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

Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

Socialism for corporations and financial oligarchy (The New Nomenklatura)

Version 2.1, Jan 2, 2018

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura The Iron Law of Oligarchy Noble Lie American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism
Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Influence of Israel lobby Does Israel attempts to rig the US elections? US and British media are servants of security apparatus The Deep State Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
Neoliberalism war on organized labor Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Neoliberal debt slavery Doublespeak Animal Farm Anti-globalization movement Neoliberalism and Christianity
Quite coup Destruction of the New Deal Glass-Steagall repeal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'état  Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Identity politics as divide and conquer The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Propaganda Neoliberal rationality Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Neoliberal newspeak Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fascism National Security State Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism Inverted Totalitarism  Totalitarian Decisionism
The Great Betrayal: "Soft" neoliberals as Vichy Left Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switch Bill Clinton Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
  "Neoliberalism was a stunning utopia of  economic determinism, one even more ambitious than that of Marx."

-- Logos


Introduction

“What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.”
Joseph Goebbels

There were two major favors of Bolshevism -- Trotskyism and Stalinism. Them main different is in the attitude to exporting revolution to other countries. Trotsky preached so called permanent revolution -- forceful regime changes in other countries, while Stalin adhered to more isolationist worldview ("Socialism in a single country").  In a way the whole Mont Pelerin Society can be renamed into "The Committee for the adaptation of Trotskyism for the needs of financial oligarchy"

Neoliberalism is essentially Trotskyism refashioned for the needs of the global financial elite.  That's probably why the first substantial support Mont Perelin Society got in England.

This "socialism for corporations, feudalism for everybody" adapted a large part of Trotskyism ideology and, especially, political instruments, carefully hiding the origins.   Instead of "proletarians of all countries unite" we have the slogan "neoliberal elites of all countries unite". Like Communism is supposed to be the result of revolt of proletariat against its oppressions, Neoliberalism can be considered to be the revolt of the elite (and first of all financial elite) against excessive level of equality that characterized the world after WWII.  They key goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up at the expense of working class and lower middle class.  Like Trotskyism in the past, it is a militant and dogmatic faith that ostracizes heretics and utilizes the full power of propaganda to brainwash the population. Like Bolsheviks' Communist International this virtual "Union of Neoliberal States" have zero  tolerance for other social system or deviations from so called Washington consensus -- the dogmatic statement of main goal of neoliberalism in weaker countries. Like was the case with Bolshevism media dogs and intelligence  agencies are unleashed on dissenters.  Universities were refashioned into neoliberalism indoctrination camp by making neoclassical economics the obligatory discipline, without taking a course in neo-classical economy the student can't graduate.  Much like Marxism-Leninism philosophy course and Marxist political economy course were obligatory in the USSR universities.

Permanent revolution was refashioned into regime change efforts with "color revolution" as the major instrument of such a change. If color revolution mechanisms fail, the direct military invasion is always an option ("export of neoliberal democracy of the tips of bayonets", so to speak).  Subversive methods like color revolutions are polished to perfection. Recently they were used inside the USA as Clinton  wing of Democratic Party (aka "soft neoliberalism")  against Trump, who was elected on the platform of "anti-globalization", anti-outsourcing/offshoring", and ending foreign wars.  See NeoMcCartyism

The key idea here is that "free market" in neoliberalism replaces the notion of "dictatorship of proletariat".  The notion of the "world revolution" is preserved. Neoliberals  do not want to wait until "free market" wins in the society on its own merits. They do not believe in Laissez-faire. Like Leninists they want to use state to build the society in which "dictatorship of market" happens.  To enforce this society on people. This is not about libertarian dream of the state as "night watchman", on the contrary state in neoliberal doctrine state of "neoliberal dictatorship" which is active in enforcing "free market" mechanisms, despite possible resistance of the society.

Neoliberals like Trotskyites are globalists par excellence and dream about world neoliberal revolution. Like Bolsheviks with communism, they reject any other forms of social organization other then neoliberalism. And want to export neoliberalism to all countries of the world. If necessary using US bombers and tanks.

In other words while idea of the state under neoliberalism is identical to Bolsheviks view of state (and is very similar to the views of the Islamic state, if you wish ;-), the foreign policy under neoliberalism is the neoliberal empire expansion policy similar to idea of "World Revolution" which is the central postulate of Trotskyism.  In other words neoliberals strongly believe in "Export of revolution", it is just disguised for unwashed masses as export of democracy.  Kind of neoliberal jihad (The Totalitarian Nature of Islam)

"Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam." "Marx has taught that Communism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Mahommet." Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.
Russell [114]

Perhaps it was Charles Watson who first described Islam as totalitarian in 1937, and proceeded to show how: "By a million roots, penetrating every phase of life, all of them with religious significance, it is able to maintain its hold upon the life of Moslem peoples. "Bousquet, one of the foremost authorities on Islamic Law, distinguishes two aspects of Islam which he considers totalitarian: Islamic Law, and the Islamic notion of Jihad which has for its ultimate aim the conquest of the entire world, in order to submit it to one single authority. We shall consider jihad in the next chapter, here we shall confine ourselves to Islamic Law.

Mont Perelin society  which developed the neoliberal doctrine and served like Communist International for neoliberalism, was deliberately structured like a congress of pre-selected and pre-approved thinkers, allowing no dissent, and  working in secrecy. Much like the new incarnation of Bolsheviks party. They explicitly rework the key methods of social struggle invented by Bolsheviks and Trotskyites to the their own ends.  Many subversive method used by neoliberal state to enforce the rule of neoliberalism in other countries were first invented and tried by Communist International.  Marx is probably now spinning in his grave seeing how his teaching and methods adapted by social-democratic parties were subverted and bastardized to serve the rich.

According to neoliberal doctrine, free market like socialist social system just do not happen naturally: they should be built and enforced by the "Party" despite all the resistance. and the Party in this case was artificially constructed of bribed intellectuals and (what is even more important) of the network of  neoliberal think tanks. this idea to use "think tank" as the major weapon if the unleashing neoliberal revolution was also a direct (but creative)  borrowing from Bolsheviks practice.

And as we all know tanks is formidable weapon on a modern battlefields. The same is true with think tanks in social battlefields.  So like Trotskyites they are constructivists long before the term became popular (emergence of neoliberalism as a movement belong to early 30th). Nothing is left to the chance. 

In other words this like Trotskyism neoliberalism is practically undistinguished from a secular religion. That's why  some researchers call it  a market uber alles religion.  The key dogma is "There is no God other then the Market... " In other words, Market under neoliberal doctrine does not need any justification. It is the ultimate deity that judges the mere mortals, which needs to be imposed on the people by the power of the state,  and requires absolute compliance, achieved by spilling blood, if necessary.  Much like the idea of communism is a deity for Bolsheviks, which requires no justification and needs to be imposed on the people by whatever means necessary.

In both cases they are sold as kind of heaven on the earth. In this sense this is market fundamentalism which is a lot in common with Islamic Fundamentalism. Market is the heaven on earth for neoliberals and neoliberal priests (which are pretty well paid folk, look at Summers or Rubin ;-) have the same promise of twenty virgins to the followers. In they case virgins can be simply bought on money that the neoliberalism will bestow on the individual who will follow the teaching making him rich ;-).  The actual reality is somewhat different. It is impossible to make rich everybody; this is reserved to the top 1% or 0.01%, while "shmucks" standard  of living tend to deteriorate.  But this is a hidden "esoteric" truth the neoliberalism does not advertise. In any case you see the analogy. 

Like Trotskyites they were militant faction which wanted to seize the power but whatever means possible. And they want to forcefully destroy all alternatives including first of all socialism. Their attitude toward socialism is the exact morrow of Trotskyites view about capitalism -- they believe that socialism belong to the dustbin of history, and if it does not want to die "naturally" it is OK to help him to go to the grave. 1973 Chilean coup d'état against  President Salvador Allende,  is a perfect example of their ideology in action. color revolution are another. This is how Lenin would force the revolution. They just uses CIA instead of terrorist underground forces used by Bolsheviks (in case of Bolsheviks often cooperating with anarchist military faction -- so called 'boeviks").  There is even some uneasy alliance of islamist radicals Western intelligence agencies and neoliberal NGO  in which neoliberal try to use islamist to achieve their goals.  The same lack of principles and amorality was typical for Bolsheviks.  In is important to understand that  despite scholarly camouflage key neoliberal figures such as Milton Friedman were actually criminals. Minton Friedman hands were  up to the elbow in blood of innocent victims due to  killing many Chileans during Pinochet coup (objective view is our view of people which we do not like, so communists probably provided the most biting critique of neoliberalism and neoliberals ;-) :  

In 1975, the New York Times accurately labeled him “the guiding light of the junta’s economic policy” (21 September 1975). The CIA funded a 300-page Friedmanite blueprint given to the leaders of the junta in preparation for the coup. In March 1975 Friedman himself, accompanied by his U of C cohort Arnold Harberger, flew to Chile for high-level talks with the regime to outline the economic “shock treatment” that led to the mass starvation of those who had survived the initial phase of bloodletting.

So the world revolution in Trotskyite doctrine is simply replaced by "world neoliberal revolution by what ever means possible". Criminal actions are OK.  Like with Trotskyism "the goal justifies the means".

Another interesting question is why those people were help-bent of anti-communism, were so adamantly against socialism? One explanation is that most of them were from Austrian aristocracy circles. Another is that in their view (and first of all Hayek) market is a kind of natural "supercomputer" that can provide solutions to all world problems that no government can do. But, at the same time being closet  neo-Trotskyites they advocate military coups and killing of dissenters to achieve their goals.

Their "utilitarian view" of the legitimacy of government, also extents to science. Like for Trotskyites with their bogus concept of "proletarian science", the science in their worldview is useful only to the extent it help to built neoliberalism. So there is scientific theories and scientists which  needs to be financially supported and promoted and the scientific theories and scientists  that needs to be suppressed and ostracized.  Kind of new Lysenkoism.

That sound profoundly anti-democratic and that's completely true. Neoliberals do not care about democracy. They care only about "free market" -- their deity like communists cared only about Communism -- their deity. And both are ready to commit any crimes to achieve their goals.  In other words they are a new type of a dangerous totalitarian sect. and the brand of Totalitarism they promote was called by Wolin "Inverted Totalitarism". Their approach smells with Lysenkoism. And that' true -- neoliberal practice is very close to practice of Lysenkoism, especially in the field of economics: they occupied all commanding positions in economic departments of universities and forcefully suppress any dissent. The only difference is that they use the power of state just for ostracism and isolation. They do not send "non-conforming" scientists to GULAG like Bolsheviks did.  But they introduce a new interesting nuance: as the science became a "marketplace of ideas", under neoliberalism you can just buy the scientist you like on the market.  Education also needs to be restructured as market. Which already happened in the USA.

So we really are talking about neoliberal revolution in the USA, which destroyed the New Deal capitalism by mercilessly destroying all the relevant law. You are liming in new brave neoliberal world now.

We can think about neoliberalism employing typical Trotskyite methods of "gain power first" implement neoliberal policies later. In a way, neoliberalism is the second after Bolshevism social model that is totally artificially constructed and explicitly planned to be enforced on unsuspecting people via subversive actions of a totalitarian sect.   Like Bolshevism was dictatorship of the Communist Party nomenklatura, neoliberalism is dictatorship of financial oligarchy. Both neoliberalism and Bolshevism despise democracy and need a strong state which implements neoliberal policies "from above" -- reforming the society despite the wishes of population (exactly like bolshevism did it in the USSR space and later in Eastern Europe). 

This symbiosis of strong state (in a form of "national security state" and super powerful intelligence agencies -- often called "the deep state")  and corporation via the rule of financial oligarchy  makes neoliberalism a modern flavor of corporatism. Inverted totalitarism as Sheldon Wolin called it. Like bolshevism neoliberalism relies of power of propaganda (first of all via think tanks -- its ingenious invention) as well as classic methods used by Bolsheviks such as  indoctrination via economics courses at university economics departments and constant pro-neoliberal propaganda in major MSM owned and operated by large corporations.

Up to 2000 in the USA standard of living and employment level was maintained  (partially via computer revolution, partially  via "expropriation" of resources and capital at xUSSR space), although there are limits to that and at some point self-destruction process inevitably starts  and the neoliberal society gradually slips into secular stagnation, somewhat similar to Brezhnev's stagnation period in the USSR.  In the USA is characterized by the loss of jobs and manufacturing to outsourcing, as well as degeneration of neoliberal elite (matching if not exceeding the degeneration of neoliberal elite).   Which at the end created conditions for the rise to power of Trump and his team of "bastard neoliberals" (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization, somewhat similar to Stalin's idea of 'socialism ins single country").

Like Trotskyism in the past (with their slogan of "World revolution" borrowed by neoliberalism) neoliberals in general and neocons in particular (as "neoliberals with the gun") are hell-bent of creating Global Neoliberal empire. Killing millions people in the process. And destroying the well-being of the majorly of people in their host country (the USA in case of neoliberals, the Russian empire -- USSR --  in case of Trotskyites  and later Bolsheviks ).

For them  ‘We Think the Price Is Worth It’"  as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright put it.  This Nietzschean-style complete disregard of common people is probably the most common feature between those two "man-eater" class ideologies. Those Nietzschean Ubermensch like classic psychopaths just do not have compassion for other people. They are objects, tools for them.   Actually you learn a lot about neoliberals by studying psychopath and sociopath behaviour, especially female sociopath.  The percent of sociopaths in the society is by various estimate is over 5% which considerably exceeds the number of people required for forming the elite or the top 1%  of neoliberal society.

Like Marxism before, neoliberalism provides its own ethics and its own rationality.   It enforces a new encompassing "economic rationalism" (aka economism) , which should displace old, "outdated" and more humane rationality of New Deal capitalism.

The ethics of neoliberalism, or "Neoliberal rationality",  is heavily tilted toward viewing people as "homo economicus".  Like Marxism (and, by extension, Trotskyism and Bolshevism/Stalinism ) it "articulates crucial elements of  the language, practice and subjectivity according to a specific image of the economics." Like Trotskyism before it directly assaults the idea of democratic governance and the rule of the law proving perverted rationality,  elements of which are erringly similar to the ideas of "vanguard",  "proletarian justice",  " journalists as solders of the Party"  and, especially, "Permanent Revolution". 

It rejects the idea of social solidarity (emphasizing it for Undermensch "individual responsibility" including "who does not work, should not eat")   replacing it, like Marxism before, with the idea of class solidarity (The members of transnational financial elite unite"). They also pervert the idea of the rule of the law, which animated so much of modernity, hollowing out democratic practices and institutions while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal (as in neo-feudal) forms of the elite dominance, promoting Nietzsche separation of mankind into two caste: Undermensch ("despicables" in Hillary Clinton words) and Ubermensch  ("creative class").  In a way neoliberalism is socialism for rich and feudalism for poor.

Like Marxism before it, neoliberalism wear the mantle of inevitability. As Bruce Wilder noted in his post on Crooked Timber blog (11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30): 

It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability.

Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, in a meteorological economics.

For example, instead of permanent revolution we have permanent democratization via color revolutions and military invasions for the expansion of neoliberal empire..  With the same fake idea of creating a global neoliberal empire which will make everybody happy and prosperous.

While this is never advertized (and actually the whole term "neoliberalism" is kind of  "hidden" from the population and its discussion is a taboo in neoliberal MSM), implicitly Neoliberalism adopted a considerable part of Trotskyism doctrine and even bigger part of its practice, especially foreign policy practice. Like KGB in the USSR, CIA became presidents praetorian guard (which occasionally revolts, see JFK assassination).  

Like Logos noted this is yet another stunning "economic-political" utopia with the level of economic determinism even more ambitious than that of Marx... But what is important to understand is that this doctrine incorporates significant parts of Trotskyism  in pretty innovating, unobvious way. Thus, Marx famous quote "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce" is fully applicable here: instead of revolt of proletariat which Marxists expected we got the revolt of financial oligarchy. And this revolt led to the formation of the powerful Transnational Elite International (with Congresses in Basel) instead of Communist International (with Congresses in Moscow). Both Trotsky and Marx are probably rolling in their graves seeing such a wicked mutation of their beloved political ideology.

Neoliberalism is also an example of emergence of ideologies, not from their persuasive power or inner logic, but from the private interests of the ruling elite.  Political pressure and money created the situation in which intellectually bankrupt ideas could prevail much like Catholicism prevailed during Dark Ages in Europe. In a way, this is return to Dark Ages on a new level. Hopefully this period will not last as long. But as there is no countervailing force on the horizon, only the major change in economic conditions, such as end of cheap oil can lead to demise of neoliberalism. 

 Neoliberalism consists of the same three components as in Marxism: philosophy, political economy and neoliberal ethics (aka neoliberal rationality).

 The ideas that neoliberalism borrowed from Trotskyism

Among the ideas that neoliberalism borrowed from Trotskyism via renegades Trotskyites turned neoconservatives (and for all practical purposes Neoconservatism is just neoliberalism with a gun) such as James Burnham we can mention the following:

  1. The mantle of inevitability (famous TINA statement of Margaret Thatcher is an apt demonstration of this) Globalization and financialization were just "forces" that just happened, as weather "happens" in meteorology.  As Bruce Wilder noted in his post on Crooked Timber blog (11.16.16 at 10:07 pm 30): 

    It was characteristic of neoliberalism that the policy, policy intention and policy consequences were hidden behind a rhetoric of markets and technological inevitability. Matt Stoller has identified this as the statecraft of neoliberalism: the elimination of political agency and responsibility for economic performance and outcomes. 

  2. The concept of the  "new class" which is destined to guide the humanity with the replacement of "proletariat" with the "creative class".  The latter is a rehash of the Nietzschean concept of Ubermensch. This creating/managerial/entrepreneur  class which is similar to Soviet nomenklatura.  Rejection of  Christianity and the idea of human solidarity. Like was the case in the USSR, it places the control of the society in comparatively few hands; in this sense Neoliberal nomenklatura is very similar to Soviet nomenklatura. In both cases their position in social hierarchy by-and-large is determined by the position the individual has in government, military, or private industry.  Loss of the position means substantial downgrade in neoliberal social hierarchy, much like in the USSR. In other words wealth is not enough for high social status.  This leads to the similar adverse effects (Ivy League universities as the membership card to the elite and corresponding  degradation of the level of education (Bush II managed to graduate as many other "not so talented" sons and daughters of the elite). Suppression of dissent created promotion of "yes-men" resulting in gradual degeneration of the elite, as happened with Soviet nomenklatura.  Huge discrepancy in the wealth of the top 1% and the rest of population might be neoliberalism's Achilles heel which we saw in action in 2016 elections and Brexit vote.
    1. Rejection of the normal interpretation of the rule of the law and the idea of "neoliberal justice" (tough justice for Untermensch only). See, for example a Crooked timber comment:
      Neoliberals destroy the notion of social justice and pervert the notion of the “rule of the law”. See, for example, The Neo-Liberal State by Raymond Plant

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

      … … …

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

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

      ... ... ...

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

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

  3. Neoliberalism like Stalinism is a "civil religion". The methods of enforcement of this region on the population  by neoliberalism are quite similar to Stalinism, with the only main difference --the rejection of violence against population as the main method of entrenching the ideology:
  4. Use of violence for the spread of the ideology. The idea of Permanent revolution to bring to power the new hegemonic class in all countries of the globe and create a new global neoliberal empire is direct borrowing from Trotskyism and was promoted by Jewish neocons, who were former Trotskyites.  In neoliberalism this takes that form of "export of democracy" as the method of achieving and maintaining world dominance of globalist elite (which in its role of hegemonic class replaces "proletariat" used in Trotskyism):
  5. Social Darwinism
  6. Finally, neoliberalism like Marxism in the past has become strongly associated with a specific culture (the US culture, or Anglo-Saxon culture in more general terms) and a specific language (English). Like Marxism, as an ideology, Neoliberalism  became tied to specific culture and language (both became  king of global standard de-facto). Theoretically any global language would suit, and it can be Esperanto.  But in reality the English language, Hollywood culture, neoliberal economic policies (aka  Washington consensus), and pro-American foreign policy is a "package deal" for fifth column supporters outside G7; this was especially true in Central and Eastern Europe. Kind of second class citizens of Neoliberal International (Skeptical Eastern Europeans, who still remember the days of USSR-led "Socialist Camp" now call it diktat of "Washington Obcom" ;-).  That does not exclude jingoism, chauvinism, flag-waving and foreigner-bashing in the USA (aka American exceptionalism) and other G7 countries. Tony Blair is probably the best example of this political mentality:

    Don't tell me that a country with our history and heritage, that today boasts six of the top ten businesses in the whole of Europe, with London the top business city in Europe, that is a world leader in technology and communication and the businesses of the future, that under us has overtaken France and Italy to become the fourth largest economy in the world, that has the language of the new economy, more brilliant artists, actors and directors than any comparable country in the world, some of the best scientists and inventors in the world, the best armed forces in the world, the best teachers and doctors and nurses, the best people any nation could wish for.

    Don't tell me with all that going for us that we do not have the spirit to meet all the challenges before us.

    Blair conference speech, 26 September 2000

The "capitalists counteroffensive" or "revolt of the elite"

This "capitalists counteroffensive" or "revolt of the elite" was pioneered in Britain, where Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the Tory Party in 1975 and put into real shape by Ronald Reagan in 1981-1989 (Reaganomics). Margaret Thatcher victory was the first election of neoliberal ideologue (Pinochet came to power via supported by the USA military coupe de tat). Both Thatcher and Reagan mounted a full-scale counterattack against the (already weakened and fossilized) unions. In GB the miners were the most important target. In USA traffic controllers. In both cases they managed to broke the back of trade unions. Since 1985 union membership in the USA has halved.

Privatizing nationalized industries and public services fragments large bargaining units formed of well organized public-sector workers, creating conditions in which wages can be driven down in the competition for franchises and contracts. This most important side effect of privatization was dramatic redistribution of wealth to the top layer of financial and managerial elite (corporate rich).

Neoliberalism gradually gained strength since probably late 50th with free-market theorists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman as influential ideologues. Ann Rand also made an important contribution with her "greed is good" philosophy of positivism. Still many economists and policy-makers favored a ‘mixed economy’ with high levels of state intervention and public spending. That changed in the 1970s when the state capitalism run into rocks. In a way rise of Neoliberalism was the elite response to the Long Recession of 1973-1992: they launched a class war of the global rich against the rest. Shrinking markets dictated the necessity of cutting costs by sacking workers and driving down wages. So the key program was to reverse the gains made by the US lower and middle class since 1945 and it needed an ideological justification. Neoliberalism neatly fitted the bill. With outsourcing, the global ‘race to the bottom’ became a permanent feature of a new economic order.

At 1980th it became clear that the age of national economies and ‘autarkic’ (self-contained) blocs like the USSR block ended as they will never be able to overcome the technological and standard of living gap with the major Western economies. This inability to match the level of standard of living of western countries doomed communist ideology, as it has in the center the thesis that as a superior economic system it should match and exceed the economic level achieved by capitalist countries. Collapse of the USSR in 1991 (in which KGB elite played the role of Trojan horse of the West) was a real triumph of neoliberalism and signified a beginning of a new age in which the global economy was dominated by international banks and multinational corporations operating with little or sometimes completely outside the control of nation-states.

The rise of neoliberalism can be measured by the rise of the financial and industrial mega-corporations. For example, US direct investment overseas rose from $11 billion in 1950 to $133 billion in 1976. The long-term borrowing of US corporations increased from 87% of their share value in 1955 to 181% in 1970. The foreign currency operations of West European banks, to take another example, increased from $25 billion in 1968 to $200 billion in 1974. The combined debt of the 74 less-developed countries jumped from $39 billion in 1965 to $119 billion in 1974. These quantitative changes during the "Great Boom" reached a tipping point in the 1970s. Global corporations by then had come to overshadow the nation-states. The effect was to impose a relentless pressure on national elites to increase the exploitation of ‘their own’ working class. High wages became a facto that deters new investment and labor arbitrage jumped in full swing. Taxes on business to pay for public services or welfare payments became undesirable. As well as laws designed to make workplaces safe, limit working hours, or guarantee maternity leave. While from purely theoretic perspective the ‘free-market’ theory espoused by neoliberal academics, journalists, politicians, bankers, and ‘entrepreneurs’ is compete pseudoscientific Lysenkoism-style doctrine, it became very popular, dominant ideology of the last decade of XX century. It provides a pseudo-scientific justification for the greed, poverty, as well as economic crisis endemic to the system. It also justified high level if inequality of the political and business elite an a normal state of human society. In this sense, neoliberalism became an official ideology of the modern ruling elite.

Undoing the demos: Neoliberalism’s stealth destruction of liberal democracy

Like Marxism before neoliberalism provides its own ethics and its own rationality.   It enforces a new encompassing "economic rationalism", which should displace old, "outdated" and more humane rationality of liberal capitalism.

"Neoliberal rationality" is heavily tilted toward viewing the people as "homo economicus".  This new neoliberal rationality  " articulates crucial elements of  the language, practice and subjectivity ‘according to a specific image of the economic" In so doing neo-liberalism like Marxism before it directly assaults the democratic imaginary that animated so much of modernity, hollowing out liberal democratic practices and institutions while at the same time catalyzing radical, brutal forces of the political spectrum.

In the book Undoing the Demos Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution   Professor Wendy Brown described this  "neoliberal rationality" phenomenon and actually shows how close it is to the rationality which governed   communism parties of the USSR and Eastern Block.

Here are some quotes from Wendy Brown interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism  to  Dissent Magazine (Nov 03, 2015):

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."
"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."
"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."
"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."
"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."
"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."
"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."

Like Marxism in the USSR neoliberalism is state religion of the USA which displaced Christianity

Pope Francis aptly called neoliberalism as "idolatry of money".  In other words a cult. Here is a direct quote:

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. 

Like any religion it has its set of myth:


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Jul 17, 2019] It is neoliberalism since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks

Notable quotes:
"... The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss. ..."
Dec 17, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

msTOmsTO -> AsDusty 23 Aug 2016 00:43

Marx, Engels and Gramsci all died before the second world war began. I doubt they had much to say about what caused it.

Regarding the posited failure of "neoliberalism", if you want to know what real failure of a political and economic system looks like, have a look at the consequences of Marxism for every country where it held sway in the 20th century.

A recession followed by a few years of sluggish growth is hardly catastrophic

ShaunNewman -> Ohcolowisc , 23 Aug 2016 00:25
Democratic socialism must take the place of this capitalist system where 50% of the global economy is owned by just 1% of the population, patently unfair for billions of people. To have 1% having more than they could possibly spend in a lifetime is ludicrous while we have others starving and millions of "people" living below the poverty line.
ShaunNewman -> RobertKlahn , 23 Aug 2016 00:21
RobertKlahn

The capitalist (USA) system diverts huge amounts of money via corporations 50% of the global economy to just 1% of the global population, which is patently unfair. The 1% ownership grows every day because these 1% people have a mental illness called insatiable greed, where enough is never enough. Yes 'fair trade' would help, but what must be broken is the compliance of conservative governments around the world who fail to tax these corporations a 'fair share' of taxation to help "the people" to raise their living standards. We must adopt democratic socialism with million of USA citizens voted for with Bernie Sanders, and as is practiced in the Nordic countries, who tax corporations fairly and obtain a good standard of living for "their people."

Matthew Kilburn , 23 Aug 2016 00:03
What comes next? Hopefully some kind of neo-nationalistic Westernism in which the societies that, up until the turmoil of the 60s and 70s shaped the course of global affairs, rediscover their roots and identifies.

If "neoliberalism" seems to be in retreat, perhaps the simplest explanation is that the cultures that gave rise to it - western, Christian, often English-speaking cultures - most certainly ARE in retreat.

How can we answer questions like "what is happening to us?" or "How should we react?" When we can't even identify the "us" or the "we"?

ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:58
We need government that will restrain capitalism and use the system for the benefit of "the people" not the corporations. Which in practice means "don't vote conservative."
ShaunNewman -> martinusher , 22 Aug 2016 23:56
martinusher

Yes, the point is that unrestrained capitalism does wreck lives, but continues to feed the 1% with mare more than they could ever spend. This is precisely why we need a system of democratic socialism as practiced on the Nordic countries, where "the people" come first and the corporations run a distant second.

However if the UK continues to elect conservative governments the reverse will always be the case, with "the people" running a distant second.

ShaunNewman -> Roger Elliott , 22 Aug 2016 23:47
Globalization, capitalist society in the 70s quickly became ownership of 50% (and continuing to grow) of the global economy by just 1% of the population. We need to change to democratic socialism as practiced by the Nordic countries.
ShaunNewman -> CopBase , 22 Aug 2016 23:43
The biggest economic problem is "corporate welfare" find out how much subsidy the UK government 'gives' to profitable corporations, the ordinary taxpayers loss.
ShaunNewman -> tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 23:31
How we got here was via the capitalist system whereby 50% of the global economy is now owned bt just 1% of the global population. A collection of individuals who are filthy rich but who also have the mental illness of insatiable greed, and who won't be satisfied until they own 60% and so on. They avoid paying tax, and conservative governments help them by providing loop holes in taxation legislation so their corporations can avoid paying tax or pay up to 5% of their huge incomes in a token gesture. In Australia out of 1,500 corporations surveyed 579 have not paid a cent since at least 2013. The Australian people should be marching in the streets for a 'fair go' but the apathy prevents that. They probably won't get angry until such time as they realize that the 1% own 70% of the global economy and they are being squeezed even harder into 14 hour days without a break, only then will they crack, if at all.
ciaofornow -> Citizen0 , 22 Aug 2016 22:58
Quantitative easing first upped the stock market and therefore the retirement portfolios of the US middle class as well as the portfolios of the wealthy, and now the US economy is finally producing middle class jobs (recent report, NY Times) and not just the upper middle class.
------------------
Rubbish!
QE is just the creation of trillions more in debt. Artificially raising asset prices is not a free market. A free market depends on people being able to pay the prices. But today in the UK, people require three loans to buy a house the price of which has been artificially raised by QE. That enriches the homeowner, the bank, and estate agent. but in equal measure, it impoverishes the house buyer.

the blowing up of asset prices will have to go on forever (still, not one penny of QE has been repaid), or the system will collapse. But that is impossible. It will destroy the value of money. See what happens to stock prices each time the US "threatens" to raise interest rates and stop QE programmes. And just check out personal debt levels in the UK and US. It is unsustainable.

The basic problem of neoliberalism is that it demands low pay as a competitive measure. But that means people have less money to spend in the consumer economy. So neoliberalism requires deregulated banking, pushing up asset prices, so people feel wealthy and take on more debt with which to compensate their low pay, and so they can shop. But that in turn leads to higher debts until the debts are not likely to be repaid. Banks collapse.

The bailouts and money printing has raised asset prices as you say. So now they are at record highs. And if the system demands they go higher while keeping down pay. Who the Fuck is going to pay?

The system is designed to collapse. It only exists today thanks to the creation of money that does not really exist. We may as well adopt grass as money as keep this system going.
The flipside of artificial growth in asset prices is the falling value of earnings.

in 1996, UK average pay equalled 30-35% of a typical house. Today, it is only 10% of a house, and in London, 7%. And for the system to function, that percentage must fall.

AsDusty -> msTOmsTO , 22 Aug 2016 22:41
No, quite a lot of people have been writing about it. Marx, Engels and Gramski all discussed the tendency of free market economics to lead to conflict. More recently you could look at the work of Galbraith, Sachs and Frank Stilwell, just off the top of my head.
ciaofornow -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:35
You failed to understand the article. It says the post war period (1945-70s) was the longest and most successful economic run, especially for working classes, in history.

It is "neoliberalism" since the late 70s that led to the trebling of personal debts on stagnant wages, and finally the collapse of the banks. And ever since the whole economic show has only been kept alive with life-saving drugs (QE which is basically pretending there is a cash flow rather than reality of a solvency crisis, govt set zero interest rates, bailouts). But we have merely got stagnation.

And your last point is a straw man. Hardly anyone wants to replace this failing system with Stalinism.

We have had two contrasting economic systems in the West since the War. The one had far more regulation, and stronger wage growth for workers, the latter since 1979 has been neoliberalism.

The first collapsed in the stagnation of the 70s. The latter died in 2008, and has been kept going through state support and printing trillions more in debt. But the bailouts are failing. They are failing because it was never a cash flow crisis. It was a solvency crisis. Now the debts are even greater.

tamborineman , 22 Aug 2016 22:34
Selective description posing as analysis and allowing the emotional triggers of a couple of key phrases to justify the selectiveness. It sounds magisterial but it ain't and, as others have pointed out, it gives us little on where do we go from here. This is precisely because he has really not told us what he thinks here is, how we got here, and why we got here.
Ohcolowisc -> RobertKlahn , 22 Aug 2016 22:25
The last thing a capitalist corporation wants is to compete (i.e. having actual competition). What they want is monopoly. That's why they "rig" the markets - among others by merging with and acquiring their competitors until they reach near monopoly in their industry (or industries).

That's the essence of the statement that "there never have been free markets, only rigged markets". And there never will be. "Free markets" are transient phenomena that exist only for relatively short time periods during which the leading players do the rigging. The only factor that could keep free markets "free" is government - and that's why it is hated so much by corporations and is rendered practically toothless in the US. It limits their ability to rig and to loot.

The only form the phrase "free markets" exist for prolonged periods of time is when it is used as a propaganda slogan by neoliberal ideologues (even though it is the exact opposite of what really happens).

ciaofornow , 22 Aug 2016 22:20
And why has it taken so long for such an article to be published? Many of the points in this article should have been apparent to intelligent commentators right after the 2008 crisis.

Why has it taken so long for political fallout?

The major reason is cited: Parties such as New Labour, supposedly of the Left that continued to support this failing system. Gordon Brown bailed out the banks, claimed to save the world, and then let it all go on as before. A Disgrace of a leader that history will condemn as a fool. And how many commentators of the time lauded him for it? Far too many. And many of them still in the jobs. Jesus Wept!

What the writer understands and too many are in denial about is this. New Labour is dead. It died in 2007-8 with the collapse of the banks.

Then the amazing coincidence that the third party (the Lib Dems) was taken over by the neoliberals just before the Financial Crisis brought the neoliberal age to an end, and which went onto support the True Neoliberal party (the Tories). In the US, a man who ran on a candidacy of Change only for the world to find out it was bluster and rhetoric! Obama will not go down as a Great President at all. He tried to bail out a failing system. He will be a footnote in history.

Then those bloody bailouts. They not only bailed out the bankers and the rich. They bailed out millions of largely older voters, artificially pumping up house prices. The old vote. And they voted to back this grand theft against Reason, and the younger generations. The result of the bailouts will be a far greater Financial Crisis than 2008. The disconnect between people's debts and wages is worse today than in 2006. That can mean only one thing. Collapse is coming. And now the debts are even bigger. Bailouts are wrong, have failed, and will not be politically acceptable again.

Conservative parties will be repositories for those afraid of change, and those happy to be bailed out until the crisis explodes again. On the change side, if we do not have Left Populism, we will get nationalism.

AsDusty -> candeesays , 22 Aug 2016 22:16
In terms of stronger border controls there is no doubt this is happening. The US, Europe and here in Australia the governments grip on border entries has only got tighter. As for international labour migration, Trump, Brexit and the European refugee crisis will see increasing pressure on lowering the numbers of migrant workers.
Increasing labour migration has been a ploy by government to try and make globalisation work, as globalisation requires the free flow of labour across international borders. The political pressure to reduce migrant numbers will be too much to resist, and greater controls will be put in place.
CivilityPlease -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:07
This is not a choice between A or B. Stop fighting yesterday's battles. Its over, just as the article declares. What is developing as we speak will steer tomorrow's civilization and it will be neither of the old paradigms. We have to come to a consensus about where we want to go. What principles do we have faith in to inform our assessments of what we keep or alter? What roles will we play? What will our purpose(s) be? That is the business we need to be about to arrive at an orderly, deliberate future, prepared for a long journey to a better world. Or we push and pull in all different directions and go round and round the same old ground making the same old mistakes until the world moves on and leaves us behind. We will need to work together or fail each alone. Are you ready?
candeesays -> MurrayGSmith , 22 Aug 2016 22:02
It is theory without politics or economics.

The period from GATT was predicated on strong welfare states and national industries trading. Not privatising societies and globalising capital.

[Jul 06, 2019] It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

Notable quotes:
"... The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs. ..."
"... It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

zephirine -> josephinireland

The idea of the 'American dream' seems to have morphed into a nasty belief that if you're poor it's your own fault. You didn't 'want it enough'. You must be secretly lazy and undeserving, even if you're actually working three jobs to survive, or even if there are no jobs.

This view has taken hold in the UK too, where the tabloids peddle the view that anyone who claims state benefits must be a fraud. But at least, people here and in mainland Europe have the direct experience of war within living memory and we understand that you can lose everything through no fault of your own. In the US, even when there's a natural disaster like Katrina it seems to be the poor people's fault for not having their own transport and money to go and stay somewhere else.

It always seems very odd to me that so many people who think like that profess to be Christian. 'Poverty equals moral failure' is the complete opposite of what Jesus Christ got into so much trouble for saying.

[Jul 02, 2019] Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have superiority complex>

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good. ..."
"... Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable. ..."
"... At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes. ..."
"... The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around. ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse - Van Badham - Opinion - The Guardian

slorter, 27 Apr 2018 01:37

Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good.

Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable.

At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes.

The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around.

Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labour conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits those who work for an hourly wage.

You also need to remember that voting the coalition out, which you need to do, will not necessarily give you a neoliberal free zone; Labor needs to shed some the dogma as well.

bryonyed -> slorter , 27 Apr 2018 01:41

Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have complexes of deservedness.

[Jun 29, 2019] The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is Isolationism by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... More importantly, Ryan's campaign using the word "isolationism" to describe the simple common sense impulse to withdraw from a costly, deadly military occupation which isn't accomplishing anything highlights an increasingly common tactic of tarring anything other than endless military expansionism as strange and aberrant instead of normal and good. ..."
"... Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. This removal of a desirable opposite of war from the establishment-authorised lexicon causes war to always be the desirable option. ..."
"... A few months after Bush's address, Antiwar 's Rich Rubino wrote an article titled " Non-Interventionism is Not Isolationism ", explaining the difference between a nation which withdraws entirely from the world and a nation which simply resists the temptation to use military aggression except in self defense. ..."
"... "Isolationism dictates that a country should have no relations with the rest of the world," Rubino explained. "In its purest form this would mean that ambassadors would not be shared with other nations, communications with foreign governments would be mainly perfunctory, and commercial relations would be non-existent." ..."
"... "A non-interventionist supports commercial relations," Rubino contrasted. "In fact, in terms of trade, many non-interventionists share libertarian proclivities and would unilaterally obliterate all tariffs and custom duties, and would be open to trade with all willing nations. In addition, non-interventionists welcome cultural exchanges and the exchange of ambassadors with all willing nations." ..."
"... "A non-interventionist believes that the U.S. should not intercede in conflicts between other nations or conflicts within nations," wrote Rubino. "In recent history, non-interventionists have proved prophetic in warning of the dangers of the U.S. entangling itself in alliances. The U.S. has suffered deleterious effects and effectuated enmity among other governments, citizenries, and non-state actors as a result of its overseas interventions. The U.S. interventions in both Iran and Iraq have led to cataclysmic consequences." ..."
"... Calling an aversion to endless military violence "isolationism" is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people "agoraphobia". ..."
"... Another dishonest label you'll get thrown at you when debating the forever war is "pacifism". "Some wars are bad, but I'm not a pacifist; sometimes war is necessary," supporters of a given interventionist military action will tell you. They'll say this while defending Trump's potentially catastrophic Iran warmongering or promoting a moronic regime change invasion of Syria, or defending disastrous US military interventions in the past like Iraq. ..."
"... All Wars Are Evil. Period. "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." – Henry Kissinger ..."
"... Can you imagine Jesus firing a machine gun at a group of people? Can you picture Jesus in an F-16 lobbing missiles at innocents? ..."
"... instead of getting us out of Syria, Trump got us further in. Trump is driving us to ww3. ..."
"... funny how people, fresh from the broken promises "build that wall" etc, quickly forget all that and begin IMMEDIATELY projecting trustworthiness on yet ANOTHER candidate. I'Il vote for Tulsi when she says no more Israeli wars for America. ..."
"... if there's even a small chance Tulsi can get us out of the forever wars i will be compelled to vote for her, as Trump clearly has no intention on doing so. yes, it is that important ..."
"... As for this next election? Is Ron Paul running as an independent? No? Well then, 'fool me once...' Don't get me wrong: I hope Gabbard is genuine and she's absolutely right to push non-interventionism...but the rest of her platform sucks. There's also the fact that she's a CFR member ..."
"... Just as they did with Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Pat Buchanan, the MSM and the swamp have already effectively buried Gabbard. It's unlikely that she'll make the next debate cut as the DNC and MSM will toss her out. ..."
"... All the MSM is talking about post-debates, even on Faux Noise, is Harris's race-baiting of old senile Biden. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

After getting curb stomped on the debate stage by Tulsi Gabbard, the campaign for Tim "Who the fuck is Tim Ryan?" Ryan posted a statement decrying the Hawaii congresswoman's desire to end a pointless 18-year military occupation as "isolationism".

"While making a point as to why America can't cede its international leadership and retreat from around the world, Tim was interrupted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard," the statement reads.

"When he tried to answer her, she contorted a factual point Tim was making  --  about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks by providing training, bases and refuge for Al Qaeda and its leaders. The characterization that Tim Ryan doesn't know who is responsible for the attacks on 9/11 is simply unfair reporting. Further, we continue to reject Gabbard's isolationism and her misguided beliefs on foreign policy . We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it's ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people."

Ryan's campaign is lying. During an exchange that was explicitly about the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ryan plainly said "When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings." At best, Ryan can argue that when he said "they" he had suddenly shifted from talking about the Taliban to talking about Al Qaeda without bothering to say so, in which case he obviously can't legitimately claim that Gabbard "contorted" anything he had said. At worst, he was simply unaware at the time of the very clear distinction between the Afghan military and political body called the Taliban and the multinational extremist organization called Al Qaeda.

More importantly, Ryan's campaign using the word "isolationism" to describe the simple common sense impulse to withdraw from a costly, deadly military occupation which isn't accomplishing anything highlights an increasingly common tactic of tarring anything other than endless military expansionism as strange and aberrant instead of normal and good.

Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. This removal of a desirable opposite of war from the establishment-authorised lexicon causes war to always be the desirable option.

This is entirely by design. This bit of word magic has been employed for a long time to tar any idea which deviates from the neoconservative agenda of total global unipolarity via violent imperialism as something freakish and dangerous. In his farewell address to the nation , war criminal George W Bush said the following:

"In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."

A few months after Bush's address, Antiwar 's Rich Rubino wrote an article titled " Non-Interventionism is Not Isolationism ", explaining the difference between a nation which withdraws entirely from the world and a nation which simply resists the temptation to use military aggression except in self defense.

"Isolationism dictates that a country should have no relations with the rest of the world," Rubino explained. "In its purest form this would mean that ambassadors would not be shared with other nations, communications with foreign governments would be mainly perfunctory, and commercial relations would be non-existent."

"A non-interventionist supports commercial relations," Rubino contrasted. "In fact, in terms of trade, many non-interventionists share libertarian proclivities and would unilaterally obliterate all tariffs and custom duties, and would be open to trade with all willing nations. In addition, non-interventionists welcome cultural exchanges and the exchange of ambassadors with all willing nations."

"A non-interventionist believes that the U.S. should not intercede in conflicts between other nations or conflicts within nations," wrote Rubino. "In recent history, non-interventionists have proved prophetic in warning of the dangers of the U.S. entangling itself in alliances. The U.S. has suffered deleterious effects and effectuated enmity among other governments, citizenries, and non-state actors as a result of its overseas interventions. The U.S. interventions in both Iran and Iraq have led to cataclysmic consequences."

Calling an aversion to endless military violence "isolationism" is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people "agoraphobia". Yet you'll see this ridiculous label applied to both Gabbard and Trump, neither of whom are isolationists by any stretch of the imagination, or even proper non-interventionists. Gabbard supports most US military alliances and continues to voice full support for the bogus "war on terror" implemented by the Bush administration which serves no purpose other than to facilitate endless military expansionism; Trump is openly pushing regime change interventionism in both Venezuela and Iran while declining to make good on his promises to withdraw the US military from Syria and Afghanistan.

Another dishonest label you'll get thrown at you when debating the forever war is "pacifism". "Some wars are bad, but I'm not a pacifist; sometimes war is necessary," supporters of a given interventionist military action will tell you. They'll say this while defending Trump's potentially catastrophic Iran warmongering or promoting a moronic regime change invasion of Syria, or defending disastrous US military interventions in the past like Iraq.

This is bullshit for a couple of reasons. Firstly, virtually no one is a pure pacifist who opposes war under any and all possible circumstances; anyone who claims that they can't imagine any possible scenario in which they'd support using some kind of coordinated violence either hasn't imagined very hard or is fooling themselves. If your loved ones were going to be raped, tortured and killed by hostile forces unless an opposing group took up arms to defend them, for example, you would support that. Hell, you would probably join in. Secondly, equating opposition to US-led regime change interventionism, which is literally always disastrous and literally never helpful, is not even a tiny bit remotely like opposing all war under any possible circumstance.

Another common distortion you'll see is the specious argument that a given opponent of US interventionism "isn't anti-war" because they don't oppose all war under any and all circumstances. This tweet by The Intercept 's Mehdi Hasan is a perfect example, claiming that Gabbard is not anti-war because she supports Syria's sovereign right to defend itself with the help of its allies from the violent extremist factions which overran the country with western backing. Again, virtually no one is opposed to all war under any and all circumstances; if a coalition of foreign governments had helped flood Hasan's own country of Britain with extremist militias who'd been murdering their way across the UK with the ultimate goal of toppling London, both Tulsi Gabbard and Hasan would support fighting back against those militias.

The label "anti-war" can for these reasons be a little misleading. The term anti-interventionist or non-interventionist comes closest to describing the value system of most people who oppose the warmongering of the western empire, because they understand that calls for military interventionism which go mainstream in today's environment are almost universally based on imperialist agendas grabbing at power, profit, and global hegemony. The label "isolationist" comes nowhere close.

It all comes down to sovereignty. An anti-interventionist believes that a country has the right to defend itself, but it doesn't have the right to conquer, capture, infiltrate or overthrow other nations whether covertly or overtly. At the "end" of colonialism we all agreed we were done with that, except that the nationless manipulators have found far trickier ways to seize a country's will and resources without actually planting a flag there. We need to get clearer on these distinctions and get louder about defending them as the only sane, coherent way to run foreign policy.

* * *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here . Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Vitor , 31 minutes ago link

It's like someone being labeled anti-social for stopping to bully and pick up fights.

Aussiekiwi , 49 minutes ago link

"If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."

Fascinating belief, has he been to Libya lately, perhaps attended an open air slave Market in a country that was very developed before the US decided to 'free' it.

Quivering Lip , 57 minutes ago link

Until Tulsi pimp slapped that Ryan guy I never heard of him. I would imagine I'll never here about him in another 2 months.

Toshie , 1 hour ago link

yeah , keep at it US Govt ;- keep fighting those wars overseas on behalf the 5th foreign column.

Keep wasting precious lives ,and the country's wealth while foreign rising powers like China are laughing all the way to the bank.

may you live in interesting times !

onasip123 , 1 hour ago link

War forever and ever, Amen.

Dr Anon , 1 hour ago link

When we weren't there, they flew planes into our buildings?

Excuse me mutant, but I believe we paid Israel our jewtax that year like all the others and they still flew planes into our buildings. And then danced in the streets about it. Sick people.

thisguyoverhere , 1 hour ago link

All Wars Are Evil. Period. "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." – Henry Kissinger

Picture if you will Jesus. Seriously? Can you imagine Jesus firing a machine gun at a group of people? Can you picture Jesus in an F-16 lobbing missiles at innocents?

Do you see Jesus piloting a drone and killing Muslims, other non-believers, or anyone for that matter? Can you picture Jesus as a sniper?

Impossible.

Dougs Decks , 2 hours ago link

Soooo,,, If my favorite evening activity, is to sit on the front porch steps, while the dog and the cats run around, with my shotgun leaning up next to me,,, Is that Isolationist, or Protectionist,,,

Brazen Heist II , 2 hours ago link

You know the system is completely broken when they want to silence/kill/smear anybody talking sense and peace.

