve their interests. In this respect, the recent American revolt echoes the shock of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but it is of far greater significance because it promises to reshape the entire global order, and the complaisant forms of thought that accompanied it.

Ideas played an important role in creating the conditions that produced Brexit and Trump. The 'social sciences' -- especially economics -- legitimated a set of ideas about the economy that were aggressively peddled and became the conventional wisdom in the policies of mainstream political parties, to the extent that the central theme of the age came to be that there was no alternative. The victory of these ideas in politics in turn strengthened the iron-handed enforcers of the same ideas in academic orthodoxy.

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. Economics made the case for such agreements, generally rejecting concerns over labor and environmental standards and giving short shrift to the effects of globalization in weakening the bargaining power of workers or altogether displacing them; to the need for compensatory measures to aid those displaced; and more generally to measures to ensure that the benefits of growth were shared. For the most part, economists casually waved aside such concerns, both in their theories and in their policy recommendations, treating these matters as either insignificant or as being in the jurisdiction of politicians. Still less attention was paid to crafting an alternate form of globalization, or to identifying bases for national economic policies taking a less passive view of comparative advantage and instead aiming to create it.

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

By Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

[Aug 11, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 11, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations. The second part of this claim has been pretty thoroughly demolished, so I want to look mainly at the first. However, as we will see, the corporate tax cuts remain central to the argument.

likbez>, 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations.

The emergence of Trumpism signifies deepening of the ideological crisis for the neoliberalism. Neoclassical economics fell like a house of cards. IMHO Trumpism can be viewed as a kind of "national neoliberalism" which presuppose rejection of three dogmas of "classic neoliberalism":

1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization including, but not limited to, free movement of labor. Attempt to protect domestic industries via tariff barriers.

2. Rejection of excessive financialization and primacy of financial oligarchy. Restoration of the status of manufacturing, and "traditional capitalists" status in comparison with financial oligarchy.

3. Rejection of austerity. An attempt to fight "secular stagnation" via Military Keysianism.

Trumpism sent "Chicago school" line of thinking to the dustbin of history. It exposed neoliberal economists as agents of financial oligarchy and "Enemy of the American People" (famous Trump phase about neoliberal MSM).

See, for example, a good summary by Sanjay Reddy ( Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research) at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/trumpism-has-dealt-a-mortal-blow-to-orthodox-economics-and-social-science.html

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. ...

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proletarianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions -- for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed 'populist' -- both an admission of the analysts' lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements -- the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others -- was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, 'big data', or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

[Aug 08, 2018] The Empire-Lovers Strike Back Trump, Putin and the Post-Helsinki Uproar by Richard Rubenstein

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Resolving Structural Conflicts ..."
"... How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed ..."
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Why, then, would a coalition of leftish and right-wing patriots not join in denouncing a leader who seemed to put Russia's interests ahead of those of his own country? Sorry to say, things are not so simple. Look a bit more closely at what holds the anti-Trump foreign policy coalition together, and you will discover a missing reality that virtually no one will acknowledge directly: the existence of a beleaguered but still potent American Empire whose junior partner is Europe. What motivates a broad range of the President's opponents, then, is not so much the fear that he is anti-American as the suspicion that he is anti-Empire.

Of course, neither liberals nor conservatives dare to utter the "E-word." Rather, they argue in virtually identical terms that Trump's foreign and trade policies are threatening the pillars of world order: NATO, the Group of Seven, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the OSCE, and so forth. These institutions, they claim, along with American military power and a willingness to use it when necessary, are primarily responsible for the peaceful, prosperous, free, and democratic world that we have all been privileged to inhabit since the Axis powers surrendered to the victorious Allies in 1945.

The fear expressed plainly by The New York Times 's David Leonhardt, a self-described "left-liberal," is that "Trump wants to destroy the Atlantic Alliance." Seven months earlier, this same fear motivated the arch-conservative National Review to editorialize that, "Under Trump, America has retreated from its global and moral leadership roles, alienated its democratic allies, and abandoned the bipartisan defense of liberal ideals that led to more than 70 years of security and prosperity." All the critics would agree with Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference, who recently stated, "Let's face it. Mr. Trump's core beliefs conflict with the foundations of Western grand strategy since the mid-1940's."

"Western grand strategy," of course, is a euphemism for U.S. global hegemony – world domination, to put it plainly. In addition to peace and prosperity (mainly for privileged groups in privileged nations), this is the same strategy which since 1945 has given the world the Cold War, the specter of a nuclear holocaust, and proxy wars consuming between 10 and 20 million lives in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Its direct effects include the overthrow of elected governments in Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Granada, Ukraine, et al.; the bribery of public officials and impoverishment and injury of workers and farmers world-wide as a result of exploitation and predatory "development" by Western governments and mega-corporations; the destruction of natural environments and exacerbation of global climate change by these same governments and corporations; and the increasing likelihood of new imperialist wars caused by the determination of elites to maintain America's global supremacy at all costs.

It is interesting that most defenders of the Western Alliance (and its Pacific equivalent: the more loosely organized anti-Chinese alliance of Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea) virtually never talk about American hegemony or the gigantic military apparatus (with more than 800 U.S. bases in 60 or so nations and a military-industrial complex worth trillions) that supports it. Nor is the subject of empire high on Mr. Trump's list of approved twitter topics, even when he desecrates NATO and other sacred cows of the Alliance. There are several reasons for this silence, but the most important, perhaps, is the need to maintain the pretense of American moral superiority: the so-called "exceptionalist" position that inspires McCain to attack Trump for "false equivalency" (the President's statement in Helsinki that both Russia and the U.S. have made mistakes), and that leads pundits left and right to argue that America is not an old-style empire seeking to dominate, but a new-style democracy seeking to liberate.

