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Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Libertarian Philosophy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism
National Security State Key Myths of Neoliberalism Big Uncle is Watching You The Iron Law of Oligarchy Color revolutions Cold War II Two Party System as Polyarchy
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Predator state Corporatism Elite Theory Neo-conservatism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Demonization of Putin Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie
Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Fuck the EU Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Neoliberalism and Christianity
Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Neoliberal corruption DNC emails leak Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Disaster capitalism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism American Exceptionalism The Deep State Obama: a yet another Neocon
Neoliberal war on reality In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers War and Peace Quotes
Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

 

This site is very skeptical as for the viability of Neoliberalism as a social system and had distinct pro "New Deal" capitalism bias. You are warned.

And yes, my friends, like Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme character, who he was surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it., you are living under neoliberal regime without knowing it.  And this regime is not the same as democracy. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

What is really interesting is that the term "neoliberalism"  has the status of a semi-taboo in the USA, and seldom can be found in articles published by the USA MSM, due to some kind of "silence" pact ;-).

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Who Rules America


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[Mar 23, 2017] F@ck Work?

Notable quotes:
"... By Scott Ferguson, an assistant professor of Film & Media Studies in the Department of Humanities & Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida. His current research and pedagogy focus on Modern Monetary Theory and critiques of neoliberalism; aesthetic theory; the history of digital animation and visual effects; and essayistic writing across media platforms. Originally published at Arcade ..."
"... requirement ..."
"... You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone ..."
"... F-k Stupid Jobs with Bad Pay ..."
"... F-k Work ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on January 5, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. The reason I prefer a jobs guarantee (with an income guarantee at a lower income level) is that the time an income guarantee was implemented on an open-ended, long term basis, it produced an unskilled underclass (see our post on the Speenhamland system for more detail).

Moreover, the idea that people are brimming with all sorts of creative things they'd do if they had an income to allow themselves to do it is bunk. For instance, MacArthur Foundation grant recipients, arguably some of the very most creative people in society, almost without exception do not do anything productive while they have their grant funding. And let us not kid ourselves: most people are not creative and need structure and pressure to get anything done.

Finally, humans are social animals. Work provides a community. If you are extraverted and need to be around people during the day, it's hard to create enough opportunities for interaction on your own.

By Scott Ferguson, an assistant professor of Film & Media Studies in the Department of Humanities & Cultural Studies at the University of South Florida. His current research and pedagogy focus on Modern Monetary Theory and critiques of neoliberalism; aesthetic theory; the history of digital animation and visual effects; and essayistic writing across media platforms. Originally published at Arcade

In the wake of Donald Trump's alarming election to the White House, historian James Livingston published an essay in Aeon Magazine with the somewhat provocative title, " Fuck Work ." The piece encapsulates the argument spelled out in Livingston's latest book, No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea (The University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

In both his book and the Aeon essay, Livingston sets out to address several overlapping crises: an alienating and now exhausted "work ethic" that crystallized during the Protestant Reformation; forty years of rampant underemployment, declining wages, and widening inequality; a corresponding surge in financial speculation and drop in productive investment and aggregate demand; and a post-2008 climate of cultural resentment and political polarization, which has fueled populist uprisings from Left to Right.

What the present catastrophe shows, according to Livingston's diagnosis, is the ultimate failure of the marketplace to provision and distribute social labor. What's worse, the future of work looks dismal. Citing the works of Silicon Valley cyber-utopians and orthodox economists at Oxford and M.I.T., Livingston insists that algorithms and robotization will reduce the workforce by half within twenty years and that this is unstoppable, like some perverse natural process. "The measurable trends of the past half-century, and the plausible projections for the next half-century, are just too empirically grounded to dismiss as dismal science or ideological hokum," he concludes. "They look like the data on climate change-you can deny them if you like, but you'll sound like a moron when you do."

Livingston's response to this "empirical," "measurable," and apparently undeniable doomsday scenario is to embrace the collapse of working life without regret. "Fuck work" is Livingston's slogan for moving beyond the demise of work, transforming a negative condition into a positive sublation of collective life.

In concrete terms, this means implementing progressive taxation to capture corporate earnings, and then redistributing this money through a " Universal Basic Income ," what in his book is described as a "minimum annual income for every citizen." Such a massive redistribution of funds would sever the historical relationship between work and wages, in Livingston's view, freeing un- and underemployed persons to pursue various personal and communal ends. Such a transformation is imminently affordable, since there are plenty of corporate funds to seize and redirect to those in need. The deeper problem, as Livingston sees it, is a moral one. We must rebuff the punishing asceticism of the Protestant work ethic and, instead, reorganize the soul on more free and capacious bases.

Lest we get the wrong idea, Livingston maintains that social labor will not simply disappear in a world organized by a tax-funded Universal Basic Income. Rather, he envisions an increasingly automated future, where leisure is our primary preoccupation, social labor becomes entirely voluntary, and ongoing consumption props up aggregate demand. Eschewing utopian plans or prescriptions, he wonders,

What would society and civilisation be like if we didn't have to 'earn' a living-if leisure was not our choice but our lot? Would we hang out at the local Starbucks, laptops open? Or volunteer to teach children in less-developed places, such as Mississippi? Or smoke weed and watch reality TV all day?

Enraged over the explosion of underpaid and precarious service work? Disaffected by soulless administration and info management positions? Indignant about the history of unfree labor that underwrites the history of the so-called "free market"? Want more free time? Not enough work to go around? Well, then, fuck work, declares Livingston. Say goodbye to the old liberal-democratic goal of full employment and bid good riddance to misery, servitude, and precarity.

"Fuck work" has struck a chord with a diverse crowd of readers. Since its release, the essay has garnered more than 350,000 clicks on the Aeon website. The Spanish publication Contexto y Acción has released a translation of the piece. And weeks later, Livingston's rallying cry continues to resonate through social media networks. "Fuck Work" has been enthusiastically retweeted by everyone from Marxists and small "l" liberals to anarchists and tech gurus.

The trouble is that Livingston's "Fuck Work" falls prey to an impoverished and, in a sense, classically Liberal social ontology, which reifies the neoliberal order it aims to transform. Disavowing modern humanity's reliance on broadscale political governance and robust public infrastructures, this Liberal ontology predicates social life on immediate and seemingly "free" associations, while its critical preoccupation with tyranny and coercion eschews the charge of political interdependence and caretaking. Like so many Universal Basic Income supporters on the contemporary Left, Livingston doubles down on this contracted relationality. Far from a means to transcend neoliberal governance, Livingston's triumphant negation of work only compounds neoliberalism's two-faced retreat from collective governance and concomitant depoliticization of social production and distribution.

In a previous contribution to Arcade, I critiqued the Liberal conception of money upon which Marxists such as Livingston unquestionably rely. According to this conception, money is a private, finite and alienable quantum of value, which must be wrested from private coffers before it can be made to serve the public purpose. By contrast, Modern Monetary Theory contends that money is a boundless and fundamentally inalienable public utility. That utility is grounded in political governance. And government can always afford to support meaningful social production, regardless of its ability to capture taxes from the rich. The result: employment is always and everywhere a political decision, not merely a function of private enterprise, boom and bust cycles, and automation. There is therefore nothing inevitable about underemployment and the misery it induces. In no sense are we destined for a "jobless future."

Thus upon encountering Aeon Magazine's tagline for Livingston's piece-"What if jobs are not the solution, but the problem?"-I immediately began wondering otherwise.

What if we rebuffed the white patriarchal jargon of full employment, which keeps millions of poor, women, and minorities underemployed and imprisoned? What if, in lieu of this liberal-democratic ruse, we made an all-inclusive and well-funded federal Job Guarantee the basis for a renewed leftist imaginary?

What if we stopped believing that capitalists and automation are responsible for determining how and when we labor together? What if we quit imagining that so-called "leisure" spontaneously organizes itself like the laissez-faire markets we elsewhere decry?

What if we created a public works system, which set a just and truly livable wage floor for the entire economy? What if we made it impossible for reprehensible employers like Walmart to exploit the underprivileged, while multiplying everyone's bargaining powers? What if we used such a system to decrease the average work day, to demand that everyone has healthcare, and to increase the quality of social participation across public and private sectors? What if economic life was no longer grounded solely in the profit motive?

What if we cared for all of our children, sick, and growing elderly population? What if we halved teacher-student ratios across all grade levels? What if we built affordable homes for everyone? What if there was a community garden on every block? What if we made our cities energy efficient? What if we expanded public libraries? What if we socialized and remunerated historically unpaid care work? What if public art centers became standard features of neighborhoods? What if we paid young people to document the lives of retirees?

What if we guaranteed that Black lives really matter ? What if, in addition to dismantling the prison industrial complex, we created a rich and welcoming world where everyone, citizen or not, has the right to participation and care?

What if private industry's rejection of workers freed the public to organize social labor on capacious, diverse, and openly contested premises?

What if public works affirmed inclusion, collaboration, and difference? What if we acknowledged that the passions of working life are irreducible to a largely mythical Protestant work ethic? What if questioning the meaning and value of work become part of working life itself?

What if we predicated social critique on terms that are not defined by the neoliberal ideology that we wish to circumvent?

What if we radically affirmed our dependence on the public institutions that support us? What if we forced government to take responsibility for the system it already conditions?

What if we admitted that there are no limits to how we can care for one another and that, as a political community, we can always afford it?

Livingston's argument cannot abide such questions. Hence the Left's reply to "fuck work" should be clear: fuck that.

1 0 24 0 0 This entry was posted in Credit markets , Economic fundamentals , Free markets and their discontents , Guest Post , Income disparity , Politics , Social policy , Social values , The destruction of the middle class on January 5, 2017 by Yves Smith .
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Subscribe to Post Comments 131 comments BecauseTradition , January 5, 2017 at 4:58 am

Again the seemingly endless conflation of work, good, with being a wage slave, not so good. Progressives would do well to focus on justice and that does not include making victims work for restitution. One would think Progressives would wish to f@uck wage slavery, not perpetuate it.

Finally, humans are social animals. Work provides a community. If you are extraverted and need to be around people during the day, it's hard to create enough opportunities for interaction on your own. Yves Smith

I solve that problem with volunteer labor at a local laundry. I do it ONLY when my favorite worker is there because I like her, she has a family to support, she is overworked, she is in constant pain from fibromyalgia, has carpal tunnel syndrome and because of the interesting people I get to see there.

How can I afford to do meaningful work for free? Because I'm retired and have a guaranteed income from Social Security and a small pension.

And let's be honest. A guaranteed job as opposed to a guaranteed income is meant to boost wages by withholding labor from the private sector. But who needs wages with an adequate guaranteed income?

cocomaan , January 5, 2017 at 8:58 am

I'll also piggyback onto this, even though I am not keen on basic income until I see a little more work put into it.

Many people aren't actually contributing anything in any given work environment in our current system. To expect differently if we have a guaranteed jobs program seems naive.

In the administrative structures I've worked under (both private and non profit, often interacting with government), many workers have obstructionist compliance responsibilities. Decisions are put off through nonsense data gathering and reporting, signatures in triplicate, etc. It's why I've become a huge proponent of the Garbage Can theory of administration: most of the work being done is actually to connect or disconnect problems from decision making. When it comes down to it, there are only a few actual decision makers within an organization, with everyone else there to CYA. That goes for any bureaucracy, private or public.

David Graeber has detailed the "bullshit jobs" phenomenon pretty well, and dismantles bureaucracy in his book, and says all this better than I. But the federal job guarantee seems like a path to a bureaucratic hell. Of course, an income guarantee for the disabled, mental, physical, otherwise, is absolutely critical.

Left in Wisconsin , January 5, 2017 at 11:46 am

There is no magic bullet, whether JG or UBI. But I think the author and Yves are absolutely correct in asserting that there is no workable UBI under the current political economy. It would by definition not meet the needs its proponents claim it could because private (and non-profit!) employers would scream about how it was raising labor costs and otherwise destroying the "real" "productive" economy. A UBI after the revolution? Perhaps. Before? Extremely problematic.

On the other hand, a JG that emphasized care work (including paying people to parent) and energy efficiency would meet screaming needs in our society and provide many people with important new skills, many of which would be transferable to the private economy. But even here, the potential pitfalls and problems are numerous, and there would no doubt be stumbles and scandals.

Jesper , January 5, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Two things:
1. Goverments can hire people without a JG, the argument that the JG is necessary for the goverment to find employees is therefore not a very convincing argument.
2. Increasing and enforcing reduced hours an employer can demand of a worker will strengthen the bargaining position of all workers. But the people advocating the JG appears to see the reduced hours of work as a bad thing? People get to meet people at work but the more pleasant interaction (to me) comes outside of work with the same people.

How many paid days off should a person in JG get? As many as Germans get? Or the Japanese? Or?
When can a person in JG retire? At 60? 65? 70? When does work in JG stop being a blessing and instead living at leisure is the bliss? Are we all to be assumed to live for work?

And finally: If income guarantee is too liberal, isn't job-guarantee too much of one of its opposites – totalitarian?

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Why on earth is a Jobs Guarantee totalitarian?

Jesper , January 5, 2017 at 3:12 pm

most people are not creative and need structure and pressure to get anything done.

How does JG put pressure and structure onto people?

lyman alpha blob , January 5, 2017 at 3:46 pm

I think a combination of both would be best. As has been said many times here, a lot of current jobs are complete BS anyway and I don't really want to be guaranteed a job just so I can take the dirt out of Boss Keen's ditch and then put it back in.

Then there's automation which has already taken away a lot of jobs and will continue to do so. That's not a bad thing as long as people are still getting an income.

As there likely isn't enough productive work to go around, ideally there would be a UBI and instead of a job guarantee, have a minimal job requirement . That exact amount of work required could be tinkered with, but maybe it's a couple days a week, a few months a year, or something similar. You'd have to report to work in order to be able to collect your UBI when your work was no longer required.

When you're not doing required work, you can relax and live off your UBI or engage in some sort of non-essential free enterprise.

Yves Smith Post author , January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

I don't know what sort of fantasy land you live in. Being an adult means doing stuff that is not fun so that you and your family can survive. This is the nature of the human condition, from the hunter-gatherer phases of existence onward. You see to believe that you have the right to be paid for doing stuff you enjoy. And the sort of jobs you deem to be "bullshit jobs" would seem like paradise to coal miners or people who had to go backbreaking manual work or factory workers in sweatshops in the 19th century. Go read Dickens or Karl Marx to get some perspective.

Kurt Sperry , January 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Was this meant to be a reply to cocomaan's post? It seems like it's replying to something else.

If I understand "Bullshit jobs" aren't bullshit because they are unpleasant to do, but because they are to some significant degree unproductive or even counterproductive. Administrative bloat in acedemia is pretty much the gold standard here from my perspective. They are great jobs to have and to do, just useless, unnecessary, and often counterproductive ones. High rise office buildings are, I have always suspected, staffed with a lot of these well paid administrative types of bullshit jobs.

rd , January 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm

The Civilian Conservation Corps is, to my mind, the single most important civilian jobs program of the past century because it provided millions of people meaningful work at a time when they could not get it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_Conservation_Corps

The military also provides a similar function to many people with no other way out of a poor situation. It is likely that one of the reasons that there was such a huge economic post WW II economic boom is because many people (men and women) learned discipline and skills in the military and industrial work places during WW II.

Problems with deadlines are the key drivers for productivity. If there are no problems defined with no deadline, then most people will simply drift. Occasionally a Faraday, Edison, or Einstein will show up who will simply endlessly grind through theoretical and experimental failures on ill-defined problems to come up with something brilliant. Even Maxwell needed Faraday's publications of his experiments showing electro-magnetic fields to get him to come up with his great equations.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 12:33 pm

The assumption that work (for profit) is good is very entrenched in culture. The argument that people aren't motivated to work (Americans are lazy) is disputed by the sheer amount of 'volunteerism' (unpaid labor).

Corporations are not going to give up on marketing jobs as they get the vast benefit of labors efforts.No one system works it will take employee ownership to counteract the negatives of private ownership and a ubi along with a job guarantee and expenditures on leisure to shift from a consumer based economy.

I always thought that people were supposed to argue for more than they want and then settle. Here the argument is always on the right side of the political spectrum capitalism and private ownership. Privatize schools and then use a transfer of wealth through taxes and a captured labor force to work in them?

swendr , January 5, 2017 at 5:27 am

Job guarantee all the way, as long as our bosses aren't dicks. We've already kicked people off of public assistance and into shitty underpaid jobs. If having a job is so important, there should always be a good one available. And anyone that can't or won't work can live off a limited basic income. Makes for a smooth and just transition too when our dirty, dull, and dangerous industries are shut down or automated out of existence.

philnc , January 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

Which brings us, along the way, to the need for meaningful educational opportunities for those who the system has heretofore failed.

Concrete case in point. My cousin is a young, single mom in central North Carolina who works hard but is just barely scraping by. Recently my wife and I decided to help her out by giving her the money she'd need to get broadband service so that she and her teenage daughter could take advantage of free, high quality online resources like EdX.org ( https://edx.org , check it out if you haven't yet). But actually getting her hooked up has been a challenge because the Internet provider Duopoly dropped their most affordable plans sometime last year (around $15/mo) so that the cost will now be a minimum of $40/mo before modem rental, taxes and whatever other fees the carriers can dream up (for the techs out there, even DSL costs $35/mo in that service area). This in a state where there's a law prohibiting local governments from providing Internet services to its citizens in competition with the Duopoly, and where a private initiative like Google Fiber has stumbled so badly that it actually has had a negative impact on price competition.

Of course you might say this is a first world problem, heck at least we have (semi) affordable electricity nowadays. But this happens to be a first world country, where big business pushes paperless constantly to cut its own costs and a semester in college is basically the price of a recent model preowned sedan, _every semester_.

So, a guaranteed job for everyone PLUS the resources to learns what's needed to obtain a job that's more than another dead-end.

P.S. Anyone who has ever tried to use free Internet services at their local library knows that's not a viable option both because of restrictive timeouts and bandwidth caps.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Bosses will be more likely to be dicks when their employees are a captured labor pool. If you don't comply with commands you'll be out of your 'job guarantee'.

jgordon , January 5, 2017 at 5:37 am

I support Yves' idea for a basic income as a default position for disabled people. Although I'll advocate for something a bit different if possible for the ambulatory: instead of a monetary income, let's provide free basic rations and solar panels, along with a small plot of land in a rural area, free gardening and household supplies, (including free seeds that are appropriate for the given area). And free classes in ecology, cooking, composting, soil management, blacksmithing, carpentry, appropriate technolies and any other good stuff I happen to think of.

As for what the guest poster wrote–well he seems like a good guy but this social justice warrior thing is a dying fad that'll provoke a very unpleasant counter reaction if it keeps up for much longer. I'm positive that Trump garnered thousands of votes in those vital Midwestern swing states thanks to the highly visible sjw activities on campuses, and theis backlash is only going to increase as this goes on.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

I have a son with a disability. Without a job, he would watch movies all day.

With a job he becomes a productive part of society. He loves it and he is dedicated. It also gives him the opportunity to bond with people which is hard when you don't have full autonomy because of some aspects of your disability.

From my personal experience, a large percentage of people with a disabilities would prefer a job to income guarantee.

And many would be quite happy with what most consider shit jobs.

Arizona Slim , January 5, 2017 at 9:56 am

Amen, Moneta!

My mom shops at a store that hires intellectually disabled people to do things like shopping cart roundups and bagging customers' groceries. These aren't the kinds of jobs that most of us would flock to, but that's our perspective.

Uahsenaa , January 5, 2017 at 10:25 am

I have to second this. Having worked briefly with developmentally challenged students, they have a much easier go of things when they feel empowered, when they feel like they have some control over their lives, despite the challenges they face. Rendering them even more helpless simply increases frustration and exacerbates existing problems.

Which I think should be brought into the larger argument. It surprises me that any Marxist worth her salt would glomp onto this, when, it seems, the purpose is to further alienate people from the means of production and control over the political economy. When Silicon Valley types and Charles Murray are arguing for it, you have to wonder what the underlying reasons might be. Murray never met a poor or uneducated person he didn't want to drive into the ground, so I find it rather curious that he would suddenly be all for a form of social welfare.

And as to the boss point above, there's nothing stopping anyone from making the jobs program have a cooperative structure. As the article says, these are all political choices, not naturally occurring phenomena.

Romancing The Loan , January 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm

When Silicon Valley types and Charles Murray are arguing for it, you have to wonder what the underlying reasons might be.

My tankie friends on Twitter think that basic income is a trojan horse that's going to be used to try and trick the American public into ending Social Security and Medicare. They're usually right, sadly.

Stephanie , January 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

It seems to me as if basic income would also be a great excuse to chip away even further at the idea if public education and single-payer health care as social goods. If your parents aren't able to shell out for them, well, you don't need to be healthy or literate to recieve UBI.

lyman alpha blob , January 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

If there were both a UBI and a job requirement rather than a job guarantee, that might solve the problem you mentioned.

If everyone were required to work a certain amount in essential services like housing, food production, health care, etc before they could collect a UBI, that would require a trained and healthy workforce.

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Yep. The level will be set by the requirements for rental extraction, and nothing else. There will be no surplus over that amount.

RC , January 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm

As a disabed person myself I would argue it's not jobs that disabled people are necessarily after, it's being able to actively participate in society in a contributing, meaningful and productive way, to be included in something with a purpose, a purpose you believe in. If income is not an issue, most people would still engage in projects. Your son would watch movies all day only because there is no better role to play, we are at a transition stage where disabled people, still considered invalids, are being discovered to be not so invalid.

I take issue with the notion that disabled people would be happy to do any deadend work. We deserve more and better than that, everyone does.

I'm a deaf person with a talent which fintech wants and needs, which so happens to be ensuring our tech is accessible, inclusve, making it so much better; so disabled people can truly participate in society, to do all the same things tech supposedly does to liberate while making it truly liberating for all.

But we are also socially responsible for finding meaningful and significant work for the talents disabled people actually have, as opposed to getting them to do something stupid because it's something to do and they're disabled and so should be satisfied with whatever they get. We're not vegetables, nobody is. So that goes for non-disabled folks too.

Which brings us to the heart of this UBI/JG discussion, either you're coming to this from a perspective of people should have jobs, any job, cuz they're basically vegetables or some kind of autonomous machination which goes through motions and capitalism doesn't work without those machinations so there's some kind of moral imperative to labour or wage slavery, and the measure or class of a person is whether they are jobbed machinations/slaves, or UBI/JG is secondary to the question of are people as a whole happy and doing what they'd rather be doing, are they truly participating in society, as part of the human project.

That's the reality most corporations are facing at the moment. The meaning and nature of "work" itself is undergoing change, becoming "play", as capitalism shoots itself in the foot and in the drive for profit either necessitates socialism and classlessness, or mass social upheaval and less profits.

RC

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Thank you. It gets tiresome that the default is people are lazy. People are describing what seems to be human nature . the desire to connect with others and to contribute.

Laughingsong , January 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm

After reading some of these arguments, and thinking about what I have experienced and seen, I think there are merits to both approaches (UBI and JG). From experience I can't entirely agree with Yves that people would remain unskilled and not pursue activities that engage with others and improve their lives and skills. Perhaps this is because I have always been fascinated by and have known many Hippy communities. I live in Eugene Oregon now, but grew up in San Francisco. The running joke I was told was that all the hippies left SF and came to Eugene because there were no jobs :-). I did see hippy groups in SF that did pretty much nothing but play all day. They didn't last. However, here in Eugene I see many lasting legacies of what they built after they "dropped out"; many if not most of my favorite businesses were created by these people: the alternative groceries like Sundance (supposedly Whole Foods was purported to model themselves after this store-bah!) and Kiva and Growers Market, the Saturday and Farmers Markets, Tsunami books. The Oregon Country Fair, the coops. Not all were directly started by "hippies" per se but the early hippy groups did much to create a culture and an environment that encourages this.

I also know a lot of people here that work "precariously" and there are times when work is hard to come by. But these people do not seem to sit around, they find other things to do, like learn about gardening, or get skills volunteering for Bring recycling (they do things like find creative re-use or "decom" houses slated for demolition and take out useful items), or Habitat for Humanity, or Center for Appropriate Transport (bicycle and human powered), or local tree planting and park cleanup. They often find work this way, and make connections, and get new skills. They don't have to But they want to stay active and involved.

This is why I think UBI is not such a bad thing.. I know many people who would benefit and still do many things like I've described I also am aware that there are more general tasks that society needs doing and that is where the JG might come in. But maybe Eugene is too much of an exception?

Of course, all this is besides what these policies may be used for by the PTB. That's an entirely different discussion; here I am arguing the merits, not the agendas.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 2:52 pm

I was careful to use the word many and not all people with disabilities.

My son has an intellectual disability. He needs to be instructed and the routine will not come on its own unless it is well practiced. But as long as someone is directing, he does great work.

It is obvious by your post that the menial job he would enjoy does not correspond to what you could offer the world!

I spent hours holding him in the NICU, worrying about his future until one day, instead of feeling sorry for the both of us, I looked around and noticed a regular guy, apathetic looking, spending his entire day cleaning and disinfecting the room then the thought came to me that someone with special needs could do the same job and actually be happy.

Around that time, I read an article about the problems they were now encountering with the integration of people with special needs in France. It would seem that when the job became boring, many would just stop showing up to work Why bother when the state and society has always been there for support that's what happens when individuals never get to feel true independence.

Any action that produces a good or a service is a form of work. Hugging is a service. So are smiling and cleaning a toilet.

For some reason we have huge trouble putting monetary value on many of the most essential services.

We are also having a very hard time filling the jobs with individuals who have the right skill set and temperament.

I don't know how we solve these issues.

rd , January 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Amidst the miserable news of 2016, this uplifting story of a woman with Down's syndrome retiring after working 32 years restored my faith in the potential of humanity. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/08/29/down-syndrome-mcdonalds-retirement-freia-david/

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Oy .. make the disabled do hard labor of agriculture? Blind? Deaf around heavy machinery? Wheelchairs on plowed land?

You are proposing this as it seems enriching, gets them out of your community, and is economically sound. This lifestyle choice should apply to everyone. Let any who want do this and you will have removed people from the labor pool (made up unemployment number magically goes down) less resource consumption.

Marco , January 5, 2017 at 5:39 am

Thanks Yves for pounding this issue. As a former lazy BIG'er I am naturally wired to stare at my navel all day. I think at the heart of it we have an existential problem with toil. Tcherneva's succinct take-down of BIG vs JG also set me on the straight and narrow. Plus she spanks Yglesias which is always enjoyable.

Marco , January 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

My biggest quibble with JG is that "work" often involves needless consumption. Most people (in America) require a car and 1-2 dangerous hours a day getting to and from "work". Personally this is a very good reason NOT to work.

Leigh , January 5, 2017 at 8:59 am

1-2 dangerous hours a day getting to and from "work".

The reason I get to work 2 hours before I'm required to is because I find driving to work is the most stressful part of my day. I commute while the roads are quiet. The deterioration in driving etiquette is maddening. It is dog eat dog out there. The fact that we are all flying around at 70 MPH in 4,000 pounds of steel and glass is lost on most drivers.

dontknowitall , January 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm

I think there should be an indicator on the dashboard showing the probability of surviving a frontal impact at your current road speed, people might slow down as they saw the number approach zero

George Phillies , January 5, 2017 at 6:12 am

"If you are extraverted and need to be around people during the day, it's hard to create enough opportunities for interaction on your own."
People have all sorts of mental quirks, but to what extent do we rig society to handle them? As a justification for work, this one sounds expensive.

I Have Strange Dreams , January 5, 2017 at 7:01 am

We are social creatures. That's not a quirk, just a fact. The average work environment already has people with various "quirks". Some are chatty, some not. Not a big deal, no need for a radical redesign.

As for costs – unemployment imposes devastating costs in sickness, addiction, crime, etc. JG is a no-brainer. It's been tried with great success in Argentina. It works. There's a slogan for ya: Work Works .

roadrider , January 5, 2017 at 8:05 am

We are social creatures.

Well, OK, but we all vary in the level of our sociability. Some need people around them all the time others value their solitude and still others are in between.

That's not a quirk, just a fact.

One that you're overstating.

The average work environment already has people with various "quirks". Some are chatty, some not. Not a big deal,

Actually, it is a big deal since noise and lack of privacy are two of the biggest problems in today's workplaces, particularly those with "open work space" designs. I speak from personal experience here.

no need for a radical redesign.

Ummm, yeah, there actually is.

Massinissa , January 5, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Whether or not JG is the answer or not, there is most definitely a need for a radical redesign of the capitalist workplace

jgordon , January 5, 2017 at 8:15 am

I'd rather be out in the woods spending my time growing fruit trees. I hate people–and reading above about all the inspirational work the government would be giving me and the people I'd have to be around while while doing it left me wondering about whether or not going postal would be a good idea.

Secondly, the wishlist I saw above for everything the government is supposed to be doing to help people was pretty scary. Ehile the intentions might be good, power like this given to government never, ever turns out well for the people. As an example, let's say Scott waved his magic wand and suddenly Trump had all the power and authority he needed to accomplish everything on Scott's list today. Alright, now try to imagine just how awful the next four years would be. Not good!

Uahsenaa , January 5, 2017 at 10:32 am

I sympathize with the desire to just be alone and do your own thing–I'm like that as well–but I think you're missing an important aspect of the argument, one which Tcherneva makes more forcefully, which is that there is a knock on benefit of people being more engaged in public life: they are harder to politically disenfranchise. I wouldn't be surprise if one of the reasons why elites are so gung ho about UBI is that it would serve to further alienate people and fragment communities, thus preventing them from organizing anything like meaningful resistance to state power.

Also, Ferguson kind of already addressed this:

What if private industry's rejection of workers freed the public to organize social labor on capacious, diverse, and openly contested premises?

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 11:26 am

The problem with a JG and that line of argument, is that JG does not propose to engage people more in public life than an Unconditional Income, as an Unconditional Income is by definition, far more inclusive of all kinds of work that people may do for others.

You may even do things that nobody in a society approves of, with an Unconditional Income, like trying to prove that the world is round, not flat.

JG got nothing on enabling people to be active citizens. It's a policy to look backwards, or it's so inclusive that it's basically an unconditional income to everyone. You gotta be willed to take a long shot sometimes (increasingly often, looking at the world as it is today and might increasingly be tomorrow), to properly empower people so they can be active citizens.

jsn , January 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm

As best I can tell UI doesn't engage people at all: by what mechanism does UI engage people "more in public life?"

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:46 pm

How about we have more public housing I would like to see boarding houses come back but another option could be monastery type living? There could even be separate ones for men, women and families that way you could select a monastery that is focused on agriculture and you could have space away from women.

Laughingsong , January 5, 2017 at 2:00 pm

I sometimes have incredibly vivid dreams. One of them I hade a couple of years ago was somewhat apocolyptic; something had happened (unknown) and I was in a dilapidated city of middlin' size. The blocks of cheek-by-jowl houses and storefronts were all boarded up. But I entered one and found that 1) they had been connected by knocking down walls between them, and 2) the Interior Of the block was completely open. All the buildings faced inward (no boarded windows) and that had been transformed into a Commons with gardens, vegetables, corrals, parklands, small outbuildings. Maybe something like that .

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm

It would never happen but eminent domain should apply to abandoned buildings. If it's been unused for x amount of years, it's raffled off for public use . housing, education etc. Heck, it could apply to manufacturing. If a corp wants to leave, don't let the door hitcha, but that building is going to the employees as a coop as competition is as good for the goose as it is for the gander.

I would imagine more people will be having dreams like yours if things keep declining and people try to imagine what's next.

jjmacjohnson , January 5, 2017 at 6:54 am

Actually I know a few artist who won the Guggenheim Award and I beg to differ. Art is not something that given bunch of money produces great work. It comes with time and time spent contemplating and thinking. Most of the artists who won had to work to pay the bills before. Many were teachers and many still are. There are so few fine artists who just make art. The 1980s really pulled the wool over non-artists eyes.

Case in point since getting the grant, not right after of course, Cara Walker made one the best pieces of her career. A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.

Plus she continues to teach.

timround2 , January 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

She won the MacArthur Foundation Award.

Yves Smith Post author , January 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Sorry, it was MacArthur Foundation grant winners who typically do not do much during the grant period. Fixing the post.

Disturbed Voter , January 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

Job guarantee maybe, but not corvee. We can have jobs for everyone, if we build pyramids. Forced labor is totalitarian. But entitlement and free lunches are destructive of society. Neo-liberalism involves entitlement and free lunch for some people, and for some countries (I see what you are doing to everyone else USA, GB, Germany, Japan). Entitlement isn't just for individuals. I love my work, as long as it is "sort of" a free choice. Economic necessity works for most of us, and while wage and debt slavery aren't fun, they are both better than chattel slavery.

I Have Strange Dreams , January 5, 2017 at 7:05 am

In a country like the USA, the only limit on socially useful, meaningful work for everyone is the will and creativity to do it. Off the top of my head I can think of more programs that could be implemented than people to fill them.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 8:26 am

I agree. But the problem seems to reside in the link between the services and the hard goods.