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

and isis are referred to as freedom fighters

Herdee , 2 hours ago link

The CIA and MI6 staged all the fake chemical incidents in Syria as well as the recent one in England. False Flags.

ardent , 2 hours ago link

What America needs is to get rid of all those Jewish Zionist Neocons leading us into those forever wars.

ALL MidEast terrorism and warmongering are for APARTHEID Israhell.

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

instead of getting us out of Syria, Trump got us further in. Trump is driving us to ww3. we can't do **** if we're glazed over in a nuclear holocaust. maybe Tulsi is lying through her teeth, but i am so pissed Trump went full neocon

Wild Bill Steamcock , 2 hours ago link

"Won't Get Fooled Again"- The Who

JD Rock , 2 hours ago link

funny how people, fresh from the broken promises "build that wall" etc, quickly forget all that and begin IMMEDIATELY projecting trustworthiness on yet ANOTHER candidate. I'Il vote for Tulsi when she says no more Israeli wars for America.

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

she did slam Netanyahu

WillyGroper , 2 hours ago link

saying & doing are different animals. she's powerless. more hope n chains.

KnightsofNee , 2 hours ago link

www.tulsigabbard.org

If you read her positions on various issues, a quick survey shows that she supports the New Green Deal, more gun control (ban on assault rifles, etc.), Medicare for all. Stopped reading at that point.

White Nat , 2 hours ago link

We refuse to be lectured by someone who thinks it's ok to dine with murderous dictators like Syria's Bashar Al-Assad who used chemical weapons on his own people.

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. ~ Joseph Goebbels

New_Meat , 2 hours ago link

- Edward Bernays, relative of Sigmund Fraud, propagandist for Woodrow Wilson.

Back then, being a "propagandist" held no stigma nor antipathy.

fify

Debt Slave , 1 hour ago link

The better educated among us know exactly as to who Goebblels was referring to. Even a dullard should be able to figure out who benefits from all of our Middle East adventures.

LOL123 , 3 hours ago link

"Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. "

Under military might WAS the old world order... Under the new world order the strength is in cyber warfare .

If under technology the profiteers can control the masses through crowd control ( which they can-" Department of Defense has developed a non-lethal crowd control device called the Active Denial System (ADS) . The ADS works by firing a high-powered beam of 95 GHz waves at a target that is, millimeter wavelengths. Anyone caught in the beam will feel like their skin is burning.) your spending power ( they can through e- commetce and digital banking) and isolation cells called homes ( they can through directed microwaves from GWEN stations).... We already are isolated and exposed at the same time.

That war is an exceptable means of engagement as a solution to world power is a confirmation of the psychological warfare imposed on us since the creation of our Nation.

Either we reel it in and back now or we destroy ourselves from within.

"

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln

vienna_proxy , 2 hours ago link

if there's even a small chance Tulsi can get us out of the forever wars i will be compelled to vote for her, as Trump clearly has no intention on doing so. yes, it is that important

metachron , 2 hours ago link

Idiot, Tulsi is a sovereign nationalist on the left. You have just never seen one before. If you were truly anti-globalist you'd would realize left and right are invented to divide us. The politics are global and national, so wake the **** up

Hurricane Baby , 3 hours ago link

Actually, I don't see where a few decades of US isolationism would be all that bad.

Fred box , 3 hours ago link

""War Is the U.S. Racket!"" They are not good at it, there "great at it". My entire life 63yrs,they been fighting someone or something. When times where rough in the 1800s,Hell! they fought themselves(Civil War. As I said b4 No one seems to ask, Where does the gold go of the vanquished foe? Truly Is A Well Practiced Racket.

Malleus Maleficarum , 3 hours ago link

Good article with several salient points, thought I would ask "what's wrong with a little isolationism?" Peace through internal strength is desirable, but good fences make good neighbors and charity begins at home!

The gradual twisting of language really is one of most insidious tactics employed by the NWO Luciferians. I think we'd all like to see the traitorous Neocons gone for good. Better yet, strip them of their American citizenship and ill-gotten wealth and banish them to Israel. Let them earn their citizenship serving in a front-line IDF rifle company.

As for this next election? Is Ron Paul running as an independent? No? Well then, 'fool me once...' Don't get me wrong: I hope Gabbard is genuine and she's absolutely right to push non-interventionism...but the rest of her platform sucks. There's also the fact that she's a CFR member and avowed gun-grabber, to boot. Two HUGE red flags!

She almost strikes me as a half-assed 'Manchurian Candidate.' So, if she's elected (a big 'if' at this point) I ask myself 'what happens after the next (probably nuclear) false flag?' How quickly will she disavow her present stance on non-interventionism? How quickly and viciously will the 2nd Amendment be raped? Besides, I'm not foolish enough to believe that one person can turn the SS Deep State away from it's final disastrous course.

dunlin , 2 hours ago link

What's cfr? Duck duck gives lots of law firms.

tardpill , 2 hours ago link

council on foreign relations

tardpill , 2 hours ago link

the whos who of globalist satanists..

Sinophile , 32 minutes ago link

Mal, she is NOT a CFR member. You are misinformed.

Justapleb , 3 hours ago link

These word games were already in use looong ago. Tulsi Gabbard is using Obama's line about fighting the wrong war. She would have taken out Al Qaeda, captured Bin Laden, and put a dog leash on him. So that she could make a green economy, a new century of virtue signalling tyranny. No thanks.

Smi1ey , 3 hours ago link

Great article.

Go Tusli!

Go Caitlin!

I am Groot , 3 hours ago link

You beat me to that. Thanks for saving my breath.

Rule #1 All politcians lie

Rule #2 See Rule #1

Boogity , 3 hours ago link

Just as they did with Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Pat Buchanan, the MSM and the swamp have already effectively buried Gabbard. It's unlikely that she'll make the next debate cut as the DNC and MSM will toss her out.

All the MSM is talking about post-debates, even on Faux Noise, is Harris's race-baiting of old senile Biden.

I went to some of the so-called liberal websites and blogs and the only mention of Gabbard is in the context of her being a Putin stooge. This combined with the fact that virtually all establishment Republicans are eager to fight any war for Israel clearly shows that it will take something other than the ballot box to end Uncle Scam's endless wars.

[Jun 27, 2019] 300,000 demonstrate in Prague against right-wing Czech government by Markus Salzmann

Jun 26, 2019 | www.wsws.org

300,000 demonstrate in Prague against right-wing Czech government

An estimated 300,000 people protested in the Czech capital of Prague last Sunday against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Andrei Babiš. At what was the biggest demonstration in the Czech Republic since the so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989, protesters demanded the resignation of the billionaire founder of the right-wing neo-liberal party ANO.

After the approximately 750-meter-long Wenceslas Square was determined to be too small to hold the protest, the demonstration was moved to the Letná Plateau on the banks of the Vltava, the site of the mass protests against the Stalinist regime 30 years ago. Three decades later it has become clear that the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe has not brought the promised prosperity and freedom. Instead, unprecedented levels of social inequality are being overseen by a thoroughly corrupt, authoritarian elite.

For seven weeks, thousands of Czechs have protested against Babiš, who is accused of corruption and of using his political power for private, business purposes. The protests are also directed against Czech Justice Minister Marie Benešova, who is accused of obstructing investigations against Babiš. According to Forbes magazine, the assets of the Czech Prime Minister are estimated at around 3.3 billion euros, making him the second richest man in the country.

The participants in Sunday's demonstration were overwhelmingly workers, youth and pensioners, the majority of whom have suffered from the incessant attacks on social rights and benefits carried out by successive Czech governments. Posters at the demo read "Disappear" and "Babiš resign." Further protests have been announced for August, and could continue up to the date planned to celebrate the toppling of the former Stalinist regime in 1989.

The mass protests in the Czech Republic are yet another indication of the international resurgence of the class struggle. Particularly in Eastern Europe, more and more people have taken to the streets or gone on strike in recent months to protest against catastrophic living conditions, poor wages and corrupt governments. The recent strike by Polish teachers was the largest in Poland in 30 years, and a strike by Hungarian auto workers nearly paralysed European production at Volkswagen. In Serbia and Albania thousands have taken to the streets to vent their opposition to their corrupt right-wing governments.

While the Czech and European press crows about continuing economic growth and low unemployment, the reality for ordinary people is very different. Rapidly rising rents in the cities and price increases for food, electricity and gasoline are driving many families to desperation. Prague is already one of the most expensive cities in Europe. In 2018, around 17 percent of Czechs lived in poverty.

The precarious economic reality becomes clear once one examines the increase in private indebtedness. As Radio Praha reported, around ten percent of the population can no longer pay their debts and must forfeit their property and possessions. This total includes around 10,000 persons aged between 18 and 29, and around 400 debtors under 18. Against such a background of social misery the Babiš government has pledged to implement further social cuts.

A number of right-wing, pro-European Union forces are seeking to exploit the legitimate protests against the hated billionaire for their own purposes. These forces are opposed to toppling the government and any expansion of the protests. Several representatives of these organisations have openly declared they do not seek to reverse the outcome of the 2017 election, which resulted in Babiš's party as frontrunner. Instead they would be satisfied instead with his removal as head of government.

In particular, the organizers of "One Million Moments for Democracy," who are close to social-democratic and conservative pro-EU forces, want to force the government to adopt a stronger pro-European policy. "We are not making a revolution, but rather returning to the legacy and values of 1989," said one of the initiators, Benjamin Roll.

These forces base themselves entirely on the criticism of Babiš made by Brussels. A recent European Commission audit report concluded that Babiš exerted huge influence over his holding, Agrofert, which he officially outsourced to two trust funds. On the basis of numerous examples, the 71-page report explained how EU subsidies finished up in the coffers of Babis' company. A demand has been raised for the return of over 17 million euros.

Babiš responded by calling the Brussels report an "attack on the Czech Republic," raising the prospect that the Czech Republic may prove to be as difficult for the EU as Hungary under its right-wing Prime Minister Victor Orban.

The Babiš government typifies all those forces that committed themselves to capitalism thirty years ago and shamelessly plundered the economy at the expense of the people. The son of a functionary of the Communist Party, Babiš studied in Paris and Geneva. From 1985 to 1991 he was head of the Czechoslovak commercial agency in Morocco.

During this time, he is said to have worked under the code name "Bures" for the Stalinist secret service, a claim Babiš denies. The files kept in the Slovakian capital Bratislava have been falsified, he argues. What is clear is that he had close contacts to the former state leadership and in the early 1990s used his links to consolidate Agrofert into a billion-dollar company.

Babiš entered politics in 2011 with the ANO party, which is completely geared to his person and interests. Babiš founded the party after both the social-democratic and conservative parties had become increasingly discredited. He won the 2017 general election with a clear majority but less than two years later he faces the protest of hundreds of thousands.


basilisk10 hours ago

Sorry, but this is very inaccurate. The government is not right-wing, but sort of a weird centrist muddle. CSSD is by no means a "successor to the Stalinist state party" – in fact, it was banned under the previous regime and its members exiled or imprisoned. And the protests, most importantly, are not against the government as such, but specifically against the prime minister and the minister of justice. The organisers keep repeating they consider the government to be legitimate but that these two people specifically should resign.

Source: I am Czech.

Kalena day ago
I see those developments in Czech Republic along lines of that of Hungary, Romania or Poland where right wing nationalist parties are forming some sort of united front of anti EU block against policies of more EU independence from US spreading broadly in western EU.

Such anti EU submission to US politics is publicly peddled mostly under anti-Russian political stand of national security, that still resonate strongly on Eastern Europe while old existential imperative of accommodation with Russia is still entrenched within western establishment.

All that is a part of US meddling into EU to assert direct and overwhelming control over EU in sociopolitical and financial realm and weaken orbcutting them from economic relations with Russia and China, both targets of US frontal imperial assault for the same reason of direct subjugation to US dictate.

But all that is not as much aimed at removal of local oligarchic elites but to demand class discipline, to make them realize that close coordination and integration of global counterrevolutionary offensive led by US is critical to suppressing of exploding global class struggle worldwide that severely threatens them all.

Make no mistake. The revealed supposed acute conflicts among global elites are solely based on mistrust of how to deal with exploding class struggle best, in most effective ways while assuring that their power and position among global ruling elite is enhanced or remain unchanged while they are all solidly united against international working class.

This time is no different than in last millennium when despite seemingly mortal conflicts among ruling elites they always united and supported each other in one united political/economic/military block to defeat working class revolution.

лидияa day ago
By the way, so-called Velvet Revolution of 1989 was for capitalism. They got it.

[Jun 26, 2019] Book Review John Patrick Leary's Keywords The New Language of Capitalism

Jun 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Late last year, I linked to a review of John Patrick Leary's Keywords: The New Language of Capitalism (Haymarket Books), and put it on my list of "one more book to read." And now I've finally gotten around to it! Which is no reflection on the book, or its cover; merely on my own scattered-brained schedule.

Leary describes (page 180) the genesis of Keywords as follows:

The project began when I was walking through a downtown Chicago food court with Lara Cohen and Christine Evans, complaining at length about how the word "innovation" seemed to be everywhere.

Who among us! More:

Christine suggested that instead of just getting mad, I make some small effort at getting even by writing up my criticisms this turned into a blog chronicling the other terms that celebrated profit and the rule of the market with guileless enthusiasm. This book is the product of her suggestion. Lara has been the first reader of virtually everything in book and its most important critic.

"Getting even" is certainly a strange motivation for starting a blog! MR SUBLIMINAL [snort!] And, after the usual list of thank-yous that befit an Acknowledgements section, this:

Thank you to my Wayne State students for your hopeful example of a generation unimpressed by the promises of an innovation economy.

Let us, indeed, hope! Here is the list of terms that Leary, er, curated; I am sure, readers, that many will provoke a thrill -- or shudder -- of recognition in you all:

Table 1: Leary's Word List

Accountability Grit
Artisanal Hack
Best practices Human capital
Brand Innovation
Choice Leadership
Coach Lean
Collaboration Maker
Competency Market
Conversation Meritocracy
Content Nimble
Creative Outcome
Curator Passion
Data Pivot
Design Resilience
Disruption Robust
DIY Share
Ecosystem Smart
Empowerment Solution
Engagement Stakeholder
Entrepreneur Sustainable
Excellence Synergy
Fail Thought leader
Flexible Wellness
Free

Continuing along with those who have not run screaming from the room: From Leary's list, I have picked three words: Our favorite, innovation , and then market , and smart . I'll provide an extract of the definition of each term, followed by a brief comment. I'll conclude with some remarks on the book as a whole.

Innovation

From page 114 et seq.:

For most of its early life, "innovation" was a pejorative, used to denounce false prophets and political dissidents. Thomas Hobbes used innovator in the seventeenth century as a synonym for a vain conspirator [Joseph Schumpeter], in his 1911 book The Theory of Economic Development used "innovation" to describe capitalism's tendnecy toward tumult and and transformation. He understood innovation historically, as a process of economic transformation, but for him this historical process relied upon a creative, private agent to carry it out [T]he entrepreneur. s

Other than mystifying creativity [another term] itself -- which now looks like an intuitive blast of inspiration, like a epiphany, and less like work -- "innovation" gives creativity a specific professional, class dimension. It almost always applies to white-collar and profit-seeking activities Rarely do we hear of the innovative carpenter, plumber, or homemaker .

The innovator is a model capitalist citizen for our times. But the object of most innovations today is more elusive [than in the days of Bell and Edison]: you can touch a telephone or a phonograh, but who can lay hands on an Amazon algorithm, a credit default swap, a piece of proprietary Uber code, or an international free trade agreement? As an intangible, individualistic, yet strictly white-collar trait, innovation reframes the cruel fortunes of an unequal global economy as the logical products of a creative, visionary brilliance. In this new guise, the innovator retains both a touch of the prophet and the hint of the confidence man.

That's the stuff to give the troops! I especially like the part about innovative plumbing; after all, potable water and indoor plumbing have probably saved more lives than all the Lords of Silicon Valley combined! However, I could wish for the class analysis to be sharpened with respect to finance: For credit default swaps, to the executives (not just "white collar" workers) who committed accounting control fraud; for Uber, the executive crooks and liars who run the never-to-be profitable business. The intangibles are listed without being categorized in terms of political economy.

Market

From page 132 et seq.:

The market is both a widely dispersed metaphor of exchange and an economic term often used a a shorthand for capitalist forms of exchange, especially when modified by the word free [another term].

The word's oldest meaning is its simplest: "A place where trade is conducted," a meaning that appears in Old English as far back as the twelfth century. This spatial menaing of the market place obviously persists in farmer's markets, stock markets, and supermarkets, but today the market is something more abstract. The most recent definition given by the OED is "the competive free market; the operation of supply and demand." Its first example of this usage comes from 1970, at the rough beginning of the neoliberal era .

When politicians speak of "market forces" they presume their autonomy; we are creatures of the market rather than the other way around. [But] in key moments of recent economic history -- the United States Troubled Asset Relief Program, the European austerity measures to enforce "market discipline" on Greece -- market autonomy is nowhere to be seen

A synonym for exchange, whether intellectual or economic, an ontological feature of human social, an implacable natural force, or a cybernetic network reliant on a strong state: The market can be whatever you need it to be.

Once again, I would quarrel with the financial detail of the glossary item; the Treasury's TARP, at $700 billion, was dwarfed by the real bailout outlay from the Fed , which has been estimated at $7.7 (Bloomberg) to $29 trillion (Levy Institute). Further, European austerity measures damaged not only Greece, but the EU's entire southern tier, most definitely including Italy and Spain. Finally -- although this may seem like a debater's point -- if "market" can be "whatever you need it to be," then why can't the left repurpose it? Leary himself instances the Communist Party of the USA's ludicrous coinage of "the marketplace of ideas"; on the editorial pages of the New York Times, no less!) So "market" may be malleable, but it's not that malleable. Why?

Smart

Finally, from page 158 et seq.:

Smart, used as an adjective modifying a technology, connotes an efficeint, clean, orderly pragmatism . Smartness just works . Smart technologies, from munitions to ID cards to refrigerators to mattresses, usually do one of three related things, and often all three: they allow (or require) a user to remotely access a computer-linked network, they generate data [a term] about that user, and they act autonomously, or seem to do so . In addition, smart means moderr. The six thousand dollar smart refrigerator that tells you when you're out of milk shows that the key to a smart technology isn't whether it is, in fact, a wise idea. To be smart is simply to belong ti the new age, . Smart therefore presumes the political neutrality of the technologies we use.

I think Leary could have leaned a little harder on how crapified most "smart" technology is; readers will be familiar with the material we periodically post on the Internet of Sh*t. More centrally, I'm a bit stunned that Leary has limited smart to technology, foregoing the opportunity to perform a class analysis, as Thomas Frank did in Listen, Liberal! . From page 22:

Professionals are a high-status group, but what gives them their lofty position is learning, not income. They rule because they are talented, because they are smart . A good sociological definition of professionalism is "a second hierarchy" -- second to the main hierarchy of money, that is -- "based on credentialed expertise

presumed to be politically neutral, exactly as smart technology is. I think expanding the glossary to "smart" in Frank's sense would have enriched the book. (Frank goes on to use "smart" throughout the book, with varying degrees of scorn and derision; used without irony, it's a veritable tocsin of bad faith.)

Conclusion

Leary's Keywords is definitely stimulating and well worth a read (and at $16.00, within reach for most). At the very least, you should run a mile from any public figure -- whether executive or politician -- who takes the words listed in Leary's keywords (see Table 1) seriously.

My criticism takes the form of Table 2, which is the list of terms from the great Raymond Williams, whose book, also entitled Keywords ( PDF ), was published in 1977, in the Eoneoliberal Period, and which Leary describes as a "classic". Here are the terms defined by Williams:

Table 2: Williams' Word List

Aesthetic Exploitation Originality
Alienation Family Peasant
Anarchism Fiction Personality
Anthropology Folk Philosophy
Art Formalist Popular
Behaviour Generation Positivist
Bibliography Genetic Pragmatic
Bourgeois Genius Private
Bureaucracy Hegemony Progressive
Capitalism History Psychologica
Career Humanity Racial
Charity Idealism Radical
City Ideology Rational
Civilization Image Reactionary
Class Imperialism Reader's
Collective Improve Realism
Commercialism Individual References
Common Industry Reform
Communication Institution Regional
Communism Intellectual Representative
Community Interest Revolution
Consensus Isms Romantic
Consumer Jargon Science
Conventional Labour Select
Country Liberal Sensibility
Creative Liberation Sex
Criticism Literaturw Socialist
Culture Man Society
Democracy Management Sociology
Determine Masses Standards
Development Materialism Status
Dialect Mechanical Structural
Dialectic Media Subjective
Doctrinaire Mediation Taste
Dramatic Medieval Technology
Ecology Modern Theory
Educated Monopoly Tradition
Elite Myth Unconscious
Empirical Nationalist Underprivileged
Equality Native Unemployment
Ethnic Naturalism Utilitarian
Evolution Nature Violence
Existential Notes Wealth
Experience Ordinary Welfare
Expert Organic Western
Work

If you compare the tables, you will see that Williams' list of keywords is both more abstract and more powerful, although some that we would expect to see today ("identity," "rentier") are missing. Of course, it's extremely unfair of me to make compare Leary's and Williams' lists in this way; in fact, I admonish others not to complain that the author did not write a book about penguins, when the author plainly intended to write a book about crows. Leary promised a "field guide to the capitalist present, and he has delivered. Nevertheless, it would be nice to have a second edition of Keywords , written with Leary's clarity, knowledgeability, and verve, and containing more powerful terms[1], most of which have been erased. Starting, perhaps, with "class."

NOTES

[1] To be fair, Leary writes (page 5): "The words in my collection are generally more specific to the contemporary moment. They can also be understood as blockages -- that is, they are the words we use when we aren't calling things by their proper name. William's collection has "management" and "labor"; this one has "leadership" and "human capital." Tacklage is, I suppose, what happens, in addition to blockage, if some prole of an analyst uses the wrong (that is, the right) words. That said, can the truth be reverse engineered out of bullshit? One for the judges.


Tom , June 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

What happened to " vibrant "? Did it go out of fashion?

Plenue , June 25, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Have you considered audio books? We already know you listen to podcasts.

Carolinian , June 25, 2019 at 8:02 pm

What, no "muscular"? Hillary probably like muscular because it made her sound more threatening. Nikki Haley took up the same gig with her stilletto heels.

flora , June 25, 2019 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for this post. Leary's list looks like TED talk word cloud, imo. Ad speak. ha.

I don't know if Williams' word list was based on ad speak of the 1970s. Maybe not.

Many of Williams' words place people in relation to each other or to the society, within society. Not getting that same larger society idea from the words in Leary's ad speak list; it's more 'rational man' alone against the world. Maybe that's the essence of ad speak. "Army of one." "Be all YOU can be." etc.

Or now: Be all the smart, innovative, creative, nimble, passionate leader YOU can be." ;)

a different chris , June 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm

>Continuing along with those who have not run screaming from the room

After the first couple words I averted my eyes and scrolled madly. So I'm still here!

Socal Rhino , June 25, 2019 at 9:30 pm

I think I've seen powerpoint presentations composed of just those words, almost.

"Cadence" is one i do not see here.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 12:46 am

Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.

Steve Ruis , June 26, 2019 at 8:35 am

If you just coined this phrase, you are brilliant, sir! If not thanks for passing it along.

hunkerdown , June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

Edward Tufte, 2003. Still brilliant.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:33 am

I am not 100% certain of this; everybody should read Tufte's ESSAY:
THE COGNITIVE STYLE OF POWERPOINT: PITCHING OUT CORRUPTS WITHIN
, but the exact quote does not appear in there. The quote does occur in Tufte's 2003 Wired essay , but as a deck beneath the headline, and not in the body of the article. Therefore, I am not sure whether Tufte coined the phrase, or some anonymous editor. Can any readers clarify?

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:28 am

I should have added the cite, but I was in a rush. However, this quote should be propagated as widely as possible.

JEHR , June 26, 2019 at 10:51 am

+1

ShamanicFallout , June 25, 2019 at 10:23 pm

I like 'leverage' and 'drive'. I hear that a lot. Like 'leveraging innovation to drive sales'. So smart!

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 12:42 am

Man, I hate that usage of "drive." To be fair, the nice thing is that you can leverage sales to drive innovation, too.

Tom , June 26, 2019 at 9:49 am

To leverage sth. means to use it, afaict.

There's something taboo about use . Even reasonable people will prefer usage over use .

Amfortas the hippie , June 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm

please include in yer Language things like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng

for those who need it spelled out:
https://www.thenation.com/article/we-cant-make-it-here/

"And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why"

read the whole fucking thing.
https://genius.com/James-mcmurtry-we-cant-make-it-here-anymore-lyrics

more than ten years ago.
things are much worse, now
LISTEN

Hopelb , June 26, 2019 at 12:10 am

They play this on wyep quite often and I am always thankful that my daughter is familiar with it because of that.

Susan the other` , June 25, 2019 at 10:34 pm

Thank you Lambert. You manage to keep me sane. This exposure to and of nonsense is very timely now. In the end all we have is a set of words which allow us to trust each other. We need to find them.

LifelongLib , June 25, 2019 at 10:58 pm

Most of Leary's list is familiar from events I occasionally attended as a government IT specialist. "Wellness" overlaps with what I call the language of therapy (don't know the "correct" term) e.g. "conversation", "healing" which if anything is even more grating

The Rev Kev , June 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm

Never thought about it before but in the use of the word 'market' today, it is like it is trying to replace the word 'society' and how it was used before. Is that what Thatcher meant? That there was no society but a 'market' instead?

Alfred , June 25, 2019 at 11:43 pm

I'd say yes, exactly.

ShamanicFallout , June 25, 2019 at 11:22 pm

I was just thinking that maybe we need rehabilitate the phrase (which appears in some famous document which we in theory revere) 'promote the general welfare'. This connotes of course citizenship, commons, community. Everything that we desperately need.

Arizona Slim , June 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

Nowadays, "community" really means something that you pay for. Or, if you're not paying for it, well, you're the product.

Take, for example, online groups. They're often called communities. You may have to pay to belong, but if you don't, the data that you and your fellow "members" produce is being sold and resold.

In the offline world, there are businesses that refer to their customers as members. And what are they members of? Well, my dear, that is a community.

So, add these two words to the list of words that need to be taken outside and shot:

Community
Member

Alfred , June 25, 2019 at 11:40 pm

Sounds like a great book; anyhow a superb post. I'd have liked to see what Mr Leary has to say about 'associate' (noun; see also employee [archaic]) and service (noun; as in "software as a service"). Perhaps also "industry" (as in "the payday loans industry") – which now I think has senses that Williams could not have imagined. Oh, and why not "Crapification?" On a more serious note, there is "Inequality." (Hat tip to Tom, above, for the peerless "Vibrant.")

Hopelb , June 26, 2019 at 12:05 am

I love you Lambert. Thanks for always sharing your unearthed treasures.

dbk , June 26, 2019 at 4:27 am

Perhaps worth adding: "gig economy," "[education/health care, etc.] reform."

Yesterday I read a story in the NYT ["Love" section, formerly "Weddings"] about an Instagram "Influencer couple."

Some terms are euphemisms; others are buzzwords for the increasing privatization / shrinking of public space/services/goods (what was once known in some circles as the "theft of the commons," but hey, I'm old).

Such terms deserve to be called out repeatedly, with their actual meaning helpfully provided in (). Thus "ed reformers" (i.e. privatizers through various means such as ESAs, ETCs, vouchers) or "right to work," which I finally decided to define as "right to fire at will." Far-right think tanks are great sources of such terms; the bills ALEC writes for state legislatures are, too.

My own special bugbear is "grit" (someone who still demonstrates faith in the system which has betrayed them).

OTOH, such words are helpful in identifying the ideological perspective an author is coming from.

Jack Lifton , June 26, 2019 at 4:54 am

I was wondering where the use of the phrase, "We need to have a conversation about " In place of " we should discuss" or "let's talk about" came from. I find it " to be a given" that anything that Kamala Harris says is meaningless noise these days. She seems to have acquired this mea!y mouth way of avoiding taking a position after only a short time in the Senate. She's well on her way to being permanently inconsequential.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

"We need to" or "you need to" is one of my pet peeves, because of the power-tripping assumption that my interlocutor gets to determine my needs (all for the greater good , of course! Always for the good!)

herman_sampson , June 26, 2019 at 6:54 am

Need to add "competition": the competitors implied are other businesses but what management means are their own employees.

La Peruse , June 26, 2019 at 6:56 am

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was both pilloried and held in uncertain awe for his contribution to the English lexicon of 'incentivising', as in 'incentivising and rewarding hard work'.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:07 am

Or "prioritize." By which I mean "center." (A supplementary glossary for the non-profit industrial complex would be welcome.)

Steve H. , June 26, 2019 at 7:18 am

Etymology shows that word meanings can change and even invert over time. Floyd Merrell looked at the poetics of ambiguity, where 1:1 is unambiguous, 1:2 can have two meanings (a dog growling may be warning or playing), to n:n where meaning is entirely contextual.

There are people, and places, and objects which have changed in affect for me, usually through an aversive experience. We see this with words; for example, 'socialist' will always carry resonances of fascism since Adolph called his thing 'National Socialism'. As useful as 'class' is it, carries Marxist overtones, which causes reflexive affect for some. 'Well' carries positive connotation in some evangelical circles.

Words can get stink on them from dogwhistles. Will you argue about old words, or avoid quagmires with Smart Innovative people by creating clever and fresh new words with less historical accretion? That's what Shakespeare did and we're still looking at him four hundred years later. As a friend said to me in a conversation about demented mothers, "You've got to let'em go." You can still love them, but if they control the conversation, there madness lies.

Svante , June 26, 2019 at 8:04 am

All the BEST werds?

I'm guessing: aside from acceptance, involvement & touch from loving, comforting, equanamous parents (community integration amongst disparate peers), the sociopathic/ somatic neuroses evinced in this addiction to euphamism, platitude and obfuscatory pleonasm as glib, off-handed, day-to-day BS subterfuge, reflects cytokine imbalances, resulting from unresolved childhood trauma and fast-food diets, deficient in pre-biotics? Not enough roughage, huh?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507254/

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7b7xz9/the-unbearable-neurosis-of-the-modern-eater

Alexandra , June 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

The ones that turn my stomach the most are "influencer," "maker," and "ask" as a noun (as in, "Hey, I know it's a big ask, but I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday "). Oh! And also "content" used to mean information. A friend who is a university professor said the administration are now referring to faculty as "content distributors." Barf.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:05 am

> A friend who is a university professor said the administration are now referring to faculty as "content distributors."

First thing we do, let's kill all the college administrators. Or take away their titles, perks, and money, which will do worse than kill them.

bob , June 26, 2019 at 10:11 am

Take away their drivers, leave them stranded and entitled.

https://www.syracuse.com/syracuse-university/2019/06/ex-su-chancellor-sorry-after-yelling-im-the-chancellor-at-cops-video.html

Mael Colium , June 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

Ever had a conversation with a Teacher? Oh excuse me; an "educator" LOL. They use so many sucky phrases and words that you can't even remember what the discussions were about in the first place. It's bad enough in secondary schools but now in pre-school (early learning centres) you need an interpretation booklet to make any sense of what your child is up to in the damn place. I must confess that my MBA taught me a whole bunch of weasel words and obscure terminology so that my management reports were rarely tested for veracity. And therein lies the issue. Words were once used to impart knowledge, whereas now, as the article alludes to, words and phrases are redesigned and reoriented to avoid, obfuscate, marginalise, confuse etc you get the picture.. Look no further than your local politician for tricky word speak – it makes Trump's burbling seem almost sensible by contrast. At least we know what a pussy is now!

JCC , June 26, 2019 at 8:42 am

Here is one left off the list: handcrafted

I took a trip last weekend to Palm Springs, CA. and Laughlin, NV. and everywhere I went I was inundated with offers for "handcrafted" margaritas and coffees and various food stuffs.

It is right up there with artisanal.

Arizona Slim , June 26, 2019 at 9:07 am

No need to order this book from the Evil River, aka Amazon. Here's the publisher's page:

https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1227-keywords

HomoSapiensWannaBe , June 26, 2019 at 9:09 am

They left out "sound", as in "sound science," which is, of course, "science" which supports profit seeking.

For example, "Pesky environmental regulations are an undue, unfair burden on business, and aren't backed by sound science."

Ka-Ching!

Barry Fay , June 26, 2019 at 9:13 am

I´m thinking "going forward" belongs in this discussion as well!

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:10 am

Thanks for being part of our team.

Wukchumni , June 26, 2019 at 9:54 am

Words are what you make of them.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 26, 2019 at 10:03 am

"Men make their own history vocabulary, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living."

Mike Mc , June 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

21st century version(s) of this classic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Dictionary

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Amazon warehouse in Swansea – the company has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Jun 23, 2019] Is Democratic system theoretically sustainable?

Notable quotes:
"... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

bonefisher -> Livemike , 6 Mar 2012 06:52

Great post

The problem is that as De Toqueville realises (his quote below) most of the people commenting here are simply living a parasitic existence benefiting from state largesse - sucking the teat of a bloated and overburdened state caring not whether their sustenance is remotely sustainable and just voting for ever more

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville

[Jun 23, 2019] Theory and practice of neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:40

Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare.

Love it. When push comes to shove all those ideologies and beliefs crumble into the dust of practical needs. Another individual who cloaked the self-interest of the rich and powerful into some kind of spurious ideology.

George wrote a rather good article about Von Hayek a few years ago I seem to remember.

[Jun 23, 2019] Argentina s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country by Peter S. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets. ..."
"... "It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people." ..."
"... The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain. ..."
"... But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent ..."
"... Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing. ..."
"... Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs. ..."
"... In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember. ..."
"... "We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'" ..."
"... "When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned." ..."
May 10, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.

They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.

Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and transportation, causing prices to skyrocket, and recently prompting Ms. Genovesi, 48, to cut off her gas service, rendering her stove lifeless. Like most of her neighbors, she illegally taps into the power lines that run along the rutted dirt streets.

"It's a neoliberal government," she says. "It's a government that does not favor the people."

The tribulations playing out under the disintegrating roofs of the poor are a predictable dimension of Mr. Macri's turn away from left-wing populism. He vowed to shrink Argentina's monumental deficits by diminishing the largess of the state. The trouble is that Argentines have yet to collect on the other element the president promised: the economic revival that was supposed to follow the pain.

Mr. Macri's supporters heralded his 2015 election as a miraculous outbreak of normalcy in a country with a well-earned reputation for histrionics. He would cease the reckless spending that had brought Argentina infamy for defaulting on its debts eight times. Sober-minded austerity would win the trust of international financiers, bringing investment that would yield jobs and fresh opportunities.

But as Mr. Macri seeks re-election this year, Argentines increasingly lament that they are absorbing all strife and no progress. Even businesses that have benefited from his reforms complain that he has botched the execution, leaving the nation to confront the same concoction of misery that has plagued it for decades. The economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent.

Poverty afflicts a third of the population, and the figure is climbing.

Far beyond this country of 44 million people, Mr. Macri's tenure is testing ideas that will shape economic policy in an age of recrimination over widening inequality. His presidency was supposed to offer an escape from the wreckage of profligate spending while laying down an alternative path for countries grappling with the worldwide rise of populism. Now, his presidency threatens to become a gateway back to populism. The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

Image
The Argentine economy is contracting. Inflation is running above 50 percent, and joblessness is stuck above 9 percent. Poverty afflicts a third of the population. Credit Sarah Pabst for The New York Times

As the October election approaches, Mr. Macri is contending with the growing prospect of a challenge from the president he succeeded, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who faces a series of criminal indictments for corruption . Her unbridled spending helped deliver the crisis that Mr. Macri inherited. Her return would resonate as a rebuke of his market-oriented reforms while potentially yanking Argentina back to its accustomed preserve: left-wing populism, in uncomfortable proximity to insolvency.

The Argentine peso lost half of its value against the dollar last year, prompting the central bank to lift interest rates to a commerce-suffocating level above 60 percent. Argentina was forced to secure a $57 billion rescue from the International Monetary Fund , a profound indignity given that the fund is widely despised here for the austerity it imposed in the late 1990s, turning an economic downturn into a depression.

For Mr. Macri, time does not appear to be in abundant supply. The spending cuts he delivered hit the populace immediately. The promised benefits of his reforms -- a stable currency, tamer inflation, fresh investment and jobs -- could take years to materialize, leaving Argentines angry and yearning for the past.

In much of South America, left-wing governments have taken power in recent decades as an angry corrective to dogmatic prescriptions from Washington, where the Treasury and the I.M.F. have focused on the confidence of global investors as the key to development.

Left-wing populism has aimed to redistribute the gains from the wealthy to everyone else. It has aided the poor, while generating its own woes -- corruption and depression in Brazil , runaway inflation and financial ruin in Argentina. In Venezuela, uninhibited spending has turned the country with the world's largest proven oil reserves into a land where children starve .

Mr. Macri sold his administration as an evolved form of governance for these times, a crucial dose of market forces tempered by social programs.

In the most generous reading, the medicine has yet to take effect. But in the view of beleaguered Argentines, the country has merely slipped back into the rut that has framed national life for as long as most people can remember.

"We live patching things up," said Roberto Nicoli, 62, who runs a silverware company outside the capital, Buenos Aires. "We never fix things. I always say, 'Whenever we start doing better, I will start getting ready for the next crisis.'"

Cultivating wealth

... ... ...

In the beginning, there was Juan Domingo Perón, the charismatic Army general who was president from 1946 to 1955, and then again from 1973 to 1974. He employed an authoritarian hand and muscular state power to champion the poor. He and his wife, Eva Duarte -- widely known by her nickname, Evita -- would dominate political life long after they died, inspiring politicians across the ideological spectrum to claim their mantle.

Among the most ardent Peronists were Néstor Kirchner, the president from 2003 to 2007, and his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who took office in 2007, remaining until Mr. Macri was elected in 2015.

Their version of Peronism -- what became known as Kirchnerism -- was decidedly left-wing, disdaining global trade as a malevolent force. They expanded cash grants to the poor and imposed taxes on farm exports in a bid to keep Argentine food prices low.

As the country's farmers tell it, Kirchnerism is just a fancy term for the confiscation of their wealth and the scattering of the spoils to the unproductive masses. They point to Ms. Kirchner's 35 percent tax on soybean exports.

"We had a saying," Mr. Tropini says. "'For every three trucks that went to the port, one was for Cristina Kirchner.'"

reduction in export taxes.

"You could breathe finally," Mr. Tropini, the farmer, says.

He was free of the Kirchners, yet stuck with nature. Floods in 2016 wiped out more than half of his crops. A drought last year wreaked even more havoc.

"This harvest, this year," he says, "is a gift from God."

But if the heavens are now cooperating, and if the people running Buenos Aires represent change, Mr. Tropini is critical of Mr. Macri's failure to overcome the economic crisis.

A weaker currency makes Argentine soybeans more competitive, but it also increases the cost of the diesel fuel Mr. Tropini needs to run his machinery. High interest rates make it impossible for him to buy another combine, which would allow him to expand his farm.

In September, faced with a plunge in government revenues, Mr. Macri reinstated some export taxes .

... ... ...

What went wrong?

... ... ...

In the first years of Mr. Macri's administration, the government lifted controls on the value of the peso while relaxing export taxes. The masters of international finance delivered a surge of investment. The economy expanded by nearly 3 percent in 2017, and then accelerated in the first months of last year.

But as investors grew wary of Argentina's deficits, they fled, sending the peso plunging and inflation soaring. As the rout continued last year, the central bank mounted a futile effort to support the currency, selling its stash of dollars to try to halt the peso's descent. As the reserves dwindled, investors absorbed the spectacle of a government failing to restore order. The exodus of money intensified, and another potential default loomed, leading a chastened Mr. Macri to accept a rescue from the dreaded IMF.

Administration officials described the unraveling as akin to a natural disaster: unforeseeable and unavoidable. The drought hurt agriculture. Money was flowing out of developing countries as the Federal Reserve continued to lift interest rates in the United States, making the American dollar a more attractive investment.

But the impact of the Fed's tightening had been widely anticipated. Economists fault the government for mishaps and complacency that left the country especially vulnerable.

.... ... ...

Among the most consequential errors was the government's decision to include Argentina's central bank in a December 2017 announcement that it was raising its inflation target. The markets took that as a signal that the government was surrendering its war on inflation while opting for a traditional gambit: printing money rather than cutting spending.

... ... ...

The government insists that better days are ahead. The spending cuts have dropped the budget deficit to a manageable 3 percent of annual economic output. Argentina is again integrated into the global economy.

"We haven't improved, but the foundations of the economy and society are much healthier," said Miguel Braun, secretary of economic policy at the Treasury Ministry. "Argentina is in a better place to generate a couple of decades of growth."

... ... ...

Their television flashes dire warnings, like "Danger of Hyper Inflation." Throughout the neighborhood, people decry the sense that they have been forsaken by the government.

Trucks used to come to castrate male dogs to control the packs of feral animals running loose. Not anymore. Health programs for children are less accessible than they were before, they said.

Daisy Quiroz, 71, a retired maid, lives in a house that regularly floods in the rainy season.

"When our president Cristina was here, they sent people to help us," she says. "Now, if there's problems, nobody helps us. Poor people feel abandoned."

... ... ...

Daniel Politi contributed reporting from Buenos Aires. Peter S. Goodman is a London-based European economics correspondent. He was previously a national economic correspondent in New York. He has also worked at The Washington Post as a China correspondent, and was global editor in chief of the International Business Times. @ petersgoodman

[Jun 23, 2019] Communism and neoliberalism were never as far apart as people imagined. Two sides of a coin. A theological dispute.

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

twiglette , 11 Apr 2019 05:13

Communism and neoliberalism were never as far apart as people imagined. Two sides of a coin. A theological dispute.

[Jun 23, 2019] The Right have been absolutely brilliant at media control and obfuscation.

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

macfeegal , 6 Mar 2012 03:56

Another very informative article from one of the few writers with any sense of having a 'finger on the pulse.'

It's sad that it's taken over 30 years for the real shaping influences behind the current system to be identified and discussed outside the boundaries of a few university conferences.

The Right have been absolutely brilliant at media control and obfuscation. Their gurus have been camouflaged and the whole process of influencing Reagan and Thatcher's governments from the late 1970's has escaped exactly the kind of scrutiny that George gives Rand.

We might also investigate the influence of John Nash's (A Beautiful Mind) 'Gameplay' experiments in a similar fashion along with the economic gurus who followed Hayek so slavishly.

It has been known for years that the neo liberal project was designed not just to under mine democracy and convert people into passive cloned market junkies, but to put an end to the whole of the Enlightenment Project, which perhaps naively saw human development,. growth and other human qualities totally savaged and defeated by this poisonous evil, which emulates all the worst aspects of Fascism without the flags and theatre.

Sadly, this is not a 'this is happening' phenomenon; it's a 'this has happened phenomenon.' The taint and viral effect of its impact on uk and usa political structures has already caused major damage. All three major political parties in the uk have for 30 years subscribed to its tenets though they were no doubt not presented in such a flagrant form as Rand's writing.

How problematic is it to now look at the polity and rescue it from such a major ideological shift? Certainly, the major parties cannot shuck off the cape of their key beliefs after promoting Right wing ideologies for so long, and the traditional Left is no more.

However, it is good to see some pithy journalism that goes to the heart of the matter - those of us who have been pleading for less x factor celebrity worshipping of politicians can at least feel as though this shifts the spectrum to real and significant issues that have affected the lives of everyone for so long.

Spot on George; one of your best.

[Jun 23, 2019] These submerged policies obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry.

Highly recommended!
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Kikinaskald , 6 Mar 2012 14:14

I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security.

In case nobody mentioned this book before, which is relevant to the theme:

The Submerged State by Suzanne Mettler

From the Amazon book description:

These submerged policies, Mettler shows, obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry. Neither do they realize that the policies of the submerged state shower their largest benefits on the most affluent Americans, exacerbating inequality.

[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] "Escobar: Brazilgate Is Turning Into Russiagate 2.0"

Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

arby , Jun 21, 2019 10:03:38 AM | 55

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-20/escobar-brazilgate-turning-russiagate-20

Sorghum , Jun 21, 2019 10:15:17 AM | 56

@ arby 55

It looks like Bolonosario really is the SA Trump: installed by the bankers to loot the system even more in their favor.

[Jun 20, 2019] Using Democratic Institutions to Smash Democratic Aspirations (the Brazil Model) by Vijay Prashad

Notable quotes:
"... The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him. ..."
"... Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment. ..."
"... Messages seemed to constantly be exchanged between the Moro and the Lava Jato team led by Dallagnol. These have now been revealed by The Intercept and scrutinized by a range of forensic and political analysts. It is clear that the judge and the prosecutor colluded to find Lula guilty and lock him away. ..."
"... The persecution of Lula is a story that is not merely about Lula, nor solely about Brazil. This is a test case for the way oligarchies and imperialism have sought to use the shell of democracy to undermine the democratic aspirations of the people. It is the methodology of democracy without democracy, a Potemkin Village of liberalism. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Clarity emerges around the political persecution of Lula, Brazil's former president. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him, writes Vijay Prashad.

Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Brazil's former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has now been in prison since April 2018. More than 400 Brazilian lawyers have signed a statement that expresses alarm at what they see as procedural irregularities in the case against him. They call for the immediate release of Lula. The Asociación Americana de Juristas – a non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations – has called Lula a political prisoner. Lula was convicted of corruption and money-laundering, despite a lack of solid evidence. Two lawsuits against him remain unfinished.

Now, more evidence emerges about the collusion of the lead judge and the lead investigator in the prosecution of Lula thanks to excellent reporting from The Intercept . The political motivations are now on the record: they, on behalf of the oligarchy, did not want Lula – who remains hugely popular – to be the 2018 presidential candidate of the Workers' Party (PT). Brazil's right-wing has begun a horrible campaign to malign the journalists of The Intercept , notably its editor Glenn Greenwald. Using the same tactics of hate, misogyny, and homophobia to defame their journalists, they hope, will distract from and delegitimise the damning evidence of their corrupt tactics.

Clarity now emerges around the political persecution of Lula. But what is still blurry for many is the actual case against him. The details of his case remain murky, with many who sympathise with Lula unsure of how to understand the corruption charges and his apparent conviction. This newsletter is dedicated to providing a primer on Lula and the case against him.

Who is Lula?

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (73 years old), a metalworker and trade union leader, helped found the PT, Brazil's main left party. He won two consecutive elections to govern Brazil from 2003 to 2010. At the close of his second term, Lula had an approval rating of 86 percent – the highest in the country's history. His poverty reduction programs – particularly his hunger alleviation schemes – earned his government praise from around the world, which is why some are calling for him to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Income redistribution through social programs such as Bolsa Família, Brasil sem Miseria, the expansion of credit, the increase in decent work, and the increase in the minimum wage lifted almost 30 million (out of 209 million) Brazilians out of poverty. The number of public university campuses more than doubled, leading to a 285 percent increase in Afro-Brazilians attending institutes of higher education. Brazil paid off its debts to the IMF and the government discovered a massive new oil reserve in the Santos Basin, off the coast of São Paulo. This oil will eventually change Brazil's strategic position in the world.

Why was Lula arrested?

There are two narratives that exist to answer this question. The first -- the official narrative, propagated by the bourgeoise -- is that Lula is in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering. His cases remain pending before the courts. Curitiba's Public Prosecutor's Office – led by Deltan Dallagnol – was in charge of an investigation around corruption allegations at Brazil's state energy firm, Petrobras. Because a car wash became part of the money laundering investigation, the Task Force was known as Lava Jato (Car Wash). The Task Force uncovered activity by contractors such as OAS and Odebrecht, who had – it turns out – remodelled an apartment on the coast and a farm in the interior that were supposedly owned by Lula. These firms, it was said by the Task Force, had gained concessions from Petrobras. The Task Force argued that Lula benefited from the contractors, who in turn benefitted from state largess. This was the allegation.

The second narrative -- further substantiated by recent reporting from The Intercept of collusion between the main judges in the case against Lula -- shows evidence of political persecution and a coordinated attempt to stop Lula from winning the presidential election and put a halt to the country's progressive social agenda. In this narrative, the corruption charges against Lula were manufactured in order to recover the right-wing's control of the government, despite a lack of evidence against him.

