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The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment, 2018

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[Dec 31, 2018] Academic bottomfeeders at service of financial oligarchy by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By abetting the ad industry, universities are leading us into temptation, when they should be enlightening us ..."
Dec 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Advertising and academia are controlling our thoughts. Didn't you know- - George Monbiot - Opinion - The Guardian

By abetting the ad industry, universities are leading us into temptation, when they should be enlightening us

... ... ...

I ask because, while considering the frenzy of consumerism that rises beyond its usual planet-trashing levels at this time of year, I recently stumbled across a paper that astonished me . It was written by academics at public universities in the Netherlands and the US. Their purpose seemed to me starkly at odds with the public interest. They sought to identify "the different ways in which consumers resist advertising, and the tactics that can be used to counter or avoid such resistance".

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Among the "neutralising" techniques it highlighted were "disguising the persuasive intent of the message"; distracting our attention by using confusing phrases that make it harder to focus on the advertiser's intentions; and "using cognitive depletion as a tactic for reducing consumers' ability to contest messages". This means hitting us with enough advertisements to exhaust our mental resources, breaking down our capacity to think.

Intrigued, I started looking for other academic papers on the same theme, and found an entire literature. There were articles on every imaginable aspect of resistance, and helpful tips on overcoming it. For example, I came across a paper that counsels advertisers on how to rebuild public trust when the celebrity they work with gets into trouble. Rather than dumping this lucrative asset, the researchers advised that the best means to enhance "the authentic persuasive appeal of a celebrity endorser" whose standing has slipped is to get them to display "a Duchenne smile", otherwise known as "a genuine smile". It precisely anatomised such smiles, showed how to spot them, and discussed the "construction" of sincerity and "genuineness": a magnificent exercise in inauthentic authenticity.

ss="rich-link tone-news--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling 'insecure' and 'worthless' Read more

Another paper considered how to persuade sceptical people to accept a company's corporate social responsibility claims, especially when these claims conflict with the company's overall objectives. (An obvious example is ExxonMobil's attempts to convince people that it is environmentally responsible, because it is researching algal fuels that could one day reduce CO2 – even as it continues to pump millions of barrels of fossil oil a day ). I hoped the paper would recommend that the best means of persuading people is for a company to change its practices. Instead, the authors' research showed how images and statements could be cleverly combined to "minimise stakeholder scepticism".

A further paper discussed advertisements that work by stimulating Fomo – fear of missing out . It noted that such ads work through "controlled motivation", which is "anathema to wellbeing". Fomo ads, the paper explained, tend to cause significant discomfort to those who notice them. It then went on to show how an improved understanding of people's responses "provides the opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of Fomo as a purchase trigger". One tactic it proposed is to keep stimulating the fear of missing out, during and after the decision to buy. This, it suggested, will make people more susceptible to further ads on the same lines.

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Yes, I know: I work in an industry that receives most of its income from advertising, so I am complicit in this too. But so are we all. Advertising – with its destructive impacts on the living planet, our peace of mind and our free will – sits at the heart of our growth-based economy. This gives us all the more reason to challenge it. Among the places in which the challenge should begin are universities, and the academic societies that are supposed to set and uphold ethical standards. If they cannot swim against the currents of constructed desire and constructed thought, who can?

• George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Dec 31, 2018] Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick even the IMF says so by Aditya Chakrabortty

Looks like Guardian start turning away from neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... What price is paid when a promise is broken? Because for much of my life, and probably yours, the political class has made this pledge: that the best way to run an economy is to hack back the public realm as far as possible and let the private sector run free. That way, services operate better, businesses get the resources they need, and our national finances are healthier. ..."
"... I don't wish to write about the everyday failings of neoliberalism – that piece would be filed before you could say "east coast mainline". Instead, I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary. ..."
"... The other big reason for the UK's financial precarity is its privatisation programme, described by the IMF as no less than a "fiscal illusion". British governments have flogged nearly everything in the cupboard, from airports to the Royal Mail – often at giveaway prices – to friends in the City. Such privatisations, judge the fund, "increase revenues and lower deficits but also reduce the government's asset holdings". ..."
"... IMF research shows is that the Westminster classes have been asset-stripping Britain for decades – and storing up financial trouble for future generations ..."
Oct 17, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The fund reports that Britain's finances are weaker than all other nations except Portugal, and says privatisation is to blame

Columnists usually proffer answers, but today I want to ask a question, a big one. What price is paid when a promise is broken? Because for much of my life, and probably yours, the political class has made this pledge: that the best way to run an economy is to hack back the public realm as far as possible and let the private sector run free. That way, services operate better, businesses get the resources they need, and our national finances are healthier.

It's why your tax credits keep dropping , and your mum has to wait half a year to see a hospital consultant – because David Cameron slashed public spending, to stop it "crowding out" private money. It's why water bills are so high and train services can never be counted on – because both industries have been privatised.

We let finance rip and flogged our assets. Austerity was bound to follow Will Hutton

From the debacle of universal credit to the forced conversion of state schools into corporate-run academies, the ideology of the small state – defined by no less a body than the International Monetary Fund as neoliberalism – is all pervasive. It decides how much money you have left at the end of the week and what kind of future your children will enjoy, and it explains why your elderly relatives can't get a decent carer.

I don't wish to write about the everyday failings of neoliberalism – that piece would be filed before you could say "east coast mainline". Instead, I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary.

Let's start with the IMF itself. Last week it published a report that barely got a mention from the BBC or in Westminster, yet helps reframe the entire debate over austerity. The fund totted up both the public debt and the publicly owned assets of 31 countries, from the US to Australia, Finland to France, and found that the UK had among the weakest public finances of the lot. With less than £3 trillion of assets against £5tn in pensions and other liabilities, the UK is more than £2tn in the red . Of all the other countries examined by researchers, including the Gambia and Kenya, only Portugal's finances look worse over the long run. So much for fixing the roof.

'British governments have flogged nearly everything in the cupboard from airports to the Royal Mail – often at giveaway prices – to friends in the City.' Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock

Almost as startling are the IMF's reasons for why Britain is in such a state: one way or another they all come back to neoliberalism. Thatcher loosed finance from its shackles and used our North Sea oil money to pay for swingeing tax cuts. The result is an overfinancialised economy and a government that is £1tn worse off since the banking crash. Norway has similar North Sea wealth and a far smaller population, but also a sovereign wealth fund. Its net worth has soared over the past decade.

The other big reason for the UK's financial precarity is its privatisation programme, described by the IMF as no less than a "fiscal illusion". British governments have flogged nearly everything in the cupboard, from airports to the Royal Mail – often at giveaway prices – to friends in the City. Such privatisations, judge the fund, "increase revenues and lower deficits but also reduce the government's asset holdings".

Throughout the austerity decade, ministers and economists have pushed for spending cuts by pointing to the size of the government's annual overdraft, or budget deficit. Yet there are two sides to a balance sheet, as all accountants know and this IMF work recognises. The same goes for our public realm: if Labour's John McDonnell gets into No 11 and renationalises the railways, that would cost tens of billions – but it would also leave the country with assets worth tens of billions that provided a regular income.