The narrative you will hear repeated ad nauseum at both ends of the liberal/conservative spectrum tells how the Yanks, who won WW II with a little help from the Russians and other allies, and who then thoroughly dominated the world both economically and militarily, could have behaved like vengeful conquerors, but instead devoted their resources and energies to spreading democracy, freedom, and the blessings of capitalism around the world. Gag me with a Tomahawk cruise missile! What is weird about this narrative is that it "disappears" not only the millions of victims of America's wars but the very military forces that nationalists like Trump claim deserve to be worshipfully honored. Eight hundred bases? A million and a half troops on active duty? Total air and sea domination? I'm shocked . . . shocked!

In fact, there are two sorts of blindness operative in the current U.S. political environment. The Democratic Party Establishment, now swollen to include a wide variety of Russia-haters, globalizing capitalists, and militarists, is blind (or pretends to be) to the connection between the "Western Alliance" and the American Empire. The Trump Party (which I expect, one of these days, to shed the outworn Republican label in favor of something more Berlusconi-like, say, the American Greatness Party) is blind – or pretends to be – to the contradiction between its professed
"Fortress America" nationalism and the reality of a global U.S. imperium.

This last point is worth emphasizing. In a recent article in The Nation , Michael Klare, a writer I generally admire, claims to have discovered that there is really a method to Trump's foreign policy madness, i.e., the President favors the sort of "multi-polar" world, with Russia and China occupying the two other poles, that Putin and Xi Jinping have long advocated. Two factors make this article odd as well as interesting. First, the author argues that multi-polarity is a bad idea, because "smaller, weaker states, and minority peoples everywhere will be given even shorter shrift than at present when caught in any competitive jousting for influence among the three main competitors (and their proxies)." Wha? Even shorter shrift than under unipolarity? I think not, especially considering that adding new poles (why just three, BTW? What about India and Brazil?) gives smaller states and minority peoples many more bargaining options in the power game.

More important, however, Trump's multi-polar/nationalist ideals are clearly contradicted by his determination to make American world domination even more overwhelming by vastly increasing the size of the U.S. military establishment. Klare notes, correctly, that the President has denounced the Iraq War, criticized American "overextension" abroad, talked about ending the Afghan War, and declared that the U.S. should not be "the world's policeman." But if he wants America to become a mere Great Power in a world of Great Powers, Trump will clearly have to do more than talk about it. He will have to cut the military budget, abandon military bases, negotiate arms control agreements, convert military-industrial spending to peaceful uses, and do all sorts of other things he clearly has no intention of doing. Ever.

No – if the Western Alliance, democratic values, and WTO trade rules provide ideological cover and junior partners for American global hegemony, "go-it-alone" nationalism, multi-polarity, and Nobel Peace Prize diplomatic efforts provide ideological cover for . . . American global hegemony! This can be seen most clearly in the case of Iran, against whom Trump has virtually declared war. He would like to avoid direct military involvement there, of course, but he is banking on threats of irresistible "fire and fury" to bring the Iranians to heel. And if these threats are unavailing? Then – count on it! – the Empire will act like an empire, and we will have open war.

In fact, Trump and his most vociferous critics and supporters are unknowingly playing the same game. John Brennan, meet Steve Bannon! You preach very different sermons, but you're working for the same god. That deity's name changes over the centuries, but we worship him every time we venerate symbols of military might at sports events, pay taxes to support U.S. military supremacy, or pledge allegiance to a flag. The name unutterable by both Trump and his enemies is Empire.

What do we do with the knowledge that both the Tweeter King and the treason-baiting coalition opposing him are imperialists under the skin? Two positions, I think, have to be rejected. One is the Lyndon Johnson rationale: since Johnson was progressive on domestic issues, including civil rights and poverty, that made him preferable to the Republicans, even though he gave us the quasi-genocidal war in Indochina. The other position is the diametric opposite: since Trump is less blatantly imperialistic than most Democratic Party leaders, we ought to favor him, despite his billionaire-loving, immigrant-hating, racist and misogynist domestic policies. Merely to say this is to refute it.

My own view is that anti-imperialists ought to decline to choose between these alternatives. We ought to name the imperial god that both Trump and his critics worship and demand that the party that we work and vote for renounce the pursuit of U.S. global hegemony. Immediately, this means letting self-proclaimed progressives or libertarians in both major parties know that avoiding new hot and cold wars, eliminating nuclear weapons and other WMD, slashing military spending, and converting war production to peaceful uses are top priorities that must be honored if they are to get our support. No political party can deliver peace and social justice and maintain the Empire at the same time. If neither Republicans nor Democrats are capable of facing this reality, we will have to create a new party that can.

Notes.

[1] The author is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University. His most recent book is Resolving Structural Conflicts : How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed (2017).

[Aug 05, 2018] The Empire-Lovers Strike Back Trump, Putin and the Post-Helsinki Uproar

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Resolving Structural Conflicts ..."
"... How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed ..."
Aug 05, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Why, then, would a coalition of leftish and right-wing patriots not join in denouncing a leader who seemed to put Russia's interests ahead of those of his own country? Sorry to say, things are not so simple. Look a bit more closely at what holds the anti-Trump foreign policy coalition together, and you will discover a missing reality that virtually no one will acknowledge directly: the existence of a beleaguered but still potent American Empire whose junior partner is Europe. What motivates a broad range of the President's opponents, then, is not so much the fear that he is anti-American as the suspicion that he is anti-Empire.