Lola Alvarez Bravo, "Unos Suben y Otros Bajan," 1940.

Is there evidence against Lula?

Actually, no. The prosecutors could not prove that Lula had ever owned the apartment or the farm. Nor could they prove any benefit to the contractors. Lula was convicted – bizarrely – of unspecified acts . Former OAS director Léo Pinheiro, who had been convicted of money laundering and corruption in 2014 and was to serve 16 years, gave evidence against Lula; for this evidence, his sentence was reduced. There was no material evidence against Lula.

Who convicted Lula?

Judge Sérgio Moro convicted Lula. He became a celebrity and is now the minister of justice in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is clear that Bolsonaro won the election because Lula was not permitted to run. Moro's conviction delivered the presidency to Bolsonaro, who then rewarded Moro with the ministry appointment.

Moro not only tried Lula in his court, but also in the court of public opinion. The corporate media was on the side of the prosecution, and leaks from the court created an image of Lula as the enemy of the people. Bizarrely, the press often seemed to have information from the court before Lula's defence attorneys. When Lula's lawyers filed a habeas corpus petition to get him out of jail, the army's commander-in-chief sent the Supreme Court a message on Twitter to instructing them not to grant the petition. The petition was denied.

Should Lula have been allowed to run for president?

The Brazilian Code of Criminal Procedure says that one can only go to prison when their appeals run out. Article 5 of the Constitution notes,"No one shall be considered guilty before the issuance of a final and unappealable prison sentence." Why Lula went to jail in the first place requires an investigation. Judge Moro argued that it was because he was found guilty in the Appeal Court based on a plea bargain. This is murky. The UN's Human Rights Committee said that Lula should have been allowed to run for president last year because his appeals had not been exhausted. Not only did the judiciary and the prosecutors not allow Lula to run, but they also did not allow him to meet the press and so influence the election.

What has been the role of the United States in the Lava Jato investigation?

Odd how the US Department of Justice officials visited Judge Moro during the investigation, and how US Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said in 2017 that the U.S. justice officials had "informal communications" about the removal of Lula from the presidential race. On 6 March 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice said that it would transfer 80 percent of the fines it received from Petrobras to the Public Prosecutor's Office to set up an "anti-corruption investment fund." It is fair to say that this is a payment to the Lava Jato team for its work on removing Lula from the presidential race.

What was the real corruption in this case?

Messages seemed to constantly be exchanged between the Moro and the Lava Jato team led by Dallagnol. These have now been revealed by The Intercept and scrutinized by a range of forensic and political analysts. It is clear that the judge and the prosecutor colluded to find Lula guilty and lock him away. The first instance of corruption is this brazen collusion between two parts of the government. The second instance of corruption is the role of the United States in this case, and the pay-out to Dallagnol's department for services rendered.

The persecution of Lula is a story that is not merely about Lula, nor solely about Brazil. This is a test case for the way oligarchies and imperialism have sought to use the shell of democracy to undermine the democratic aspirations of the people. It is the methodology of democracy without democracy, a Potemkin Village of liberalism.

At Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, we are studying this phenomenon closely. You have already seen our dossier on the hybrid war against Venezuela and our dossier on lawfare in Brazil. The arrest of human rights defenders from Julian Assange to Ola Bini as well as the arrest of whistle-blowers from Chelsea Manning to David McBridge are part of this chilling effect against the sentinels of democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/aoS_OWxpqa8?feature=oembed

We are taking seriously this evisceration of democracy. We are going to look at the role of money in elections (test case: India) and voter suppression, as well as the reduction of 'politics' to the festival of elections, the allowance of states to crush the basic institutions of civil society, and the role of immiseration in the defeat of the democratic spirit. We need a new theory of actually-existing democracy.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, journalist, commentator and a Marxist intellectual. He is the executive director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and the chief editor of LeftWord Books.

This article is from Tricontinental .

[Jun 20, 2019] Brazil under Bolsonaro A Different Form of Hybrid War

Notable quotes:
"... In layman's terms, American intelligence agencies meddled in Brazil's democracy by selectively leaking purported evidence of serious corruption by the then-ruling party, which predictably set into motion a self-sustaining inquisitional cycle that led to Rousseff's impeachment, Lula's imprisonment, and ultimately Bolsonaro's "dark horse" victory after he was presented to the people as the only non-corrupt candidate capable of restoring order out of the chaos that the socialists were blamed for causing. ..."
"... This externally triggered regime change was intended to create the domestic political conditions that were thought to make a Leftist revival impossible in the future and thereby indefinitely perpetuate the restoration of US influence in Brazil, with the Right's victory legitimized at the ballot after the majority of the population was successfully led by these foreign-manufactured events to conclude that Bolsonaro was the only person capable of changing the system. Upon entering office, he did exactly as he promised and began to push forward his controversial neoliberal reforms that provoked the latest strike. ..."
"... Bolsonaro and his US buddies obviously underestimated the Left's resilience and therefore weren't prepared for the massive pushback that this move provoked, but the public's anger last weekend was also fueled by The Intercept's leaked revelations that "Operation Car Wash's" top judge and the country's current Justice Minister colluded with prosecutors to convict Lula and therefore prevent him from running for President (which in turn greatly facilitated Bolsonaro's rise to power). ..."
"... It's important to point out that the conversation was leaked and not hacked, strongly suggesting dissident within the deepest ranks of the regime change movement for reasons that can only be speculated upon at this time but which nevertheless motivated the whistleblower to share the evidence in their possession with society in order to catalyze grassroots pressure against the government. ..."
"... It's therefore not an exaggeration to say that Brazil's long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora's Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US' behest. Bolsonaro's rise to power was shady from the get-go and only made possibly by Lula's conviction and the consequent banning of the country's most popular political candidate from the presidential race ..."
"... Although some of the protesters are employing classic Color Revolution tactics during their anti-government demonstrations, this political technology isn't black and white because it could conceivably be used by anyone in pursuit of any end. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Brazil's long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora's Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US' behest.

The Bolsonaro government is coming under intense grassroots pressure as two crises continue to converge within the country and threaten to spiral out of the authorities' control. An estimated 45 million people just participated in a massive strike over the weekend against the proposed neoliberal pension reforms that would increase both the age of retirement and contributions for ordinary workers, which tens of millions of people feel is unfair but which the state says is needed in order to fix the failing system that it inherited as a result of its predecessors' corrupt mismanagement. Brazil has a history of seemingly irreconcilable political polarization between the Left and Right like all Latin American countries do, but this fault line was exacerbated to the fullest extent throughout the course of the long-running Hybrid War on Brazil , which was waged via the NSA-facilitated "Operation Car Wash" that served as a pretext for carrying out a preplanned pro-American regime change that represented the crowning achievement of Obama's " Operation Condor 2.0 " and made Trump's " Fortress America " hemispheric vision possible.

In layman's terms, American intelligence agencies meddled in Brazil's democracy by selectively leaking purported evidence of serious corruption by the then-ruling party, which predictably set into motion a self-sustaining inquisitional cycle that led to Rousseff's impeachment, Lula's imprisonment, and ultimately Bolsonaro's "dark horse" victory after he was presented to the people as the only non-corrupt candidate capable of restoring order out of the chaos that the socialists were blamed for causing.

This externally triggered regime change was intended to create the domestic political conditions that were thought to make a Leftist revival impossible in the future and thereby indefinitely perpetuate the restoration of US influence in Brazil, with the Right's victory legitimized at the ballot after the majority of the population was successfully led by these foreign-manufactured events to conclude that Bolsonaro was the only person capable of changing the system. Upon entering office, he did exactly as he promised and began to push forward his controversial neoliberal reforms that provoked the latest strike.

Venezuela: Preplanned Provocation by Washington,"The Indirect Adaptive Approach" to Regime Change

Bolsonaro and his US buddies obviously underestimated the Left's resilience and therefore weren't prepared for the massive pushback that this move provoked, but the public's anger last weekend was also fueled by The Intercept's leaked revelations that "Operation Car Wash's" top judge and the country's current Justice Minister colluded with prosecutors to convict Lula and therefore prevent him from running for President (which in turn greatly facilitated Bolsonaro's rise to power).

Many Brazilians had long suspected as much, but this was the first time that messages from a private Telegram group consisting of the regime change collaborators were made public to corroborate this theory. It's important to point out that the conversation was leaked and not hacked, strongly suggesting dissident within the deepest ranks of the regime change movement for reasons that can only be speculated upon at this time but which nevertheless motivated the whistleblower to share the evidence in their possession with society in order to catalyze grassroots pressure against the government.

It's therefore not an exaggeration to say that Brazil's long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora's Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US' behest. Bolsonaro's rise to power was shady from the get-go and only made possibly by Lula's conviction and the consequent banning of the country's most popular political candidate from the presidential race, which has now been proven without any reasonable doubt to have been part of an actual conspiracy by some members of the permanent bureaucracy ("deep state") against him.

This throws into question the electoral legitimacy of Brazil's latest leader and therefore sets up the scenario of having every one of his political moves invalidated if he's ever removed from office on this pretext, including the controversial pension reform that he's trying to push through. Naturally, the labor crisis is merging with the political one and creating a critical mass of regime change unrest.

Although some of the protesters are employing classic Color Revolution tactics during their anti-government demonstrations, this political technology isn't black and white because it could conceivably be used by anyone in pursuit of any end. In this case, the nascent movement has the same regime change objective as its pro-American antecedent and is similarly relying on overwhelming popular support to legitimize its goals, albeit the defining difference in this Hybrid War is that it isn't tied to any foreign power (both in terms of its inception and development unlike "Operation Car Wash") except if one cynically traces its origin to the US' NSA meddling many years ago. In fact, what's happening in Brazil right now is nothing less than blowback against Bolsonaro after his conspiratorial US-backed rise to power and the consequent pension controversy that he's since caused. The protest organizers want to return the country to the pre-crisis status quo of being led by Lula and the Left, though they might also embrace some mild reforms to appeal to the moderate Right that arose in recent years if they ever end up succeeding in reversing the effects of the US' Hybrid War on Brazil.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jun 16, 2019] The Neoliberal Rearguard: The potshot intelligentsia take aim at the far left

Jun 16, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

by Jason Hirthler / June 14th, 2019

Once declared by The New York Times to be, "the most important intellectual alive," a quote it surely regrets, prolific gadfly Noam Chomsky has said that, "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." How true. However, the same dictator might find the sloppy, often incoherent work of that uniform press to be a problem in need of a solution, especially at a time when it finds itself assaulted on all sides by alternative media. The mainstream finds itself desperately waging rearguard actions as it stumbles beyond the shadow of respectability. As it retreats into a shell of reactionary conformity, the mainstream has become a parody of itself. Once, its propaganda was well-crafted and replete with nuance and high-quality dissimulation, such that the average American reader could be duped regardless of his or her preconceived notions.

That is no longer the case. The demise of authority in the mainstream is thanks largely to the relentless round-the-clock news cycle and a deep bias in favor of sound bytes and sensationalism. How ironic that the collapse of faith in western media is caused by its own relentless fealty to profitability. The corporate press has now become, for vast segments of the population, a transparently deceitful congeries of second-rate pseudo-journalists who traffic in base fictions at the behest of elite capital. Meanwhile, ranks of first-rate independent journalists now dot the coarse hide of the staggering beast of the mainstream, more woodpeckers than parasites, slowly penetrating the dense carapace of falsehood that coarsens the consciousness of western citizenry. Only relentless infusions of capital are keeping the beast alive. Quantitative easing for the propaganda class.

If you want a nice index of the abysmal depths to which modern political discourse has sunk, there are dozens of pristine examples on YouTube. In fact, the site is in some sense a junk-strewn wasteland of western cultural debris, each piece of trash boasting thousands of views. I recently watched an episode of the BBC's, "The Daily Politics", now mercifully discontinued after 15 years of spreading disinformation disguised as "in depth" coverage of political events. Last July, just before being shuttered for good,, the show hosted the communist Aaron Bastani. (Perhaps this was another effort to align Labour's Jeremy Corbyn with the fraudulent effigies of Stalin and Mao.)

This show is a particularly good example of what happens when a freethinker is for some reason permitted time on a mainstream network and utters viewpoints that are well outside the Overton Window of acceptable opinion. The airing of such thinkers is not, as most suspect, an example of an open press, but rather a calculated effort to censor unacceptable ideas. On a psychological level, it serves the same purpose of unifying the herd as burning witches did in the medieval epoch. There is some sort of malign catharsis in communal attacks on ideological enemies. Just look at the vicious historical Hindu violence against minority Muslims in India. Communalism, they call it. In any event, this collection of pseudo-journalists, arrayed around a table in comfortable chairs, was an especially nice representation of the idiocy of our current political dialogue. Four neoliberals had to be brought on to collectively mock, browbeat, and quiz the good-natured YouTube host of "The Bastani Factor" on his bizarre communist politics.

Theater of the Absurd

The stage is set by show producers when they cast a giant image of a yellow hammer and sickle against a vast background of red (gulag blood, no doubt). This farcical backdrop covers half the set. The "guest" Bastani is first mocked for handing out a t-shirt that says, "I'm literally a communist." Then he is asked by moderator Jo Coburn, a haughty establishment tool with a penchant for constant interruptions, whether or not Bastani is simply whitewashing "a murderous ideology."

After Bastani finishes describing communism for the panel, Laura Hughes of the highly esteemed Financial Times declares that she felt like she'd just sat through her high school history class all over again, and that what was really needed was, "a new word" other than communism, since the latter was obviously so freighted with capitalist propaganda (she didn't exactly say that). Political pundit and Tory Matthew Parris then jumps in to say he's perfectly comfortable with the current word, and that Marx was perfectly clear about what he meant by it. Hughes gazes at Parris, nodding with a condescending smile, before Coburn leaps in to ask again about the supposedly nine million slaughtered at the hands of Stalin's purges, gulags, and induced famines. Parris laughs uncomfortably and defensively remarks, "Well, I'm not a communist!" But the bloodthirsty Coburn isn't satisfied. Is understanding communism not, in effect, trivializing its crimes? Parris then confirms for all and sundry that the practice of communism will most certainly require mass slaughter.

Coburn jumps back to Bastani, asking whether it requires violence. Rather than say it requires the seizure of property from the ruling class, and that this act might inspire violent resistance, as it did from the kulaks following the Bolshevik revolution, Bastani attempts to smooth it all over with an anecdote from the 14th century, which appeases no one and distracts everyone. Here another conservative journalist, Suzanne Evans, declares, in reference to the disturbing t-shirt, to say, "I'm literally a communist" is tantamount to saying, "I'm literally a fascist." Hughes bounces up and down in her chair and reminds the panel that communism "didn't work!" She then reiterates her call for "a new word." Someone then asks whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would wear Bastani's communist t-shirt, prompting Bastani to point out that Corbyn isn't actually a communist. Evans smugly replies, "He's 90 percent a communist" (to guffaws in the gallery).

Parris has by this point recovered from the dreadful insinuation that he was a tankie. He then announces that one of the main problems with communism, aside from the mass slaughter, is that it still has a "student Che Guevara mystique about it." This insight is met with knowing nods and throaty growls from the panel. He then bafflingly adds that free marketers (like himself) "haven't been robust enough in defending what we believe in." Bastani might have noted that a century of nonstop laissez faire propaganda from the business press should surely have squelched a few noisy gangs of undergrads in Che t-shirts. Alas, the show then dribbled to a close, everyone declining the offer of the t-shirt as though it were smallpox-infested blanket from colonial times.

The comments section beneath the YouTube video was largely sympathetic to Bastani, but in places typically descended into an intra-communist debate about what communism actually is, with one ideologue insisting that, "The USSR was not remotely Marxist!" Several naysayers chimed in with the usual boilerplate about how everything we enjoy today is a product of capitalism and how capitalism is "by far" the best system ever conceived for human prosperity, etc. As usual, the capitalists take credit for everything except the death toll.

Punching Back

Unfortunately, this is garden variety stuff on mainstream television. One hardly utters a non-mainstream perspective before opposition pundits have their hackles up and are firing off stock phrases about the glories of the free market. There are numberless responses to this kind of commercial pablum, of which a handful come to mind.

First, no one is saying capitalism isn't a great engine of material production. Even Marx praised it on that count. But we should never tire of pointing out that capitalism isn't about markets; it's the division of resources between capital and labor, the latter of which get brutally exploited by the former. As for markets, there were plenty of slave markets in the ancient world, and plenty of markets under feudalism, and there have been plenty of markets in socialist economies. Second, the numerous social advances made in the US were made in spite of capitalism, not because of it. It's not as though the franchise, the eight-hour work day, or the social safety net were commodities distributed by profit-seeking capitalists in some magically humane laissez faire agora.

Third, the Soviet Union was a demonstrable success, achieving some remarkable industrial gains during just the Thirties alone, before western jackals watched while the Nazi Wehrmacht rolled into Russia, and was finally unraveled by pro-western factions within the Soviet state. The German Democratic Republic is another example of a profoundly different, and generally more humane, kind of social organization, that is continuously given the short shrift by ideologues hurling their "Stasi state" jibes into the bristling ether of social media. Fourth, we'd have never even begun to exit the Great Recession of 2008 without China's command economy, with its various socialist aims and government controlled production.

Fifth, no one bothers to investigate the propaganda surrounding communism, referred to in this awful BBC show as a "murderous ideology". The purge and gulag and famine death figures were popularly disseminated largely by Robert Conquest, a British propagandist, and are suspect at best, and at worst fraudulent. The majority of the left won't even go there for fear of crossing the threshold into pariah status, and being thrust into that burgeoning cultural pen of actual socialists and communists. Sixth, there are thought to be some 20 million people since the end of WWII who have died at the hands of imperial capitalism, and its unquenchable thirst for new markets. Those figures are not likely to be falsified, at least partially because they are not the product of a ferociously anti-Communist propaganda system, but rather independent alternative journalists without a bourgeois mandate to romanticize neoliberalism and demonize communism. Nor are those numbers likely to stall; the implacable drive for hegemony promises much more slaughter, with many more million brown men, women, and children adding to the figures, plenty of them doubtless LGBTQ+ and trans. Seventh, India, for instance, is hardly better off than it was before the capitalist invasion by Britain. Same goes for the Congo or anyplace else capital has reached for market access. Life in the metropole is considerably different than life in the ransacked provinces.

Eighth, when you argue for the current system, you're arguing for a capitalist oligarchy in which 1 percent of humanity controls more than half the world's wealth, and 30 percent control 95 percent of the wealth, leaving 70 percent of the world's population to support itself on 5 percent of the world's resources, access to which are nevertheless being hotly contested by capital. Ninth, recent studies have shown marked rises in suicides as neoliberal austerity takes hold in the metropole itself, while hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have taken their own lives thanks to neoliberal structural reforms in a story that provoked meager interest in western capitals. Tenth, it's been conclusively shown that we are heading into the sixth mass extinction event in history, produced by capitalist industrialization. Yet almost all of us are in denial, either as Republicans hastily summoning their liberal conspiracy talking points, or as neoliberal Democrats who still cling to the meager thread of the Obama era and the Paris Accords, as if Obama and Paris were really going to address climate change the way it needs to be addressed.

Alas, these responses might have short-circuited the hive mind of the BBC panel. Facts, hurled into a pandemonium of deceits, can have that effect. Of course, Bastani was shuttled away before any of these considerations were tabled, the benighted doxies of imperialism happy to have had another go at the far left before decamping for their next bourgeois dinner party, anxious to don their own 'most important intellectual' attire and regale placid peers of the intelligentsia with tales of ideology run amuck.

Jason Hirthler is a writer, political commentator, and veteran of the communications industry. He has written for many political communities. He is the recent author of Imperial Fictions , a collection of essays from between 2015-2017. He lives in New York City and can be reached at jasonhirthler@gmail.com . Read other articles by Jason .

This article was posted on Friday, June 14th, 2019 at 8:23pm and is filed under Capitalism , Communism/Marxism/Maoism , Corporate media , Media , Media Bias , Social media .

[Jun 13, 2019] Leaked Messages Confirm Imprisonment of Brazil's Lula da Silva was Politically Motivated naked capitalism

So it was coup detat after all, like many expected...
Jun 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Leaked Messages Confirm: Imprisonment of Brazil's Lula da Silva was Politically Motivated Posted on June 13, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield This week Glenn Greenwald and colleagues published in The Intercept articles based on initial analysis of a massive trove of internal communications between prosecutors and judges involved in Brazil's corruption cases. An anonymous source had provided the material. To no one's great surprise, these documents revealed that former president Lula da Silva's prosecution and conviction were politically motivated ( part one ; part two ; part three , with more to follow).

Political and social leaders, including Bernie Sanders, have called for Lula to be released and his conviction annulled (see this Common Dreams account, Bernie Sanders Says Former Brazilian President Lula Should Be Freed After Leaked Documents Expose 'Politicized Prosecution' )

In this Real News Network interview, Mike Fox discusses the ramifications of these explosive revelations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PW_2-BS0_q0

GREG WILPERT: It's The Real News Network. And I'm Greg Wilpert in Baltimore.

The website The Intercept released a series of articles last Sunday which provides strong evidence that last year's conviction and imprisonment of Brazil's former president Lula da Silva was politically motivated. The articles are based on an enormous archive of internal communications conducted by prosecutors and judges that The Intercept received from an anonymous source. The Intercept says that they will be publishing many more articles as they proceed to analyze the archive.

Lula da Silva has been in prison for just over a year now, serving a 24-year prison sentence on corruption charges relating to the so-called Lava Jato, or Car Wash, corruption investigation, in which the construction companies Grupo OAS and Odebrecht were at the center. Lula was convicted shortly before last year's presidential campaign, in which he was the leading candidate. It is generally believed that Lula's disqualification from the race is what enabled far right politician Jair Bolsonaro to win Brazil's presidency.

Joining me now from Florianapolis, Brazil to discuss the latest revelations contained in The Intercept's reporting is Mike Fox. Mike is a freelance reporter for The Real News Network, and for many other media outlets. Thanks for joining us today, Mike.

MICHAEL FOX: Thanks for having me, Greg.

GREG WILPERT: So, the articles that were published in The Intercept raise two main issues with regard to Lula's conviction and his presidential run last year. Let's take them one at a time. Now, first there is the issue of how prosecutors tried to prevent Lula from giving an interview to Brazil's largest newspaper, Folha de Sao Paolo. What is the revelation here, and what is the significance of what prosecutors did?

MICHAEL FOX: Right. So, in September 28 of last year the Supreme Court ruled that Lula would be allowed to give this interview. Almost immediately thereafter, what we've seen from these telegram messages is that prosecutors in the Lava Jato task force kind of blew up, scheming for the next 24 hours about how they could possibly stop this. They called this mafioso, they called this ridiculous, insane. It was very clear about their political identification and what they were trying to do to in order to move to block this interview, for their fear that the Workers Party, this could kind of lift the Workers Party forward into the first round and into the second round elections to potentially win the election.

In the end the interview itself was blocked by an appeal from Novo, one of the right-wing political parties. So they–and they were, again, they expressed that they were relieved in these, these telegram messages. So this is a very clear, one clear example, of a situation where these prosecutors were actively plotting to try and block as much as possible the Workers Party from potentially returning to power.

GREG WILPERT: So, the second issue that The Intercept articles highlight has to do with the evidence against Lula, and how the judge in Lula's case, Sergio Moro, and the main prosecutor, Deltan Dallagnol, communicated with each other to make a case against Lula. Now, what did The Intercept find here?

MICHAEL FOX: Right, so this is–this is potentially even more damning. It's important to remember that the Brazilian justice system is very similar to the United States. A judge is supposed to be impartial. He accepts the information from the prosecution, and then from the defense, and makes his decision. But what's clear from these telegram messages is that he was actually working hand in hand with the prosecutors in the case against Lula. What came out from here is he was, he was helping to collaborate. He was kind of making recommendations that Delton and his team should maybe reinvert the direction of the investigations that they were going onto. At one point in the messages he says, you know, nothing's happened for a month. You guys need to get moving. You guys need to get out in the street and continue these investigations. And so he was actually collaborating with the prosecution. There's even one point which he says "we." You know, we need to work harder. I don't remember the exact quote that he used. But using the 'we' means that he is actually in collaboration with the prosecution's case.

And he is himself supposed to be an independent judge. That's what he always said. He always called himself impartial. And in fact, there was an interview that was tweeted out by Glenn Greenwald yesterday or today in which–it was a piece of a speech that he gave in which he said, listen, I'm completely impartial. I'm completely impartial in this situation. But here from these messages it becomes very clear that that is not the case. And this is not something that's absolutely new. I mean, we've known around this in Brazil. Many people have known this for a very long time. But what's so clear about this is it's on paper. We now see the messages and we see the collaboration. What you also have is a situation where Deltan Dallagnol, who's the lead prosecutor with the task force, actually came out at one point in messaging with Sergio Moro, saying, listen, I don't think there's there's enough evidence to convict Lula. And he was also concerned about the location, why Lula would be tried within the larger Lava Jato investigation; so why would it be Sergio Moro that would be trying him?

So this is another thing that became very clear within these messages, that even the lead prosecutor didn't think they had enough evidence in order to be able to convict.

GREG WILPERT: And I think it's also important to note that Sergio Moro himself, then, after prosecuting Lula–I mean, not prosecuting. Convicting Lula. He then went on to become a justice minister for Jair Bolsonaro. Which also, again, would not have been possible if Lula hadn't been convicted. Or presumably wouldn't, because Lula might have won the presidential election.

MICHAEL FOX: Absolutely. And there's a very–I think we're going to see more about that specific point in the coming weeks. I mean, we know that The Intercept has only gone through roughly 1 percent of the total messages that they've received. So this is the tip of the iceberg. And Glenn Greenwald has alluded to the fact that they may have some information that even before the elections Sergio Moro had already spoken with Bolsonaro about this potential Minister of Justice position, and that he may have already accepted.

GREG WILPERT: Now, what have been the reactions to this in Brazil? No doubt, of course, Lula's supporters feel vindicated. But what are his opponents saying about the revelations, and what has been the media's reaction to it?

MICHAEL FOX: Well, Sergio Moro obviously has come out defending himself. He said that A, on one hand, the leaks were made illegally; so they were acquired illegally, and that The Intercept should not have published it without naming who actually acquired the documents, the messages. And that has been kind of overall they've been talking about how since these leaks, since we don't know who gave them, they've been really focusing on kind of the illegality of acquiring the leaks. Many other people; for instance, Bolsonaro's own son Eduardo has come out and basically called them fake news. He's been talking about how he believes they may be manipulated, or just a move in order to try and taint the Bolsonaro government at a moment in which it's fairly weak. Obviously there have been the very large protests that have been growing against the education cuts. We've got a general strike planned for this Friday. And so they kind of see within that context.

In that same–in the same interview, Eduardo Bolsonaro also admitted that he hadn't read these leaks. And that's been one of the things that's come out. For the very first day, these were released on Sunday, and that very same day the Lava Jato prosecution team came out and basically confirmed that these were legitimate messages. They denied that they were scathing. They deny that they were in any, in way show that there was collusion between the prosecution and the judge in this case. But they–but they admitted that they were legitimate. And that's one thing that a lot of people who are kind of Bolsonaro supporters, supporters of Judge Sergio Moro, have not been talking about.

And obviously the Bolsonaro supporters have been very, very vocal on on social media, defending the Lava Jato, defending the investigations, defending Sergio Moro, and defending Bolsonaro. It's important to put into context how important Sergio Moro is for recent years in Brazil. This is the man who led the largest corruption investigation in the history of Brazil. And for the right he was very much seen as kind of a superhero. I mean, he was expected to be the man who would get the next post on the Supreme Court. And his name has even been floated for potential presidency for the 2022 elections. Obviously in this case right now, as many analysts have been talking about, those chances are becoming extremely decreased, because Moro is–and this is what analysts are saying–is that he of everyone, of all kind of the scandal, the leaks that have come out of this, he's the one who's really become most wrapped up in this. And that means that they're questioning his agenda as minister of justice. And I mean, even questions about the decisions he made while he was a judge at the head of this investigation. So this is really huge. And it goes across the board going back years.

GREG WILPERT: And so, finally, how do you think this might–is there any indication how this might influence Lula's case, and possibly his appeals?

MICHAEL FOX: It's a great question. We have–just this morning one of the Supreme Court justices said that the evidence released in these leaks could potentially be used in order to question or overturn decisions by Judge Sergio Moro when he was a judge at the head of the Lava Jato investigation. So that is one very important detail. The Supreme Court is literally this afternoon supposed to be hearing a case, an appeal, over freeing Lula, over Lula's case. So that's something that's coming up. We're going to be watching very closely.

It's really hard to say where things go from here. Overall, obviously, like I mentioned, only 1 percent of the messages have been–not the messages have been released, but only 1 percent of the messages have been gone through. So there's a lot of information. We know that five different political parties, the major left parties, the PP, the PSOL, have already said that they're not going to–they're going to block anything they possibly can in Congress until steps have been taken against prosecutors in the Lava Jato team that had been doing the investigations here. We know that the Public Prosecutor's Office, the National Council for Public Prosecutor's Office, has already moved to sanction some of those prosecutors. That was as of this morning. They began the investigations yesterday. They said that five people have been temporarily suspended. So we know that that is happening. The bar association, the Brazilian bar association, has called for both Moro and Deltan Dallagnol to step down because of their implications within all this. And like I said, this is just the beginning. It is the major news. And we believe it's going to continue to grow in the coming days and coming weeks.

GREG WILPERT: And we'll definitely come back to you as this case develops and as it explodes in Brazil. We're going to leave it there for now. I was speaking to Mike Fox, freelance reporter based in Florianopolis, Brazil. Thanks again, Mike, for having joined us today.

MICHAEL FOX: Thanks, Greg.

GREG WILPERT: And thank you for joining The Real News Network.

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F06%2Fleaked-messages-confirm-imprisonment-of-brazils-lula-da-silva-was-politically-motivated.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" />


Ignacio , June 13, 2019 at 5:58 am

Not surprisingly, on tuesday, Bolsonaro publicly supported Sergio Moro.

Ignacio , June 13, 2019 at 6:10 am

This won`t be the first, the second, 3rd example on how the rigth/conservatives use illegal/corrupt methods to prevent access of progressives to power. In a few particular cases I know, when the illegal practice was uncovered, this didn't have any consequence because the conservatives are already in power and block any initiative except, perhaps, blaming it all on a single person that will therefore be pardoned with gratitude. Will this case be different?

Jon Cloke , June 13, 2019 at 8:18 am

Taking out 'left' leaders in Latin America judicially is a real thing, funded amongst others by Koch brothers subsidiaries.

My guess is that the new phase of savage neoliberalism is going to roll this anti-progressive PR-judicial weaponry out on a vast scale everywhere in future, particularly as climate change activism and progressive leadership attached to that movement comes more and more to the fore..

My guess is also that people like Jeremy Corbyn are going to fall foul of this industrial-intelligence complex weaponry using a range of apparently unrelated 'moral' issues, viz the recent 'Labour antisemitism' bullshit and the revelations in Haaretz about the activities of Mossad on social media against the BDS movement.

1 Kings , June 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

Good ol' James Monroe. Longest running doctrine, um..still running.

Wukchumni , June 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

Los Angeles had nothing to do with the Monroe Doctrine, but about a century ago, Hollywood was feeling teething pains

I always liked the reverse (the back) of this coin, with stylized women representing North America & South America touching, ala the Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.

In 1922, the motion picture industry was faced with a number of scandals, including manslaughter charges against star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Although Arbuckle was eventually acquitted, motion picture executives sought ways of getting good publicity for Hollywood. One means was an exposition, to be held in Los Angeles in mid-1923. To induce Congress to issue a commemorative coin as a fundraiser for the fair, organizers associated the exposition with the 100th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, and legislation for a commemorative half dollar for the centennial was passed.

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

Joe Well , June 13, 2019 at 10:50 am

Wow, thank you for sharing that.

Mattski , June 13, 2019 at 8:51 am

Perry Anderson has published several quite masterful pieces in the LRB with the necessary longer perspectives on this matter:

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n07/perry-anderson/lulas-brazil

Anyone interested in the background is urged to read this.

Norb , June 13, 2019 at 9:27 am

Bending the arch of human destructiveness must be a common goal moving forward. Doing good works not dedicated to achieving profit being the guiding principle. This sorts people out fairly clearly.

To drive this point home, I can't help but think that Greenwald's really important work is his current project with dogs and the poor. That work has a direct effect on making a better future. His other work exposing corruption, while important, only serves to drive social evolution to greater complexity.

One cannot fight corruption. One succumbs to it or not. Corruption eventually burns itself out.

If more people figure out for themselves that good works are most important in life, then the flames of corruption won't burn the entire world.

TimH , June 13, 2019 at 10:09 am

Why bother with RN when GG was interviewed by the inestimable AG and JG on DN?

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/6/12/secret_files_show_how_brazils_elites

Joe Well , June 13, 2019 at 10:53 am

Glenn Greenwald is one my personal heroes, even if he does not-so-occasionally tweet stupid things.

Has there been a greater journalistic hero in the 21st century?

The fact that he came around from being some libertarian conservative crank blogger in the early years of the century only gives me hope for humanity.

The fact that the Dem establishment types despise him makes me love him even more.

Synoia , June 13, 2019 at 11:25 am

It would be very interesting to discover the sources of Money underlying this affair.

Joe Well , June 13, 2019 at 11:55 am

I think MMT makes understanding major government corruption much easier.

If they were filching pens from the office cupboard they could be caught easily, but since they're stealing something that can be made out of thin air for a long time without anyone noticing

Efmo , June 13, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Like the C.I.A. or Koch brother foundations, to name 2 possible sources among many? ;)

Spring Texan , June 13, 2019 at 12:05 pm

tweet from Bernie Sanders about Lula da Silva: https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/1138808234645626880

I like Warren, BUT you will not catch her tweeting something like that – nor supporting real Medicare for All which is why Sanders is my #1 for sure.

Harry , June 13, 2019 at 12:39 pm

The general term for this is "un coup d'etat"

Harry , June 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm

My other observation is the NSA, like God, moves in mysterious ways.

[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 05, 2019] Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Highly recommended!
Jun 05, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Francis Lee says May 5, 2019

Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Thus:

Capital controls = fuddy duddy Capital Account liberalisation = cool Worker's Rights = fuddy duddy Flexible Labour markets = cool World Peace -- fuddy duddy War = Cool National Sovereignty = fuddy duddy Globalization = Cool Social Mobility = fuddy duddy Inequality = cool Respect for elections/referenda = fuddy-duddy Flexible referenda/elections = cool Social solidarity = fuddy-duddy Rampant nihilistic invidualism = cool Respect for human rights and the UN International Law = fuddy-duddy Blatant Imperialism = cool

And so the agenda goes on. Counter-revolution qua revolution

[May 27, 2019] To deny debate.. they simply engineer language

Notable quotes:
"... put some trigger words than inhibit zombies brains: racist, antisemite, populist, fascist, white, sexist, ..."
"... There can be no debates without first pointing out objective reality (factual observations). Long logical expositions often turn out to be dissimulation.. ..."
"... Objective reality, based on history, suggests that human beings are irrational at best, and depraved at worst. The issue is not one of swaying folks, it's one of asking them to place themselves in the shoes of their opponents. ..."
May 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Julot_Fr , 10 hours ago link

To deny debate.. they simply engineer language.. and put some trigger words than inhibit zombies brains: racist, antisemite, populist, fascist, white, sexist, ...

Scipio Africanuz , 10 hours ago link

There can be no debates without first pointing out objective reality (factual observations). Long logical expositions often turn out to be dissimulation..

Objective reality, based on history, suggests that human beings are irrational at best, and depraved at worst. The issue is not one of swaying folks, it's one of asking them to place themselves in the shoes of their opponents.

It's not about religion either, but about what's been proven to work, and what's not worked. Neither is it about winning arguments, that's just ego stroking.

What it's about, is how to get along even when there's disagreement on issues, and that requires the maturity to first, acknowledge when one may be wrong, questioning one's assumptions, and allowing others their beliefs provided it reduces or prevents harm to others.

Concisely, the core issue is about the minimization of harm to others, especially conscious harm. Everything else is just details. Expositions that rely extensively on theory are dissimulations, stories, short stories, are way more effective especially when they're relatable.

Technical expositions are for professional debaters (academics), stories are for people, those who truly wish to get along..

Assumptions exist to be questioned, cheers...

[May 18, 2019] Americans are good at Doublethink.

Notable quotes:
"... You point out that our entertainment industry focuses its plots on strong leaders, and Good Guys vs Bad Guys, and we definitely internalize that, especially when our overlords want to demonize another country, and use our entertainment-induced perspective as a shortcut. ..."
"... But, at the same time, on another level, Americans understand that the president is a puppet and must obey orders, or have his brains blown out in bright daylight, in the town square. ..."
"... We hold both these views simultaneously, hence, as Orwell called it, Doublethink. ..."
May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

wagelaborer , May 17, 2019 6:33:45 PM | link

Jen @25. Americans are good at Doublethink.

You point out that our entertainment industry focuses its plots on strong leaders, and Good Guys vs Bad Guys, and we definitely internalize that, especially when our overlords want to demonize another country, and use our entertainment-induced perspective as a shortcut.

They tell us that the leader of the targeted country is a Bad Guy and we must kill the people in order to save them. And Americans nod and comply. Except for the 5% that prefers peace, and they argue that the leader is not a Bad Guy, so we shouldn't kill the people to save them.
No American ever thinks to argue international law or basic morality, we just argue about the plot lines.

But, at the same time, on another level, Americans understand that the president is a puppet and must obey orders, or have his brains blown out in bright daylight, in the town square.

We hold both these views simultaneously, hence, as Orwell called it, Doublethink.

[Apr 27, 2019] Hate speach and neoliberal concept of utility

The concept of hate speech is a form of censorship, but censorship is not 'one size fit all" phenomenon. Something is is justified and even necessary. Sometimes it is just a demonstration of raw political power ("Might makes right") and suppressing of the dissent.
In any case the neoliberal interpretation of "hurt feelings" as justification for censorship is open to review.
Notable quotes:
"... It’s the greatest power of an ideology that it can seep into the worldview of those who claim to oppose it. ..."
Apr 27, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

I’m reading another article about debates over free speech on campus, this time at Williams College, an elite school in the northwestern corner of Massachusetts. A faculty petition asks to formalize and tighten the college’s policy on free speech by adopting the Chicago Principles, which state that “concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.” Over three hundred students, however, have signed a counterpetition arguing that speech which harms minorities should not be allowed.

... ... ...


Peter Dorman

I fear my post was overly subtle. Let me be more explicit and see if that helps. My argument was not about “free speech versus social justice warriors” or anything of the sort. It was about a relatively new response to politics I saw first hand at Evergreen and have read about at other institutions.

I lived through the experience of hearing activists protesting against emails and statements at public meetings on the grounds they (the activists) were being subjected to emotional distress. Even more remarkably, no one else openly questioned the basis on which this argument rested. The whole tenor of discussion had shifted, and the line between public and private had apparently been redrawn such that the private criterion of “how does this make me feel” could be employed as a reason to suppress, or at least discourage, political action.

It struck me that this was the characteristic shift of neoliberalism, reinterpreting the public sphere as simply another venue for applying the hedonic calculus of individual pleasure/pain. (Virginia-style public choice theory does something similar but in a very different way.) I grant that much more was entailed at Evergreen, just as neoliberalism entails far more than this one characteristic; nevertheless, the it-makes-me-feel-bad argument for narrowing the public sphere is historically new—yes?—and coincides with the more general neoliberal view that “the political is personal”.

Our feelings of personal well-being become political criteria of what is right and wrong for the community, just as our political agency is reduced to personal choice. (What am I not supposed to buy? What is the right language for me to use when talking to someone of identity X?)

I don’t want to add more to the stew, but one further point is relevant. The stories, all of them, that have been disseminated about what happened at Evergreen during 2017 and the runup to those events are incomplete if not simply false. This includes the testimony of Bret Weinstein, who is factually correct about the direct experiences he underwent but has no clue about the forces and interests that instigated them. Suffice it to say that the faculty and perhaps students of the political left were mostly bystanders in this imbroglio. (Anecdotal evidence: my radical students were not involved, and my students who were involved were not the radicals.)

They may have taken sides after the event, but the conflict was not about leftism, Marxism, radicalism or even social justice in any substantive sense. That’s worth pointing out because it provides a further dimension to the argument I made in my post. No significant political change was either proposed during or eventuated from the 2017 protests, except the ongoing dismantling of some of the college’s more experimental features in the face of a devastating budget crisis.

I am trying to understand how an ostensibly political event could be so deeply anti-political. There are structural aspects I haven’t brought up and don’t have time or space for: who did what and through what institutional mechanisms, etc. In this post I am simply trying to identify some of the underlying assumptions behind the rhetoric.

Jeremy Grimm , April 26, 2019 at 3:50 pm

This post makes an interesting encapsulation of Neoliberalism: “life is an accumulation of moments of utility and disutility”. I am not convinced this formulation is sufficient to characterize Neoliberalism. How well would this formulation distinguish between Neoliberals and Epicures?

“Although Epicureanism is a form of hedonism insofar as it declares pleasure to be its sole intrinsic goal, the concept that the absence of pain and fear constitutes the greatest pleasure, and its advocacy of a simple life, make it very different from “hedonism” as colloquially understood.” [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicureanism]

Is ‘utility’ greatly different than ‘pleasure’ as Epicures frame that word?

I do like the last sentence of the post: “It’s the greatest power of an ideology that it can seep into the worldview of those who claim to oppose it.”...

Jeremy Grimm , April 26, 2019 at 4:57 pm

The topic of free speech per se free speech was excellently covered by Howard Zinn in his talk “Second Thoughts on the First Amendment”. [I received a copy of the mp3 of this speech as a premium from my contribution to Pacifica Radio WBAI. The lowest price mp3 or written transcript for the speech was at https://www.alternativeradio.org/products/zinh006/ transcript for $3 or mp3 download for $5.]

Zinn’s speech made it clear that free speech was no simple matter contained within the meaning of the words ‘free speech’. There are questions of the intent of speech — the effects of a speech … bad feelings? … inciting a riot — capacity for speech that spreads fear … spreading unwarranted panic the classic yelling “Fire” in a crowded building — questions of the forum? There is free speech on a street corner and free speech on television, and they differ greatly in kind, and there is defamatory and slanderous speech.

...The equation between speech and money our ‘Supremes’ made is little short of the complete debasement of the Supreme Court as a forum of jurisprudence. The ‘prudence’ must be expunges from any characterizations of their judgements FAVORABLE or otherwise. The Supreme Court does not interpret the laws of the land. Like our Legislatures they are ‘bought’ and ‘bot’ to the whims of money.


Adam Eran April 26, 2019 at 7:06 pm

I’d suggest the dispute is theological. Everyone wants a “higher power” to bless their particular approach. The neoliberal preference for comparing measurable effects, scoring them as costs or benefits, is the standard MBA religion. Why if you can’t measure it, it mustn’t exist!

The whole approach doesn’t require too much thinking, and has the imprimatur of “science” and “reason” both… Excellent gods, all. Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years makes a good case for the way our confusion of monetary with ethical comparisons has managed to bamboozle humanity for literally thousands of years. You see rich people deserve their wealth. They are good, and you can tell by the amount of money they have. See!

Code Name D, April 26, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Some speech has as its primary purpose making others suffer, through insult or instigating fear, and has little or no persuasive intent. That’s hate speech, and I don’t see a problem with curtailing it.

The problem is just about anything “becomes” “hate speach” as a means of censorship. Calling out Isrial’s influence on US politics becomes antisimitism. Being critical of Hillary is misogany. Hell, not liking Campain Marvel is an example of hate speach. Recently negative reviews of the movie were removed from Rotten Tomatos as an example.

You might imagin that a line could be drawn some where. But when ever you draw that line, it always migrates over time.

Sound of the Suburbs , April 27, 2019 at 6:58 am

Neoliberalism destroys itself, don't panic. A ridiculous economic model was rolled out globally that had no long term future. The standard debt fuelled growth model of neoliberalism. The UK:

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

Japan, UK, US, Euro-zone and China: At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

China has seen their Minsky Moment coming and the debt fuelled growth model can no longer be used. Adair Turner took over at the FSA when Lehman Brothers collapsed and this gave him the incentive to find out what was going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCX3qPq0JDA

Adair Turner has looked at the situation prior to the crisis where advanced economies were growing by 4 – 5%, but the debt was rising at 10 – 15%. This always was an unsustainable growth model; it had no long term future.

After 2008, the emerging markets adopted the unsustainable growth model and they too have now reached the end of the line. We are trying to maintain an economic model that never had a long term future as it only worked by adding more and more debt in an unsustainable way. The debt didn't grow with GDP. How can banks grow GDP with bank credit?

The UK: https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.53.09.png

Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)

After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don't result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)

What happened in 1979?

The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.

This is the key to a sustainable economic model that has a long term future as debt and GDP rise together.

Steve Ruis , April 27, 2019 at 8:57 am

I have a problem with any argument based upon hurt feelings. Just what the heck are "hurt feelings?" How do we tell when someone is sincere or faking said? How do we tell when someone is emotionally fragile? How do we tell when someone has distorted values (But Hitler is my hero!)? How do we shock college students out of their complacency? How do we challenge them with new ideas? Are we to stop talking about the theory of evolution because someone's religious sensibilities are offended?

Having said that it is my generation that jettisoned good manners and we are now suffering the affects of that. The foundation of communication is knowing your audience and how much information that can receive at a time and some forgoe any consideration of that effect to make a controversy where there is none. And political free speech is absolutely necessary if we are to be a country that governs ourselves.

The Heretic , April 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm

The free exchange of ideas, and the evolution of ideas via exposure of new facts and interpretations and disagreements is vitally important; all progress comes from this. However fake news, bullshit arguments, and its long lasting effects cannot be underestimated. An easy example of is the 'the measles vaccine causes autism' bullshit debacle, which both caused numerous children and adults to now needlessly contract measles and more importantly, caused ordinary people to doubt the integrity of the medical professionals, and even science in general.. the discussion needs to expand from between speaker and the hurt listener, to third parties who are listening, who may or may not have their agendas, but whose opinion can be shifted based on the debate.

Btw, tobacco industry bullshit, climate change denial bullshit, are other huge sources of untruth which has polluted the discussions of today

We need to have a discussion/teaching on how we can again have truthful debate, however painful, and be able to distinguish from bald lies , false narratives or bullshit which unfortunately clouds many debates.

We need to accept that the truth exists and that we must seek to discern it. We need a deep discussion on what is truth and how to search for it and understand it, realizing that although the truth exists, that one person's perception and experience of it may differ from that of Another persons. And we need this discussion and skill set to be widely distributed, in a sense like a mental vaccine to help combat against the Bullshit virus that pervades the discussion today.

martell , April 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I too have noticed a shift in rhetoric. A recent incident at my own institution comes to mind. A letter appeared in the student newspaper complaining about an awards ceremony for university athletes. Apparently, a male tennis player of color had given a speech in which he thanked the university for having provided him with the opportunity to sleep with lots of white women. The author of the letter of complaint, a female student-athlete of color who'd attended the ceremony, claimed that this made her feel "unsafe," and wondered why the university president, who was in attendance, had not put a stop to the offending speech. In the course of the discussion which followed publication of the letter, no university official publicly questioned whether the complaining student should have felt afraid in that setting (an awards ceremony on a university campus with hundreds of people, including the university president, in attendance). No university official publicly questioned whether feelings of fear, reasonable or not, are grounds for stopping a speech. Some faculty members did however create a circular letter supporting the complaining student and at least strongly suggesting official punitive actions against the offending student and his coaches. Debate then focused on whether his coaches should be fired.

Note that in this case the feelings in question are not just any unpleasant feelings. The problem with the offending speech was not that it provoked anger or sorrow. The problem was that it made her afraid. So, I'm skeptical of the explanation for the shift in rhetoric offered above, the one having to do with neoliberal habits of thought. Its not specific enough.

Peter Dorman , April 27, 2019 at 5:36 pm

Thanks for giving me a chance to take up a tangent I left out of the post in the interest of curtailing sprawl. The safety version of the I-feel-bad argument is interesting.