Instead, what this IMF research shows is that the Westminster classes have been asset-stripping Britain for decades – and storing up financial trouble for future generations.

Just look at housing to see the true cost of privatisation Dawn Foster

Privatisation and austerity have not only weakened the country's financial position – they have also handed unearned wealth to a select few. Just look at a new report from the University of Greenwich finding that water companies could have funded all their day-to-day running and their long-term investments out of the bills paid by customers. Instead of which, managers have lumbered the firms with £51bn of debt to pay for shareholders' dividends. Those borrowed billions, and the millions in interest, will be paid by you and me in our water bills. We might as well stuff the cash directly into the pockets of shareholders.

Instead of competitively run utilities, record investment by the private sector and sounder public finances, we have natural monopolies handed over to the wealthy, banks that can dump their liabilities on the public when things get tough, and an outsourcing industry that feasts upon the carcass of the public sector. As if all this weren't enough, neoliberal voices complain that we need to cut taxes and red tape, and further starve our public services.

This is a genuine scandal, but it requires us to recognise what neoliberalism promised and what it has failed to deliver. Some of the loudest critics of the ideology have completely misidentified it. Academics will daub the term "neoliberal" on any passing phenomenon. Fitbits are apparently neoliberal, as is Ben & Jerry's ice-cream and Kanye West. Pundits will say that neoliberalism is about markets and choice – tell that to any commuter wedged on a Southern rail train. And centrist politicians claim that the great failing of neoliberalism is its carelessness about identity and place, which is akin to complaining that the boy on a moped who snatched your smartphone is going too fast.

Let us get it straight. Neoliberalism has ripped you off and robbed you blind. The evidence of that is mounting up – in your bills, in your services and in the finances of your country.

• Aditya Chakrabortty is a Guardian columnist and senior economics commentator

[Dec 27, 2018] Spending cuts reduce demand in the economy, for every dollar spend by the govt at the lowest levels (welfare and essential services) around five to seven dollars of extra economic activity is generated.

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Paulare -> NeilofSydney , 3 Jun 2018 23:32

Spending cuts reduce demand in the economy, for every dollar spend by the govt at the lowest levels (welfare and essential services) around five to seven dollars of extra economic activity is generated.

This sustains demand in the economy, and despite what Scott Morrison thinks, demand is actually the thing that drives investment. Investment will not be made by businesses if there is no demand, no matter how low the tax on profits is.

If you continually cut govt spending you will dampen down economic activity and demand.

If you give tax breaks on profit to those who with a low propensity to spend locally (ie foreign investors and super wealthy) and then impose Austerity to "balance the books" then you will do a few things:

Profits in the short term will increase as there is a greater intensive to declare profits as the tax is lower;

The increased profit will be more than likely achieved by reducing investment and and not giving wage rises. Both are costs deducted before profit is calculated;

Investment in productive businesses will stall as demand falls as austerity measures kick in;

Investments in speculative / safe haven investments will increase (shares, Property, artworks etc); This will drive up speculative house prices and price out many ordinary people.

Wages will stagnate and start to fall in real terms; Demand will stagnate and fall.

Businesses will cut back on investment and wages.

Inequality will worsen; and

Social discontent rise.

The cut taxes and impose austerity mantra is the fatuous economic and social thinking we have come to expect from from the neo-cons.

IT MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER

It never was going to work long terms. Only the massive con job by the media and politicians made it seem even plausible.

If you want evidence of a con job by politicians you need look no further than the assumption made that "all government spending is worthless" made by scot Morrison and co. Even with this ridiculous assumption he was only able to get even one of five scenarios to give a 0.5% boost to GDP in ten years time.

If he actually subtracted any negative effect of cutting govt spending, even without any multiplier effect, then there was no scenario where the tax cuts made any sort of economic sense.

And of course the MSM which is owned by the super wealth elite, will only continue to put out pro neo-cons propaganda and ruthlessly degenerate any opposition viewpoint.

This is actually ironic as capitalism actually works best for all, including by the way the super wealthy, when governments continually redistribute wealth downwards.

Economic well-being is something that thrives very well with social well-being.

Capitalism will fail catastrophically if governments continue to redistribute wealth upwards.

Social dislocation is the probable outcome of the current ideological trajectory.

[Dec 27, 2018] The Rehabilitation of Robert Mueller by Kit Knightly

off-guardian.org

The "Resistance" -- the loose affiliation of liberals, progressives and neo-conservatives dedicated to opposing Donald Trump -- is NOT a grass-roots movement. They don't speak for the everyman or the poor or the oppressed. They are a distraction, nothing more. A parlor game. The face to Trump's heel .

The Resistance is the voice of the Deep State -- Pro-war, pro-globalisation, pro-Imperialism. It just hides its true face behind a mask of "progressive values". They prove this with their own actions -- opposing Trump's moves toward peace with North Korea and finding common ground with Russia.

In fact, though the resistance lives to criticize the Trump administration, they have been notably quiet -- even in favour of -- three key issues: The bombing of Syria, the tearing up of the INF treaty and the prosecution of Julian Assange.

They tell us, in clear voices, who they are and what they want and millions of people refuse to listen. So totally brain-washed by the "Orange Man Bad" hysteria, that they will side with anyone hitting the same talking points, spouting the right buzzwords, using the same hashtags.

This process has contrived to turn hard-line, inveterate warmongers into a pantheon of "liberal" heroes . John "bomb bomb Iran" McCain was mourned across the media as if he were a champion of civil rights, while Bill Kristol and his ilk are suddenly regular guests on notionally "liberal" channels .

and Robert Mueller receives a glowing write-up in the Guardian, being praised as "America's straightest arrow" .

The painful prose paints a blurry picture of Mueller. Slapping ounces of vaseline onto the lens of reality. It praises his hair and his clothes and his 35 dollar watch. It declares him a soldier "forged in combat", regaling us with tales of the bravery of Mueller's marine regiment -- "The Magnificent Bastards".

Vietnam is reduced to a movie set -- nothing but a backdrop for Mueller's courage under fire. He won a bronze star, you know. Apparently while "The Magnificent Bastards" strode around the Vietnamese jungle, burning villages down and watching the napalm fall from the sky, a couple of angry farmers shot back and Mueller was wounded.

Taking a bullet in the leg from a terrified peasant who just wants you to sod off out of his country will always win you medals, but it shouldn't.

Voluntarily signing on to enforce Imperial foreign policy in a war of conquest will always have the media paint you as a hero, but it shouldn't.

What flaws the author does ascribe to Mueller are those we all happily admit to having ourselves. He's a "micromanager" and he's "too tough".

Yes, and I'm sure he works himself too hard and doesn't suffer fools gladly and always speaks his mind aswell.