One is unlimited while the other is limited so the human tendency is to use money from the unlimited side and consume/stock up/hoard the hard goods creating a scarcity.

I don't see how we can solve that problem with property rights as they are protected now.

In my mind, land and resources would have to be a common good why should someone get the waterfront property or more arable land or pools of oil just because of a birthright or some other non sharing policy.

Going even further, why should some groups/countries benefit from resources while not sharing with others?

Lots of sharing problems to deal with nationally and globally before we get it right

For the last few decades, our system has been based on debt to income and debt to GDP. Those nations and individuals who loaded up on it did ok . so we did not think of the fair distribution of resources.

But now that debt levels are hitting what we consider ceilings we will be changing the rules of the game you know what happens when someone decides to invent their own rules in a board game midway through the game!

All this to say that even if we guarantee jobs the physical world of resources will constrain us.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm

There needs to be a shift from work and consumption to leisure. Leisure is infinite . walking trails, biking trails, parks, movies/music in the parks (our community puts up a big screen and a 150 or so show up with lawn chairs, snacks and blankets), art shows, community theatre, festivals, music, picnic areas, chess/checkers concrete tables .

I want to start a game library: sort of a pub/restaurant with games. Have a bite, beer and a game of scrabble. I like the idea of pub nites with quiz events. If there were public buildings, gathering spaces would not have to make a 'profit', public health would be the benefit.

schultz , January 5, 2017 at 7:13 am

"What if public works affirmed inclusion, collaboration, and difference? What if we acknowledged that the passions of working life are irreducible to a largely mythical Protestant work ethic? What if questioning the meaning and value of work become part of working life itself?

"What if we predicated social critique on terms that are not defined by the neoliberal ideology that we wish to circumvent?

"What if we radically affirmed our dependence on the public institutions that support us? What if we forced government to take responsibility for the system it already conditions?

"What if we admitted that there are no limits to how we can care for one another and that, as a political community, we can always afford it?"

First, thanks for this article – this is a good and interesting debate to have.

It makes me suspicious that the author's sort of trump-card, climactic 'takedown' of UBI is a series of questions rather than answers. Things which even the author can't figure out the answer to, apparently, so how can they expect UBI to have the answers.

Think about the answers (i.e. in terms of, policy changes to people's material lives) to the questions posed above. What would any of those policies look like? Who knows?

My point is, it's easy to make things (including UBI) look dumb by comparing them to impossibly high vague standards like "no limits to how we can care for one another."

If the author had a better more concrete, specific reason why UBI is bad, they would have used that, yeah?

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

In my view, Unconditional Incomes answer these questions without being wasteful of human life, and with being unconditionally pro-labor, as opposed to being conditionally pro labor as a JG would be. JG only empowers labor that is recognized immediately, by some body of people who do not represent the valuations of all who are part of society.

Unconditional Incomes recognize labor that only later might generate appreciable results, and it recognizes broad valuation of the fine grained process where it is societally worthwhile, as individuals perceive it. If understood as enablement and pay for all labor related time, unconditionally.

Pay beyond that would be representation of how much respect you command, how much you desire to obtain monopoly incomes, and how much you might hate a job. But not the labor value. That's what unconditional incomes can provide. To the guy writing open source for a greater benefit to many, to the hardworking construction worker whose job involves a lot of undesirable factors (for which he may demand additional comensation), to the superstar/superbrand owner who seeks to maximize customer awareness and monetization with a blend of natural and artificial marketing and monopolization strategies, and to the guy who strategically maximizes market incomes to do even greater things for society than what he could be doing with just writing open source.

On that note, thanks Amazon for pushing the envelope. At least for the time being. We can financially burden all of these market/rent incomes to provide unconditional (labor) incomes, to ensure that there's not too much emphasis on just cashing in on your good (brand) name and market position. Coca Cola is a prime example for what such a cashing in would look like. Customers are beasts of convenience, unless there's breakthroughs that radically improve on some process of delivery or production, that somehow isn't taken notice of by the big brand, before another active citizen takes the opportunity to compete by help of it.

tl;dr: No to turning society into a glorified Arnish settlement, yes to Amazon as it is today, though with a higher tax burden, yes to unconditional incomes, yes to political activism, independent research, parenting work, work for being a decent person among equal people that may look however like you chose.

jsn , January 5, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Its way back up there at the top:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/01/the-failure-of-a-past-basic-income-guarantee-the-speenhamland-system.html

BIG was tried before with disastrous results. When a BIG program can be proven to address its deep and complex past failure, it may be worth a try. I agree with Yves on when and where an IG is appropriate until someone somewhere test drives a better one.

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Don't worry, most UBI experiments and proposals nowadays aren't 'Income Guarantees' but rather Unconditional payments to all, or Tapered negative income tax proposals (britain's RSA has a UBI equivalent NIT proposal like that at least), on top of which people could earn more. Only experienceing regular taxation or a modest clawback rate of the benefit.

UBI is commonly understood to not be a top-up to the same point for everyone as the speenhamland system was, which of course destroys motivation to expose oneself to a strenuous environment, when you can't actually get compensated for your troubles. Any sensible person would tell you that the speenhamland system was an insane offer to the people, it asked of people to work for free, basically.

As for UBI experiments, they're generally rather encouraging. Particularly this coincidental observation might give prove to be useful, if you're concerned about the timely restricted nature of pilot projects/experiments. http://www.demos.org/blog/1/19/14/cherokee-tribes-basic-income-success-story

jsn , January 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

By what mechanism does UI prevent employers from bidding down wages? As Yves post form last year says, "Taxes would therefore need to be increased to offset those effects. The best tax outcome you could expect would be a progressive tax on income. Thus the end result in a best-case scenario would be tantamount to a means-tested BIG, graduated so as to avoid any sudden cutoff for someone who wanted to work. Thus the result (whether achieved directly or indirectly) is likely to resemble Milton Friedman's negative income tax, with the zero tax rate set at a living wage level." Meaning the UI just pushes free money into an otherwise unchanged system incentivized from the top down to soak that money back up and out.

So pushing more money into the system just inflates the system while sustaining the ongoing upward redistribution.

Thus: "The trouble is that Livingston's "Fuck Work" falls prey to an impoverished and, in a sense, classically Liberal social ontology, which reifies the neoliberal order it aims to transform. Disavowing modern humanity's reliance on broadscale political governance and robust public infrastructures, this Liberal ontology predicates social life on immediate and seemingly "free" associations, while its critical preoccupation with tyranny and coercion eschews the charge of political interdependence and caretaking. Like so many Universal Basic Income supporters on the contemporary Left, Livingston doubles down on this contracted relationality. Far from a means to transcend neoliberal governance, Livingston's triumphant negation of work only compounds neoliberalism's two-faced retreat from collective governance and concomitant depoliticization of social production and distribution."

craazyamn , January 5, 2017 at 7:33 am

It sounds like it's is going to be a lot of work - to abolish work.

Who's gonna do all the work involved? LOL.

If you think of sub-cultures where nobody works - like ancient Roman nobles, Europes aristocrats, gang-bangers, southern antebellum planters– mostly they got into fights about nonsense and then killed each other. That is something to consider.

craazyboy , January 5, 2017 at 9:05 am

The crap jobs will be the easiest to get rid of, but then we won't have any necessary goods and services. The Romans knew this, which is why they had a pretty good run before collapsing.

OTOH, with so much more humanity getting their creative juices going, we could end up with lots and lots of art. There would be so much art, it would probably be given away for free!

Then there is the start your own biz path. I've been keeping an eye on our local self serve dog wash. The sign outside changed to "Self Service Pet Wash". Has me wondering what's that all about. Expanding the biz into cats, hamsters, parrots and turtles maybe? Good to see success in the entrepreneurial class, but then I wonder if that's really for everyone and there may need to be some larger organizational structure geared towards producing some more complex thing or service. Dunno, but that could be food for thought as a next step for analysis in this whole job creation subject.

craazyman , January 5, 2017 at 12:06 pm

If anybody actually expects to get paid for their "art", that's when all hell will break loose.

A self-service dog wash is interesting, but if you let a dog wash itself it may not do a good job. Dogs hate to get washed. I'm not sure if this is gonna work.

craazyboy , January 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Good point. But there is risk in business. Any businessman knows that.

cocomaan , January 5, 2017 at 9:06 am

Kwame Anthony Appiah talks about the end to duels in his book on Honor. It's interesting stuff.

One takeaway I remember is that the lower classes actually began to clamor for an end to the idea that murder was okay if you were in the upper classes, since dueling was a matter of challenging, preserving, and reifying an upper class. The other way to look at it is that the lower classes wanted in on the action.

It also ended when everyone was embarrassed and fed up that their leaders were slaying each other by night.

craazyman , January 5, 2017 at 7:36 am

Great philosophical thougths are cauught. In the Moderbator!

Even the moderbator is already working to thwart illumination and enlightenment. That should be a lesson of some sort. I'm not sure what though. That wouldd mean mental work. I'll do it but it's still kind of early. I'll do it later.

From Cold Mountain , January 5, 2017 at 7:38 am

Yup. There is a big difference between work in a Capitalist ecosystem and work in an Anarchistic ecosystem. In the first you have to ask for a Universal Basic Income and equality, etc. In the second there is no need to ask for it.

So maybe "F@ck Work" is really "F@ck Capitalism" or "F@ck Authoritarianism", but they just don't quite get it yet.

Carolinian , January 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

Agreed that what the author is really saying is f@ck capitalism. Pretending it's all about the current fad for neoliberalism ignores the reality that neoliberalism is simply old fashioned laissez-faire capitalism with better excuses. The problem with left utopianism is that human nature works against it. So the author's "what ifs" don't carry a lot of intellectual punch. What if we all loved each other? Well, we don't.

Personally I'd rather just have the BIG and the freedom. The Right may be just as paranoid as the Left when they claim all forms of government social engineering are totalitarian but there is a grain of truth there. Neither side seems to have a very firm grasp of the human problems that need to be solved in order for society to work.

JTFaraday , January 5, 2017 at 4:18 pm

"neoliberalism is simply old fashioned laissez-faire capitalism with better excuses"

I think it has worse excuses, actually. No excuses. There is no excuse for the centrally managed wealth extraction in the name of "markets" that we have been seeing since Bill Clinton made nice with Goldman Sachs in the 1990s.

Pelham , January 5, 2017 at 7:52 am

While MMT correctly conceives of money as a limitless resource, what it doesn't take into account is the fact that continuing to allow vast accumulations of the stuff at the top of the economy inevitably translates into political power.

And I suspect that those with such power, principally the financial industry, will work assiduously to reinforce conventional notions of money as finite, which in turn enhances their power and their ability to profit from widespread misery.

Higgs Boson , January 5, 2017 at 9:15 am

That is the taproot of The Big Lie – keeping the masses convinced of money scarcity, which goes hand-in-hand with scare mongering on the national "debt". The delegitimizing of the national currency as worthless IOUs, mere "scraps of paper".

The .01%, who have accumulated political power through this con, will not just give it up.

It reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) anecdote about Queen Victoria hearing about Darwin's Origin of Species and asking, "Is it true?"

"I'm afraid so, your majesty."

"Well then, let's hope the commoners don't find out!"

UserFriendly , January 5, 2017 at 7:58 am

Great piece!!! Does anyone know of any proposals or white papers for a State or City wide Job Guarantee? Laboratory for democracy or something. I know the lack of a currency printer throws a wrench into the MMT aspects and clearly there would be migration affects greater than on a national scale, but I think that a state or local program would almost necessarily have to come before a national one, or at least would make the debate about a national one less arduous. This is something I am pushing with my state house rep (Raymond Dehn, who recently threw his hat in the ring for Minneapolis's Mayoral contest)

DanB , January 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

"What if we admitted that there are no limits to how we can care for one another and that, as a political community, we can always afford it?" MMT acknowledges that the availability of natural resources is a limit to money creation and, overall, economic growth. I wish this essay had addressed this issue, as I believe we are in the post-peak oil world and still not facing how this fact -peak oil when properly understood is an empirical fact to me- is dismembering modern political economies. Simultaneously, this destruction is proceeding in accord with neoliberal domination.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 8:41 am

And most of the time, when I see MMT, it seems to be associated with projects and investments that are incredibly energy and resource intensive.

Many MMT supporters seem to work on the assumption that the US will always have the right to consume an inordinate share of global energy and resources.

Alejandro , January 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm

It seems that many attempting to pigeonhole MMT, seem to not recognize the role of fiscal policy to regulate and modulate. Full employment need not correlate to consuming " an inordinate share of global energy and resources." IMHO, how the term "growth" is often used with and within "economics" seems misleading and disingenuous.

Moneta , January 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

And Trump has all the answers on how to modulate fiscal policy under MMT?

MMT will not help the people unless the right leaders are modulating.

Alejandro , January 5, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Its not about messianism it's more about recognizing that the constraints on the user are not constraints on the issuer of a currency.

fresno dan , January 5, 2017 at 8:04 am

It seems to me we have done that no work experiment for .OH, 70 years. Its called social security.
Maybe every single person on social security doesn't have as many friends as they should – the book "Bowling Alone" as well as many other publications about the isolation of modern society address what is a problem. But many people with jobs are isolated, as well as not getting social interaction on and off the job. I think if you asked the average social security recipient, the first thing they would want is mo' money, mo' money, MO' MONEY.

People on social security can work, volunteer, follow a hobby or take up one. In CA old folks used to be able to "audit" college classes, where you could attend for free but get no credit. Alas, no longer the case (as well as when I was young and went to college, it was dirt cheap – how did it get so frigging expensive?).
And to the extent old people are isolated, more money would do a lot to allow old people to take cruises and other activities that cost money and give people the opportunity to mingle. I imagine young people would do the same, especially if the stress of wondering where there income would come from was removed.

There were people at work who said they would never retire because they wouldn't be able to fill their time. I find that just sad. Somebody has to give these people something to do because in there whole lives they have never developed any interests?
I was very lucky to have a career that was interesting. It was also frustrating, difficult, and stressful, and besides the friends from work, there were also the assh*les. It was fine for 26, but it was time to move on. And though I thought about getting another job, I have found that not working is ..WONDERFUL.

B1whois , January 5, 2017 at 9:55 am

I also do not work, and I enjoy it. I need to find things to fill my days (other than NC), but this is complicated by not having competence in the local language. I could speed up my citizenship process by getting a job here in Uruguay, but I don't want to go back to a stressful life feeling like I don't have enough time to do interesting things. So learning Spanish is my job now.

Katharine , January 5, 2017 at 10:28 am

as many friends as they should

How about, as many friends as they want? There surely is no obligation to have some number defined by other people.

rusti , January 5, 2017 at 11:18 am

I think if you asked the average social security recipient, the first thing they would want is mo' money, mo' money, MO' MONEY .

And to the extent old people are isolated, more money would do a lot to allow old people to take cruises and other activities that cost money and give people the opportunity to mingle

I suppose it's a much larger ambition in many ways, but I've always thought that a more worthwhile aim than a basic income guarantee would be de-financialization. Private health care and car-based communities put people in the very precarious position of having to worry about their cash buffer for lots of basic survival needs. I live in a country with government-funded health care, and even though my income is a fraction of what I made when I lived in the US it would be easy for me to quit my job and live on savings for an extended period of time, since the only real expenses I have are food and housing, and the other necessities like clothes or bicycle repairs can be done on the cheap when one has lots of free time.

Public transit connecting libraries, parks, community colleges, and other public forums where people can socialize are much preferable to cruise ships!

Lee , January 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I too have for years now enjoyed and sometimes struggled with not having to work for money. While my ability to engage in many activities is currently limited by health issues, I have previously gone back to university and earned a degree, learned fine woodworking, volunteered as a charity fundraiser and done field work for the wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone. I have also spent a lot of time reading, gardening, fixing up my old house, watching movies, political activity, fishing, motorcycling, the list could go on. However, to be honest, I do suspect that the years I did spend working and the earnings therefrom did lay a foundation upon which I could build an edifice more of my own choosing.

Gaylord , January 5, 2017 at 8:07 am

Make work more interesting and rewarding by directing it toward esthetic goals. Promote the arts and education at all ages. Put art, design, music, theater, & crafts back into the curriculum, identify people with special skills & talent, support them and provide venues for learning, exhibits & performances with low- or no- cost access to the public. Elevate culture to the epitome of human achievement in all walks of life and expand involvement. Discourage commercial television watching, especially for children.

jabawocky , January 5, 2017 at 8:12 am

I do wonder if there's a kind of circular argument to this piece, or at least there is a continuum between this job guarentee solution and the basic income. In one sense, it is said that people cannot be left to themselves to create because they just won't. So the solution is some kind of municipal creativity, an entitity which does the creating and then forces people to work on its projects in return for income. The more top down 'new deal'-like this is, then it looks like a JG system. If it can be bottom up, it more closely resembles a basic income.

diptherio , January 5, 2017 at 10:26 am

That's why my personal proposal for a JG incorporates aspects of Participatory Budgeting to determine what jobs are getting done by JG workers:

Basic Income vs. Job Guarantee

Clark Landwehr , January 5, 2017 at 8:21 am

There is little difference, in the real world, between sitting on a park bench all day and sitting in a cubicle filling out spreadsheets, because most jobs are already busy-work. So most people are already doing corvee labor in a totalitarian civilization: digging holes and filling them up again. In a typical office building, the only people who are doing real, productive work are the janitors and maintenance engineers.

Eureka Springs , January 5, 2017 at 8:31 am

I think it would take a long time, as in many generations, to begin to know who we are, what we would do and be without a Protestant work-ethic. It's almost impossible for most to imagine life in some other form just as it's impossible for most to imagine a democratic process, even within just one party. Idle time scares the beejesus out of so many people I know. I've watched people 'retire' and move to these beautiful Ozark mountains for decades and do nothing but destroy them, over and over again, out of boredom and idle guilt. I can't remember the last time I cut down a live tree for firewood.. since there are always mountains of forrest being laid to waste.

But we must face the fact most work is useless, crap, BS, and or outright destructive. MIC and Insurance come to mind immediately. To enforce human work for the sake of it is to perhaps destroy the big blue marble host at – at best an highly accelerated rate. If we keep making ourselves act like drones our world will continue to look like it's what we are doing / who we are. Just drive down any street America built post 1960 looking for something esthetically pleasing, somewhat unique, that isn't either mass produced or designed to fall apart in a few decades or less.

Or maybe with a jobs guarantee we should just outlaw bulldozers, chainsaws, 18 wheelers, private jets, dwellings/offices with more than four units, and large farm equipment.

If we are going to force labor then give every man and woman a shovel or a hoe with their HS diploma – not a gun, not an office for predatory FIRE purposes. That way we wont destroy ourselves so quickly.

Joni sang.. You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone . What about the people who never knew what was there to begin with? Will some of us live long enough to morn the passing of parking lots?

JohnL , January 5, 2017 at 10:03 am

Thank you. When a "job" means profit for someone else and more destruction, consumption, and waste, we fewer "jobs", not more.

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 9:21 am

"A job at a decent wage, set by public policy, will eliminate at least 2/3 of poverty. we can then work on eliminating the rest thru compassion."

Doesn't strike me as morally agreeable to reduce the right to nature and ideas that anyone may reason to have, to a matter of compassion.

"This is the high road that can increase productive capacity"

Giving people an unconditional income and letting people earn money on top, could also increase productive capacity, and having a JG scheme in place might as well reduce productive capacity where it pretends to people that they're doing something important, when they're not. Overpaying work can be a disservice to the people and society alike. Let individuals themselves tell others how much they think something is worth, in respect and in monetary terms. We just need to equip people with money (that maintains relevance in relation to the aggregate of all money), for that.

The high road that can increase productivity is a commitment to enabling people as individuals, unconditionally, to make economic expressions, rooted in their rights to nature.

Octopii , January 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

WALL-E

financial matters , January 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

""Modern Monetary Theory contends that money is a boundless and fundamentally inalienable public utility. That utility is grounded in political governance. And government can always afford to support meaningful social production, regardless of its ability to capture taxes from the rich. The result: employment is always and everywhere a political decision, not merely a function of private enterprise, boom and bust cycles, and automation. There is therefore nothing inevitable about underemployment and the misery it induces. In no sense are we destined for a "jobless future."""

Wouldn't it be interesting if it took someone like Trump to get the fact that money is a public utility into the public mindset.

This is a strong and powerful tool. Seems like it could be up his alley.

Praedor , January 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm

But Trump WONT do that. He's very much a super 1% elitist who thinks of people as winners and losers. He thinks the government is like a business that has to balance its books and "live within its means" (means = tax receipts + fees).

Trump is NOT an MMTer. He's closer to gold standard idiots in the GOP (whether they actually want the gold standard to return or not means nothing the idea that the federal budget needs to be balanced is 100% outgrowth of the gold standard dinosaur days so they are ALL goldbugs at core).

financial matters , January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Probably true, but he now has his hands on the biggest business around.

He has a lot of money available which could make him a popular and useful leader.

Michael , January 5, 2017 at 9:53 am

Great Article and food for thought.

I agree with many of the skeptical views above. In the endeavor to provide equitable incomes an underlying problem is who decides what industries or groups get funded from the taxes collected? Is there private capital? How do you keep certain people from manipulating the system to assure they can collect more wealth than someone else?

All of these might be questions may be resolved with strict laws, but I can recall in my childhood such laws and such cultures that assured a more equitable system, but these too were corrupted by people who wanted to "keep their wealth", because "they earned it", or inherited it ("Death to the Death Tax!").

This utopia sounds good on paper, but it appears to me that the execution is most times corrupted by the connected and powerful.

In any case the most difficult task in this process will be getting enough power to take any sizable wealth away from the "shareholders" , ie owners, to redistribute in a society controlled via media and laws by our lords and masters.

David , January 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

I think we need to remember just how modern is the concept of "work" is that's being debated here. In nearly the whole world a century ago (and still in parts of it today) people didn't have "jobs", they raised crops, tended cattle, caught fish, practised manual crafts, played a role in the community and family etc. and were in general productively occupied most of the time. Even with the factory system, and the beginning of paid employment, many of the workforce were skilled craftsmen with years of training and a high social status. The modern idea of a "job" as an unnecessary task carried out to gain money you don't need to buy things you don't want would have seemed incomprehensible. Indeed, there are parts of Africa today where a "job" is what you get to earn enough money to live on for a while and that's it.
The real problem then is a sense of purpose in life. There's some evidence that work can and does provide this, provided that work is minimally useful and satisfying. Certainly, the psychological damage from long-term unemployment as well as the psychological dangers of working alone are extensively documented. But the opposite is also true – work can make you ill, and the line between guaranteeing work and forcing people to work is a treacherously easy one to cross.
It would be better to move towards thinking about what kind of society and economy we want. After all, much of the contemporary economy serves no useful purpose whatever, and could be dispensed with and the assets invested elsewhere. Without getting into the magic wand thinking in the article, it must be possible to identify a host of things that people can usefully "do", whether or not these are "jobs" in the traditional sense.

Katharine , January 5, 2017 at 10:57 am

You're onto something here. Reading the post and comments, I couldn't identify what was bothering me, because when I think of work now (having been out of the paid workforce a while) I think in terms of things that make life more livable, either in very practical ways or through learning, enlarging my view of the world, and I don't in the least want to see the elimination of that kind of work. It's the other kind of work, that expects you to feign devotion to the manufacture or marketing of widgets, that probably needs to be largely eliminated (I won't say wholly, as there may be some for whom widgets are mentally rewarding). The author seems too certain of what needs to change and how. I think you're right that we need to give it more thought.

akaPaul LaFargue , January 5, 2017 at 12:18 pm

The author of this review misses much of what James Livingston is all about. JL spends some time discussing how to imagine a meaningful life and he refers to Freud (!) that we need work and love. If work is no longer available then how do we imagine love as the basis for social solidarity? OR, is solidarity another way to express love? The author's concerns for wonky policy BS takes us down the wrong path into the scrubland of intellectual vapidity.

And btw Fred Block has devastated the Speenhamland analogy long ago. I think not many folks have gotten beyond Andre Gorz on these topics.

Massinissa , January 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Yeah, I'm sort of skeptical of BIG myself, but I really don't think Speenhamland is a good comparison at all. Speenhamland had too many particularities that separate it from most modern BIG proposals IMHO.

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm

It would be helpful if you'd list some of those particularities.

River , January 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

I think we need to remember just how modern is the concept of "work" is that's being debated here. In nearly the whole world a century ago (and still in parts of it today) people didn't have "jobs", they raised crops, tended cattle, caught fish, practised manual crafts, played a role in the community and family etc. and were in general productively occupied most of the time

Too true. If you want to see what someone's ancestor most likely did, look at their last name. Tanner, Cooper, Fuller, etc.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

People used to have a right to land with which they could harvest building supplies, roofing supplies, food to feed themselves, fuel to heat and cook, raise livestock for food and fiber. The people have been stripped of the rights and ability to provide for their basic needs by force. They now have to have a job, the majority of their labor benefits someone else, to gain money in a system where nearly every transaction isn't just monetized but exploitative.

There is still the pull towards liberalism . to develop a hierarchy of needs, and a hierarchy of the usefullness/productiveness/profitability of tasks. There needs to be a ubi along with the jg. When the focus is on developing hierarchies, the end result will be a rigid bureaucratic structure and the use of force to ensure compliance.

Tivvy , January 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

"What if we predicated social critique on terms that are not defined by the neoliberal ideology that we wish to circumvent?"

To do this, I propose that we give everyone, unconditionally, an income, as expression of their potential (and natural desire) to contribute to society, and all the prerequisite time that goes into that, and for the very contributions themselves. An unconditional labor value derived income, for all. An income that both enables all kinds of work, and pays that labor value in the same stroke.

From there, additional earned income becomes a matter of how much respect you command, how well you utilize monopolies, and how much you hate your job and require compensation for how much you hate it. But the labor value would be accounted for, unconditionally.

In a world where there's superstars (and superbrands) who command respect and natural monopolies to make a lot of money, and people writing open source for the greater benefit of everyone else predominantly, it makes sense to make a statement such as that, about labor value, and to pay it to everyone. Mothers and fathers in active care of their children too, could agree, I'd imagine.

But making a list of things that you think might be cool for society, and try to have tangible compensations for only those, seems problematic, if not to say, counterproductive. Rather recognize ALL the time that people spend, to be decent people among fellow people, to educate themselves formally and informally, be it in the process of being an entrepreneur in a broader sense, at times. A sense of justice that can only be achieved by the state deciding for its people what is purposeful, will fall flat on its face when it comes to practicality, unless we have artifical super intelligence. Because you will have to literally know better than the people, what they will appreciate to what extent. And you don't know that. Neither do I.

There's great things in community/entertainment space happening today, that nobody was thinking of 5 years ago. Because people still have some power to recognize things as individuals, that others do, as purposeful (as much as aggregate demand is increasingly in a sorry state, as the result of a 3+ decade long trend that seems to still keep going. Just fixing that issue would already help a lot.). I say we should build on that, and further empower people in that direction. Which to me means to give money to all the people of the society, so they can more directly at times, express what benefits society, that is themselves. And for macro economic/long term considerations we can always have direct democracy.

Schwarmageddon , January 5, 2017 at 11:31 am

The sorts of psychopaths that tend to be in control of modern human societies clearly prefer money as a tool of social control to money as any sort of public utility that would facilitate individual productivity and/or affirm human dignity, whether in the context of neoliberal derangement or not. That's the view from the long-frozen Rust Belt and certainly nothing new in history.

It also appears that any human capacity for moral innovation is easily constrained by our basic feces-hurling primate OS, particularly if said primates consider money to be something finite and concrete.

On the real balance sheet, though, the sweet old Earth likely can't afford a JG for a population of 7 billion, at least not under any current or previously existing model of labor exploitation. As all NCpeeps know, we're resource-constrained, not dollar-constrained.

So we arrive back at the same old power relationships, the coercion, desperation and ecocide to which we have been accustomed, in the absence of any disruptive® (!) moral innovation. Can anyone suggest that modern humans have demonstrated a capacity for moral innovation outside of prison camps? Actual, non-hopey-changey varieties of moral innovation? If so, is that capacity retarded only by misperceptions regarding the nature of money? Retarded perhaps by an exceptional propaganda system? One might only answer that for themselves, and likely only until the SWAT team arrives. It seems unlikely that some rational and compassionate bureaucracies will be established to compensate in their stead: Congress is wholly unable to formulate policy in the public interest for very good reasons, none of them admirable. It seems the social economic entities they protect require human desperation just as much as they require currency liquidity or juvenile male soldiers.

In the absence of representation, rule of law or some meager rational public policy, a reproductive strike may be a better individual approach than FW, as not having children avoids the voluntary provisioning of debt slaves into a corrupt and violent system of social control. There is also the many ecologically salubrious effects of less humans and a potential opportunity to avoid being forced to constantly sell one's labor at a sharp discount. Couples I know, both having made catastrophic errors in career choice (education, research, seriously OMG!), are able to persist with some degree of dignity only and precisely because they have avoided begetting, in the very biblical sense, more debt slaves.

Shom , January 5, 2017 at 11:48 am

The author's contention that JG is better than BIG is persuasive; however I am not convinced that JG is best implemented by the govt. We have had systems like these, e.g. USSR, and it is very clear that central planning for large masses never works.

Why not implement that JG as saying that the govt guarantees X $/hr for up to T hrs per week for every one, no matter where they are hired. Advantages:
– small business owners are afforded breathing space to get their dreams off the ground,
– Walmart workers will walk off if Walmart doesn't up its game significantly beyond $(X x 4T) per month,
– Non profits will be able to afford to pay volunteers more reliably,
– People who want to be alone / not work can setup their own "self preservation" business and earn the minimum $X/hr for T hrs.

This form of decentralized planning may help implement JGs in a more sustainable manner than centralized planning. It also puts a floor on minimum income. Also, when combined with barriers on moving jobs outside the US, it helps provide a sharper threshold on how good automation needs to be in order to replace labor.

X and T can be the $15 and 40 hrs that is being implemented in big coastal cities, progressive states. Or it could be set to just above poverty level earnings, depending on how comfortable we are in letting go of our Pilgrim/Protestant shackles.

Praedor , January 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Past time to kill off the Protestant Ethic. The future has always supposed to be made up of robots doing scut work while people get to chill out and NOT do shit work.

The job race is why people STILL don't take enough vacation or full vacation. It is why they feel COMPELLED to not take days off because if they do, their boss will hold it against them come promotion time.

Not all jobs are worth doing and forcing people to take them doesn't do anyone any good, and makes people into commodities, THE biggest problem with neoliberalism. People are NOT commodities and work should NOT be a measure of one's value. CEOs outrageously overvalue themselves for doing little or nothing while engineers and workers they mistreat do EVERYTHING. That is neoliberalism and capitalism in a nutshell.

Guaranteed Basic Income ends that. Set a max income so there will be no more over-compensated CEOs AND provide a decent income for EVERYONE, gratis, so they are not forced to take a job polishing the shoes of the useless eater CEOs.

Praedor , January 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm

I prefer the Universal Basic Income guarantee to the Work guarantee. The Work guarantee guarantees MAKEWORK . "Here, have a broom and do some sweeping with it. Somewhere."

Or, "Here's a desk and a pile of papers with staples in them. Remove the staples."

"You! Toss this box of trash in the street and you, walk behind him and pick it up and put it in THIS box!"

Fuck work. In particular, fuck MAKEWORK. A job, ANY job, just to say you have a job is CRAP.

Better: Income guarantee. Period. Gratis. If a company wants you to do a job for them then they will have to provide incentive enough to get you to take the job. You don't HAVE to take a shit job because you have a guaranteed income so employers better offer a sweat deal like good pay and benefits (and LESS pay and benefits for CEOs, etc the lazy do-nothing self-entitled class).

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I hear the make-work talking point over and over again. It's nonsense. It didn't happen where the job guarantee was implemented , and it doesn't have to happen if the work is under democratic control.

Adam Eran , January 5, 2017 at 12:21 pm

The basis of job guarantees would universally empower or improve the public realm–shared goods.

The "anti-collectivist" propaganda that dominates most mainstream media now forbids anything but public squalor and private opulence.

We work to construct a pyramid of Democratic skulls , January 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

The basic income and the job guarantee are natural complements. In terms of the acquis that any sovereign state must comply with (the UDHR,) you have the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [your]self and of [your] family, and the right to free choice of employment. Two different rights. That means work should be an option.

The idea is, you're not on the treadmill, it's the state that's on the treadmill, working continually to fulfill your economic and social rights. It's the state that bears duties, you have rights. So if you want to do something and you need structure, knock yourself out, work for the state or some customer or boss. If you want to spend all the time you can with your kid before the mass extinction starves her, that's fine too.

When you ask people, Do you exist for the state, or does the state exist for you? People are quick to say, I don't exist for the state, that's totalitarianism! But people seem to accept that they exist for the economy. They accept that their life depends on acceptable service to the labor market. Just like I don't exist for the state, I don't exist for the economy. The economy exists for me. That is the revolutionary import of the ICESCR (and that's why the US strangled Venezuela when Chavez committed the state to it.)