Of course, neither liberals nor conservatives dare to utter the "E-word." Rather, they argue in virtually identical terms that Trump's foreign and trade policies are threatening the pillars of world order: NATO, the Group of Seven, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the OSCE, and so forth. These institutions, they claim, along with American military power and a willingness to use it when necessary, are primarily responsible for the peaceful, prosperous, free, and democratic world that we have all been privileged to inhabit since the Axis powers surrendered to the victorious Allies in 1945.

The fear expressed plainly by The New York Times 's David Leonhardt, a self-described "left-liberal," is that "Trump wants to destroy the Atlantic Alliance." Seven months earlier, this same fear motivated the arch-conservative National Review to editorialize that, "Under Trump, America has retreated from its global and moral leadership roles, alienated its democratic allies, and abandoned the bipartisan defense of liberal ideals that led to more than 70 years of security and prosperity." All the critics would agree with Wolfgang Ischinger, chair of the Munich Security Conference, who recently stated, "Let's face it. Mr. Trump's core beliefs conflict with the foundations of Western grand strategy since the mid-1940's."

"Western grand strategy," of course, is a euphemism for U.S. global hegemony – world domination, to put it plainly. In addition to peace and prosperity (mainly for privileged groups in privileged nations), this is the same strategy which since 1945 has given the world the Cold War, the specter of a nuclear holocaust, and proxy wars consuming between 10 and 20 million lives in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Its direct effects include the overthrow of elected governments in Guatemala, Iran, Lebanon, Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Granada, Ukraine, et al.; the bribery of public officials and impoverishment and injury of workers and farmers world-wide as a result of exploitation and predatory "development" by Western governments and mega-corporations; the destruction of natural environments and exacerbation of global climate change by these same governments and corporations; and the increasing likelihood of new imperialist wars caused by the determination of elites to maintain America's global supremacy at all costs.

It is interesting that most defenders of the Western Alliance (and its Pacific equivalent: the more loosely organized anti-Chinese alliance of Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Korea) virtually never talk about American hegemony or the gigantic military apparatus (with more than 800 U.S. bases in 60 or so nations and a military-industrial complex worth trillions) that supports it. Nor is the subject of empire high on Mr. Trump's list of approved twitter topics, even when he desecrates NATO and other sacred cows of the Alliance. There are several reasons for this silence, but the most important, perhaps, is the need to maintain the pretense of American moral superiority: the so-called "exceptionalist" position that inspires McCain to attack Trump for "false equivalency" (the President's statement in Helsinki that both Russia and the U.S. have made mistakes), and that leads pundits left and right to argue that America is not an old-style empire seeking to dominate, but a new-style democracy seeking to liberate.

The narrative you will hear repeated ad nauseum at both ends of the liberal/conservative spectrum tells how the Yanks, who won WW II with a little help from the Russians and other allies, and who then thoroughly dominated the world both economically and militarily, could have behaved like vengeful conquerors, but instead devoted their resources and energies to spreading democracy, freedom, and the blessings of capitalism around the world. Gag me with a Tomahawk cruise missile! What is weird about this narrative is that it "disappears" not only the millions of victims of America's wars but the very military forces that nationalists like Trump claim deserve to be worshipfully honored. Eight hundred bases? A million and a half troops on active duty? Total air and sea domination? I'm shocked . . . shocked!

In fact, there are two sorts of blindness operative in the current U.S. political environment. The Democratic Party Establishment, now swollen to include a wide variety of Russia-haters, globalizing capitalists, and militarists, is blind (or pretends to be) to the connection between the "Western Alliance" and the American Empire. The Trump Party (which I expect, one of these days, to shed the outworn Republican label in favor of something more Berlusconi-like, say, the American Greatness Party) is blind – or pretends to be – to the contradiction between its professed
"Fortress America" nationalism and the reality of a global U.S. imperium.

This last point is worth emphasizing. In a recent article in The Nation , Michael Klare, a writer I generally admire, claims to have discovered that there is really a method to Trump's foreign policy madness, i.e., the President favors the sort of "multi-polar" world, with Russia and China occupying the two other poles, that Putin and Xi Jinping have long advocated. Two factors make this article odd as well as interesting. First, the author argues that multi-polarity is a bad idea, because "smaller, weaker states, and minority peoples everywhere will be given even shorter shrift than at present when caught in any competitive jousting for influence among the three main competitors (and their proxies)." Wha? Even shorter shrift than under unipolarity? I think not, especially considering that adding new poles (why just three, BTW? What about India and Brazil?) gives smaller states and minority peoples many more bargaining options in the power game.

More important, however, Trump's multi-polar/nationalist ideals are clearly contradicted by his determination to make American world domination even more overwhelming by vastly increasing the size of the U.S. military establishment. Klare notes, correctly, that the President has denounced the Iraq War, criticized American "overextension" abroad, talked about ending the Afghan War, and declared that the U.S. should not be "the world's policeman." But if he wants America to become a mere Great Power in a world of Great Powers, Trump will clearly have to do more than talk about it. He will have to cut the military budget, abandon military bases, negotiate arms control agreements, convert military-industrial spending to peaceful uses, and do all sorts of other things he clearly has no intention of doing. Ever.

No – if the Western Alliance, democratic values, and WTO trade rules provide ideological cover and junior partners for American global hegemony, "go-it-alone" nationalism, multi-polarity, and Nobel Peace Prize diplomatic efforts provide ideological cover for . . . American global hegemony! This can be seen most clearly in the case of Iran, against whom Trump has virtually declared war. He would like to avoid direct military involvement there, of course, but he is banking on threats of irresistible "fire and fury" to bring the Iranians to heel. And if these threats are unavailing? Then – count on it! – the Empire will act like an empire, and we will have open war.