Read the column if you want, but I'd suggest not eating for a few hours first. A more nauseating panegyric I have not witnessed, at least since Barack Obama left office .

Far more telling than what it does say is what it does not say. It mentions Mueller's role as head of the FBI during the launch of the "war on terror", but doesn't go into any of the abuse of human rights that accompanied (and still accompanies) the increasingly authoritarian powers granted to US intelligence agencies by the Patriot Act.

Let's be clear: Mueller's FBI was complicit in rendition, torture, Gitmo. All of it.

Given that, it's rather unsurprising that the article doesn't mention the word "Iraq" once. A breath-taking omission, considering Mueller's testimony in front of congress played a key role in spreading the lie of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction":

https://www.youtube.com/embed/x0CfAh2PJ6k?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

It doesn't matter how many Vietnamese peasants took pot-shots at him, it doesn't matter how tidy his hair is, or how cheap his watch. It doesn't matter if he looks like Cooper or speaks like Eastwood or walks like Wayne. He is a proven liar -- a man culpable in the greatest crime of the 21st century. He is, and always will be, a servant of the Deep State.

A proven liar. A proven killer. An Imperialist. A criminal.

Is this the stuff of which political heroes should be made?

Only in "the Resistance".

Obviously, Trump's administration is dangerous -- it still stokes warlike approaches to Iran and Russia. It has directly threatened Venezuela and Cuba. But you can't fight the right-hand of the Deep State by clasping the left. They all join in the middle. They're the same monster.

Anti-Trumpers, all over the world, need to take a good look at WHO they're fighting alongside, and ask themselves WHAT they are fighting for.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.


systemicfraud Nov, 26, 2018

Mueller's FBI named their 9/11 investigation PENTTBOM=Pentagon Twin Towers Bombing
There were also numerous media accounts of explosives being used on 9/11–even ABC's John Miller
stated initial FBI feedback was that there were additional explosives used at WTC on 9/11.

Did FBI test for explosives?
What were the results?
If no tests were done–why the F not?
Why didn't media or Congress ever follow up and ask FBI about the explosions which were reported?

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

Yarkob Nov, 25, 2018

i was reading that puff-piece yesterday, thinking "i wonder how long off-g's response to this journalistic offal will be in coming" you haven't disappointed! Kit..sorry, i sound like a gushing fanboi. most people outside of america don't realise how deep statey Mueller really is. he's the Harvey Keitel character from pulp fiction. the mob cleanup guy

the Graun is particularly odious at the moment. today's leader is a blatant opinion piece where the "writer" is practically rubbing their hand on their thighs with glee, telling us how trump is facing a subpoena cannon from the dems. good too see they're using their newly re-minted political capital on the important business of running the country resistance my arse

Antonym Nov, 25, 2018

The same Mueller went after Iranians instead of Saudis for the Khobar bombing despite contrary evidence, and ignored Russia's warnings about future Boston bomber Tsarneav. He was also the biggest obstacle for Sept. 11 families who wanted to sue Saudi Arabia. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/robert-mueller-was-the-biggest-obstacle-for-sept-11-families-who-wanted-to-sue-saudi-arabia
A "good ol boy" in rogue CIA speak.

homeslicez Nov, 25, 2018

And with the anthrax investigation (which of course the Guardian doesn't mention), he's also a proven incompetent.

Have to say though–I'm looking forward to the day when this investigation is wrapped, the report comes out, and it's not at all what the Maddows wanted to hear. At that point Mueller will suddenly be a Russian agent himself; incompetent; compromised, and any/all other smears to explain why his investigation didn't find their irrational hysteria to be true.

Then maybe a few months later Trump will fire him and he'll be a hero again and get a Gofund to help this poor unemployed honorable soul.

Einstein Nov, 24, 2018

Wonder how the Grauniad will explain away the Skripal case when it's revealed that Mueller's Steele dossier was written by Skripal.
No wonder the British Deep State are panicking to prevent the publication of the documents ordered by the Orange One.

https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=89387340&comment_id=138778&origin=off-guardian.org&obj_id=89387340-138778-5c256efa22ddd

Paul Nov, 24, 2018

What documents has he ordered?

https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=89387340&comment_id=138780&origin=off-guardian.org&obj_id=89387340-138780-5c256efa2400a

Roberto Nov, 24, 2018

The ones specified in late September 2018.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-23/mi6-scrambling-stop-trump-releasing-classified-docs-russia-probe

USAma Bin Laden Nov, 24, 2018

The so-called anti-Trump Resistance(TM) plays the role of Good Cop to the Trump Regime's Bad Cop. Nothing more.

This is the nature of the political shell game that passes for American democracy, which in reality is an imperial plutocracy.

In all these Anglo imperialist nations in general like America, Britain, or Australia, there is only one true party: the party of Anglo American imperialism.

The anti-Trump "Resistance" is merely one faction of the Anglo-American Empire, which is in conflict with another faction of the Anglo-American Empire.

The supposed differences between them are similar to the differences between Coke and Pepsi, or McDonald's and Burger King.

Distinctions without a difference.

A pox on all their houses.

Gary Weglarz Nov, 24, 2018

("A proven liar. A proven killer. An Imperialist. A criminal.

Is this the stuff of which political heroes should be made?

Only in "the Resistance").

-- - ah, there you go again bringing in reason, a rational argument, the historical record, common sense, and in short objective – "reality" – into the equation. Of course if you are using these sort of criteria Mueller isn't going to look so good. You have to understand that the "Resistance" is, well, more of a "feeling" than anything rational or intellectually defensible.and valorizing Muller certainly isn't based on his "real-world" behavior. Simply put, Muller stands in opposition to Trump and that "feels" right to the "resistance." You know, just like it "feels right" to this same segment of the U.S. population not to let themselves think about the fact that Obama was illegally and immorally bombing 8 Muslim countries as he left office.

Of course in the end Mueller as "hero" of the "resistance" is simply the deep state's slight of hand PR campaign to oppose Trump as the impossibly and unacceptably "bad face" for U.S. empire that he is.
I mean how are Merkel or Macron or May supposed to rally their even half-awake citizenry into dutifully following our tweet crazed endlessly offensive "Orange One" into the next all important battle against the newest deep state defined "Hitler" in Iran, or Syria, or . . . while maintaining any credibility with their own populations?