Human rights is a complete, consistent and coherent alternative to neoliberal market worship. The idea sounds so strange because the neoliberal episcopate uses an old trick to get people to hold still for exploitation. In the old days, the parasitic class invented god's will to reify an accidental accretion of predatory institutions and customs. Everybody nodded and said, I see, it's not some greedy assholes, it's god's will. After a while everybody said, Wait a minute. The parasitic class had to think fast, so they invented the economy to reify an accidental accretion of predatory institutions and customs. So now you submit to that. Suckers!

Sandwichman , January 5, 2017 at 1:22 pm

I would prefer not to.

anon y'mouse , January 5, 2017 at 2:17 pm

i love you.

please marry me!

wait, i think i know what the answer will be

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Thank you, Mr. Bartleby.

jerry , January 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone."

I am in favor of the job or income guarantee program. We really should not and do not need to work nearly as much as is common in U.S. (nevermind the even more repressive slave labor in Asia). The claim that "algorithms and robotization will reduce the workforce by half within twenty years and that this is unstoppable" seems like a pretty likely scenario at this point. Why have we been working for millenia to build this advanced civilization, if not to relax and enjoy it and be DONE slaving away?!

I recently sold everything I had and travelled around the US for 6 months, and it was delightful. I was next to broke, but if I had an income guarantee I could have had way more freedom to stop here and there, get involved in who knows what, and enjoy myself with very low stress.

I agree most people will not do anything productive unless forced, but that is what we need to finally work on: ourselves and our crippling egos. The world is plenty advanced technologically, we have made incredible inventions and that will continue to happen, but people need to start working on themselves inwardly as well or the outward world will be destroyed.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm

What does being productive mean? Besides making a profit for an oligarch. Everything is work. Cook for yourself, not work. Cook for someone else, work. Garden for yourself, not work. Garden for someone else, work. Travel for yourself, not work. Travel for someone else, work. etc.

Has anyone run the numbers for a 4 day work week, or 3? How about if full time work were lowered to 30, 25 hours per week?

Automation was supposed to free up labors time. Workers have participated in designing automation, installing automation, testing automation and training others for automation. It's time labor takes the share of their labor and if oligarchs get the permanent financial benefit of labors efforts to automate, so does labor.

Lambert Strether , January 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

> I agree most people will not do anything productive unless forced

That sounds like the persistent notion that the pyramids were built with slave labor. Michael Hudson has debunked this :

We found [the pyramids] were not built by slaves. They were built by well-paid skilled labour. The problem in these early periods was how to get labour to work at hard tasks, if not willingly? For 10,000 years there was a labour shortage. If people didn't want to work hard, they could just move somewhere else. The labour that built temples and big ceremonial sites had to be at least quasi-voluntary even in the Bronze Age c. 2000 BC. Otherwise, people wouldn't have gone there.

We found that one reason why people were willing to do building work with hard manual labour was the beer parties. There were huge expenditures on beer. If you're going to have a lot of people come voluntarily to do something like city building or constructing their own kind of national identity of a palace and walls, you've got to have plenty of beer. You also need plenty of meat, with many animals being sacrificed. Archaeologists have found their bones and reconstructed the diets with fair accuracy.

What they found is that the people doing the manual labour on the pyramids, the Mesopotamian temples and city walls and other sites were given a good high protein diet. There were plenty of festivals. The way of integrating these people was by public feasts.

Now, you can argue that labor is no longer scarce, so the logic doesn't apply. But you can't generalize that people won't work unless forced; it's not true.

Sandwichman , January 5, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Perhaps the best solution would be a Universal Beer Income?

jerry , January 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

I see what you mean, but they built the pyramids because they needed money to survive, the beer and festivals is an added bonus. Whether you call it slave labor or working for a decent wage, the premise is the same – your survival depends on doing the work so you do it.

The distinction I think relates to what waldenpond says above. People want to feel a sense of ownership, meaning and community around what they are doing, and then they do it of their own volition, so it is not seen as work. This is something quite rare in todays labor market, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Looks like people chose to work not just for pay but for pay and the addition of leisure activities (cooking, eating, partying) and a sense of community.

ekstase , January 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

I agree with this. I think of the people I knew who had to work at two or more jobs, full time or more, to be "allowed" to be a painter, musician, writer, or performer, etc. It is sapping us culturally, not to let the creative people have time to do what they were born to do. And I think at least a little of this lives in all of us. There are things that we are born to do. How much does our society let us be who we are?

anon y'mouse , January 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

similar arguments made regarding all of the lands in North and South America.

"they aren't using it for anything productive. best we take it from them."

who are you to say what is productive in another person's life? if we had a meaningful culture and education in this debased society, each of us would be able to make the decision about what exactly we find most productive and worthy of our efforts, and what isn't. since we have no public lands to hunt and gather and fish and farm and live upon, we are forced into this economic system. i find it odd as heck that two people who are effectively "unemployed" find it better for everyone else to be chained to a money-for-work scheme. will you both be signing up for some labor-conscription hours? will it be compulsory for all, without ability to opt-out except for complete physical/emotional disability with no gaming by the rich? (my apologies if you all do not agree, and i have misrepresented your positions)

more rationales to make people love their chains, please. because we know how this would work out: rather as it does now when you sign up for unemployment/food assistance-you MUST take the first job for the first abuser that comes along and makes an offer for you.

JTFaraday , January 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

I think we should separate the wage/salary component of work from social welfare provisioning. Namely, universal health care and universal old age pensions. The more you think about it in the context of today's various pressures, the more sense it makes.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Social welfare provisioning isn't just the means of exchange, it's the ability to acquire the necessities of survival of shelter, food, heat etc. If the focus is just within the capitalist system of private ownership and rent seeking is not ended, the welfare is merely passed through and ends with the oligarchs.

cojo , January 5, 2017 at 2:39 pm

I have several questions, concerns with UBI. One is if everyone is given a base salary who is to decide what that amount should be. Will it be indexed to inflation, what will it do to inflation, specifically, inflation for housing, food, healthcare.

Will a UBI be an excuse to gut all social contracts/guarantees. Who will make those decisions. What will happen to social services (public schools, hospitals), and social needs (clean water, air, sanitation/trash, police/fire protection).

Primitive human cultures traditionally "worked" to fulfill their needs only 3-4 hours a day. The rest was leisure, taking care of children/elderly, and rest. I agree, that a large percentage of time at work is wasted time due to hour artificial 9:5 business schedule. If we all perform work from home, what will the hours be like? Will we have more time to meet our neighbors and become more involved in the community or will we be shut in our houses all day not seeing anyone. Will the family unit be stronger, since people will not have to travel across the country for job opportunities and stay near each other.

Who will be provided with basic education, will that be free or for a fee, or will the idle relatives and neighbors collaborate to provide it.

Will some neighborhoods/regions be more organized and successful than others? Will all the "lazy people" filter into future slums riddled with crime and disease? Who will provide for them if there is no longer any social services.

inhibi , January 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm

I'm sure someone has already posted this, but my idea was to have a huge Federally funded Environmental Cleanup Dept. that essentially hires mass amounts of people to literally clean streets, parks, waterways, sort through trash, etc. It's needed, its relatively low skill labor, but at least it could provide an alternative to Welfare, which is a huge huge scam that's imprisons people in the lowest class (cant own a car or land).

Obviously this doesn't solve the entire issue, but it's become pretty clear that just having a huge Welfare state will not work longterm, as Yves mentions, the detriments are huge and real: unskilled lower class, unmoivitated lower class (more free time = more criminal activity), etc.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Again with the Americans are lazy myth. I would argue criminal activity is more related to being blocked by state violence from accessing a thoroughly monetized society (poverty) and a purposely bled social structure than from boredom.

If a person has access to a share of the resources of a society (shelter/food and enrichment) they will not likely commit crime. For those that want a rush, we can add some climbing walls etc. ha!

For those that are critical of the'welfare state'.. it isn't natural nor accidental, it's purposeful. Stop putting in so many resources (legal, political, financial) to create one.

David , January 5, 2017 at 3:26 pm

What do you actually want to work for ?
In early societies, you worked so that you and your family and community didn't die, and could produce the goods needed to make society function. But that's changed, and today we work to earn the money to pay other people to carry out these same functions. We even work to earn the money to pay the costs of working to earn the money to pay others. We buy a house (which in the past would have been constructed by the society) and have to pay to travel to work to earn the money to pay for the house, and then the insurance on the house, and the business clothes, and then buy a car and insurance on the car because the time we spend working and traveling means we have to shop at the supermarket instead of local shops, and then we pay a garage to maintain the car, and we pay someone to look after our garden because between trips to the supermarket we don't have time ourselves, and then we pay someone to look after our children because we work so hard earning money to pay for childcare that we have no time actually left for caring for our children. And the idea is that everybody should be guaranteed the right to do this?

JTFaraday , January 5, 2017 at 5:08 pm

You think too much. ;)

J Gamer , January 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

In the drive towards totalitarianism, universal basic income is the carrot that enables the abolition of cash. India is the trial run. Although after seeing what's transpired in India, it's probably safe to say the ruling elite have wisely concluded that it might be better to offer the carrot before rolling out the stick.

Gil , January 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Read Edmund Phelps' Rewarding Work for good ideas about how to generate full time jobs with adequate wages.

Sandwichman , January 5, 2017 at 4:07 pm

As I wrote at EconoSpeak back in December, "everyone is wrong."

There seems to be this false dilemma between the impending "end" of work and the unlimited potential of creative job creation. BOTH of these utopias are apocalyptically blind to history.

In 2017 what counts as "work" - a job, wage labor - is inseparably bound up with the consumption of fossil fuel. A "job" consumes "x" barrels of oil per annum. Lumps of labor are directly quantifiable in lumps of coal.

The ecological implications of this are clearly that the dilemma does not resolve itself into a choice between different schemes for redistributing some proverbial surplus. That "surplus" represents costs that have been shifted for decades and even centuries onto the capacity of the ambient environment to absorb wastes and to have resources extracted from it.

Can such an extractive economy continue indefinitely? Not according to the laws of thermodynamics.

Sandwichman , January 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm

From April 2015, UBI Caritas :

A UBI might reduce the dire incentive to "work or starve" at the same time as it increases opportunities and incentives to pursue the bright elusive butterfly of "meaningful work." That would be good if it was the only consideration. But it is not. There is also an inconvenient truth about the relationship between productivity and fossil fuel consumption. In the industrial economy, larger amounts of better work mean more greenhouse gas emissions. Productivity is a double-edged sword.

We have long since passed the point where capital "diminishes labour time in the necessary form so as to increase it in the superfluous form; hence posits the superfluous in growing measure as a condition – question of life or death – for the necessary."

Currently, world-wide carbon emissions per year are roughly double what can be re-absorbed by oceans and plants. This is not to say that the re-absorption by oceans is harmless –it leads to acidification. But clearly more than half of the emissions are superfluous to sustainability. Lo and behold, carbon emission increase in virtual lockstep with hours of work. In the U.S., the correlation between the two has been about 95% over the last quarter century.

Don't even think of using the "correlation doesn't prove causation" gambit. We are talking about a "water is wet" relationship. Fossil fuel is burned to do work. Period. Not just correlation - identity.

So the bottom line is we either need to cut hours of work at least in half or the remaining hours need to be less productive not more.

Reducing the hours of work also implies the potential for redistributing hours of work to create more jobs from less total work time. This of course flies in the face of " laws of political economy " that were discredited more than a century ago but nonetheless get repeated as gospel ad nauseum by so-called "economists."

UBI Caritas et amor

bulfinch , January 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

I like where this guy is trying to go, but I think I'd put forth more of a F-k Stupid Jobs with Bad Pay ethos, rather than F-k Work . Too oversimple too broad. Work, on some level, is really all there is. The idea of a collective life devoted to perpetual and unbridled hedonism just sounds like death by holiday to me; just as awful as working yourself into the grave.

As to Yves' notion - probably this is true. Pressure is a fine agent for production and problem solving; but I suspect that stagnant period might just be a byproduct of the initial hangover. Guilt is an engine that hums in many of us - I think most people feel guilty if they spend an entire day doing nothing, let alone a lifetime tossed away.

rd , January 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

It is going to be interesting to see what happens as the financial sector "high value" employees continue to be replaced by passive investing and computer programs. I suspect this process will result in a rethinking of many of these people about the value of work and job security.

Waldenpond , January 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm

I have been stating this also. So many tasks are open to automation in law, healthcare (remote offices), writing (algorithms), teaching (one math teacher per language!), policing. I can even imagine automated fire trucks that can pinpoint hot spots, hook up to hydrants, open a structure and target.

Dick Burkhart , January 5, 2017 at 5:58 pm

What we need is not a guaranteed minimum income, but universal ownership of key productive assets, like Alaska does with its Permanent Fund. These assets could include partial citizenship ownership of our largest corporations. All paid work would be on top of this.

As Peter Barnes says, "With Dividends and Liberty for All". Thus everyone would have a base income, enough to prevent extreme poverty, but still with plenty of incentives for jobs. Note: You'd also need to make it illegal for these "dividends" to become security for loan sharks.

Craa+zyChris , January 5, 2017 at 6:01 pm

I spent a lot of time over the holidays thinking about the future of human work and came to this conclusion: As we move forward, robots and other automation will take over a lot of human work, but in 3 areas I think humans will always have an edge. I'll summarize these 3 essentially human endeavors as: "sex, drugs and rock-and-roll", but each of those is a proxy for a wider range of human interactions.

"Sex work" (compare to "Fuck Work" from this essay) means what it says, but is also a proxy for human interactions such as massage, phys-therapy, etc. Robots will encroach on this turf somewhat (serving as tools), but for psychological reasons, humans will always prefer to be worked over by other humans.

Drugs is a proxy for human appreciation of chemical substances. Machines will of course be used to detect such substances, but no one will appreciate them like us. The machines will need us to tell them whether the beer is as good as the last batch, and we must make sure to get paid for that.

Finally, rock-and-roll is a proxy for human artistic expression as well as artistic appreciation. Robots will never experience sick beats the way we do, and while they may produce some, again for psychological reasons, I think humans will tend to value art created by other humans above that produced by machines.

The good news is that the supply and demand balance for these activities will scale in a stable way as the population grows (or shrinks). So I think the key is to make sure these types of activities are considered "work", and renumerated accordingly in our bright J.G. future.

[Mar 23, 2017] I love the smell of money-greased credentialism in the morning.

Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
ewmayer , March 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm

Received a "new academic programs" missive from my alma mater in today's mail, containing the following:

How to Make Innovation Happen in Your Organization

The Certified Professional Innovator (CPI) program is intended to develop the competency of high potential leaders in the theory and practice of innovation. It is rooted on the principle that innovation can only be learned by doing and through many short bursts of experimentation.

The certification is comprised of a 12-week curriculum with specific syllabus and assignments for each week, including videos, workbook assignments, and reports. During the program, participants, functioning as a cohort, communicate and collaborate with each other and faculty through a series of webinars and discussions. The program culminates in project pitches.

"It is rooted on [sic] the principle that innovation can only be learned by doing and through many short bursts of experimentation" - OK, fine there, but it is also rooted in the notion that such creativity can be taught in a formal academic setting, here monetized and condensed into a 12-week program. As for me, I'm gonna hold out for the following surely-in-development mini-courses:

o Certified Professional Serial Disruptor (CPD)
o Certified Professional Innovative Thought Leader (CPCTL)
o Certified Professional Smart Creative (CPSC)

I love the smell of money-greased credentialism in the morning.

Synoia , March 22, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Certified Real Accounting Professional.
Certified Real Estate Experienced Professional

[Mar 23, 2017] Paradoxically, we appear to be seeing a coalescence and consolidation of insurers, we will end up being delightfully exceptional, again- effectively being single-payer, private sector, paying a monopoly an add-on cost of 35-40% to a parasitic industry whose executives and employees do not contribute to the CARE equation.

Notable quotes:
"... Why Steve Bannon Wants You to Believe in the Deep State" [Politico]. "Like the Death Star, the American Deep State does not, of course, exist. " ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
djrichard , March 22, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Just a bit of a thought experiment, building on some thinking from a comment yesterday by jefemt

Paradoxically, we appear to be seeing a coalescence and consolidation of insurers, we will end up being delightfully exceptional, again- effectively being single-payer, private sector, paying a monopoly an add-on cost of 35-40% to a parasitic industry whose executives and employees do not contribute to the CARE equation.

Taking jefemt's thinking further, imagine the health insurance provider was not only monopolistic (owned the entire market), but was also a GSE (government sponsored enterprise). Now take it one more step and imagine it was an actual part of the government and not merely a GSE.

Conceivably, it wouldn't even have to live off appropriations from congress, assuming it was equally as extractive from the private sector as it is now (i.e. revenue model is the same). Talk about good living. Who knows, maybe they pocket their proceeds into some kind of surplus in Treasury dept.

But let's assume they had to give up on revenue models. [Afterall, it's easier to find partners in congress when you have an appropriations process that binds you to them.] Then they would be exposed. Somebody would get the bright idea that this agency doesn't need as much staffing since they are no longer revenue oriented. That indeed, they could have the same staffing profile as the agency responsible for medicare. Indeed they could be folded into medicare.

I was thinking of this too as a reponse to Why Steve Bannon Wants You to Believe in the Deep State" [Politico]. "Like the Death Star, the American Deep State does not, of course, exist. "

Indeed, I think of the insurance industry as being part of the deep state already. It seems that congress's preference is that this part of the deep state is outsourced. So that's it not a GSE, and not even a monopoly, but maintained as an oligopoly. And then, well hey whatever surplus it can hoover up is fair game. After all free-hand of the market and all that. [And heaven knows, we don't want to crowd that out.]

In contrast to other parts of the deep state that don't really have a revenue model. In which case, those parts need to be insourced by the Fed Gov.

human , March 22, 2017 at 7:46 pm

The CIA has a long history of drug trafficking. The FBI traffics in blackmail. The NSA in network surveillance. DIA, special ops. NRO, satelite throughput. 11 more in the US of A and countless more globally. They all have opaque resources outside of regular channels.

Ernesto Lyon , March 23, 2017 at 12:09 am

Great documentary about the 80's cocaine business in Miami called "Cocaine Cowboys." It's real life Scarface.

Guess who the Feds sent to get a handle on the cocaine smuggling?

See-eye-aye man George H.W. Bush. Coincidence?

[Mar 23, 2017] What is Economism and why it is so damaging

Notable quotes:
"... When competitive free markets and rational well-informed actors are the baseline assumption, the burden of proof shifts unfairly onto anyone proposing a government policy. ..."
"... For example, the basic Econ 101 theory of supply and demand is fine for some products, but it doesn't work very well for labor markets. It is incapable of simultaneously explaining both the small effect of minimum wage increases and the small impact of low-skilled immigration. Some more complicated, advanced theory is called for. ..."
"... But no matter how much evidence piles up, people keep talking about "the labor supply curve" and "the labor demand curve" as if these are real objects, and to analyze policies -- for example, overtime rules -- using the same old framework. ..."
"... An idea that we believe in despite all evidence to the contrary isn't a scientific theory -- it's an infectious meme. ..."
"... Academic economists are unsure about how to respond to the abuse of simplistic econ theories for political ends. On one hand, it gives them enormous prestige. The popularity of simplistic econ ideas has made economists the toast of America's intellectual classes. ..."
"... It has sustained enormous demand for the undergraduate econ major, which serves, in the words of writer Michael Lewis, as a "standardized test of general intelligence" for future businesspeople. But as Kwak points out, the simple theories promulgated by politicians and on the Wall Street Journal editorial page often bear little resemblance to the sophisticated theories used by real economists. ..."
"... And when things go wrong -- when the financial system crashes, or millions of workers displaced by Chinese imports fail to find new careers -- it's academic economists who often get blamed, not the blasé and misleading popularizers. ..."
Jan 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. : January 20, 2017 at 04:35 AM

Noah Smith: The Ways That Pop Economics Hurt America - Noah Smith

"So I wonder if economism was really as unrealistic and useless as Kwak seems to imply. Did countries that resisted economism -- Japan, for example, or France [Germany?] -- do better for their poor and middle classes than the U.S.? Wages have stagnated in those countries, and inequality has increased, even as those countries remain poorer than the U.S. Did the U.S.'s problems really all come from economism, or did forces such as globalization and technological change play a part? Cross-country comparisons suggest that the deregulation and tax cuts of the 1980s and 1990s, although ultimately excessive, probably increased economic output somewhat."

Ugh what an awful display of pop economism. Globalization and technology are "impersonal forces." No mention of the rise of inequality or the SecStags. No mention of monetary policy fail in Europe. The biggest lies of economism are the lies of omission.

libezkova -> Peter K.... , -1
Thank you !

Looks like this concept of "Economism" introduced by James Kwak in his book Economism is very important conceptual tool for understanding the tremendous effectiveness of neoliberal propaganda.

I think it is proper to view Economism as a flavor of Lysenkoism. As such it is not very effective in acquiring the dominant position and suppressing of dissent, but it also can be very damaging.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-19/the-ways-that-pop-economics-hurt-america

== quote ==

...When competitive free markets and rational well-informed actors are the baseline assumption, the burden of proof shifts unfairly onto anyone proposing a government policy. For far too many years, free-marketers have gotten away with winning debates by just sitting back and saying "Oh yeah? Show me the market failure!" That deck-stacking has long forced public intellectuals on the left have to work twice as hard as those safely ensconced in think tanks on the free-market right, and given the latter a louder voice in public life than their ideas warrant.

It's also true that simple theories, especially those we learn in our formative years, can maintain an almost unshakeable grip on our thinking.

For example, the basic Econ 101 theory of supply and demand is fine for some products, but it doesn't work very well for labor markets. It is incapable of simultaneously explaining both the small effect of minimum wage increases and the small impact of low-skilled immigration. Some more complicated, advanced theory is called for.

But no matter how much evidence piles up, people keep talking about "the labor supply curve" and "the labor demand curve" as if these are real objects, and to analyze policies -- for example, overtime rules -- using the same old framework.

An idea that we believe in despite all evidence to the contrary isn't a scientific theory -- it's an infectious meme.

Academic economists are unsure about how to respond to the abuse of simplistic econ theories for political ends. On one hand, it gives them enormous prestige. The popularity of simplistic econ ideas has made economists the toast of America's intellectual classes.

It has sustained enormous demand for the undergraduate econ major, which serves, in the words of writer Michael Lewis, as a "standardized test of general intelligence" for future businesspeople. But as Kwak points out, the simple theories promulgated by politicians and on the Wall Street Journal editorial page often bear little resemblance to the sophisticated theories used by real economists.

And when things go wrong -- when the financial system crashes, or millions of workers displaced by Chinese imports fail to find new careers -- it's academic economists who often get blamed, not the blasé and misleading popularizers.

... ... ...

Russia and China have given up communism not because they stopped having working classes, but because it became obvious that their communist systems were keeping them in poverty. And Americans are now starting to question economism because of declining median income, spiraling inequality and a huge financial and economic crisis.

[Mar 23, 2017] NSA To Provide Smoking Gun Proof Obama Spied On Trump Zero Hedge

Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
NSA To Provide "Smoking Gun" Proof Obama Spied On Trump InjectTheVenom -> hedgeless_horseman , Mar 23, 2017 6:56 PM

Mr Nunes should probably stay away from Texas hunting lodges and high balconies...

just sayin' .

DRAIN THE SWAMP.

Chupacabra-322 -> InjectTheVenom , Mar 23, 2017 7:23 PM

Who ever makes "Obama For Prison 2017" T-Shrits is goi g to make a killing.

johngaltfla -> Manthong , Mar 23, 2017 7:46 PM

Expect some variation of this story below to come from the upcomine revelations. Trump and Nunes want to not only demonstrate that Obama was scum, but put a major wedge between the DNC and Jews and Israel:

BOMBSHELL: Trump Surveillance Data Captured Due to Obama Spying on Israel, not Russia

knukles -> Mano-A-Mano , Mar 23, 2017 7:57 PM

So many crimes, so few diversions

Rubicon727 -> wee-weed up , Mar 23, 2017 7:44 PM

Firstly, there would have to be sufficient information showing Obama initiated the spying. Unless Obama has political knives out after him, these facts won't come out until 2030.

Secondly, the media, and other powers-that-be would muddy the water. We'll never know *who* and *why* of the story.

Thirdly, if the NSA comes out with genuine evidence, then we may be able to assume there IS a conflict between the FBI, the CIA vs the NSA. That, in itself, would be very relevant news.

Growing conflicts in any large government are not conducive to a smooth-operating empire.

BarkingCat -> Rubicon727 , Mar 23, 2017 8:13 PM

More likely conflicts within each organization.

Or maybe you are right and the NSA are the good guys. Maybe Snowden did what he did because the NSA itself is not happy about what they are told to do. Snowden did not go rogue but is following orders from within NSA.

It could also be that the NSA dropped vault 7 onto WikiLeaks as well as the various Hillary leaks during the campaign.

Whoa Dammit -> InjectTheVenom , Mar 23, 2017 7:28 PM

McCain is alledgedly the White House leaker

http://redstatewatcher.com/article.asp?id=69677

And NYPD says Hillary knew that Wiener was sexing underage girl & did not report it to authorities. The NYPD was prevented from pursuing charges against her.

http://redstatewatcher.com/article.asp?id=69678

[Mar 23, 2017] Neoliberalism as a flavor of economism

Wikipedia

Economism is reduction of all social facts to economic dimensions. The term is often used to criticize economics as an ideology, in which supply and demand are the only important factors in decisions, and outstrip or permit ignoring all other factors.

It is believed to be a side effect of neoclassical economics and blind faith in an "invisible hand" or "laissez-faire" means of making decisions, extended far beyond controlled and regulated markets, and used to make political and military decisions.

Conventional ethics would play no role in decisions under pure economism, except insofar as supply would be withheld, demand curtailed, by moral choices of individuals. Thus, critics of economism insist on political and other cultural dimensions in society.

[Mar 23, 2017] Inequality is a real threat to any remnants of democracy in the USA

Mar 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
anne : March 22, 2017 at 10:27 AM , 2017 at 10:27 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/books/review/crisis-of-the-middle-class-constitution-ganesh-sitaraman-.html

March 20, 2017

It's Not Just Unfair: Inequality Is a Threat to Our Governance
By ANGUS DEATON

THE CRISIS OF THE MIDDLE-CLASS CONSTITUTION
Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic
By Ganesh Sitaraman

President Obama labeled income inequality "the defining challenge of our time." But why exactly? And why "our time" especially? In part because we now know just how much goes to the very top of the income distribution, and beyond that, we know that recent economic growth, which has been anemic in any case, has accrued mostly to those who were already well-heeled, leaving stagnation or worse for many Americans. But why is this a problem?

Why am I hurt if Mark Zuckerberg develops Facebook, and gets rich on the proceeds? Some care about the unfairness of income inequality itself, some care about the loss of upward mobility and declining opportunities for our kids and some care about how people get rich - hard work and innovation are O.K., but theft, legal or otherwise, is not. Yet there is one threat of inequality that is widely feared, and that has been debated for thousands of years, which is that inequality can undermine governance. In his fine book, both history and call to arms, Ganesh Sitaraman argues that the contemporary explosion of inequality will destroy the American Constitution, which is and was premised on the existence of a large and thriving middle class. He has done us all a great service, taking an issue of overwhelming public importance, delving into its history, helping understand how our forebears handled it and building a platform to think about it today.

As recognized since ancient times, the coexistence of very rich and very poor leads to two possibilities, neither a happy one. The rich can rule alone, disenfranchising or even enslaving the poor, or the poor can rise up and confiscate the wealth of the rich. The rich tend to see themselves as better than the poor, a proclivity that is enhanced and even socially sanctioned in modern meritocracies. The poor, with little prospect of economic improvement and no access to political power, "might turn to a demagogue who would overthrow the government - only to become a tyrant. Oligarchy or tyranny, economic inequality meant the end of the republic."

Some constitutions were written to contain inequalities. In Rome, the patricians ruled, but could be overruled by plebeian tribunes whose role was to protect the poor. There are constitutions with lords and commoners in separate chambers, each with well-defined powers. Sitaraman calls these "class warfare constitutions," and argues that the founding fathers of the United States found another way, a republic of equals. The middle classes, who according to David Hume were obsessed neither with pleasure-seeking, as were the rich, nor with meeting basic necessities, as were the poor, and were thus amenable to reason, could be a firm basis for a republic run in the public interest. There is some sketchy evidence that income and wealth inequality was indeed low in the 18th century, but the crucial point is that early America was an agrarian society of cultivators with an open frontier. No one needed to be poor when land was available in the West.

The founders worried a good deal about people getting too rich. Jefferson was proud of his achievement in abolishing the entail and primogeniture in Virginia, writing the laws that "laid the ax to the root of Pseudoaristocracy." He called for progressive taxation and, like the other founders, feared that the inheritance of wealth would lead to the establishment of an aristocracy. (Contrast this with those today who simultaneously advocate both equality of opportunity and the abolition of estate taxes.) Madison tried to calculate how long the frontier would last, and understood the threat to the Constitution that industrialization would bring; many of the founders thought of wage labor as little better than slavery and hoped that America could remain an agrarian society.

Of course, the fears about industrialization were realized, and by the late 19th century, in the Gilded Age, income inequality had reached levels comparable to those we see today. In perhaps the most original part of his book, Sitaraman, an associate professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School, highlights the achievements of the Progressive movement, one of whose aims was taming inequality, and which successfully modified the Constitution. There were four constitutional amendments in seven years - the direct election of senators, the franchise for women, the prohibition of alcohol and the income tax. To which I would add another reform, the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which provided a mechanism for handling financial crises without the need for the government to be bailed out by rich bankers, as well as the reduction in the tariff, which favored ordinary people by bringing down the cost of manufactures. Politics can respond to inequality, and the Constitution is not set in stone.

What of today, when inequality is back in full force? I am not persuaded that we can be saved by the return of a rational and public-spirited middle class, even if I knew exactly how to identify middle-class people, or to measure how well they are doing. Nor is it clear, postelection, whether the threat is an incipient oligarchy or an incipient populist autocracy; our new president tweets from one to the other. And European countries, without America's middle-class Constitution, face some of the same threats, though more from autocracy than from plutocracy, which their constitutions may have helped them resist. Yet it is clear that we in the United States face the looming threat of a takeover of government by those who would use it to enrich themselves together with a continuing disenfranchisement of large segments of the population....


Angus Deaton, a professor emeritus at Princeton, was awarded the Nobel in economic science in 2015.

libezkova -> anne... , March 22, 2017 at 04:58 PM
Thank you Anne.

As for ".. it is clear that we in the United States face the looming threat of a takeover of government by those who would use it to enrich themselves together with a continuing disenfranchisement of large segments of the population...."

that was accomplished in 1980 by Reagan. That's why we now can speak about "a colony nation" within the USA which encompasses the majority of population.

libezkova -> libezkova... , March 22, 2017 at 04:59 PM
Neoliberals vs the rest of population is like slave owners and the plantation workers.

[Mar 23, 2017] It seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring politicians and public than Al queda.

Notable quotes:
"... Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more. ..."
"... The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc. ..."
"... This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from. ..."
"... AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card. ..."
Mar 23, 2017 | href="Was%20Obama%20behind%20it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable. But it seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring repubs than Al queda.">
  • fresno dan March 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    So I see where Nunes in a ZeroHedge posting says that there might have been "incidental surveillance" of "Trump" (?Trump associates? ?Trump tower? ?Trump campaign?)
    Now to the average NC reader, it kinda goes without saying. But I don't think Trump understands the scope of US government "surveillance" and I don't think the average citizen, certainly not the average Trump supporter, does either – the nuances and subtleties of it – the supposed "safeguards".

    I can understand the rationale for it .but this goes to show that when you give people an opportunity to use secret information for their own purposes .they will use secret information for their own purposes.

    And at some point, the fact of the matter that the law regarding the "incidental" leaking appears to have been broken, and that this leaking IMHO was purposefully broken for political purposes .is going to come to the fore. Like bringing up "fake news" – some of these people on the anti Trump side seem not just incapable of playing 11th dimensional chess, they seem incapable of winning tic tac toe .

    Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable. But it seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring repubs than Al queda. Now maybe repubs are worse than Al queda – I think its time we have a real debate instead of the pseudo debates and start asking how useful the CIA is REALLY. (and we can ask how useful repubs and dems are too)

    Reply
    1. craazyboy March 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      If Obama taped the information, stuffed the tape in one of Michelle's shoeboxes, then hid the shoebox in the Whitehouse basement, he could be in trouble. Ivanka is sure to search any shoeboxes she finds.

      Reply
    2. Irredeemable Deplorable March 23, 2017 at 2:57 am

      Oh the Trump supporters are all over this, don't worry. There are many more levels to what is going on than what is reported in the fakenews MSM.

      Adm Roger of NSA made his November visit to Trump Tower, after a SCIF was installed there, to .be interviewed for a job uh-huh yeah.

      Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more.

      The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc.