In fact, Trump and his most vociferous critics and supporters are unknowingly playing the same game. John Brennan, meet Steve Bannon! You preach very different sermons, but you're working for the same god. That deity's name changes over the centuries, but we worship him every time we venerate symbols of military might at sports events, pay taxes to support U.S. military supremacy, or pledge allegiance to a flag. The name unutterable by both Trump and his enemies is Empire.

What do we do with the knowledge that both the Tweeter King and the treason-baiting coalition opposing him are imperialists under the skin? Two positions, I think, have to be rejected. One is the Lyndon Johnson rationale: since Johnson was progressive on domestic issues, including civil rights and poverty, that made him preferable to the Republicans, even though he gave us the quasi-genocidal war in Indochina. The other position is the diametric opposite: since Trump is less blatantly imperialistic than most Democratic Party leaders, we ought to favor him, despite his billionaire-loving, immigrant-hating, racist and misogynist domestic policies. Merely to say this is to refute it.

My own view is that anti-imperialists ought to decline to choose between these alternatives. We ought to name the imperial god that both Trump and his critics worship and demand that the party that we work and vote for renounce the pursuit of U.S. global hegemony. Immediately, this means letting self-proclaimed progressives or libertarians in both major parties know that avoiding new hot and cold wars, eliminating nuclear weapons and other WMD, slashing military spending, and converting war production to peaceful uses are top priorities that must be honored if they are to get our support. No political party can deliver peace and social justice and maintain the Empire at the same time. If neither Republicans nor Democrats are capable of facing this reality, we will have to create a new party that can.

Notes.

[1] The author is University Professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs at George Mason University. His most recent book is Resolving Structural Conflicts : How Violent Systems Can Be Transformed (2017).

[Aug 05, 2018] Donald Trump and the American Left by Rob Urie

With some editing for clarity.
Notable quotes:
"... As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump's racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected 'others.' ..."
"... What preceded Donald Trump was the Great Recession, the most severe capitalist crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession followed approximately three decades of neoliberal de-industrialization, of policies intended to reduce the power of organized labor, reduce working class wages and raise economic insecurity under the antique capitalist theory that destitution motivates workers to produce more for less in return. ..."
"... The illusion / delusion that these problems -- lost livelihoods, homes, social roles, relationships, sense of purpose and basic human dignity -- were solved, or even addressed, by national Democrats, illustrates the class divide at work. The economy that was revived made the rich fabulously rich, the professional / managerial class comfortable and left the other 90% in various stages of economic decline. ..."
"... Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. ..."
"... Democrats could have confronted the failures of neoliberalism without resorting to economic nationalism (as Mr. Trump did). And they could have confronted unhinged militarism without Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism. But this would have meant confronting their own history. And it would have meant publicly declaring themselves against the interests of their donor base. ..."
"... Mr. Trump's use of racialized nationalism is the primary basis of analyses arguing that he is fascist. Left unaddressed is the fact the the corporate-state form that is the basis of neoliberalism was also the basis of European fascism. Recent Left analysis proceeds from the premise that Trump control of the corporate-state form is fascism, while capitalist class control -- neoliberalism, is something else. ..."
"... Lest this not have occurred, FDR's New Deal was state capitalism approach within the framework of the corporatism (merge of corporations and a state) social formation. The only widely known effort to stage a fascist coup in the U.S. was carried out by Wall Street titans in the 1930s to wrest control from FDR before the New Deal was fully implemented. Put differently, the people who caused the Great Depression wanted to control its aftermath. And they were fascists. ..."
"... As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has been arguing for decades and Gilens and Page have recently chimed in, neither elections nor the public interest hold sway in the corridors of American power. The levers of control are structural -- congressional committee appointments go to the people with lots of money. Capitalist distribution controls the politics. ..."
"... The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing. ..."
"... Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book ..."
"... is published by CounterPunch Books. ..."
Aug 03, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The election of Donald Trump fractured the American Left. The abandonment of class analysis in response to Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism left identity politics to fill the void. This has facilitated the rise of neoliberal nationalism, an embrace of the national security state combined with neoliberal economic analysis put forward as a liberal / Left response to Mr. Trump's program. The result has been profoundly reactionary.

What had been unfocused consensus around issues of economic justice and ending militarism has been sharpened into a political program. A nascent, self-styled socialist movement is pushing domestic issues like single payer health care, strengthening the social safety net and reversing wildly unbalanced income and wealth distribution, forward. Left unaddressed is how this program will move forward without a revolutionary movement to act against countervailing forces.

As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump's racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected 'others.'

This points to the most potent fracture on the Left, the question of which is the more effective reactionary force, the Democrats' neoliberal nationalism or Mr. Trump's racialized version? As self-evident as the answer apparently is to the liberal / Left, it is only so through abandonment of class analysis. Race, gender and immigration status are either subsets of class or the concept loses meaning.

By way of the reform Democrat's analysis , it was the shift of working class voters from Barack Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016 that swung the election in Mr. Trump's favor. To the extent that race was a factor, the finger points up the class structure, not down. This difference is crucial when it comes to the much-abused 'white working-class' explanation of Mr. Trump's victory.

What preceded Donald Trump was the Great Recession, the most severe capitalist crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession followed approximately three decades of neoliberal de-industrialization, of policies intended to reduce the power of organized labor, reduce working class wages and raise economic insecurity under the antique capitalist theory that destitution motivates workers to produce more for less in return.