Paul Nov, 24, 2018

It's astonishing how many self professed 'Progressives' swallow the Resistance line. There certainly is a war within the Administration, Dark State v the President. The latest episode seems to have centred around cutting off the legs of Trump's big partner in the ME and his son in law's close friend, Crown Prince bin Salman. What promoted Turkey to release the information they had on the murder in Istanbul? We can be satisfied it wasn't borne out of humanitarianism! Were they acting in lock step with the American Agencies like the CIA that now tells Turkey it has intercepts 'proving' the Crown Prince ordered the killing? The 'bloodless' Regime Change that is underway aims to remove an arrogant and reckless not to say bloodthirsty man from Absolute Power, a position he might have held for 50 years or more. No wonder Erdoghan would like to see him sidelined. 50 years of Absolute Power in one of the richest countries on earth is an awful lot of time! For the Americans it is a case of seizing control of Foreign Policy in the ME from Trump who keeps talking about 'getting out' of Syria: the Military and the Agencies regard that as not in American interests; they intend to stay and control the vast oil wells in the NE. But it requires agreement with Turkey so who knows what the Agencies promise Turkey in return? It sounds like a deal dividing northern Syria between the Turks and the Americans; no room for the Kurds (again). It's the most serious blow to Trump's authority akin to the time the American military disobeyed Obama over the cease fire with Russia in Syria when instead they 'accidently' bombed Syrian soldiers, killing 80 of them. President's it seems are not allowed their own Foreign Policy and in reality that has been the case since the CIA was founded. Only Kennedy seriously tried to break away

[Dec 27, 2018] 'Trickle down effect' and pub test

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Phoroneus57 , 3 Jun 2018 23:03

'Trickle down effect' - the favourite buzzword of neoliberal supporters. I'd like to see trickle down effect tried at the local pub on the taps by the local mp. Imagine what would happen. Definitely doesn't pass the pub test.

[Dec 27, 2018] Dumping On The Donald

Dec 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Dumping On The Donald

by Tyler Durden Tue, 12/25/2018 - 15:00 41 SHARES Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth,

I still had some things I didn't talk about in Sunday's Trump Derangement International , about how the European press have found out that they, like the US MSM, can get lots of viewers and readers simply by publishing negative stories about Donald Trump. The US president is an attention magnet, as long as you only write things about him designed to make him look bad.

The Guardian is only too happy to comply. They ran a whole series of articles on Sunday to do juts that: try to make Trump look bad. Note that the Guardian editorial team that okayed the articles is the same as the one that allowed the fake Assange/Manafort one , so their credibility is already shot to pieces. It's the magic triangle of today's media profits: spout non-stop allegations against Russia, Trump and Julian Assange, and link them when and where you can. It doesn't matter if what you say is true or not.

Anyway, all the following is from the Guardian, all on December 23. First off, Adam Gabbatt in New York, who has painstakingly researched how Trump's businesses, like Trump Tower and the Trump store, don't appear to have sufficiently (as per him) switched from Happy Holidays to Merry Christmas. Sherlock Holmes would have been proud. A smash hit there Adam, bring out the handcuffs.

Trump's 'Merry Christmas' Pledge Fails To Manifest

During Donald Trump's presidential campaign he talked often about his determination to win one particular war. A war that had been raging for years, he said. Specifically: the war on Christmas. But despite Trump's repeated claims that "people are saying Merry Christmas again" instead of the more inclusive "happy holidays", there are several places where the Christmas greeting is absent: Trump's own businesses.

The Trump Store, for example. Instead of a Christmas gift guide – which surely would be more in keeping with the president's stated desire for the phrase to be used – the store offers a holiday gift guide. "Shop our Holiday Gift Guide and find the perfect present for the enthusiast on your list," the online store urges. "Carefully curated to celebrate the most wonderful time of year with truly unique gifts found only at Trump Store. Add a bow on top with our custom gift wrapping. Happy Holiday's!"

The use of the phrase "Happy Holiday's" [sic] in Trump marketing would seem particularly egregious. The long-standing "War-on-Christmas" complaint from the political right is that stores use the phrase "Happy Holidays", rather than specifically mentioning the Christian celebration. It is offered as both an example of political correctness gone mad, and as an effort to erase Christianity from the US.

It's just, I think that if Trump had personally interfered to make sure there were Merry Christmas messages all around, you would have remarked that as president, he's not allowed to be personally involved in his businesses. But yeah, you know, just to keep the negativity going, it works, no matter how fluffy and hollow.

Second, still on December 23, is Tom McCarthy for the Guardian in New York, who talks about Robert Mueller's phenomenal successes. Mueller charged 34 people so far. In a case that involves "this complexity which has international implications, aspects relying on the intelligence community, complicated cyber components". It really says that.

And yes, that's how many people view this. What do they care that Mueller's original mandate was to prove collusion between the Trump campaign and 'Russians', and that he has not proven any collusion at all so far, not even with 34 people charged? What do they care? It looks like Trump is guilty of something, anything, after all, and that's all the circus wants.

Robert Mueller Has Enjoyed A Year Of Successes 2019 Could Be Even Stronger

One measure of special counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutorial success in 2018 is the list of former top Donald Trump aides brought to justice: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, a jury convicted Paul Manafort, a judge berated Michael Flynn. Another measure is the tally of new defendants that Mueller's team charged (34), the number of new guilty pleas he netted (five) and the amount of money he clawed back through tax fraud cases ($48m).

Yet another measure might judge Mueller's pace compared with previous independent prosecutors. "I would refer to it as a lightning pace," said Barb McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former US attorney. "In a case of this complexity which has international implications, aspects relying on the intelligence community, complicated cyber components – to indict that many people that quickly is really impressive work."

But there's perhaps a more powerful way to measure Mueller's progress in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and links between Moscow and the Trump campaign; that's by noticing how the targets of his investigation have changed their postures over the course of 2018, from defiance to docility – or in the case of Trump himself, from defiance to extreme, hyperventilating defiance.

In reality, you would be at least as correct if you would claim that Robert Mueller's investigation has been an abject failure. Not one iota of collusion has been proven after 20 months and $20 million in funds have been used. And any serious investigation of Washington's culture of fixers and lobbyists would land at least 34 people who have committed acts that border on or over illegality. And in a matter of weeks, for a few hundred bucks.

Third, still on December 23, is Julian Borger in Washington, who's been elected to convey the image of chaos. Trump Unleashed, says our modern day Shakespeare. With Jim Mad Dog Mattis characterized as ".. the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration".. . Again, it really says that.

Because woe the man who tries to bring US troops home, or even promises to do so a few days before Christmas. For pulling out America's finest, Donald Trump is being portrayed as something eerily close to the antichrist. That truly is the world on its head. Bringing troops home to their families equals chaos.

Look, guys, if Trump has been guilty of criminal behavior, the US justice system should be able to find that out and convict him for it. But that's not what this is about anymore. A million articles have been written, like these ones in the Guardian, with the sole intention, evidence being scarce to non-existent, of smearing him to the extent that people see every subsequent article in the light of a man having previously been smeared.

Chaos At Home, Fear Abroad: Trump Unleashed Puts Western World On Edge

The US stumbled into the holiday season with a sense of unravelling, as a large chunk of the federal government ground to a halt, the stock market crashed and the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration announced he could no longer work with the president. The defense secretary, James Mattis, handed in his resignation on Thursday, over Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull US troops out of Syria.

On Saturday another senior official joined the White House exodus. Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isis and the US official closest to America's Kurdish allies in the region, was reported to have handed in his resignation on Friday. That night, senators flew back to Washington from as far away as Hawaii for emergency talks aimed at finding a compromise on Trump's demand for nearly $6bn for a wall on the southern border, a campaign promise which has become an obsession.