Here is one interpretation, very provisional. Despite its increasing popularity, the general claim that certain types of political debate or social expression should be off limits because it makes me feel uncomfortable has an uncertain status. Institutions don't have an explicit obligation to promote the moment-to-moment subjective well-being of participants. (Even neoliberal approaches to governance, like cost-benefit analysis, avoid this by basing their justification on postulates that identify current and prospective "utility", however dicey they may be in practice.)

Into the breach jumps the safety trope. Institutions do have an obligation to protect the safety of those they include and touch. Movements against rape and domestic violence as well as pathological police violence have invoked this responsibility, and rightly so. And student movements, in an apparent effort to establish a parallel, have expressed the feeling-bad argument as feeling-unsafe.

The problem, as you point out, is the difference between feeling and being unsafe. I'm not in a position to question whether you feel bad (I'm sure I would have felt furious if I had been in the awards ceremony you describe and heard a predatory remark like the athlete's), but I can question whether you really are as unsafe as you claim. (I agree with your point about the objective safety of being in the awards audience.) The catch, however, is that there is another cultural trope at work, the conflation of belief and knowledge. This is now firmly ensconced in the worldview of much of the left, or "left" as I would put it. It underlies the doctrine of positionality, transforming it from a version of ideology theory (which I respect) to an epistemology (which is preposterous). Come to think of it, its failure to admit the enormous sphere of intersubjectivity, the portion of reality we share and is subject to the rules of evidence, has a sort of neoliberal (specifically Hayekian) tinge to it.

So no, you don't get to say, "Actually, you are quite safe here." There is no shared reality to examine that could possibly overrule someone's feeling that they are unsafe. I have had this exact conversation with several students, but I also see versions of it in the popular media and even in a lot of "scholarly" work. The mantra of those faculty and administrators supporting (or in some cases collaborating with) protesters at Evergreen was "listen to the students", as if what we hear -- and yes, of course we should listen to them -- was thereby the factual state of the college we had to respond to. It's also a reason why about a tenth of the student body, which excluded many or most of the radicals (see above), had to be referred to as "the students". The "subjective perception = reality" formulation is incoherent in the face of competing, incompatible subjective perceptions.

There's always more, but I should stop here.

[Apr 27, 2019] Why despite widespread criticism, neoliberalism remains the dominant politico-economic theory amongst policy-makers both in the USA and internationally

Highly recommended!
Apr 27, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

My reading is that the core psychological principle of neoliberalism, that life is an accumulation of moments of utility and disutility, is alive and well within certain sectors of the "left". A speech (or email or comment at a meeting) should be evaluated by how it makes us feel, and no one should have the right to make us feel bad.

Not sure about this "utility/disutility" dichotomy (probably you mean market fundamentalism -- belief that market ( and market mechanisms) is a self regulating, supernaturally predictive force that will guide human beings to the neoliberal Heavens), but, yes, neoliberalism infected the "left" and, especially, Democratic Party which was converted by Clinton into greedy and corrupt "DemoRats' subservient to Wall Street and antagonistic to the trade unions. And into the second War Party, which in certain areas is even more jingoistic and aggressive then Republicans (Obama color revolution in Ukraine is one example; Hillary Libya destruction is another; both were instrumental in unleashing the civil war on Syria and importing and arming Muslim fundamentalists to fight it).

It might make sense to view neoliberalism as a new secular religion which displaced Marxism on the world arena (and collapse of the USSR was in part the result of the collapse of Marxism as an ideology under onslaught of neoliberalism; although bribes of USSR functionaries and mismanagement of the economy due to over centralization -- country as a single gigantic corporation -- also greatly helped) .

Neoliberalism demonstrates the same level of intolerance (and actually series of wars somewhat similar to Crusades) as any monotheistic religion in early stages of its development. Because at this stage any adept knows the truth and to believe in this truth is to be saved; everything else is eternal damnation (aka living under "authoritarian regime" ;-) .

And so far there is nothing that will force the neoliberal/neocon Torquemadas to abandon their loaded with bombs jets as the tool of enlightenment of pagan states ;-)

Simplifying, neoliberalism can be viewed an a masterfully crafted, internally consistent amalgam of myths and pseudo theories (partially borrowed from Trotskyism) that justifies the rule of financial oligarchy and high level inequality in the society (redistribution of the wealth up). Kind of Trotskyism for the rich with the same idea of Permanent Revolution until global victory of neoliberalism.

That's why neoliberals charlatans like Hayek and Friedman were dusted off, given Nobel Prizes and promoted to the top in economics: they were very helpful and pretty skillful in forging neoliberal myths. Especially Hayek. A second rate economist who proved to be the first class theologian .

Promoting "neoliberal salvation" was critical for the achieving the political victory of neoliberalism in late 1979th and discrediting and destroying the remnants of the New Deal capitalism (already undermined at this time by the oil crisis)

Neoliberalism has led to the rise of corporate (especially financial oligarchy) power and an open war on labor. New Deal policies aimed at full employment and job security have been replaced with ones that aim at flexibility in the form of unstable employment, job loss and rising inequality.

This hypotheses helps to explain why neoliberalism as a social system survived after its ideology collapsed in 2008 -- it just entered zombie stage like Bolshevism after WWII when it became clear that it can't achieve higher standard of living for the population then capitalism.

Latest mutation of classic neoliberalism into "national neoliberalism" under Trump shows that it has great ability to adapt to the changing conditions. And neoliberalism survived in Russia under Putin and Medvedev as well, despite economic rape that Western neoliberals performed on Russia under Yeltsin with the help of Harvard mafia.

That's why despite widespread criticism, neoliberalism remains the dominant politico-economic theory amongst policy-makers both in the USA and internationally. All key global neoliberal global institutions, such as the G20, European Union, IMF, World bank, and WTO still survived intact and subscribe to neoliberalism. .

Neoliberalism has led to the rise of corporate (especially financial oligarchy) power and an open war on labor. New Deal policies aimed at full employment and job security have been replaced with ones that aim at flexibility in the form of unstable employment, job loss and rising inequality.

This hypotheses helps to explain why neoliberalism as a social system survived after its ideology collapsed in 2008 -- it just entered zombie stage like Bolshevism after WWII when it became clear that it can't achieve higher standard of living for the population then capitalism.

Latest mutation of classic neoliberalism into "national neoliberalism" under Trump shows that it has great ability to adapt to the changing conditions.

that's why despite widespread criticism, neoliberalism remains the dominant politico-economic theory amongst policy-makers both in the USA and internationally. All key global neoliberal global institutions, such as the G20, European Union, IMF, World bank, and WTO still survived intact and subscribe to neoliberalism. .

[Apr 25, 2019] Multipolarity has taken a back seat. Europe remains a vassal. There are no prospects for european independence from the looks of it.

Apr 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Apr 24, 2019 11:44:20 AM | link

Multipolarity has taken a back seat. Iranian economy is bad, turkish economy is bad, India stopped buying iranian oil, Brazil got taken over via Bolsonaro, China was intimidated to give better trade conditions, Russian growth rate is weak. Even Khamenei admits that Europe has left the JCPOA in practice.

Europe remains a vassal. There are no prospects for european independence from the looks of it.

The growth rates of those who oppose the US have been hit.

Active measures are being taken to oppose multipolarity on all fronts.

The truth is that you guys underestimate the US. They fight good.

Underlying issues though, such as changing demographics and inreasing debt levels are still weakening the US in the long run.

But they are not out of the game and they won't be for at least another 20 years. The US decline is going to be slower that you thought.

[Apr 02, 2019] There will be backlash against the fascists in Brazil, and the right wing leaderships in governments elsewhere in Latin America that the US has maneuvered into place as these leaders fail to deliver material gains to their populations. And fail they will considering we are in late-stage neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Writing off Brazil (and India and South Africa for that matter) just because the empire has succeeded in swinging an election or two in those places, or because the empire's lawfare scams seem to be working at the moment, is a mistake. ..."
"... These conspicuous successes of the Empire of Chaos , as Escobar calls America, do not significantly change the anti-imperialist attitudes of the populations in these countries. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Apr 1, 2019 3:29:05 PM | link

Karlof1 @82

Agreed.

Writing off Brazil (and India and South Africa for that matter) just because the empire has succeeded in swinging an election or two in those places, or because the empire's lawfare scams seem to be working at the moment, is a mistake.

These conspicuous successes of the Empire of Chaos , as Escobar calls America, do not significantly change the anti-imperialist attitudes of the populations in these countries.

There will be backlash against the fascists in Brazil, and the right wing leaderships in governments elsewhere in Latin America that the US has maneuvered into place as these leaders fail to deliver material gains to their populations. And fail they will considering we are in late-stage capitalism.

[Mar 18, 2019] Journalists who are spies

Highly recommended!
Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services?
Notable quotes:
"... Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? ..."
"... "Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5." ..."
"... Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll. ..."
"... The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants. ..."
"... As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career". ..."
"... Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance. ..."
Mar 03, 2006 | www.nytimes.com

Can you trust the BBC news? How many journalists are working for the security services? The following extracts are from an article at the excellent Medialens

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060303_hacks_and_spooks.php

HACKS AND SPOOKS

By Professor Richard Keeble

And so to Nottingham University (on Sunday 26 February) for a well-attended conference...

I focus in my talk on the links between journalists and the intelligence services: While it might be difficult to identify precisely the impact of the spooks (variously represented in the press as "intelligence", "security", "Whitehall" or "Home Office" sources) on mainstream politics and media, from the limited evidence it looks to be enormous.

As Roy Greenslade, media specialist at the Telegraph (formerly the Guardian), commented:

"Most tabloid newspapers - or even newspapers in general - are playthings of MI5."

Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of "one of Britain's most distinguished journals" as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll.

And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.

In their analysis of the contemporary secret state, Dorril and Ramsay gave the media a crucial role. The heart of the secret state they identified as the security services, the cabinet office and upper echelons of the Home and Commonwealth Offices, the armed forces and Ministry of Defence, the nuclear power industry and its satellite ministries together a network of senior civil servants.

As "satellites" of the secret state, their list included "agents of influence in the media, ranging from actual agents of the security services, conduits of official leaks, to senior journalists merely lusting after official praise and, perhaps, a knighthood at the end of their career".

Phillip Knightley, author of a seminal history of the intelligence services, has even claimed that at least one intelligence agent is working on every Fleet Street newspaper.

A brief history

Going as far back as 1945, George Orwell no less became a war correspondent for the Observer - probably as a cover for intelligence work. Significantly most of the men he met in Paris on his assignment, Freddie Ayer, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ernest Hemingway were either working for the intelligence services or had close links to them.

Stephen Dorril, in his seminal history of MI6, reports that Orwell attended a meeting in Paris of resistance fighters on behalf of David Astor, his editor at the Observer and leader of the intelligence service's unit liasing with the French resistance.

The release of Public Record Office documents in 1995 about some of the operations of the MI6-financed propaganda unit, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, threw light on this secret body - which even Orwell aided by sending them a list of "crypto-communists". Set up by the Labour government in 1948, it "ran" dozens of Fleet Street journalists and a vast array of news agencies across the globe until it was closed down by Foreign Secretary David Owen in 1977.

According to John Pilger in the anti-colonial struggles in Kenya, Malaya and Cyprus, IRD was so successful that the journalism served up as a record of those episodes was a cocktail of the distorted and false in which the real aims and often atrocious behaviour of the British intelligence agencies was hidden.

And spy novelist John le Carré, who worked for MI6 between 1960 and 1964, has made the amazing statement that the British secret service then controlled large parts of the press – just as they may do today.

In 1975, following Senate hearings on the CIA, the reports of the Senate's Church Committee and the House of Representatives' Pike Committee highlighted the extent of agency recruitment of both British and US journalists.

And sources revealed that half the foreign staff of a British daily were on the MI6 payroll.

David Leigh, in The Wilson Plot, his seminal study of the way in which the secret service smeared through the mainstream media and destabilised the Government of Harold Wilson before his sudden resignation in 1976, quotes an MI5 officer: "We have somebody in every office in Fleet Street"

Leaker King

And the most famous whistleblower of all, Peter (Spycatcher) Wright, revealed that MI5 had agents in newspapers and publishing companies whose main role was to warn them of any forthcoming "embarrassing publications".

Wright also disclosed that the Daily Mirror tycoon, Cecil King, "was a longstanding agent of ours" who "made it clear he would publish anything MI5 might care to leak in his direction".

Selective details about Wilson and his secretary, Marcia Falkender, were leaked by the intelligence services to sympathetic Fleet Street journalists. Wright comments: "No wonder Wilson was later to claim that he was the victim of a plot". King was also closely involved in a scheme in 1968 to oust Prime Minister Harold Wilson and replace him with a coalition headed by Lord Mountbatten.

Hugh Cudlipp, editorial director of the Mirror from 1952 to 1974, was also closely linked to intelligence, according to Chris Horrie, in his recently published history of the newspaper.

David Walker, the Mirror's foreign correspondent in the 1950s, was named as an MI6 agent following a security scandal while another Mirror journalist, Stanley Bonnet, admitted working for MI5 in the 1980s investigating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Maxwell and Mossad

According to Stephen Dorril, intelligence gathering during the miners' strike of 1984-85 was helped by the fact that during the 1970s MI5's F Branch had made a special effort to recruit industrial correspondents – with great success.

In 1991, just before his mysterious death, Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell was accused by the US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of acting for Mossad, the Israeli secret service, though Dorril suggests his links with MI6 were equally as strong.

Following the resignation from the Guardian of Richard Gott, its literary editor in December 1994 in the wake of allegations that he was a paid agent of the KGB, the role of journalists as spies suddenly came under the media spotlight – and many of the leaks were fascinating.

For instance, according to The Times editorial of 16 December 1994: "Many British journalists benefited from CIA or MI6 largesse during the Cold War."

The intimate links between journalists and the secret services were highlighted in the autobiography of the eminent newscaster Sandy Gall. He reports without any qualms how, after returning from one of his reporting assignments to Afghanistan, he was asked to lunch by the head of MI6. "It was very informal, the cook was off so we had cold meat and salad with plenty of wine. He wanted to hear what I had to say about the war in Afghanistan. I was flattered, of course, and anxious to pass on what I could in terms of first-hand knowledge."

And in January 2001, the renegade MI6 officer, Richard Tomlinson, claimed Dominic Lawson, the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and son of the former Tory chancellor, Nigel Lawson, provided journalistic cover for an MI6 officer on a mission to the Baltic to handle and debrief a young Russian diplomat who was spying for Britain.

Lawson strongly denied the allegations.

Similarly in the reporting of Northern Ireland, there have been longstanding concerns over security service disinformation. Susan McKay, Northern editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, has criticised the reckless reporting of material from "dodgy security services". She told a conference in Belfast in January 2003 organised by the National Union of Journalists and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: "We need to be suspicious when people are so ready to provide information and that we are, in fact, not being used." (www.nuj.org.uk/inner.php?docid=635)

Growing power of secret state

Thus from this evidence alone it is clear there has been a long history of links between hacks and spooks in both the UK and US.

But as the secret state grows in power, through massive resourcing, through a whole raft of legislation – such as the Official Secrets Act, the anti-terrorism legislation, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and so on – and as intelligence moves into the heart of Blair's ruling clique so these links are even more significant.

Since September 11 all of Fleet Street has been awash in warnings by anonymous intelligence sources of terrorist threats.

According to former Labour minister Michael Meacher, much of this disinformation was spread via sympathetic journalists by the Rockingham cell within the MoD.

A parallel exercise, through the office of Special Plans, was set up by Donald Rumsfeld in the US. Thus there have been constant attempts to scare people – and justify still greater powers for the national security apparatus.

Similarly the disinformation about Iraq's WMD was spread by dodgy intelligence sources via gullible journalists.

Thus, to take just one example, Michael Evans, The Times defence correspondent, reported on 29 November 2002: "Saddam Hussein has ordered hundred of his officials to conceal weapons of mass destruction components in their homes to evade the prying eyes of the United Nations inspectors." The source of these "revelations" was said to be "intelligence picked up from within Iraq". Early in 2004, as the battle for control of Iraq continued with mounting casualties on both sides, it was revealed that many of the lies about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD had been fed to sympathetic journalists in the US, Britain and Australia by the exile group, the Iraqi National Congress.

Sexed up – and missed out

During the controversy that erupted following the end of the "war" and the death of the arms inspector Dr David Kelly (and the ensuing Hutton inquiry) the spotlight fell on BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and the claim by one of his sources that the government (in collusion with the intelligence services) had "sexed up" a dossier justifying an attack on Iraq.

The Hutton inquiry, its every twist and turn massively covered in the mainstream media, was the archetypal media spectacle that drew attention from the real issue: why did the Bush and Blair governments invade Iraq in the face of massive global opposition? But those facts will be forever secret.

Significantly, too, the broader and more significant issue of mainstream journalists' links with the intelligence services was ignored by the inquiry.

Significantly, on 26 May 2004, the New York Times carried a 1,200-word editorial admitting it had been duped in its coverage of WMD in the lead-up to the invasion by dubious Iraqi defectors, informants and exiles (though it failed to lay any blame on the US President: see Greenslade 2004). Chief among The Times' dodgy informants was Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress and Pentagon favourite before his Baghdad house was raided by US forces on 20 May.

Then, in the Observer of 30 May 2004, David Rose admitted he had been the victim of a "calculated set-up" devised to foster the propaganda case for war. "In the 18 months before the invasion of March 2003, I dealt regularly with Chalabi and the INC and published stories based on interviews with men they said were defectors from Saddam's regime." And he concluded: "The information fog is thicker than in any previous war, as I know now from bitter personal experience. To any journalist being offered apparently sensational disclosures, especially from an anonymous intelligence source, I offer two words of advice: caveat emptor."

Let's not forget no British newspaper has followed the example of the NYT and apologised for being so easily duped by the intelligence services in the run up to the illegal invasion of Iraq.

~

Richard Keeble's publications include Secret State, Silent Press: New Militarism, the Gulf and the Modern Image of Warfare (John Libbey 1997) and The Newspapers Handbook (Routledge, fourth edition, 2005). He is also the editor of Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Richard is also a member of the War and Media Network.

[Mar 18, 2019] Doublethink and Newspeak Do We Have a Choice by Greg Guma

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is." ..."
"... Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility. ..."
"... Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form. ..."
"... As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division. ..."
"... In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes. ..."
"... Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution. ..."
"... Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. ..."
"... This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change . ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.globalresearch.ca
Region: USA Theme: Media Disinformation , Police State & Civil Rights

More people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

On the big screens above us beautiful young people demonstrated their prowess. We were sitting in the communications center, waiting for print outs to tell us what they'd done before organizing the material for mass consumption. Outside, people were freezing in the snow as they waited for buses. Their only choice was to attend another event or attempt to get home.

The area was known as the Competition Zone, a corporate state created for the sole purpose of showcasing these gorgeous competitors. Freedom was a foreign idea here; no one was more free than the laminated identification card hanging around your neck allowed.

Visitors were more restricted than anyone. They saw only what they paid for, and had to wait in long lines for food, transport, or tickets to more events. They were often uncomfortable, yet they felt privileged to be admitted to the Zone. Citizens were categorized by their function within the Organizing Committee's bureaucracy. Those who merely served -- in jobs like cooking, driving and cleaning -- wore green and brown tags. They could travel between their homes and work, but were rarely permitted into events. Their contact with visitors was also limited. To visit them from outside the Zone, their friends and family had to be screened.

Most citizens knew little about how the Zone was actually run, about the "inner community" of diplomats, competitors and corporate officials they served. Yet each night they watched the exploits of this same elite on television.

The Zone, a closed and classified place where most bad news went unreported and a tiny elite called the shots through mass media and computers, was no futuristic fantasy. It was Lake Placid for several weeks in early 1980 -- a full four years before 1984.

In a once sleepy little community covered with artificial snow, the Olympics had brought a temporary society into being. Two thousand athletes and their entourage were its royalty, role models for the throngs of spectators, townspeople and journalists. This convergence resulted in an ad hoc police state, managed by public and private forces and a political elite that combined local business honchos with an international governing committee. They dominated a population all too willing to submit to arbitrary authority.

Even back then, Lake Placid's Olympic "village" felt like a preview of things to come. Not quite George Orwell's dark vision, but uncomfortably close.

In Orwell's imagination, society was ruled in the future by Big Brother. It wasn't a computer, but rather the collective expression of the Party. But not like the Republicans; this Party was an autonomous bureaucracy and advanced surveillance state interested only in perpetuating itself as a hierarchy. In this dystopia, "the people" had become insignificant, without the power of "grasping that the world could be other than it is."

Concepts like freedom were perverted by a ruthless Newspeakperpetuated by the Party through the media. A Goodthinker was someone who followed orders without thinking. Crimestop was the instinctual avoidance of any dangerous thought, and Doublethink was the constant distortion of reality to maintain the Party's image of infallibility.

Writing in 1948, Orwell was projecting what could happen in just a few decades. By most measures, even 70 years later we're not quite there yet. But we do face the real danger that freedom and equality will be seriously distorted by a new form of Newspeak, a Trumpian version promoted by the administration and its allies through their media. We already have Trumpian Goodthinkers -- the sychophantic surrogates who follow his lead without thinking, along with Crimestop -- the instinctual avoidance of "disloyal" thought, and Doublethink -- the constant distortion of reality to maintain Trump's insatiable ego and image of infallibility. Orwellian ideas are simply resurfacing in a post-modern/reality TV form.

Our fast food culture is also taking a long-term toll. More and more people are becoming alienated, cynical, resentful or resigned, while too much of mass and social media reinforces less-than-helpful narratives and tendencies. The frog's in the frying pan and the heat is rising.

Much of what penetrates and goes viral further fragments culture and thought, promoting a cynicism that reinforces both rage and inaction. Rather than true diversity, we have the mass illusion that a choice between polarized opinions, shaped and curated by editors and networks, is the essence of free speech and democracy. In reality, original ideas are so constrained and self-censored that what's left is usually as diverse as brands of peppermint toothpaste.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified, the notion that freedom of speech and the press should be protected meant that the personal right of self-expression should not be repressed by the government. James Madison, author of the First Amendment, warned that the greatest danger to liberty was that a majority would use its power to repress everyone else. Yet the evolution of mass media and the corporate domination of economic life have made these "choicest privileges" almost obsolete.

As community life unravels and more institutions fall into disrepute, media have become among of the few remaining that can potentially facilitate some social cohesion. Yet instead they fuel conflict and crisis. It's not quite Crimestop, but does often appeal to some of the basest instincts and produce even more alienation and division.

In general terms, what most mass media bring the public is a series of images and anecdotes that cumulatively define a way of life. Both news and entertainment contribute to the illusion that competing, consuming and accumulating are at the core of our aspirations. Each day we are repeatedly shown and told that culture and politics are corrupt, that war is imminent or escalating somewhere, that violence is random and pervasive, and yet also that the latest "experts" have the answers. Countless programs meanwhile celebrate youth, violence, frustrated sexuality, and the lives of celebrities.

Between the official program content are a series of intensely packaged sales pitches. These commercial messages wash over us, as if we are wandering in an endless virtual mall, searching in vain for fulfillment as society crumbles.

In 1980, Ralph Nader called the race for president at that time -- between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan -- a choice between mediocrity and menace. It was funny then, but now we can see what real menace looks like. Is Trump-ism what Orwell warned us about? Not quite, though there are similarities. Like Trump, you can't talk to Big Brother. And he rarely gives you the truth, only doublespeak. But Trump is no Big Brother. More like a Drunk Uncle with nukes.

So, is it too late for a rescue? Will menace win this time? Or can we still save the environment, reclaim self-government, restore communities and protect human rights? What does the future hold?

It could be summer in Los Angeles in 2024, the end of Donald Trump's second term. The freeways are slow-moving parking lots for the Olympics. Millions of people hike around in the heat, or use bikes and cycles to get to work. It's difficult with all the checkpoints, not to mention the extra-high security at the airports. Thousands of police, not to mention the military, are on the lookout for terrorists, smugglers, protesters, cultists, gangs, thieves, and anyone who doesn't have money to burn or a ticket to the Games.

Cash isn't much good, and gas has become so expensive that suburban highways are almost empty.

Security is tight and hard to avoid, on or offline. There are cameras everywhere, and every purchase and move most people make is tracked by the state. Still, there are four bombings in the first week of the Games. There is also another kind of human tragedy. Four runners collapse during preliminary rounds as a result of a toxic mix -- heat and pollution.

... ... ...

Greg Guma is the Vermont-based author of Dons of Time, Uneasy Empire, Spirits of Desire, Big Lies, and The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution.

This article was originally published by Greg Guma: For Preservation & Change .

[Mar 18, 2019] The Why are the media playing lapdog and not watchdog – again – on war in Iraq?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children. ..."
"... Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War". ..."
"... The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war. ..."
"... the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces. ..."
"... The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening ..."
"... In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing. ..."
"... The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. ..."
"... Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet. ..."
"... But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day. ..."
Oct 10, 2014 | The Guardian
BradBenson, 10 October 2014 6:14pm
The American Public has gotten exactly what it deserved. They have been dumbed-down in our poor-by-intention school systems. The moronic nonsense that passes for news in this country gets more sensational with each passing day. Over on Fox, they are making the claim that ISIS fighters are bringing Ebola over the Mexican Border, which prompted a reply by the Mexican Embassy that won't be reported on Fox.

We continue to hear and it was even reported in this very fine article by Ms. Benjamin that the American People now support this new war. Really? I'm sorry, but I haven't seen that support anywhere but on the news and I just don't believe it any more.

There is also the little problem of infiltration into key media slots by paid CIA Assets (Scarborough and brainless Mika are two of these double dippers). Others are intermarried. Right-wing Neocon War Criminal Dan Senor is married to "respected" newsperson Campbell Brown who is now involved in privatizing our school system. Victoria Nuland, the slimey State Department Official who was overheard appointing the members of the future Ukrainian Government prior to the Maidan Coup is married to another Neo-Con--Larry Kagan. Even sweet little Andrea Mitchell is actually Mrs. Alan Greenspan.

General Electric, the world's largest military contractor, still controls the message over at the so-called "liberal" MSNBC. MSNBC's other owner is Comcast, the right wing media conglomerate that controls the radio waves in every major American Market. Over at CNN, Mossad Asset Wolf Blitzer, who rose from being an obscure little correspondent for an Israeli Newspaper to being CNN's Chief "Pentagon Correspondent" and then was elevated to supreme anchorman nearly as quickly, ensures that the pro-Israeli Message is always in the forefront, even as the Israeli's commit one murderous act after another upon helpless Palestinian Women and Children.

Every single "terrorism expert", General or former Government Official that is brought out to discuss the next great war is connected to a military contractor that stands to benefit from that war. Not surprisingly, the military option is the only option discussed and we are assured that, if only we do this or bomb that, then it will all be over and we can bring our kids home to a big victory parade. I'm 63 and it has never happened in my lifetime--with the exception of the phony parade that Bush Senior put on after his murderous little "First Gulf War".

Yesterday there was a coordinated action by all of the networks, which was clearly designed to support the idea that the generals want Obama to act and he just won't. The not-so-subtle message was that the generals were right and that the President's "inaction" was somehow out of line-since, after all, the generals have recommended more war. It was as if these people don't remember that the President, sleazy War Criminal that he is, is still the Commander in Chief.

The Generals in the Pentagon always want war. It is how they make rank. All of those young kids that just graduated from our various academies know that war experience is the only thing that will get them the advancement that they seek in the career that they have chosen. They are champing at the bit for more war.

Finally, this Sunday every NFL Game will begin with some Patriotic "Honor America" Display, which will include a missing man flyover, flags and fireworks, plenty of uniforms, wounded Vets and soon-to-be-wounded Vets. A giant American Flag will, once again, cover the fields and hundreds of stupid young kids will rush down to their "Military Career Center" right after the game. These are the ones that I pity most.

BaronVonAmericano , 10 October 2014 6:26pm
Let's be frank: powerful interests want war and subsequent puppet regimes in the half dozen nations that the neo-cons have been eyeing (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan). These interests surely include industries like banking, arms and oil-all of whom make a killing on any war, and would stand to do well with friendly governments who could finance more arms purchases and will never nationalize the oil.

So, the same PR campaign that started with Bush and Cheney continues-the exact same campaign. Obviously, they have to come back at the apple with variations, but any notion that the "media will get it someday" is willfully ignorant of the obvious fact that there is an agenda, and that agenda just won't stop until it's achieved-or revolution supplants the influence of these dark forces.

IanB52, 10 October 2014 6:57pm

The US media are indeed working overtime to get this war happening. When I'm down at the gym they always have CNN on (I can only imagine what FOX is like) which is a pretty much dyed in the wool yellow jingoist station at this point. With all the segments they dedicate to ISIS, a new war, the "imminent" terrorist threat, they seem to favor talking heads who support a full ground war and I have never, not once, heard anyone even speak about the mere possibility of peace. Not ever.

In media universe there is no alternative to endless war and an endless stream of hyped reasons for new killing.

I'd imagine that these media companies have a lot stock in and a cozy relationship with the defense contractors.

Damiano Iocovozzi, 10 October 2014 7:04pm

The media machine is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of Corporations. The media doesn't report on anything but relies on repeating manufactured crises, creating manufactured consent & discussing manufactured solutions. Follow the oil, the pipelines & the money. Both R's & D's are left & right cheeks of the same buttock. Thanks to Citizens United & even Hobby Lobby, a compliant Supreme Court, also owned by United States of Corporations, it's a done deal.

ID5868758 , 10 October 2014 10:20pm
Oh, the greatest propaganda arm the US government has right now, bar none, is the American media. It's disgraceful. we no longer have journalists speaking truth to power in my country, we have people practicing stenography, straight from the State Department to your favorite media outlet.

Let me give you one clear example. A year ago Barack Obama came very close to bombing Syria to kingdom come, the justification used was "Assad gassed his own people", referring to a sarin gas attack near Damascus. Well, it turns out that Assad did not initiate that attack, discovered by research from many sources including the prestigious MIT, it was a false flag attack planned by Turkey and carried out by some of Obama's own "moderate rebels".

But all that research from MIT, from the UN, and others, has been buried by the American media, and every single story on Syria and Assad that is written still refers to "Assad gassing his own people". It's true, it's despicable, and it's just one example of how our media lies and distorts and misrepresents the news every day.

[Mar 17, 2019] Yes, Minister was a neoliberal attack on government as such. It set the entrepreneurial political hero/leader against the corrupt civil service

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, Minister was a neoliberal attack on government as such. It set the "entrepreneurial" political hero/leader against the corrupt "civil service". ..."
"... Following this line of reasoning, it seems to me that the US military establishment has been in decline ever since the Pentagon was built and the temporary Navy Dept. buildings erected on the National Mall were razed ..."
"... Being that the Pentagon opened in 1943 and the buildings on the Mall were razed in 1970, which roughly coincides with our costly imperial adventures in Korea and Vietnam, I think Parkinson's Law #6 is dead on here. ..."
Apr 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Chris , April 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Years ago, while working in an Australian state public service department, we considered 'Yes Minister' to be a documentary, and used it amongst ourselves as training material.

Lambert Strether Post author , April 27, 2017 at 4:26 pm

My favorite episode is "Jobs for the Boys." My favorite line: "Great courage of course. But whatever possessed you?"

https://books.google.co.id/books?id=VBkkymt32CgC

(Messing about with the VPN to get the full page )

RUKidding , April 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm

Indeed. I have used it as such, myself! Not snark.

A most excellent book and series. Should be required viewing.

witters , April 27, 2017 at 8:19 pm

Yes, Minister was a neoliberal attack on government as such. It set the "entrepreneurial" political hero/leader against the corrupt "civil service". It made the latter the "deep state", thereby tainting forever the welfare state as an evil hidden conspiracy that (mysteriously) pandered to the meritocratically worthless. If that is what you mean by "Deep State" then you can have it.

Huey Long , April 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm

It is now known that a perfection of planned layout is achieved only by institutions on the point of collapse . [P]erfection of planning is a symptom of decay. During a period of exciting discovery or progress there is no time to plan the perfect headquarters. The time for that comes later, when all the important work has been done. Perfection, we know, is finality; and finality is death.

Following this line of reasoning, it seems to me that the US military establishment has been in decline ever since the Pentagon was built and the temporary Navy Dept. buildings erected on the National Mall were razed.

Being that the Pentagon opened in 1943 and the buildings on the Mall were razed in 1970, which roughly coincides with our costly imperial adventures in Korea and Vietnam, I think Parkinson's Law #6 is dead on here.

[Mar 07, 2019] Op-Ed Chaos in the West shows that democracy comes in more than one flavor - People's Daily Online by Curtis Stone, Chengliang Wu

Mar 01, 2019 | en.people.cn

A popular narrative in the West is that the world would be a much better place if all countries just look and act more like the Western world. Indeed, the West has enjoyed great wealth and growth over the years. But growing instability in the Western world has also raised doubts about the Western-style of democratic governance.

In fact, there is a tendency to put Western-style democracy on a pedestal; but by doing so, we overlook its faults and even potential dangers. From the never-ending gridlock in Washington, to chaos in the House of Commons of United Kingdom over the Brexit mess, to people rioting on the streets of Paris, more and more people are calling into question the effectiveness of Western-style democracy.

Brexit, for some at least, encapsulates the perils and pitfalls of this style of democracy. In June 2016, the people of the UK voted to leave the European Union and, for now at least, the UK will leave the EU by March 29 this year, with or without a plan in place. The irrational jump into the unknown and the chaos that followed has created a troubling situation for the country, as well as other parts of the world, raising serious questions about the effectiveness and legitimacy of UK-style democracy.

Whether to leave or stay in the EU is a complicated issue that requires careful study and rational decisions from knowledgeable, well-informed people. It is irresponsible to just drag people off the streets for a vote on a major policy issue like Brexit. For example, days after the UK voted to leave the EU, a commentary on TIME's website wrote that the referendum was not a triumph of democracy, but an ugly populist fiasco.

Thus, there is good reason why more and more people feel like Western-style democracy has become a big joke. In the UK, the people voted to "take back control" of their country -- but without a plan. In the United States, politics has become a soap opera and the system is pitting Americans against Americans, splitting the country further apart. In fact, the US government has become so divided and dysfunctional that it recently broke the record for the longest shutdown in US history, which forced many government employees to turn to food banks to feed their families.

Yet, a very different story is unfolding in Asia. During the more than month-long government shutdown in the United States, China made history, too -- by landing the Chang'e-4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon. As a US senator pointed out during the shutdown, China has quadrupled its GDP since 2001, but the United States cannot even keep the government up and running. He called the situation in the United States "ludicrous."

Clearly, Western-style democracy is not "the end of history," as some have predicted and hoped for. This is not to say that the Western system is a failure or that China's system is superior to Western-style democracy, but it is fair to say that China's own system is a good fit for the country and it achieves the best results for the Chinese people.

For example, China has built the largest, most advanced high-speed train network in the world. It is the envy for many in the world, even for many Americans, including former President Barack Obama, who, nearly a decade ago, unveiled a plan for a national network of high-speed passenger rail lines that was envisioned to transform travel in America. The plan, like many others, turned out to be an American Dream that never came true. Just recently in California, for example, the state's new governor killed the high-speed rail program that would link Los Angeles to San Francisco -- a project beloved by the just-retired four-term Governor Jerry Brown.

And then there is US President Donald Trump's ambitious plan to "Rebuild America," which he has been unable to deliver. Stuck in an endless battle with Democrats over funding for the border wall, Trump declared a national emergency to fulfill his pledge to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border. His decision reflects a difference between the two countries' models. Whereas the Chinese model is people-centered, the American model is vote-centered. With regard to the "security and humanitarian crisis" on the country's southern border, the people are asking, "where is the crisis?" And herein lies the dilemma: Decisions, like Trump's decision to declare a national emergency, are essentially political stunts for votes. The Western model reduces people to a source of votes, essentially turning democracy into a game of likes.

This kind of decision-making is in stark contrast to the decision-making process in China, which makes annual, five-year, and long-term plans to guide the country forward and conducts extensive consultations to reach a broad consensus on major issues. A clear advantage of the Chinese system is that it is constantly exploring ways to adapt to the changing times, including large-scale reform of Party and government institutions to adapt to internal and external changes.

Perhaps there was a time when one could argue that the Western model produced the best results, but that is no longer the case. What we are seeing now is that it is increasingly difficult for Western countries to reach a consensus on major issues and to form a strategic plan. Western-style of democracy has become too rigid and Western democratic institutions are in a state of degradation, making it next to impossible to carry out any substantial reform. This can be seen in the fact that democracy in the Western world has increasingly become a fight for money and a game of manipulating people for votes.

In China's socialist democracy, there is a strong and stable political force that represents the interests of the great majority of the Chinese people. The Chinese government takes a people-centered approach to politics and good governance ensures that results can be delivered. It should be no wonder, then, that the Western model is barreling toward a cliff, while China is making great progress in various aspects, including the nation's ambitious plan to eradicate poverty by 2020. In a world of turmoil, there is reason for China and the Chinese people to be confident in its path.


Javed Mir5 days ago ,

--it is fair to say that China's own system is a good fit for the country and it achieves the best results for the Chinese people--

Putting it broadly 'One Size does not fit All' - as such values of the society, history of the society and potential of the society are different everywhere - as such state management be different. Moroever governance methods be flexible enough so that the decisions be adopted according to the national and international requirements.

.

LarryD Javed Mir5 days ago ,

In some Western countries it's not the political system itself that is necessarily bad. In the case of the present "sole superpower", for example, refusal to change policies based on the extermination of over 95% of its indigenous population and centuries of inhuman slavery of black people have perpetuated the present war against oppressed minorities. Further, the continuation of aggressive wars overseas, a habit that prompted Martin Luther King Jr to call his country "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" has ensured the neglect of infrastructure, healthcare, and quality of disenfranchised minorities, especially the Afro-Americans. It's not surprising that in poll after poll, the US have garnered the most votes for being the most dangerous country in the world. The much-maligned North Korea was second.

LarryD LarryD5 days ago ,

Typo: "quality of disenfranchised minorities, especially the Afro-Americans."

Should be "quality of education for disenfranchised minorities, especially that of Afro-Americans"

Raymond Hughes LarryDa day ago ,

Millions of poor people of all colours. The Africans used slaves long before the Arabs/ Europeans went to Africa and bought them from Africans, who used them for centuries, rounded them up, for sale to anyone with trinkets. The A-rabs were real big slavers, real big. Russia used Swedish slaves as did all nations use their fellow humans as slaves, only the US Negros get all the publicity.

[Mar 04, 2019] Communitarianism or Populism: The Ethic of Compassion and the Ethic of Respect

This is overview of the course...
Notable quotes:
"... Instead of serving as a counter weight to the market, then, the family was invaded and undermined by the market. The sentimental veneration of motherhood, even at the peak of its influence in the late nineteenth century, could never quite obscure the reality that unpaid labour bears the stigma of social inferiority when money becomes the universal measure of value. ..."
"... Commercial television dramatizes in the most explicit terms the cynicism that was always implicit in the ideology of the marketplace. The sentimental convention that the best things in life are free has long since passed into oblivion. Since the best things clearly cost a great deal of money, people seek money, in the world depicted by commercial television, by fair means or foul. ..."
"... Throughout the twentieth century liberalism has been pulled in two directions at once: toward the market and (not withstanding its initial misgivings about government) toward the state. On the one hand, the market appears to be the ideal embodiment of the principle-the cardinal principle of liberalism-that individuals are the best judges of their own interests and that they must therefore be allowed to speak for themselves in matters that concern their happiness and well-being. But individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market. Even liberal individuals require the character-forming discipline of the family, the neighbourhood, the school, and the church, all of which (not just the family) have been weakened by the encroachments of the market. ..."
"... The market notoriously tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pres sure on every activity to justify itself in the only items it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image. ..."
"... In the attempt to restrict the scope of the market, liberals have therefore turned to the state. But the remedy often proves to be worse than the disease. The replacement of informal types of association by formal systems of socialization and control weakens social trust, undermines the willingness both assume responsibility for one's self and to hold others accountable for their actions destroys respect for authority and thus turns out to be self-defeating. Neighbourhoods, which can serve as intermediaries between the family and the larger world. Neighbourhoods have been destroyed not only by the market-by crime and drugs or less dramatically by suburban shopping malls-but also by enlightened social engineering. ..."
"... "The myth that playgrounds and grass and hired guards or supervisors are innately wholesome for children and that city streets, filled with ordinary people, are innately evil for children, boils down to a deep contempt for ordinary people." In their contempt planners lose sight of the way in which city streets, if they are working as they should, teach children a lesson that cannot be taught by educators or professional caretakers: that "people must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other." When the corner grocer or the locksmith scolds a child for running into the street, the child learns something that can't be learned simply by formal instruction. ..."
"... The crisis of public funding is only one indication of the intrinsic weakness of organizations that can no longer count on informal, everyday mechanisms of social trust and control. ..."
Jan 13, 2017 | www.theworkingcentre.org

If terms like "populism" and "community" figure prominently in political discourse today, it is because the ideology of the Enlightenment, having come under attack from a variety of sources, has lost much of its appeal. The claims of universal reason are universally suspect. Hopes for a system of values that would transcend the particularism of class, nationality, religion, and race no longer carry much conviction. The Enlightenment's reason and morality are increasingly seen as a cover for power, and the prospect that the world can he governed by reason seems more remote than at any time since the eighteenth century. The citizen of the world-the prototype of mankind in the future, according to the Enlightenment philosophers-is not much in evidence. We have a universal market, but it does not carry with it the civilizing effects that were so confidently expected by Hume and Voltaire. Instead of generating a new appreciation of common interests and inclinations-if the essential sameness of human beings everywhere-the global market seems to intensify the awareness of ethnic and national differences. The unification of the market goes hand in hand with the fragmentation of culture.

The waning of the Enlightenment manifests itself politically in the waning of liberalism, in many ways the most attractive product of the Enlightenment and the carrier of its best hopes. Through all the permutations and transformations of liberal ideology, two of its central features have persisted over the years: its commitment to progress and its belief that a liberal state could dispense with civic virtue. The two ideas were linked in a chain of reasoning having as its premise that capitalism had made it reason able for everyone to aspire to a level of comfort formerly accessible only to the rich. Henceforth men would devote themselves to their private business, reducing the need for government, which could more or less take care of itself. It was the idea of progress that made it possible to believe that societies blessed with material abundance could dispense with the active participation of ordinary citizens in government.

After the American Revolution liberals began to argue-in opposition to the older view that "public virtue is the only foundation of republics," in the words of John Adams -- that proper constitutional checks and balances would make it advantageous even for bad men to act for the public good," as James Wilson put it. According to John Taylor, "an avaricious society can form a government able to defend itself against the avarice of its members" by enlisting the "interest of vice ...on the side of virtue." Virtue lay in the "principles of government," Taylor argued, not in the "evanescent qualities of individuals." The institutions and "principles of a society may be virtuous, though the individuals composing it are vicious."

Meeting minimal conditions

The paradox of a virtuous society based on vicious individuals, however agree able in theory, was never adhered to very consistently. Liberals took for granted a good deal more in the way of private virtue than they were willing to acknowledge. Even to day liberals who adhere to this minimal view of citizenship smuggle a certain amount of citizenship between the cracks of their free- market ideology. Milton Friedman himself admits that a liberal society requires a "minimum degree of literacy and knowledge" along with a "widespread acceptance of some common set of values." It is not clear that our society can meet even these minimal conditions, as things stand today, but it has always been clear, in any case, that a liberal society needs more virtue than Friedman allows for.

A system that relies so heavily on the concept of rights presupposes individuals who respect the rights of others, if only because they expect others to respect their own rights in return. The market itself, the central institution of a liberal society, presupposes, at the very least, sharp-eyed, calculating, and clearheaded individuals-paragons of rational choice. It presupposes not just self interest but enlightened self-interest. It was for this reason that nineteenth-century liberals attached so much importance to the family. The obligation to support a wife and children, in their view, would discipline possessive individualism and transform the potential gambler, speculator, dandy, or confidence man into a conscientious provider. Having abandoned the old republican ideal of citizenship along with the republican indictment of luxury, liberals lacked any grounds on which to appeal to individuals to subordinate private interest to the public good.

But at least they could appeal to the higher selfishness of marriage and parenthood. They could ask, if not for the suspension of self-interest, for its elevation and refinement. The hope that rising expectations would lead men and women to invest their ambitions in their offspring was destined to be disappointed in the long run. The more closely capitalism came to be identified with immediate gratification and planned obsolescence, the more relentlessly it wore away the moral foundations of family life. The rising divorce rate, already a source of alarm in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, seemed to reflect a growing impatience with the constraints imposed by long responsibilities and commitments.

The passion to get ahead had begun to imply the right to make a fresh start whenever earlier commitments became unduly burden some. Material abundance weakened the economic as well as the moral foundations of the "well-'ordered family state" admired by nineteenth-century liberals. The family business gave way to the corporation, the family farm (more slowly and painfully) to a collectivized agriculture ultimately controlled by the same banking houses that had engineered the consolidation of industry. The agrarian uprising of the 1870s, 1880s, and l890s proved to be the first round in a long, losing struggle to save the family farm, enshrined in American mythology, even today, as the sine qua non of a good society but subjected into practice to a ruinous cycle of mechanization, indebtedness, and overproduction.

The family invaded

Instead of serving as a counter weight to the market, then, the family was invaded and undermined by the market. The sentimental veneration of motherhood, even at the peak of its influence in the late nineteenth century, could never quite obscure the reality that unpaid labour bears the stigma of social inferiority when money becomes the universal measure of value.

In the long run women were forced into the workplace not only because their families needed extra income but because paid labour seemed to represent their only hope of gaining equality with men. In our time it is increasingly clear that children pay the price for this invasion of the family by the market. With both parents in the workplace and grandparents conspicuous by their absence, the family is no longer capable of sheltering children from the market. The television set becomes the principal baby-sitter by default. Its invasive presence deals the final blow to any lingering hope that the family can provide a sheltered space for children to grow up in.

Children are now exposed to the out side world from the time they are old enough to be left unattended in front of the tube. They are exposed to it, moreover, in a brutal yet seductive form that reduces the values of the marketplace to their simplest terms. Commercial television dramatizes in the most explicit terms the cynicism that was always implicit in the ideology of the marketplace. The sentimental convention that the best things in life are free has long since passed into oblivion. Since the best things clearly cost a great deal of money, people seek money, in the world depicted by commercial television, by fair means or foul.

Throughout the twentieth century liberalism has been pulled in two directions at once: toward the market and (not withstanding its initial misgivings about government) toward the state. On the one hand, the market appears to be the ideal embodiment of the principle-the cardinal principle of liberalism-that individuals are the best judges of their own interests and that they must therefore be allowed to speak for themselves in matters that concern their happiness and well-being. But individuals cannot learn to speak for themselves at all, much less come to an intelligent understanding of their happiness and well-being, in a world in which there are no values except those of the market. Even liberal individuals require the character-forming discipline of the family, the neighbourhood, the school, and the church, all of which (not just the family) have been weakened by the encroachments of the market.

The market notoriously tends to universalize itself. It does not easily coexist with institutions that operate according to principles antithetical to itself: schools and universities, newspapers and magazines, charities, families. Sooner or later the market tends to absorb them all. It puts an almost irresistible pres sure on every activity to justify itself in the only items it recognizes: to become a business proposition, to pay its own way, to show black ink on the bottom line. It turns news into entertainment, scholarship into professional careerism, social work into the scientific management of poverty. Inexorably it remodels every institution in its own image.

Weakening social trust

In the attempt to restrict the scope of the market, liberals have therefore turned to the state. But the remedy often proves to be worse than the disease. The replacement of informal types of association by formal systems of socialization and control weakens social trust, undermines the willingness both assume responsibility for one's self and to hold others accountable for their actions destroys respect for authority and thus turns out to be self-defeating. Neighbourhoods, which can serve as intermediaries between the family and the larger world. Neighbourhoods have been destroyed not only by the market-by crime and drugs or less dramatically by suburban shopping malls-but also by enlightened social engineering.

The main thrust of social policy, ever since the first crusades against child labour, has been to transfer the care of children from informal settings to institutions designed specifically for pedagogical and custodial purposes. Today this trend continues in the movement for daycare, often justified on the undeniable grounds that working mothers need it but also on the grounds that daycare centers can take advantage of the latest innovations in pedagogy and child psychology. This policy of segregating children in age-graded institutions under professional supervision has been a massive failure, for reasons suggested some time ago by Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, an attack on city planning that applies to social planning in general.