The illusion / delusion that these problems -- lost livelihoods, homes, social roles, relationships, sense of purpose and basic human dignity -- were solved, or even addressed, by national Democrats, illustrates the class divide at work. The economy that was revived made the rich fabulously rich, the professional / managerial class comfortable and left the other 90% in various stages of economic decline.

Left apparently unrecognized in bourgeois attacks on working class voters is that the analytical frames at work -- classist identity politics and liberal economics, are ruling class ideology in the crudest Marxian / Gramscian senses. The illusion / delusion that they are factually descriptive is a function of ideology, not lived outcomes.

Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can ] accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal nationalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind -- neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated.

Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. Watching the bourgeois Left put forward neoliberal trade theory to counter it would seem inexplicable without the benefit of class analysis.

Within the frame of identity politics rich and bourgeois blacks, women and immigrants have the same travails as their poor and working-class compatriots. Ben Carson (black), Melania Trump (female) and Melania Trump (immigrant) fit this taxonomy. For them racism, misogyny and xenophobia are forms of social violence. But they aren't fundamental determinants of how they live. The same can't be said for those brutalized by four decades of neoliberalism

The common bond here is a class war launched from above that has uprooted, displaced and immiserated a large and growing proportion of the peoples of the West. This experience cuts across race, gender and nationality making them a subset of class. If these problems are rectified at the level of class, they will be rectified within the categories of race, gender and nationality. Otherwise, they won't be rectified.

Democrats could have confronted the failures of neoliberalism without resorting to economic nationalism (as Mr. Trump did). And they could have confronted unhinged militarism without Mr. Trump's racialized nationalism. But this would have meant confronting their own history. And it would have meant publicly declaring themselves against the interests of their donor base.

Mr. Trump's use of racialized nationalism is the primary basis of analyses arguing that he is fascist. Left unaddressed is the fact the the corporate-state form that is the basis of neoliberalism was also the basis of European fascism. Recent Left analysis proceeds from the premise that Trump control of the corporate-state form is fascism, while capitalist class control -- neoliberalism, is something else.

Lest this not have occurred, FDR's New Deal was state capitalism approach within the framework of the corporatism (merge of corporations and a state) social formation. The only widely known effort to stage a fascist coup in the U.S. was carried out by Wall Street titans in the 1930s to wrest control from FDR before the New Deal was fully implemented. Put differently, the people who caused the Great Depression wanted to control its aftermath. And they were fascists.

More recently, the effort to secure capitalist control has been led by [neo]liberal Democrats using Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDS) clauses in trade agreements. So that identity warriors might understand the implications, this control limits the ability of governments to rectify race and gender bias because supranational adjudication can overrule them.

So, is race and / or gender repression any less repressive because capitalists control the levers? Colonial slave-masters certainly thought so. The people who own sweatshops probably think so. Most slumlords probably think so. Employers who steal wages probably think so. The people who own for-profit prisons probably think so. But these aren't 'real' repression, are they? Where's the animosity?

As political scientist Thomas Ferguson has been arguing for decades and Gilens and Page have recently chimed in, neither elections nor the public interest hold sway in the corridors of American power. The levers of control are structural -- congressional committee appointments go to the people with lots of money. Capitalist distribution controls the politics.

The liberal explanation for this is 'political culture.' The liberal solution is to change the political culture without changing the economic relations that drive the culture. This is also the frame of identity politics. The presence of a desperate and destitute underclass lowers working class wages (raising profits), but ending racism is a matter of changing minds?

This history holds an important lesson for today's nascent socialists. The domestic programs recently put forward, as reasonable and potentially useful as they are, resemble FDR's effort to save capitalism, not end it. The time to implement these programs was when Wall Street was flat on its back, when it could have been more. This is the tragedy of betrayal by Barack Obama his voters.

Despite the capitalist rhetoric at the time, the New Deal wasn't 'socialism' because it never changed control over the means of production, over American political economy. Internal class differences were reduced through redistribution, but brutal and ruthless imperialism proceeded apace overseas.

The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing.

Otherwise, the rich have assigned the opining classes the task of defending their realm. Step 1: divide the bourgeois into competing factions. Step 2: posit great differences between them that are tightly circumscribed to prevent history from inconveniently intruding. Step 3: turn these great differences into moral absolutes so that they can't be reconciled within the terms given. Step 4: pose a rigged electoral process as the only pathway to political resolution. Step 5: collect profits and repeat. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Rob Urie

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Aug 03, 2018] Donald Trump might be a symptom that neoliberal system is about to collapse

Amazing interview.
We are in the point when capitalist system (which presented itself as asocial system that created a large middle class) converted into it opposite: it is social system that could not deliver that it promised and now want to distract people from this sad fact.
The Trump adopted tax code is a huge excess: we have 40 year when corporation paid less taxes. This is last moment when they need another gift. To give them tax is crazy excess that reminding Louis XV of France. Those gains are going in buying of socks. And real growth is happening elsewhere in the world.
After WW2 there were a couple of decades of "golden age" of US capitalism when in the USA middle class increased considerably. That was result of pressure of working class devastated by Great Depression. Roosevelt decided that risk is too great and he introduced social security net. But capitalist class was so enraged that they started fighting it almost immediately after the New Deal was introduced. Business class was enrages with the level of taxes and counterattacked. Tarp act and McCarthyism were two successful counterattacks. McCarthyism converting communists and socialists into agents of foreign power.
The quality of jobs are going down. That's why Trump was elected... Which is sad. Giving your finger to the neoliberal elite does not solve their problem
Notable quotes:
"... Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction. ..."
"... When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. ..."
"... Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade. ..."
"... The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears. ..."
Jul 10, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

In another interesting interview with Chris Hedges, Richard Wolff explains why the Trump presidency is the last resort of a system that is about to collapse:

Finally, if everybody tries to save themselves (protection), we have a historical example: after the Great Depression that happened in Europe. And most people believe that it was a large part of what led to WWII after WWI, rather than a much saner collective effort. But capitalism doesn't go for collective efforts, it tends to destroy itself by its own mechanisms. There has to be a movement from below. Otherwise, there is no counter force that can take us in another direction.