Now look at the next headline, December 23, Graeme Wearden, Guardian, and ask yourself if it's really Trump saying he doesn't agree with the rate hikes that fuels the fears, or whether it's the hikes themselves. And also ask yourself: when Trump and Mnuchin both deny reports of Trump firing Powell, why do journalists keep saying the opposite? Because they want to fuel some fears?

From where I'm sitting, it looks perfectly logical that Trump says he doesn't think Powell's decisions are good for the US economy. And it doesn't matter which one of the two turns out to be right: Trump isn't the only person who disagrees with the Fed hikes.

The main suspect for 2019 market turmoil is the inevitable fallout from the Fed's QE under Bernanke and Yellen. And there is something to be said for Powell trying to normalize rates, but there's no doubt that may hasten, if not cause, turmoil. Blaming it on Trump not agreeing with Jay Powell is pretty much as left field as it gets.

White House Attacks On Fed Chair Fuel Fears Of Market Turmoil In 2019

Over the weekend, a flurry of reports claimed Donald Trump had discussed the possibility of firing the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell. Such an unprecedented move would trigger further instability in the markets, which have already had their worst year since the 2008 crisis. US officials scrambled to deny Trump had suggested ousting Powell, who was appointed by the president barely a year ago.

The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, tweeted that he had spoken to the president, who insisted he "never suggested firing" Powell, and did not believe he had the right to do this . However, Trump also declared – via Mnuchin – that he "totally disagrees" with the Fed's "absolutely terrible" policy of raising interest rates and unwinding its bond-buying stimulus programme, piling further pressure on the US's independent central bank.

And now, in the only article in the Guardian series that's December 24, not 23, by Victoria Bekiempis and agencies, the plunging numbers in the stock markets are Trump's fault, too.

Trump 'Plunging Us Into Chaos', Democrats Say, As Markets Tank And Shutdown Persists

Top Democrats have accused Donald Trump of "plunging the country into chaos" as top officials met to discuss a growing rout in stock markets caused in part by the president's persistent attacks on the Federal Reserve and a government shutdown. "It's Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos," the two top Democrats in Congress, House speaker nominee Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, wrote in a joint statement on Monday. "The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the Secretary of Defense."

Trump criticized the Federal Reserve on Monday, describing it as the "only problem" for the US economy, even as top officials convened the "plunge protection team" forged after the 1987 crash to discuss the growing rout in stock markets. The crisis call on Monday between US financial regulators and the US treasury department failed to assure markets, and stocks fell again amid concern about slowing economic growth, the continuing government shutdown, and reports that Trump had discussed firing Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

The last one is from one Jonathan Jones, again December 23, again for the Guardian. And it takes the top award in the narrative building contest.

Again, the Guardian editorial team that okayed this article is still the same as the one that allowed the fake Assange/Manafort one, an editorial team that sees no problem in making things up in order to smear people. To portray Trump, Assange and anyone who's had the misfortune of being born in Russia as suspicious if not outright criminal.

But look at what Jones has to say, and what Guardian editor-in-chief Kathy Viner and her ilk allowed and pressured him to say. He wants to have a say in how Trump should dress (seasonal knitwear), he evokes the image of Nazi architect Albert Speer for no reason at all, and then it's a matter of mere inches until you arrive at Trump as a king, an emperor, an inner tyrant.

"He's in a tuxedo!", Like that's a bad thing for Christmas. "She's in white!". Oh dear, call the pope. If both Trumps would have put on Christmas sweaters in front of a fire, the writer would have found something negative in that.

Trump Portrait: You Couldn't Create A Creepier Yuletide Scene If You Tried

The absence of intimacy in the Trumps' official Christmas portrait freezes the heart. Can it be that hard to create a cosy image of the presidential couple, perhaps in front of a roaring hearth, maybe in seasonal knitwear? Or is this quasi-dictatorial image exactly what the president wants to project? Look on my Christmas trees, ye mighty, and despair! If so, it fuels suspicions that it is only the checks and balances of a 230-year-old constitution that are keeping America from the darkest of political fates. You couldn't create a creepier Yuletide scene if you tried. Multiple Christmas trees are currently a status symbol for the wealthy, but this picture shows the risks.

Instead of a homely symbol of midwinter cheer, these disciplined arboreal ranks with their uniform decorations are arrayed like massed soldiers or colossal columns designed by Albert Speer. The setting is the Cross Hall in the White House and, while the incumbent president cannot be held responsible for its architecture, why heighten its severity with such rigid, heartless seasonal trappings? Everything here communicates cold, empty magnificence. Tree lights that are as frigid as icicles are mirrored in a cold polished floor. Equally frosty illuminations are projected on the ceiling. Instead of twinkling fairy magic, this lifeless lighting creates a sterile, inhuman atmosphere.

You can't imagine kids playing among these trees or any conceivable fun being had by anyone. It suggests the micromanaged, corporate Christmas of a Citizen Kane who has long since lost touch with the ordinary, warm pleasures of real life. In the centre of this disturbing piece of conceptual art stand Donald and Melania Trump. He's in a tuxedo, she's wearing white – and not a woolly hat in sight. Their formal smartness adds to the emotional numbness of the scene. Trump's shark-like grin has nothing generous or friendly about it. He seems to want to show off his beautiful wife and his fantastic home rather than any of the cuddly holiday spirit a conventional politician might strive to share at this time.

It begs a question: how can a man who so glaringly lacks anything like a common touch be such a successful "populist"? What can a midwestern voter find in this image to connect with? Perhaps that's the point. After more than two centuries of democracy, Trump is offering the US people a king, or emperor. In this picture, he gives full vent to his inner tyrant. If this portrait contains any truth about the state of America and the world, may Santa help us all.

I realize that you may be tired of the whole story. I realize you may have been caught in the anti-Trump narrative. And I am by no means a Trump fan. But I will keep on dragging you back to this. Because the discussion should not be based on a handful of media moguls not liking Trump. It should not be based on innuendo and smear. If Trump is to be convicted, it must be on evidence.

And there is no such evidence. Robert Mueller has charged 34 people, but none with what his mandate was based on, none with Russia collusion. This means that the American political system, and democracy itself, is under severe threat by the very media that are supposed to be its gate keepers.

None of this is about Trump, or about whether you like him or not, or even if he's a shady character or not. Instead, it's about the influence the media have on how our opinions and ideas about people and events are being shaped on a daily basis.

And once you acknowledge that your opinions of Trump, Putin et al, even without any proof of a connection between them, are actively being molded by the press you expect to inform you about the truth behind what goes on, you will have to acknowledge, too, that you are a captive of forces that use your gullibility to make a profit off you.

If our media need to make up things all the time about who's guilty of what, because our justice systems are incapable of that, then we have a problem so enormous we may not be able to overcome it in our present settings.