"The myth that playgrounds and grass and hired guards or supervisors are innately wholesome for children and that city streets, filled with ordinary people, are innately evil for children, boils down to a deep contempt for ordinary people." In their contempt planners lose sight of the way in which city streets, if they are working as they should, teach children a lesson that cannot be taught by educators or professional caretakers: that "people must take a modicum of public responsibility for each other even if they have no ties to each other." When the corner grocer or the locksmith scolds a child for running into the street, the child learns something that can't be learned simply by formal instruction.

What the child learns is that adults unrelated to one another except by the accident of propinquity uphold certain standards and assume responsibility for the neighbourhood. With good reason, Jacobs calls this the "first fundamental of successful city life," one that "people hired to look after children cannot teach because the essence of this responsibility is that you do it without being hired."

Neighbourhoods encourage "casual public trust," according to Jacobs. In its absence the everyday maintenance of life has to be turned over to professional bureaucrats. The atrophy of informal controls leads irresistibly to the expansion of bureaucratic controls. This development threatens to extinguish the very privacy liberals have always set such store by. It also loads the organizational sector with burdens it cannot support. The crisis of public funding is only one indication of the intrinsic weakness of organizations that can no longer count on informal, everyday mechanisms of social trust and control.

The taxpayers' revolt, although itself informed by an ideology of privatism resistant to any kind of civic appeals, at the same time grows out of a well-founded suspicion that tax money merely sustains bureaucratic self-aggrandizement

The lost habit of self-help

As formal organizations break down, people will have to improvise ways of meeting their immediate needs: patrolling their own neighbourhoods, withdrawing their children from public schools in order to educate them at home. The default of the state will thus contribute in its own right to the restoration of informal mechanisms of self-help. But it is hard to see how the foundations of civic life can be restored unless this work becomes an overriding goal of public policy. We have heard a good deal of talk about the repair of our material infrastructure, but our cultural infrastructure needs attention too, and more than just the rhetorical attention of politicians who praise "family values" while pursuing economic policies that undermine them. It is either naive or cynical to lead the public to think that dismantling the welfare state is enough to ensure a revival of informal cooperation-"a thousand points of light." People who have lost the habit of self-help, who live in cities and suburbs where shopping malls have replaced neighbourhoods, and who prefer the company of close friends (or simply the company of television) to the informal sociability of the street, the coffee shop, and the tavern are not likely to reinvent communities just because the state has proved such an unsatisfactory substitute. Market mechanisms will not repair the fabric of public trust. On the contrary the market's effect on the cultural infrastructure is just as corrosive as that of the state.

A third way

We can now begin to appreciate the appeal of populism and communitarianism. They reject both the market and the welfare state in pursuit of a third way. This is why they are so difficult to classify on the conventional spectrum of political opinion. Their opposition to free-market ideologies seems to align them with the left, but 'their criticism of the welfare state (whenever this criticism becomes open and explicit) makes them sound right-wing. In fact, these positions belong to neither the left nor the right, and for that very reason they seem to many people to hold out the best hope of breaking the deadlock of current debate, which has been institutionalized in the two major parties and their divided control of the federal government. At a time when political debate consists of largely of ideological slogans endlessly repeated to audiences composed mainly of the party faithful, fresh thinking is desperately needed. It is not likely to emerge, however, from those with a vested interest in 'the old orthodoxies. We need a "third way of thinking about moral obligation," as Alan Wolfe puts it, one that locates moral obligation neither in the state nor in the market but "in common sense, ordinary emotions, and everyday life."

Wolfe's plea for a political program designed to strengthen civil society, which closely resembles the ideas advanced in The Good Society by Robert Bellah and his collaborators, should be welcomed by the growing numbers of people who find themselves dissatisfied with the alternatives defined by conventional debate. These authors illustrate the strengths of the communitarian position along with some of its characteristic weaknesses. They make it clear that both the market and the state presuppose the strength of "non-economic ties of trust and solidarity" as Wolfe puts it. Yet the expansion of these institutions weakens ties of trust and thus undermines the preconditions for their own success. The market and the "job culture," Bellah writes, are "invading our private lives," eroding our "moral infrastructure" of "social trust." Nor does the welfare state repair the damage. "The example of more successful welfare states ... suggests that money and bureaucratic assistance alone do not halt the decline of the family" or strengthen any of the other "sustaining institutions that make interdependence morally significant." None of this means that a politics that really mattered-a politics rooted in popular common sense instead of the ideologies that appeal to elites-would painlessly resolve all the conflicts that threaten to tear the country apart. Communitarians underestimate the difficulty of finding an approach to family issues, say, that is both profamily and profeminist.

That may be what the public wants in theory. In practice, however, it requires a restructuring of the workplace designed to make work schedules far more flexible, career patterns less rigid and predictable, and criteria for advancement less destructive to family and community obligations. Such reforms imply interference with the market and a redefinition of success, neither of which will be achieved without a great deal of controversy.

Back to Course Content

[Feb 27, 2019] UK's panicked neoliberal regime desperate to build a third loyal party to halt Corbyn's progressive counterattack

Feb 27, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Right after the seven neoliberal Blairites left the Labour party towards the formation of a new "independent" party, three Tories decided to join them.

As the Guardian reported : "

Three Conservatives have quit their party to join the new Independent Group of MPs, declaring that hard Brexiters have taken over and that the modernising wing of the party has been 'destroyed'. Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen explained their decision to join the new group, founded this week by seven Labour MPs, who also left their party. "

It all happened too fast and someone would be rather naive to believe that these moves were not pre-agreed and fully coordinated.
All the picks appear to be carefully selected. The establishment takes back those who has raised carefully with the 'principles' of the neoliberal ideology in order to save them from the collapsing conservative party and the Corbynism-'contaminated' Labour. Next step, a third 'independent' party with the mission to save neoliberalism.

It's not hard to guess the source of funding of this new party. It is the part of the big capital, especially the financial sector and the pro-Israeli lobby in the UK, that benefits from the neoliberal globalization. Therefore, it is the part of the big capital that seeks to reverse Brexit at all costs and shares common ideas and interests with the lobbies that control the EU.

[Feb 26, 2019] It would seem that many of the Trotskyites of the past have now become neocons favouring capitalism and imperialist military intervention under guise of human rights promotion, as have some other communists

Notable quotes:
"... It would seem that many of the Trotskyites of the past have now become neocons favouring capitalism and imperialist military intervention under guise of "human rights" promotion, as have some other communists. ..."
Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Digital Samizdat , says: February 26, 2019 at 1:03 pm GMT

@Commentator Mike Today's system is a hybrid of a late finance-stage global capitalism and cultural–not economic–Marxism. Instead of class struggle, we have identity politics. Instead of the ownership of the means of production, we have tranny bathrooms.

So the right-wingers (like Peter Hitchens) who say that 'Marxism won' are half right culturally, not economically. What causes all the confusion (among the libertarian types especially) is that capitalism in reality does not in any way resemble how it ought to work according to libertarian theories and never did. But when you point out to them that capitalism never worked in practice to begin with, they answer: 'But true capitalism has never even been tried!' And of course, they're right. 'True' capitalism (i.e., what libertarian theory calls capitalism) really never has been tried, and for exactly the same reason that perpetual motion machines have never been tried either: they're impossible.

None of which means I'm a 'pure' socialist. I'm open to mixed-economies and new experiments. I usually characterize myself more as a national socialist, mostly to differentiate myself from the 'world revolution' Trotskyite socialists who now predominate on the far-left.

That means I also take some inspiration from some fascists and national-syndicalists, although I don't regard any of them as holy writ, either.

In my opinion, the number one success factor for a civilization is not what theory it professes, but rather who controls it. Theories will always have to be modified to suit the circumstances; but the character of a people is much harder to change.

China's prospering because it's controlled by Chinese engineers; our civilization is suffocating because it's controlled by Jew-bankers and Masonic lawyers. Get rid of them first, and we can debate monetary theory till we're blue in the face.

Commentator Mike , says: February 26, 2019 at 4:01 pm GMT

@Digital Samizdat

I think that applying the old concepts of Marxism is no longer possible in the west since there is hardly a genuine proletariat as a proper class any more with the deindustrialisation and the transfer of major industries to China and other Asian and Latin American countries.

On the other hand the lumpenproletariat has grown and will grow further with greater automation in industry.

Many more people are now unemployed, underemployed, in service industries, part-time and temporary jobs, or ageing old age pensioners and retirees.

With the greater atomisation of the individual, break up of families, greater mobility, the concept of classes rooted long-term in their communities seems less applicable. You could say most of the global proletariat is now in China.

It would seem that many of the Trotskyites of the past have now become neocons favouring capitalism and imperialist military intervention under guise of "human rights" promotion, as have some other communists.

Paul Edward Gottfried's "The Strange Death of Marxism" seems to offer some explanations but is not of much use in developing a new activism capable of taking on the system or providing a more viable alternative.

RobinG , says: February 26, 2019 at 4:29 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike

classical concepts of socialism and capitalism, and left and right politics

The left/right concept is no longer valid. For one thing, of what use is a $15. minimum wage (apparently a standard "left" plank) if there aren't any jobs? Take a look at Andrew Yang. At least he is posing the right questions.

Andrew Yang's Pitch to America – We Must Evolve to a New Form of Capitalism

[Feb 26, 2019] Neoliberalism by Julie Wilson

Highly recommended!
The book adhere to "classic" line of critique of neoliberalism as a new "secular religion" ( the author thinking is along the lines of Gramsci idea of "cultural hegemony"; Gramsci did not use the term 'secular religion" at all, but this close enough concept) that deified the market. It stress the role of the state in enforcing the neoliberalism.
Oct 09, 2017 | www.amazon.com

skeptic on October 8, 2017

A solid book on neoliberal ideology and neoliberal rationality. Highly recommended

The book adhere to "classic" line of critique of neoliberalism as a new "secular religion" ( the author thinking is along the lines of Gramsci idea of "cultural hegemony"; Gramsci did not use the term 'secular religion" at all, but this is close enough concept) that deified the market. It stresses the role of the state in enforcing the neoliberal ideology much like was the case with Bolsheviks in the USSR:

Gramsci's question is still pressing: How and why do ordinary working folks come to accept a system where wealth is produced by their collective labors and energies but appropriated individually by only a few at the top? The theory of hegemony suggests that the answer to this question is not simply a matter of direct exploitation and control by the capitalist class. Rather, hegemony posits that power is maintained through ongoing, ever-shifting cultural processes of winning the consent of the governed, that is, ordinary people like you and me.

According to Gramsci, there was not one ruling class, but rather a historical bloc, "a moving equilibrium" of class interests and values. Hegemony names a cultural struggle for moral, social, economic, and political leadership; in this struggle, a field -- or assemblage -- of practices, discourses, values, and beliefs come to be dominant. While this field is powerful and firmly entrenched, it is also open to contestation. In other words, hegemonic power is always on the move; it has to keep winning our consent to survive, and sometimes it fails to do so.
Through the lens of hegemony, we can think about the rise of neoliberalism as an ongoing political project -- and class struggle -- to shift society's political equilibrium and create a new dominant field. Specifically, we are going to trace the shift from liberal to neoliberal hegemony. This shift is represented in the two images below.

Previous versions of liberal hegemony imagined society to be divided into distinct public and private spheres. The public sphere was the purview of the state, and its role was to ensure the formal rights and freedoms of citizens through the rule of law. The private sphere included the economy and the domestic sphere of home and family.

For the most part, liberal hegemony was animated by a commitment to limited government, as the goal was to allow for as much freedom in trade, associations, and civil society as possible, while preserving social order and individual rights. Politics took shape largely around the line between public and private; more precisely, it was a struggle over where and how to draw the line. In other words, within the field of liberal hegemony, politics was a question of how to define the uses and limits of the state and its public function in a capitalist society. Of course, political parties often disagreed passionately about where and how to draw that line. As we'll see below, many advocated for laissez-faire capitalism, while others argued for a greater public role in ensuring the health, happiness, and rights of citizens. What's crucial though is that everyone agreed that there was a line to be drawn, and that there was a public function for the state.

As Figure 1.1 shows, neoliberal hegemony works to erase this line between public and private and to create an entire society -- in fact, an entire world -- based on private, market competition. In this way, neoliberalism represents a radical reinvention of liberalism and thus of the horizons of hegemonic struggle. Crucially, within neoliberalism, the state's function does not go away; rather, it is deconstructed and reconstructed toward the new' end of expanding private markets.

This view correlates well with the analysis of Professor Wendy Brown book "Undoing the Demos" and her paper "Neoliberalism and the End of Liberal Democracy" (pdf is freely available)

In this sense neoliberalism are just "Trotskyism for the rich" with the same utopian dream of global neoliberal revolution, but much more sinister motives. And is as ruthless in achieving its goals, if necessary bring neoliberal "regime change" on the tips of bayonets, or via 'cultural revolutions".

If we follow the line of thinking put forward by Professor Philip Mirowski's in his book "Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown," we can say that neoliberals essentially "reverse-engineered" Bolsheviks methods of acquiring and maintaining political power, replacing "dictatorship of proletariat" with the "dictatorship of financial oligarchy".

I would say more: The "professional revolutionary" cadre that were the core of Bolshevik's Party were replaced with well paid, talented intellectual prostitutes at specially created neoliberal think tanks. And later "infiltrated" in economic departments (kind of stealth coup d'état in academia financed by usual financial players).

Which eventually created a critical mass of ideas which were able to depose New Deal Capitalism ideology, putting forward the set of remedies that restore the power the financial oligarchy enjoyed in 1920th. Technological changes such as invention of computers and telecommunication revolution also helped greatly.

At the same time unlike Bolsheviks, neoliberals are carefully hiding their agenda. Funny, neoliberalism is the only known to me major ideology which the US MSM are prohibited to mention by name ;-)

The role of state under neoliberalism is very close to the role of state under Bolsheviks' "dictatorship of proletariats". It no way this still a liberal democracy -- this is what Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarism". Less brutal then Bolsheviks' regime, but still far from real democracy. Under neoliberalism the state is a powerful agent needed to enforce markets on unsuspecting population in all spheres of life, whether they want it or not (supported by 12" guns of neoliberal MSM battleships):

As Figure 1.1 shows, neoliberal hegemony works to erase this line between public and private and to create an entire society -- in fact, an entire world -- based on private, market competition. In this way, neoliberalism represents a radical reinvention of liberalism and thus of the horizons of hegemonic struggle. Crucially, within neoliberalism, the state's function does not go away; rather, it is deconstructed and reconstructed toward the new' end of expanding private markets. Consequently, contemporary politics take shape around questions of how best to promote competition. For the most part, politics on both the left and right have been subsumed by neoliberal hegemony. For example, while neoliberalism made its debut in Western politics with the right-wing administrations of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, leaders associated with the left have worked to further neoliberal hegemony in stunning ways. As we will explore in more depth below and in die coming chapters, both U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have governed to create a privatized, market society. In other words, there is both a left and a right hegemonic horizon of neoliberalism. Thus, moving beyond neoliberalism will ultimately require a whole new field of politics.

One of the most interesting part of the book is the brief analysis of the recent elections (with very precise characterization of Hillary Clinton defeat as the defeat of the "neoliberal status quo"). The author claims that Trump supporters were mainly representatives of the strata of the US society which were sick-and-tied of neoliberalism (note the percentage of Spanish speaking electorate who voted for Trump), but they were taken for a ride, as instead of rejection of globalism and free movement of labor, Trump actually represented more right wing, more bastardized version of "hard neoliberalism".

In the period which followed the elections Trump_vs_deep_state emerged as a kind of "neoliberalism in one country" -- much like Stalin's "socialism in one country". It and did not care one bit about those who voted for him during election . As in classic "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go."

So in a way Trump represents the mirror image of Obama who in the same way betrayed his votes (twice) acting from "soft neoliberalism" position, while Trump is acting from "hard neoliberalism" position.

On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.
... ... ...

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

[Feb 26, 2019] THE CRISIS OF NEOLIBERALISM by Julie A. Wilson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. ..."
"... Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy. ..."
"... In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism. ..."
"... We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism. ..."
"... While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."' ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Quote from the book is courtesy of Amazon preview of the book Neoliberalism (Key Ideas in Media & Cultural Studies)

In Chapter 1, we traced the rise of our neoliberal conjuncture back to the crisis of liberalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Great Depression. During this period, huge transformations in capitalism proved impossible to manage with classical laissez-faire approaches. Out of this crisis, two movements emerged, both of which would eventually shape the course of the twentieth century and beyond. The first, and the one that became dominant in the aftermath of the crisis, was the conjuncture of embedded liberalism. The crisis indicated that capitalism wrecked too much damage on the lives of ordinary citizens. People (white workers and families, especially) warranted social protection from the volatilities and brutalities of capitalism. The state's public function was expanded to include the provision of a more substantive social safety net, a web of protections for people and a web of constraints on markets. The second response was the invention of neoliberalism. Deeply skeptical of the common-good principles that undergirded the emerging social welfare state, neoliberals began organizing on the ground to develop a "new" liberal govemmentality, one rooted less in laissez-faire principles and more in the generalization of competition and enterprise. They worked to envision a new society premised on a new social ontology, that is, on new truths about the state, the market, and human beings. Crucially, neoliberals also began building infrastructures and institutions for disseminating their new' knowledges and theories (i.e., the Neoliberal Thought Collective), as well as organizing politically to build mass support for new policies (i.e., working to unite anti-communists, Christian conservatives, and free marketers in common cause against the welfare state). When cracks in embedded liberalism began to surface -- which is bound to happen with any moving political equilibrium -- neoliberals were there with new stories and solutions, ready to make the world anew.

We are currently living through the crisis of neoliberalism. As I write this book, Donald Trump has recently secured the U.S. presidency, prevailing in the national election over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Throughout the election, I couldn't help but think back to the crisis of liberalism and the two responses that emerged. Similarly, after the Great Recession of 2008, we've saw two responses emerge to challenge our unworkable status quo, which dispossesses so many people of vital resources for individual and collective life. On the one hand, we witnessed the rise of Occupy Wall Street. While many continue to critique the movement for its lack of leadership and a coherent political vision, Occupy was connected to burgeoning movements across the globe, and our current political horizons have been undoubtedly shaped by the movement's success at repositioning class and economic inequality within our political horizon. On the other hand, we saw' the rise of the Tea Party, a right-wing response to the crisis. While the Tea Party was critical of status-quo neoliberalism -- especially its cosmopolitanism and embrace of globalization and diversity, which was perfectly embodied by Obama's election and presidency -- it was not exactly anti-neoliberal. Rather, it was anti-left neoliberalism-, it represented a more authoritarian, right [wing] version of neoliberalism.

Within the context of the 2016 election, Clinton embodied the neoliberal center that could no longer hold. Inequality. Suffering. Collapsing infrastructures. Perpetual war. Anger. Disaffected consent. There were just too many fissures and fault lines in the glossy, cosmopolitan world of left neoliberalism and marketized equality. Indeed, while Clinton ran on status-quo stories of good governance and neoliberal feminism, confident that demographics and diversity would be enough to win the election, Trump effectively tapped into the unfolding conjunctural crisis by exacerbating the cracks in the system of marketized equality, channeling political anger into his celebrity brand that had been built on saying "f*** you" to the culture of left neoliberalism (corporate diversity, political correctness, etc.) In fact, much like Clinton's challenger in the Democratic primary, Benie Sanders, Trump was a crisis candidate.

Both Sanders and Trump were embedded in the emerging left and right responses to neoliberalism's crisis. Specifically, Sanders' energetic campaign -- which was undoubtedly enabled by the rise of the Occupy movement -- proposed a decidedly more "commongood" path. Higher wages for working people. Taxes on the rich, specifically the captains of the creditocracy.

Universal health care. Free higher education. Fair trade. The repeal of Citizens United. Trump offered a different response to the crisis. Like Sanders, he railed against global trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, Trump's victory was fueled by right neoliberalism's culture of cruelty. While Sanders tapped into and mobilized desires for a more egalitarian and democratic future, Trump's promise was nostalgic, making America "great again" -- putting the nation back on "top of the world," and implying a time when women were "in their place" as male property, and minorities and immigrants were controlled by the state.

Thus, what distinguished Trump's campaign from more traditional Republican campaigns was that it actively and explicitly pitted one group's equality (white men) against everyone else's (immigrants, women, Muslims, minorities, etc.). As Catherine Rottenberg suggests, Trump offered voters a choice between a multiracial society (where folks are increasingly disadvantaged and dispossessed) and white supremacy (where white people would be back on top). However, "[w]hat he neglected to state," Rottenberg writes,

is that neoliberalism flourishes in societies where the playing field is already stacked against various segments of society, and that it needs only a relatively small select group of capital-enhancing subjects, while everyone else is ultimately dispensable. 1

In other words, Trump supporters may not have explicitly voted for neoliberalism, but that's what they got. In fact, as Rottenberg argues, they got a version of right neoliberalism "on steroids" -- a mix of blatant plutocracy and authoritarianism that has many concerned about the rise of U.S. fascism.

We can't know what would have happened had Sanders run against Trump, but we can think seriously about Trump, right and left neoliberalism, and the crisis of neoliberal hegemony. In other words, we can think about where and how we go from here. As I suggested in the previous chapter, if we want to construct a new world, we are going to have to abandon the entangled politics of both right and left neoliberalism; we have to reject the hegemonic frontiers of both disposability and marketized equality. After all, as political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues, what was rejected in the election of 2016 was progressive, left neoliberalism.

While the rise of hyper-right neoliberalism is certainly nothing to celebrate, it does present an opportunity for breaking with neoliberal hegemony. We have to proceed, as Gary Younge reminds us, with the realization that people "have not rejected the chance of a better world. They have not yet been offered one."'

Mark Fisher, the author of Capitalist Realism, put it this way:

The long, dark night of the end of history has to be grasped as an enormous opportunity. The very oppressive pervasiveness of capitalist realism means that even glimmers of alternative political and economic possibilities can have a disproportionately great effect. The tiniest event can tear a hole in the grey curtain of reaction which has marked the horizons of possibility under capitalist realism. From a situation in which nothing can happen, suddenly anything is possible again.4

I think that, for the first time in the history of U.S. capitalism, the vast majority of people might sense the lie of liberal, capitalist democracy. They feel anxious, unfree, disaffected. Fantasies of the good life have been shattered beyond repair for most people. Trump and this hopefully brief triumph of right neoliberalism will soon lay this bare for everyone to see. Now, with Trump, it is absolutely clear: the rich rule the world; we are all disposable; this is no democracy. The question becomes: How will we show up for history? Will there be new stories, ideas, visions, and fantasies to attach to? How can we productively and meaningful intervene in the crisis of neoliberalism? How can we "tear a hole in the grey curtain" and open up better worlds? How can we put what we've learned to use and begin to imagine and build a world beyond living in competition? I hope our critical journey through the neoliberal conjuncture has enabled you to begin to answer these questions.

More specifically, in recent decades, especially since the end of the Cold War, our common-good sensibilities have been channeled into neoliberal platforms for social change and privatized action, funneling our political energies into brand culture and marketized struggles for equality (e.g., charter schools, NGOs and non-profits, neoliberal antiracism and feminism). As a result, despite our collective anger and disaffected consent, we find ourselves stuck in capitalist realism with no real alternative. Like the neoliberal care of the self, we are trapped in a privatized mode of politics that relies on cruel optimism; we are attached, it seems, to politics that inspire and motivate us to action, while keeping us living in competition.

To disrupt the game, we need to construct common political horizons against neoliberal hegemony. We need to use our common stories and common reason to build common movements against precarity -- for within neoliberalism, precarity is what ultimately has the potential to thread all of our lives together. Put differently, the ultimate fault line in the neoliberal conjiuicture is the way it subjects us all to precarity and the biopolitics of disposability, thereby creating conditions of possibility for new coalitions across race, gender, citizenship, sexuality, and class. Recognizing this potential for coalition in the face of precarization is the most pressing task facing those who are yearning for a new world. The question is: How do we get there? How do we realize these coalitional potentialities and materialize common horizons?

HOW WE GET THERE

Ultimately, mapping the neoliberal conjuncture through everyday life in enterprise culture has not only provided some direction in terms of what we need; it has also cultivated concrete and practical intellectual resources for political interv ention and social interconnection -- a critical toolbox for living in common. More specifically, this book has sought to provide resources for thinking and acting against the four Ds: resources for engaging in counter-conduct, modes of living that refuse, on one hand, to conduct one's life according to the norm of enterprise, and on the other, to relate to others through the norm of competition. Indeed, we need new ways of relating, interacting, and living as friends, lovers, workers, vulnerable bodies, and democratic people if we are to write new stories, invent new govemmentalities, and build coalitions for new worlds.

Against Disimagination: Educated Hope and Affirmative Speculation

We need to stop turning inward, retreating into ourselves, and taking personal responsibility for our lives (a task which is ultimately impossible). Enough with the disimagination machine! Let's start looking outward, not inward -- to the broader structures that undergird our lives. Of course, we need to take care of ourselves; we must survive. But I firmly believe that we can do this in ways both big and small, that transform neoliberal culture and its status-quo stories.

Here's the thing I tell my students all the time. You cannot escape neoliberalism. It is the air we breathe, the water in which we swim. No job, practice of social activism, program of self-care, or relationship will be totally free from neoliberal impingements and logics. There is no pure "outside" to get to or work from -- that's just the nature of the neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power. But let's not forget that neoliberalism's totalizing cultural power is also a source of weakness. Potential for resistance is everywhere, scattered throughout our everyday lives in enterprise culture. Our critical toolbox can help us identify these potentialities and navigate and engage our conjuncture in ways that tear open up those new worlds we desire.

In other words, our critical perspective can help us move through the world with what Henry Giroux calls educated hope. Educated hope means holding in tension the material realities of power and the contingency of history. This orientation of educated hope knows very well what we're up against. However, in the face of seemingly totalizing power, it also knows that neoliberalism can never become total because the future is open. Educated hope is what allows us to see the fault lines, fissures, and potentialities of the present and emboldens us to think and work from that sliver of social space where we do have political agency and freedom to construct a new world. Educated hope is what undoes the power of capitalist realism. It enables affirmative speculation (such as discussed in Chapter 5), which does not try to hold the future to neoliberal horizons (that's cruel optimism!), but instead to affirm our commonalities and the potentialities for the new worlds they signal. Affirmative speculation demands a different sort of risk calculation and management. It senses how little we have to lose and how much we have to gain from knocking the hustle of our lives.

Against De-democratization: Organizing and Collective Coverning

We can think of educated hope and affirmative speculation as practices of what Wendy Brown calls "bare democracy" -- the basic idea that ordinary' people like you and me should govern our lives in common, that we should critique and try to change our world, especially the exploitative and oppressive structures of power that maintain social hierarchies and diminish lives. Neoliberal culture works to stomp out capacities for bare democracy by transforming democratic desires and feelings into meritocratic desires and feelings. In neoliberal culture, utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective utopian sensibilities are directed away from the promise of collective governing to competing for equality.

We have to get back that democractic feeling! As Jeremy Gilbert taught us, disaffected consent is a post-democratic orientation. We don't like our world, but we don't think we can do anything about it. So, how do we get back that democratic feeling? How do we transform our disaffected consent into something new? As I suggested in the last chapter, we organize. Organizing is simply about people coming together around a common horizon and working collectively to materialize it. In this way, organizing is based on the idea of radical democracy, not liberal democracy. While the latter is based on formal and abstract rights guaranteed by the state, radical democracy insists that people should directly make the decisions that impact their lives, security, and well-being. Radical democracy is a practice of collective governing: it is about us hashing out, together in communities, what matters, and working in common to build a world based on these new sensibilities.

The work of organizing is messy, often unsatisfying, and sometimes even scary. Organizing based on affirmative speculation and coalition-building, furthermore, will have to be experimental and uncertain. As Lauren Berlant suggests, it means "embracing the discomfort of affective experience in a truly open social life that no

one has ever experienced." Organizing through and for the common "requires more adaptable infrastructures. Keep forcing the existing infrastructures to do what they don't know how to do. Make new ways to be local together, where local doesn't require a physical neighborhood." 5 What Berlant is saying is that the work of bare democracy requires unlearning, and detaching from, our current stories and infrastructures in order to see and make things work differently. Organizing for a new world is not easy -- and there are no guarantees -- but it is the only way out of capitalist realism.

Against Disposability: Radical Equality

Getting back democratic feeling will at once require and help us lo move beyond the biopolitics of disposability and entrenched systems of inequality. On one hand, organizing will never be enough if it is not animated by bare democracy, a sensibility that each of us is equally important when it comes to the project of determining our lives in common. Our bodies, our hurts, our dreams, and our desires matter regardless of our race, gender, sexuality, or citizenship, and regardless of how r much capital (economic, social, or cultural) we have. Simply put, in a radical democracy, no one is disposable. This bare-democratic sense of equality must be foundational to organizing and coalition-building. Otherwise, we will always and inevitably fall back into a world of inequality.

On the other hand, organizing and collective governing will deepen and enhance our sensibilities and capacities for radical equality. In this context, the kind of self-enclosed individualism that empowers and underwrites the biopolitics of disposability melts away, as we realize the interconnectedness of our lives and just how amazing it feels to

fail, we affirm our capacities for freedom, political intervention, social interconnection, and collective social doing.

Against Dispossession: Shared Security and Common Wealth

Thinking and acting against the biopolitics of disposability goes hand-in-hand with thinking and acting against dispossession. Ultimately, when we really understand and feel ourselves in relationships of interconnection with others, we want for them as we want for ourselves. Our lives and sensibilities of what is good and just are rooted in radical equality, not possessive or self-appreciating individualism. Because we desire social security and protection, we also know others desire and deserve the same.

However, to really think and act against dispossession means not only advocating for shared security and social protection, but also for a new society that is built on the egalitarian production and distribution of social wealth that we all produce. In this sense, we can take Marx's critique of capitalism -- that wealth is produced collectively but appropriated individually -- to heart. Capitalism was built on the idea that one class -- the owners of the means of production -- could exploit and profit from the collective labors of everyone else (those who do not own and thus have to work), albeit in very different ways depending on race, gender, or citizenship. This meant that, for workers of all stripes, their lives existed not for themselves, but for others (the appropriating class), and that regardless of what we own as consumers, we are not really free or equal in that bare-democratic sense of the word.

If we want to be really free, we need to construct new material and affective social infrastructures for our common wealth. In these new infrastructures, wealth must not be reduced to economic value; it must be rooted in social value. Here, the production of wealth does not exist as a separate sphere from the reproduction of our lives. In other words, new infrastructures, based on the idea of common wealth, will not be set up to exploit our labor, dispossess our communities, or to divide our lives. Rather, they will work to provide collective social resources and care so that we may all be free to pursue happiness, create beautiful and/or useful things, and to realize our potential within a social world of living in common. Crucially, to create the conditions for these new, democratic forms of freedom rooted in radical equality, we need to find ways to refuse and exit the financial networks of Empire and the dispossessions of creditocracy, building new systems that invite everyone to participate in the ongoing production of new worlds and the sharing of the wealth that we produce in common.

It's not up to me to tell you exactly where to look, but I assure you that potentialities for these new worlds are everywhere around you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

[Feb 13, 2019] A glossary of exploitive economics: 'Lean in' and 8 other bad business buzzwords that should be phased out written by Yes! Magazine and TruthDig A radical pessimist's glossary of exploitative economics.

Jan 17, 2019 | www.alternet.org

The near future is more likely to be a neoliberal dystopia than the tech-enabled utopia conjured up by big business, writes Peter Fleming in The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide . He argues that we need "radical pessimism" to aim for the future we actually want, and aids the effort with sardonic humor that skewers the mythologies of our exploitative economic system.

In 1949, the right-wing economist F. A. Hayek published an essay entitled "The Intellectuals and Socialism," which aimed to change the way capitalism thought about itself. Up until then, he argued, it was mainly the socialists who had claimed the intellectual space of utopianism.

Hayek sought to rectify this. Free-market conservatives ought to come up with their own utopias and sell them to the public as glorious futures to come. Capitalist individualism and a minimal state were prominent components, elevated like secular gods.

As with most utopian blueprints, however, when put into practice, the outcome was frequently appalling. Yet these failures didn't stop the power elite from trying again, no matter how many casualties fell along the way. That's why capitalism today consists of an uneasy confluence of brazen destructiveness and implacable self-confidence, convinced that we will soon be approaching a Panglossian Best of All Possible Worlds.

The problem is that the worst is yet to come. We therefore require a good understanding of the ideological terrain upon which that struggle will unfold. Most importantly, we won't necessarily see the clean death of neoliberalism but an exaggerated and unsustainable deepening of it. It will then buckle under its own weight, yielding a windswept post-capitalist dystopia if nothing is done to counteract it now.

Mainstream economic theory might first appear rational and objective, especially given its clinical quantification of human behavior. The mathematical models and algebraic theorems add to the veneer of scientificity. But beneath the numbers is an unyielding and often mysterious faith in the rectitude of monetary individualism. That conviction is conveyed in buzzwords and fads, many of which have entered daily life, and will only intensify in the next few years. We require a counter-lexicon. Towards that end, here is my take on some of the key features of the bad business utopias that are busy colonizing the future.

Glossary

Artificial Intelligence:

Machine learning and robotics that soon may be capable of reflective cognition, with much attention focusing on work and employment.

Automation of production has defined capitalism from the start. As has the fear (or hope) that machines will soon replace most of the workforce. The application of Artificial Intelligence in the "second machine age" will center on routine cognitive work (e.g., accountants and airline pilots) and nonroutine manual jobs (e.g., care providers, drivers, and hairdressers). However, this is where fantasy enters the picture. Namely, capitalism without laborers, a dream that is integral to neoliberal economics. In reality, AI will probably follow the same path as previous waves of automation: mechanizing certain parts of a job rather than replacing it entirely, especially the skilled part that affects wages. Moreover, the old Keynesian point still holds: Workers are also consumers. Thus, the disappearance of labor would also eliminate consumption, which is integral to capitalism. That might not be a bad thing, as advocates of "fully automated luxury communism" suggest. However, a bleaker scenario is possible. The retention of a highly polarized and class-based society (as we have today) but without labor or consumption, given the widespread application of AI. This would represent a kind of inverted rendition of capitalism. High-tech and primitive. This model of society has no name yet, but something like "Blade Runner Capitalism" might suffice.

Corporate Social Responsibility:

A concept designed to spread the fallacy that corporations can be driven by profit-maximization and have a positive ethical role in society; a disavowal of the key contradictions of capitalism; an idea closely associated with other disingenuous terms such as "conscious capitalism" and "green capitalism."

Milton Friedman famously argued against Corporate Social Responsibility. Focus on profits, he said, and let the state and churches deal with human welfare. However, CSR became popular nevertheless and is now big business. Almost every corporation has a CSR program of some kind. The concept is fundamental to neoliberal utopianism because it peddles the falsehood that capitalism can be both ruthlessly profiteering and kind to the planet. Have its cake and eat it too. As a corollary, governmental regulation is deemed unnecessary. CSR provides an excuse for corporations to regulate themselves, and we all know where that leads. It is no surprise that CSR is most visible in controversial industries like mining, oil and gas, arms manufacturing and tobacco (often involving glossy brochures and websites depicting happy African children playing in green rainforests). Moreover, the tax benefits enjoyed by billionaire philanthropists are another good reason they like CSR.

Game Theory:

The use of mathematics to model human reality; one of the more bizarre offshoots that followed the mathematization of economic thought in the 20th century.

Game theory focuses on strategies used by competing actors to make rational decisions. What should I do given my opponent may subsequently decide A, B, C, or D? It was pioneered by John von Neumann, John Nash, and Oskar Morgenstern. The assumption that social life is a game of logic between conniving actors is foundational to this view of economics. But do we really behave in such a "me versus you" manner?

Game Theory's rational individualism closely resonates with neoliberal capitalism because it reconceptualizes everyone as mini corporations who are totally selfish.

Individuals compete rather than share; seek to outsmart the next person rather than empathize. Proponents of the approach often use the "as if" defense. The model might not perfectly match reality, but we can approximate how someone behaves in the real world by assuming they act "as if" they're Nashian plotters.

It's the normative assumptions underlying this "as if" that are problematic that at bottom we're all greedy and impatient bankers. One could just as well argue that people act "as if" they're trusting and altruistic socialists, but Game Theory won't have any of that.

Human Resource Management:

An ultra-corporate manifestation of business management; a practice informally called "Inhuman Resource Management" by workers.

Even the very phrase Human Resource Management sounds weird, like something dreamed up by extraterrestrials who plan on harvesting mankind. The objectification is important to understanding HRM. In the old days, most large organizations had personnel departments. They dealt with payroll and hiring. In the 1980s and 1990s, this role slowly focused in on the nature of the employee. Testing potential recruits.

Developing employee engagement programs to revive flagging morale and so on. However, the covert agenda was to replace unions, who had previously fulfilled these functions. As neoliberalism spread through the economy like wild fire, HRM became a tool for pathologizing the recalcitrant employee. Rather than view the unhappy worker from a structural perspective (i.e., low wages, unfair treatment, boring job), it was their personality that was singled out as a problem. Following the financial crisis, HRM has become the punitive arm of organizational power. Their main role is to undermine unions, protect employers from discontented workers and enforce financial miserliness.

Leadership: The assumption that when humans organize they require top-down control and only special individuals are capable of doing this; the valorization of elitism.

When social actors are encouraged to behave as capsulelike monads -- as they are under neoliberal capitalism -- then some kind of extra-individual steering mechanism is soon required to avert chaos. In the workplace, this could include workers' councils. At the societal level, a democratically elected government. But capitalists naturally distain those options and evoke the mythology of leadership instead, sold to us as great men and women who've been blessed with amazing skills. To understand this bizarre veneration of elitism, we might recall Max Weber's argument about charismatic leaders. These individuals function as supplements to market rationality rather than replacements, which is why fascism was so attracted to the idea. The economic system can have bourgeois individualism and an overarching, CEO-like führer at the same time. The conflation serves to ward off social democratic solutions to economic coordination.

Lean In: Faux-feminism for the corporate age; an attempt to render feminism business-friendly; what feminism looks like after patriarchy wins .

Radical gender politics is dangerous to capitalism because it rallies against the patriarchal structures essential to it. In many ways, neoliberalism is a male-driven horror show. However, identity politics has severely diluted that radicalism and finally made feminism palatable to the establishment, including the multinational corporation. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead , by Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook's chief operating of officer) is the end product of that betrayal. Sandberg gives advice to her readers about how to be both a woman and ruthlessly ambitious in the corporate world. Capitalism and the multinational corporation are all taken for granted, and feminism becomes a matter of women landing a seat in the boardroom and getting rich.

Moral Hazard: The cynical belief that you will automatically behave irresponsibly if not held accountable for your actions, especially in terms of financial responsibility; a moral pretext for demolishing the public sphere; the belief that everyone is a feckless opportunist .

The concept of moral hazard originated in insurance economics. It argues that once people are protected by insurance (say home and contents) they'll automatically engage in riskier behavior than normal (leaving their homes unlocked, for example). The theory assumes that people are not only stupid but have no sense of civic responsibility. The rationale has been deployed by neocons to lay ruin to the welfare state. Unemployment insurance incentivizes work avoidance. Public health care encourages unhealthy lifestyle choices, etc. We could follow the rationale reductio ad absurdum : public fire brigades shouldn't be funded because they inadvertently encourage people to be careless in the kitchen, and might result in them burning down their homes.

Office Email: An electronic communication system that has become ubiquitous among the modern workforce; an instrument for spreading wage-theft and unpaid overtime; something 50 percent of the workforce now "check" outside of office hours.

What is colloquially called the "tyranny of email," started life as a cool invention by Ray Tomlinson in 1971. With the birth of the internet, email rapidly replaced memos and postage. In the workplace, it was meant to make life easier. However, smartphones turned this tool of convenience into a slave master, since the office is always there, in your pocket. Not so long ago, management consultants used to say they loved flying because only then could they turn off their phone. Now even that respite has disappeared, as Wi-Fi coverage is included in most methods of travel. Email fits so snugly into the neoliberal order because it exemplifies individual mobility. You're always switched on no matter what. Work and life merge. Self-exploitation becomes rife. But does email improve your productivity on the job? One study decided to find out. A large office was deprived of email access for a day and its productivity levels actually soared. Therefore, not only does the "tyranny of email" increase our workload and render us permanently exposed to the supervisor's gaze, it also hinders our ability to get things done, making life harder for no obvious reason.

Tax Avoidance: How corporations and rich plutocrats sidestep the taxes that you and I have to pay; a mechanism for increasing wealth inequality to levels unheard of in the modern era; a method for starving the public sphere of cash; what greed looks like in the end times.

Neoliberalism has always hated tax, especially corporate tax. Trickle-down economics assumes that low taxes incentivize employers to hire more workers, invest and grow. Instead, firms usually keep the extra equity and get richer. Building on that sentiment, corporations have devised an elaborate international system to facilitate tax avoidance, with the help of countries like Ireland (the "Double Irish") and Holland (the "Dutch Sandwich"). Corporations are taxed on profits rather than revenue. They can therefore artificially reduce these profits by setting up a parent company in Ireland, for example, and then a subsidiary in, say the UK, which is charged steep licensing and administrative fees. This is how Google can enjoy yearly sales in the UK of £1.03 billion yet post a pretax profit of £149 million, with a tax bill of £36.4 million. Some firms might even record a "loss" (despite healthy revenues), then use the "Double Irish" with a "Dutch Sandwich," and pay no tax whatsoever. Combined with shadow banking, transfer pricing, trade mis-invoicing and tax havens, here we see where neoliberal capitalism is heading in the end times. The ultrarich -- and their phalanx -- floating above the state as the public sphere shrinks and society descends into disorder. Moreover, it is precisely here that neo-feudal social structures make a comeback, linked to family oligarchies and their tremendous influence over governments, bypassing the democratic process.

This excerpt is from The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide by Peter Fleming. ( Repeater Books 2019). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

tain those options and evoke the mythology of leadership instead, sold to us as great men and women who've been blessed with amazing skills. To understand this bizarre veneration of elitism, we might recall Max Weber's argument about charismatic leaders. These individuals function as supplements to market rationality rather than replacements, which is why fascism was so attracted to the idea. The economic system can have bourgeois individualism and an overarching, CEO-like führer at the same time. The conflation serves to ward off social democratic solutions to economic coordination.

Lean In: Faux-feminism for the corporate age; an attempt to render feminism business-friendly; what feminism looks like after patriarchy wins .

Radical gender politics is dangerous to capitalism because it rallies against the patriarchal structures essential to it. In many ways, neoliberalism is a male-driven horror show. However, identity politics has severely diluted that radicalism and finally made feminism palatable to the establishment, including the multinational corporation. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead , by Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook's chief operating of officer) is the end product of that betrayal. Sandberg gives advice to her readers about how to be both a woman and ruthlessly ambitious in the corporate world. Capitalism and the multinational corporation are all taken for granted, and feminism becomes a matter of women landing a seat in the boardroom and getting rich.

Moral Hazard: The cynical belief that you will automatically behave irresponsibly if not held accountable for your actions, especially in terms of financial responsibility; a moral pretext for demolishing the public sphere; the belief that everyone is a feckless opportunist .

The concept of moral hazard originated in insurance economics. It argues that once people are protected by insurance (say home and contents) they'll automatically engage in riskier behavior than normal (leaving their homes unlocked, for example). The theory assumes that people are not only stupid but have no sense of civic responsibility. The rationale has been deployed by neocons to lay ruin to the welfare state. Unemployment insurance incentivizes work avoidance. Public health care encourages unhealthy lifestyle choices, etc. We could follow the rationale reductio ad absurdum : public fire brigades shouldn't be funded because they inadvertently encourage people to be careless in the kitchen, and might result in them burning down their homes.

Tax Avoidance: How corporations and rich plutocrats sidestep the taxes that you and I have to pay; a mechanism for increasing wealth inequality to levels unheard of in the modern era; a method for starving the public sphere of cash; what greed looks like in the end times.

Neoliberalism has always hated tax, especially corporate tax. Trickle-down economics assumes that low taxes incentivize employers to hire more workers, invest and grow. Instead, firms usually keep the extra equity and get richer. Building on that sentiment, corporations have devised an elaborate international system to facilitate tax avoidance, with the help of countries like Ireland (the "Double Irish") and Holland (the "Dutch Sandwich"). Corporations are taxed on profits rather than revenue. They can therefore artificially reduce these profits by setting up a parent company in Ireland, for example, and then a subsidiary in, say the UK, which is charged steep licensing and administrative fees. This is how Google can enjoy yearly sales in the UK of £1.03 billion yet post a pretax profit of £149 million, with a tax bill of £36.4 million. Some firms might even record a "loss" (despite healthy revenues), then use the "Double Irish" with a "Dutch Sandwich," and pay no tax whatsoever. Combined with shadow banking, transfer pricing, trade mis-invoicing and tax havens, here we see where neoliberal capitalism is heading in the end times. The ultrarich -- and their phalanx -- floating above the state as the public sphere shrinks and society descends into disorder. Moreover, it is precisely here that neo-feudal social structures make a comeback, linked to family oligarchies and their tremendous influence over governments, bypassing the democratic process.

This excerpt is from The Worst Is Yet to Come: A Post-Capitalist Survival Guide by Peter Fleming. ( Repeater Books 2019). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

[Feb 12, 2019] How Neoliberalism Is Normalising Hostility

Notable quotes:
"... By Couze Venn, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Theory in the Media & Communications Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Associate Research Fellow at Johannesburg University. His recent book is After Capital, Sage, 2018. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... From working conditions to welfare policies, from immigration to the internet – this zero sum game of winners and losers benefits only the far right. ..."
"... Image: Homeless man with commuters walking past, Waterloo Station, London. Credit: Jessica Mulley/Flickr, CC 2.0. ..."
"... As Ha Joon Chang has shown, by the 1990s, financial capitalism had become the dominant power, prioritising the interest of shareholders, and incentivising managers through share ownership and bonuses schemes. ..."
"... Meanwhile, neoliberal political economy gradually became the new orthodoxy, increasing its impact through right wing thinktanks and government advisors and spreading its influence in academia and economic thought. Its initial success in terms of growth and prosperity in the 1990s and turn of the century consolidated its hold over the economy until the crash of 2008. ..."
"... political economy ..."
"... Neoliberalism has promoted a self-centeredness that pushes Adam Smith-style individualism to an extreme, turning selfishness into a virtue, as Ayn Rand has done. It is a closed ontology since it does not admit the other, the stranger, into the circle of those towards whom we have a duty of responsibility and care. It thus completes capitalism as a zero-sum game of winners and 'losers'. Apart from the alt-right in the USA, we find its exemplary advocates amongst leading Brexiteers in the UK, backed by dark money. It is not the social democratic compromise of capitalism with a human face that could support the welfare state. Seen in this context, there is an essential affinity between alt-right, neoliberal political economy and neo- fascisms, punctuated by aggressivity, intolerance, exclusion, expulsion and generalised hostility. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

How Neoliberalism Is Normalising Hostility Posted on February 12, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. Even though this post paints with very bright colors, I imagine most readers will agree with the argument it makes about the destructive social impact of neoliberalism.

Some additional points to consider:

Neoliberalism puts markets above all else. In this paradigm, you are supposed to uproot yourself if work dries up where you live or if there are better opportunities elsewhere. The needs of your family or extended family are treated as secondary. And your community? Fuggedaboudit. And this attitude has also led to what is arguably the most corrosive practice, of companies treating employees like tissue paper, to be trashed after use.

Companies have increasingly adopted a transactional posture towards customers. This shift happened on Wall Street as a result of deregulation in the 1980s (Rule 415; if anyone cares, I'll elaborate in comments). The reduced orientation towards treating customers well as a sound business practice, and merely going through the form is particularly pronounced at the retail level. I can't tell you how many times I have had to go through ridiculous hoops merely to get a vendor to live up to its agreement, and even though I am plenty tenacious, I don't always prevail. It didn't used to be anywhere near this bad. And this is corrosive. Not only are customers effectively treated as if they can be abused, the people in the support ops wind up being on the receiving end of well deserved anger even though they aren't the proper target. The phone reps are almost certainly not told that they are perpetrating an abuse (which then leads to the question of who in the organization has set up the scripts and training with lies in them) but for certain types of repeat cases, they have to know their employer is up to no good. I am sure this is the case at Cigna, where at least twice a year, I have a problem with a claim, the service rep says it should have been paid and puts it in to be reprocessed and I typically have to rinse and repeat and get stroopy about it, meaning the later reps can see the pattern of deliberate non-payment of a valid claim and continue to act as if they can do something about it.