So, absent that counter force we are going to see this system spinning out of control and destroying itself in the very way its critics have for so long foreseen it well might.

When Trump announced his big tariffs on China, we saw the stock market dropped 700 points in a day. That's a sign of the anxiety, the danger, even in the minds of capitalists, about where this is going. If we hadn't been a country with two or three decades of a middle class - working class paid really well - maybe we could have gotten away with this. But in a society that has celebrated its capacity to do what it now fails to do, you have an explosive situation.

Everything is done to avoid asking the question to what degree the system we have in place - capitalism is its name - is the problem. It's the Russians, it's the immigrants, it's the tariffs, it's anything else, even the pornstar, to distract us from the debate we need to have had that we haven't had for a half a century, which puts us in a very bad place. We've given a free pass to a capitalist system because we've been afraid to debate it. And when you give a free pass to any institution you create the conditions for it to rot, right behind the facade.

The Trump presidency is the last gasp, it's letting it all hang out. A [neoliberal] system that's gonna do whatever it can, take advantage of this moment, grab it all before it disappears.

In France, it was said 'Après moi, le déluge' (after me the catastrophe). The storm will break.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/60FrsWm9OAc

[Jul 22, 2018] Trump and the crisis of the neoliberal world order by Ashley Smith

A very interesting analysis from 2017
Notable quotes:
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order ..."
"... The American ruling class turned to neoliberalism after the failure of Keynesianism -- with its emphasis on state intervention and state-led development -- to overcome the economic crisis of the 1970s and restore profitability and growth in the system. Neoliberalism was not a conspiracy hatched by the Chicago School of Economics, but a strategy that developed in response to globalization and the end of the long postwar boom. ..."
"... For a period, the United States did indeed superintend a new global structure of world imperialism. It integrated most of the world's states into the neoliberal order it dubbed the Washington Consensus, using its international financial and trade institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization to compel all nations to adopt neoliberal policies that benefited a handful of powerful players. It used international loans and debt restructuring not only to remove trade and investment restrictions, but also to impose privatization and cuts in health, education, and other vital social services in states all over the world. The Pentagon deployed its military might to police and crush any so-called rogue states like Iraq. ..."
"... The Making of Global Capitalism ..."
"... Washington's attempt to lock in its dominance through its 2003 war and occupation of Iraq backfired. Even before launching the invasion, Bush recognized that the United States needed to do something to contain China and other rising rivals. In a sign of this growing awareness, he and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, rebranded China, which Clinton had called a strategic partner, as a strategic competitor. ..."
"... Bush used 9/11 as an opportunity to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, as part of a plan for serial "regime change" in the region. If it succeeded, the United States hoped it would be able to control rivals, particularly China, which is dependent on the region's strategic energy reserves. Instead, Washington suffered, in the words of General William Odom, the former head of the National Security Agency, its "greatest strategic disaster in American history." ..."
"... Iran, one of the projected targets for regime change in Bush's so-called "Axis of Evil," emerged as a beneficiary of the war. It secured a new ally in the form of the sectarian Shia fundamentalist regime in Iraq. And while the United States was bogged down in Iraq, China became increasingly assertive throughout the world, establishing new political and economic pacts throughout Latin America, the Middle East, and a number of African countries. ..."
"... Finally, the Great Recession of 2008 hammered the United States and its allies in the EU particularly hard. By contrast, Beijing's massive state intervention in the economy sustained its long boom and lifted the growth rates of countries in Latin America, Australia, Asia, and sections of Africa that exported raw materials to China. ..."
"... Trump's strategy to restore American dominance in the world is economic nationalism. This is the rational kernel within his erratic shell of bizarre tweets and rants. He wants to combine neoliberalism at home with protectionism against foreign competition. It is a position that breaks with the American establishment's grand strategy of superintending free-trade globalization. ..."
"... Demagogic appeals to labor aside, Trump is doing none of this for the benefit of American workers. His program is intended to restore the competitive position of American capital, particularly manufacturing, against its rivals, especially in China but also in Germany. ..."
"... This economic nationalism is paired with a promise to rearm the American military, which he views as having been weakened by Obama. Thus, Trump has announced plans to increase military spending by $54 billion. He wants to use this 9 percent increase in the military budget to build up the Navy and to modernize and expand the nuclear arsenal, even if that provokes other powers to do the same. As he quipped in December, "Let it be an arms race." 21 Trump's fire-breathing chief strategist, former Brietbart editor Steve Bannon, went so far as to promise, "We're going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years. There's no doubt about that." 22 ..."
"... Trump threatens a significant break with some previously hallowed institutions of US foreign policy. He has called NATO outdated. This declaration is really just a bargaining position to get the alliance's other members to increase their military spending. Thus, both his secretary of state and defense secretary have repeatedly reassured European states that the United States remains committed to NATO. More seriously, he denounced the EU as merely a vehicle for German capital. Thus, he supports various right-wing populist parties in Europe running on a promise to imitate Britain and leave the EU. ..."
"... Trump's "transactional" approach comes out most clearly in his stated approach to international alliances and blocs. He promises to evaluate all multilateral alliances and trade blocs from the standpoint of American interests against rivals. He will scrap some, replacing them with bilateral arrangements, and renegotiate others. Much of the establishment has reacted in horror to these threats, denouncing them as a retreat from Washington's responsibilities to its allies. ..."
"... Hoping that he can split Russia away from China and neutralize it as a lesser power, Trump then wants to confront China with tariffs and military challenges to its assertion of control of the South China Sea. Incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has already threatened to deny China access to its newly-built island bases in the South China Sea. ..."
"... On top of all this, multinational capital opposes his protectionism. Of course almost all capital is more overjoyed at his domestic neoliberalism, a fact demonstrated in the enormous stock market expansion, but they see his proposals of tariffs, renegotiation of NAFTA, and scrapping of the TPP and the TTIP as threats to their global production, service, and investment strategies. They consider his house economist, Peter Navarro, to be a crackpot. ..."
"... Beneath the governmental shell, whole sections of the unelected state bureaucracy -- what has been ominously described as the "deep state" -- also oppose Trump as a threat to their interests. He has openly attacked the CIA and FBI and threatens enormous cuts to the State Department as well as other key bureaucracies responsible for managing state policy at home and abroad. Many of these bureaucrats have engaged in a campaign of leaks, especially of Trump's connections with the Russian state. ..."
"... One of Trump's key allies, Newt Gingrich, gives a sense of how Trump's backers are framing the dispute with these institutions. "We're up against a permanent bureaucratic structure defending itself and quite willing to break the law to do so," he told the New York Times ..."
"... The Democratic Party selectively opposes some of Trump's program. But, instead of attacking him on his manifold reactionary policies, they have portrayed him as Putin's "Manchurian Candidate," posturing as the defenders of US power willing to stand up to Russia. ..."
"... Even if Trump weathers the storm of this resistance from above and below, his foreign policy could flounder on its own internal conflicts and inconsistencies. To take one example: his policy of collaboration with Russia in Syria could flounder on his simultaneous commitment to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran. Why? Because Iran is a Russian ally in the region. Most disturbingly, if the Trump administration goes into a deeper crisis, it will double down on its bigoted scapegoating of immigrants and Muslims to deflect attention from its failures. ..."
"... China is accelerating the transformation of its economy. It seeks to push out multinationals that have used it as an export-processing platform and replace them with its own state-owned and private corporations, which, like Germany, will export its surplus manufactured goods to the rest of the world market. 31 No wonder, then, that a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce found that 80 percent of American multinationals consider China inhospitable for business. ..."
"... China is also aggressively trying to supplant the United States as the economic hegemon in Asia. Immediately after Trump nixed the TPP, China appealed to states in the Asia Pacific region to sign on to its alternative trade treaty, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China is determined to challenge American imperial rule of the Asia Pacific. Though its navy is far smaller than Washington's, it plans to accelerate efforts to build up its regional naval power against Trump's threats to block Chinese access to the strategic islands in the South China Sea. ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... Imperial Brain Trust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy ..."
"... Wall Street's Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order ..."
"... International Socialism Journal ..."
"... Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... Imperialism and World Economy, ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and the State in a Transitional World ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... International Socialist Review ..."
"... USA Today ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... The Progressive ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
"... Socialist Worker ..."
Jul 22, 2018 | isreview.org