Alternatively, if we trust our justice systems to deliver true justice, we don't need a hundred articles a day to tell us how Trump or Putin are such terrible threats to our world. Our judges will tell us, not our journalists or media who are only in it for a profit.

I can say: "let's start off 2019 trying to leave prejudice behind", and as much as that is needed and you may agree with me, it's no use if you don't realize to what extent your views of the world have been shaped by prejudice.

I see people reacting to the star writer at Der Spiegel who wrote a lot about Trump, being exposed as a fraud. I also see people trying to defend Julian Assange from the Guardian article about his alleged meetings with Paul Manafort, that was an obvious big fat lie (the truth is Manafort talked to Ecuador to help them 'sell' Assange to the US).

But reacting to the very obvious stuff is not enough . The echo chamber distorts the truth about Trump every single day, and at least six times on Sunda y, as this essay of mine shows. It's just that after two years of this going on 24/7, it is perceived as the normal.

Everyone makes money dumping on the Donald, it's a proven success formula, so why would the Guardian and Der Spiegel stay behind? They'd only hurt their own bottom line.

It has nothing to do with journalism, though, or news. It's smear and dirt, the business model of the National Enquirer. That's how far our once truthful media have fallen.

dcmbuffy , 18 minutes ago link

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." Shakespeare Henry IV

like trump said- "no-one said it would be easy."

uhland62 , 54 minutes ago link

All these journalists are influenced and manipulated by 'Australian-American Leadership Dialogue', 'Atlantikbrücke', Open Society Foundation money etc. Wars boost the NYSE because many weapons manufacturers are listed there.

If the journalists weren't manipulated all 2018 compilations would not have omitted the World Cup in Russia.

[Dec 27, 2018] The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views. The only thing that they understand is money and they work for to further the concentration of wealth.

Notable quotes:
"... Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous. ..."
"... Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. ..."
Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

PossumBilly , 3 Jun 2018 23:25

This message is clear and concise. It is however never going to be heard beyond the 'Guardian'.

The MSM are hardly going to publish this article, nor are they going to reference it, why should they? It goes against everything they have been fighting for and the tin ear of their readership are unwilling to change teir views.

The only thing that they understand is money and the concentration of wealth. This misonception as Dennis So far this has been handed to them on a plate, the taxation system has enabled them to manipulate an multiply their earnings. So much of money the has nothing to do with adding value to this countries economy but is speculative in nature based on financial and overseas instruments.

No is the time for our government to take the lead and start as the Victorian ALP have done and invest in people and jobs on the back of strategic investment. It is a fallacy that governments don't create jobs they, through their policies do just that.

Friends of mine who make a living out of dealing both in stock and wealth creating schemes have no loyalty to this country, they are self motivated and libertarian in persuasion. "Government should get out of the way!" This is nothing short of scandalous.

Unless we stand up for our rights and a civil society that provides adequate provision for fair and balanced policy making,xwe will continue until we will see an implosion. History is littered with examples of revolution based on the kind of inequality we are seeing happen in this country. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

[Dec 27, 2018] All talk about "small government" and "slashing red tape" it is NeeSpeak for small government and NO red tape for the rich

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MajorMalaise , 3 Jun 2018 23:44

A couple of thoughts - in no particular order.

When governments like the LNP (driven as it is by its ideology of greed, the IPA manifesto and Gina Rinehart's idea of what Australia should look like [and how little she should pay to pillage "communally owned" assets to enrich herself beyond imagination - she has no greater claim over the Pilbara than any other Australian, but like all who live by the ethos of greed, she thinks she should get it all for nothing]).

When the LNP talk about "small government" and "slashing red tape" it is politician-speak for small government and NO red tape for the rich. What it also means is much more government and red tape for the poor and vulnerable - as we would expect, the rich and powerful, who really dictate economic and social policy in this country enlist willing governments to enact measures that suppress the lower classes. It is not quite calling out the military (as Hawke did during the pilot's strike at the insistence of the corpulent Ables - one act for which I will always despise Hawke), but it has the same result by more surreptitious, lasting and egregious means.

And one of the lasting legacies of the philosophies of neo-liberalism, from which the Hanson's of the world "suck their oxygen" is that the political and corporate dialogue of the last 30 or so years has pushed the notion of self-entitlement and vilification of the poor and vulnerable further down the economic ladder. So now, we have countless Australians on reasonable incomes who, like the rich, are convinced that all of our social and economic ills can be rectified if we stop giving handouts to the bludgers, the malingerers, the disabled and the indigenous - the neo-liberal rhetoric is now so widespread that it is easier than ever for the vulnerable to be attacked and for many, that is seen as absolutely necessary. It is the false US-sourced notion that if you are poor, it is because you deserve to be and if I am rich - it isn't luck or inheritance - it is because I deserve it. This world-view makes it so much easier to attack the vulnerable as receiving way to much to sit at home and bludge.

Want to forget the now disgraced CEO of Australia Post who bought a Sydney mansion for $22 million and now wants to sell it for $40 million - tax free I might add. He is entitled to that wealth enhancement. But someone on the dole smokes a spliff now and then and we think they should lose their entitlements to an income that doesn't even get them up to the poverty line (but they should be grateful for that pittance). Want to forget the CEO's who pretentiously do their "sleeping rough" for a night and proclaim their empathy for the homeless who would shriek at paying more tax to genuinely fund programmes to help the down and outs. No problem - just embrace the selfish and greedy neo-liberalism philosophy.

[Dec 27, 2018] Is it possible to wrench control of MSM out of hand on large corporations and intelligence agencies?

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RatioDecidend , 4 Jun 2018 01:33

This article is excellent and well overdue. All we need to do now is to wrench control of our mainstream media out of the hands of Corporate (foreign) control. We are being told to vote against ourselves in order for the few corporate elite to accrue massive wealth and power over us.

MEDIA laws need to be very strict with very, very severe financial penalties for bias and propaganda. Certainly remove this concept of self regulation whereby they sit on their own disciplinary boards. Raise the standards of our media and allow us to retrieve some semblance of our democracy.

Without media control, how would corporations be able to manipulate and propagandise the populace with their own vested interests.

That is why governments are doing corporate bidding and getting fascist style surveillance of its people, in order to counteract the ability of the people to gain knowledge through the internet and vote against corporate control of our democracy.... nothing to do with terrorism which was caused mostly by corporate foreign extraction of wealth through weapon sales; resource acquisition, etc.

Oops, got to go, hope that makes sense.

RatioDecidend -> Lawrie Griffith , 4 Jun 2018 00:51
It is back to control of our mainstream media by the very (foreign) corporations that are sucking out our wealth and putting nothing back.

Corporate media ia all powerful. They insidiously permeate the populace with corporate views of Australia's financial and economy; infrastructure and every aspect of social life from birth to euthanasia with racism and religion thrown in for good measure.

Should a politician have the audacity to act against their corporate interests, they do not last long, without exclusions - PMs Whitlam and Rudd being prime examples.

This current mob of gutless underachieving dinosaur neo con nutters in govt, are completely turning over Australia to these Corporate (foreign) parasites and our prospect is not looking good.