      You all should be happy, because although Pres Trump has been vindicated here on all counts, the more important story for you is that the old line Democratic Party looks about to sink under the wieght of thier own lies and illegalities. This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from.

      AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author March 23, 2017 at 5:12 am

        I'm not seeing any links here.

        Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author March 23, 2017 at 4:08 am

      > Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable

      I think he knew about it. After fulminating about weedy technicalities, let me just say that Obama's EO12333 expansion made sure that whatever anti-Trump information got picked up by the intelligence community could be spread widely, and would be hard to trace back to an individual source .

      Reply
  • [Mar 23, 2017] March 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Notable quotes:
    "... Revealing this is treason. ..."
    "... People will die. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    There's also this showing evidence that Trump Tower was specifically monitored during the Obama administration, although the probe was targeting Russian mafia and not Trump and was done well before he declared his candidacy.

    The FBI did wiretap Trump Tower to monitor Russian activity, but it had nothing to do with the 2016 Presidential election, it has been reported.

    Between 2011 and 2013 the Bureau had a warrant to spy on a high-level criminal Russian money-laundering ring, which operated in unit 63A of the iconic skyscraper - three floors below Mr Trump's penthouse.

    Not exactly a confirmation of Trump's rather wild claims, but something.

    Still waiting for any evidence to appear that Russians interfered with the elections or colluded with Trump.

    uncle tungsten , March 22, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Ok, so they were just after the Russian mafia, phew I feel better already. So they got the felons and they are all arrested?

    What utter BS! Why is Semion Mogilevitch still at large in Hungary and no extradition process? What about Felix Sater and Steve Wynn and on and on. Why are they incapable of prosecuting mafia mobsters and instead chasing politicians?

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 22, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    That said, it was what happening potentially to all citizens, not just Donald Trump. I dislike this intensely, but why should Trump get special dispensation over other citizens? Would like to know the reason for that.

    Like Watergate, it's really about the denial or the lying.

    "When did you know about the, er, collecting?"

    For how many days have we ridiculed Trump for his alternative universe imagination?

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:25 am

    > He can join the other 310 million of us who can be "incidentally collected".

    Didn't your mother tell you that 310 million wrongs don't make a right?

    Neither party establishment cares about that quaint concept, civil liberties. If Obama's flip flip on FISA reform in July 2008, giving the telcos retroactive immunity for Bush's warrantless surveillance, didn't convince you, then his 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy should have.

    fritter , March 23, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Not to mention monitoring a politician opens up a whole new can of worms. I'm convinced Trump must pretty clean relatively because the IC hasn't gotten rid of him yet and you know they have all of his communications.
    I'm with Lambert on neither party caring. I knew all I needed to when Obama voted for FISA and the following years just reinforced how corrupt the Dems were. There is an import point here though. I don't think Trump would have thought that all of the surveillance would be applied to him personally. It was just about other people. It was probably a legitimate eye opener. Now Trump is at the head of the surveillance apparatus. Instead of asking wikileaks to release all of clintons emails, he should just do it himself. The Dems who were all for collecting on everyone can't (non-hypocritically) complain about Trump having all that now. I mean, we can never know how far the extremest have penetrated into our government unless we trace where all that Saudi money terrorist influence goes.

    Code Name D , March 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Not just incedently, in concreshional hearings, Comie flat out says that Trump and his team were investigated for Rushan connections, and that none were found. The question now is was the investigations properly secured or not. Something completly in the air.

    But team dem is still playing the "wire tap" canad.

    Randy , March 22, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    The surveillance state bites the politicians that created it in the ass. I love that. They are not happy, I love that too.

    allan , March 22, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    This is now turning into high comedy low farce:

    Devin Nunes Commits "Felonious Leaking" [Emptywheel]

    and @mkraju:

    WYDEN, member of Senate Intel, says Nunes' statements "would appear to reveal classified information, which is a serious concern."

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    It was already a farce when McCain went after Paul.

    Though it was, before that, a horror film, with the 'ways the intelligence community can get you.'

    polecat , March 22, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    they're going all Fellini on us now !

    wilroncanada , March 22, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    And here I thought they were only looking through a glass, darkly.

    fresno dan , March 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef
    March 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    It is a satire, wrapped in a parody, hidden in slapstick, on top of a farce, buried in a bro-mance between a man with a tower and another man riding a horse without a shirt (and the man isn't wearing a shirt either .)

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:31 am

    And scripted by Cersei Lannister

    allan , March 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Also, this kind of incidental collection has been known about for years.
    Here's a Barton Gellman, Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani article (linked to by Emptywheel)
    from the WaPo in 2014 and based on the Snowden documents:

    In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are
    [WaPo]

    Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.

    Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

    And what was the reaction of many Congresspersons
    (including many Dems, and all of the GOP except maybe Rand Paul and Justin Amash)?
    Revealing this is treason. People will die.
    And Trump's CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, has called for Snowden's execution.

    fresno dan , March 22, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    allan
    March 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Sorry allan – I got all excited at seeing a Nunes article in ZeroHedge and posted a comment – your article is better and it makes for more coherent comment threads to keep them together – I should have looked before I leaped (posted).

    Nunes: "I recently confirmed that, on numerous occasions, the Intelligence Community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.
    Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration-details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value-were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.
    I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked.
    To be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or any investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team."

    ==============================================
    So the worm turns. The hypocrisy espoused by all sides is ..well, 11th dimensional.

    3.14e-9 , March 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    fresno dan, this was a major topic of discussion during the committee hearing with Comey and Rogers on Monday. I listened to the whole thing – all five hours and 18 minutes' worth – because I suspected that the corporate media would omit important details or spin it beyond recognition. And so they did.

    The bipartisan divide is being portrayed as Democrats wanting to get to the truth of Russian efforts to snuff out Democracy, and Republicans wanting to "plug leaks" (see Lambert's RCP except above), with some reports suggesting the Rs are advocating stifling free speech, prosecuting reporters for publishing classified information, and the like.

    Republican committee members were indeed focused on the leaks, and there was talk about how to prevent them, but their concern – at least as they expressed publicly on Monday – was specifically related to whether all those current and former officials, senior officials, etc., quoted anonymously in the NYT and WaPo (the infamous "nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies") violated FISA provisions protecting information about U.S. persons collected incidentally in surveillance of foreign actors.

    Sure, they're playing their own game, and it could be a ruse to divert attention from the Trump campaign's alleged Russian ties or simply to have ammo against the Ds. Even so, after listening to all their arguments, I believe they are on more solid ground than all the Dem hysteria about Russian aggression and Trump camp treason.

    I don't think I'll ever get Trey Gowdy's cringe-worthy performance during the Benghazi hearings out of my head, but he made some pretty good points on Monday, one of which was that investigating Russian interference and possible ties between Trump advisers and Russia is all well and good, but there may or may not have been any laws broken; whereas leaking classified information about U.S. citizens collected incidentally under FISA is clearly a felony with up to 10 years. Comey confirmed that by saying that ALL information collected under FISA is classified.

    And then he repeatedly refused to say whether he thought any classified information had been leaked or existed at all (I counted more than 100 "no comment" answers from Comey, who astonishingly managed to find 50 different ways to say it).

    My beef isn't so much the leak of classified information, but the gross dereliction of duty – if not outright abuse of First Amendment powers – by reporters who collaborate with intelligence agencies and then quote them anonymously, giving everyone cover to say or write whatever they want with zero accountability.

    In fact, there were some interesting comments in Monday's hearing about the possibility that some of what has been reported was fabricated. Then, you might expect Comey to say something like that. For all his talk about not tolerating leaks from his agency, blahblah, it was clear that he'll provide his own people with cover, if necessary. I think that's what Gowdy and a couple other Republicans were getting at.

    It goes without saying, but I'll add that the Dems were hardly even trying to disguise their real goal, which isn't protecting the American People® from the evil Russkies, but taking down Trump.

    fresno dan , March 22, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    3.14e-9
    March 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks for watching the whole thing – the nation owes you a debt of gratitude.

    "My beef isn't so much the leak of classified information, but the gross dereliction of duty – if not outright abuse of First Amendment powers – by reporters who collaborate with intelligence agencies and then quote them anonymously, giving everyone cover to say or write whatever they want with zero accountability."

    First, I a squillion percent agree with you. This is a big, bit deal because essentially the military/IC/neocons is trying to wrest control of the civilian government – the idea that the CIA is some noble institution that wants the best for all Americans is preposterous, yet accepted by the media, which proves how much propaganda we are fed. The sheep like following, the mandatory use of the adjective "murderous thug" before the name of "Putin" just shows that most of the media has been bought off or has lost all their critical thinking faculties.

    But I also don't want to be a hypocrite so I will explain that I don't have too much of a problem with leaks. WHAT I do have a problem with is the purposeful naivete or ignorance of the media that the CIA and/or facets of the Obama administration is trying to thwart rapprochement with Russia. Administrations BEFORE they are sworn in talk to foreign governments – the sheer HYSTERIA, the CRIME of talking to a Russian is beyond absurd. We are being indoctrinated to believe all Russia, all bad

    There is a ton of information about Podesta and the Clintons dealing with Russia for money. If Flynn and whatshisname are just grifting that is pedestrian stuff and everybody in Washington does it (I thing they call it "lobbying"). If there is REAL treason something should have come out by now.

    3.14e-9 , March 23, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Thanks, fd.

    I began covering congressional hearings while I was still in j-school and sat though many like this during my years as a reporter in D.C. Even though I haven't worked as a full-time journalist for many years, I still prefer original sources and am willing to take the time to dig for them or, in this case, to sit through a hearing as though I were covering it as a member of the press – especially when I don't even have to wash my hair or get dressed!

    I didn't mean to imply that I have a problem with leaks. I certainly encouraged enough of them in my time, and I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with publishing leaked material, even certain kinds of classified information. It depends.

    There's the kind of "classified" information that is restricted expressly to keep the public from knowing something they have a right to know, and there's information that's classified to protect individual privacy. The first kind should be leaked early and often. The second kind, close to never (and off the top of my head I can't think of an instance when it would be OK).

    Even though journalists aren't (and shouldn't be) held liable for publishing classified information given to them by a third party, they need to be scrupulous in their decisions to do so. Is it in the public interest? Who or what might be harmed? Would sitting on the information cause more harm than publicizing it? Does it violate someone's constitutional rights?

    These questions can get tricky with someone like Flynn, who's clearly a public figure and thus mostly fair game. However, if I had been reporting that story, I think I would have sat on it until I had more information, even at the risk of getting scooped – unless, of course, I was in cahoots with the leakers and out to get him and his boss.

    At that point, I am no longer an objective journalist committed to fair and accurate reporting, but a participant in a political cause. Although newspapers throughout history have taken sides, and pure "fact-based" journalism is a myth, there's a big difference between having an editorial slant and being an active participant in the story. Evidently, BezPo has decided that the latter is not only acceptable, but advantageous.

    Sorry, didn't mean to ramble on when I'm likely preaching to the converted. I feel very strongly about this issue, and it's disconcerting to me, as a lifelong Democrat, that I agreed more with the Republicans in that hearing. At the same time, the D's propaganda machine is pumping out so much toxic fog that it's shaking my faith in unfettered freedom of the press.

    Exactly what Putin wants, right?

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:46 am

    > I began covering congressional hearings while I was still in j-school and sat though many like this during my years as a reporter in D.C. Even though I haven't worked as a full-time journalist for many years, I still prefer original sources and am willing to take the time to dig for them

    Hmm. NC needs an in-house emptywheel

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:41 am

    You did this so we didn't have to. Thanks!

    * * *

    This:

    In fact, there were some interesting comments in Monday's hearing about the possibility that some of what has been reported was fabricated.

    I mean, it's not like we don't have several major players with the expertise and the institutional mandate to fake evidence. Waiting for a shoe to drop on this. Call me foily .

    * * *

    And this:

    My beef isn't so much the leak of classified information, but the gross dereliction of duty – if not outright abuse of First Amendment powers – by reporters who collaborate with intelligence agencies and then quote them anonymously, giving everyone cover to say or write whatever they want with zero accountability.

    For this, we have the First Amendment? Really?

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I agree that everybody is surveilled all the time, especially in the Beltway, where probably there are multiple simultaneous operations run against . well, everybody.

    It doesn't, er, bug me that 70-year-old Beltway neophyte Trump used sloppy language - "wiretap" - to describe this state of affairs. (I don't expect any kind of language from Trump but sloppy.) All are, therefore one is. It does bug me that the whole discussion gets dragged off into legal technicalities about what legal regimen is appropriate for which form of Fourth Amendment-destruction (emptywheel does this a lot). The rules are insanely complicated, and it's fun to figure them out, rather like taking the cover off the back of a Swiss watch and examining all the moving parts. But the assumption is that people follow the rules, and especially that high-level people (like, say, Comey, or Clapper, or Morrel, or Obama) follow the complicated rules. That assumes facts not in evidence.

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:28 am

    Incidental collection was always a likely scenario.

    We've also seen statements from people like GHCQ that clains they surveilled Trump at Obama's behest were "absurd," but those are non-denial denials. I can't recall a denial denial. Am I missing something?

    [Mar 23, 2017] Nunes Confirms There Was Incidental Surveillance Of Trump During Obama Administration, Seems To Be Inappropriate Zero Hed

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Update : House Intel Chairman Nunes spoke to reporters when he left the briefing at The White House and had some more stunning things to say:
  • *NUNES: BRIEFED PRESIDENT ON CONCERNS OVER INCIDENTAL COLLECTION
  • *NUNES: `PRESIDENT NEEDS TO KNOW' THESE INTEL REPORTS EXIST
  • *NUNES: SOME OF WHAT I'VE SEEN SEEMS TO BE `INAPPROPRIATE'
  • *NUNES: TRUMP, OTHERS IN TRANSITION PUT INTO INTELLIGENCE REPORT
  • *NUNES: QUESTION IS IF TRUMP SHOULD BE IN THESE `NORMAL' REPORTS
  • And the punchline: there are "multiple FISA warrants outstanding against Trump" Nunes also told reporters:

    Wow - Nunes just said there are "multiple FISA warrants out there" involving Trump.

    - Tom Watson (@tomwatson) March 22, 2017

    * * *

    As we detailed earlier, it appears Trump may have been right, again.

    Two days after FBI director Comey shot down Trump's allegation that Trump was being wiretapped by president Obama before the election, it appears that president Trump may have been on to something because moments ago, the House Intelligence Chairman, Devin Nunes, told reporters that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of President Trump's transition team, possibly including Trump himself, and the information was "widely disseminated" in intelligence reports.

    As AP adds , Nunes said that President Donald Trump's communications may have been "monitored" during the transition period as part of an "incidental collection."

    Nunes told a news conference Wednesday that the communications appear to be picked up through "incidental collection" and do not appear to be related to the ongoing FBI investigation into Trump associates' contacts with Russia. He says he believes the intelligence collections were done legally , although in light of the dramatic change in the plotline it may be prudent to reserve judgment on how "incidental" it was.

    "I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community collected information on U.S. individuals involved in the Trump transition," Nunes told reporters.

    "Details about U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports."

    The information was "legally brought to him by sources who thought we should know it," Nunes said, though he provided little detail on the source.

    BREAKING!!! Rep Devin Nunes (Intel Cmte Chmn): There was "Incidental collection" of @realDonaldTrump thru IC surveillance <- BOMBSHELL

    - Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) March 22, 2017

    Nunes also said that "additional names" of Trump transition officials had been unmasked in the intelligence reports. He indicated that Trump's communications may have been swept up.

    The House Intel Chair said he had viewed dozens of documents showing that the information had been incidentally collected. He said that he believes the information was legally collected. Nunes said that the intelligence has nothing to do with Russia and that the collection occurred after the presidential election.

    Nunes said he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on the revelation and will inform the White House later today. Nunes' statement comes after he and other congressional leaders pushed back on Trump's claims that former President Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower ahead of the election.

    Nunes said Wednesday that it was unclear whether the information incidentally collected originated in Trump Tower.

    The revelation comes in the wake of the committee's explosive hearing on Monday, at which FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau has been investigating Russia's election hacking since July, which includes probing possible coordination between members of Trump's presidential campaign and Moscow.

    The meeting represented the panel's first open hearing on its investigation into Russia's election meddling and also featured testimony from NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers.

    Nunes says the communications of Trump associates were also picked up, but he did not name those associates. He says the monitoring mostly occurred in November, December and January. He added that he learned of the collection through "sources" but did not specify those source

    Politico adds that Nunes is going to the White House later Wednesday to brief the Trump administration on what he has learned, which he said came from "sources."

    Nunes says he is "bothered" by this. Won't say whether or not intel community spied on Trump et. al. But says he is "concerned."

    - David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 22, 2017

    While there are no further details, we look forward to how the media narrative will change as a result of today's latest dramatic development.

    froze25 , Mar 22, 2017 1:38 PM

    Trump wouldn't of tweeted what he did unless he knew something. He doesn't make blind bets, he only moves on things he knows he can win. Not to mention he has shown that he can bait, watch the other side respond and deny and then present his case to show them as the liars they are.

    Looney -> LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD , Mar 22, 2017 1:40 PM

    James Comey said that there were no LEGAL wiretaps.

    Who would admit to ILLEGALLY wiretapping a campaign?

    I am not a crook I am not a crook ;-)

    Looney

    Chupacabra-322 -> ghengis86 , Mar 22, 2017 1:44 PM

    Bush and Obama both illegally tapped trumps 30+ offices, residences, cell ph since 2004.

    There's a New Snowden - 600M docs Leaked Including Trump Wire Taps on 30+ Phones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFJ34OAmzP8

    Documents Show Obama Surveilled Entire Trump Family For 8 Years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTT5FVyGMUU

    New NSA Whistblower Goes Public About Trump Surveillance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq2SaRu9emY

    NSA DOCUMENTS PROVE SURVEILLANCE OF DONALD TRUMP AND ALEX JONES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lntc9No2vzE

    Joe Davola -> froze25 , Mar 22, 2017 1:49 PM

    By "incidental monitoring" does he mean "gathering everything they can just like they do to everyone else"

    Chupacabra-322 -> Joe Davola , Mar 22, 2017 1:56 PM

    @ Joe,

    "Incidental" is code for "Vault 7." Someone should make T-Shirts.

    Gaius Frakkin' ... -> FrozenGoodz , Mar 22, 2017 2:17 PM

    "incidental surveillance"

    LOL...

    Something like Clapper's "not wittingly" I'm sure...

    While we're at it, let's debate the meaning of "is"...

    remain calm -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar , Mar 22, 2017 2:29 PM

    "Incidental surveilance" WTF

    That is like being a little gay...

    greenskeeper carl -> remain calm , Mar 22, 2017 2:50 PM

    How all these people still let trump bait them like this is hilarious. How many times has he said something that seemed baseless and everyone was sure would sink him, and then he is vindicated? And they still fucking fall for it.

    And yes, incidental surveillance is a funny term. As in you swept all his up the same way they listen to all of us all the time? Maybe this will piss trump off enough to end this shit. I doubt it though.

    j0nx -> greenskeeper carl , Mar 22, 2017 4:21 PM

    Indeed. Everyone knows Obama and hildabeast were 'tapping his lines' illegally via fake 'legal' methods...

    wildbad -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar , Mar 22, 2017 3:55 PM

    we've got to start fucking these liberals up.

    the NSA , the CIA, The FBI et al. are watching all of us all the time period.

    we have to beat these motherfuckers back until there is no one willing to fill those illegal and unconstitutional posts.

    the terrorists are in washington and we need to dissemble their illegally constructed fortress.

    Dear donald..attack them now. jail them. hang them.

    Sam.Spade -> FrozenGoodz , Mar 22, 2017 6:16 PM

    Here is what Trump may have known:

    The NSA 'wiretaps' EVERYONE. All of what you say on your phone, on-line, and in any other form of electronic communications is Hoovered up and dumped in their mass storage facilities in Utah and elsewhere. The system is set up to get it all AUTOMATICALLY. In fact, they would have had to go to great efforts to NOT record what Trump and his associates said electronically. Or searched for. Or visited on the web. Or even visited in person if he/she carried a cell phone with when going about.

    Because it is all recorded for ALL OF US! Standard, all the time, no warrant required.

    Of course, if there were FISA warrants issued, then the opposition did more than that, because no warrant is required for any of the above. So they must have also done some non-standard dirty. Like placing recording malware on the relevant cell phones to record conversations, take pictures, upload stored files, and even take video. Or sift through his financial records.

    OK, so why should you care? I don't mean about Trump, although you should care there as well, but about your privacy. You may not be getting the full Monte he did, by everything you do in the first paragraph now rests with the NSA.

    For an answer, consider this conversation between one of the uber-wealthy and a Federal Prosecutor:

    *****

    "With enough data, my lawyers can always find a crime. They'll prosecute. Bury anyone under legal motions, make his life miserable. Maybe even send him up for some felony."

    "Even if he didn't do anything?"

    "Of course he did something. We got 100,000 laws on the books, twice that in regs. Somewhere, sometime, by accident or intentionally, he broke one. We get a moving x-ray of his life, all we have to do is find it."

    *****

    It's called the power of selective prosecution. With enough data, what used to be just an annoyance becomes an unstoppable control technique. Someday, when the deep state wants you cooperation, they will drill down through their Utah stash for your name. Then they will call you in for a little chat.

    Not willing to spy on your best friend or wife? You may change you mind after their little chat.

    So how to avoid this trap? How do you avoid becoming a data serf?

    Learn to hide your data so it can't be hovered in the first place. I suggest you start with www.privacytools.io and work your way up from there.

    And do it now. Because protecting your privacy is like quitting smoking. It doesn't matter how long you have been engaged in unclean behavior, it's never too late to start living right.

    The quote above, by the way, was from Thieves Emporium by Max Hernandez. It's a primer on the ways TPTB control us in the new world of fiat money and ubiquitous surveillance and what we can do to prevent it. I strongly recommend you at least investigate getting a copy.

    The editors of The Daily Bell must agree as they ran it as a serial which you can still read for free at http://www.thedailybell.com/editorials/max-hernandez-introducing-thieves...

    Or you can buy a copy from Amazon (rated 4.6 in 118 reviews), Nook (same rating, not so many reviews), Smashwords (ditto), or iBooks.

    https://www.amazon.com/Thieves-Emporium-Max-Hernandez-ebook/dp/B00CWWWRK0

    Belrev -> Chupacabra-322 , Mar 22, 2017 2:22 PM

    Statement by Devin Nunes on discovery of Trump team surveillance by Obama

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

    CuttingEdge -> Chupacabra-322 , Mar 22, 2017 2:28 PM

    There is a simple method for Trump to "drain the swamp". Fucked if I know why he hasn't, given how much butt-hurt they are dishing out to him.

    An Executive Order giving immunity and witness protection (and even a fucking Presidential Medal of Freedom, if you ask me) to all whistleblowers who reveal unconstitutional malfeasance within both overt and covert .gov departments. Because these are the true patriots, and all that is stopping them shining a fucking huge spotlight on this bucket of scumfuck is persecution from the swamp dwellers who control all the levers of power.

    Maybe with a (secure) hotline/email direct to the White House, just to bypass Comey and all the other cunts installed by Obama. Or probably better, directly to a morally rock solid independent Special Prosecutor who is prepared to get down and seriously dirty with the insidious morally bereft creatures infesting DC. A Trey Gowdy-type of bloke. Because , as far as relying on the FBI et al is concerned, Trump was fucked before he started.

    Chupacabra-322 -> CuttingEdge , Mar 22, 2017 2:45 PM

    @ Cutting,

    A typewriter can get it done. Hear they're Hot sellers in Germany again.

    What people don't understand is, that the Russian PsyOp / False Narrative Script by the Deep State & Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Psychopath Hillary Clinton Globalist was the game plan all long.

    Win, stolen or lost. They were going & are going "all in" with the PsyOp, Scripted False Narrative of Russia hacking the Elections / Russia / Putin / Trump Propaganda gone full retard via the Deep States Opeatives in the Presstitute Media.

    Plausible Deniability is the name of the game. If the Deep State could of pulled off the False Narrative PsyOp of Russia influencing our Elections the Deep State could & will hack into Russia's National Elections next March. Call it pay back.

    The Deep State's destabilization campaign in Ukraine especially Crimea was part of the ZioNeoConFascist Agenda to destabilize Russia during their upcoming g elections.

    Putin countered by expelling all Geroge Sorros NGO's from Russia. However, rest assured those destabilization cells are in place to ready to be activated come Russia's next election cycle.

    The future meeting between the Two Super Powers will be Epic. The Diplomacy which will Prevail out of those meetings will be a fresh breath of air to the World.

    And, final Death Blows to the Pure Evil Criminal Deep State Elite Compartmentalized Hierarchy.

    vq1 -> Chupacabra-322 , Mar 22, 2017 3:45 PM

    I assume you brought up typewriter because it is "unhackable" and allows people to leak without potentially being linked?

    As we all know the wikileaks revelations show that almost no device is safe from CIA (typewriter obviously is safe).

    That does not mean however that anonymity is unachievable.

    Someone can feel free to point out any hole in my instructions:

    1) purchase an older laptop (no camera or microphone) with cash from a "local" computer store (not a Dell or Microsoft branded business).

    3) run OS from an external CD drive (NO USB). Recommend linux distro, like tails.

    2) https://privacytoolsio.github.io/privacytools.io/ for software recommendations (tor, VPN, protonmail/tutanota, keepass, etc)

    3) All accounts disassociated with you personally - fake names, no phone numbers, do not link to any personal accounts, make no comments, do not message your contacts.

    4) never use your own wifi.

    5) never use your own bank account or credit cards, use crypto currency to pay for VPN, etc.

    This setup, as I understand it, would keep you completely anon with the exception of cameras at the store you purchase laptop at or cameras at the cafe you are using wifi. You can now leak without it being linked to you.

    Not to say that this setup is immune from CIA. In fact the idea is that you know that the CIA is looking, its just important that they do not know WHO they are looking at (identity).

    forexskin -> vq1 , Mar 22, 2017 6:20 PM

    typewriter may be safe.

    my russian compatriot Vlad told me when he was a kid, every typewriter in USSR was cataloged with samples of its output. By microscopic analysis, they could tell which typewriter was responsible for any typed document.

    every computer printer made also has the same kind of ID backdoor - it will print a specific identifier (like a MAC address) somewhere on the page - except for the old dot matrix and early inkjet. Defeat that by running it thru a low res copier a few round trips.

    Jim in MN -> forexskin , Mar 22, 2017 7:22 PM

    East German Stasi, same deal. All typewriters registered and tracked. Such amazing depth of the deep state crap. Coming soon to a ruined Republic near you...unless......we stop it.

    Victory_Garden -> CuttingEdge , Mar 22, 2017 4:09 PM

    "An Executive Order giving immunity and witness protection (and even a fucking Presidential Medal of Freedom, if you ask me) to all whistleblowers who reveal unconstitutional malfeasance within both overt and covert .gov departments. Because these are the true patriots, and all that is stopping them shining a fucking huge spotlight on this bucket of scumfuck is persecution from the swamp dwellers who control all the levers of power.

    Maybe with a (secure) hotline/email direct to the White House, just to bypass Comey and all the other cunts installed by Obama. Or probably better, directly to a morally rock solid independent Special Prosecutor who is prepared to get down and seriously dirty with the insidious morally bereft creatures infesting DC. A Trey Gowdy-type of bloke. Because , as far as relying on the FBI et al is concerned, Trump was fucked before he started."

    [Mar 23, 2017] Embattled Trump Reneges on Health Vow

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Washington Post ..."
    "... The Washington Post ..."
    "... Moyers & Company ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | consortiumnews.com
    Embattled Trump Reneges on Health Vow March 21, 2017

    President Trump promised health insurance for all, but – now dependent on the political protection of House Speaker Paul Ryan – he is supporting a plan that will push millions outside the system, writes Michael Winship.

    By Michael Winship

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump still insists he's going to Make America Great Again! Mind you, it won't be a healthy or vigorous America - in fact, it will be coughing and wheezing to the grave, but boy, will it be great!

    If you ever needed further evidence that Trump doesn't give a single good goddamn about the people who elected him, just look at his treacherous turnabout on health care. This Republican "repeal and replace" bill stinks on so many levels I'm tempted to say it should be taken far out to sea and dumped into the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench but I have too much regard for marine life, even the kind with the big googly eyes and the really scary teeth.

    Remember that Trump was the carnival barker who declared during the campaign , "I am going to take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now." And right before his inauguration he told The Washington Post , "We're going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us."

    Then along comes the proposed Republican bill, which over a decade, according to the now-famous report from the Congressional Budget Office , would see 24 million fewer Americans with coverage, doubling the number of uninsured. Trump's own supporters would take it on the chin for what he tweeted is "our wonderful new health care bill."

    According to John McCormick at Bloomberg News : "Counties that backed him would get less than a third of the relief that would go to counties where Hillary Clinton won. The two individual tax cuts contained in the Republican plan to replace Obamacare apply only to high-earning workers and investors, roughly those with incomes of at least $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples."

    And remember all that nonsense about Obamacare's "death panels," a falsehood so rotten to the core it was declared PolitiFact's 2009 Lie of the Year ? Well, this Republican bill actually would kill people. Those older would pay more than the young, it would strip Planned Parenthood of funding and Medicaid programs would be slashed. It would eliminate money for the Prevention and Public Health Fund , which provides epidemiology, immunization and health-screening programs. And there would be no mandate that employers with 50 employees or more provide coverage.

    Julia Belluz at Vox reports on:"[V]ery high-quality studies on the impacts of health insurance on mortality, which come to some pretty clear estimates. This research suggests that we would see more than 24,000 extra deaths per year in the US if 20 million people lost their coverage. Again, 20 million is less than the 24 million the CBO thinks will lose insurance by 2026. So the death toll from an Obamacare repeal and replacement could be even higher."

    Ignoring the Needy

    Notice that Trump has barely lifted a finger to assist those who need genuine reform that would bring quality care to all, the kind of help he promised as a candidate. Instead, he has directed his energies at helping Speaker Paul Ryan win over right-wing House members by promising to make the bill even crueler to those who need health care the most.

    Take a look at this statement issued by tea partier and Alabama Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt after meeting with Trump on Friday, a statement so mind-boggling it's worth quoting in full :

    "President Trump called me to the Oval Office this morning to discuss the American Healthcare Act, because of his understanding that I could not support the current language of the bill. I expressed to the president my concern around the treatment of older, poorer Americans in states like Alabama. I reminded him that he received overwhelming support from Alabama's voters.

    "The president listened to the fact that a 64-year-old person living near the poverty line was going to see their insurance premiums go up from $1,700 to $14,600 per year. The president looked me in the eye and said, 'These are my people and I will not let them down. We will fix this for them.'

    "I also asked the president point blank if this House bill was the one that he supported. He told me he supports it '1,000 percent.' After receiving the president's word that these concerns will be addressed, I changed my vote to yes."

    Can you believe it? Trump's behind the bill 1,000 percent, the President claims, but don't worry, we'll fix it. It's hard to decide which of the two men is behaving more hypocritically: Trump saying he won't let the people down or Aderholt claiming to believe the President actually will keep his word. Each is endorsing a cutthroat scheme that will bring nothing but grief to the people but hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the wealthy and vast profits to the insurance industry.

    According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities : "The top 400 highest-income taxpayers - whose annual incomes average more than $300 million apiece - each would receive an average annual tax cut of about $7 million , we estimate from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data."

    Andy Slavitt, who was President Obama's acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told The Washington Post , "This is a massive tax cut for unpopular industries and wealthy individuals. It is about cutting care for lower-income people, seniors, people with disabilities and kids to pay for the tax cut."

    This is, in the words of Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, "a dumpster fire of a bill that was written on the back of a napkin behind closed doors because Republicans know this is a disaster." But thanks to ineptitude and an inchoate, ill-planned rush to pass the legislation, it looks as if the current Republican bill may be on its way to failure, if not in the House then in the Senate.

    Lucky us - for now. But if the GOP and Trump White House do manage to force on us anything short of what's really needed – single-payer, universal health care - we're doomed to live in a nation the motto of which may no longer be "In God We Trust" but instead, "Die young and leave a good-looking corpse."

    Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship . [This article first appeared at http://billmoyers.com/story/trump-gop-prescription-america-dont-get-sick/ ]

    [Mar 23, 2017] James Clapper resigns as US director of national intelligence

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

    Nov 17, 2016

    ...Clapper in 2014 played a leading role in firing Flynn from the directorship of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn, a retired US army lieutenant general, became one of the only national security officials of any note to back Trump, and is expected to take a leading role in Trump's administration, reportedly national security adviser.

    ... ... ...

    In March 2013, months before Snowden provided the Guardian and the Washington Post with voluminous NSA data documenting sweeping domestic and international communications dragnets, Clapper had a public colloquy with Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the intelligence committee.

    Wyden asked Clapper: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?"

    Clapper replied, untruthfully: "No sir," rubbing his head. "Not wittingly."