By Couze Venn, Emeritus Professor of Cultural Theory in the Media & Communications Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Associate Research Fellow at Johannesburg University. His recent book is After Capital, Sage, 2018. Originally published at openDemocracy

From working conditions to welfare policies, from immigration to the internet – this zero sum game of winners and losers benefits only the far right.

Image: Homeless man with commuters walking past, Waterloo Station, London. Credit: Jessica Mulley/Flickr, CC 2.0.

The hostile environment is not just about the Windrush generation in the UK, or the harassment of migrants at the Mexican border in the USA, or the unwelcoming treatment of refugees trying to reach Europe. It has become ubiquitous and widespread. We encounter it in many aspects of daily life. In worsening conditions at work such as zero-hour 'contracts'. In obstacles to accessing social and health services due to cutbacks, making people's lives more precarious. Online threats and trolling are other signs of this normalisation of hostility.

The normalisation of hostile environments signals a worrying and global shift in values of tolerance, empathy, compassion, hospitality and responsibility for the vulnerable. It's a normalisation that was criticised recently in the UK by UN Poverty Rapporteur Philip Alston, who described how "punitive, mean-spirited, often callous" government welfare policies were contributing to an " increasingly hostile and unwelcoming society ".

There's a pattern to hostile environments that harks back to the 1930s and 40s. As we know, at the time, those targeted were considered as the enemy within, to be subject to expulsion, exclusion and indeed, genocide, as happened to Jews and other so-called 'inferior races'. In more recent time, the iterations of this discourse of the alien other who must be expelled or eliminated to save the 'pure' or 'good race' or ethnicity and reconstitute the broken community have found traction in Europe, the USA, Rwanda, India, parts of the Middle East. In its wake, refugees have become asylum seekers, migrants are labelled illegal or criminal, cultural differences become alien cultures, non-binary women and men are misgendered, and at the extreme, those targeted for violence become vermin. It marks a shift in political culture that inscribes elements of fascism.

Why has this atmosphere of hostility become the default position in politics? What have been the triggers and what are the stakes in this great moving rightwards shift? One may be tempted to identify the change in mood and attitudes with recent events like the election of Trump in the USA. But the far right has been on the rise in Europe, the UK and the US for some years, as seen in movements like the Tea Party, UKIP, or the National Front in France . They have been given a boost by the flood of refugees generated by wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan, parts of Africa, as well as by the spread of fundamentalist religious creeds that have an affinity with forms of fascism.

Why? Two related sets of developments that from the 1970s have gradually altered the political terrain. Economically, globalisation emerged as an integral part of a transnational corporate strategy aimed at securing advantageous conditions for the consolidation of global capital at a time of risky structural changes in the global economy. And politically, neoliberalism took hold when the crises of the 1970s started to undermine the postwar consensus in the Keynesian mixed economy and the role of the welfare state.

Globalisation saw the systematic deployment of outsourcing production in countries offering cheap labour, minimised corporate tax burdens and other incentives for transnational corporations, and the invention of the trade in derivatives (financial mechanisms intended to leverage the value of assets and repackaged debts). They contributed to the 2008 crash. The general public were made to bail out the banks through increased taxation and the establishment of policies across social services that produce hostile environments for claimants seeking state support.

As Ha Joon Chang has shown, by the 1990s, financial capitalism had become the dominant power, prioritising the interest of shareholders, and incentivising managers through share ownership and bonuses schemes. The disruptions due to this recomposition of capital have been a global squeeze on income, the creation of a new precariat, and the debt society. People who feel insecure, abandoned to forces outside their control become easy prey to demagogues and prophets of deceit who promise the return of good times, provided enemies and outsiders who wreck things are expelled.

Meanwhile, neoliberal political economy gradually became the new orthodoxy, increasing its impact through right wing thinktanks and government advisors and spreading its influence in academia and economic thought. Its initial success in terms of growth and prosperity in the 1990s and turn of the century consolidated its hold over the economy until the crash of 2008.

What is important here is the radical shift in values and attitudes that recall utilitarian values in the 19th Century. In particular, it is reflected in the neoliberal hostility towards the poor, the weak, the destitute, the ' losers', expressed in its denial or abnegation of responsibility for their plight or welfare, and its project of dismantling the welfare or providential state.

This pervasive atmosphere of hostility is the real triumph of neoliberal political economy . Not the economy – privatisation, monetisation, deregulation, generalised competition, and structural adjustments are immanent tendencies in globalised capitalism anyway. But neoliberal political economy reanimates attitudes and values that legitimate the consolidation of power over others, evidenced for example in the creation of an indebted population who must play by the dominant rules of the game in order to survive. It promotes new servitudes, operating on a planetary scale. What is rejected are ideas of common interest and a common humanity that support the principle of collective responsibility for fellow humans, and that radical liberal philosophers like John Stuart Mill defended. They were the values, along with the principles of fundamental human rights, that informed major reforms, and inspired socialism. The establishment of the welfare or providential state, and programmes of redistribution, enshrined in Beveridge or New Deals, draw from these same principles and values.

Neoliberalism has promoted a self-centeredness that pushes Adam Smith-style individualism to an extreme, turning selfishness into a virtue, as Ayn Rand has done. It is a closed ontology since it does not admit the other, the stranger, into the circle of those towards whom we have a duty of responsibility and care. It thus completes capitalism as a zero-sum game of winners and 'losers'. Apart from the alt-right in the USA, we find its exemplary advocates amongst leading Brexiteers in the UK, backed by dark money. It is not the social democratic compromise of capitalism with a human face that could support the welfare state. Seen in this context, there is an essential affinity between alt-right, neoliberal political economy and neo- fascisms, punctuated by aggressivity, intolerance, exclusion, expulsion and generalised hostility.

There are other important stakes at this point in the history of humanity and the planet. We tend to forget that support for fundamental human rights, like equality, liberty, freedom from oppressive power, has long been motivated by the same kind of concern to defend the vulnerable, the poor, the destitute, the oppressed from the injustices arising from unequal relations of power. We forget too that these rights have been hard won through generations of emancipatory struggles against many forms of oppressions.

Yet, it is sad to see many institutions and organisations tolerate intolerance out of confusion about the principles at stake and for fear of provoking hostile reactions from those who claim rights that in effect disadvantage some already vulnerable groups. Failure to defend the oppressed anywhere and assert our common humanity is the slippery slope towards a Hobbesian state and great suffering for the many.

[Feb 11, 2019] Many meaning of the word "free" are different from the "free from coercion" adopted by the Neoliberal Newspeak

Notable quotes:
"... The ruling class has successfully ruled out any concept of consent. Keep bringing consent up and their philosophies will be shown to be the same as gang rapists. ..."
"... They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. ..."
"... They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

sentido kumon , says: February 3, 2019 at 10:17 am GMT

'Liber' in Latin means:
1) free (man)
2) free from tribute
3) independent, outspoken/frank
4) unimpeded
5) void of

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

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

[Feb 09, 2019] Neoliberalism's collapse is probably inevitable but what will come next is completely unclear

Notable quotes:
"... Unfettered individual creativity may have fostered some great – if fetishised – art, as well as rapid mechanical and technological developments. But it has also encouraged unbridled competition in every sphere of life, whether beneficial to humankind or not, and however wasteful of resources. ..."
"... At its worst, it has unleashed quite literally an arms race, one that – because of a mix of our unconstrained creativity, our godlessness and the economic logic of the military-industrial complex – culminated in the development of nuclear weapons. We have now devised the most complete and horrific ways imaginable to kill each other. We can commit genocide on a global scale ..."
"... Those among the elites who understand that neoliberalism has had its day are exploiting the old ideology of grab-it-for-yourself capitalism while deflecting attention from their greed and the maintenance of their privilege by sowing discord and insinuating dark threats. ..."
"... The criticisms of the neoliberal elite made by the ethnic nationalists sound persuasive because they are rooted in truths about neoliberalism's failure. But as critics, they are disingenuous. They have no solutions apart from their own personal advancement in the existing, failed, self-sabotaging system. ..."
"... This trend – what I have previously ascribed to a group I call the "dissenters" – understands that radical new thinking is required. But given that this group is being actively crushed by the old neoliberal elite and the new authoritarians, it has little public and political space to explore its ideas, to experiment, to collaborate, as it urgently needs to. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ok neoliberalism is bad and is collapsing. We all understadn that. The different in opinions here is only in timeframe of the collapse and the main reason (end of cheap oil, WWIII, etc). But so far no plausible alternative exists. Canwe return to the New Deal, if top management betrayed the working class and allied with capital owners in a hope later to became such capital owners themselves (and many did).

The experience of the USSR tells as that each Nomenklatura (technocratic elite with the goal of "betterment" of people) degrade very quickly (two generations were enough for Bolshevik's elite for complete degradation) and often is ready switch sides for the place in neoliberal elite.

So while after 2008 neoliberalism exist in zombie states (which is more bloodthirsty then previous) they issue of successor to neoliberalism is widely open.

In one sense, their diagnosis is correct: Europe and the [neo]neoliberal tradition are coming apart at the seams. But not because, as they strongly imply, European politicians are pandering to the basest instincts of a mindless rabble – the ordinary people they have so little faith in.

Rather, it is because a long experiment in Neoliberalism has finally run its course. Neoliberalism has patently failed – and failed catastrophically.

... ... ...

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

But neoliberal ideology has been very effective at hiding its dark side – or more accurately, at persuading us that this dark side is the consequence of neoliberalism's abandonment rather than inherent to the neoliberal's political project.

The loss of traditional social bonds – tribal, sectarian, geographic – has left people today more lonely, more isolated than was true of any previous human society. We may pay lip service to universal values, but in our atomised communities, we feel adrift, abandoned and angry.

Humanitarian resource grabs

The neoliberal's professed concern for others' welfare and their rights has, in reality, provided cynical cover for a series of ever-more transparent resource grabs. The parading of neoliberalism's humanitarian credentials has entitled our elites to leave a trail of carnage and wreckage in their wake in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and soon, it seems, in Venezuela. We have killed with our kindness and then stolen our victims' inheritance.

Unfettered individual creativity may have fostered some great – if fetishised – art, as well as rapid mechanical and technological developments. But it has also encouraged unbridled competition in every sphere of life, whether beneficial to humankind or not, and however wasteful of resources.

At its worst, it has unleashed quite literally an arms race, one that – because of a mix of our unconstrained creativity, our godlessness and the economic logic of the military-industrial complex – culminated in the development of nuclear weapons. We have now devised the most complete and horrific ways imaginable to kill each other. We can commit genocide on a global scale .

Meanwhile, the absolute prioritising of the individual has sanctioned a pathological self-absorption, a selfishness that has provided fertile ground not only for capitalism, materialism and consumerism but for the fusing of all of them into a turbo-charged neoliberalism. That has entitled a tiny elite to amass and squirrel away most of the planet's wealth out of reach of the rest of humanity.

Worst of all, our rampant creativity, our self-regard and our competitiveness have blinded us to all things bigger and smaller than ourselves. We lack an emotional and spiritual connection to our planet, to other animals, to future generations, to the chaotic harmony of our universe. What we cannot understand or control, we ignore or mock.

And so the neoliberal impulse has driven us to the brink of extinguishing our species and possibly all life on our planet. Our drive to asset-strip, to hoard resources for personal gain, to plunder nature's riches without respect to the consequences is so overwhelming, so compulsive that the planet will have to find a way to rebalance itself. And if we carry on, that new balance – what we limply term "climate change" – will necessitate that we are stripped from the planet.

Nadir of a dangerous arrogance

One can plausibly argue that humans have been on this suicidal path for some time. Competition, creativity, selfishness predate neoliberalism, after all. But neoliberalism removed the last restraints, it crushed any opposing sentiment as irrational, as uncivilised, as primitive.

Neoliberalism isn't the cause of our predicament. It is the nadir of a dangerous arrogance we as a species have been indulging for too long, where the individual's good trumps any collective good, defined in the widest possible sense.

The neoliberal reveres his small, partial field of knowledge and expertise, eclipsing ancient and future wisdoms, those rooted in natural cycles, the seasons and a wonder at the ineffable and unknowable. The neoliberal's relentless and exclusive focus is on "progress", growth, accumulation.

What is needed to save us is radical change. Not tinkering, not reform, but an entirely new vision that removes the individual and his personal gratification from the centre of our social organisation.

This is impossible to contemplate for the elites who think more neoliberalism, not less, is the solution. Anyone departing from their prescriptions, anyone who aspires to be more than a technocrat correcting minor defects in the status quo, is presented as a menace. Despite the modesty of their proposals, Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the US have been reviled by a media, political and intellectual elite heavily invested in blindly pursuing the path to self-destruction.

Status-quo cheerleaders

As a result, we now have three clear political trends.

The first is the status-quo cheerleaders like the European writers of neoliberalism's latest – last? – manifesto . With every utterance they prove how irrelevant they have become, how incapable they are of supplying answers to the question of where we must head next. They adamantly refuse both to look inwards to see where neoliberalism went wrong and to look outwards to consider how we might extricate ourselves.

Irresponsibly, these guardians of the status quo lump together the second and third trends in the futile hope of preserving their grip on power. Both trends are derided indiscriminately as "populism", as the politics of envy, the politics of the mob. These two fundamentally opposed, alternative trends are treated as indistinguishable.

This will not save neoliberalism, but it will assist in promoting the much worse of the two alternatives.

Those among the elites who understand that neoliberalism has had its day are exploiting the old ideology of grab-it-for-yourself capitalism while deflecting attention from their greed and the maintenance of their privilege by sowing discord and insinuating dark threats.

The criticisms of the neoliberal elite made by the ethnic nationalists sound persuasive because they are rooted in truths about neoliberalism's failure. But as critics, they are disingenuous. They have no solutions apart from their own personal advancement in the existing, failed, self-sabotaging system.

The new authoritarians are reverting to old, trusted models of xenophobic nationalism, scapegoating others to shore up their own power. They are ditching the ostentatious, conscience-salving sensitivities of the neoliberal so that they can continue plundering with heady abandon. If the ship is going down, then they will be gorging on the buffet till the waters reach the dining-hall ceiling.

Where hope can reside

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

Social media provides a potentially vital platform to begin critiquing the old, failed system, to raise awareness of what has gone wrong, to contemplate and share radical new ideas, and to mobilise. But the neoliberals and authoritarians understand this as a threat to their own privilege. Under a confected hysteria about "fake news", they are rapidly working to snuff out even this small space.

We have so little time, but still the old guard wants to block any possible path to salvation – even as seas filled with plastic start to rise, as insect populations disappear across the globe, and as the planet prepares to cough us out like a lump of infected mucus.

We must not be hoodwinked by these posturing, manifesto-spouting liberals: the philosophers, historians and writers – the public relations wing – of our suicidal status quo. They did not warn us of the beast lying cradled in our midst. They failed to see the danger looming, and their narcissism blinds them still.

We should have no use for the guardians of the old, those who held our hands, who shone a light along a path that has led to the brink of our own extinction. We need to discard them, to close our ears to their siren song.

There are small voices struggling to be heard above the roar of the dying neoliberal elites and the trumpeting of the new authoritarians. They need to be listened to, to be helped to share and collaborate, to offer us their visions of a different world. One where the individual is no longer king. Where we learn some modesty and humility – and how to love in our infinitely small corner of the universe.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .


Rational , says: January 31, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT

SAVAGES IN SUITS.

Democracy = populism = nationalism and patriotism are the pinnacles of a civilized society. We evolved towards these.

These people are just savages in suits, asking us to back into the gutter.

We refuse. They are refuse.

peter mcloughlin , says: February 1, 2019 at 4:02 pm GMT
'We can commit genocide on a global scale.'

With the growing movement towards nuclear war, we have indeed reached the nadir. It is important to see how humanity got here, for the signs are ominous.

The pattern of history is clear. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war.

Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war.

https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

AWM , says: February 1, 2019 at 6:08 pm GMT
We are predators.
But Christ gave us an option.
Some people need to think about it.
MarkinLA , says: February 2, 2019 at 7:03 pm GMT
Maybe it is just me but I didn't see any actual solution or much of anything in his third group. You know, the one with all the "correct" answers. All I saw was that it was a glorious vision without all the failings of the other two while rejecting all the badthink.

Every major tragedy in human history starts out with people thinking they have a system better than all the previous that ever occurred. It too soon becomes a religion that needs to defend itself by executing all the blasphemers.

peterAUS , says: February 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm GMT

Maybe it is just me but I didn't see any actual solution or much of anything in his third group. You know, the one with all the "correct" answers. All I saw was that it was a glorious vision without all the failings of the other two while rejecting all the badthink.

Exactly.

I've been waiting for the author, or some from his "group", to post here at least a LINK to that solution, even a suggestion, of theirs. Hell, even the proper analysis of what's not right. A foundation of sort.

So far, as you said, nothing.

Anon[248], February 3, 2019 at 5:29 am GMT

Levy another Jewish "intellectual" shilling for globalization and open borders - for Western nations only, to hasten their demise. What else is new?

[Feb 04, 2019] Orwell, in his book, 1984 wrote that the government had two terms: Oldspeak and Newspeak. One was not permitted to use old speak

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sowhat , says: February 4, 2019 at 3:47 am GMT

Orwell, in his book, 1984 wrote that the government had two terms: Oldspeak and Newspeak. One was not permitted to use old speak.

" This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.

To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds."

It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless."

Were sliding down a slippery, ever-darkening slope. When I step back and try to examine the whole picture, it's very concerning. Take, for instance, [MORE]

I just read an article elsewhere discussing Roger Stone's arrest at his Florida home, before dawn
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51017-c.htm .

The article had a link to a WordPress article, penned by John Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute about what has crept into America, via the Militarization of the Police Force.

I subscribed to his newsletter, years ago when Bush and, then, Obama gave Military Armament to Civilian Police forces. When the "FBI raids Stone's Home" story hit, complete with CNN presence, I realized that we do, in fact have policing by fear in the U.S., advertised by Cable News. I'm not an alarmist but, I am taking this all in and it doesn't look good for us. I've also read that millions of Americans are leaving this country, yes, in droves. I've thought about it, before but, don't know if I can convince Wifey this is what we need to do since were in our 70s.

Whiteheads sight has an ongoing ledger of Police incompetence, armed to the teeth just to deliver a warrant, often going to the wrong house, creating chaos, shooting people and their animals and then finding out that they raided the wrong house and killed the wrong person. A flash-band grenade was launched into the wrong residence, landed on a toddler in a crib and burned a hole in its stomach. The scales are tipped in the favor of cops and, if a homeowner attempts to defend himself, he's prosecuted to the full extent of the "law."

Our 4th amendment is gone. Our First and Second Amendment Rights are under heavy attack. There's a call for a Constitutional Convention with almost all of the States sign on for an Article Five Convention.

Were all in deep shit. It doesn't matter if you are guilty of a crime or not. If they'll go after an unarmed Roger Stone, guns pointed, in front of his family, terrorizing them for National TV, what do YOU think is their intent? With 10 Zillion Super-Cop shows on TV for the last forty years, where they always get their man, never make errors and show how violent they are, legally, what do you think is the intent?

Nothing happens on the government level by accident NOTHING

First, Myspace sucked in all of the youngsters and they learned how easy it was to communicate, online. Then, Twitter and Facebook arrived as beacons of free speech. Then, other commentary friendly web site pop up everywhere, allowing you to spew your agitated heart out and argue with each other and call each other names and then opposite ideologies manifested in separate sites on the net with "moderators" that throw registrants off (banning/banishing) them for defending their positions echo chambers for the "alt" Right or the politically correct Left Trump bashers. Sometime, I suggest you go to these and read the commenters' remarks. They're literally insane. I was even banned from a DISCUSS site for suggesting some civil discourse, identifying myself as a Trump Voter.

Do you really believe that all of these issues simply morphed to lock out Conservatives? No way. This was all planned, possibly to I.D. individuals who are "potential" adversaries of a different ideology or possible "problem people" that get put on a watch list. If the DNA Ancestry sights are GIVING your DNA results to the Government, what good can come of it?

[Feb 02, 2019] In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.
Notable quotes:
"... His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women." ..."
"... The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington. ..."
"... Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece . But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left. ..."
"... Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way. ..."
"... Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor." ..."
"... Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff." ..."
"... In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night. ..."
"... It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush. ..."
"... The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy. ..."
"... "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment." ..."
"... "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government ..."
"... "What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. ..."
Jul 11, 2015 | msn.com

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay - His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women."

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism - even as he called for a global movement against a "new colonialism" rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II's anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor - a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis' increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed - yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece. But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left.

Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

"I think the pope is singing to the music that's already in the air," said Robert A. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which was financed with $50 million from Mr. Soros. "And that's a good thing. That's what artists do, and I think the pope is sensitive to the lack of legitimacy of the system."

Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor."

Mr. Schneck, of Catholic University, said it was as if Francis were saying, "We've been talking about these things for more than one hundred years, and nobody is listening."

Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff."

Francis made his speech on Wednesday night, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, before nearly 2,000 social advocates, farmers, trash workers and neighborhood activists. Even as he meets regularly with heads of state, Francis has often said that change must come from the grass roots, whether from poor people or the community organizers who work with them. To Francis, the poor have earned knowledge that is useful and redeeming, even as a "throwaway culture" tosses them aside. He sees them as being at the front edge of economic and environmental crises around the world.

In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night.

It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush.

"I wish Francis would focus on positives, on how a free-market economy guided by an ethical framework, and the rule of law, can be a part of the solution for the poor - rather than just jumping from the reality of people's misery to the analysis that a market economy is the problem," said the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which advocates free-market economics.

Francis' sharpest critics have accused him of being a Marxist or a Latin American Communist, even as he opposed communism during his time in Argentina. His tour last week of Latin America began in Ecuador and Bolivia, two countries with far-left governments. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who wore a Che Guevara patch on his jacket during Francis' speech, claimed the pope as a kindred spirit - even as Francis seemed startled and caught off guard when Mr. Morales gave him a wooden crucifix shaped like a hammer and sickle as a gift.

Francis' primary agenda last week was to begin renewing Catholicism in Latin America and reposition it as the church of the poor. His apology for the church's complicity in the colonialist era received an immediate roar from the crowd. In various parts of Latin America, the association between the church and economic power elites remains intact. In Chile, a socially conservative country, some members of the country's corporate elite are also members of Opus Dei, the traditionalist Catholic organization founded in Spain in 1928.

Inevitably, Francis' critique can be read as a broadside against Pax Americana, the period of capitalism regulated by global institutions created largely by the United States. But even pillars of that system are shifting. The World Bank, which long promoted economic growth as an end in itself, is now increasingly focused on the distribution of gains, after the Arab Spring revolts in some countries that the bank had held up as models. The latest generation of international trade agreements includes efforts to increase protections for workers and the environment.

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.

Mr. Piketty roiled the debate among mainstream economists, yet Francis' critique is more unnerving to some because he is not reframing inequality and poverty around a new economic theory but instead defining it in moral terms. "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment."

Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist, said that he saw Francis as making a nuanced point about capitalism, embodied by his coinage of a "social mortgage" on accumulated wealth - a debt to the society that made its accumulation possible. Mr. Hanauer said that economic elites should embrace the need for reforms both for moral and pragmatic reasons. "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government policies like a higher minimum wage.

Yet what remains unclear is whether Francis has a clear vision for a systemic alternative to the status quo that he and others criticize. "All these critiques point toward the incoherence of the simple idea of free market economics, but they don't prescribe a remedy," said Mr. Johnson, of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Francis acknowledged as much, conceding on Wednesday that he had no new "recipe" to quickly change the world. Instead, he spoke about a "process of change" undertaken at the grass-roots level.

"What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. "You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands."

[Feb 02, 2019] Brazil, Fascism and the Left Wing of Neoliberalism

Huge external debt plus high unemployment represents two vital preconditions of rise far right nationalism and fascism in all its multiple incarnations. In this sence Ulrain, Argentina and Brasil are different links of the common chain of events.
In a way fascism is a way of reaction of nation deeply in crisis. In essence this is introduction of war time restrictions on political speech and freedoms of the population. The Catch 22 is that often this is done not so much to fight external threat, but top preserve the power of existing financial oligarchy. Which fascist after coming to power quickly include in government and and desire of which are disproportionally obeyed by fascist state.
What in new in XXI century is the huge growth of power on intelligence agencies which is way represent crippling fascism or neofascism. In a way, then intelligence agencies became political kingmakers (as was the case with the assassination of JFK, impeachment of Nixon, elections of Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, as well as establishing Mueller commission after Trump victory), we can speak about sliding the county of the county toward fascism.
Notable quotes:
"... In Italy in the 1920s, repayment of war debts from WWI led to austerity and recession that preceded the rise of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. In Germany, payment of war reparations and repayment of industrial loans limited the ability of the Weimar government to respond to the Great Depression. Liberal governments that facilitated the financialization of industrial economies in the 1920s were left to serve as debt collectors in the capitalist crisis that followed. ..."
"... The practical problem with doing this is the power of creditors. Debtors that repudiate their debts are closed out of capital markets. The power to create money that is accepted in payment is a privilege of the center countries that also happen to be creditors. Capitalist expansion creates interdependencies that produce immediate, deep shortages if debts aren't serviced. Debt is a weapon whose proceeds can be delivered to one group and the obligation to repay it to another. The U.S. position was expressed when the IMF knowingly made unpayable loans to Ukraine to support a U.S. sponsored coup there in 2015 ..."
"... Propaganda was developed and refined by Edward Bernays in the 1910s to help the Wilson administration sell WWI to a skeptical public. It has been used by the American government and in capitalist advertising since that time. The idea was to integrate psychology with words and images to get people to act according to the desires and wishes of those putting it forward. ..."
"... The operational frame of propaganda is instrumental: to use people to achieve ends they had no part in conceiving. The political perspective is dictatorial, benevolent or otherwise. Propaganda has been used by the American government ever since. Similar methods were used by the Italian and German fascists in their to rise to power. ..."
"... Following WWII, the U.S. brought 1,600 Nazi scientists and engineers (and their families) to the U.S. to work for the Department of Defense and American industry through a program called Operation Paperclip . Many were dedicated and enthusiastic Nazis. Some were reported to have been bona fide war criminals. In contrast to liberal / neoliberal assertions that Nazism was irrational politics, the Nazi scientists fit seamlessly into American military production. There was no apparent contradiction between being a Nazi and being a scientist. ..."
"... A dimensional tension of Nazism lay between romantic myths of an ancient and glorious past and the bourgeois task of moving industrialization and modernity forward. The focus of liberal and neoliberal analysis has been on this mythology as an irrational mode of reason. Missing is that Nazism wouldn't have moved past the German borders if it hadn't had bourgeois basis in the science and technology needed for industrial might. This keeps the broad project within the ontological and administrative premises of liberalism. ..."
"... The way to fight fascists is to end the threat of fascism. This means taking on Wall Street and the major institutions of Western capitalism ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Missing from explanations of the rise of Mr. Bolsonaro is that for the last decade Brazil has experienced the worst economic recession in the country's history (graph below). Fourteen million formerly employed, working age Brazilians are now unemployed. As was true in the U.S. and peripheral Europe from 2008 forward, the liberal response has been austerity as the Brazilian ruling class was made richer and more politically powerful.

Since 2014, Brazil's public debt/GDP ratio has climbed from 20% to 75% proclaims a worried IMF. That some fair portion of that climb came from falling GDP due to economic austerity mandated by the IMF and Wall Street is left unmentioned. A decade of austerity got liberal President Dilma Rousseff removed from office in 2016 in what can only be called a Wall Street putsch. Perhaps Bolsonaro will tell Wall Street where to stick its loans (not).

Back in the U.S., everyone knows that the liberalization of finance and trade in the 1990s was the result of political calculations. That this liberalization was/is bipartisan suggests that maybe the political calculations served certain economic interests. Never mind that these interests were given what they asked for and crashed the economy with it. If economic problems result from political calculations, the solution is political -- elect better leaders. If they are driven by economic interests, the solution is to change the way that economic relationships are organized.

Between 1928 and 1932 German industrial production fell by 58%. By 1933, six million formerly employed German workers were begging in the streets and digging through garbage looking for items to sell. The liberal (Socialist Party) response was half-measures and austerity. Within the liberal frame, the Depression was a political problem to be addressed in the realm of the political. Centrist accommodation defined the existing realm. Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, the pit of the Great Depression.

In Brazil in the early-mid 2000s, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula, implemented a Left program that pulled twenty million Brazilians out of poverty. The Brazilian economy briefly recovered after Wall Street crashed it in 2008 before Brazilian public debt was used to force the implementation of austerity. Dilma Rousseff capitulated and Brazil re-entered recession. Rousseff was removed from power in 2016. Hemmed in by Wall Street and IMF mandated austerity , any liberal government that might be elected would meet the same fate as Rousseff.

In Italy in the 1920s, repayment of war debts from WWI led to austerity and recession that preceded the rise of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. In Germany, payment of war reparations and repayment of industrial loans limited the ability of the Weimar government to respond to the Great Depression. Liberal governments that facilitated the financialization of industrial economies in the 1920s were left to serve as debt collectors in the capitalist crisis that followed.

Since 2008, the fiscal structure of the EU (European Union) combined with wildly unbalanced trade relationships led to a decade of austerity, recession and depression for the European periphery. In the U.S., by 2009 Wall Street was pushing austerity and cuts to Social Security and Medicare as necessary to fiscal stability. The consequences of four decades of financialized neoliberal trade policies were by no means equally shared. Internal and external class relations were made evident through narrowly distributed booms followed by widely distributed busts.

With the presumed shared goal of ending the threat of fascism:

The ideological premises behind the logic that claims fascists as the explanation of fascism emerge from liberalism. The term here is meant as description. Liberalism proceeds from specific ontological assumptions. Within this temporal frame, a bit of social logic: If fascists already existed, why didn't fascism? The question of whether to fight fascists or fascism depends on the answer. The essentialist view is that characteristics intrinsic to fascists make them fascists. This is the basis of scientific racism. And it underlies fascist race theory.

The theory of a strongman who exploits people who have a predisposition towards fascism is essentialist as well if receptivity is intrinsic, e.g. due to psychology, genetics, etc. Liberal-Left commentary in recent years has tended toward the essentialist view -- that fascists are born or otherwise predisposed toward fascism. Unconsidered is that non-fascists are equally determined in this frame. If 'deplorables' were born that way, four decades of neoliberalism is absolved.

The problem of analogy, the question of what fascism is and how European fascism of the twentieth century bears relation to the present, can't be answered in the liberal frame. The rise and fall of a global radical right have been episodic. It has tied in history to the development of global capitalism in a center-and-periphery model of asymmetrical economic power. Finance from the center facilitates economic expansion until financial crisis interrupts the process. Peripheral governments are left to manage debt repayment with collapsed economies.

Globally, debt has forced policy convergence between political parties of differing ideologies. European center-left parties have pushed austerity even when ideology would suggest the opposite. In 2015, self-identified Marxists in Greece's SYRIZA party capitulated to the austerity and privatization demands from EU creditors led by Germany. Even Lenin negotiated with Wall Street creditors (on behalf of Russia) in the months after the October Revolution. In a political frame, the solution from below is to elect leaders and parties who will act on their rhetoric.

The practical problem with doing this is the power of creditors. Debtors that repudiate their debts are closed out of capital markets. The power to create money that is accepted in payment is a privilege of the center countries that also happen to be creditors. Capitalist expansion creates interdependencies that produce immediate, deep shortages if debts aren't serviced. Debt is a weapon whose proceeds can be delivered to one group and the obligation to repay it to another. The U.S. position was expressed when the IMF knowingly made unpayable loans to Ukraine to support a U.S. sponsored coup there in 2015.

Fascist racialization has analog in existing capitalist class relations. Immigration status, race and gender define a social taxonomy of economic exploitation. Race was invented decades into the Anglo-American manifestation of slavery to naturalize exploitation of Blacks. Gender difference represents the evolution of unpaid to paid labor for women in the capitalist West. Claiming these as causing exploitation gets the temporal sequence wrong. These were / are exploitable classes before explanations of their special status were created.

This isn't to suggest that capitalist class relations form a complete explanation of fascist racialization. But the ontological premise that 'freezes,' and thereby reifies racialization, is fundamental to capitalism. This relates to the point argued below that the educated German bourgeois, in the form of the Nazi scientists and engineers brought to the U.S. following WWII, found Nazi racialization plausible through what has long been put forward as an antithetical mode of understanding. Put differently, it wasn't just the rabble that found grotesque racial caricatures plausible. The question is why?

Propaganda was developed and refined by Edward Bernays in the 1910s to help the Wilson administration sell WWI to a skeptical public. It has been used by the American government and in capitalist advertising since that time. The idea was to integrate psychology with words and images to get people to act according to the desires and wishes of those putting it forward.

The operational frame of propaganda is instrumental: to use people to achieve ends they had no part in conceiving. The political perspective is dictatorial, benevolent or otherwise. Propaganda has been used by the American government ever since. Similar methods were used by the Italian and German fascists in their to rise to power.

Since WWI, commercial propaganda has become ubiquitous in the U.S. Advertising firms hire psychologists to craft advertising campaigns with no regard for the concern that psychological coercion removes free choice from capitalism. The distinction between political and commercial propaganda is based on intent, not method. Its use by Woodrow Wilson (above) is instructive: a large and vocal anti-war movement had legitimate reasons for opposing the U.S. entry into WWI. The goal of Bernays and Wilson was to stifle political opposition.

Following WWII, the U.S. brought 1,600 Nazi scientists and engineers (and their families) to the U.S. to work for the Department of Defense and American industry through a program called Operation Paperclip . Many were dedicated and enthusiastic Nazis. Some were reported to have been bona fide war criminals. In contrast to liberal / neoliberal assertions that Nazism was irrational politics, the Nazi scientists fit seamlessly into American military production. There was no apparent contradiction between being a Nazi and being a scientist.

The problem isn't just that many committed Nazis were scientists. Science and technology created the Nazi war machine. Science and technology were fully integrated into the creation and running of the Nazi concentration camps. American race 'science,' eugenics, formed the basis of Nazi race theory. Science and technology formed the functional core of Nazism. And the Nazi scientists and engineers of Operation Paperclip were major contributors to American post-war military dominance.

A dimensional tension of Nazism lay between romantic myths of an ancient and glorious past and the bourgeois task of moving industrialization and modernity forward. The focus of liberal and neoliberal analysis has been on this mythology as an irrational mode of reason. Missing is that Nazism wouldn't have moved past the German borders if it hadn't had bourgeois basis in the science and technology needed for industrial might. This keeps the broad project within the ontological and administrative premises of liberalism.

This is no doubt disconcerting to theorists of great difference. If Bolsonaro can impose austerity while maintaining an unjust peace, Wall Street and the IMF will smile and ask for more. American business interests are already circling Brazil, knowing that captive consumers combined with enforceable property rights and a pliable workforce means profits. Where were liberals when the Wall Street that Barack Obama saved was squeezing the people of Brazil, Spain, Greece and Portugal to repay debts incurred by the oligarchs? Liberalism is the link between capitalism and fascism, not its antithesis.

Having long ago abandoned Marx, the American Left is lost in the temporal logic of liberalism. The way to fight fascists is to end the threat of fascism. This means taking on Wall Street and the major institutions of Western capitalism

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Jan 29, 2019] The Language of Neoliberal Education by Henry Giroux

Highly recommended!
Interview by MITJA SARDOČ
Notable quotes:
"... This interview with Henry Giroux was conducted by Mitja Sardoč, of the Educational Research Institute, in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. ..."
"... Not only does it define itself as a political and economic system whose aim was to consolidate power in the hands of a corporate and financial elite, it also wages a war over ideas. In this instance, it has defined itself as a form of commonsense and functions as a mode of public pedagogy that produces a template for structuring not just markets but all of social life. ..."
"... In this sense, it has and continues to function not only through public and higher education to produce and distribute market-based values, identities, and modes of agency, but also in wider cultural apparatuses and platforms to privatize, deregulate, economize, and subject all of the commanding institutions and relations of everyday life to the dictates of privatization, efficiency, deregulation, and commodification. ..."
"... Since the 1970s as more and more of the commanding institutions of society come under the control of neoliberal ideology, its notions of common sense – an unchecked individualism, harsh competition, an aggressive attack on the welfare state, the evisceration of public goods, and its attack on all models of sociality at odds with market values – have become the reigning hegemony of capitalist societies. ..."
"... What many on the left have failed to realize is that neoliberalism is about more than economic structures, it is also is a powerful pedagogical force – especially in the era of social media – that engages in full-spectrum dominance at every level of civil society. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's promotion of effectiveness and efficiency gives credence to its ability to willingness and success in making education central to politics ..."
"... The Crisis of Democracy, ..."
"... At the core of the neoliberal investment in education is a desire to undermine the university's commitment to the truth, critical thinking, and its obligation to stand for justice ..."
"... Neoliberalism considers such a space to be dangerous and they have done everything possible to eliminate higher education as a space where students can realize themselves as critical citizens ..."
"... It is waging a war over not just the relationship between economic structures but over memory, words, meaning, and politics. Neoliberalism takes words like freedom and limits it to the freedom to consume, spew out hate, and celebrate notions of self-interest and a rabid individualism as the new common sense. ..."
"... Equality of opportunity means engaging in ruthless forms of competition, a war of all against all ethos, and a survival of the fittest mode of behavior. ..."
"... First, higher education needs to reassert its mission as a public good in order to reclaim its egalitarian and democratic impulses. Educators need to initiate and expand a national conversation in which higher education can be defended as a democratic public sphere and the classroom as a site of deliberative inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking, a site that makes a claim on the radical imagination and a sense of civic courage. ..."
"... The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making. ..."
"... It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. ..."
"... First, too little is said about how neoliberalism functions not simply as an economic model for finance capital but as a public pedagogy that operates through a diverse number of sites and platforms. ..."
"... I define neoliberal fascism as both a project and a movement, which functions as an enabling force that weakens, if not destroys, the commanding institutions of a democracy while undermining its most valuable principles ..."
"... As a movement, it produces and legitimates massive economic inequality and suffering, privatizes public goods, dismantles essential government agencies, and individualizes all social problems. In addition, it transforms the political state into the corporate state, and uses the tools of surveillance, militarization, and law and order to discredit the critical press and media, undermine civil liberties while ridiculing and censoring critics. ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

This interview with Henry Giroux was conducted by Mitja Sardoč, of the Educational Research Institute, in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Mitja Sardoč: For several decades now, neoliberalism has been at the forefront of discussions not only in the economy and finance but has infiltrated our vocabulary in a number of areas as diverse as governance studies, criminology, health care, jurisprudence, education etc. What has triggered the use and application ofthis'economistic'ideologyassociatedwith the promotion of effectiveness and efficiency?

Henry Giroux: Neoliberalism has become the dominant ideology of the times and has established itself as a central feature of politics. Not only does it define itself as a political and economic system whose aim was to consolidate power in the hands of a corporate and financial elite, it also wages a war over ideas. In this instance, it has defined itself as a form of commonsense and functions as a mode of public pedagogy that produces a template for structuring not just markets but all of social life.

In this sense, it has and continues to function not only through public and higher education to produce and distribute market-based values, identities, and modes of agency, but also in wider cultural apparatuses and platforms to privatize, deregulate, economize, and subject all of the commanding institutions and relations of everyday life to the dictates of privatization, efficiency, deregulation, and commodification.

Since the 1970s as more and more of the commanding institutions of society come under the control of neoliberal ideology, its notions of common sense – an unchecked individualism, harsh competition, an aggressive attack on the welfare state, the evisceration of public goods, and its attack on all models of sociality at odds with market values – have become the reigning hegemony of capitalist societies.

What many on the left have failed to realize is that neoliberalism is about more than economic structures, it is also is a powerful pedagogical force – especially in the era of social media – that engages in full-spectrum dominance at every level of civil society. Its reach extends not only into education but also among an array of digital platforms as well as in the broader sphere of popular culture. Under neoliberal modes of governance, regardless of the institution, every social relation is reduced to an act of commerce.

Neoliberalism's promotion of effectiveness and efficiency gives credence to its ability to willingness and success in making education central to politics. It also offers a warning to progressives, as Pierre Bourdieu has insisted that the left has underestimated the symbolic and pedagogical dimensions of struggle and have not always forged appropriate weapons to fight on this front."

Mitja Sardoč: According to the advocates of neoliberalism, education represents one of the main indicators of future economic growth and individual well-being.How – and why – education became one of the central elements of the 'neoliberal revolution'?

Henry Giroux: Advocates of neoliberalism have always recognized that education is a site of struggle over which there are very high stakes regarding how young people are educated, who is to be educated, and what vision of the present and future should be most valued and privileged. Higher education in the sixties went through a revolutionary period in the United States and many other countries as students sought to both redefine education as a democratic public sphere and to open it up to a variety of groups that up to that up to that point had been excluded. Conservatives were extremely frightened over this shift and did everything they could to counter it. Evidence of this is clear in the production of the Powell Memo published in 1971 and later in The Trilateral Commission's book-length report, namely, The Crisis of Democracy, published in 1975. From the 1960s on the, conservatives, especially the neoliberal right, has waged a war on education in order to rid it of its potential role as a democratic public sphere. At the same time, they sought aggressively to restructure its modes of governance, undercut the power of faculty, privilege knowledge that was instrumental to the market, define students mainly as clients and consumers, and reduce the function of higher education largely to training students for the global workforce.

At the core of the neoliberal investment in education is a desire to undermine the university's commitment to the truth, critical thinking, and its obligation to stand for justice and assume responsibility for safeguarding the interests of young as they enter a world marked massive inequalities, exclusion, and violence at home and abroad. Higher education may be one of the few institutions left in neoliberal societies that offers a protective space to question, challenge, and think against the grain.

Neoliberalism considers such a space to be dangerous and they have done everything possible to eliminate higher education as a space where students can realize themselves as critical citizens, faculty can participate in the governing structure, and education can be define itself as a right rather than as a privilege.

Mitja Sardoč: Almost by definition, reforms and other initiatives aimed to improve educational practice have been one of the pivotal mechanisms to infiltrate the neoliberal agenda of effectiveness and efficiency. What aspect of neoliberalism and its educational agenda you find most problematic? Why?

Henry Giroux: Increasingly aligned with market forces, higher education is mostly primed for teaching business principles and corporate values, while university administrators are prized as CEOs or bureaucrats in a neoliberal-based audit culture. Many colleges and universities have been McDonalds-ized as knowledge is increasingly viewed as a commodity resulting in curricula that resemble a fast-food menu. In addition, faculty are subjected increasingly to a Wal-Mart model of labor relations designed as Noam Chomsky points out "to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility". In the age of precarity and flexibility, the majority of faculty have been reduced to part-time positions, subjected to low wages, lost control over the conditions of their labor, suffered reduced benefits, and frightened about addressing social issues critically in their classrooms for fear of losing their jobs.

The latter may be the central issue curbing free speech and academic freedom in the academy. Moreover, many of these faculty are barely able to make ends meet because of their impoverished salaries, and some are on food stamps. If faculty are treated like service workers, students fare no better and are now relegated to the status of customers and clients.

Moreover, they are not only inundated with the competitive, privatized, and market-driven values of neoliberalism, they are also punished by those values in the form of exorbitant tuition rates, astronomical debts owed to banks and other financial institutions, and in too many cases a lack of meaningful employment. As a project and movement, neoliberalism undermines the ability of educators and others to create the conditions that give students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and the civic courage necessary to make desolation and cynicism unconvincing and hope practical.

As an ideology, neoliberalism is at odds with any viable notion of democracy which it sees as the enemy of the market. Yet, Democracy cannot work if citizens are not autonomous, self-judging, curious, reflective, and independent – qualities that are indispensable for students if they are going to make vital judgments and choices about participating in and shaping decisions that affect everyday life, institutional reform, and governmental policy.

Mitja Sardoč: Why large-scale assessments and quantitative data in general are a central part of the 'neo-liberal toolkit' in educational research?

Henry Giroux: These are the tools of accountants and have nothing to do with larger visions or questions about what matters as part of a university education. The overreliance on metrics and measurement has become a tool used to remove questions of responsibility, morality, and justice from the language and policies of education. I believe the neoliberal toolkit as you put it is part of the discourse of civic illiteracy that now runs rampant in higher educational research, a kind of mind-numbing investment in a metric-based culture that kills the imagination and wages an assault on what it means to be critical, thoughtful, daring, and willing to take risks. Metrics in the service of an audit culture has become the new face of a culture of positivism, a kind of empirical-based panopticon that turns ideas into numbers and the creative impulse into ashes. Large scale assessments and quantitative data are the driving mechanisms in which everything is absorbed into the culture of business.

The distinction between information and knowledge has become irrelevant in this model and anything that cannot be captured by numbers is treated with disdain. In this new audit panopticon, the only knowledge that matters is that which can be measured. What is missed here, of course, is that measurable utility is a curse as a universal principle because it ignores any form of knowledge based on the assumption that individuals need to know more than how things work or what their practical utility might be.

This is a language that cannot answer the question of what the responsibility of the university and educators might be in a time of tyranny, in the face of the unspeakable, and the current widespread attack on immigrants, Muslims, and others considered disposable. This is a language that is both afraid and unwilling to imagine what alternative worlds inspired by the search for equality and justice might be possible in an age beset by the increasing dark forces of authoritarianism.

Mitja Sardoč: While the analysis of the neoliberal agenda in education is well documented, the analysis of the language of neoliberal education is at the fringes of scholarly interest. In particular, the expansion of the neoliberal vocabulary with egalitarian ideas such as fairness, justice, equality of opportunity, well-being etc. has received [at best]only limited attention. What factors have contributed to this shift of emphasis?

Henry Giroux: Neoliberalism has upended how language is used in both education and the wider society. It works to appropriate discourses associated with liberal democracy that have become normalized in order to both limit their meanings and use them to mean the opposite of what they have meant traditionally, especially with respect to human rights, justice, informed judgment, critical agency, and democracy itself. It is waging a war over not just the relationship between economic structures but over memory, words, meaning, and politics. Neoliberalism takes words like freedom and limits it to the freedom to consume, spew out hate, and celebrate notions of self-interest and a rabid individualism as the new common sense.

Equality of opportunity means engaging in ruthless forms of competition, a war of all against all ethos, and a survival of the fittest mode of behavior.

The vocabulary of neoliberalism operates in the service of violence in that it reduces the capacity for human fulfillment in the collective sense, diminishes a broad understanding of freedom as fundamental to expanding the capacity for human agency, and diminishes the ethical imagination by reducing it to the interest of the market and the accumulation of capital. Words, memory, language and meaning are weaponized under neoliberalism.

Certainly, neither the media nor progressives have given enough attention to how neoliberalism colonizes language because neither group has given enough attention to viewing the crisis of neoliberalism as not only an economic crisis but also a crisis of ideas. Education is not viewed as a force central to politics and as such the intersection of language, power, and politics in the neoliberal paradigm has been largely ignored. Moreover, at a time when civic culture is being eradicated, public spheres are vanishing, and notions of shared citizenship appear obsolete, words that speak to the truth, reveal injustices and provide informed critical analysis also begin to disappear.

This makes it all the more difficult to engage critically the use of neoliberalism's colonization of language. In the United States, Trump prodigious tweets signify not only a time in which governments engage in the pathology of endless fabrications, but also how they function to reinforce a pedagogy of infantilism designed to animate his base in a glut of shock while reinforcing a culture of war, fear, divisiveness, and greed in ways that disempower his critics.

Mitja Sardoč: You have written extensively on neoliberalism's exclusively instrumental view of education, its reductionist understanding of effectiveness and its distorted image of fairness. In what way should radical pedagogy fight back neoliberalism and its educational agenda?