Within no time we will be a Corporatocracy (as is the USA) and along with that comes 1% owning 99% of the wealth; third world poverty; crime through the roof; drugs out of control; public health and education a joke; public services non existent; legal system in disarray and entrenched with bias and inequity.

[Dec 27, 2018] The big con how neoliberals convinced us there wasn't enough to go around by Richard Denniss

Notable quotes:
"... The political strategy behind these contradictions is simple: it is difficult to criticise government spending on health and education, or popular regulations like consumer protection and limits on executive pay. So why not just criticise all government spending and all ..."
Jun 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

After the mining boom and decades of economic growth, how can Australia be broke?

Gina Rinehart was becoming the world's richest woman those on the minimum wage were falling further and further behind

Australia just experienced one of the biggest mining booms in world history. But even at the peak of that boom, there was no talk of the wonderful opportunity we finally had to invest in world-class mental health or domestic violence crisis services.

Nor was there much talk from either major party about how the wealth of the mining boom gave us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in remote Indigenous communities. Nope, the peak of the mining boom was not the time to help those who had missed out in decades past, but the Howard government thought it was a great time to introduce permanent tax cuts for high-income earners. These, of course, are the tax cuts that caused the budget deficits we have today.

Millions of tonnes of explosives were used during the mining boom to build more than 100 new mines, but it wasn't just prime farmland that was blasted away in the boom, it was access to the middle class. At the same time that Gina Rinehart was becoming the world's richest woman on the back of rising iron ore prices, those on the minimum wage were falling further and further behind their fellow Australians.

https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/4148

Like Joe Hockey, Rinehart saw the problem of inequality as having more to do with the character of the poor than with the rules of the game: "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working."

Privatisation is deeply unpopular with voters. Here's how to end it | John Quiggin

Australia isn't poor; it is rich beyond the imagining of anyone living in the 1970s or 80s. But so much of that new wealth has been vacuumed up by a few, and so little of that new wealth has been paid in tax, that the public has been convinced that ours is a country struggling to pay its bills.

Convincing Australians that our nation is poor and that our governments "can't afford" to provide the level of services they provided in the past has not just helped to lower our expectations of our public services and infrastructure, it has helped to lower our expectations of democracy itself. A public school in Sydney has had to ban kids from running in the playground because it was so overcrowded. Trains have become so crowded at peak hours that many people, especially the frail and the disabled, are reluctant to use them. And those who have lost their jobs now wait for hours on the phone when they reach out to Centrelink for help.

Although people with low expectations are easier to con, fomenting cynicism about democracy comes at a long-term cost. Indeed, as the current crop of politicians is beginning to discover, people with low expectations feel they have nothing to lose.

As more and more people live with the poverty and job insecurity that flow directly from neoliberal welfare and industrial relations policies, the scare campaigns run so successfully by the likes of the Business Council of Australia have lost their sting. Scary stories about the economy become like car alarms: once they attracted attention, but now they simply annoy those forced to listen.

'If governments can't make a difference and all politicians are corrupt, why not vote for outsiders?

After decades of hearing conservative politicians say that government is the problem, a growing number of conservative voters no longer care which major party forms government. If governments can't make a difference and all politicians are corrupt, why not vote for outsiders like Jacqui Lambie or Clive Palmer? There is perhaps no clearer evidence of the short-termism of the Liberal and National parties today than their willingness to fan the flames of anti-politician rhetoric without considering that it is their own voters who are most likely to heed the message.

Back when he was leading the campaign against Australia becoming a republic, Tony Abbott famously argued that you couldn't trust politicians to choose our head of state. And more recently, in campaigning against marriage equality, Minister Matt Canavan was featured in a television advertisement laughing at the thought that we could trust politicians.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world

Convincing Australians that the country was broke also helped convince us that we have no choice but to sell the family silver. But of course we have a choice. Just as there is no right answer as to whether it's better to rent a home or buy one, there is no right answer to whether it's better for governments to own the electricity supply, the postal service or the water supply, or none of these things.

Different governments in different countries make different decisions at different points in time. While much of neoliberalism's rhetorical power comes from the assertion that "there is no alternative," the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. Indeed, even the so-called free marketeers in Australia can see alternatives.

Consider stadiums, for example. The NSW Liberal government has a long track record of being pro-privatisation. It has sold off billions of dollars' worth of electricity, water and health infrastructure. But when it comes to football stadiums, it has no ideological problem with public ownership, nor any fiscal inhibition about spending billions of taxpayers' dollars.

In 2016 the NSW Liberal government spent $220m buying back ANZ Stadium, built in the 1990s with taxpayer funds at a cost of $690m and subsequently sold to Stadium Australia Group. Having bought back the stadium, the NSW government plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars refurbishing it. That same money could build a lot of school science labs, domestic violence crisis centres or skate parks for the bored kids the shopping malls don't want scratching up their marble stairs. For the past 30 years, Australians have been told that we can't afford high-quality public services, that public ownership of assets is inefficient, and that the pursuit of free markets through deregulation would create wealth and prosperity for all. But none of this is true.

While the policy agenda of neoliberalism has never been broadly applied in Australia, for 30 years the language of neoliberalism has been applied to everything from environmental protection to care of the disabled. The result of the partial application of policy and the broad application of language is not just a yawning gap between those with the greatest wealth and those with the greatest need, but a country that is now riven by demographic, geographic and racial divides.

Cutting the budget deficit is very important – except when it isn't

Australian politics isn't about ideology, it's about interests. The clearest proof of that claim is that neoliberal ideas such as deregulation were never aimed at powerful interest groups like the pharmacists or the gambling industry. And savage spending cuts were never aimed at subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry or private health insurers.

Tony Abbott, who claimed to have a philosophical problem with carbon taxing, once proposed a 20% increase in the tobacco excise

Just as conservative Christian theology provides an excuse for sexism and homophobia, neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests – systematically cutting spending on their enemies and giving money to their friends. Here are some examples:

John Howard said he was obsessed with deregulating the labour market, but introduced 762 pages of labour-market regulation, which he entitled WorkChoices. He didn't deregulate the labour market; he re-regulated it in his preferred form. He knew that government decisions matter. Similarly, the Abbott government declared it was waging a war on red tape, yet the Turnbull government is determined to pass new laws restricting unions and NGOs. If there is one thing that neoliberals really seem to believe, it is that reducing the budget deficit is very, very important. Except when it isn't. The political and business leaders who said we needed to slash welfare spending because we had a "budget emergency" are currently advocating a $65bn tax cut for business – even though the deficit is bigger now than it was at the time of the alleged emergency. The Productivity Commission and state treasuries spent years advocating the deregulation and privatisation of the electricity industry – and succeeded in creating a "free market" system governed by 5,000 pages of electricity market rules. Electricity is too dangerous and too important to be deregulated, and those pushing for deregulation always knew that. They didn't want a free market; they simply wanted a market, one in which the government played a smaller role and the private sector made large profits selling an essential service for much higher prices than the government ever charged. The NSW government requires NGOs and disability service providers to compete with each other but, when it sold Port Botany and the Port of Newcastle, it structured the sales to ensure that Newcastle could not compete with Port Botany for the landing of the millions of containers that arrive by ship each year. While "competition policy" is applied to the vulnerable, those buying billion-dollar assets are protected from those same forces of competition.