    After Snowden revealed otherwise, Clapper offered a shifting series of explanations for his publicly uttered falsehood. He first said it was the " least untruthful " answer he could provide in an unclassified hearing. Later he said he misunderstood which particular communications collection program Wyden was asking about – despite Wyden's staff alerting Clapper's before the hearing as to the question – and apologized to the committee.

    Later still, his lawyer, Robert Litt, would deny that Clapper lied and said the director simply forgot . Litt would also say that Clapper finds open intelligence-committee hearings, a requirement of congressional oversight, as annoying as folding fitted sheets.

    Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, called on Clapper to resign for lying to Congress. It was not the first such call: GOP senator Lindsey Graham wanted Clapper's resignation in 2011 after Clapper forecast that the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi would " prevail " over his opposition.

    But Obama stuck by his appointee, who struck a highly combative tone over the Snowden disclosures, even implying that journalists publishing them were " accomplices " to Snowden, who has been charged under the Espionage Act. During the departure ceremony for NSA director Keith Alexander in 2014, Clapper mocked "Eddie Snowden" and his admirers.

    A just-published profile in Wired magazine will serve as Clapper's final explanation of the episode while in office.

    "The popular narrative is that I lied, but I just didn't think of it. Yes, I made a mistake, but I didn't lie. There's a big difference," Clapper told Wired .

    "I'm quite sure that will be the first line of my Washington Post obituary. But that's life in the big city."

    For years before their famous exchange, Wyden had written numerous letters to Clapper seeking additional disclosure of widespread surveillance, particularly those programs with a domestic reach. He pointed to their history in reacting to Clapper's resignation.

    "During Director Clapper's tenure, senior intelligence officials engaged in an deception spree regarding mass surveillance. Top officials, officials who reported to Director Clapper, repeatedly misled the American people and even lied to them," Wyden said.

    [Mar 23, 2017] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/books/review/crisis-of-the-middle-class-constitution-ganesh-sitaraman-.html

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

    March 20, 2017

    It's Not Just Unfair: Inequality Is a Threat to Our Governance
    By ANGUS DEATON

    THE CRISIS OF THE MIDDLE-CLASS CONSTITUTION
    Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic
    By Ganesh Sitaraman

    President Obama labeled income inequality "the defining challenge of our time." But why exactly? And why "our time" especially? In part because we now know just how much goes to the very top of the income distribution, and beyond that, we know that recent economic growth, which has been anemic in any case, has accrued mostly to those who were already well-heeled, leaving stagnation or worse for many Americans. But why is this a problem?

    Why am I hurt if Mark Zuckerberg develops Facebook, and gets rich on the proceeds? Some care about the unfairness of income inequality itself, some care about the loss of upward mobility and declining opportunities for our kids and some care about how people get rich - hard work and innovation are O.K., but theft, legal or otherwise, is not. Yet there is one threat of inequality that is widely feared, and that has been debated for thousands of years, which is that inequality can undermine governance. In his fine book, both history and call to arms, Ganesh Sitaraman argues that the contemporary explosion of inequality will destroy the American Constitution, which is and was premised on the existence of a large and thriving middle class. He has done us all a great service, taking an issue of overwhelming public importance, delving into its history, helping understand how our forebears handled it and building a platform to think about it today.

    As recognized since ancient times, the coexistence of very rich and very poor leads to two possibilities, neither a happy one. The rich can rule alone, disenfranchising or even enslaving the poor, or the poor can rise up and confiscate the wealth of the rich. The rich tend to see themselves as better than the poor, a proclivity that is enhanced and even socially sanctioned in modern meritocracies. The poor, with little prospect of economic improvement and no access to political power, "might turn to a demagogue who would overthrow the government - only to become a tyrant. Oligarchy or tyranny, economic inequality meant the end of the republic."

    Some constitutions were written to contain inequalities. In Rome, the patricians ruled, but could be overruled by plebeian tribunes whose role was to protect the poor. There are constitutions with lords and commoners in separate chambers, each with well-defined powers. Sitaraman calls these "class warfare constitutions," and argues that the founding fathers of the United States found another way, a republic of equals. The middle classes, who according to David Hume were obsessed neither with pleasure-seeking, as were the rich, nor with meeting basic necessities, as were the poor, and were thus amenable to reason, could be a firm basis for a republic run in the public interest. There is some sketchy evidence that income and wealth inequality was indeed low in the 18th century, but the crucial point is that early America was an agrarian society of cultivators with an open frontier. No one needed to be poor when land was available in the West.

    The founders worried a good deal about people getting too rich. Jefferson was proud of his achievement in abolishing the entail and primogeniture in Virginia, writing the laws that "laid the ax to the root of Pseudoaristocracy." He called for progressive taxation and, like the other founders, feared that the inheritance of wealth would lead to the establishment of an aristocracy. (Contrast this with those today who simultaneously advocate both equality of opportunity and the abolition of estate taxes.) Madison tried to calculate how long the frontier would last, and understood the threat to the Constitution that industrialization would bring; many of the founders thought of wage labor as little better than slavery and hoped that America could remain an agrarian society.

    Of course, the fears about industrialization were realized, and by the late 19th century, in the Gilded Age, income inequality had reached levels comparable to those we see today. In perhaps the most original part of his book, Sitaraman, an associate professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School, highlights the achievements of the Progressive movement, one of whose aims was taming inequality, and which successfully modified the Constitution. There were four constitutional amendments in seven years - the direct election of senators, the franchise for women, the prohibition of alcohol and the income tax. To which I would add another reform, the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which provided a mechanism for handling financial crises without the need for the government to be bailed out by rich bankers, as well as the reduction in the tariff, which favored ordinary people by bringing down the cost of manufactures. Politics can respond to inequality, and the Constitution is not set in stone.

    What of today, when inequality is back in full force? I am not persuaded that we can be saved by the return of a rational and public-spirited middle class, even if I knew exactly how to identify middle-class people, or to measure how well they are doing. Nor is it clear, postelection, whether the threat is an incipient oligarchy or an incipient populist autocracy; our new president tweets from one to the other. And European countries, without America's middle-class Constitution, face some of the same threats, though more from autocracy than from plutocracy, which their constitutions may have helped them resist. Yet it is clear that we in the United States face the looming threat of a takeover of government by those who would use it to enrich themselves together with a continuing disenfranchisement of large segments of the population....


    Angus Deaton, a professor emeritus at Princeton, was awarded the Nobel in economic science in 2015. Reply Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 10:27 AM libezkova said in reply to anne... Thank you Anne.

    As for ".. it is clear that we in the United States face the looming threat of a takeover of government by those who would use it to enrich themselves together with a continuing disenfranchisement of large segments of the population...."

    that was accomplished in 1980 by Reagan. That's why we now can speak about "a colony nation" within the USA which encompasses the majority of population. Reply Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 04:58 PM libezkova said in reply to libezkova... Neoliberals vs the rest of population is like slave owners and the plantation workers. Reply Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 04:59 PM

    [Mar 23, 2017] Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here

    Notable quotes:
    "... I think its best to cast Obama, to use Trotsky' phrase, 'into the dustbin of history' where he belongs, along with the Clintons. He is a footnote and little else ..."
    "... Whereas working people & small business owners just want less tax, less people competing with them and a sense that the country they die in is not too different from the one they were born in. ..."
    "... Trump got in because of the votes of the stagnated middle income bracket. ..."
    "... The traditional elites in the USA have been broken. But neo-liberalism has not. The individuals,-both actors and interests- are in the process of re-alignment. The triumph of Trump shows just how thin is the veneer of the political liberalism that overlays neo-liberalism economy and society. ..."
    "... Unless the role of Wall Street, The City of London and the gradual privatisation of economies and societies in favour of global corporations is addressed, talk of an end of neo-liberalism is cynical humbug. ..."
    "... Meanwhile, an almost 'traditional' world of pre 1917 capitalist states is re-emerging with states and their proxies killing and destroying in order to control territory and economies. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
    Cornel West

    The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

    ... ... ...

    White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process.

    This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.

    ... ... ...

    The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

    , toandfro , 17 Nov 2016 22:15
    The article is wishful thinking.

    It is clear that Trump and his kind are intent on reinforcing the barricades around the wealthy and powerful. With the 'popular' media collapsing into similar partisanship it is equally clear that the masses have no idea of the full extent to which they are being hoodwinked and fleeced.

    Neo-liberalism is a return to the exploitative capitalism of the Georgian and Victorian eras, where the self-perpetuating 'money makes money' maxim is the driving force. The only way to break the cycle is to install more civic-minded politicians able to recycle money back to the rest of society. Yet the sheer expense of standing for office eliminates most from the starting gates.

    Which means that a key change required (among many) is to put severe campaign spending limits in place.

    , Miki Bitsko , 17 Nov 2016 22:09
    "The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. "
    Probably not. A defining component of Fascism (not the catch-all 'fascism' used by the generally historical and political illiterate) was Statism - that is, a believe in central government intervention in and control of the economy, commerce and society in general.

    Perhaps Parkinson would care to detail the Republican Congress' (and Trump's) plans for a change to 'big government' instead of relying on free-market capitalism to largely 'take care' of things in America?

    , LoneArranger , 17 Nov 2016 22:08
    Blimey, this 'new analysis' concerning the failure of neo-liberal capitalist globalisation is pouring out of the newspapers - and in nearly every country too. Cornel West managed to mention the 'nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness'.
    The thing is, there are still people who remember that prior to the frenzy of neo-liberalism, the privatisation of everything, the marketisation of everything not nailed down, and every man and his dog becoming a 'shareholder' and 'investor', there actually was some stability and rational economic normality.
    Is it any wonder then, that people hanker after that? It is actually possible to undo some of the excesses, or at least stop them going further. Part of that voice of elitism is the one telling everybody that the clock can't be turned back or that all change is inevitable and irreversible. Easily said when your salary and pension are fat and you're in your twilight years.

    In Trump there is merely a narrow political layer above the very same rapacious global financial system West claims has 'crumbled'. They all sit on the same economic ideas more-or-less.

    Unfortunately large swathes of the populations are voting in a blind rage or from fear. It reflects badly on the electorate showing a complete dearth of economic knowledge. What else can be expected from 40 years of dumbed-down culture?

    , bready , 17 Nov 2016 21:57
    Neoliberalism: 19th century Imperialism, profiting from cheap labour propelled manufacturing, staged marketing and elimination of borders and national resistance on confiscated lands.
    Neofascism: Fascism under "Neo" names.
    Let's not divert ourselves from cold hard facts.
    , Jamesj17 , 17 Nov 2016 21:41

    The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad

    And yet his cult lives on. A heroes welcome in Berlin and barely hours after Clinton failed democrats were petitioning for Michelle Obama to stand in the next elections. It's the cult of personality in American politics that is so toxic, it's more like the fairytale of professional wrestling than a search for truth, fairness and justice. No wonder the stay-at-homes cost Clinton the election. People are fed up with the bs.

    , Hippolytus , 17 Nov 2016 21:35
    Since Washington D.C. has for decades chosen not to conciliate between the right and left political ideologies, but instead to become polarized to either extreme, it has become virtually impossible to govern the U.S. as the American forefathers had imagined at the foundation of the Constitution. Polarization to either extreme is why the pendulum continues to swing from one to the other periodically, and the wisest decision that can be made in any given instant is obviated as a result. If the politicians refuse to conciliate, as is their right and solumn duty to behave, then the people will have to speak to them in the only way possible to get them to understand. The government we get is what we deserve.
    , Quetzalcoatl14 , 17 Nov 2016 21:03
    Love it. See, Cornell is wise enough to recognize that the Democrat Party and Republican Party had both participated in two great evils: a rapacious and murderous foreign policy, one, and neo-liberal pro-elite economic policies that harmed the working and middle class, regardless of color. He also notes that there also is racism or xenophobia, that Trump masterfully manipulated. However, the Democrats are not off the hook, because as he notes they didn't address the economic plight of most Americans.
    , mrsydney21 BrunoForestier , 17 Nov 2016 21:09
    Facist - "A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism"......Seems like a pretty accurate description of the Trump campaign to me.
    , BocRodgers , 17 Nov 2016 20:55

    The Bush and Clinton dynasties were destroyed by the media-saturated lure of the pseudo-populist billionaire with narcissist sensibilities and ugly, fascist proclivities.


    'Media-saturated lure', what a complete crock, the media were beside themselves at the result, CNN was delaying results because they didn't want to believe them, Trump rounded on the media towards the end and everyone thought he had blown it, but he hadn't, because the people had seen through the paid for, and conflicted media.
    , Lester Metta , 17 Nov 2016 20:53
    Sadly, I don't think neoliberalism is over, it is just dented. But time will tell. The DNC saying they have a big tent does not tell me that it is over.
    , taxmesomemore , 17 Nov 2016 20:47
    We are not waving goodbye to neoliberalism.

    ...we are in danger of further deepening crony capitalism.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/opinion/campaign-stops/donald-trump-crony-capitalist.html

    , mmmmmonkey , 17 Nov 2016 20:45
    You could not be more wrong that the neoliberal era has ended in the US.
    Trump will find himself beholden to the same forces that Obama faced and will quickly lose control as his administration tears itself apart with infighting.

    As soon as he is impeached the party elites, their corporate masters and the "liberal" media will produce a sensible centre candidate who will win comfortably by a combination of not being Trump and the thinly veiled anti-white-male rhetoric the establishment have employed throughout the Clinton / Obama years.

    Once the establishment have the White House back the Silicon Valley and Wall St grandees will sweep back into their places of influence and they will pursue an even more aggressive neoliberal agenda than before, all the while singling out minority special interest groups for special treatment to maintain the false veneer of inclusiveness so characteristic of the Obama years.

    Nothing has changed my child.

    , Gungajin , 17 Nov 2016 20:33
    It is the neoliberalistic focus on money as a means by its own right that has been priming human beings into becoming more and more isolated, greedy and egocentric. Thus the ground for a fascist takeover has been prepared and history is repeating itself. Apparently, we're unable to learn from earlier mistakes, because this development can only come as a surprise for those who only hear and see what they wish to hear and see.
    Countless rational people, experts and laymen alike, have been warning us for this to happen for just as long as neoliberalism has lasted. But once "gold" has been cried out, nothing can stop the rush. We're not any better than those little lemming critters, stampeding towards their untergang.
    We're guilty as charged and get what we have asked for. Like always, the weak and innocent will get the worst deal.
    , Laura Lovitt Pandapas , 17 Nov 2016 20:32
    Can we just put a stop to the notion that somehow Sanders would have slid in to victory. He'd never faced a national battle with the GOP. Ever. And Clinton pulled many a punch so as not to alienate his supporters. But the GOP would have been vicious. Here's a sampling, as reported by Newsweek. I am a little stunned by the naiveté of some progressives. Sanders ran to push Clinton to the left. That's why he ran as a Democrat, and that's why he supported her after he was mathematically out of the race. And that's why he worked so hard to get the Democratic platform to include almost 80% of his policy objectives. He did not intend for his supporters to blow up the entire fucking country and blow all those objectives because they didn't get 100% of what they wanted immediately. He is a savvy politician and was in it for the long game. His supporters blew the long game and potentially any hope for the planet, because now there won't be any action on climate and money will drown our political process further. Nicely done.

    http://www.newsweek.com/myths-cost-democrats-presidential-election-521044

    "So what would have happened when Sanders hit a real opponent, someone who did not care about alienating the young college voters in his base? I have seen the opposition book assembled by Republicans for Sanders, and it was brutal. The Republicans would have torn him apart. And while Sanders supporters might delude themselves into believing that they could have defended him against all of this, there is a name for politicians who play defense all the time: losers.

    "Here are a few tastes of what was in store for Sanders, straight out of the Republican playbook: He thinks rape is A-OK. In 1972, when he was 31, Sanders wrote a fictitious essay in which he described a woman enjoying being raped by three men. Yes, there is an explanation for it-a long, complicated one, just like the one that would make clear why the Clinton emails story was nonsense. And we all know how well that worked out.

    "Then there's the fact that Sanders was on unemployment until his mid-30s, and that he stole electricity from a neighbor after failing to pay his bills, and that he co-sponsored a bill to ship Vermont's nuclear waste to a poor Hispanic community in Texas, where it could be dumped. You can just see the words "environmental racist" on Republican billboards. And if you can't, I already did. They were in the Republican opposition research book as a proposal on how to frame the nuclear waste issue.

    "Also on the list: Sanders violated campaign finance laws, criticized Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that he voted for, and he voted against the Amber Alert system. His pitch for universal health care would have been used against him too, since it was tried in his home state of Vermont and collapsed due to excessive costs. Worst of all, the Republicans also had video of Sanders at a 1985 rally thrown by the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua where half a million people chanted, "Here, there, everywhere/the Yankee will die,'' while President Daniel Ortega condemned "state terrorism" by America. Sanders said, on camera, supporting the Sandinistas was "patriotic."

    "The Republicans had at least four other damning Sanders videos (I don't know what they showed), and the opposition research folder was almost 2-feet thick. (The section calling him a communist with connections to Castro alone would have cost him Florida.) In other words, the belief that Sanders would have walked into the White House based on polls taken before anyone really attacked him is a delusion built on a scaffolding of political ignorance."

    , Awayneramsey , 17 Nov 2016 20:17
    Wow. A Harvard Graduate and it would seem you know little about the Neoliberal socio-economic policy model. President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear (or not, seeing how he often changes his mind and always allows for 'plausible deniability' e.g. no press allowed) that he will (1) continue to make US government smaller by privatization, in particular, private prisons; (2) deregulation, that is, The Pres.-elect says for each new regulation, two must be eliminated; (3) major tax reform that tends to redistribute wealth and inequality. No doubt you are TOO busy, but do a little superficial research before writing these disarming essays. This makes you look really bad!

    , uniqueuserid , 17 Nov 2016 20:16

    The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism.


    Counterpoint: Trump is the last gasp of neoliberalism.

    From inception, neoliberalism has not been too far removed from neofacism. It's a set of economic ideals that Obama proved could benefit minorities; but it's most comfortable alongside the protectionism and jingoism of neofacism: in order to survive, the "trickle down" economy has to have something to pull the wealth downwards; and that's harder to achieve when the lower classes are better off. Better (from the perspective of neoliberalism) to create a new underclass of undesirables, and what better way to use everyday markers such as skin colour and religion, and favour the white middle- and upper-middle classes? Not enough? Okay add women into the mix. This in itself creates more impetus for the male middles and lowers to grasp upward. Anything to distinguish themselves from the underclasses, whether legal, criminal, or newly criminalized.

    , Ziontrain , 17 Nov 2016 20:10
    Cornel is one of the few that dares to speak the truth, but I find this particular piece of though to be maybe be a bit incomplete.

    To me Trump is the neoliberal crowd sneaking in through the back door by playing a new card: throw out a blaze of hatred and scapegoating to satisfy the anger of the crowd, but carry on doing exactly what you have been doing.

    It's hard to see where the neoliberal age is over. Because Trump is not a populist, but rather a neoliberal in disguise. For example, prime on on his agenda it seems is more tax cuts, trickle down economics, the cult of individualism - and worst of all the privatisation of national infrastructure on a scale that will make post-soviet Russia seem mild!

    He might say he isnt for the so called "trade deals", but so what - domestically he is set to roll back environmental regulation, protections that workers enjoy, you name it. So what's the difference if he does it via an internatonal framework or just domestic policy? It's the same result!

    The only way Trump is going to be able to do this is the age old tactics of sowing divisiveness. Which he set out in his campaign.

    The real issue is how dangerous will be situation be once "white people" realise that they have been duped......AND this guy has already set the hounds of hell loose on the minorities in the country.

    This is all set to be a disaster of epic proportions. But lets not confuse this for the end of neoliberalism.


    What is to be done? First we must try to tell the truth and a condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak. For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success.

    On the above - all I can say is "amen", because many of us readers just went through an entire election coverage in which right here, we were treated to a barrage of neoliberal propaganda poorly disguised as gender politics. And the political alternatives were buried and ignored, to the point where it was blatant and embarassing.

    So please Cornel, why dont you say this one one more time to the editorial team? Please.

    , Gungajin Ziontrain , 17 Nov 2016 20:39
    I believe you're wrong about Trump. Neoliberals have a long-term agenda and don't act spontaneously and emotionally like Trump does. TYrump's no neoliberal, he's just a maniac and only cares about himself and his closest family. He will rip off the American people for what it's worth and leave a total mess of everything.
    , Ziontrain afurada , 17 Nov 2016 20:56
    No, Trump is them. I lived in NYC for years and there is no other way to describe him. He worships money, he has no other values. He believes in markets - rigged ones only. Hates regulations. Rips off the working class.

    Why do the existing neoliberal top dogs (Bush clan etc) hate him then? Just that he outflanked them by being willing to throw super explicit hatred and divisiveness around as bait for voters.

    But make no mistake he is going to do exactly what they do - which is what he has done all his life.

    Anyone who thinks a 70 yr old Riche Rich can suddenly become a "populist" should go to the movies for that fantasy, but shouldnt be allowed to vote.

    , afurada Ziontrain , 17 Nov 2016 22:13
    In a way, that is what I meant. It is just that, so far, he has not belonged to a 'club' and has gone on his own, money-grabbing way. He seems to reject 'the establishment'. But, from Jan 20th he will not only be apart of the 'establishment', he will be a leading player in it. Not difficult to see where that will end.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/donald-trump-youve-been-trumped-too-anthony-baxter-golf-aberdeenshire-documentary-mollie-michael-a7383311.html

    , Harvey Diggs , 17 Nov 2016 19:59
    Donald Trump is an elite who fed lie after lie to the so called 'working class' public and they ate it like starving dogs. Trump will destroy consumer protection groups, he will gut regulation on Wall St, he will manipulate government institutions so his private companies will benefit....and you allowed this to happen because you felt he wasn't a 'typical' politician. The working class voter will pay dearly over the next 4 years.
    , Kay Urlich , 17 Nov 2016 19:59
    It had to happen, read 'Is Humanity Suffering Testosterone Overload.' Neoliberalism is only one part of the problem.... denial of Basic Living Income? Sexism? Racism? they all come under the same umbrella of being manipulated by what can only be describes as 'Warlord' mentality that has been around for thousands of years... it's the mindset that must be changed
    , jelliott johan1974 , 17 Nov 2016 20:16
    "Fascism" is not very well defined tbh, but there are plenty of people that tick those boxes that aren't fascist. Maggie Thatcher was not technically fascist. And perhaps he was right to denounce the media because as wikileaks now tells us (and in fact Donna Brazile tells us openly) they were colluding pretty heavily with the democrats. If they hadn't been they wouldn't have published those ridiculously biased (democrats oversampled by 10%) polls and fooled themselves.
    , jockeylad , 17 Nov 2016 19:44
    Trump in the Whitehouse & the UK leaving the EU represent a big kick in the balls from all those that feel left behind/marginalised/had their legitimate concerns ignored by the - for want of a better word - establishment. All those who were doing well out of the status quo - actually, strike that, they were making out like fucking bandits - are now going to have to deal with a new set of variables, a situation that they hate.

    The Remain campaign labelled anyone concerned about where the EU was headed as racist without even trying to engage with them - for what it's worth I voted to remain & try to reform from the inside - & reaped the whirlwind for their arrogance. Hilary Clinton's message was loud & clear - more of the same old tired shit, things will carry on getting shittier for all you peasants but all of my friends in big business will be fine, but on the bright side I've got ovaries y'all. America rejected the bullshit & said here, deal with this idiot for four years, have some of our uncertainty - we have nothing to lose. The sad thing is that whilst the Donald is gone in four years time a Supreme Court - that's where the real power in the US lies - packed out with Nazis will last for a very long time - & they can make your beloved constitution say anything they damn well please.

    Sleep well in the (People are waking up to the fact that having nothing equals having nothing left to lose - may we all live in interesting times) fire.

    , gunnerbull123 , 17 Nov 2016 19:34
    Why the pussy footing around? For neo-liberalism read capitalism. When did Nixon go to China - 1973? In order to open a source of cheap labour for US and other western companies.
    From there on it was inevitable that the Chinese would seize the opportunity for themselves and turn it full circle. So don't blame the Chinese. It's a 40 year orgy of more for less, spawned by global corps. that have no loyalty other than to themselves.
    , leonotus , 17 Nov 2016 19:33
    The author's analysis is deeply flawed. The exit polls show that people who earn less than $50,000/year voted in a solid majority for Clinton. It was people who earn $50,000-$100,000/year that voted overwhelmingly for Trump. Hardly a cry of help and a rejection of neoliberalism from the "dispossessed" classes. The whole trope about Trump's campaign being the voice of the "poor, bigoted, uneducated white voter" was simply a propaganda narrative designed to scare and mobilize black and brown voters to support Clinton. According to Nate Silver at 538.com, the average trump supporter earn $72,000/ year vs. the median income of $54,000/year. 44% of Trump supporters have a college degree, vs. 29% for the population as a whole.

    I think a lot of people who voted for Trump were tired of the strategy of the Democrats to separate and polarize people based on a ruthless strategy of divisive identity politics. Even 30% of Hispanics voted for Trump -- I guess they didn't get the message that they should be afraid, and instead responded to Trump's core message -- economic empowerment for all Americans, based on ambition and merit. Maybe the leftist strategy of cultivating racial and class resentments is not so powerful as they had hoped.

    , zii000 , 17 Nov 2016 19:00
    I doubt if neoliberalism has reached the critical threshold yet. Businesses will continue to dominate behind the scenes through their indirect ownership of Congress so if neoliberal policies suit them (and they mostly do), then neoliberalism it is.
    I think 2020 will be the critical year after 4 years of Trump (if he survives the full term which is a huge If). Then we might see some sweeping changes as the US electorate wakes up to the reality of what they have done.
    , Lafcadio1944 , 17 Nov 2016 18:54
    I believe fully in what my brother says, yet there is more to this story.

    In this bleak moment, we must inspire each other driven by a democratic soulcraft of integrity, courage, empathy and a mature sense of history – even as it seems our democracy is slipping away.

    We must, having "a mature sense of history" along with courage rejoice in the positive results of the end of Neoliberalism. GONE are TPP and TTIP - this is a great cause for progressives to celebrate. Rapprochement with Russia and the possible reshaping of the geopolitical post war arrangements, the end of "The New American Century" project of aggression and empire and a possible new view to cooperation.

    These things are happening, there will be jobs programs and all sorts of positive initiatives.

    The courage we need now is to work with an insurgent movement with tens of millions of supporters to try and shape new policies, not "fight" the insurgency but fight to fully kill of Neoliberalism.

    The courage is in the cooperation with ugly people and swallowing your pride in favor of helping the people who have been so deeply betrayed. There is no left or right now there is only the insurgency or the Neoliberal establishment and corporate rule the end of democracy lies there, not in the insurgency - take your pick.

    , BabylonianSheDevil03 Laura Lovitt Pandapas , 17 Nov 2016 18:57
    Please read this -
    http://www.combatingglobalization.com/articles/Neoliberal_Labor_Strategy.html
    , chimesblues federalexpress , 17 Nov 2016 18:55
    "Fascism - a form of radical authoritarian nationalism ..."

    From my perspective Trump ticks the boxes.

    , BabylonianSheDevil03 , 17 Nov 2016 18:24
    Good piece.
    Neoliberalism is expiring, due to people who sleep walked into a neoliberal era, starting with Thatcher and Reagan, waking up and smelling the BS. There is no 'trickle down', only a 'trickle up' of money to a ruling elite already fattened by privilege, and governments all sing from the same neoliberal hymn sheet, with global corporations calling the tune.
    There has been no choice at the ballot box, no chance for ordinary people to vote for change, because governments no longer represent the people, they stopped doing that decades ago, now they represent the interests of the ruling elite/global corporations. Every few years political parties pretend to care about issues that affect all of us, then after being elected promptly turn their backs and do sod all for the people.
    Something had to give.
    Of course a few short years ago many would have put good money on a people's revolution being left-wing, nobody would have predicted that it would be far right wing. And of course this is now the difficulty, for though far right wing leaders have been quick to capitalise on people's fears and insecurities, promising an end to the neoliberal era, what we are in danger of doing is jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, with easy/lazy promises made by the likes of Trump/Farage/Le Pen, who simply say what many disillusioned people want to hear.
    But delivering on those promises is not going to happen, and when it doesn't they will simply blame the scapegoats they have already tied to the back of their band wagon, to be mercilessly dragged along, immigrants/Muslims/Mexicans/women/Jews and sadly a lot of angry people who want a scapegoat will resort to hate crimes.
    Sanders was offering a humane counter narrative, so is Corbyn, and if people don't want a repeat of what is happening in the US over here, then he is the only alternative, and scoff all you like but whilst doing so remember your options here, a counter narrative that offers a fairer, kinder politics, or one that offers the diametric opposite to this.
    For me it is a no-brainer.
    , Moo McMoo BabylonianSheDevil03 , 17 Nov 2016 19:24
    I agree with you here minus the Sanders bit. Sanders was a nice old grandpa but a policy wonk he didn't make. Sanders was very much out of his depth and was essentially a nicer Trump. He would not have won and would be as ineffective as Trump will be.

    , chaosmostly , 17 Nov 2016 18:24
    "Neo-fascism" amounts to lazy thinking. It does disservice to history and the people who suffered under real fascism.
    Where are Trump's blackshirts or SA?
    Where are the political assassinations and street beatings of leftists by party-organized paramilitary units?
    People are exercising their First Amendment rights, freely assembling and protesting without violent reprisals.
    "Neo-fascism" is hyperbolic blather.
    With overreaching rhetoric, West writes of how "we must;"--and how we must with "justice" and "truth telling."
    He even invokes the magic name of Dr. Martin Luther King; a serious guy who can be counted on to sanctify any argument in the cloak of transcendental solemnity.
    Here's his main assumption though:
    West says that a "lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees."
    Is that true?
    Might it be that economic insecurity brought neoliberalism to its knees, despite cultural scapegoating?
    Could it be that a lot of the people who voted for Trump see through the rhetoric, lies, inflammatory speech and overheated moralizing that lately pass for news, commentary and political discourse?
    And, after careful consideration, they voted for economic policies that might improve their lives, rather than simply settling for more of the same.
    Trump's policies might improve their lives.
    Then again, they might not.
    Clinton's certainly would not.
    So is voting for Trump a knee-jerk reaction to fearful uncertainty--or a rational decision made by people who see through the seemingly all-pervasive rhetorical B.S.?
    Maybe people aren't as dumb as mass media believes they are.
    Something to consider.
    , AQuietNight , 17 Nov 2016 17:47
    "Trump's neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do."

    This line goes down well with the Hollywood & Silicon Valley party circuit set.

    Trump has shown he's pretty flexible. He's showing it now as early word indicates he is tempering his policies. So, all you worried snowflakes and oppressed maybe fretting for nothing or at best, very little.

    , colinius , 17 Nov 2016 17:42
    NeoLiberalism was the brainchild of economists Friedrich Hayak and Milton Friedman.It was picked up by Reagan in the US (Reaganomics) and Thatcher in the UK,as well as others.
    Simply put it means deregulation of big banks and corperations to give them virtually unfettered power to do as they like.They did.It is the basis of the so-called theory of 'trickle- down'.
    Basically 'trickle-down' believes that if the rich get richer a proportion of that wealth trickles down to everyone else. It was just a theory. It was wrong,as we now well know. The rich just sat on the money and much of it just ended up in tax havens.
    As the corperations reached out for ever increasing profits they then started to 'globalise',a nice term for saying that you will lose your job and we will emigrate it abroad. This put pressure on the jobs market and depressed pay all over the West.
    The USA had the opportunity to hit back at this with it's recent election and the UK with Brexit. The people did so.
    However,the USA has now voted in an even more right-wing government and the UK has changed the face of it's government but not the substance and it has also taken a further lurch to the right.
    Hence,NeoFacism.
    The NeoLiberalists are still there,in power.
    So,we now have NeoLiberalism joined with NeoFacism.
    I'll leave to come to your own conclusions about the future.
    , Densher colinius , 17 Nov 2016 17:59
    Hayek write a pamphlet called 'Why I am not a Conservative' and would be appalled at the extent to which capitalism has been taken over by the state rather than by markets operating without state regulation, in domestic and international terms. Liberalism and its neophytes has a long way to go realise the dreams of its free market apostles. Reply Share
    , Mickglover colinius , 17 Nov 2016 18:07
    Trickle down seemed to work for a while post WW2, but with Thatcher all that was destroyed. Social policy needs State intervention and certain elements of society should be enshrined and not left to the cleverness of the ballot box tricks. Housing, education, health/welfare and public transport should all be kept out of the whims of new free market.
    ideas

    , skipissatan Densher , 17 Nov 2016 18:44
    Hayek didn't realise that the logical result of his economics was oligarchy and a client state. The Conservative party aren't conservatives either, but very much neoliberal.
    , zendancer , 17 Nov 2016 17:27
    Funny thing is during the last 8 years of Obama in office as President ,the Clintons via their "Foundation " has made themselves very ,very rich .Meanwhile ISIS is supported by Obama and the reputation of USA is dragged through the "mud", as the World wonders why a the leader of the Western World in backing a "bunch of thugs who kill civilians ,act like they own the World.The whole of the Middle East was about to break into a "Sunni v Shia bloodbath over Syria and Irag ,until Russia decided the "game was over " and stopped Isis in it's tracks .