The neoliberal world order of free-trade globalization that the United States has pioneered since the end of the Cold War is in crisis. The global slump, triggered by the 2007 Great Recession, has intensified competition not only between corporations, but also between the states that represent them and whose disagreements over the terms of trade have paralyzed the World Trade Organization. Similar conflicts between states have disrupted regional free-trade deals and regional blocs. Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement failed to come to a vote in Congress, and now Trump has scrapped it. The vote for Brexit in the United Kingdom is a precedent that could lead other states to bolt from the European Union. Rising international tensions, especially between the United States, China, and Russia, fill the daily headlines.

Indeed, the world has entered a new period of imperialism. As discussed in previous articles in this journal, the unipolar world order based on the dominance of the United States, which has been eroding for some time, has been replaced by an asymmetric multipolar

world order. The United States remains the only superpower, and possesses by far the largest military reach, but it faces a global rival in China and a host of lesser rivals like Russia. And the competition between nation-states over the balance of geopolitical and economic power is intensifying.

The multiple crises and conflicts have also confronted all the world's states with the largest migration crisis in history. Over fifty million migrants and refugees are fleeing economies devastated by neoliberalism, the economic crisis, political instability, and in the case of the Middle East -- especially Syria -- counterrevolution against the Arab Spring uprisings. The bourgeois establishment and their right-wing challengers have scapegoated these migrants in country after country.

All of this has destabilized bourgeois politics throughout the world, opening the door to both the Left and the Right posing as alternatives to the establishment. In the United States, Donald Trump won the presidency with the promise to "Make America Great Again" by putting "America First." He threatens to retreat from the post-Cold War grand strategy of the United States overseeing the international free-trade regime, in favor of economic nationalism and what has been described as a "transactional" approach to international politics.

While Trump aims to continue certain neoliberal policies at home (such as deregulation, privatization, and tax cuts for the wealthy), his international policies represent a significant shift away from global "free trade." He has promised to rip up or renegotiate free-trade deals and impose protectionist tariffs on economic competitors. To enforce this, he wants to rearm the American military to push back against all rivals -- China in particular -- and conduct what he depicts in racist fashion a civilizational war against Islam in the Middle East. He marries this militaristic nationalism to a bigoted campaign of scapegoating against immigrants, Muslims, Blacks, women, and all other oppressed groups.