Henry Giroux: First, higher education needs to reassert its mission as a public good in order to reclaim its egalitarian and democratic impulses. Educators need to initiate and expand a national conversation in which higher education can be defended as a democratic public sphere and the classroom as a site of deliberative inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking, a site that makes a claim on the radical imagination and a sense of civic courage. At the same time, the discourse on defining higher education as a democratic public sphere can provide the platform for a more expressive commitment in developing a social movement in defense of public goods and against neoliberalism as a threat to democracy. This also means rethinking how education can be funded as a public good and what it might mean to fight for policies that both stop the defunding of education and fight to relocate funds from the death dealing military and incarceration budgets to those supporting education at all levels of society. The challenge here is for higher education not to abandon its commitment to democracy and to recognize that neoliberalism operates in the service of the forces of economic domination and ideological repression.

Second, educators need to acknowledge and make good on the claim that a critically literate citizen is indispensable to a democracy, especially at a time when higher education is being privatized and subject to neoliberal restructuring efforts. This suggests placing ethics, civic literacy, social responsibility, and compassion at the forefront of learning so as to combine knowledge, teaching, and research with the rudiments of what might be called the grammar of an ethical and social imagination. This would imply taking seriously those values, traditions, histories, and pedagogies that would promote a sense of dignity, self-reflection, and compassion at the heart of a real democracy. Third, higher education needs to be viewed as a right, as it is in many countries such as Germany, France, Norway, Finland, and Brazil, rather than a privilege for a limited few, as it is in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Fourth, in a world driven by data, metrics, and the replacement of knowledge by the overabundance of information, educators need to enable students to engage in multiple literacies extending from print and visual culture to digital culture. They need to become border crossers who can think dialectically, and learn not only how to consume culture but also to produce it. Fifth, faculty must reclaim their right to control over the nature of their labor, shape policies of governance, and be given tenure track lines with the guarantee of secure employment and protection for academic freedom and free speech.

Mitja Sardoč: Why is it important to analyze the relationship between neoliberalism and civic literacy particularly as an educational project?

Henry Giroux: The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making.

It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing.

As these institutions vanish – from public schools and alternative media to health care centers– there is also a serious erosion of the discourse of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good. At the same time reason and truth are not simply contested, or the subject of informed arguments as they should be, but wrongly vilified – banished to Trump's poisonous world of fake news. For instance, under the Trump administration, language has been pillaged, truth and reason disparaged, and words and phrases emptied of any substance or turned into their opposite, all via the endless production of Trump's Twitter storms and the ongoing clown spectacle of Fox News. This grim reality points to a failure in the power of the civic imagination, political will, and open democracy. It is also part of a politics that strips the social of any democratic ideals and undermines any understanding of education as a public good. What we are witnessing under neoliberalism is not simply a political project to consolidate power in the hands of the corporate and financial elite but also a reworking of the very meaning of literacy and education as crucial to what it means to create an informed citizenry and democratic society. In an age when literacy and thinking become dangerous to the anti-democratic forces governing all the commanding economic and cultural institutions of the United States, truth is viewed as a liability, ignorance becomes a virtue, and informed judgments and critical thinking demeaned and turned into rubble and ashes. Under the reign of this normalized architecture of alleged common sense, literacy is regarded with disdain, words are reduced to data and science is confused with pseudo-science. Traces of critical thought appear more and more at the margins of the culture as ignorance becomes the primary organizing principle of American society.

Under the forty-year reign of neoliberalism, language has been militarized, handed over to advertisers, game show idiocy, and a political and culturally embarrassing anti-intellectualism sanctioned by the White House. Couple this with a celebrity culture that produces an ecosystem of babble, shock, and tawdry entertainment. Add on the cruel and clownish anti-public intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson who defend inequality, infantile forms of masculinity, and define ignorance and a warrior mentality as part of the natural order, all the while dethroning any viable sense of agency and the political.

The culture of manufactured illiteracy is also reproduced through a media apparatus that trades in illusions and the spectacle of violence. Under these circumstances, illiteracy becomes the norm and education becomes central to a version of neoliberal zombie politics that functions largely to remove democratic values, social relations, and compassion from the ideology, policies and commanding institutions that now control American society. In the age of manufactured illiteracy, there is more at work than simply an absence of learning, ideas or knowledge. Nor can the reign of manufactured illiteracy be solely attributed to the rise of the new social media, a culture of immediacy, and a society that thrives on instant gratification. On the contrary, manufactured illiteracy is political and educational project central to a right-wing corporatist ideology and set of policies that work aggressively to depoliticize people and make them complicitous with the neoliberal and racist political and economic forces that impose misery and suffering upon their lives. There is more at work here than what Ariel Dorfman calls a "felonious stupidity," there is also the workings of a deeply malicious form of 21 st century neoliberal fascism and a culture of cruelty in which language is forced into the service of violence while waging a relentless attack on the ethical imagination and the notion of the common good. In the current historical moment illiteracy and ignorance offer the pretense of a community in doing so has undermined the importance of civic literacy both in higher education and the larger society.

Mitja Sardoč: Is there any shortcoming in the analysis of such a complex (and controversial) social phenomenon as neoliberalism and its educational agenda? Put differently: is there any aspect of the neoliberal educational agenda that its critics have failed to address?

Henry Giroux: Any analysis of an ideology such as neoliberalism will always be incomplete. And the literature on neoliberalism in its different forms and diverse contexts is quite abundant. What is often underplayed in my mind are three things.

First, too little is said about how neoliberalism functions not simply as an economic model for finance capital but as a public pedagogy that operates through a diverse number of sites and platforms.

Second, not enough has been written about its war on a democratic notion of sociality and the concept of the social.

Third, at a time in which echoes of a past fascism are on the rise not enough is being said about the relationship between neoliberalism and fascism, or what I call neoliberal fascism, especially the relationship between the widespread suffering and misery caused by neoliberalism and the rise of white supremacy.

I define neoliberal fascism as both a project and a movement, which functions as an enabling force that weakens, if not destroys, the commanding institutions of a democracy while undermining its most valuable principles.

Consequently, it provides a fertile ground for the unleashing of the ideological architecture, poisonous values, and racist social relations sanctioned and produced under fascism. Neoliberalism and fascism conjoin and advance in a comfortable and mutually compatible project and movement that connects the worse excesses of capitalism with fascist ideals – the veneration of war, a hatred of reason and truth; a populist celebration of ultra-nationalism and racial purity; the suppression of freedom and dissent; a culture which promotes lies, spectacles, a demonization of the other, a discourse of decline, brutal violence, and ultimately state violence in heterogeneous forms. As a project, it destroys all the commanding institutions of democracy and consolidates power in the hands of a financial elite.

As a movement, it produces and legitimates massive economic inequality and suffering, privatizes public goods, dismantles essential government agencies, and individualizes all social problems. In addition, it transforms the political state into the corporate state, and uses the tools of surveillance, militarization, and law and order to discredit the critical press and media, undermine civil liberties while ridiculing and censoring critics.

What critics need to address is that neoliberalism is the face of a new fascism and as such it speaks to the need to repudiate the notion that capitalism and democracy are the same thing, renew faith in the promises of a democratic socialism, create new political formations around an alliance of diverse social movements, and take seriously the need to make education central to politics itself.

[Jan 24, 2019] Nancy Pelosi fits the classic Soviet politburo member with their private dachas on the Black Sea. Nancy believes she is now the opposition leader with the mandate from the Party of Davos to ensure the defeat of Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Nancy believes she is now the opposition leader with the mandate from the Party of Davos to ensure the defeat of Trump. ..."
Jan 24, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Jack , a day ago

Sir

Nancy Pelosi is worth several hundred million dollars. I don't think she's a Marxist in the classical sense. Although she would fit the classic Soviet politburo member with their private dachas on the Black Sea. I would argue she and her ilk across both parties have enabled massive market concentration across many many sectors just in the past 4 decades. They're elitists who back an oligarchy of their fellow elitists. They are the basis for the symbiotic relationship between Big Business and Big Government. As Steve Bannon calls them, they're the Party of Davos. IMO, the only difference between the two parties are their rhetoric. Both of course engage in identity politics with the Democrats focused on the SJW virtue signaling while the Republicans have for decades channeled the evangelicals.

Trump is an outsider. They consider him to be an uncouth nouveau riche. And are appalled that his media savvy upended their Borg candidates. Nancy believes she is now the opposition leader with the mandate from the Party of Davos to ensure the defeat of Trump. This brouhaha over SOTU is just the first skirmish. I wouldn't underestimate Trump in these media centered battles. While the corporate media who as Bannon calls the opposition party creates the perception of a Trump administration in chaos, the Deplorables are still backing him. His approval rating at this midway point in his presidency is no worse than Obama and even GOP megagod Reagan. It's the reaction of the people from the heartland when he served the Clemson team Big Macs and fries compared to the derisive commentary of the urban/suburban crowd.

McConnell is also a card carrying member of the Party of Davos or else he would have jumped to invite Trump to speak from the Senate. But Trump's shtick is the people's leader. So he should speak from a heartland location. Your suggestion is a good one. Another could be a cornfield in Iowa, the first primary state where all the Democrats presidential contenders will be camping out soon.

[Jan 24, 2019] Stockman about Vichy left

Jan 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

mauisurfer , Jan 23, 2019 11:02:14 AM | link

best ever from Stockman

Trump Derangement Syndrome and the NATO Fetish of the Progressive Left
by David Stockman Posted on January 23, 2019

https://original.antiwar.com/David_Stockman/2019/01/22/trump-derangement-syndrome-and-the-nato-fetish-of-the-progressive-left/

[Jan 21, 2019] Liberal Critics of neoliberalism by Gerald J. Russello

Notable quotes:
"... Identity politics are no help here either. Indeed, to Scialabba, they are part of the problem because they are too easily coopted by capital: "Identity politics are an essential component of neoliberalism, the extension of market relations across borders and into all spheres of life. When rewards are assigned efficiently in proportion to merit, then not only is total output maximized, but the winners feel no qualms about the plight of the losers." Corporate power sees no distinction between funding diversity efforts and pursuing profit, becoming "woke" through advertising. ..."
"... vigorous self-assertion of working classes and small proprietors, which I think as close to mass democracy as the world has come, was transformed, largely by the advent of mass production, into a mass society of passive, apathetic, ignorant, deskilled consumers ..."
Jan 21, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Right can learn from George Scialabba's critiques of individual autonomy and markets.

Slouching Towards Utopia: Essays & Reviews, George Scialabba, Pressed Wafer Press, August 2018, 224 pages

George Scialabba continues to work in a political-literary vein almost forgotten in our partisan times. Along with Todd Gitlin, Thomas Frank perhaps, Jedediah Purdy (who introduces this volume), and a few others, Scialabba is a liberal without being progressive, in solidarity with workers against the capitalists rather than "woke" activists aligned with corporate interests, and respectful of tradition while also criticizing the past's faults.

The last two years have seen a drastic realignment of conservatives, where the stranglehold free-market and interventionist conservatives had has been loosened. Arguments from traditionalists such as Russell Kirk are being heard once again, and new voices are rising against Conservatism, Inc.

But the debate among liberals is just as interesting, if not more so, because of [neo]liberalism's own dominance over the media, academia, and entertainment. They are fighting in public, whereas conservatives mostly argue in the corners of the internet. A new generation of activists and progressives disdain the liberalism espoused by their once-radical elders. A world where Angela Davis gets awards rescinded for being insufficiently progressive and prominent liberals are protested at commencements is very different indeed from the heady 1960s and 1970s.

This new progressivism is sincere, but largely performative. It is too often in service to an individualistic view of the self and lacks the solidarity Scialabba sees as one of the strongest points of the Left. Resistance is a workers' collective, not a world in which choice -- mediated by corporations and advertising -- is king.

Identity politics are no help here either. Indeed, to Scialabba, they are part of the problem because they are too easily coopted by capital: "Identity politics are an essential component of neoliberalism, the extension of market relations across borders and into all spheres of life. When rewards are assigned efficiently in proportion to merit, then not only is total output maximized, but the winners feel no qualms about the plight of the losers." Corporate power sees no distinction between funding diversity efforts and pursuing profit, becoming "woke" through advertising.

This collection covers what may broadly be called questions of political culture. Like the best philosophical critics, Scialabba wants to know how we can live our common life with dignity and justice. He considers writers like Ronald Dworkin, Christopher Lasch, Yuval Levin, Michael Sandel, and others to probe how best to achieve public goods. The goods Scialabba advocates, it should be obvious, are not aligned with mainstream conservative goals. And one can argue with Scialabba's romance with a non-market economy in which redistributive justice has pride of place. The "utopia" toward which we are slouching is remote indeed.

But perhaps not that remote. In an interview republished here, "America Pro and Con," Scialabba praises the " vigorous self-assertion of working classes and small proprietors, which I think as close to mass democracy as the world has come, was transformed, largely by the advent of mass production, into a mass society of passive, apathetic, ignorant, deskilled consumers ." That vision would attract not a few Benedict Optioners, and not only them.

Scialabba has harsh words for Republicans -- the free market Paul Ryan types and the later MAGA incarnations. These comments are less interesting, and not just because they are unsurprising. It is more because Scialabba realizes the problem is more nuanced than just bad Republicans. Most of the elite Left and Right is in thrall to capital, and he can be as harsh on liberal autonomy as any conservative. In an essay titled "Ecology of Attention," which discusses Simon Head's Mindless: Why Smarter Machines are Making Dumber Humans and Matthew Crawford's The World Beyond Your Head , he writes: "Seeing past this liberal model of individual autonomy might also mean recognizing that consumerism can have civic consequences. Just as atmospheric fine particles can clog our lungs and impair our society's physical health, an unending stream of commercial messages can clog our minds, fragment our attention, and, in the long run, impair our society's mental and civic health."

The Critic as Radical The Radical Lasch

Drawing on a long left-wing tradition, he disputes the liberal capitalist view of people as those who simply seek to maximize their own individual gain (in wealth, pleasure, or status, for example). Rather, he says we are "situated beings" with our own pasts. In a perceptive, sympathetic piece on Leszek Kolakowski, the "Conservative-Liberal Socialist," Scialabba catalogs the failings of "existing socialism" that the Polish philosopher so ably described. However, Scialabba cannot find much in that critique today. Soviet socialism may have been rotten, but the liberal capitalism that has been triumphant since the 1980s in the West "has seen the rampant financialization of the economy, the pulverizing of organized labor, a drastic increase in economic inequality, the capture by business of the regulatory system, and the growth of the national security state." Scialabba instead reaches for the anti-capitalist and anti-Stalinist Left as a possible source of solutions for these ills. But the problem with this resort is the same as the neoconservatives' attachment to an abstract capitalism. The dominance or liberation of private life by the state is no longer the most pressing issue: media (especially social media) and the supremacy of the "self" against all forms of community are the new challenges.

As Shadi Hamid has written recently , "It is difficult to think of a time less suited to Marxist economism than the current one."

But back to Kolakowski. Scialabba nevertheless praises him for his willingness to be a debunker of the debunkers, rejoicing in his affliction of "the comfortable unbeliever." Although Scialabba cannot ultimately follow Kolakowski either in his political or religious beliefs, nonetheless he praises Kolakowski for two things: the skepticism that allowed him to break free -- and break others free -- of the illusions of totalitarianism, and a recognition of the limits of that skepticism. Scialabba concludes that "as he continually reminded rationalists, the skeptical impulse can't be sustained indefinitely or directed toward everything simultaneously. We need traditions too."

It is premises like these that make Scialabba interesting to conservatives. Because beginning from those premises Scialabba goes in directions conservatives typically do not follow. Because he opposes [neo]liberal capitalism, he is fond of unions. Because he believes we cannot completely extract ourselves from our cultural, ethnic, and religious inheritances, ingrained injustices must be recognized and remedied. Because he believes we are situated beings with traditions, we must construct an economic system that serves our nature rather than invent abstractions that we then serve. A defender of America's middle-class (described here, in reviewing a book by Alan Wolfe, as on the whole "generous, trusting, and optimistic"), nevertheless he faults them for being too gullible in responding to the call of capital and the military-industrial complex. But he also faults the Left for failing to understand that their fellow Americans are, in fact, decent, and, for the most part, tolerant people.

Scialabba might be surprised that he has sympathetic readers on the Right, or even that a form of nationalism might work with his premises. This possible compatibility isn't to ignore that American nationalism can and has been racist and inhospitable to minorities. But the conclusion that there is an "America" that has meaning beyond being simply a machine to generate GDP (on the backs of workers, perhaps, here or elsewhere) could fit, even if not fully comfortably, within Scialabba's generous intellectual world.

While not quite a utopia, it would be a start.

Gerald J. Russello is editor of The University Bookman .

[Jan 19, 2019] Differences between the Chinese and the USA versions of neoliberalism

Jan 19, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

mulp -> anne... , January 1 6, 2019 at 02:27 PM

"Instead, the Chinese government has been piling on loans to businesses and state-owned enterprises, pushing the SOEs to spend more, and so on. Basically it has kept investment going despite low returns. Yet this process has to have some limits – and when it hits the (great) wall, it's hard to see how consumption can rise fast enough to take up the slack."

Proof Krugman has been corrupted by free lunch economics!

If interest on savings is very low, returns on capital investment should be very low.

The lower limit on returns to capital is the real interest rate on savings. In China, inflation makes interest on savings negative. So, returns on investment can be negative, just less negative than interest on savings.

The only way investment can be funded is by workers spending less on consumption than they earn working or from other sourcees. If workers are investing a lot, they have individually decided they should not consume more, because there is no shortage of goods andd services to buy in China.

This is a very different situation than in the US where 90% of the population has too little money to buy what they want or need, and thus they borrow money to pay for consumption. Wages are too low in the US to fund investment so a great deal of scarcity exists in the US of several consumption goods which result in rapid inflation in the prices of those goods, and thus very high returns to capotal even as interest on savings are kept artificially low in order to allow for high defaults on bad consumer debt, consumer debt needed to pay the high inflated price of selected scarce consumption goods due to under investment.

In China, workers earn so much more than they are accustomed to consume they have investing in housing so housing costs are very low, and housing exists in excess.

In the US, workers earn less than they need to consume, so hiusing is extremely scarce and consumption prices have inflated at high rates.

Now, while China uses Keynes and sees excess housing as a good thing, the US uses free lunch economics and sees scarce housing as a good thing because housing inflation "creates wealth".

China has embraced private capital in many ways much more than the US since the 80s, with returns to private capital falling to very low levels, while in the US, building capital is thwarted to generate capital scarcity and high rates of capital price inflation. To "create wealth" from capital scarcity.

anne -> mulp ... , January 1 6, 2019 at 02:27 PM
Really helpful and interesting argument, that I will consider point by point. I do appreciate the careful writing.
Chris Lowery -> mulp ... , January 18, 2019 at 06:48 AM
"[W]hile in the US, building capital is thwarted to generate capital scarcity and high rates of capital price inflation. To 'create wealth' from capital scarcity."

Alternatively, in the U.S. there is a combination of excess of capital and insufficient investment alternatives (due to growing income and wealth inequality and excessive market power, anti-competitive business practices and insufficient anti-trust enforcement) that causes investors to chase unproductive returns and unrealistically bid-up asset prices.

mulp -> Chris Lowery ... , January 18, 2019 at 03:07 PM
Name the excess capital from paying too much to workers to build capital assets.

The only thing that I can think of that might be true is too much paying of workers to create TV shows, movies, and computer games.

Except, in this media sector, big companies buying competitors along with buying back shares of their stocks with profits is spawning ever more competitors. As much as Comcast tries to eliminate competition, investors keep paying workers to build new streaming services with content only the new companies have by paying more workers to produce TV and movies.

But this is standard economic theory: technology cuts costs, which cuts prices which increases demand so the workers eliminated by technology get retasked producing more, but the more is so much more, more workers are needed. The equilibrium is reached when long term revenue just barely pays for all the workers long term.

You might object to everyone consuming more media content because you are like Miltion Friedman a classic Jew stereotype puritian who believes the mmasses must work more and suffer by consuming less, so you can be an elite preaching values you will not embrace for yourself.

Ie, you did not state: "I am paid too much which is a sign of too many workers being paid too much due to too much investment driving up wages".

Darrell in Phoenix said in reply to mulp ... , January 18, 2019 at 10:01 AM
"The only way investment can be funded is by workers spending less on consumption than they earn working or from other sourcees."

False. Investment can be funded by debt.

mulp -> Darrell in Phoenix... , January 18, 2019 at 03:16 PM
"False. Investment can be funded by debt. "

So, you consider debt to be a gift?

Please send me $1000 a month for the rest of my life as debt. Then collect your money, debt, after I'm dead. After all, your debt does not need to be repaid by my working for income and not consuming using all or more of my income!

Or you believe the Venezuela economic policy is fantastic and should be adopted in the US, because Trump and the GOP were not creating structural long term borrowing and spending fast enough 2017-2018?

Plp -> anne... , January 17, 2019 at 05:57 AM
PK can't escape his paradigm


Yes the management of the domestic market development might fail to take adequate measures
Indeed the macro managers may lose their way

But the techniques that got them this far
Are still solid
And with augmentation
Can continue high speed expansion of the production system and urbanization

Price regulation could and should be
CO ordinated with a mark up market

Land lots market value zeroed out
thru a 100 % George tax

And corporate debt placed in special investment vehicles and managed uniformly
Thru a universal default insurance system.
Run by a state default insurance agency

Plp -> Plp... , January 17, 2019 at 06:01 AM
The urban systems needs to expand
At break neck speed
There are still 400 million left behinds to urbanized

The social transfer payment system
can be expanded in tandem with output capacity raising the bottom households income at maximum speed

Boldness and audacity

Plp -> Plp... , January 18, 2019 at 01:14 PM
Btw
Why can't an economy sustain 40% GDP investment

When the capital ratio to population is so low
And so much has to be built

China is pulling a billion plus people into the 21st century

Plp -> Plp... , January 18, 2019 at 01:17 PM
Imagine north America pulling south America
Up to California standards

Think coastal v inland prc

mulp -> Plp... , January 18, 2019 at 04:14 PM
Imagine conservatives electing representatives to Congress who hiked the "gas tax" and then offered lots more money to States that had elected legislatures that hiked their gas tax to generate the matching funds to get Federal gas tax funds that were spent on transportation.

"Gas taxes" are not limited to fuel, but include fees on tires, which cost based on wear on roads, ie, a big rig uses big costly ties that last maybe 25,000 miles so the more use of the road the more tax paid. But increasingly cars have high cost performance tires. Then there are use taxes based on the size plus load of the vehicle. A very high tax rate on fossil fuels will eliminate their use requiring moving to a fee based on miles driven and capacity of the vehicle, maybe by open road tolling.

But as transportation is a living cost, living costs need to be increased in Trumpland to create the coastal economies Trump lives in and builds his resorts in. Economies with high living costs to pay the high wages of all the workers who moved from low living cost conservative places to high living cost liberal places.

mulp -> Plp... , January 18, 2019 at 03:59 PM
So, all capital assets must be consumed in an average of 3 years? A ten year old house would need to be burned down. Steeet torn up after five years returned to farm or forest land?

Average useful life of assets is probably 30 years, but at that point they still have a minimum of 10% of cost in residual value, and paying workers to invest in existing capital at 3-5% annually will maintaiin the asset value of over half of assets for centuries. Spending another 2% will replace all of the other half. So, spending 10% of GDP will increase capital assets by 3% easy every year, which 70/3 means doubling total assets every 25 years.

Your 40% would mean doubling assets every 70/35% or two years.

Assuming assets keep increasing GDP becyond the addition to GDP from building productive assets.

Note, cars are productive assets, ie, a car gets you to work. A house with utilities frees up probably 5 hours a day to be used working for others. Try being homeless or living in a tar paper shack with nothing but a pot belly stove and water from a pond half a mile away. The capital asset like a house includes roads, running water and sewage, and fuel to cook and heat with zero labor, which are paid for for with $100 in labor for a family unit up to 4, more or less. Paying $100 a week frees up at least 25 hours of unpaid household labor, collecting/cutting wood for energy, walking to the pond to fetch water, walking along a trail to work and shop.

anne -> Plp... , January 17, 2019 at 07:42 AM
PK can't escape his paradigm

Yes, the management of the domestic market development might fail to take adequate measures
Indeed the macro managers may lose their way

But, the techniques that got them this far
Are still solid
And with augmentation
Can continue high-speed expansion of the production system and urbanization

Price regulation could and should be
Coordinated with a markup market ...

[ Important criticism and agreed. Prominent Western economists have usually been unwilling to look to the structure of the Chinese economy and specific techniques that have been used to spur development. ]

anne -> Plp... , January 18, 2019 at 02:26 PM
Brad DeLong has been wrong about China since 1980, Jeffrey Sachs and Stanley Fischer since 1990, Paul Krugman since 2011... The problem is that they simply never look at the Chinese institutions that have driven 9.5% yearly growth in GDP and 8.5% yearly growth in per capita GDP these 42 years. Suddenly, then, Krugman decides that what has driven Chinese growth is of no consequence because China has (gasp) too few people.

Imagine a China of too few people, and I could care less about the age ratios, which I have and which are of no concern relative to productivity growth which is just what China is focusing on.

anne -> Plp... , January 18, 2019 at 02:26 PM
Land lots market value zeroed out
thru a 100 % George tax

[ This needs to be explained:

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

I never ever have read of an application in China. What am I missing? ]

Mr. Bill -> anne... , January 18, 2019 at 02:26 PM
"On one side, China's problems are real. On the other, the Chinese government – hindered neither by rigid ideology nor by anything resembling a democratic political process – has repeatedly shown its ability and willingness to do whatever it takes to prop up its economy. It's really anyone's guess whether this time will be different, or whether Xi-who-must-be-obeyed can pull out another recovery."

By God, Jeeves, I think he's got it.

Tonight's music recommendation is the Jefferson Airplane.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsHF-8xUFPA&index=8&list=RDzYZ_p63JAiQ

In life, the script is usually wrong, eventually. Can you you imagine being Gracie Slick or Jim Morrison's father ? Comrade Xi ?

[Jan 17, 2019] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That't why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resitnace more dissifult and requiring higher level of IQ

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Jan 17, 2019] Brasil neoliberal counterevolution by James Petras

Jan 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: President Trump's Losing Strategy: Embracing Brazil and Confronting China James Petras January 8, 2019

Introduction

The US embraces a regime doomed to failure and threatens the world's most dynamic economy. President Trump has lauded Brazil's newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro and promises to promote close economic, political, social and cultural ties. In contrast the Trump regime is committed to dismantling China's growth model, imposing harsh and pervasive sanctions, and promoting the division and fragmentation of greater China.

Washington's choice of allies and enemies is based on a narrow conception of short-term advantage and strategic losses.

In this paper we will discuss the reasons why the US-Brazilian relation fits in with Washington's pursuit for global domination and why Washington fears the dynamic growth and challenge of an independent and competitive China.

Brazil in Search of a Patron

Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro from day one, has announced a program to reverse nearly a century of state directed economic growth. He has announced the privatization of the entire public sector, including the strategic finance, banking, minerals, infrastructure, transport, energy and manufacturing activities. Moreover, the sellout has prioritized the centrality of foreign multi-national corporations. Previous authoritarian civilian and military regimes protected nationalized firms as part of tripartite alliances which included foreign, state and domestic private enterprises.

In contrast to previous elected civilian regimes which strived – not always successfully – to increase pensions, wages and living standards and recognized labor legislation, President Bolsonaro has promised to fire thousands of public sector employees, reduce pensions and increase retirement age while lowering salaries and wages in order to increase profits and lower costs to capitalists.

President Bolsonaro promises to reverse land reform, expel, arrest and assault peasant households in order to re-instate landlords and encourage foreign investors in their place. The deforestation of the Amazon and its handover to cattle barons and land speculators will include the seizure of millions of acres of indigenous land.

In foreign policy, the new Brazilian regime pledges to follow US policy on every strategic issue: Brazil supports Trump's economic attacks on China, embraces Israel's land grabs in the Middle East, (including moving its capital to Jerusalem), back US plots to boycott and policies to overthrow the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. For the first time, Brazil has offered the Pentagon military bases, and military forces in any and all forthcoming invasions or wars.

The US celebration of President Bolsonaro's gratuitous handovers of resources and wealth and surrender of sovereignty is celebrated in the pages of the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times who predict a period of growth, investment and recovery – if the regime has the 'courage' to impose its sellout.

As has occurred in numerous recent experiences with right wing neo-liberal regime changes in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador, financial page journalists and experts have allowed their ideological dogma to blind them to the eventual pitfalls and crises.

The Bolsonaro regime's economic policies ignore the fact that they depend on agro-mineral exports to China and compete with US exports Brazilian ago-business elites will resent the switch of trading partners.. They will oppose, defeat and undermine Bolsonaro's anti-China campaign if he dares to persists.

Foreign investors will takeover public enterprises but are not likely to expand production given the sharp reduction of employment, salaries and wages, as the consumer market declines.

Banks may make loans but demand high interest rates for high 'risks' especially as the government will face increased social opposition from trade unions and social movements, and greater violence from the militarization of society.

Bolsonaro lacks a majority in Congress who depend on the electoral support of millions of public employees, wage and salaried workers ,pensioners,and gender and racial minorities. Congressional alliance will be difficult without corruption and compromises Bolsonaro's cabinet includes several key ministers who are under investigation for fraud and money laundering. His anti-corruption rhetoric will evaporate in the face of judicial investigations and exposés.

Brazil is unlikely to provide any meaningful military forces for regional or international US military adventures. The military agreements with the US will carry little weight in the face of deep domestic turmoil.

Bolsanaro's neo-liberal policies will deepen inequalities especially among the fifty million who have recently risen out of poverty. The US embrace of Brazil will enrich Wall Street who will take the money and run, leaving the US facing the ire and rejection of their failed ally.

The US Confronts China

Unlike Brazil, China is not prepared to submit to economic plunder and to surrender its sovereignty. China is following its own long-term strategy which focuses on developing the most advanced sectors of the economy – including cutting edge electronics and communication technology.

Chinese researchers already produce more patents and referred scientific articles than the US. They graduate more engineers, advanced researchers and innovative scientists than the US based on high levels of state funding . China with an investment rate of over 44% in 2017, far surpasses the US. China has advanced, from low to high value added exports including electrical cars at competitive prices. For example, Chinese i-phones are outcompeting Apple in both price and quality.

China has opened its economy to US multi-national corporations in exchange for access to advanced technology, what Washington dubs as 'forced' seizures.

China has promoted multi-lateral trade and investment agreement ,including over sixty countries, in large-scale long-term infrastructure agreements throughout Asia and Africa.

Instead of following China's economic example Washington whines of unfair trade, technological theft, market restrictions and state constraints on private investments.

China offers long-term opportunities for Washington to upgrade its economic and social performance – if Washington recognized that Chinese competition is a positive incentive. Instead of large-scale public investments in upgrading and promoting the export sector, Washington has turned to military threats, economic sanctions and tariffs which protect backward US industrial sectors. Instead of negotiating for markets with an independent China, Washington embraces vassal regimes like Brazil's under newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro who relies on US economic control and takeovers.

ORDER IT NOW

The US has an easy path to dominating Brazil for short-term gains – profits, markets and resources, but the Brazilian model is not viable or sustainable. In contrast the US needs to negotiate, bargain and agree to reciprocal competitive agreements with China ..The end result of cooperating with China would allow the US to learn and grow in a sustainable fashion.

[Jan 04, 2019] How neoliberalism is damaging your mental health

Jan 04, 2019 | theconversation.com

"Neoliberalised healthcare requires every patient (or rather, "client" of healthcare "services") to take responsibility for her own state or behaviour. Mental healthcare is therefore being reframed as a series of "outcomes" geared at measurable improvement which the "service user" must manage by themselves as far as possible.

Access to psychiatric diagnosis and support from public health services (and also within private or employer-run occupational healthcare schemes) sometimes depends on completion of a mood or symptom diary using smartphone or Fitbit self-tracking techniques .

And there may well be more punitive future consequences for failure to self-track, as employers and perhaps benefit agencies gain more power to command this sort of performance from workers." •

From 2018, still germane.

[Dec 27, 2018] The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views. The only thing that they understand is money and they work for to further the concentration of wealth.

Notable quotes:
"... Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous. ..."
"... Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

PossumBilly , 3 Jun 2018 23:25

This message is clear and concise. It is however never going to be heard beyond the 'Guardian'.

The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views.

The only thing that they understand is money and the concentration of wealth. This misonception as Dennis So far this has been handed to them on a plate, the taxation system has enabled them to manipulate an multiply their earnings. So much of money the has nothing to do with adding value to this countries economy but is speculative in nature based on financial and overseas instruments.

No is the time for our government to take the lead and start as the Victorian ALP have done and invest in people and jobs on the back of strategic investment. It is a fallacy that governments don't create jobs they, through their policies do just that.

Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous.

Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

[Dec 27, 2018] All talk about "small government" and "slashing red tape" it is NeeSpeak for small government and NO red tape for the rich

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MajorMalaise , 3 Jun 2018 23:44

A couple of thoughts - in no particular order.

When governments like the LNP (driven as it is by its ideology of greed, the IPA manifesto and Gina Rinehart's idea of what Australia should look like [and how little she should pay to pillage "communally owned" assets to enrich herself beyond imagination - she has no greater claim over the Pilbara than any other Australian, but like all who live by the ethos of greed, she thinks she should get it all for nothing]).

When the LNP talk about "small government" and "slashing red tape" it is politician-speak for small government and NO red tape for the rich. What it also means is much more government and red tape for the poor and vulnerable - as we would expect, the rich and powerful, who really dictate economic and social policy in this country enlist willing governments to enact measures that suppress the lower classes. It is not quite calling out the military (as Hawke did during the pilot's strike at the insistence of the corpulent Ables - one act for which I will always despise Hawke), but it has the same result by more surreptitious, lasting and egregious means.

And one of the lasting legacies of the philosophies of neo-liberalism, from which the Hanson's of the world "suck their oxygen" is that the political and corporate dialogue of the last 30 or so years has pushed the notion of self-entitlement and vilification of the poor and vulnerable further down the economic ladder. So now, we have countless Australians on reasonable incomes who, like the rich, are convinced that all of our social and economic ills can be rectified if we stop giving handouts to the bludgers, the malingerers, the disabled and the indigenous - the neo-liberal rhetoric is now so widespread that it is easier than ever for the vulnerable to be attacked and for many, that is seen as absolutely necessary. It is the false US-sourced notion that if you are poor, it is because you deserve to be and if I am rich - it isn't luck or inheritance - it is because I deserve it. This world-view makes it so much easier to attack the vulnerable as receiving way to much to sit at home and bludge.

Want to forget the now disgraced CEO of Australia Post who bought a Sydney mansion for $22 million and now wants to sell it for $40 million - tax free I might add. He is entitled to that wealth enhancement. But someone on the dole smokes a spliff now and then and we think they should lose their entitlements to an income that doesn't even get them up to the poverty line (but they should be grateful for that pittance). Want to forget the CEO's who pretentiously do their "sleeping rough" for a night and proclaim their empathy for the homeless who would shriek at paying more tax to genuinely fund programmes to help the down and outs. No problem - just embrace the selfish and greedy neo-liberalism philosophy.

[Dec 23, 2018] Generation Wealth documentarian Lauren Greenfield on how the rich are destroying civilization by Keith A. Spencer

No one knows how the Midas myth ends, but he dies of starvation because everything turns to gold. The the culture equates wealth and self-worth, this is repetition of Midas myth on a new level. Like Russian oligarchs (Prokhorov is one example), or Getty in the USA enjoying a harem of "girlfriends"
For those that haven't seen the first few episodes of British TV series about Getty, you should. There are many parables that come to mind that include Getty Sr, his children, his kidnapped grandson, and him harem, or how I would call them Getty's female posse.
Notable quotes:
"... The esteemed filmmaker observed how the vapid trickle-down culture of the plutocracy could be the end of us all ..."
Dec 02, 2018 | www.salon.com

The esteemed filmmaker observed how the vapid trickle-down culture of the plutocracy could be the end of us all

This article was co-produced with Original Thinkers , an annual ideas festival in Telluride, Colorado that brings speakers, art and filmmakers together to create new paradigms.

It is ironic that, as the gulf between rich and poor reaches record levels, the language of the underclass has become infected with the culture and mores of the rich . Twenty years ago, English began to absorb and normalize verbal markers of wealth, consumption and status, evidenced by the mainstreaming of luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton and their appearance in pop culture and media. Reality TV went from nonexistent in the 1970s to one of the most popular television genres in the 2000s, much of it homed in on the lifestyles and lives of the rich -- culminating in a billionaire, reality-TV star president. Social media in the late 2000s and 2010s seems to have exacerbated a cultural normalization of narcissism , an obsession with self-image, and a propensity for conspicuous consumption. Few of us are rich, but we all aspire to appear that way on Instagram.

00:00 00:00

In the past twenty-five years, documentarian and photograph Lauren Greenfield has been documenting this profound shift in culture, as the vapid materialism of the plutocracy has trickled down to the rest of us. Greenfield, who was once named "America's foremost visual chronicler of the plutocracy" by the New York Times, is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and photographer. Greenfield has experience documenting the lifestyles of the rich and (in)famous: her much-lauded 2012 documentary, " The Queen of Versailles ," followed the billionaire Siegel family during their quest to build the largest house in the United States. Her unflinchingly honest depiction of their bleak existence led to patriarch David Siegel filing a lawsuit against the filmmakers for defamation, which increased publicity to the film and which the Siegels lost handily.

Greenfield's latest opus, " Generation Wealth ," is an attempt to understand the intricacies of the trickle-down culture of the wealthy. Simultaneously an exhibition, monograph and film , Greenfield's camera follows not just the wealthy, but many folks who are middle- or working-class and yet who have absorbed the narrative and values of the elite in their quest to be thin, forever beautiful, and image- and luxury-obsessed. The film is unflinching in a way that is occasionally macabre: The on-screen depiction of plastic surgery is a grisly counterpoint to the pristine resorts, lifestyles and houses of the well-heeled. "This movie is neither trickle-down treat nor bacchanal guised as bromide, but rather an interrogation of an era defined by an obsession with wealth," wrote Eileen G'Sell in Salon's review .

I interviewed Lauren Greenfield at the Original Thinkers Festival in Telluride, Colorado. A video from this interview can be viewed here ; the print version has been condensed and edited.

Keith Spencer: " Generation Wealth " is such a fascinating [book and film] project, and it's so rich. For those who may not know about it, how would you describe the overall project? I know it took 25 years of work?

Advertisement:

Lauren Greenfield : I started looking back at my photography since the early nineties and seeing that, in a way, all of the stories that I had been doing -- about consumerism and body image and fame and celebrity and the economic crisis -- that in a way they were connected. And I decided to do an archeological dig in my own work and look at the pictures as evidence of how we had changed as a culture.

And what I came to was that they revealed a kind of fundamental shift in the American dream, that we had gone from a dream that prized hard work and frugality and discipline, to a culture that elevated bling and celebrity and narcissism.

Interesting. And like you said, it's a global phenomenon, right? I mean, the pictures and the shots in the film were taken are all over the planet, right?

Yeah, I started in L[os Angeles] in the nineties, but even when I was doing the work in L.A., I felt like [I] was more looking at L.A. as the extreme manifestation of how you see the influence of the popular culture. In a way you are closest to the flame there.

Advertisement:

But then I found that other people saw [that culture] as just L.A., so I kind of made it my mission to first go across the country and then go to different places in the world to show how we were exporting these values -- exporting this culture with global media, with the Internet, with social media, with branding and international branding. In "Generation Wealth," I really tried to show this global virus that is consumerism.

And that's something that I thought was so interesting about the film, was that the goods and the brands and the imagery look the same whether they were in Hong Kong or Moscow or Los Angeles or Orlando. It was like there's this culture that exists everywhere. It's so interesting how something like that is transmitted everywhere, the same idea, the same cultural values.

Yeah, I was really looking at how our culture, international culture in a way is being homogenized by these influences of corporations and globalism and media. In my work, I'm really looking for the similarities in values and influence and behavior in people who are really, really different.

And that really came together for me during the economic crisis. Because from L.A., from middle class to working class, to billionaires in Florida ... to the crash in Dubai , to Iceland to Ireland , I was seeing similar consequences from similar behavior.

And the interconnected financial system was one more kind of homogenizing factor. And so that's what I was really interested in looking at. [Cultural critic] Chris Hedges speaks throughout the movie and at the end he says this comment, which I really love, about how authentic culture is being destroyed by the values of corporate capitalism. And that it's authentic culture that actually teaches us who we are and where we came from.

Advertisement:

And so in a way we lose our identities when we lose that. And I think we see, especially with young people, how identity is so connected to brands and what you have and what you wear and what you buy.

Right. And that's one of the other interesting threads through the film, is just that in almost every subject's case -- because you followed a lot of them for a long time through their lives or pick up at different points in their life -- they all seem to sort of admit that either the money itself or the things that they bought with the money never made them happy. But yet at the same time, what I thought was so funny was some of them just seemed like they couldn't quit the lifestyle, like especially the German hedge fund manager.

Yeah. That's exactly right. For me, I realized it was really about addiction and it wasn't about the money -- in the [film], you see that wealth is not just money, but all the things that give you value. And so you see people searching for beauty and youth and fame and image. But it's like addiction in the sense that you think it's going to bring you something that it doesn't.

[In] a way, all of the subjects are kind of looking to fill a void or an emptiness that can't be filled by that thing . [You] just stay on that gold plated hamster wheel... in the metaphor of addiction, the only way to stop is when you hit rock bottom. And so we see a lot of crashes, both collective and individual in the film.

Speaking of addiction -- you ended up bringing in and talking about your own family too, both your mother and your children. Which I was not expecting, because before I saw "Generation Wealth" I'd seen "The Queen of Versailles," which you don't really bring yourself in that one much at all. Did you think while you were making it that you were going to end up turning the camera around on yourself and your family?

Advertisement:

No, it kind of evolved. I started thinking I would be in it in some way as a kind of narrator, thinking mostly my voice, not physically in it, which was really scary to me in the beginning. But I felt like I was kind of the connective tissue and my journey was the connective tissue between these subjects.

I've always tried to go in really non-judgmentally, and show phenomena and people in situations that I think speak to the larger culture and are part of mainstream culture and influence. So I want people to see themselves in the characters, like in "Queen of Versailles."

And so I felt like it was also important to make the point that we're all complicit and that I'm not outside of it. And [to] look at how I'm also affected by these influences.

And it kind of emerged organically. I was talking to Florian -- the German Hedge Fund banker -- who is a very flamboyant character in the film. Makes $800,000,000, loses it all and becomes a truth-teller for how [money] doesn't bring you what you think it will.

And he challenged me at a certain point, and said, "How can a hundred-hour work week not affect your relationship with anything that matters?" And he kind of looks at me. And it forced me to kind of think about -- you know, there I was in Germany on a three week trip on my way to Iceland, two kids at home that I'm trying to connect with on FaceTime. It made me think about my own addiction to my work.

Advertisement:

There's this great scene in the movie where your son Gabriel talks about how his older brother got a perfect score on the ACT and how he's just afraid that he'll never be able to live up to that and he'll never be able to go to Harvard like his parents and brother. And it was amazing because it was like, before the camera was focused on all these rich kids -- but they had similar anxieties to your son.

Yeah. And I think that this cycle of wanting more manifests in all different ways. I don't think that anybody can say they're outside of it. It's kind of like, I always think about modernism in a way, being kind of a justifiable luxury for [a] sophisticated or intellectual class.

And yeah... achievement was really important in my family. Gabriel also speaks to the weight and pressure of comparison, which is really a theme of the whole movie, that we're all kind of living in the state of collective FOMO where we can never be good enough because we're comparing ourselves to what we see not just on media but on social media. Not just real people but fictional, curated people.

I did a lot of work on gender, and so I made a short film called " Beauty Culture ." And even in my book, " Girl Culture ," looking at how girls are comparing themselves to pictures of models that are not just genetically specific, but also retouched and styled. And so it's literally impossible to measure up. And now I think we're all kind of in that state.

And so when Gabriel talked about comparing himself to his brother or not feeling like he could measure up, I wasn't initially planning to have my family be in there, but I did feel an obligation [to] be willing to ask of myself what I ask of the subjects -- a hard, intimate look into the hard issues of living.

Advertisement:

Last night at the Q&A after the film screening, you mentioned that this movie is a feminist film in the specific way that it looks at girls and women. Can you elaborate on that? I thought it was interesting how you noted that women are both a commodity, and also get power from commodifying themselves.

Yeah. I had done a lot of work on gender and I wasn't sure in the beginning how it would fit into "Generation Wealth." And then I realized that, in a way, girls were a really powerful and tragic case study for how human beings are commodified, and how in a way it's the ultimate cost and degradation of capitalism, the sale of the human being. And so for girls, I had been looking at both how girls were sold to -- because their body image insecurities make them very vulnerable and avid consumers; "buy this and you can fix whatever's wrong with your skin, your body," or whatever -- but also how they are physically sold.

And I think, for me, Kim Kardashian is a really powerful symbol of how that's changed. That the sex tape is a means to a lifestyle of money and affluence, and it's not the scarlet letter anymore. It's a badge of honor if that's what you bring.

And that manifests in different ways from an innocent game of dress-up, where there's also kind of precocious sexualization, to teenage girls putting sexy pictures of themselves on social media, to women who feel like they can't age and [get] plastic surgery -- because if their beauty and bodies are their value, you can't lose that.

Speaking of that, that was another thing about the film I thought was interesting. From watching the trailer I had the sense that [the film] would be focused mostly on the 1%, but actually it's about how the values and the culture that the wealthy, the hypermaterialism and such, trickles down to the working class. I'm thinking specifically of Cathy, the bus driver... there's the very gruesome scenes of her getting plastic surgery in Brazil, multiple times I believe if I remember right.

Advertisement:

Well, she gets multiple surgeries on one trip to Brazil, because if you go to Brazil you can get surgery much cheaper and the doctors will actually perform multiple operations on you in a way that they won't in the US. And yeah, I was really blown away by a statistic about plastic surgery that I heard, where 75% of women who get plastic surgery make $50,000 or less.

Like eating disorders -- these things were thought to be kind of practices of the rich, but they have really trickled down. And I think part of that is the way we're bombarded with images of luxury and affluence. And also the kind of, in a way, new mythmaking of the American Dream, where the body is the new frontier of the rags to riches -- where anybody with enough money, effort and willpower can transform themselves physically.

And so it's kind of like your fault if you don't have the drive and motivation to do that. And we see these shows, reality shows like "The Swan" and these transformation shows... I apologize for showing such hard images, but I felt like it was really important to not see the before and after that we get in the media, but to see the middle, and the violence and risk that's really part of that transformation.

Towards the end, cultural critic Chris Hedges describes us as a civilization on the verge of collapse. But then the movie ends on a more hopeful note. I was wondering if you share Chris Hedges' apocalyptic view of the future, or if you felt hope at the end?

Advertisement:

I do share his view, but I have, I guess, kind of a split or duality, in the sense that I feel like the reason I did this work and put it all together now, and went through a half a million pictures, is I do feel we're kind of barreling towards the apocalypse if we stay on this path. It's not a sustainable path. And from what I've seen over the last 25 years, it's blown-up exponentially.

Yet I think that there's a possibility of not staying on this path. A lot of the characters in the movie and in the book -- when they do hit rock bottom, whether it's the economic crisis or their own personal crashes -- they have insights that make them want to change.

And I feel like, in a way, this work is about kind of showing the Matrix that we live in, and having the option of the red pill. But I think that you kind of need a super-majority for that to happen on any significant scale.


Keith A. Spencer

Keith A. Spencer is the cover editor for Salon, and manages Salon's science, tech and health coverage. His book, " A People's History of Silicon Valley: How the Tech Industry Exploits Workers, Erodes Privacy and Undermines Democracy ," was released in 2018 from Eyewear Publishing. Follow him on Twitter at @keithspencer.