    Neoliberalism is now shown up to be a "rich get richer and stuff everyone else : modus operandi,great for California (weapons and computer based systems ) and "Manhattan " where the Bankers and Federal Reserve broke all the rules as the National debt went up by 8 trillion US dollars under Obama (ex federal Reserve chief of 1990's joked a few years ago "When i ran the Fed . we never mentioned the "trillion " word when talking about the National Debt but ,now i can talk about 16 trillion dollar debt !What a laugh !"

    Let us hope that Neoliberalism is now "dead and buried " ,the Clinton's and their Middle East autocratic backers (who must know they are soon to be history -take you pick -Saudi Arabia has trouble fighting Yemen and now Yemen is in Saudi Arabia ,because the Saudi's cannot fight .Forget Sanders ,too old and "did he take a backhander to go away ?.Trump does not want to be President ,he has said many times "i am not a politician " he should have said "i am your local builder ,who was hired to save you house /country after years of neglect finally brought the survival of the house to the tipping point of no return.Personally i cannot wait for the "ex Playboy centrefold ,who has a masters degree in economics ,is married to a leading surgeon ,father was a General in Vietnam war,mother runs one of the biggest charities in the West .She cam also waltz.tango,salsa and plays many musical instruments.She wants to run for President because God told her to,she has friends of every ethnic group in USA.Only joking Hilary was probably the female candidate for President - we will never know =the rest of the women who might have run could not afford the "price tag " on the Presidency set by Neoliberals who wanted one of their own elite as President .

    , lochinverboy , 17 Nov 2016 17:26
    Excellent article. Neo liberalism is unfettered capitalism embraced in it's truest form in Britain and the US. The social democracies of Europe harness the wealth created and invest in their societies far better than both. Emasculated unions, sell off of assets, privatising as much as possible and ignoring fiscal misbehaviour of banks and tax avoiders. Im sure the most extreme right wing President ever with his backers, Breibart, Farage, the KKK and Pen will gallop to the rescue of the ordinary US citizen!!!
    , RecantedYank , 17 Nov 2016 17:20
    Here are a few facts:
    Democrats went along with Bush (and Hillary is no better) when it came to fighting wars...presumably because we (our Dem politicians) get just as much a chunk of cash from the military industrial sector as do the Republicans, and they saw the ka-ching very quickly.
    We adopted a Republican(!!) Romney health care plan as the rebranded ACA, which allowed the further flow of unlimited greed in our health/medical care system, and unsurprisingly, soon started to leak like a sieve! (Of course, insurance, pharma, and the health care giant conglomerates are making money hand over fist)
    Obama and Hillary backing Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, the one man who came out and said publicly he would not vote to overturn Citizen's United, which allows the rich and corporations to flood our political system and thus our policies with money and influence.
    Obama willing, unbidden, to put social security on the line...something republicans and Wall Street always wanted.
    When it came to repealing Glass Steagall, ONLY 50 Dems had the backbone to vote "no"...because the others (almost entirely the Clinton neoliberal wing of the party) decided to collude with the republicans , who were unanimously in favour, with Wall Street.

    The Clintonite neoliberal wing of the party would like you to believe that those who are highly suspicious of them (and rightly so) are either racist, misogynist or both.
    Actually..quite a lot of us (particularly those of us who are serious about such issues) despise the way the Clinton wing of the party use these issues as a smokescreen to hide the fact that when it comes to selling everyone out, they are right up there with the republicans.
    Although I am sure there are some racists out there, and some misogynists, I don't think the vast majority of those who hesitated to pull a lever for Hillary were. I think they were simply people who, while realizing that women and blacks were getting a raw deal, also realized that they would not be getting any part of a deal...and because they had been forgotten so long, quite a few of them voted for Trump.

    I don't for a moment believe that Trump is any better than Clinton, but I do very much "get" where many of them are coming from. The distrust of Hillary over things like Benghazi, emails and the like was only the superficial exo-skin of a growing distrust of the Democrats going lockstep with the republicans when it came to toadying to Wall Street and corporations.

    , Nancy M Ruff RecantedYank , 17 Nov 2016 17:41
    Well the good news is that Wall Street is celebrating because it foresees regulations being removed completely. Good luck everyone!
    , aldebaranredstar RecantedYank , 17 Nov 2016 17:55
    "a growing distrust of the Democrats going lockstep with the republicans when it came to toadying to Wall Street and corporations." Agree. The Dems and Repubs became the uni-party blob on some key issues. Plus, they could come up with no new ideas for the problems that confront USA and the world--immigration, global warming, poverty. Obama did not even SAY the words "climate change" until after his re-election in 2012. That's how much Dems wanted to talk about the issue--they did not. Hence, we get all the people in USA in denial because no one bothered to talk about it, even with the bully pulpit.
    , Michronics42 , 17 Nov 2016 17:17
    The Guardian must employ more truth tellers like Cornel West, Thomas Frank, Robert Reich, Thomas Piketty and etcetera to regain legitimacy in the political arena, not self-serving sycophants.

    And is it a wonder West and POTUS despised one another?

    As for the frightening spectre of Trump's neofacist administration and the horrors it will most certainly unleash, we must "Rise like Lions from slumber in unvanquishable number"(Percy Bysshe Shelley: The Masque of Anarchy, 1819).

    , EpicHawk , 17 Nov 2016 17:06
    American neoliberalism can only be on its way out if US looks for Europe to teach the alternative. Bring back industries? How exactly, when all your businesses only care about cheap labour. I just can't imagine America favouring a different society. Their whole culture would have to change. Everything they do just reeks of inequality and competition to me. Not to mention the cities are ugly and all infrastructure and planning is centred around cars. To be honest the whole country is a mess.

    , DrScepticus , 17 Nov 2016 17:05
    Such interesting strands here in West's argument to untangle and examine. Fascism, neo-fascism: what do these terms mean? Most definitions zero in on "authoritarianism" and "nationalism." Trump's certainly a nationalist, but of course it's possible to nationalist and not a fascist. Trump also has also displayed some authoritarian symptoms: suggesting that opponents at rallies be beaten and that libel laws be changed to tamp down criticism directed against him. Yet, so far, this mostly seems to be bluster. Also, can a person be a fascist if he is bound by, and respects the rules of, constitutional democracy, as Trump certainly does (at least so far)? For these reasons, I don't see Trump as a fascist. A racist, yes, undoubtedly. Emotionally unstable, almost certainly. Fascist? I don't think so. West also includes all of the touchstones of identity politics: grievances of blacks, Mexican immigrants, gays, Jews, etc. Which is ironic because another group has just appropriated identity politics with a vengeance: working white people. So what is it, Cornell, Do you approve of identity politics, or don't you? Far better to my mind to think in terms of class, and the unfairness of the current system as seen through class privileges, than to linger on the divisive and losing concept of ethnic/racial/gender identity.
    , Ian Potts , 17 Nov 2016 16:58
    People forget, as this writer does, that fascism is not *just* about race, but about the idea of a strong nation too. And that doesn't just include a strong military, but strong infrastructure and strong domestic industries too. Yes, Trump won over the bigots and the racists, but that isn't why he won. It's an awful truth, but most bigots and racists will have voted Republican anyway. He won because he gave hope to enough people in devastated economic areas that they were willing to put aside all the hatred and crap from Trump because they either didn't have jobs, or they were in the middle classes who were in fear of losing their jobs.
    , soundofthesuburbs , 17 Nov 2016 16:54
    Today's collapse was due to the introduction of an ideology put forward by Milton Freidman.

    Economic liberalism / neoliberalism

    From its first trial in Chile it could be seen that it enriched the few and impoverished the many.

    It was never going to work in democracies.

    Everyone started to notice this economics of the 1%.

    It was never going to work in democracies.

    "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." Warren Buffett

    How many people are in your class Warren?

    It was never going to work in democracies.

    It never did work in democracies and it was obvious from its first trial that this would be the case.

    The Washington Consensus was a lesson in abject stupidity and its consequences have played out in the way that anyone with two brain cells to rub together would have expected.

    , soundofthesuburbs soundofthesuburbs , 17 Nov 2016 16:58
    What was the economics behind neoliberalism?
    Neoclassical economics

    When was it last used?
    The 1920s

    1920s/2000s - high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase

    1929/2008 - Wall Street crash

    1930s/2010s - Global recession, currency wars, rising nationalism and extremism

    Fascism rising now there's a surprise for anyone with less than two brain cells.

    , Austin Young , 17 Nov 2016 16:53
    And the neoliberal talking heads of the guardian and New York Times and Washington post are going to go down with him. This article gives me hope that the guardian might change but I'm not going to hold my breath.
    , Harvey Diggs Austin Young , 17 Nov 2016 17:01
    This is an op-ed by Cornell West it doesn't necessarily represent the perspective of the Guardian.
    , hadeze242 , 17 Nov 2016 16:33
    America and Russia/Assad carry out the bombing runs, yet the Syrian refugee families running from drones, cruise missiles, laser targeted bunker-busters, barrel bombs, chemical weaponry (employed by Assad) where do they go? Treck across hostile borders heading north, many to Germany.

    A strange equation: the 2 countries basically responsible for the chaos and tragedy in Syria treat Syrian refugees as possible terrorists. Obama's 8 yrs are a disaster. Putin? Well, Putin could not care less for Syrian refugees. Russia has not taken in a single refugee family. This crooked formula has gone on throughout Obama's presidency. Could Obama and Putin have done worse? Not possible.

    , JustARefugee hadeze242 , 17 Nov 2016 17:55
    Russia had over 100.000 ex russian people/familes living in Syria, many of which have left Syria and gone to the country Russia which you state has not taken any refugees.

    It does not matter where they are - it is OUR shame that never before have so many people been displaced due to wars. It is sickening.

    , modernangel99 bananakingdom , 17 Nov 2016 16:40
    "The financial elite and oligarchs despise democracy since they know that neoliberalism is the antithesis of real democracy because it feeds on inequality; it feeds on privilege, it feeds on massive divisiveness, and it revels in producing a theater of cruelty. All you have to do is look at the way it enshrines a kind of rabid individualism. It believes that privatization is the essence of all relationships. It works very hard to eliminate any investment in public values, in public trust. It believes that democracy is something that doesn't work, and we hear and see this increasingly from the bankers, anti-public intellectuals and other cheerleaders for neoliberal policies." ~ Henry Giroux

    Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time - it refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit.

    Associated initially with Reagan and Thatcher, for the past four decades neoliberalism has been the dominant global political economic trend adopted by political parties of the center and much of the traditional left as well as the right. These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors and less than one thousand large corporations.

    - Robert W. McChesney, Harvard Educational Review

    "I said in my previous article about "economic fascism"... you have a system where the government supports the interests of "big business" at the expense of everyone else, especially the "left wing" interests, such as the unions and employee rights in general.

    Given this lifeboat by the government, this system encourages inefficiency, irresponsibility and corruption in those corporations themselves, which are necessarily economically supported by the government when the need arises. In other words, you have a system where profit is private, and debt is public - the corporations take the profits, and the government (the taxpayer) absorbs corporate losses.

    This system reinforces a corporate oligarchy that is economically supported by the government; the taxpayers/electorate can do little about this if the major parties in the country all support this system. Corporate sponsorship of those parties also encourages political patronage, as do the necessary "connections" (another form of corruption) that political parties need from corporations in order to gain financial support." ~ Lee Daniel Hughes

    "A lethal parasite has infected the brains of politicians and economists all over the world. It is so invasive that it has defeated all attempts to control or eradicate it since its emergence decades ago, and we are still far from having an effective vaccine or way to prevent its transmission.

    The virus, known by its species name Neoliberalism Economicus (in lay terms, it is just called Neoliberalism), indiscriminately latches onto the brains of both liberals and conservatives. It turns social consciousness into ego-centrism, cooperation into unconscious greed, and it only gets worse as it mutates and spreads."

    "To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment ...would result in the demolition of society." ~ Karl Polanyi, 1944

    "In 1945 or 1950 if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today's standard neo-liberal toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage or sent off to the insane asylum." ~ Susan George, political scientist

    Do not confuse the economic - oikos nomia - the norms of running home and community with chrematistics - krema atos - the accumulation of money. ~ Aristotle

    , MotoringJourno bananakingdom , 17 Nov 2016 17:01
    'Neo' - revival of/return to.
    'Liberalism' - the pre-regulation economics of the height of the Industrial Revolution.

    More accurately referred to as Monetarism - an extremist political ideology completely geared towards and absorbed by the making of money above all else. Even its adherents refer to it thus, so it's not a perjorative term.

    Key policies:

    - The deliberate maintenance of a pool of unemployment to drive down wages through insecurity and oversupply of labour.

    - Privatisation of as many public services as is practicable, the reduction of the state into what's known as the 'nightwatchman state' - minimal, merely there to oversee and step in if anything goes really badly wrong.

    - Social doctrine of 'Individualism' to combat 'Collectivism'. Promulgation of the notion that if anything goes wrong in your life chances are it's your fault. Denial of the existence of a supportive, co-operative society. Encouragement of Social Darwinistic theories that paint selfishness, greed and suspicion as natural 'animal' characteristics to be accepted at the very least, and positively encouraged. This sense that it's all 'natural' reinforces a dialogue that monetarism is some immovable, age-old doctrine that can never and should never change.

    - The legislating into irrelevance of Trade Unions and any group that promoted collectivism and organised labour, as being fundamentally contrary to the doctrine of individualism.

    - Promotion of 'traditional values' focused on family, thrift and home ownership to reinforce the notion of the family unit, rather than society or 'community' at large, as the bedrock of supportiveness. Hence an encouragement of nuclear family structures, an opposition to things like gay marriage, gay adoption and single parents to the point of demonisation through the tax system, and an inherent suspicion of the world outside of the walls of the family home (paedophiles, terrorists, safety fears etc).

    - Competition, rather than co-operation as the underpinning ethos in life. Relaxation of credit availability and the encouragement of a debt-fuelled, comparative, competitive consumerism in society. Accusations of 'envy' and 'jealousy' get written into the popular narrative if anyone questions it. A sense put about that you can measure one's 'success' in life via the acquisition of various things bought from a recognisable, marketed 'menu'.

    Yes, I know it's not 'that' concise, but I think I've been to the point.

    , MabLlechIdris , 17 Nov 2016 16:24
    I can't get my head around this article as I no longer know what 'neoliberalism' is. OK it has changed its meaning several times since it was first coined in the 1930s but I thought it had settled down as describing the economic policies advocated by Hayek and Friedman including primacy of the market and a minimalist state (as far as the economy is concerned). I think we can expect more of that with the Republicans in control of the Presidency, the House and the senate.

    , MotoringJourno ExtraordinaryLadder , 17 Nov 2016 17:10
    Trump's an odd one (understatement of the year). His traditionalist-conservative social outlook is very neoliberal, taken to extremes in fact. However, the economics he's suggesting are far from neoliberal, as he's talking about massively increasing state infrastructure spending, erecting protectionist tariff barriers and safeguarding American manufacturing jobs even when a neoliberal would claim it wasn't 'economically efficient' to do so.

    What Trump is, is an extremist conservative nationalist. Or to put it another way, a fascist in the very definition of the term. Comparisons to Hitler are way off-kilter, but he is remarkably similar to Mussolini.

    , Mark_MK , 17 Nov 2016 16:19
    "a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness."
    I don't think this is true - the past of America actually was, in material terms at least, great.
    After WW2 American manufacuring capacity was rather more than the rest of the world combined. In the 1950s Americans were living in homes with washing machines, refrigerators and all manner of other goods which for most Europeans at that time were out-and-out luxuries. In the 1960s they were developing technology far ahead of most other countries (leading to putting a man on the moon in 1969) - look at the films, the aircraft and the cars of that era.
    But gradually other countries caught up, using a combination of developing education snd skills, increasing quality and high technology. Gradually America's dominance was reduced - now Toyota is worth ten times what GM is worth, Samsung and others make good mobile phones and everybody makes PCs to the point where they are commodity items. As the manufacturing jobs were exported to countries with lower labour costs, many of the jobs that had given Americans high pay in the 1960s and 1970s disappeared.
    So there is, in my view, some substance to the idea that Americans now can look back to a golden age of greatness that their parents and grandparents had. And so it is not surprising that they are disatisfied with their lot now...
    , Danny Sheahan , 17 Nov 2016 16:12
    It was over ripe for ending.

    The Democrats chose a candidate that was very much part of it.

    The Republicans ended up with a candidate who marketed himself as an outsider, much to the chagrin of the party leadership.

    Neo-liberalism had to end, that is a good thing, it is a pity that someone like Trump is the one who did something about it. All he had to do was engage with a lot of voters, people that have been ignored for decades, despised and looked down upon.

    A few batty and nasty statements and the Guardian types o America railed against them, as was his hope.

    It meant a lot of voters looked at those people, who have not time or concern for them and they voted accordingly. They took a small chance on someone who listened to them and promised to shake things up, it is a small chance for them but a chance and it annoys the righteous who look down on them.

    The left as just the Fabian Society has no future.

    Chose to have a future and chose to take this as the wake up call it is.

    , DuBois , 17 Nov 2016 16:12
    I think its best to cast Obama, to use Trotsky' phrase, 'into the dustbin of history' where he belongs, along with the Clintons. He is a footnote and little else , historically the first African-American President. Though some will take offense, I await the first Black American president (might be Michelle ironically). The battle is afoot, that one against neo-fascism unwittingly (and I am being kind) unleashed by Brexit, and by the Dems when they sabotaged Sanders. They are already rebelling in the streets of America, the millennials who are protesting both neo-liberalism and neo-fascism
    , direwolf7 , 17 Nov 2016 15:57
    Trump's election was a reaction to neoliberalism but it is not so clear what he intends to do about it. Increasing inequality and decreasing opportunities are becoming a fact of life for a lot of people in both the US and the U.K. How this all plays out should make for Interesting Times.
    , lostinmidwest direwolf7 , 17 Nov 2016 16:11
    What's your definition of neoliberalism?

    With Republican majorities in both Houses and an ostensible Republican president elect, that would seem to be an overwhelming vote for neoliberalism, wouldn't it? After all, Republicans are about laissez-faire economics and privatization of the public sector.

    , Tamerza , 17 Nov 2016 15:44
    I'd bet good money that things are going to change a lot less than this author thinks.

    Trump's bluster is actually an expression of the very US exceptionalism that sustains the neoliberal order - there cannot be US military and economic hegemony without the neoliberal order. Neoliberalism IS US global hegemony.

    , AngrySkeptic Tamerza , 17 Nov 2016 15:58

    US military and economic hegemony

    These were entrenched in place well before the world was subjected to the policies of Reagan and Thatcher. Reply Share

    , Tamerza AngrySkeptic , 17 Nov 2016 16:17
    Agreed but they've become more deeply entrenched with the US's role as the sole superpower. The only way they'll be undone now is by the US giving up its global power - I think even Trump will be able to see that that's in conflict with the (perceived) national interest. Great powers don't volunteer to resign. The European powers didn't give up their empires voluntarily, they had to be dragged kicking and screaming.

    In any case, the office of the POTUS is not that powerful any more - look at Obama: barely achieved anything and that's not because he's some kind of weak character or a sell-out. He's a cog in a massive machine running US global supremacy, which can't be undone other than by catastrophe or confrontation with a superior force The only way Trump could change that would be to become an autocrat like Putin or Erdogan and impose his partisanship on the institutions of state - that's not going to happen.

    , JustHenry , 17 Nov 2016 15:43
    " a nostalgic return to an imaginary past of greatness" Here we go again, just like remainers mocking the brexiteers; the liberals trying to paint the suffering classes as nostalgic fools whose glory days were imaginary. It's a tempting, exculpatory idea, but it simply isn't true, so stop peddling it. Their situation WAS better, there WAS wider employment, there WAS a future. Stop excusing liberal blindness and selfish failures by denigrating the ones you forgot, the ones you look down on. Therein lies your fault and guilt. -h. Reply Share
    , mcstowy JustHenry , 17 Nov 2016 16:18
    This is an example of why "post-truth" is Merriam-Webster's word of the year. The Author indicts neo-liberalism, which was always the primary economic policy of the GOP, but was able to infect the Democratic party over they last 40 years. Therein lies the problem, With neither party interested in advocating for working people, the economy has been in a steady downward spiral, but make no mistake, it has been the GOP who has been the longest and strongest champion of the policies that have destroyed the middle class. Trump, like very right-wing demagogue before him, knew how to tap in to that anger, but, rather than offering concrete policies to correct the inequities of the last 40 year, like Bernie Sanders, he chose instead to scapegoat the weakest and poorest as if THEY had the power to cause the damage that was actually caused by the wealthy and powerful. The rank cynicism of the Trump campaign is already on display as he rushes to fill his government with the same bankers, lobbyists and corporate cronies that crashed the economy in the first place.

    From the end of WWII until 1980, America was the preeminent economic power in the world and one one the most equal societies in terms of wealth distribution and opportunity. Unions were strong, government actively protected the poor and middle class from corporate exploitation, and taxes were far more progressive, recognizing that the corporate elite benefits far more from government than anyone else. The Neo-liberals hated it, but Mr. Trump's "solution" to the extend he has any "policy" at all, is to continue along the same economic path, but to return to the "good old days" of Jim Crow and nativism.

    , TwoEarsAttached , 17 Nov 2016 15:40
    "Trump's election was enabled by the policies that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens."

    You are at it again aren't you ? Ignore the great majority in the middle, or even the "lower middle" and focus on the very bottom. Because people at the very bottom can be used as kind of economic human shields for all sorts of meddlers & do gooders & confidence tricksters, because most of them are so inarticulate, they can't speak for themselves.

    Whereas working people & small business owners just want less tax, less people competing with them and a sense that the country they die in is not too different from the one they were born in.

    Trump got in because of the votes of the stagnated middle income bracket.

    , Quadspect TwoEarsAttached , 17 Nov 2016 15:49
    The so-called middle class, obviously, IS among the vulnerable, because their income and prospects were dramatically injured. Also, best to not lump "do gooders" (are you including civil rights activists, poverty law lawyers, people who feed the unemployed,honest journalists, and other who serve the middle class and poor, in your sweeping condemnation? ) in with "confidence tricksters."
    , mcstowy heronbone , 17 Nov 2016 16:42
    Neo-liberalism is the revival of the economic policies that led to the Great depression, it emphasized the role of government as an enabler of privatization, corporate concentration and wage suppression. Government regulation to ensure competition, health and safety are repealed to allow for manipulation of markets by the largest economic actors.
    , johnnypop , 17 Nov 2016 15:34
    "White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites." While a surprisingly large number of ultralibs and lefties have recognized this fact in the past week - a huge number acutally! - they will, as usual, gloss over this reality, and, like Cornel, focus on everything else contained in his article, most of which is only marginally true. So, they will be relegated for the foreseeable future to wondering if they can win the next election for dog catcher.
    , mismeasure , 17 Nov 2016 15:31
    This is a dangerous juncture that is also a massive opportunity, though it's not clear that establishment liberals-- many of whom seem to be mired in some kind of self-regarding victimology-- are ready to accept that the system they supported is on the way out.
    , outfitter , 17 Nov 2016 15:29
    You live in the liberal press bubble. Trump only threatened to deport criminals illegally in the country - Obama departed 2.5 million Mexicans in that category (more than all presidents combined) and the wall would only be an extension of the 700 m iles Obama has already built. I suppose that is why 30% of Latinos voted for Trump.

    I know you delight in terrifying muslims but we don't have a discrimination problem with Muslims - at least no where as much as in Britain. Trump proposed stopping immigration from countries infested with terrorists until we can figure out what is going on. Obama temporarily stopped all immigration from Iraq for the same reason. Besides the vetting process for immigration into the uSA is severe already and takes many years.

    A president whose kids are married to Jews (or in the case of one) are dating Jews can hardly be called anti-semitic. As to women 45% voted for him. Trump was right that the Democrats merely pandered to them and his policies are more likely to benefit working class blacks. Blacks did not turn out a vote for Hillary anywhere near the numbers she needed.

    THat leaves China and gays. I'm not aware of any gay bashing by Trump and there are real trading problems with China including currency manipulations and dumping. The balance of trade with China is so out of whack it can't be good. We don't owe China our jobs or to buy there products.

    , tramor georgef , 17 Nov 2016 15:43
    >Why is it necessary to call everyone a fascist?
    >An overused word since the 00s

    I don't agree that it is over used, but you are right we need to be explicit. The problem is that often the word is used for someone that we don't like. But the concept is one we need today.

    These are the things I'd look for in diagnosing fascism, and how they relate to Trump.

    - Extreme and irrational nationalism: TICK

    - Nationalism is often accompanied by religious fervor, however poorly grounded in spirituality: TICK

    - Identification of the 'other' as responsible for the undermining of the nation (immigrants, LGBT, people who have the wrong colour skin...): TICK

    - Undermining any coherent critique of policies (Trumps refusal or inability to engage in coherent political debate, right wing intimidation, KKK, AltRight, attacks on the NYT): A WORK IN PROGRESS

    - Use of violence to impose a view of the world (Trump's threats to reject the election result if it went against him, calls to take up arms by the far right, vigilantes): THE MISSING PIECE, BUT SOME WORRYING SIGNS

    I'd say that fascism is an entirely relevant concept to use when discussing Trump (or Putin, Berlusconi, Le Pen, Wilders etc.). Not to insult them, but to understand what is going on.

    , malcolm_tent , 17 Nov 2016 15:19

    Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.

    worked for neoliberals and now works for neofascists. Reply Share

    , PlayaGiron , 17 Nov 2016 15:18
    So many words and no once is the word "socialism" uttered.

    Marx is right, it's class that matters not identity politics, triangulation and lesser evilism.

    Socialism is the antidote to neoliberalism.

    , ID4368353 Larissa Nikolaus , 17 Nov 2016 16:02
    Parallels with 1930's Germany. Really? So in the last twenty years the US has seen or experienced

    Defeat in a terrible, costly war, with a sizeable segjrnt of the population blaming established elites for a 'stab in the back'?

    The imposition of ruinous sanctions by the international community, bringing about national humiliation and economic ruin?

    The emergence of extremes on left and right committed to the overthrow of the state and revolution?

    A weak tradition of liberalism, owing much to a particular path to modernity following unification, typified by pernicious militaristic, authoritarian, nationalist traditions?

    A non functioning political system in which a small feeble centre could not hold?

    Paramilitaries on left and right engaged in political violence and murder?

    A fascist, racist party, led by an anti democratic fascist?

    A Great Depression followed by a great inflation ruining the middle classes?

    Yeah. Worrying parallels...... History repeating itself.

    , ParticipantObserver Keo2008 , 17 Nov 2016 15:27
    Neofacism - see Encyclopedia Britannica

    ie ...political philosophy and movement that arose in Europe in the decades following World War II. Like earlier fascist movements, neofascism advocated extreme nationalism, opposed liberal individualism, attacked Marxist and other left-wing ideologies, indulged in racist and xenophobic scapegoating, and promoted populist right-wing economic programs. Unlike the fascists, however, neofascists placed more blame for their countries' problems on non-European immigrants than on leftists and Jews, displayed little interest in taking lebensraum (German: "living space") through the military conquest of other states, and made concerted efforts to portray themselves as democratic and "mainstream."

    btw What does innvention mean?

    , Sandgropper Firstact , 17 Nov 2016 15:29
    Put simply, neoliberalism is liberalism minus the acknowledgement of social obligations. It appropriates the vocabulary of liberalism, a product of the Enlightenment that sought to progress human emancipation, in order to repurpose it as a rationale to justify inequality and elite privilege. It is a perversion of liberal ideals, and a deliberate construction, the origins of which can be traced to the 1960s; although it was not until the mid-70s that it really started to go mainstream.
    , Candidly , 17 Nov 2016 15:09
    One of the problems with liberally throwing the word "fascism" at policies and people with whom you don't agree is that if the real thing comes along people won't pay attention to your warnings, Guardian. You know, the old story of the boy who kept crying "wolf" when there were no real wolves about. And when real wolves came people were not prepared.
    , Panda Bear , 17 Nov 2016 15:03
    "White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process. "

    I agree the vote was against the "economic neglect", surely then, the vote was for hope of jobs and improved living standards Trump declared he would bring for working people? I don't buy into the narrative of vote for racism etc. people vote for hope of better lives fundamentally, who doesn't? This is where we need to unite... economic issues, this crosses all divides currently being hammered into western societies from all sides of the political spectrum.

    Prof Michael Hudson has one view of what has been happening in the economy/ies. Interview in Germany. http://michael-hudson.com/2016/11/how-debt-makes-the-rich-richer /

    , socialistdemocrat , 17 Nov 2016 14:54
    The traditional elites in the USA have been broken. But neo-liberalism has not. The individuals,-both actors and interests- are in the process of re-alignment. The triumph of Trump shows just how thin is the veneer of the political liberalism that overlays neo-liberalism economy and society.

    Unless the role of Wall Street, The City of London and the gradual privatisation of economies and societies in favour of global corporations is addressed, talk of an end of neo-liberalism is cynical humbug.

    Meanwhile, an almost 'traditional' world of pre 1917 capitalist states is re-emerging with states and their proxies killing and destroying in order to control territory and economies.

    , Mauryan , 17 Nov 2016 14:50
    I agree that Sanders would have beaten Trump. For the lack of alternatives, the disgruntled white population went for Trump. I don't think they elected him because of his racist and misogynist views of the world. They wanted someone who at least voiced against the corporate owned establishment. Sanders was doing the same. Unfortunately the establishment derailed Sanders. So the crowd went for Trump. This election is not about racism or fascism. It is the vote against the establishment. Unfortunately Trump has fooled himself by letting him be surrounded by the establishment agents. So he will disappoint this crowd. Some younger politician who takes on the baton from Bernie will win the Presidency in 2020. Bernie must launch his own campaign. Now is the time.
    , lisabethshaw , 17 Nov 2016 14:46
    Interesting how many people don't know what Neoliberalism is or where it comes from. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/neoliberalsim-donald-trump-george-monbiot?CMP=fb_gu
    , CaliDoc , 17 Nov 2016 14:39
    A great meme, but utterly bogus. Trump lost the popular vote by a huge margin, and his policies are about increasing elite control & the exploitation of globalization to increase economic inequality. Trumps message was simple - your angry, Im angry, I'll say the nasty things you wish you could say, and even if your screwed economically, crucially, I'll mess up black, brown and yellow people, women and th disabled, so you'll feel better about your place int he pecking order. Dumb white dicks can rule again !!!
    , Pushers11 , 17 Nov 2016 14:38
    I find it odd that the Guardian writers call the economic system we have at the moment "neo-liberalism". I mean, if it were liberal, then we wouldn't have all the central planning and socialist type controls all over the economy. Look, current US economic/business regulations run to over 80,000 pages worth. 80,000 pages! That hardly sounds liberal (as if "free") to me. Plus and most importantly of all, we still have central banks with their price controls (interest rate fixing), legal tender laws and money supply fixing - again hardly liberal. More socialist that anything. Reply Share
    , MooseMcNaulty Pushers11 , 17 Nov 2016 14:43
    Regulations and central banks are not socialism. Socialism is about who owns economic institutions and in America they're still almost all owned by private wealth. That's not socialism.

    , Panda Bear Pushers11 , 17 Nov 2016 14:45
    What "socialist" type of controls over the economy would they be? Neoliberalism has nothing to do with traditional liberalism and certainly zero to do with Socialist thinking or practice.

    This discussion might give you a different perspective. http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=14952

    , Loatheallpoliticians , 17 Nov 2016 14:28
    What are some of Trumps' main policy points:

    1 USA policy should look after USA businesses over those of other countries.

    What is wrong with this in the President of the USA? About time we had the same in the UK.

    2 The USA should not have an open border to the south and non USA citizens do not have free right to sneak in and then stay i.e. the USA is not a free resource for anyone wanting to try their luck

    What is wrong with this? The UK has voted for the same and rightly so.

    3 Islam is incompatible with western liberal democracy

    Again, can't see how this is incorrect. Either Islam moves away from sexism, homophobia, theocracy and fundamentalist view of it's own supremacy or it IS incompatible with the west and liberal democracy.

    4 The rest of NATO should start spending more to protect itself and not rely on the USA to continually pick up the bill.

    Quite right to and every member should be hitting the 2% of GDP level at the very least.

    Trump's a businessman who is pro business a strong military and anti unrestricted immigration and Islamic fundamentalism. Good for him, we need the same.

    , MattSpanner , 17 Nov 2016 14:26
    There are similarities between what is happening now and what happened in Germany in the 20's. The political and economic chaos of the Weimar Republic led to the election of Hitler as Chancellor. His 'brown shirts' imposed the illusion of order over competing communist, anarchist and fascist demonstrators and were (at first) welcomed by the majority of Germans. I know comparing Trump to Hitler is problematic but the following similarities in their policies are inescapable:

    1. Hitler implemented a massive infrastructure program (autobahns), Trump has promised the same

    2. Hitler implemented a program of re-armament, Trump promises the same

    3. Hitler singled-out Jews as a threat to national security, Trump chose Muslims and Mexicans

    4. Hitler accused "international Jewry" and Bolshevism of attempting to destroy Germany, Trump accuses China of destroying American manufacturing and promises to lable them a currency manipulator

    , RandomLibertarian , 17 Nov 2016 14:19
    So what's the plan?