Panic in the imperial brain trust

The architects and ideologues of American imperialism recognize that their grand strategy is in crisis, and worry that Trump's new stand will only magnify it. The Financial Times ' Martin Wolf declares,

We are, in short, at the end of both an economic period -- that of western-led globalization -- and a geopolitical one -- the post-cold war "unipolar moment" of a US-led global order. The question is whether what follows will be an unraveling of the post-second world war era into de-globalization and conflict, as happened in the first half of the 20th century, or a new period in which non-western powers, especially China and India, play a bigger role in sustaining a co-operative global order. 1

Obama's favorite neocon Robert Kagan warns that Washington's retreat from managing the world system risks "backing into World War III," the title of the piece in which he writes:

Think of two significant trend lines in the world today. One is the increasing ambition and activism of the two great revisionist powers, Russia and China. The other is the declining confidence, capacity, and will of the democratic world, and especially of the United States, to maintain the dominant position it has held in the international system since 1945. As those two lines move closer, as the declining will and capacity of the United States and its allies to maintain the present world order meet the increasing desire and capacity of the revisionist powers to change it, we will reach the moment at which the existing order collapses and the world descends into a phase of brutal anarchy, as it has three times in the past two centuries. The cost of that descent, in lives and treasure, in lost freedoms and lost hope, will be staggering. 2

In somewhat more measured tones, the imperial brain trust of American imperialism, the Council on Foreign Relations, is using their journal, Foreign Affairs , to oppose Trump and defend the existing neoliberal order with minor modifications. 3 Stewart Patrick, for example, worries that Trump has laid-out

no broader vision of the Unites States' traditional role as defender of the free world, much less outline how the country play that part. In foreign policy and economics, he has made clear that the pursuit of narrow national advantage will guide his policies -- apparently regardless of the impact on the liberal world order that the United States has championed since 1945. That order was fraying well before November 8. It had been battered from without by challenges from China and Russia and weakened from within by economic malaise in Japan and crises in Europe, including the epochal Brexit vote last year. No one knows what Trump will do as president. But as a candidate, he vowed to shake up world politics by reassessing long-standing U.S. alliances, ripping up existing U.S. trade deals, raising trade barriers against China, disavowing the Paris climate agreement, and repudiating the nuclear accord with Iran. Should he follow through on these provocative plans, Trump will unleash forces beyond his control, sharpening the crisis of the Western-centered order.

The Council's Gideon Rose fears that Trump is introducing "damaging uncertainty into everything from international commerce to nuclear deterrence. At worst, it could cause other countries to lose faith in the order's persistence and start to hedge their bets, distancing themselves from the Unites States, making side deals with China and Russia, and adopting beggar-thy-neighbor programs." 4

But the Council and the rest of the foreign policy establishment have little to offer as a solution to the crisis they describe. For example, the Council on Foreign Relations' president, Richard Haass's, new book, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order , produces little more than tactical maneuvers designed to incorporate America's rivals into the existing neoliberal order. 5 But it is within that very order that the United States has undergone relative decline against its increasingly assertive rivals, especially China.

Neoliberalism's solution to the crisis last time

The American ruling class turned to neoliberalism after the failure of Keynesianism -- with its emphasis on state intervention and state-led development -- to overcome the economic crisis of the 1970s and restore profitability and growth in the system. Neoliberalism was not a conspiracy hatched by the Chicago School of Economics, but a strategy that developed in response to globalization and the end of the long postwar boom.

The US ruling class adopted what later came to be known as neoliberalism in coherent form under the regimes of Ronald Reagan in the United States and Margaret Thatcher in Britain. 6 Neoliberalism had domestic and international dimensions. At home, the mantra was privatization and deregulation. The ruling class got rid of regulations on capital and launched a war against workers. They privatized state-run businesses as well as traditionally state-run institutions like prisons and schools. They busted unions, drove down wages, and cut the welfare state to ribbons.

Abroad, the United States expanded the program of "free trade" they had pursued since the end of World War II. Seeking cheap labor, resources, and markets, Washington used its dominance of international institutions to pry open national economies throughout the world. It aimed first to incorporate its allies, then its antagonists in this neoliberal world order, with the promise that it would work in the interests of "the capitalist class" around the world. As Henry Kissinger once remarked, "What is called globalization is really another name for the dominant role of the United States." 7 These domestic and international policies overcame the crises of the 1970s and ushered in a period of economic expansion (interrupted by a few recessions) that lasted from the early 1980s through to the early 2000s. 8

The brief unipolar moment

Unable to keep pace with the West's economic expansion and the Reagan administration's massive rearmament program, and beset by its own internal contradictions, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and the Cold War's bipolar geopolitical order came to an end. The United States hoped to establish a new unipolar world order in which it would solidify its position as the world's sole remaining, and unassailable, superpower.

For a period, the United States did indeed superintend a new global structure of world imperialism. It integrated most of the world's states into the neoliberal order it dubbed the Washington Consensus, using its international financial and trade institutions like the IMF, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization to compel all nations to adopt neoliberal policies that benefited a handful of powerful players. It used international loans and debt restructuring not only to remove trade and investment restrictions, but also to impose privatization and cuts in health, education, and other vital social services in states all over the world. The Pentagon deployed its military might to police and crush any so-called rogue states like Iraq.

Amidst the heady days of this unipolar moment, much of the left abandoned the classical Marxist theory of imperialism developed chiefly by the early twentieth century Russian revolutionaries Vladimir Lenin and Nikolai Bukharin. In brief, Lenin and Bukharin argued that capitalist development transformed economic competition into interstate rivalry and war for the political and economic division and redivision of the world system between the dominant capitalist powers vy