MORE FROM Keith A. Spencer • FOLLOW keithspencer

[Dec 22, 2018] The Vocabulary of Economic Deception by Michael Hudson and Bonnie Faulkner

Notable quotes:
"... The aim of classical economics was to tax unearned income, not wages and profits. The tax burden was to fall on the landlord class first and foremost, then on monopolists and bankers. The result was to be a circular flow in which taxes would be paid mainly out of rent and other unearned income. The government would spend this revenue on infrastructure, schools and other productive investment to help make the economy more competitive. Socialism was seen as a program to create a more efficient capitalist economy along these lines. ..."
"... Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire ..."
"... Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy ..."
"... J Is for Junk Economics – A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception ..."
"... J is for Junk Economics ..."
"... Guns and Butter ..."
"... J Is for Junk Economics ..."
"... The Fictitious Economy ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... J Is for Junk Economics – A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception ..."
"... Killing the Host ..."
"... J is for Junk – A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception ..."
"... Trade, Development and Foreign Debt ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.unz.com
Michael Hudson and Bonnie Faulkner October 8, 2018 8,300 Words Leave a Comment Email This Page to Someone
Remember My Information


=> Remove from Library B Show Comment Next New Comment Next New Reply Read More Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour. Email Comment Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter Add to Library
Bookmark Toggle All ToC Search Text Case Sensitive Exact Words Include Comments List of Bookmarks

The aim of classical economics was to tax unearned income, not wages and profits. The tax burden was to fall on the landlord class first and foremost, then on monopolists and bankers. The result was to be a circular flow in which taxes would be paid mainly out of rent and other unearned income. The government would spend this revenue on infrastructure, schools and other productive investment to help make the economy more competitive. Socialism was seen as a program to create a more efficient capitalist economy along these lines.

I'm Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter, Dr. Michael Hudson. Today's show: The Vocabulary of Economic Deception. Dr. Hudson is a financial economist and historian. He is President of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends, a Wall Street financial analyst and distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His 1972 book Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire is a critique of how the United States exploited foreign economies through the IMF and World Bank. His latest books are, Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy and J Is for Junk Economics – A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception . Today we discuss J is for Junk Economics , an A to Z guide that describes how the world economy really works, and who the winners and losers really are. We cover contemporary terms that are misleading or poorly understood, as well as many important concepts that have been abandoned – many on purpose – from the long history of political economy.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Dr. Michael Hudson, welcome to Guns and Butter again.

MICHAEL HUDSON: It's good to be back, Bonnie.

BONNIE FAULKNER: You write that your recent book, J Is for Junk Economics , a dictionary and accompanying essays,was drafted more than a decade ago for a book to have been entitled The Fictitious Economy . You tried several times without success to find a publisher. Why wouldn't publishers at the time take on your book?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Most publishers like to commission books that are like the last one that sold well. Ten years ago, people wanted to read about how the economy was doing just fine. I was called Dr. Doom, which did very well for me in the 1970s when I was talking about the economy running into debt. But they wanted upbeat books. If I were to talk about how the economy is polarizing and getting poorer, they wanted me to explain how readers could make a million dollars off people getting more strapped as the economy polarizes. I didn't want to write a book about how to get rich by riding the neoliberal wave dismantling of the economy. I wanted to create an alternative.

If I wanted to ride the wave of getting rich by taking on more debt, I would have stayed on Wall Street. I wanted to explain how the way in which the economy seemed to be getting richer was actually impoverishing it. We are in a new Gilded Age masked by a vocabulary used by the media via television and papers like The New York Times that are euphemizing what was happening.

A euphemism is a rhetorical trick to make a bad phenomenon look good. If a landlord gets rich by gentrifying a neighborhood by exploiting tenants and forcing them out, that's called wealth creation if property values and rents rise. If you can distract people to celebrate wealth and splendor at the top of the economic pyramid, people will be less focused on how the economy is functioning for the bottom 99%.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Can you describe the format of J Is for Junk Economics – A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception as an A-to-Z dictionary with additional essays? It seems to me that this format makes a good reference book that can be picked up and read at any point.

MICHAEL HUDSON: That's what I intended. I wrote it as a companion volume to my outline of economic theory, Killing the Host , which was about how the financial sector has taken over the economy in a parasitic way. I saw the vocabulary problem and also how to solve it: If people have a clear set of economic concepts, basically those of classical economics – value, price and rent – the words almost automatically organize themselves into a worldview. A realistic vocabulary and understanding of what words mean will enable its users to put them together to form an inter-connected system.

I wanted to show how junk economics uses euphemisms and what Orwell called Doublethink to confuse people about how the economy works. I also wanted to show that what's called think tanks are really lobbying institutions to do the same thing that advertisers for toothpaste companies and consumer product companies do: They try to portray their product – in this case, neoliberal economics, dismantling protection of the environment, dismantling consumer protection and stopping of prosecution of financial fraud – as "wealth creation" instead of impoverishment and austerity for the economy at large. So basically, my book reviews the economic vocabulary and language people use to perceive reality.

When I was in college sixty years ago, they were still teaching the linguistic ideas of Benjamin Lee Whorf. His idea was that language affects how people perceive reality. Different cultures and linguistic groups have different modes of expression. I found that if I was going to a concert and speaking German, I would be saying something substantially different than if I were speaking English.

Viewing the economic vocabulary as propaganda, I saw that we can understand how the words you hear as largely propaganda words. They've changed the meaning to the opposite of what the classical economists meant. But if you untangle the reversal of meaning and juxtapose a more functional vocabulary you can better understand what's actually happening.

ORDER IT NOW

BONNIE FAULKNER: You write that "the terms rentier and usury that played so central a role in past centuries now sound anachronistic and have been replaced with more positive Orwellian doublethink," which is what you've begun to explain. In fact, your book J is for Junk – A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception is all about the depredation of vocabulary to hide reality, particularly the state of the economy. Just as history is written by the victors, you point out that economic vocabulary is defined by today's victors, the rentier financial class. How is this deception accomplished?

MICHAEL HUDSON: It's been accomplished in a number of ways. The first and most brutal way was simply to stop teaching the history of economic thought. When I went to school 60 years ago, every graduate economics student had to study the history of economic thought. You'd get Adam Smith, Ricardo and John Stuart Mill, Marx and Veblen. Their analysis had a common denominator: a focus on unearned income, which they called rent. Classical economics distinguished between productive and unproductive activity, and hence between wealth and overhead. The traditional landlord class inherited its wealth from ancestors who conquered the land by military force. These hereditary landlords extract rent, but don't do anything to create a product. They don't produce output. The same is true of other recipients of rent. Accordingly, the word used through the 19 th century was rentier . It's a French word. In French, a rente was income from a government bond. A rentier was a coupon clipper, and the rent was interest. Today in German, a Rentner is a retiree receiving pension income. The common denominator is a regular payment stipulated in advance, as distinct from industrial profit.

The classical economists had in common a description of rent and interest as something that a truly free market would get rid of. From Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill down to Marx and the socialists, a free market was one that was free of a parasitic overclass that got income without doing work. They got money by purely exploitative means, by charging rent that doesn't really have to be paid; by charging interest; by charging monopoly rent for basic infrastructure services and public utilities that a well-organized government should provide freely to people instead of letting monopolists put up toll booths on roads and for technology and patent rights simply to extract wealth. The focus of economics until World War I was the contrast between production and extraction.

An economic fight ensued and the parasites won. The first thing rentiers – the financial class and monopolists, a.k.a. the 1% – did was to say, "We've got to stop teaching the history of economic thought so that people don't even have a memory that there is any such a thing as economic rent as unearned income or the various policies proposed to minimize it. We have to take the slogan of the socialist reformers – a free market – and redefine it as a free market is one free from government – that is, from "socialism" – not free from landlords, bankers and monopolists." They turned the vocabulary upside down to mean the opposite. But in order to promote this deceptive vocabulary they had to erase all memory of the fact that these words originally meant the opposite.

BONNIE FAULKNER: How has economic history been rewritten by redefining the meaning of words? What is an example of this? For instance, what does the word "reform" mean now as opposed to what reform used to mean?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Reform used to mean something social democratic. It meant getting rid of special privileges, getting rid of monopolies and protecting labor and consumers. It meant controlling the prices that monopolies could charge, and regulating the economy to prevent fraud or exploitation – and most of all, to prevent unearned income or tax it away.

In today's neoliberal vocabulary, "reform" means getting rid of socialism. Reform means stripping away protection or labor and even of industry. It means deregulating the economy, getting rid of any kind of price controls, consumer protection or environmental protection. It means creating a lawless economy where the 1% are in control, without public checks and balances. So reform today means getting rid of all of the reforms that were promoted in the 19 th and early-20 th century. The Nobel Economics Prize reflects this neoliberal (that is, faux-liberal) travesty of "free markets."

BONNIE FAULKNER: What were the real reforms of the progressive era?

MICHAEL HUDSON: To begin with, you had unions to protect labor. You had limitations on the workweek and the workday, how much work people had to do to earn a living wage. There were safety protections. There was protection of the quality of food, and of consumer safety to prevent dangerous products. There was anti-trust regulation to prevent price gouging by monopolies. The New Deal took basic monopolies of public service such as roads and communications systems out of the hands of monopolists and make them public. Instead of using a road or the phone system to exploit users by charging whatever the market would bear, basic needs were provided at the lowest possible costs, or even freely in the case of schools, so that the economy would have a low cost of living and hence a low business overhead.

The guiding idea of reform was to get rid of socially unnecessary income. If landlords were going to charge rent for properties that they did nothing to improve, but merely raise the rents whenever cities built more transportation or more parks or better schools, this rent would be taxed away.

The income tax was a basic reform back in 1913. Only 1% of America's population had to pay the tax. Most were tax-free, because the aim was to tax the rentiers who lived off their bond or stock holdings, real estate or monopolies. The solution was simply to tax the wealthiest 1% or 2% instead of labor or industry, that is, the companies that actually produced something. This tax philosophy helped make America the most productive, lowest-cost and competitive yet also the most equal economy in the world at that time.

ORDER IT NOW

This focus on real industry has gradually been undermined. Today, if you're a real estate speculator, monopolist, bankster or financial fraudster, your idea of reform is to get rid of laws that protect consumers, tenants, homebuyers and the public at large. You campaign for "consumer choice," as if protection is "interference" with the choice to be poisoned, cheated or otherwise exploited. You deregulate laws designed to protect the atmosphere, free air and water. If you're a coal or oil company, your idea of reform is to get rid of the Clean Air Act, as the Trump administration has been doing.

The counterpart to junk science is junk economics. It is a lobbying effort to defend the idea of a world without any laws or regulations against the wealthy, only against the debtors and the poor, only against consumers for the "theft" of downloading music or stealing somebody's patented songs or drug monopoly privilege. This turns inside out the classical philosophy of fairness.

BONNIE FAULKNER: According to 19 th -century classical economists, what is fictitious capital, and why is this distinction no longer being made by economists?

MICHAEL HUDSON: That's a wonderful question. Today the term "fictitious capital" is usually associated with Marx, but it was used by many people in the 19 th century, even by right-wing libertarians such as Henry George.

Fictitious capital referred to purely extractive claims for income, as distinct from profits and wages earned from tangible means of production. Real capital referred to factories, machinery and tools, things that were used to produce output, as well as education, research and public infrastructure. But an ownership privilege like a title to land and other real estate, a patent or the monopoly privilege to charge whatever the market will bear for a restricted patent, without reference to actual production costs, does not add anything to production. It is purely extractive, yielding economic rent, not profits on real capital investment.

BONNIE FAULKNER: You say that by the late-19 th century, "reform movements were gaining the upper hand, that nearly everyone saw industrial capitalism evolving into what was widely called socialism." How would you describe the socialism that classical economists like Mill or Marx envisioned?

MICHAEL HUDSON: They all called themselves socialists. There were many kinds of socialism in the late 19 th century. Christians promoted Christian socialism, and anarchists promoted an individualistic socialism. Mill was called a Ricardian socialist. The common denominator among socialists was their recognition that the industrial capitalism of their day was a transitory stage burdened by the remnants of feudalism, headed by the landlord class whose hereditary rule was a legacy of the medieval military invasions of England, France, Germany and the rest of Europe. This was the class that controlled the upper house of government, e.g ., Britain's Lordships. For socialists, the guiding idea was to run factories and operate land and provide public services for the economy at large to grow instead of imposing austerity and letting the rentier classes exploit the rest of the economy and concentrate income, political control and tax policy in their own hands.

Until World War I, socialism was popular because most people saw industrial capitalism as evolving. Politics was in motion. The term "capitalism," by the way, was coined by Werner Sombart, not Marx. But classical political economy culminated in Marx. He looked at society's broad laws of motion to see where they were leading.

The socialist idea was not only that of Marx but also of American business school professors like Simon Patten of the WhartonSchool. He said that the kind of economy that would dominate the world's future was one that was the most efficient in preventing monopoly and preventing or taxing away absentee land rent so that almost all income would be paid as wages and profits, not rent or interest or monopoly rents.

The business classes in the United States, Germany and even in England were in favor of reform – that is, anti-rentier reform. They recognized that only a strong government would have the political power to tax away or regulate parasitic economic rent by the wealthiest classes at that time, in the late 19 th and early 20 th century. This economic and political cleanup of the rentiers stemmed very largely from the ideological battle that occurred in England after the Napoleonic Wars were over in 1815. Ricardo, representing the banking class, argued against Reverend Malthus, the population theorist who also was a spokesman for the landlord class. Malthus urged agricultural protectionism for landlords, so that they would get more and more rent from their land as grain prices were kept high. Ricardo argued that high food prices to support rents for the agricultural landlords would mean high labor costs for industrial employers. And if you have high labor costs then England cannot be the industrial workshop of the world. In order for England to become the industrial supreme power, it needed to overcome the power of its landlord class. Instead of protecting it, England decided to protect its industrial capital by repealing its protectionist Corn Laws in 1846. (I describe its strategy in my history of theories of Trade, Development and Foreign Debt .)

At that time England's banking class was still a carryover from Europe's Medieval period. Christianity had banned the charging of interest, so banks were able to make their money by combining their loans with a foreign exchange charge, called agio. Banks even Ricardo's day in the early 19 th century made most of their money by financing foreign trade and charging foreign exchange fees. If your listeners they have ever tried to change money at the airport, they will know what a big rake-off the change booths take.

Later in the 19 th century, bankers began to shift their lending away from international trade financing to real estate as home ownership became democratized. Home owners became their own landlords – but on mortgage credit.

ORDER IT NOW

Today we're no longer in the situation that existed in England 200 years ago. Almost two-thirds of the American families own their homes. In Scandinavia and much of Europe, 80% are homeowners. They don't pay rent to landlords. Instead, they pay their income as interest to the mortgage lenders. That's because hardly anyone has enough money to buy a few-hundred-thousand-dollar home with the cash in their pocket. They have to borrow the money. The income that used to be paid as rent to a landlord is now paid as interest to the mortgage banker. So you have a similar kind of exploitation today that you had two centuries ago, with the major difference that the banking and financial class has replaced the landlord class.

Already by the late-19 th century, socialists were advocating that money and credit don't have to take the form of gold and silver. Governments can create their own money. That's what the United States did in the Civil War with its greenbacks. It simply printed the money – and gave it value by making it acceptable for payment of taxes. In addition to the doctrine that land and basic infrastructure should be owned by the public sector – that is, by governments – banking was seen as a public utility. Credit was to be created for productive purposes, not for rent-extracting activities or financial speculation. Land would be fully taxed so that instead of labor or even most industry paying an income tax, rentiers would pay tax on wealth that took the form of rent-extracting privileges.

The aim of classical economics was to tax unearned income, not wages and profits. The tax burden was to fall on the landlord class first and foremost, then on monopolists and bankers. The result was to bea circular flow in which taxes would be paid mainly out of rent and other unearned income, and the government would spend this revenue on infrastructure, schools and other productive investment to help make the economy more competitive. Socialism was seen as a program to create a more efficient capitalist economy along these lines, until the word was hijacked by the Russian Revolution after World War I. The Soviet Union became a travesty of Marxism and the word socialism.

BONNIE FAULKNER: You write that: "Today's anti-classical vocabulary redefines free markets as ones that are free for rent extractors and that rent and interest reflect their recipients' contribution to wealth, not their privileges to extract economic rent from the economy." How do you differentiate between productive and extractive sectors, and how is it that the extractive sectors, essentially Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE), actually burden the economy?

MICHAEL HUDSON: If you're a real estate owner, you want lower property taxes so that as the economy grows and people are able to pay more rent, or when a land site in a neighborhood becomes more valuable because the government builds a new subway – like New York City's Second Avenue line – real estate prices rise to reflect the property's higher income that is not taxed.

New York landlords all along the subway line raised rents. That meant that their real estate had a "capital" gain reflecting the higher rent roll. Individual owners fortunate enough to own a condo or a townhouse near the stations became more wealthy – while new renters or buyers had to pay much more than before. None of this price rise created more living space or other output (although today's post-classical GDP figures pretend that it did!). It simply meant that instead of recapturing the $10 billion the government spent on this subway extension by taxing the increased land valuations all along the subway route, New York's income and real estate taxes have been raised for everybody, to pay interest on the bonds issued to finance the subway's construction. So the city's cost of living and doing business rises – while the Upper East Side landlords have received a free lunch.

Creating that kind of real estate "fictitious wealth" is a capitalization of unearned income – unearned because the Upper East Side landlords didn't do anything themselves to increase the value of their property. The City raised rental values by making the sites more desirable when it built the subway extension.

The same logic applies to insurance. When President Obama passed the basically Republican Obamacare law advocated by the pharmaceutical and health management sectors, the cost of medical care went way up in the United States. It was organized so as to be a giveaway to the healthcare and pharmaceutical monopolies.

None of this increased payment for medical care increases its quality. In fact, the more that's paid for medical care, the more the service declines, because it is paid to health insurance companies that try to legally fight against consumers. The effect is predatory, not productive.

Finally, you have the financial part of the FIRE sector. Finance has accounted for almost all of the growth in U.S. GDP in the ten years since the Lehman Brothers crisis and the Obama bailout in 2008. The biggest banks at that time were insolvent as a result of bad loans and outright financial fraud. But the government created $4.3 trillion of reserves to bail out Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, with Goldman Sachs thrown in, despite the fact that their fraudulent junk mortgage loans were predatory, not productive credit that actually increased wealth in the form of productive power. There's a growing understanding that the financial sector has become so dysfunctional that it is a deadweight on the economy, burdening it with increasing debt charges –student loans are an example – instead of actually helping the economy grow.

BONNIE FAULKNER: So just to reiterate, what is the classical distinction between earned and unearned income?

MICHAEL HUDSON: This distinction is based on classical value and price theory. Price is what people have to pay. The margin of price over and above real cost value is called economic rent. A product's value is its actual, necessary costs of production: the cost of labor, raw materials and machinery, and other elements of what it costs to tangibly produce it. Rent and financial charges are the product of special privileges that have been privatized and now financialized.

ORDER IT NOW

Classical value theory isolated this economic rent as unearned income. It was the aim of society either to prevent it from occurring in the first place, by anti-monopoly regulation or by public land ownership, or to tax it away in cases where you can't help it going up. For instance, it's natural for neighborhoods to become more valuable and high-priced over time as the economy gets richer. But it doesn't cost more to construct buildings there, and rents keep going up and up and up on buildings that were put up 100 years ago. This increased rent does not reflect any new cost of production. It's a free lunch.

Neoliberals, most notoriously the University of Chicago's Milton Friedman at, kept insisting that "There's no such thing as a free lunch." But that's exactly what most of the wealth and income of the richest 1% is. It's the result of running the economy primarily to siphon off a rentier free lunch. Of course, its recipients try to distract public attention from this face and tell national income and Gross Domestic Product statisticians to pretend that they actually earn their income wealth, not merely transfer income from the rest of the economy into their hands as creditors, monopolists and landlords. The leading Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs said so notoriously a few years ago that "Our partners are the most productive in the country because look at how much we're paid." But they don't really earn their wealth in the classical sense of earning by performing a productive economic service. The economy would get along much better without Goldman Sachs and indeed the banking and financial system or the health insurance system being run the way they are, and without real estate the being untaxed in the way that it is.

BONNIE FAULKNER: I noticed that you used the term "rent" for unearned income. Is rent the same as profit, or not?

MICHAEL HUDSON: It's not at all the same. Profit is earned by investing in a means of production to make useful goods and services. Classical economists viewed profit as an element of cost if you're going to have a privately owned economy – and most socialists have accepted private ownership, although in a system regulated so as to benefit society as a whole. If you make a profit by a productive act acting within this system, you've earned it by being productive.

Economic rent is different. It is not earned by actively building means of production, conducting research or development. It's passive income. When pharmaceutical companies earn rent, it's simply for charging much more for the drugs they sell than it actually costs to produce them. This is especially the case when the government has borne the research and development cost of the drugs and simply assigns the rent-yielding patent privilege to the pharmaceutical companies. So rent is something over and above the profit necessary to induce the activity that these companies actually perform. Profits are why investors produce more. Rent is not necessary. If you got rid of it, you wouldn't discourage production, because it's purely an overhead charge, whereas profits are a production charge in a capitalist economy.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Well, thank you for that distinction between rent and profit. That's a very important thing to understand.

MICHAEL HUDSON: I describe it more clearly in my book, which includes the appropriate classical quotations.

BONNIE FAULKNER: You point out that interest and rent are reported as "earnings," as if bankers and landlords produce gross domestic product (GDP) in the form of credit and ownership services. How do you think interest and rent should be reported?

MICHAEL HUDSON: They should be classified interest and rent. But the rentier classes have taken over the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) to depict their takings as actual production of a service, not as overhead or a transfer payment, that is, not as parasitic extraction of other peoples' earnings.

For instance, suppose you have a credit card and you miss a payment, or miss a payment on a student loan, electric bill or your rent. The credit card company will use this as an excuse to raise your interest charge from 11% to 29%. The national income account treat this rise to 29% as providing a "financial service." The so-called service is simply charging a penalty rate. The pretense is that everything that a bank charges – higher interest or penalties – is by definition providing a service, not simply extracting money from cardholders, transferring income from them to itself.

Classical economists would have subtracted this financial rake-off from output, counting it as overhead. After all, it simply adds to the cost of living and doing business. Instead, the most recent statisticians have added this financial income to the Gross National Product instead of subtracting it, as the classical economists would have done – or simply not counted it, as was the case a generation ago.

Most reporters and the financial press don't get into the nitty-gritty of these national accounts, so they don't realize how lobbyists have intervened in recent years to turn them into propaganda flattering bankers and property owners. Today's "reformed" GDP format pretends that the economy has been going up since 2008. A more realistic description would show that it is shrinking for 95 percent of the population, being eaten away by the wealthiest 5% extracting more rentier income and imposing austerity.

If you look at the national balance sheet of assets and liabilities, the economy is becoming more debt-ridden. As student debt and mortgage debt go up, and penalty fees, arrears and defaults are rising. The long rise in home ownership rates is being reversed, and rents are rising, while people also have to pay more for medical care and other basic needs. Academic economists depict this as "consumer choice" or "demand," as if it is all a voluntary choice of "the market." The GDP accounting format has been modified to make it appear that the economy is getting richer. This statistical sleight-of-hand is achieved by counting the takings of the rentier 1% as a product, not a cost borne by the economy at large. What really should be shown is a loss – land and monopoly rent, interest and penalties is in fact so large a "product" that the economy seems to be growing. But most of that growth is unreal.

BONNIE FAULKNER: How does government fiscal policy, taxation and expenditure influence the economy?

ORDER IT NOW

MICHAEL HUDSON: That's what Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is all about. When governments run a budget deficit, they pump money into the economy. For Keynesians the money goes into the real economy in ways that employ labor. For neoliberals, quantitative easing is spent directly into the financial sector, and is used to finance the purchase of real estate, stocks and bonds, supporting the valuation of wealth owned mainly by the One Percent. The effect is to make housing more expensive, and also the price of buying a retirement income. Having to take on larger mortgage debt to buy a house and spend less each month in order to save for one's pension is not really "wealth creation," unless your perspective is that of the One Percent increasing its power over the 99%.

At least the United States is able to run deficits and avoid the kind of unemployment and austerity that Europe is imposing on itself and especially on Greece and Italy. I think in one of our talks on this show explained the problem that Europe is suffering. Under the constitution of the Eurozone, its member countries are not allowed to run a budget deficit of more than 3%. Most actually aim at extracting a surplus from the economy (as distinct from producing a surplus for the economy). That means that the government doesn't spend money into the economy. People and businesses are obliged to get their money from the banks. That requires them to pay more interest. All Europe is on the road to looking like Greece– debt-strapped economies that are kept artificially alive by the government creating reserves to give to the banks and bail out bond markets, not spending into economies to help them recover.

The ability to create debt by writing a bank loan that creates a deposit is a legal privilege. There's no reason why governments cannot do this themselves. Instead of borrowing from private creditors to finance their budget deficits, governments can create their own money – without burdening budgets with interest charges. Credit creation has little cost of production, and therefore does not require interest charges to cover this cost. The interest is a form of monopoly rent to privatized privilege.

Classical economists saw the proper role of government as being to create social infrastructure and upgrade living standards and productivity for their labor force. Governments should build roads to minimize the cost of transportation, not private companies creating toll roads to maximize the cost by building in financial charges, real estate and management charges to what users have to pay. Government should be in charge of providing public health insurance, not private companies that charge extortionate prices and whatever the market will bear for their drugs. It's the government that should run prisons, not private companies that use prisoners as cheap labor to make a profit and advocate that more people get arrested so to make more of a profit from their incarceration.

The great question is, what is the government going to spend money on, and how can it spend money into the economy in a way that helps growth? Imagine if this trillion dollars a year that's spent on arms and military – in California and the districts of the key congressmen on the budget committee – were spent on building roads, schools, transportation and subsidizing medical care. The country could become a utopia. Instead, the rentier classes have hijacked the government, taking over its money creation and taxing power to spend on themselves, not to help the economy at large produce more or raise living standards. Special interests have captured the regulatory agencies to make them serve rent extractors, not protect the economy from them.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Interest is tax-deductible, whereas profit is taxable. Does the tax deductibility of interest have a major impact on the economy?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Yes, because tax deductibility encourages companies to raise money by going into debt. This tax deductibility of interest catalyzed the corporate raiding movement of the 1980s. It was based on debt leveraging.

Suppose a company makes $100 million a year in profit and pays this out to its stockholders as dividends. In the 1980s this profit was taxed at about 50%, so you could only pay $50 million to the stockholders. Then as today, they were the wealthiest layer of the population. Drexel Burnham and other Wall Street firms sought out corporate raiders as clients and offered to lend them enough money to buy companies out, by buying out their stockholders. Stocks were replaced by bonds. That enabled companies to pay out twice as much income as interest than they had been paying as dividends. When they bought out target companies with debt, a company could pay all $100 million of its income as interest instead of only $50 million as dividends on stock.

So the wealthiest classes in the United States and other countries decided that they could get more from own bonds than stocks anymore. Government revenue declined by the added amount paid to financial investors as a result of this tax subsidy for debt.

The advantage of issuing stocks is that when business conditions turn down and profits fall, companies can cut back their dividend. But if they have committed to pay this $100 million to bondholders, when their earnings go down they may face insolvency.

The result was a wave of bankruptcy since the 1980s as companies became more debt-pyramided. Also companies heads went to the labor unions and threatened to declare bankruptcy and wipe out their pension funds, if their leaders did not agree to change these funds and replace the guaranteed retirement pension that were promised for a defined contribution plan. All they know is what they have to pay in every month. Retirees will only get whatever is left when they reach pension age. The equity economy shift into a debt economy has enriched the wealthy financial class at the top, while hurting employees.

Most statistical trends turned around in 1980 for almost every country as this shift occurred. Indebting companies has made them more fragile and also higher-cost, because now they have to factor in the price of interest payments to the bondholders and corporate raiders who've taken them over.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Do you think that changes should be made to the tax deductibility of interest?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Sure. If interest were to be taxed, that would leave less incentive for companies to keep on adding debt. It would deter corporate raiding. It is a precondition for companies being run to minimize their cost of production and to serve their labor force and their customers more. For homebuyers, removing the tax-deductibility of interest would leave less "free" rent to be pledged to banks for mortgages, and hence would reduce the size of bank loans that bid up housing prices.

ORDER IT NOW

I think that interest and rents should be taxed, not wages and legitimate profits. The FICA wage withholding now absorbs almost 16% of most wage-earning income for Social Security and Medicare. But wealthy people don't have to pay any contribution on what they make over than about $ $116,000 a year. They don't have to pay any FICA contribution on their capital gains, which is how most fortunes are made. The rentiers' idea of a free market is to make labor pay for all of the Social Security and Medicare – and then to give so much to Wall Street that they can say, "Oh, there's no more money. The system's short, so we have to wipe out Social Security," just as so many companies have wiped out the pension commitments. As George W. Bush said, tere's not really any money in the Social Security accounts. Its tax on the lower income brackets was all used to cut taxes on the higher income and wealth brackets. The economy has been turned into a grab bag for the rich.

BONNIE FAULKNER: What about monetary policy, interest rates and the money supply? Who controls monetary policy, and how does it affect the economy?

MICHAEL HUDSON: The biggest banks put their lobbyists in charge of the Federal Reserve, which was created in 1913 to take monetary policy out of the hands of the Treasury in Washington and put it in the hands of Wall Street. That made the Fed a lobbyist for its members, the commercial banking system. It's run to control the money supply – in practice, the debt supply – in a way that steers money into the banks. That's why not a single banker was jailed for committing the junk mortgage scams and other frauds that caused the crash. The Fed has turned the banking system into a predatory monopoly instead of the public service that it was once supposed to be.

Monetary policy is really debt policy, because money is debt on the liabilities side of the balance sheet. The question is, what kind of debt is the economy going to have, and what happens when it exceeds the ability to be paid? How is the government going to provide the economy with money, and what will it do to keep debts line with the ability to be paid? Will money and credit be provided to build more factories and product more output, to rebuild American manufacturing and infrastructure? Or, are you going to leave credit and debt creation to the banks, to make larger loans for people to buy homes at rising prices reflecting the increasingly highly leveraged and outright reckless credit creation?

Monetary policy is debt policy, and on balance most debts are owed by the bottom 90% to the wealthiest 10%. So monetary policy becomes an exercise in how the 10% can extract more and more interest, rent and capital gains from the economy – all the while making money by impoverishing the economy, not helping most people prosper.

BONNIE FAULKNER: The economy is always being planned by someone or some force, be it Wall Street, the government or whatever. It's not the result of natural law, as you point out in your book. It seems like a lot of people think that the economy should somehow run itself without interference. Could you explain how this is an absurd idea?

MICHAEL HUDSON: It's an example of rhetoric overcoming people's common sense. Every economy since the Stone Age has been planned. Even in the stone age people had to plan when to plant the crops, when to harvest them, how much seed you had to keep over for the next year. You had to operate on credit during the crop year to get beer and rent draft animals. Somebody's in charge of every economy.

So when people talk about an unplanned economy, they mean no government planning. They mean that planning should be taken out of the hands of government and put in the hands of the 1%. That is what they mean by a "free market." They pretend that if the 1% control the economy it's not really a planned economy anymore, because it's not planned by government, officials serving the public interest. It's planned by Wall Street. So the question is, really, who's going to plan the American economy? Is it going to be the government of elected officials, or is it going to be Wall Street? Wall Street will euphemize its central planning by saying this is a free market – meaning it's free of government regulation, especially over the financial sector and the mining companies and other monopolies that are its major clients.

BONNIE FAULKNER: You emphasize the difference between the study of 19 th -century classical political economy and modern-day economics. How and when and why did political economy become "economics"?

MICHAEL HUDSON: If you look at the books that almost everybody wrote in the 19 th century, they called it political economy because economics is political. And conversely, economics is what politics has always been about. Who's getting what? Or as Lenin said, who-whom? It's about how society makes decisions about who's going to get rich and how they are going to do it. Are they going to get wealthy by acting productively, or parasitically? Eeverything economic turns out to be political.

The economy's new central planners on Wall Street pretend that what they're doing is not political. Cutting taxes on themselves is depicted as a law of nature. But they deny that this is politics, as if there's nothing anyone can do about it. Margaret Thatcher's refrain was "There is no alternative" (TINA). That is the numbing political sedative injected into today's economic discussion.

The aim is to make people think that there is no alternative because if they're getting poorer, if they're losing their home by defaulting on a junk mortgage of if they have to pay so much on the student loan so that they can't afford to buy a home, or if they find that the only kind of job they can get driving an Uber car, it's all their fault. It's as if that's just nature, not the way the economy has been malstructured.

The role of neoliberalism is to make people think that they are powerless in the face of "the market," as if markets are not socially and politically structured. The 1% have hired lobbyists and subsidized business schools so as to shape markets in their own interest. Their aim is to control the economy and call it "nature." Their patter talk is that poverty is natural for short-sighted "deplorables," not the result of the predatory neoliberal takeover since 1980 and their capture of the Justice Department so that none of the bank fraudsters go to jail.

ORDER IT NOW

BONNIE FAULKNER: In your chapter on the letter M – of course, we have chapters from A to Z – in your chapter on M, you have an entry for Hyman Minsky, an economist who pioneered Modern Monetary Theory and explained the three stages of the financial cycle in terms of rising debt leveraging. What is debt leveraging, and how does it lead to a crisis?

MICHAEL HUDSON: Debt leveraging means buying an asset on credit. Lending for home ownership in the United States is the leading example. From the 1940s to the 1960s, if you took out a mortgage, the banker would look at your income and calculate that the mortgage on the house you buy shouldn't absorb more than 25% of your income. The idea was that this would leave enough income to pay the interest charge and amortize – that is, pay off – the mortgage 30 years later, near the end of your working life. Minsky called this first credit stage the hedge stage, meaning that banks had hedged their bets within limits that enabled the economy to carry and pay off its debts.

In the second credit stage, banks lent more and loosened their lending standards so that mortgages would absorb much more than 25% of the borrower's income. At a certain point, people could not afford to amortize, that is to pay off the mortgage. All they could do was to pay the interest charge. By the 1980s, the federal government was lending up to almost 40% of the borrower's income, writing mortgages without any amortization taking place. The mortgage payment simply carried the existing homeowner's debt. Banks in fact didn't want to ever be repaid. They wanted to go on collecting interest on as much debt as possible.

Finally, Minsky said, the Ponzi stage occurred when the homeowner didn't even have enough money to pay the interest charge, but had to borrow the interest. So this was how Third World countries had gotten through the 1970s and the early 1980s. The government of, let's say Mexico or Brazil or Argentina, would say, well, we don't have the dollars to pay the debt, and the banks would say, we'll just add the interest onto the debt. Same thing with a credit card or a mortgage. The mortgage homeowner would say, I don't have enough money to pay the mortgage, and the bank would say, well, just take out a larger mortgage; we'll just lend you the money to pay the interest.

That's the Ponzi stage and it was named after Carlo Ponzi and his Ponzi scheme – paying early buyers out of income paid into the scheme by new entrants. That's the stage that the economy entered around 2007-08. It became a search for the proverbial "greater fool" willing to borrow to buy overpriced real estate. That caused the crash, and we're still in the post-crash austerity interim (before yet a deeper debt writeoff or new bailout). The debts have been left in place, not written down. If you have a credit card and have to pay a monthly balance but lack enough to pay down your debt, your balance will keep going up every month, adding the interest charge onto the debt balance.

Any volume of debt tends to grow at compound interest. The result is an exponential growth that doubles the debt in little time. Any rate of interest is a doubling time. If debt keeps doubling and redoubling, it's carrying charges are going to crowd out the other expenses in your budget. You'll have to pay more money to the banks for student loans, credit card debts, auto loans and mortgage debt, leaving less to spend on goods and services. That's why the economy is shrinking right now. That's why people today aren't able to do what their parents were able to do 50 years ago – buy a home they can live in by paying a quarter of their income.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Dr. Michael Hudson, thank you so very much.

[Dec 16, 2018] Polarizing Development Alternatives to Neoliberalism and the Crisis by Lucia Pradella, Thomas Marois

Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Neoliberal economic policies, with their emphasis on market-led development and individual rationality, have been exposed as bankrupt not only by the global economic crisis but also by increasing social opposition and resistance. Social movements and critical scholars in Latin America, East Asia, Europe and the United States, alongside the Arab uprisings, have triggered renewed debate on possible different futures. While for some years any discussion of substantive alternatives has been marginalized, the global crisis since 2008 has opened up new spaces to debate, and indeed to radically rethink, the meaning of development. Debates on developmental change are no longer tethered to the pole of 'reform and reproduce': a new pole of 'critique and strategy beyond' neoliberal capitalism has emerged.

Despite being forcefully challenged, neoliberalism has proven remarkably resilient. In the first years since the crisis erupted, the bulk of the alternative literature pointed to continued growth in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and in other big emerging market countries to affirm the necessary role for the state in sustaining capitalist development. New developmental economists have consequently reasserted themselves. Their proposals converged into a broader demand for global Keynesianism (Patomaki, 2012) -- a demand that is proving to be less and less realistic in the face of a deepening global economic crisis.

Interpreting and Resisting Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is a historical phenomenon. In the early 1970s firms began to feel acutely the impact of falling profitability. Many managers and owners believed the mounting power of organized labor was responsible. Indeed, this emerging structural crisis of capitalism was amplified by increasing labor militancy and social opposition, and by the rising challenge of socialism and nationalism from the Global South - the greatest wave of decolonization in world history (Arrighi, 2007: 136). The power of the United States reached its nadir with its defeat in Vietnam (1975), with the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s, and with the spread of revolutionary struggles, notably in Latin America. It is against this backdrop that the rise of neoliberalism becomes understandable.

Neoliberalism's set of pro-market and anti-labor policies were first implemented by the brutal US-backed Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973). The monetarist economic principles of the infamous 'Chicago Boys' guided the process. At this time, however, many other governments in the South resisted initial demands by the Northern-dominated international financial institutions (IFIs), notably the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to implement rapid 'shock therapy' structural adjustment programmes.

The 1979 to 1982 Volcker Shock changed matters dramatically. Paul Volcker, then head of the US Federal Reserve, allowed US interest rates to skyrocket from around 5 per cent to over 20 per cent, ostensibly to halt persistent inflation and to shock the US economy out of stagnation. This move sparked a global rise in interest rates and a wave of profound economic crises in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Soviet bloc. Governments in these countries lost the ability to service their debts because of the dramatic falls in the prices received for and the quantity of their primary goods exported. This triggered the 1980s debt crisis, which opened an opportunity for governments North and South to press more systematically for neoliberal transformation.

Instead of mobilizing workers and peasants against this new form of economic imperialism, governments in the South began to reorient their economies toward intensified export production in order to earn the foreign currency needed to repay their loans. With the fall of the Soviet Union, neoliberal shock therapy was also extended to Russia and other Eastern European countries. In the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Western governments mobilized their military power to facilitate the entrenchment of neoliberal policies at a terrible human cost.

Neoliberalism has entailed processes of contested socio-economic transformation. Amidst great popular resistance and economic instability, post-war state-led strategies of development gave way to market-oriented neoliberal ones, or the so-called 'Washington consensus'. The economist John Williamson identified ten policies characteristic of the consensus: fiscal discipline, reduction in public expenditure, tax reform, financial liberalization, market-determined exchange rates, trade liberalization, an open door to foreign direct investment, privatization of public service and state-owned enterprises, deregulation, and secure property rights. These policies have led to higher unemployment, worsening social inequalities, widespread impoverishment, peasant land dispossessions, unsustainable urbanization and increased worker exploitation.

Contributors to this book describe many of the specific developmental transformations in the Global South, and how neoliberal processes have led to an expansion of the global reserve army of workers and accelerated international migration. At the same time, financial and trade deregulation have enhanced the power of finance capital and multinational corporations, which they have used to pursue the outsourcing and offshoring of many industrial and service activities. This globalization of production has brought with it intensified processes of ecological destruction.

Women and the poor are the most negatively impacted by the neoliberal privatization of public services. As women increasingly enter into the workforce, the privatization of public services magnifies their 'double burden'. Such transformations have been global, having negative impacts on workers in the South and, increasingly, in the North.

The neoliberal policies shaping these transformative processes are derived from neoclassical economic theory. Neoclassical theory obscures and naturalizes the exploitative foundations of capitalism because it reduces labor to just another factor of production, not unlike other 'technical inputs' like land and capital. The social reproduction of workers is further assumed to be a private, genderless process restricted to the household, when it is in fact vital to overall capital accumulation processes. In not dissimilar ways, neoclassical economics tends to treat the environment as an externality. Further embedded in this kind of approach is a tendency towards methodological nationalism. Certain models presuppose that capital and labor do not move internationally and that international trade represents merely exchange of commodities between national units. It follows, in theory, that by promoting domestic specialization according to a given country's comparative advantage, free trade would spontaneously stabilize participating 'national' economies at an equilibrium level, maintaining employment and growth in all of them.

With its emphasis on liberal, market-based notions of individual equality and freedom, neoclassical economics conceals underlying social polarizations and exploitative relationships characteristic of capitalism. In reality, neoliberal transformation favors the interests of the strongest capitals internationally (see Shaikh, 2005). Despite the proclaimed spontaneity of the market, moreover, neoliberalism does not lead to a retreat of the state. Rather, neoliberalism is marked by the class-based restructuring of the state apparatus in ways that have responded to the evolving needs of capital accumulation (for example, around new financial imperatives). What is more, as today's capitalism is dominated by Northern powerhouses like the United States and Western European countries, the extension of capitalist relations globally embodies these imperialist powers' aspirations to retain supremacy in the hierarchy of states.

Neoliberalism, in fact, has always occurred through and within states, never in the absence of states. Actually existing neoliberal transformations are mediated by the hierarchical position of a given state within the world market and by specific social struggles. Consequently, neoliberal transition in the United States is not the same as neoliberalism transition in India or Iraq, and each entails specific national, class, racial and gendered dimensions. Yet contributors to this book recognize that neoliberalism is a class-based political and economic project, defined by the attack of capital and neoliberal state authorities on the collective capacity of organized labor, the peasantry and popular classes to resist the subordination of all social, political, economic and ecological processes to accumulation imperatives. The subsequent consolidation of neoliberalism globally has thus been to the benefit of global capital, and has come at the expense of workers, women and the poor. Relations of imperialist domination, environmental exploitation, racial and gender oppression are constitutive dimensions of this class struggle.

Neoliberal consolidations nonetheless generate new social resistances. Many contributors to this book identify continuing processes involving the decomposition of working classes and the formation of important social movements. With the 1999 demonstrations in Seattle, these struggles assumed an inter-American character. Various indigenous groups, trade unionists, faith-based and women's organizations marched alongside environmentalists and farmers in a collective bid to shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks (Burbach, Fox and Fuentes, 2013: 2). In the new millennium, the 'alter-globalisation' movement has attained a truly global scale. Yet the movement has not been without problems. Notably, the activists and organizations have failed to produce precise sets of collective demands or a coherent international political programme. Pre-existing antagonisms among workers and peoples across lines of national and social oppression were not overcome. The movement, as a result, failed to articulate collective resistance across national, regional and international levels (Prashad, 2013: 235). After the huge demonstrations against the war on Iraq (2003), it gradually faded away.

Still, resistances to neoliberalism grew thereafter, especially in the Global South. In some cases these made significant advances. For example, while the United States and other Western states were bogged down with military aggressions in the Middle East, US control over Latin America eased. Social mobilizations there enjoyed new spaces for action, which helped give rise to a variety of progressive governments less subservient to imperialist interests and the competitive imperatives of neoliberal development. In this book, Abelardo Marifta-Flores suggests that progressive income redistribution and the reinforcement of regional integration processes are among the most significant achievements. Susan Spronk and Sarah Miraglia highlight the progressive, albeit imperfect, gendered dimensions of the Bolivarian transformative movement in Venezuela. Neoliberal transformations also create new socio-economic conditions that may undermine US and Western hegemony. As several authors attest, for example, the relocation of industrial production towards East Asia has generated new centers of accumulation. Consequently, Western imperial powers now face a major challenge with the rise of China and India. So too have other big emerging capitalisms, like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and the Gulf States, become ever more important centers of accumulation. This has lent support to arguments suggesting global hegemony has started to shift from the West to the East.

To be sure, these emerging capitalisms, China in particular, offer alternative sources of foreign direct investment, international aid, developmental loans and technological know-how to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Leaders of the BRICS have, for example, called for a 'multipolar' reform of the financial system and of the IFIs, which includes the establishment of a new multilateral Development Bank, the 'BRICS Bank'. Yet the extent to which these changes offer an alternative at all has everything to do with the extent to which South -- South relations and flows of know-how do not serve to extend and reproduce exploitative class relations of domination, even be they under novel forms of sub/ Southern imperialism. This remains to be seen, and indeed the global crisis is affecting the terms of this debate.

The Global Crisis and the Resilience of Neoliberalism

The global crisis that emerged in the United States in 2007 was rooted in the preceding decades of neoliberal restructuring. Its immediate trigger, however, was the subprime mortgage lending debacle. The US subprime crisis then took a global turn in late September 2008 with the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. As investors scrambled to preserve their wealth and dump any toxic assets they had bought into, otherwise liquid US credit markets seized up, bringing the global financial system to the edge of ruin. Only massive and sustained state intervention prevented the system's implosion. Many Western governments rolled out financial Keynesianism. This entailed nationalizing failed private banks and industries and adding trillions of dollars to the public debt. The governments thus staved off global economic collapse but only by incurring massive increases in new public debts. This gave rise to the sovereign debt crises in the 'peripheral' EU countries. A number of developing countries also incurred new public debts as governments rolled out economic stimulus packages to help sustain domestic investment, maintain employment and buttress internal demand.

On the one hand, the privileges and powers gained by global capital under neoliberal transformation remain largely intact. Indeed, imperialist governments have done everything in their power to reinforce the current system. Such is the aim of the quantitative easing and zero interest rate policies being pursued by the US Federal Reserve, the Banks of England and Japan, and increasingly the European Central Bank. These actions are intended to prop up the financial markets, support the prices of financial assets and make these countries' exports more competitive. Throughout it all neoliberal technocrats remain unwavering in their ideological commitments to market-oriented development. For example, the World Bank's Global Financial Development Report 2013 attempts to reframe the global crisis not as a fundamental problem of 'market failure' and capitalism, but instead as essentially about 'state failure' and flawed human nature. The solution? More of the same neoliberal policies implemented since the 1980s, but now guided and sustained by a more robust state apparatus that ensures better market discipline...

[Dec 14, 2018] Hidden neoliberal inner party : US chamber of commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Business Roundtable

Notable quotes:
"... The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action. ..."
"... Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. ..."
"... In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. ..."
"... The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base. ..."
"... It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism. ..."
"... The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests ..."
"... Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold. ..."
"... Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. ..."
"... By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. ..."
"... Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s. ..."
"... Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:42

The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action.

The corporations involved accounted for 'about one half of the GNP of the United States' during the 1970s, and they spent close to $900 million annually (a huge amount at that time) on political matters. Think-tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Center for the Study of American Business, and the American Enterprise Institute, were formed with corporate backing both to polemicize and, when necessary, as in the case of the National Bureau of Economic Research, to construct serious technical and empirical studies and political-philosophical arguments broadly in support of neoliberal policies.

Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. With abundant finance furnished by wealthy individuals (such as the brewer Joseph Coors, who later became a member of Reagan's 'kitchen cabinet') and their foundations (for example Olin, Scaife, Smith Richardson, Pew Charitable Trust), a flood of tracts and books, with Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia perhaps the most widely read and appreciated, emerged espousing neoliberal values. A TV version of Milton Friedman's Free to Choose was funded with a grant from Scaife in 1977. 'Business was', Blyth concludes, 'learning to spend as a class.

In singling out the universities for particular attention, Powell pointed up an opportunity as well as an issue, for these were indeed centers of anti-corporate and anti-state sentiment (the students at Santa Barbara had burned down the Bank of America building there and ceremonially buried a car in the sands). But many students were (and still are) affluent and privileged, or at least middle class, and in the US the values of individual freedom have long been celebrated (in music and popular culture) as primary. Neoliberal themes could here find fertile ground for propagation. Powell did not argue for extending state power. But business should 'assiduously cultivate' the state and when necessary use it 'aggressively and with determination'

In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. The supposedly 'progressive' campaign finance laws of 1971 in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics.

A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech.15 Political action committees could thereafter ensure the financial domination of both political parties by corporate, moneyed, and professional association interests. Corporate PACs, which numbered eighty-nine in 1974, had burgeoned to 1,467 by 1982.

The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base.

It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism.

The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests the evangelical Christians eagerly embraced the alliance with big business and the Republican Party as a means to further promote their evangelical and moral agenda.

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:23

Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold.

The worldwide political upheavals of 1968, for example, were strongly inflected with the desire for greater personal freedoms. This was certainly true for students, such as those animated by th