    I hear a lot of social-media and liberal-media preening and prating about Trump's fascism, eeevil neoliberals, globalization and so on and so forth, and the need to speak truth to power (which is very effective - see the Defense Department-funded rebel Noam Chomsky, who's been banging on like this for a couple of centuries) and speak for the voiceless...

    Meanwhile, how many state and Federal seats and chambers have the Democrats managed to lose over the past few elections? How far will Trump pursue a low-tax agenda, and how far will he really venture into the messy pick-winners-and-losers game of mercantilism?

    So the question is, are you going to complain or revolt - you who have guffawed at those who even suggest that the citizenry might ever need to be equipped to resist the government by force? Tax protests? Your supporters have to pay a large proportion of taxes first. Mass demonstrations? Why do you think BLM likes to block highways? (Clue: it doesn't take many people.) And you're not allied with the Federal government against the weak economies of the mid-century South, but trying to dismantle the constitution.

    My prediction is that the people will rise up and fight the hydra-headed monsters of neoliberalism. They will fight them on Twitter. They will fight them on Instagram. They will fight them on Facebook until everyone except their friends blocks them. And then they'll get bored.

    , freenightfall25 , 17 Nov 2016 14:09
    There is such a confusion with the use of terms - democrats, liberals, neoliberals, fascists - are they absolutely different or can be the same? Robert Michels in his book 'Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy' yet a century ago wrote that representative democracy naturally deteriorates to olygarchy and particracy. And the next stop can be fascism (not necessarily nazism though). The author himself (Michel) was a socialist and later on joined Fascist Party led by Benito Mussolini. Does history repeat itself now? Goldberg in his book 'Liberal Fascism' published in 2008 insists that fascists movements were and are lef-wing. As an example, Henry Ford the American industrialist initially was a pacifist during World War I but later on funded first years of Hitler's political career and was awarded by Nazis in 1938. How it can be that democrats in the West become fascists?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Michels
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_Fascism
    http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/henry-ford-grand-cross-1938 /

    , margsmeanders freenightfall25 , 17 Nov 2016 14:59
    This is because the hard left and hard right share many characteristics - a belief in direct democracy which most often leads to authoritarianism, Manicheism, obsession with "the enemy within" and "the enemy without" (which often leads to nationalism), disgusted rejection of the politics of compromise essential within a representative democracy. Yes Mussolini was a socialist who morphed into a Fascist, and Nazism was, of course, National Socialism. The 5 star movement in Italy, populist, anti-establishment, yet very authoritarian, and with both solid left wing and extreme right wing tendencies, are a good example of how left and right become melded together.
    , ACloud , 17 Nov 2016 14:08
    I love Cornell West, but disagree about the end of Neoliberalism. First of all, what is it exactly? My understanding of the concept is somewhat limited to Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," which tells us it consists of an economic idealogy that promotes deregulation, cuts in social spending, cutting taxes for the ultra-rich, and privatization. Second, how is Neoliberalism different from Neofascism or even Neoconservatism? I don't know, but I do know that Trump is giving the keys to the establishment, which actively promotes deregulation, cuts in social spending, cutting taxes fro the ultra-rich, and privatization. Essentially, Trump is bowing down to the Neoliberal establishment, and giving them the keys to the White House. Thus, the end of Neoliberalism isn't yet apparent.
    , JohnAndrews57 , 17 Nov 2016 14:00
    I agree that we must 'tell the truth'. But so must Cornel West and one of the truths to tell is that being against illegal immigration has nothing whatsoever to do with racism.
    Another truth is that growing income inequality is a probably inescapable consequence of international trade. If overseas workers can do manufacturing jobs for $1/hour when Americans would need to be paid $50/hour for the same work then consumers will prefer the products of overseas workers. Does Cornel West think the US should withdraw from the WTO and see iPhone prices rise tenfold or more?
    , boilingriver JohnAndrews57 , 17 Nov 2016 14:46
    You are forgetting about R's tax cuts for rich, policy of trickle down. It was always a con. Politicians sticking to a failed policy for 30 years.
    The companies are not even paying a living wage. We have people working 2 jobs and still needing food stamps to feed their children. Tax payers subsidizing companies who have billion dollar profit(Walmart) that also do not offer insurance. They can increase wage without increase prices if they were not so greedy. Republicans refuse to increase min wage. No one will stand up to these greedy company's.
    , BrassTrumpet , 17 Nov 2016 13:56
    For jiminey's sake... Trump is a neoliberal! His policies, such as we can discern, involve lowering taxes for the rich on the basis of trickle down and the laffer curve... neoliberal bollocks personified. No to organised labour... because the market is the perfect arbiter already. No to human rights, these are all economic. Etc etc etc.

    Fair enough, have a go at all the others as well, but Trumps election represents nothing more than the triumph of mass delusion and the lying that it facilitates - over reason and logic.

    , allom8 , 17 Nov 2016 13:56
    We've got a whole generation of people who will never own their own house, because not enough of them have been built and the ones which were available have been bought en-masse by previous generations in order to rent them out in a totally unregulated market. We've got a pension crisis so massive and terrifying that no political party anywhere on the spectrum even mentions it - not even in the run-up to elections. The same people who cannot ever buy a house, thus, are paying into a pension system from which they will inevitably receive nothing. We've got a return to victorian levels of wealth inequality.

    A guy (slash referendum) comes along promising to change it all, and the upper-middle class types who staff the media react with disbelief that the guy saying some dodgy things about Mexicans and women isn't a dealbreaker?! Hitler's brain in a mechanical body could run for election and as long as he was promising something other than the status quo which is disastrous for many and will only continue to get worse, he would stand a chance of winning.

    All I see in the outraged news coverage of Trump's win is a bunch of people living very comfortably lecturing people living far less well about what they consider to be a dealbreaker in a political candidate. It's like the studies on the Taliban in Afghanistan which showed that they are disproportionately well-off and middle-class - when your main concern is basic survival needs, you don't have time to give even a fraction of a shit about ideological bollocks like a political candidate's opinion on women or whatever else.

    Once again, it all comes down to the wealthy lecturing people about their beliefs about sex, race, gender (and so on) and ignoring the conspicuously massive elephant with the word "wealth" written on the side which at this point has grown so massive that it's hard to see anything else.

    , NorthsideDave , 17 Nov 2016 13:51
    "...Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad."

    I'm particularly impressed with those last few words. I wonder if Mr. Obama would consider returning his Nobel Prize for Peace. The problem was not that he accepted the unearned honor, it was that the visionless Nobel committee gave it to him in the first place.

    Cornel West accusing Barack Obama of being a war criminal. Now I've seen it all. And unfortunately I must agree. The president's legacy will be that he simply looked the other way as innocents were (are) being murdered in the name of national security.

    Compared to this abomination Gitmo is an island paradise.

    That would be the same Gitmo President Obama pledged to close.

    , AndyMcCarthy NorthsideDave , 17 Nov 2016 14:01
    Obama ordered the killing, he didn't look the other way.
    , havetheyhearts , 17 Nov 2016 13:50
    Decades of intransigent neoliberalism leading to war and fascism.

    Looks as if some have stubbornly ignored the consequences of deregulated greed.

    and obviously...still do !

    , mindinsomnia , 17 Nov 2016 13:45
    This isn't the end of neoliberalism... but.. it might be the beginning of the end. A sign that the system itself is starting to break apart under the weight of the failings of the system to look after the majority of society.

    It's a sign that the people have stopped listening to the media. They've stopped listening to politicians. Stopped listening to experts. And have started to think with their own minds. That's a good sign! So a couple of elections haven't gone the left's way. Fine. But there's no question, Brexit and the US Election results are a sign that the people are ready for a peaceful revolution.

    Don't despair, I know if you're against Trump and/or disagreed with Brexit, this seems like a bleak time in politics, but the truth is there's more to be hopeful for now than ever before. At least politics is in a fluid state now. No one knows what's coming. Those who were previously in control, now feel control slipping through their fingers. It's at least possible for things to change right now, before it wasn't, that's progress even if it doesn't feel like it.

    Now is our chance to correct what has been wrong with the global political & economic system for decades. There is much cause for optimism! The left should be right now focused on coming up with ideas for ways to change the system, ways of helping the 99% left behind by the 1%, making democracy more fair, increasing citizen participation, etc.

    ..Or we can sit on the sidelines, not participating while the world is bordering on revolution and merely waiting for someone to lead it, because we are busy throwing a tantrum because we lost a couple of elections.

    , AmyInNH wheresmewashboard , 17 Nov 2016 14:39
    Neoliberalism is an economic philosophy that says that only the welfare of business is relevant. Reagan and Thatcher reoriented our economies toward that. First bank bust happened almost immediately, from the same thing, housing, 1989, including bank bailouts. And every president after that has followed that path, including post-2008.
    "Retraining for another career"? That is what the public was told to sell them China/WTO trade. What they didn't tell people is a) part of their trade deals is employing foreign citizens in the west for cheap. (link below, note "visa" is part of the trade deal) As for retraining, retraining for what? "Welcome to Walmart", "Do you want fries with that?". That doesn't a) pay the mortgage nor b) even pay for a run down apartment. The "retraining" is just to defuse public upset and forestall riots in the streets. As someone who's worked most of my adult life in high tech., I can attest to the incredible anti-American hiring criteria, enough to frighten the earlier immigrants, because their children are now ... American.
    "Sanders would have beat Trump"
    So says national polls, early, during the primaries. But polls evidently were wrong.
    Below, UK's Theresa May, talking to India's PM, who wants western jobs (visas), in exchange for selling western goods in India.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/in-india-british-leader-theresa-may-preaches-free-trade-2016-11-07
    , donaldptucker , 17 Nov 2016 13:21
    Relax, agreed Trump shoots from the hip in ways that can be distasteful but I prefer to judge people by their actions not their bullshit.

    I'm pretty sure there have been worse xenophobes in the Whitehouse, worse sexists and I certainly know there have been more clueless Presidents.

    My guess is that the liberal elite's biggest problem with Trump is that he's a low tax small government Republican, with, horror of horrors, a real world business background.

    All the things you hate with a vengeance but you dare not attack him for that so you home in on his inability to tick all the right PC boxes, as if that makes him the spawn of the devil.

    Then that is also bullshit and the kind of bullshit we've all seen through a long time past.

    , DavidEire , 17 Nov 2016 13:18
    A good over-view of the tribulations and tributaries that made Trump's victory possible
    Neoliberal globalisation has left too many too far behind; struggling just to get by
    Trump offered change and the forgotten working classes of America chose to elect him
    Most who voted for Trump were voting against the establishment as much as for Trump
    They would have elected Sanders if he were willing to fight - he wasn't

    I think it is premature to announce the end of neoliberalism, but I do begin to hear in the responses of Western leaders to Trump's election stirrings they are beginning to realise their mismanagement of globalisation is alienating their domestic populations and eroding their political power base. This is why they will begin to moderate (if they have any sense)
    To preserve their power base, not to alleviate the suffering of working classes

    In the absence of democracy the only remedy for the populace would be revolution

    The heart of the problem with neoliberal globalisation is the ideology of market fundamentalism which preaches (it is a sort of religion and as irrational as any) the pre-eminence of markets over communities and society; and corporate profits over people

    In the natural humane order of things the function of markets is to serve people and society
    The neoliberal ideology demands that people and society serve markets and profits
    The tail has been wagging the dog too long

    , sightline , 17 Nov 2016 13:18
    The idea that Trump is not aprt of the establishment, in its widest sense, is farcical - his path to the final pages of Animal farm will be incredibly short.

    I heard a description of UKIP as the party for people who think their life is someone else's fault. That holds for a lot of Trump voters. There's also some truth in it, the problem being that the people who's fault it is (say a billionaire businessman with interests in overseas businesses) convince the mass that the person who's fault it is is not them, it's the worker in their factory. Mixing my media but its all a bit Keyser Soze.

    And will Trump really close down low cost operations overseas to bring the jobs back to the US - or will he hide between the alleged blind trust his kids run. The most corrupt legislature? - you ain't seen nothing yet.

    (So that's book, film and music covered...got to find something to set against the anger)

    , bonhee , 17 Nov 2016 13:16
    Grotesque fake wordings here that show the author up to be more tabloid than socialist.
    Neo-liberalism is a fake term because it is not "Neo" (new) and it is not "Liberalism" but Conservatism. Only a fake analyst would ever say that Thatcher, Reagan and Hayek were liberals in the modern social and democratic sense of the word. They were are arch Conservatives, trying to shrink the state back to some kind of foul Victorian era level. Accept of course the police state, which got full funding for the wars and the bombs and spys and the police brutality.

    It is Grotesque for anyone who thinks they are Socialist to call the foul right wing Conservatives whose policies and ideas are ultra right wing "Neo-Liberals". It is the swamp of fake analysis from which the Far left fascists crawl out of, the Trots, the Stalinists, the Hamas and Hezbollah and Putin Poodles like Corbyn and Milne.

    Trump is rightly conceived here as not being Neo-Liberal, but he is no Fascist either. He is classic 1970s Republican of the ilk of Nixon. He nods and winks towards the poor but is a business man, a tax dodger, a draft dodger and a right wing clown.

    , DoyleSaylor bonhee , 17 Nov 2016 14:09
    Neoliberal refers to Hayak and other economic theorist like Friedman and the policies they promoted. You confuse the post WWII U.S. centric alignment of democrats with so-called liberal social policies like LBJ promoted and the globalist free trade regime which historically is what nineteenth century Liberals stood for. On the other hand you are right in some ways about applying fascist to him as he is not exactly a militarist, but you can't deny his inciting mob violence in his rallies and that is fascist like. Reply Share
    , AmyInNH bonhee , 17 Nov 2016 15:12
    Neoliberal is not a variant of liberal. Neoliberal is economic policy of no restrictions on businesses, perverted to no restrictions whatsoever (fraud, scams, ponzi, etc.). US ultra toxic variant, neocon plus neoliberal: the world is my toilet, for the sake of record profits, at everyone else's expense, figuratively and literally. Business calls this "externalizing expenses". This is how/why the public is paying food/medical/housing assistance to ultra low wage Walmart workers - a highly circuitous variant of corporate welfare. This is how neocon attack on Iraq, causing chaos for plunder, is billed to the public taxes. Iraq blitz: Pizza Huts on the bases, while no armored vehicles for the troops.
    Hopefully it brings insight into the word "neoliberalism", because it is being taught in Ivy League business schools.
    If you want a look under the hood, suggested reading: The Shock Doctrine.
    , lsgv53 , 17 Nov 2016 13:15
    Why does anyone think/believe there will be actual change? Does anyone really believe Trump's policies will be anything else other than neo or just plain liberalism? He'll cut taxes, reduce government, cut social security programs, hold on to trade treaties even if he'll bad mouth them, drill baby drill, further liberalise banks and financial services, and more of the same.
    Does anyone really believe voting changes anything! Either way you go, the same policies and interests will prevail.
    Look at Brexit. Restore sovereignty for elected Parliament? Mrs. May is totally against that! Give a voice to the left-behind? Since when is Carlos Ghosn in need! Give those jobs back to true British people? Why couldn't they apply and get those jobs before? Do Polish or Spanish immigrants know better or work better? Is that what it is?
    Brexit is nothing more than a disguised way of further liberalising UK economy and guess who's going to suffer? Those who voted for it. Exactly the same as those who voted for Trump in the US.
    , freeman69 , 17 Nov 2016 13:09
    Tremendous article.

    But it may be a mistake to think the neo-liberal establishment is going to go away, either in US or Britain. On the contrary, they still retain much of the working levers of power and the evidence suggests they will be very busy making sure the globalist neo-liberal agenda prevails in the longer term.

    Trump and Trumpers may have the impression they hold all the 'authoritarian' cards, but they do not - they will be forced to play through the Establishment. Same with Teresa May, she is going to find herself increasingly at the mercy of the working/technocratic Establishment, which is already geared to undermine Brexit.

    Globalist neo-liberaliam (witness Obama and Merkel today) is the greatest force for evil in our world today. Wishful thinking that it is spent.

    , DoyleSaylor freeman69 , 17 Nov 2016 13:19
    No doubt they are still there. Trump's nationalist strategies clash with that globalist force and we should see evidence of neoliberalism continuity. Reply Share Facebook Twitter
    , DuBois freeman69 , 17 Nov 2016 14:10
    Well the Dems elected Schumer their Senate leader, so every indication that establishment politicos are still enamoured of this ideology despite all evidence to the contrary that the masses are getting progressively wise to it and wont swallow its bile. The politicos cant seem to reconcile themselves to the fact that the devil has been named and the masses increasingly understand the disaster it visits upon their lives
    , jackrousseau , 17 Nov 2016 13:00
    Agree wholeheartedly...with the exception of the scaremongering in the final two paragraphs.

    Sadly, the Democratic Party is too far gone and too beholden to various economic interests to change. I mean, the neoliberal identity politics platform worked so well for so long...why scrap it after just one loss (three if you include Brexit and Corbyn)? Our social progressive thought leaders (many of whom are wealthy neoliberals) are much more likely to try to scaremonger their way through the next four years without addressing the coziness with Wall Street, corporations, and the rich (as well as conservative economic policies) that actually lost them this election.

    Here's to hoping I'm wrong and the the Sanders/West wing of the party somehow roots out the 95% of Democratic leaders who are neolib grifters. It worked for Corbyn/Labour in the UK...who knows.

    , DoyleSaylor jackrousseau , 17 Nov 2016 13:31
    Identity politics is the bugbear of a stripe of reactionaries and their criticism of neoliberals. At best one can say identity politics was a false cover of Clinton. What exactly though does identity contribute to neoliberalsim besides as false cover of progressivism to diverse minorities? I see no such attempt to get real or meaningful about identity. Let's be clear attacking identity is simply a scape goat in place of real alternatives to the right's program. Especially egrigious is the claim of these right wing critics that they have concrete policies to carry out. They sit on their hands while Black Lives Matter. They offer nothing but platitudes when Natives protest pipelines. They ignore women in favor of traditional male roles as the leaders. On and bankrupt class shaped elitism on their prattle goes.
    , PeterOfPlumpton , 17 Nov 2016 12:59
    Cornel West has been one of the most powerful dissident voices coming out of America for many years. When I have listened to his speeches/lectures on youtube, they are always as interesting and perceptive as most media is 'analysis' is shallow and trite. He was write to warn that the Wall Street-friendly Obama was no visionary or prophetic African-American leader in the vein of a Martin Luther King. And now we are stuck with Trump. Prison and weapons stocks are already skyrocketing.
    , Pinkie123 , 17 Nov 2016 12:55
    Sorry, but utter tosh.

    Trump and the populist right represent a new variant of neoliberalism. Spend some time looking at Trump's economic policies and you'll see they're fundamentally neoliberal; huge tax cuts, including unprecedented reductions in corporation tax; Wall Street deregulation; cuts to all areas of federal spending. His only divergence from neoliberal orthodoxy is the sky high tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports. The chief purpose of this however is to make a show of deflecting blame for inequality onto migrant workers and thus shore up his support. No doubt he will readily enter into the most invidious free trade agreements with countries elsewhere.

    The idea that Trump is a reaction against neoliberalism is one that needs to be invalidated. It's promulgated by the left and right wing press and is utterly groundless.

    Right-wing populism is a new adaption of neoliberalism. Now global markets have become dysfunctional it constructs nativist narratives to give an illusion of sense of the world while continuing to let markets rip.

    Market fascism.

    , DoyleSaylor Pinkie123 , 17 Nov 2016 13:46
    Nationalist nostrums are not globalism. The globalist opposed trump strenuously which is undeniable. All you point to is underlying an incompetant ignoramous trump republican neoliberals will assert a globalist agenda which their working class stirring base used in this election to oppose Obama. Globalism shaped by neoliberalism reasserting itself under trump will similarly point working class anger at trump. Unlike Obama trump will use other means like racist programs and mob violence to continue after his cover is blown against globalism.
    , carlygirl , 17 Nov 2016 12:54
    Oh come one, the very same people that elected Trump elected the very people who implemented free trade and the very neoliberal policies you are now yammering on about. They did it to themselves, they are racists that think they are 'entitled' to a certain standard of living without doing anything to deserve it. They are resentful because other people in the world are taking advantage of opportunities by 'educating' themselves and working hard instead of sitting on their overweight asses watching reality shows.

    All these decades they've voted GOP - they didn't give a rat's ass about the sick and the poor and in fact they were the ones who kept saying 'no welfare, no government interference - if you're poor it's your fault so go out and get a job'. Now that the tables are turned and they aren't get paid doctor's salaries for work a monkey could do, suddenly they want the government to force corporations to bring back jobs that don't even exist anymore. Why aren't they being told to stop clinging to guns and religion and to go out and get an education. The entire world now has to cater to a bunch of inbred bigots, it's ridiculous! They're going to destroy the planet with their stupidity and if we allow it, we are just as bad. Just like the Nazi's were taken down, this second incarnation of them also needs to be.

    , Gegenbeispiel , 17 Nov 2016 12:34
    Goodbye to American neoliberalism? Perhaps, but to eliminate capitalism altogether, it needs to be goodbye to the American Dream, which was always a pack of sordid lies. Sadly, a transition through neo-Feudalism may be necessary (in the absence of a powerful communist or other left revolutionary presence anywhere in the world) to kill off both capitalism and its propaganda figment, the American Dream.

    , hmmmmmmmmmmmmm , 17 Nov 2016 12:32
    I thought I would be dancing in the streets as Neoliberalism fell. I never expected the far-right to fill the vacuum.

    People took what ever alternate was on offer, both in the UK and US. Sadly it's very ugly what has been welcomed in.

    For me it also shines a light also on the left, they had no alternative and they need to come up with something and quick.

    , Hugo Ernst van Hees , 17 Nov 2016 12:25

    This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees.

    And yet, the neoliberal adagio of deregulation (particularly of the banking sector) is set to play a key role in Trump's policies - investment banks' stocks prices are soaring.

    Neoliberalism is long from being on its knees in the US. On the contrary, it is likely to determine the path of the US economy further, and unchecked.

    , Sandgropper Hugo Ernst van Hees , 17 Nov 2016 12:32
    Yes, and it will result in even more blowback and anger. Neoliberalism's now in a death spiral that it is incapable of escaping. Reply Share
    , zolotoy Sandgropper , 17 Nov 2016 12:35
    Neoliberalism will die only once it has destroyed the planet.

    , eegleumaseth , 17 Nov 2016 12:22

    The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang.

    Pure hyperbole. First of all I am not sure that neoliberalism has ended. It's not a footy match where you can blow a whistle. The Senate and House is still chock full of Neoliberals. They haven't elected a King but a President. Ask Obama how easy it is to get stuff done if Congress doesn't play ball.

    Secondly I am not sure that Trumps a Neofascist. In fact I am pretty sure he isn't. He's just a business guy with a binary attitude to decision making. ie what is the best way to get this done? Are there more voted in the rustbelt than the country club? Do more white working class Americans resent illegal immigration than Hispanics worry about that kind of rhetoric. I can hear him now. "Bring me the numbers". "Ok what's the quickest way to convince people you are serious about immigration?" Is it
    A. Start talking about increasing border security and allocating X million more dollars
    (doesn't sound serious and costs us money)

    B Start talking about building a sod off great wall and making the Mexicans pay for it
    (sounds very serious, gets the liberals to meltdown in rage, completely unrealistic but does anyone doubt that illegal immigration is a big issue for you. NO!)

    Pure business. Simple binary decisions on how to go about winning the available votes.

    Neofascist? No. Just a business brain working out how to sell the biggest number of units to the target market.

    , KissTheMoai eegleumaseth , 17 Nov 2016 12:29
    Neofascist? No, just a business guy who hires and empowers fascists.

    I also doubt the "neo" prefix. Reply Share

    , eegleumaseth KissTheMoai , 17 Nov 2016 12:51

    Neofascist? No, just a business guy who hires and empowers fascists.

    I also doubt the "neo" prefix.

    Personally I think he's politically agnostic. I don't think he has a political philosophy. He just wanted to be President and he's been used to getting what he wanted. He just worked out a way to do that and it worked. He has a whole host of Jewish advisers, friends and family. He's been in the property business in Manhattan for nearly 50 years. If he had a problem with Jews it would have been news before now and he would have been a good deal less successful in that Parish.
    Donald Trump doesn't believe in any particular political philosophy. He just wants to know what he needs to say to get the best result (for him) out of the next set of problems he faces. It won't matter whether he is on record as saying the opposite last week or last year. He doesn't care. He is into whatever works right now.

    , freeman69 eegleumaseth , 17 Nov 2016 13:16
    This is an excellent post, thank you. Sadly, neo-liberalism has embedded itself deep into the system. Trump's election or Brexit will do little to root it out. In fact, the system is likely to attempt to frustrate them aggressively, in its own nasty interests in the longer term.
    , Sandgropper , 17 Nov 2016 12:21
    People voted for Trump not to affirm any policy position, but to repudiate a broken system that no longer represents them - he's a symptom, not a protagonist.

    However, the Trump Event is positive in the sense that it significantly diminishes the prestige and authority of the US political establishment, making it much more vulnerable to challenge.

    Both the Republicans (the 'Red Team') and the Democrats (the 'Blue Team') were long ago appropriated and repurposed to serve the interests of corporations and billionaires, but until Trump, had still managed to retain a fig leaf of credibility, due to their historic brands. Not any more - the fig leaves have now been blown away and its plain to all but the most partisan that the Emperor has no clothes.

    The questioning of the existing order will intensify because Trump has no solutions to the underlying problems of economic inequality and social injustice. He will be actively resisted and opposed from the grassroots, because it's starkly clear now that the old formal politics of the Red and Blue teams is corrupt and broken, and no longer represents the best interests of the people.

    The recognition that the old politics is truly dead creates the conditions that will make the emergence of a new politics possible. It's going to be a bumpy ride, but we are moving forward again.

    , Panda Bear Sandgropper , 17 Nov 2016 12:34
    "People voted for Trump not to affirm any policy position, but to repudiate a broken system that no longer represents them - he's a symptom, not a protagonist."

    Spot on.

    The corrupt system created over the past 40 odd years has spewed up candidates such as Clinton and Trump... Trump may be considered fascist but Clinton and all she represents is also 'neo' fascist... corporate fascism.
    I think we live in a corporate Empire serving elites, with US at it's main enforcer, not democratic states or republics. The elites intend to keep the massive gains they have made via neoliberal and Globalist polices and have the wealth, spying and security apparatus to do so.

    , VitaminSea , 17 Nov 2016 12:15
    Having a righteous, hawkish, government-hating one-percenter for president seems to fit the neocon/neolib thing pretty nicely. I mean he goes to a fancy dinner the other night and promises the other one percenters a load of major tax cuts. He loves authority and the spectacle of wealth without apology and despises government regulation of business and markets. Sure, he blusters about ripping up trade deals but in his own business dealings makes use of the global economy to get his branded goods made cheaply (neckties made in China etc). The neocons/libs were all about being revolutionary and reactionary. They liked seeing themselves as a dynamic force sweeping in from outside the system to utterly change everything. He may have a more overt angle on racism and social relationships but my cat and I really think it helps greatly to understand Uber Baby Boomer Trump as a neocon/neolib.
    , Panda Bear , 17 Nov 2016 12:15
    Even if Neoliberalism is dead... the looting of the 90-99% by the 1-10% and their wars for profit will continue. Neoliberalism/Globalism are just tools which have successfully increased the wealth gap to obscene heights, legalized corruption and inflicted immense suffering on US and world citizens. Structures are now in place to ensure this is not halted one jot.
    The choice between Roman Empire and Roman Republic is long past... Trump and Clinton are just symptoms of the long decline of western 'democracy' if it ever really existed. The forces/systems of wealth transfer, looting and plundering really in charge have no morals or ethics and have built huge spying and police states.
    , climbertrev1 CiaranLaval , 17 Nov 2016 12:56
    Greed has been the problem for a lot longer than the last 40 years. The American dream is built on the idea that everyone can have a share of the wealth. The whole system is based on self interest and greed. This is true for most nations on the planet.

    I agree about the divide and conquer strategy. The problem for the left is the same as ever human nature and whilst people still believe in the American dream they will never support a socialist manifesto. Obama care is a classic example. 'Why should I pay for other peoples health care".
    Like many other Brits when the NHS was described as a manifestation of socialism I was confused. I had grown up with the idea that the NHS was a 'good' particularly if you were of a lower income group. That is the vast majority of the UK population. Access to free health care for all seems like a good thing.
    In the USA among many lower income groups in the USA they perceive something like the NHS as being almost communist and at the least socialist and therefore something evil.
    The left is probably wasting it's time in the USA. Americans are simply not ready for rehab from the American Dream. They need to hit rock bottom hard and stay there for a while.\

    , Andy Wong Ming Jun Malunkey , 17 Nov 2016 15:38
    As Frank Underwood said in House Of Cards, democracy is so overrated. I imagine the US looks now like a modern-day version of the end of the Roman Republic, just before it goes full imperial. Reply Share
    , Malunkey Andy Wong Ming Jun , 17 Nov 2016 15:49

    As Frank Underwood said in House Of Cards, democracy is so overrated.

    Real-life democracy can look tarnished when held against the light of its finest ideals. But it is still a thousand times better than any tyranny that has ever existed.

    Not only is democracy not overrated, it cannot be overrated. It is government for the people by the people and ipso facto better than any alternative.

    Also: you might want to sharpen your political knowledge by studying life for citizens under Nazi Germany or the USSR rather than watching House Of Cards.

    , windwheel , 17 Nov 2016 11:59
    So Obama was a bad guy- a 'neo-liberal'. No doubt, Prof. West is now very ashamed of calling him 'a brother, a champion, a comrade' for which favor Obama called him a 'genius', a 'public intellectual' (not then a derogatory term) a 'preacher' and 'an oracle'.
    To his credit, Prof. West turned upon Obama soon enough. He was an oracle, just as Obama had said, but one who merely confirmed that his stricture upon Black people- whom he accused of abandoning their 'prophetic tradition' in favor of 'individualistic pursuit of wealth, health and status'- applied only to himself.
    He now says we shouldn't have a hope, but be a hope. That's sure to help. Did you know 'Africans' were 'subject to expanding US military presence' under Obama and that was a bad thing? What sort of hope does Prof. West represent, not by virtue of any quality he possesses, or viewpoint that he upholds, but from the simple fact of his being? It is that 'public intellectuals' come to be recognized as public conveniences. Their existence is a good thing only because they obscure and hygienically convey away material that would otherwise constitute a public nuisance.
    , ID4709344 windwheel , 17 Nov 2016 12:09
    "He was an oracle, just as Obama had said, but one who merely confirmed that his stricture upon Black people- whom he accused of abandoning their 'prophetic tradition' in favor of 'individualistic pursuit of wealth, health and status'- applied only to himself."

    It's hard to listen to West address issues such as poverty and black nihilism, as undeniably brilliant as he is, for one reason: surely a man who commands 100k a night for his speeches is a man without an organic connection to his subject?

    , Marina E Olivier , 17 Nov 2016 11:55
    A rich white bully male wins, a warmonger lost.
    Between a TV entertainer speaking layman English and a haughty has-been politician, the "deplorable" have chosen. America has gotten poorer.

    Corporations will run the show instead of politicians.
    Society go backwards driven by the overlords towards a Feudal state. The ultimate post neoliberalism. Reply Share

    , ThunderChi1d Marina E Olivier , 17 Nov 2016 12:57

    A rich white bully male wins, a warmonger lost.

    Careful now - your privilege is showing!

    , cjf1947 , 17 Nov 2016 11:53
    The last two democratic administrations have included Wall Street within their 'triangulation'. In this they mirrored Blair-Brown who were prepared to woo the City in return for tax receipts to pursue siginifcant social reform. Clinton and Obama have also promoted globalisation - NAFTA, TPP, TTIP in the hope that this will boost growth (it has but not of median incomes) and keep inflation low . So ironically it is the extreme right that have led the charge against these twin towers of the neoliberal consensus: financialisation and globalisation. This is a paradigm shift in US politics (as the rise of UKIP has been in the UK). It remains to be seen whether the Republicans become the party of de financialisation and protectionism. I very much doubt they will; in fact I suspect it will be the GOP who are most resistant to Trumpism. There could be a period of extreme chaos politically and economically. Both the Dems and Labour must get ready to offer a meaningful alternative to the 'Washington consensus' for the next elections in 2020. They must promote investment in the real economy; change the tax structure to penalise short termism and inequality; and be prepared to return to a trade regime that is not the full bloodied corporation benefitting regime of tax avoidance, investor protections, fiscal dumping....
    , criticalfart , 17 Nov 2016 11:48
    "White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites. Yet these same citizens also supported a candidate who appeared to blame their social misery on minorities, and who alienated Mexican immigrants, Muslims, black people, Jews, gay people, women and China in the process."
    Well what choice was there? The corrupt Democrat Machine did for Sanders. They thought voters had no other choice than support corrupt neoliberal Clinton. Just look at the number of Denocrate who failed to vote because they could not stomach either.
    , AndrewAndrews criticalfart , 17 Nov 2016 12:07

    Just look at the number of Denocrate who failed to vote because they could not stomach either.

    Don't discount the impact of voter suppression - while the turnout would still be lower, efforts to prevent poorer folks from voting did contribute to the result.

    , traversecity , 17 Nov 2016 11:47
    Cornel West once critiqued Obama because "he's always had to fear being a white man in a black skin" and included the observation that "he feels most comfortable with upper middle class white and Jewish men who consider themselves to be very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want."

    He's the last person who should be writing about building multiracial alliances.

    , macfeegal , 17 Nov 2016 11:46
    It would seem that there is a great deal of over simplifying going on; some of the articles represent an hysteric response and the vision of sack cloth and ashes prevails among those who could not see that the wheels were coming off the bus. The use of the term 'liberal' has become another buzz word - there are many different forms of liberalism and creating yet another sound byte does little to illuminate anything.

    Making appeals to restore what has been lost reflects badly upon the central political parties, with their 30 year long rightward drift and their legacy of sucking up to corporate lobbyists, systems managers, box tickers and consultants. You can't give away sovereign political power to a bunch of right wing quangos who worship private wealth and its accumulation without suffering the consequences. The article makes no contribution (and neither have many of the others of late) to any kind of alternative to either neo-liberalism or the vacuum that has become a question mark with the dark face of the devil behind it.

    We are in uncharted waters. The conventional Left was totally discredited by1982 and all we've had since are various forms of modifications of Thatcher's imported American vision. There has been no opposition to this system for over 40 years - so where do we get the idea that democracy has any real meaning? Yes, we can vote for the Greens, or one of the lesser known minority parties, but of course people don't; they tend to go with what is portrayed as the orthodoxy and they've been badly let down by it.

    It would be a real breath of fresh air to see articles which offer some kind of analysis that demonstrates tangible options to deal with the multiple crises we are suffering. Perhaps we might start with a consideration that if our political institutions are prone to being haunted by the ghost of the 1930's, the state itself could be seen as part of the problem rather than any solution. Why is it that every other institution is considered to be past its sell by date and we still believe in a phantom of democracy? Discuss.

    , VenetianBlind macfeegal , 17 Nov 2016 12:00
    I have spent hours trying to see solutions around Neo-Liberalism and find that governments have basically signed away any control over the economy so nothing they can do. There are no solutions.

    Maybe that is the starting point. The solution for workers left behind in Neo-Liberal language is they must move. It demands labor mobility. It is not possible to dictate where jobs are created.

    I see too much fiddly around the edges, the best start is to say they cannot fix the problem. If they keep making false promises then things will just get dire as.

    , bornvonkarman , 17 Nov 2016 11:46
    Trump won because working Americans don't want to allow the elite to elect a new sock puppet.
    , Nash25 , 17 Nov 2016 11:40
    This excellent analysis by professor West places the current political situation in a proper historical context.

    However, I fear that neo-liberalism may not be quite "dead" as he argues.

    Most of the Democratic party's "establishment" politicians, who conspired to sabotage the populist Sanders's campaign, still dominate the party, and they, in turn, are controlled by the giant corporations who fund their campaigns.

    Democrat Chuck Schumer is now the Senate minority leader, and he is the loyal servant of the big Wall Street investment banks.

    Sanders and Warren are the only two Democratic leaders who are not neo-liberals, and I fear that they will once again be marginalized.

    Rank and file Democrats must organize at the local and state level to remove these corrupt neo-liberals from all party leadership positions. This will take many years, and it will be very difficult.

    , SeeNOevilHearNOevil , 17 Nov 2016 11:36

    The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.


    Didn't Obama say to Wall Street ''I'm the only one standing between you and the lynch mob? Give me money and I'll make it all go away''. Then came into office and went we won't prosecute the Banks not Bush for a false war because we don't look back.

    He did not ignore, he actively, willingly, knowingly protected them. At the end of the day Obama is wolf in sheep's clothing. Exactly like HRC he has a public and a private position.He is a gifted speaker who knows how to say all the right, progressive liberal things to get people to go along much better than HRC ever did. But that lip service is where his progressive views begin and stop. It's the very reason none of his promises never translated into actions and I will argue that he was the biggest and smoothest scam artist to enter the white house who got even though that wholly opposed centre-right policies, to flip and support them vehemently. Even when he had the Presidency, House and Senate, he never once introduced any progressive liberal policy. He didn't need Republican support to do it, yet he never even tried.

    , Giancarlo Bruno Malunkey , 17 Nov 2016 14:59
    Obama entered the White House with the largest Congressional majorities since 1992. The Democrats had a larger share of seats in both houses, even leaving aside the dying and incapacitated Senators, than Bush the Younger enjoyed at any point in his presidency. What did he do with that?

    The ARRA wasn't a bad idea but its effectiveness was hampered by significant giveaways to politically connected entities. Dodd-Frank somehow manages to achieve both byzantine complexity and regulatory ineffectiveness all at once. Its obvious benefits are so few that few people are ready to vigorously defend it (beyond the commonsense idea that Wall St should have been more closely regulated in the wake of the financial meltdown) while its 2,300 pages of tortured legalese inspire clarion calls for yet more deregulation. Obama unilaterally dismissed the public option he campaigned on in a close door meeting with 'health care' and pharma executives, giving us the failed Hillary/Romney/Dole health care plan that he rightfully derided during the primary contest. The Republicans were largely uninvolved in this, other than serving as useful idiots to provide the Democrats a cover for their naked betrayal. Not once did Obama use the bully pulpit to seriously advocate for single payer or even a public option.

    And let's not forget the truly horrendous Bowles Simpson plan which would have cut Social Security and Medicare in the name of fiscal responsibility while at the same time reducing the marginal tax rates of the very wealthy and pushing working people into higher tax brackets with a flatter income tax schedule. Does nobody remember how they tried to punt responsibility for what would have been a disastrous and deeply unpopular package of 'reforms' by punting it over to an unelected 'Supercommittee'?! Does nobody remember that at all, FFS, it was barely 5 years ago!

    You can say what you want about how Obama's hands were tied and he was totally helpless but the fact that Bush was able to make such drastic changes even when he had a rather small majority and Obama made little headway with a historically large one gives credence to the idea that the Democrats are the Washington Generals of politics. I mean, come on, he didn't even try to move public opinion towards a more progressive economic program: he was too busy boasting about how we had reduced government spending to GDP to the lowest levels in 50 years or proposing privatizations of public agencies like the Tennessee Valley Authority.

    I am dismayed at the election of Donald Trump with full Republican control of Congress as most of us are, but I simply do not think it serves us to make excuses for a president who did so little to help those who once believed in him.

    , TheyAreOurFriends , 17 Nov 2016 11:28

    Trump's election was enabled by the policies that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. We gird ourselves for a frightening future

    No. Trump's election was secured by the hypocritical two-faced behavior of the US radical left wing. The Obama, Kerry and many of their closest advisors, had great difficulty with the word terrorist. Very much a parallel of Jeremy Corbyn-Milne and Momentum. And. Hilary was just too much of a barefaced liar.

    Staggering hypocritical two-faced behavior.

    Enough is enough. Although The Donald does seem to be 'walking back' so much of what he was elected on. But then, The Obama didn't close Guantanamo either.

    [Mar 23, 2017] Automation threat is more complex than it looks

    Mar 23, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com
    , EndaFlannel , 17 Nov 2016 09:12
    In theory, in the longer term, as robotics becomes the norm rather than the exception, there will be no advantage in chasing cheap labour around the world. Given ready access to raw materials, the labour costs of manufacturing in Birmingham should be no different to the labour costs in Beijing. This will require the democratisation of the ownership of technology. Unless national governments develop commonly owned technology the 1% will truly become the organ grinders and everyone else the monkeys. One has only to look at companies like Microsoft and Google to see a possible future - bigger than any single country and answerable to no one. Common ownership must be the future. Deregulation and market driven economics are the road technological serfdom.
    , Physiocrat EndaFlannel , 17 Nov 2016 09:58
    Except that the raw materials for steel production are available in vast quantities in China.

    You are also forgetting land. The power remains with those who own it. Most of Central London is still owned by the same half dozen families as in 1600. Reply Share

    , Colin Sandford EndaFlannel , 17 Nov 2016 10:29
    You can only use robotics in countries that have the labour with the skills to maintain them.Robots do not look after themselves they need highly skilled technicians to keep them working. I once worked for a Japanese company and they only used robots in the higher wage high skill regions. In low wage economies they used manual labour and low tech products.

    [Mar 23, 2017] On the congressional Russian pant sniffing hearings, this is most worthy of a fast read

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    uncle tungsten , March 23, 2017 at 5:16 am

    On the congressional Russian pant sniffing hearings, this is most worthy of a fast read:

    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/23/conspiracy-against-president-trump.html

    [Mar 23, 2017] Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire

    Notable quotes:
    "... to influence our Atlantic Council! ..."
    "... our Atlantic Council! ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    craazyboy , March 22, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire" [Politico]. (Furzy Mouse). ZOMG!!!! The Ukrainians were hacking tampering with meddling in seeking to influence our election! Where's that declaration of war I had lying around
    ______________________

    Ukrania IS A NEW WORLD ORDER!!!!!

    Ukrainian World Congress
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_World_Congress

    Members[edit]
    European Congress of Ukrainians (Yaroslava Khortiani)
    Armenia: Federation of Ukrainians of Armenia "Ukraine"
    Belgium: Main Council of Ukrainian Public Organizations
    Bosnia and Herzegovina: Coordination council of Ukrainian associations
    Czech Republic: Ukrainian Initiative in the Czech Republic
    Croatia: Union of Rusyns and Ukrainians of the Republic of Croatia
    Estonia: Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia
    France: Representative Committee of the Ukrainian Community of France
    Georgia: Coordination Council of Ukrainians of Georgia
    Germany: Association of Ukrainian Organizations in Germany
    Greece: Association of the Ukrainian diaspora in Greece "Ukrainian-Greek Thought"
    Hungary: Association of Ukrainian Culture in Hungary
    Italy
    Latvia: Ukrainian Cultural-Enlightening Association in Latvia "Dnieper"
    Lithuania: Community of Ukrainians of Lithuania
    Moldova: Society of Ukrainians of Transnistria
    Norway
    Poland: Association of Ukrainians in Poland (Piotr Tyma)
    Portugal: Society of Ukrainians in Portugal
    Romania: Union of Ukrainians of Romania
    Russia: Association of Ukrainians of Russia
    Serbia
    Slovakia: Union of Rusyn-Ukrainians of the Slovak Republic
    Spain
    Switzerland
    United Kingdom: Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Zenko Lastowiecki)
    Others
    Australia: Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (Stefan Romaniw)
    Argentina: Ukrainian Central Representation in Argentina
    Brazil: Ukrainian-Brazilian Central Representation
    Canada: Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Paul Grod)
    Kazakhstan: Ukrainians in Kazakhstan
    Paraguay:
    United States: Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (Andriy Futey)
    United States: Ukrainian American Coordinating Council (Ihor Gawdiak) [2]
    Uzbekistan: Ukrainian Cultural Center "Fatherland"

    They also are attempting to influence our Atlantic Council!

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

    Funding[edit]
    In September 2014, the New York Times reported that since 2008, the organization has received donations from more than twenty-five governments outside of the United States, including $5 million from Norway.[34] Concerned that scholars from the organization could be covertly trying to push the agendas of foreign governments, legislation was proposed in response to the Times report requiring full disclosure of witnesses testifying before Congress.[35] Other contributors to the organization include the Ukrainian World Congress, and the governments of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.[9][36]

    Plus, Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of the famous DNC security firm, Cloudstrike, is a senior fellow of our Atlantic Council!

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

    Cloudstrike also has hired some top FBI security professionals. Revolving Door!

    Keep plenty of Declaration of War forms handy. We're gonna need 'em!!!!

    [Mar 23, 2017] Trump and National Neoliberalism By Sasha Breger Bush Common Dreams

    Notable quotes:
    "... Democracy, Inc. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.commondreams.org
    Many writers and pundits are currently framing Trump's election in terms of a dispossessed and disenfranchised white, male working class, unsatisfied with neoliberal globalization and the insecurity and hardship it has unleashed-particularly across regions of the United States that were formerly manufacturing powerhouses (like the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, four states believed to have cost Hillary Clinton the election). While there is much truth to this perspective and substantial empirical evidence to support it, it would be a mistake to see Trump's election wholly in these terms.

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

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

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

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

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

    Trump's election represents a triumph of neoliberal thinking and values. Perhaps most importantly, we should all keep in mind the fact that Americans just elected a businessman to the presidency. In spite of his Wall Street background and billionaire status, Trump successfully cast himself as the "anti-establishment" candidate. This configuration-in which a top-one-percenter real estate tycoon is accepted as a political "outsider"-is a hallmark of neoliberal thinking. The fundamental opposition between market and government is a central dichotomy in the neoliberal narrative. In electing Trump, American voters are reproducing this narrative, creating an ideological cover for the closer connections between business and the state that are in store moving forward (indeed, Trump is already using the apparatus of the U.S. federal government to promote his own business interests). As states and markets further fuse in coming years, this representation of Trump and his administration-as being anti-government-will help immunize his administration from accusations of too-cozy relationships with big business. Trump's attempts to "drain the swamp" by imposing Congressional term limits and constraints on lobbying activities by former political officials will also help to hide this relationship. (Has anyone else noticed that Trump only addresses half of the "revolving door," i.e., he plans to limit the lobbying of former politicians, but not the political roles of businessmen?)

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

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

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

    Trump's Election Does Mean the End of Globalism

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

    Trump's Contract with the American Voter outlines several policies that will make it more expensive and riskier to do business abroad. All of these need not occur; I think that even one or two of these changes will be sufficient to alter expectations in business communities about the benefits of certain cross-border economic relationships. Pulling the United States out of the TPP, along with threats to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and attempts to renegotiate NAFTA, is already signaling to other countries that we are not interested in international cooperation and collaboration. A crackdown on foreign trading abuses will prompt retaliation. Labelling China a currency manipulator will sour relations between the two countries and prompt retaliation by China. As Trump goes forward with his anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, he will alienate the United States' traditional allies in Europe (at least until Europe elects its own nationalist and xenophobic leaders) and communities across the Global South. The U.S. election has already undermined performance in emerging markets, and bigoted rhetoric and policy will only increase anti-American sentiment in struggling economies populated largely by people of color. Add to this the risk of conflict posed by any number of the following: his antagonizing China, allying with Russia, deploying ground troops to stop ISIS, and pulling out of the Korean DMZ, among other initiatives that seem likely to contribute to a more confrontational and violent international arena. All of this is to say that Trump will not have to intervene directly in the affairs of business in order to nationalize it. The new global landscape of conflict and risk, combined with elevated domestic spending on infrastructure and security, will bring U.S. business and investment back home nonetheless.

    National Neoliberalism and State-Market Relations

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

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

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

    [Mar 23, 2017] Houston, we have a problem

    Notable quotes:
    "... Now we have "synthetic" surveillance. You don't even need a court order. Now all incidental communication intercepts can be unmasked. One can search their huge databases for all the incidental communications of someone of interest, then collect all of the unmasked incidental communications that involve that person and put them together in one handy dandy report. Viola! You can keep tabs on them every time they end up being incidentally collected. ..."
    "... You ever went to an embassy party? Talked to a drug dealer or mafia guy without being aware of it? Correspond overseas? Your communications have been "incidentally" collected too. There is so much surveillance out there we have probably all bounced off various targets over the last several years. ..."
    "... This is what police states do. In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag. ..."
    "... Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. ..."
    "... The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc? ..."
    "... But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely. ..."
    "... It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.. ..."
    Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

    TeethVillage88s , Mar 23, 2017 6:54 PM

    Yes, they have your Apples too:

    Crash Overide -> aloha_snakbar , Mar 23, 2017 7:39 PM

    Maxine Waters: 'Obama Has Put In Place' Secret Database With 'Everything On Everyone'

    Vilfredo Pareto , Mar 23, 2017 7:01 PM

    The rank and file of the IC are not involved in this. So let's not tar everyone with the same brush, but Obama revised executive order 12333 so that communication intercepts incidentally collected dont have to be masked and may be shared freely in the IC.

    Now we have "synthetic" surveillance. You don't even need a court order. Now all incidental communication intercepts can be unmasked. One can search their huge databases for all the incidental communications of someone of interest, then collect all of the unmasked incidental communications that involve that person and put them together in one handy dandy report. Viola! You can keep tabs on them every time they end up being incidentally collected.

    You ever went to an embassy party? Talked to a drug dealer or mafia guy without being aware of it? Correspond overseas? Your communications have been "incidentally" collected too. There is so much surveillance out there we have probably all bounced off various targets over the last several years.

    What might your "synthetic" surveillance report look like?

    Chupacabra-322 , Mar 23, 2017 7:04 PM

    It's worth repeating.

    There's way more going on here then first alleged. From Bloomberg, not my choice for news, but There is another component to this story as well -- as Trump himself just tweeted.

    It's very rare that reporters are ever told about government-monitored communications of U.S. citizens, let alone senior U.S. officials. The last story like this to hit Washington was in 2009 when Jeff Stein, then of CQ, reported on intercepted phone calls between a senior Aipac lobbyist and Jane Harman, who at the time was a Democratic member of Congress.

    Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity.

    This is what police states do. In the past it was considered scandalous for senior U.S. officials to even request the identities of U.S. officials incidentally monitored by the government (normally they are redacted from intelligence reports). John Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was derailed in 2006 after the NSA confirmed he had made 10 such requests when he was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control in George W. Bush's first term. The fact that the intercepts of Flynn's conversations with Kislyak appear to have been widely distributed inside the government is a red flag.

    Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told me Monday that he saw the leaks about Flynn's conversations with Kislyak as part of a pattern. "There does appear to be a well orchestrated effort to attack Flynn and others in the administration," he said. "From the leaking of phone calls between the president and foreign leaders to what appears to be high-level FISA Court information, to the leaking of American citizens being denied security clearances, it looks like a pattern."

    @?realDonaldTrump?

    The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

    President Trump was roundly mocked among liberals for that tweet. But he is, in many ways, correct. These leaks are an enormous problem. And in a less polarized context, they would be recognized immediately for what they clearly are: an effort to manipulate public opinion for the sake of achieving a desired political outcome. It's weaponized spin.............

    But no matter what Flynn did, it is simply not the role of the deep state to target a man working in one of the political branches of the government by dishing to reporters about information it has gathered clandestinely.

    It is the role of elected members of Congress to conduct public investigations of alleged wrongdoing by public officials.. ..... But the answer isn't to counter it with equally irregular acts of sabotage - or with a disinformation campaign waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in the surveillance state.....

    [Mar 23, 2017] Jane Harmon on On Point Radio also denied the existence of an American Deep State. That was especially rich coming from a long time supporter of the Military Industrial Complex

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
    Peter Van Erp , March 22, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    "Why Steve Bannon Wants You to Believe in the Deep State" [Politico]. Yesterday, Jane Harmon on On Point Radio also denied the existence of an American Deep State. That was especially rich coming from a long time supporter of the Military Industrial Complex, and current member of the pundit class from her position as the First Woman to Head the Wilson Center.
    Let the word go forth from this time and place that the government works in your best interests, despite the apparent fact that it doesn't work for most Americans and keeps delivering more and more benefits to the oligarchy. Any attempt to explain it as deliberate policy is a fantasy, a fever dream of rabid leftists right wing nuts.

    Paid Minion , March 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Funny how some are getting their undies in a twist over "foreign interference" in our elections.

    Globalists push global markets, global labor pools, global "race to the bottom" rules for white collar crime. Yet are surprised/offended by "global elections". Especially when the US government interferes (directly or indirectly) with every country on the face of the earth.

    Maybe we should be happy that our government is for sale to the highest bidder, worldwide. After all, global competition has done so much for US business and labor.

    So we have Global Kleptocrats. In charge of the Global Banana Republic.

    MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 22, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    "Domestic interference' is not OK.

    But I think we should ignore it for now, per the Propaganda Ministry.

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:51 am

    Putin forced the Democrats to lose all those ballots in Brooklyn. It's incredible.

    Lambert Strether Post author , March 23, 2017 at 3:58 am

    > the deep state

    Watch that definite article. (What that Politico article shows is how easy it is to write sloppy articles about the "deep state." That's because the deep state is such a sloppy, amorphous concept. It's very sloppiness is what makes it simultaneously (a) useful to our scribes in the political class, who can (b) bang out stories with click-baity headlines easily, while (c) disempowering to the rest of us (since to have power over your enemies, you have to understand them).

    [Mar 23, 2017] Bannon Rips Corporatist Media They're Not Going To Give The Country Back Without A Fight Zero Hedge

    Mar 23, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Shortly after taking center stage at CPAC, Steve Bannon once again unleashed on the media, quickly calling the press the "opposition party" as he did in his infamous NYT interview, during his conversation with Reince Priebus.

    "If you look at the opposition party, how they portrayed the campaign, how they portrayed the transition, how they portray the administration, it's always wrong," Bannon said. "If you remember, the campaign, by the media's description, was the most chaotic, the most disorganized, most unprofessional, had no idea what they were doing. And then you saw [the media] all crying and weeping" on election night.

    "It's not gonna get better, it's gonna get worse," Bannon said.

    "They are corporatist globalist media who are diametrically opposed to the economic nationalist agenda that President Trump presents . "[Trump] is going to continue to press his agenda as economic conditions get better, as jobs get better, they are going to continue to fight. If they think they are going to give you your country back without a fight, you are mistaken. Every day, it is going to be a fight." "

    Considering virtually all mainstream media outlets are owned by just six corporations, Bannon may be on to something.

    How Much Do You Need to Retire?

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    Earlier:

    The Trump administration has taken center stage at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) which infamously kicked out Milo Yiannopoulos earlier this week, leading to the rapid fall from grace for the outspoken conservative.

    Moments ago Trump's two right hand men, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and chief of staff, Reince Priebus, started speaking at CPAC. Later in the day, VP Mike Pence will give a major address at 7:30 pm.

    Earlier in the day, far right-winger Richard Spencer was escorted out of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

    Spencer reportedly spoke with reporters in the lobby of the conference for nearly 45 minutes before he was kicked out.

    Some reporters tweeted that Spencer was escorted out by security while still speaking with journalists.

    A spokesman for CPAC told NBC that Spencer was removed because the organization finds his views "repugnant ."

    According to The Hill , American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp attempted to distance the conference from Spencer, who reportedly said that he was credentialed for the event . "The 'alt-right' does not have a legitimate voice in the conservative movement," said Schlapp, according to the Los Angeles Times, noting that "nobody from that movement is speaking at CPAC."

    "This is America, and we have to deal with the laws and, you know, all I can tell you is that if he had comments we'd agree with, he'd be on our stage, but he's not on our stage," Schlapp said of Spencer.

    Shortly after being removed from the conference, Spencer held a gaggle with reporters. "CPAC cannot host a speech where they denounce the alt-right by name and then expect me not to come," he said, according to reports. "They're children, I mean look, adults will engage in dialogue particularly when you're going to denounce someone. They're not even engaging in dialogue."

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    knukles , Feb 23, 2017 2:06 PM

    Would somebody just please break open PizzaGate; it's just not weird enough, yet.

    Looney -> knukles , Feb 23, 2017 2:13 PM

    Oops!

    hedgeless_horseman -> Looney , Feb 23, 2017 2:38 PM

    TeamDepends -> BandGap , Feb 23, 2017 3:45 PM

    Bannon is bad-ass, just the guy you want on your team when, say, you are attacked by giant robot spiders. Just ask Dr. and Jonny Quest! Not so sure about Hadji, though. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L0kg_tzQvf4

    g'kar -> xythras , Feb 23, 2017 3:52 PM

    xythras, it's always interesting the video clips never show what leads up to these incidents that get caught on video, just what happens after.

    Son of Loki -> Looney , Feb 23, 2017 2:43 PM

    I am glad the lady said Obamacare's a disaster several times (which it is) and Dr Burgess expalined what is the resonable apporach to this issue. I was glad he said he was shocked the Supreme Circus said Spowetocare was constitutional. he osunds on the ball and all of this panel sound like they have a good handle on what the problems are and how to solve them.

    I listened to most of it and thought it was a very good discussion -- complete, accurate, thorough.

    BandGap -> knukles , Feb 23, 2017 3:02 PM

    Knukles, they just did. Trump announced a task forced on human trafficking, pointing out that it was an epidemic in this country. He is focusing the DOJ, FBI along with private entities to investigate this plague.

    My read is that he has to maintain a 20000 foot view initially until something is "discovered". His daughter is championing this cause.

    The howling starts in 3....2.....1.......

    booboo -> knukles , Feb 23, 2017 4:07 PM

    Pedoestsa has been given a column at the Times, pizza reviews I guess?

    [Mar 23, 2017] EconoSpeak Fifty Shades of Yellow Post-Truth Then and Now

    Mar 23, 2017 | econospeak.blogspot.com
    Simon Wren-Lewis can't take it anymore. I've just read his fulminations on the blatant dishonesty of right wing media outlets in the US and the UK, untethered to any residual professional attachment to standards of evidence and nakedly in the service of political ideologues. He'll get no argument from me about that.

    But I think his distinction between post-truth outlets and the other kind (pre-truth?) is much too clean. We won't understand the new frontier of news/fiction unless we see what connects it to the rest of the media world.

    A first hint appears in his discussion of the difference between UK and German media on the issue of immigration. The nativist tabloids in the UK bombarded its readership with several stories per day that dehumanized immigrants and presented them as threats to jobs, services and civil order, while their counterparts in Germany (e.g. Bild) had heartwarming portrayals of immigrants overcoming great odds to save themselves and their families. This is true; I saw it myself when I was in Germany during the runup to Merkel's adoption of a Welcome Culture policy.

    But this was also the period during which Greece, led by Syriza, faced off against Schäuble and his EU Wall of Nein. Here the ruling interests in Germany showed their other side, and the popular press was filled with made-up atrocities about the lazy, dishonest crew in Greece whose main purpose in life was to fleece the German taxpayer. (I posted here at the time about the false news, widely reported in Germany, that Syriza, financed by EU funds, had made rail travel free as a ploy to buy votes.) Obviously the probity of German journalism was selective.

    And similar post-truth spasms have characterized media outlets in the English-speaking world ever since the advent of the printing press. These were in the service of fomenting war fever (the Spanish-American War, World War I, Vietnam, and Iraq, to mention examples from US history), demonizing labor organizers and civil rights activists or whatever cause needed a bit of extra buttressing.

    If there is anything new, I think it might be on one of these fronts: (1) The doctrine that deceit and manipulation are virtuous in the service of the Cause, an element of fascism and Leninism alike, has now found a home in somewhat more mainstream ideologies on the right. A self-conscious defense of making stuff up increases its effectiveness, because embarrassment at being caught out is no longer a risk. (2) Post-truth is being deployed, to some extent, against the interests of the capitalist class, particularly as it attacks globalization. It is "out of control", the figurative loose cannon on the deck of the battleship, rolling around and capable of firing in any direction. It needs to be domesticated again.

    The reality is that the elevated devotion to truth has always had moments-particular issues or political exigencies-during which it was expected to look the other way. We won't understand what's new and different about today's propaganda unless we recognize the continuities as well.

    AXEC / E.K-H said...
    Pre-truth and post-truth in economics
    Comment on Peter Dorman on 'Fifty Shades of Yellow? Post-Truth Then and Now'

    The economist Peter Dorman complains about post-truth spasms that "have characterized media outlets in the English-speaking world ever since the advent of the printing press." This critique is correct but misplaced. The business of the press has always been storytelling, opinion, entertainment, propaganda, and providing a suitable environment for advertising but NOT truth. Truth is the mission of science. For the economist this means: "In order to tell the politicians and practitioners something about causes and best means, the economist needs the true theory or else he has not much more to offer than educated common sense or his personal opinion." (Stigum)

    Peter Dorman's critique of the press distracts from the fact that economics lacks the true theory. Scientific truth is well-defined as material and formal consistency since the ancient Greeks introduced the distinction between opinion (= doxa) and knowledge (= episteme).

    Economics claims since Adam Smith/Karl Marx to be a science. Yet, it is pretty obvious ― except to economists ― that the four main approaches ― Walrasianism, Keynesianism, Marxianism, Austrianism ― are mutually contradictory, axiomatically false, materially/formally inconsistent, and all got the pivotal concept of the subject matter, i.e. profit, wrong.

    As a cargo cult science economics is since 200+ years at the pre-truth stage but economists tell the general public the post-truth that what they are doing is science. The truth is that the representative economist is a political agenda pusher just like the representative journalist.*

    Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

    * See also 'When fake scientists call out on fake politicians'
    http://axecorg.blogspot.de/2017/01/when-fake-scientists-call-out-on-fake.html

    March 22, 2017 at 6:22 AM
    Bruce Wilder said...
    I wonder how many Americans old enough to remember the original, now know that the Tonkin Gulf incident was a fabrication? Do people over 30 remember WMD as a lie? Do people think Colin Powell shamed his country by lying to the Security Council? Do Americans think the CIA shamed their country by torturing people? How many realize that most of those once imprisoned at Guantanamo were basically innocent -- most of the "worst of the worst" were just unlucky and misidentified.

    Truth requires an investment in discrimination and that investment -- to be made -- must pay off, the truth must matter to someone. There is, in short, an economics to this: how to make an investment in lies pay more than an investment in truth or vice-versa.

    I do not have a complete answer, but I can offer a clue that you might add to your analysis: secrets.

    Secrets are the lever of lies. Give me a place to stand and announce my suspicions and I can move the world with that lever of lies, the secret.

    Secrets offer the drama of revealed truth, knowledge that cannot be had by merely observing or the use of critical intelligence. Secrets are privileges; truth is just mundane reality.

    Truth must have the resources for confirmation, must weather dispute; secrets are pure dispute, inherently immune to confirmation. Every lie wraps the truth in a secret, where it becomes mere suspicion on a par with any other product of imagination.

    March 22, 2017 at 11:14 AM

    [Mar 23, 2017] Disgraceful maliciousness from Voice of America, the official news source of the United States

    Mar 23, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    anne : March 22, 2017 at 11:14 AM , 2017 at 11:14 AM
    http://www.voanews.com/a/xi-china-politics/3775175.html

    March 21, 2017

    Is Xi Jinping Putin-izing China?
    By William Ide and Brian Kopczynski

    BEIJING -

    [ Disgraceful maliciousness from Voice of America, the official news source of the United States. ]

    anne -> anne... , March 22, 2017 at 01:41 PM
    http://www.voanews.com/a/xi-china-politics/3775175.html

    March 21, 2017

    Is Xi Jinping Putin-izing China?
    By William Ide and Brian Kopczynski

    BEIJING -

    One thing that was clear during China's recently concluded high-level political meetings in Beijing is that Xi Jinping is the country's uncontested leader and the most powerful this populous nation has seen in decades.

    What is less certain, though, is what he seeks to do with that authority and whether it means he could be seeking a third term in office.

    Core strengthening

    During the recent meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC) - China's rubber-stamp parliament and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the phrase of "Xi as core leader of the party" was used repeatedly, coming up before officials discussed a wide range of topics from the economy to the environment.

    The title was not given to Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao - but Jiang Zemin also had it - and it puts him on par with former leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

    It is a sign that regardless of length of term or retirement age, Xi will be around for a good time going forward, said China leadership analyst Willy Lam.

    "So having been designated the core leader, that means he is virtually emperor for life, and that is the message Xi Jinping wants to tell the Chinese people and leaders of other countries, that he will be around to guide the realization of the Chinese Dream," Lam said.

    Succession is a drawn out and politically sensitive process in China. Since leadership transitions became more institutionalized in the early 2000s, top leaders have served two five-year terms as president. Later this year, in October or November, a party congress (the 19th) will be held.

    That meeting will lead to a major reshuffle of the party's central leadership and is a time, usually, when possible successors become more certain. However, with Xi in charge and "core" of the party, there is more uncertainty than ever about who may be next in line - if anyone.

    Succession uncertain

    Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University, said while Guizhou Party Secretary Chen Min'er is one individual who has been mentioned as a possible next in line candidate, some speculate that Xi could wait until closer to the end of his second term in office around 2022 to allow such a person to emerge.

    "It remains to be seen whether Xi Jinping is going to promote anyone who will really be clearly identified as a successor," Cabestan said. "The theory is that he wants to wait another five years before designating a successor."

    He adds that in the run up to the party congress later this year, a politically sensitive time, the emphasis on Xi as the core is likely to continue and intensify.

    The 19th Party Congress will be a time of political reshuffle and members of the party's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, will be replaced. The standing committee is made up of anywhere between five and nine members. There is talk of Xi again shrinking it from the c