To be clear, there has been no obsession among the political elite with the neoliberal goals of reducing government spending, regulation or tax collection in Australia over the past three decades. None. They didn't mean a word of it. While there may have been economists, commentators and even business leaders who sincerely believed in those goals, it is clear from their actions, as distinct from their words, that John Howard, Tony Abbott and even the former head of the Business Council of Australia Tony Shepherd, the man tasked with running Abbott's National Commission of Audit, had no principled objection to spending large amounts of public money on things they liked spending large amounts of public money on. Indeed, in his speakers' agency profile, Tony Shepherd brags about his ability to get public money for private ventures:

It is no mean feat to convince governments to support private sector proposals, but as former prime minister, the honourable Paul Keating, said, "Tony managed to get more money out of my government than any other person I can recall."

Hundreds of new pages of regulation now govern the conduct of charities. Billions of taxpayers' dollars have been spent by "small government" politicians on everything from television ads for innovation to subsidies for marriage counselling. And Tony Abbott, who claimed to have a philosophical problem with carbon taxing, once proposed a 20% increase in the tobacco excise.

The political strategy behind these contradictions is simple: it is difficult to criticise government spending on health and education, or popular regulations like consumer protection and limits on executive pay. So why not just criticise all government spending and all red tape in general? Once you have convinced the public that all government spending is inefficient, you can set about cutting spending on your enemies and retaining it for your friends. And once you convince people that all regulation is bad, you can set about removing consumer protections while retaining the laws that protect the TV industry, the gambling industry, the pharmaceutical industry and all your other friends.

Cover of Dead Right by Richard Denniss, Quarterly Essay.

When powerful groups want subsidies, we are told they will create jobs. When powerless groups want better funding for domestic violence shelters or after-school reading groups, they are told of the need to reduce the budget deficit. When powerful groups demand new regulations, we are told it will provide business with certainty, but when powerless groups demand new regulations, they are told it will create sovereign risk.

Ideology has a bad name these days, but it simply means a "system of ideas and ideals." By that definition, it is possible to think of neoliberalism as an ideology focused on the idea that market forces are superior to government decision-making. But while large segments of Australian politics and business have draped themselves, and their policy preferences, in the cloak of neoliberal ideas and ideals, in reality to call them "ideologues" is to flatter them. They lack the consistency and strength of principle to warrant the title.

This is an edited extract of Richard Denniss's Quarterly Essay 70, Dead Right: How Neoliberalism Ate Itself and What Comes Next , $22.99

[Dec 27, 2018] Neoliberalism has caused 'misery and division', Bernie Fraser says

Dec 27, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Former RBA governor says Coalition pursues low-tax road to jobs and growth despite lack of evidence to support it

Paul Karp and Gareth Hutchens

Tue 16 Oct 2018 13.00 EDT Last modified on Tue 16 Oct 2018 19.11 EDT Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email This article is over 2 months old Australian economic growth has been a 'standout' says Bernie Fraser, but too many have missed the benefits. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/EPA Neoliberalism has caused "misery and social polarisation" yet remains in vogue with the Coalition government, according to the economist Bernie Fraser.

The former Treasury secretary and Reserve Bank governor has made the comments in a presentation circulated to participants of the Australia Institute's revenue summit to be held in Canberra on Wednesday.

Michael Keating, a former secretary to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, will also use the summit to raise doubts about the Morrison government's budget forecasts.

Australia's housing boom is not heading for a soft landing. How did we get here? | Greg Jericho Read more

In the background notes for Fraser's speech, seen by Guardian Australia, he says that Australia's 27 consecutive years of economic growth is a "standout", "Winx-like" performance.

But the record deserves only "qualified applause" because "too many Australians remain unemployed, under-employed, underskilled, underpaid and lack job security".

Fraser warns that society has become "less fair, less compassionate and more divided" and "more devoid of trust in almost every field of human activity" in the past 20 years.

"As a disinterested player in climate change negotiations and a miserable foreign aid donor, we have slipped well down the list of good global citizens."

Political ideologies appear to have contributed to inequality and disadvantage in Australia in that time, he argues.

Fraser in large part blames "neoliberalism" and its influence on policymaking for the "disconnect between Australia's impressive economic growth story and its failure on so many markers to show progress towards a better, fairer society".

"Favouring the market system ahead of the state system, and individual interests ahead of community interests, can lead to profoundly unfair social outcomes.

More than three million Australians living in poverty, Acoss report reveals Read more

"Those unable to afford access to decent standards of housing, healthcare, and other essential services have to settle for inferior arrangements, or go without."

Fraser says charitable organisations see the effects of "real poverty" that result in "misery, anxiety and loss of self-esteem of mothers unable to put food on the table for their kids, of old and young homeless people, and the victims of domestic violence and drug overdoses".

Fraser summarises the key thrusts of neoliberalism as "the pursuit of the lowest possible rates of income and most other taxes and the maximum restraint on government interventions and spending programs".

Evidence in Australia and overseas shows the influence of neoliberalism on fiscal policy "and the misery and social polarisation that has come with it", he says.

The global financial crisis "should have" marked a tipping point, when the "idealised view of financial markets being self-regulating" was shattered. While Australia "avoided the worst traumas of the GFC" with prompt fiscal and monetary policy responses, in Europe "taxes were increased and spending programs slashed", resulting in a further five or six years of severe recession.

Fraser says that all political ideologies – taken to extremes – can be divisive and cause damage, including an ideology "based on a state system".

But the former Reserve Bank governor focuses on neoliberalism because it "remains in vogue". The Morrison government "continues to reaffirm its over-riding commitment to lower taxation, and to assert that this is the best way to increase investment, jobs and economic growth" - despite the lack of evidence to support the theory .

Although Fraser recognises that politics never can or should be taken out of policymaking, he suggests the best course is to "hammer away" at flaws of particular approaches.

For example, Fraser praises "the avoidance of costly tax cuts accruing to large corporations" as a positive development – referring to the Turnbull government abandoning the big business component of its $50bn 10-year company tax cut plan.

He suggests the "quick done-deal" of Labor signing up to the Coalition's proposed acceleration of the cut to taxes on small and medium business was an example that "political interests are always lurking nearby".

In a separate presentation Keating – who headed PM&C from 1991 to 1996 – warns the government's promise to cap expenditure while simultaneously cutting taxes and returning the budget to surplus is based on overly optimistic assumptions of growth in GDP, wages and productivity.

Why are stock markets falling and how far will they go? Read more

According to Keating, the government must stop assuming there have been no structural changes in the relationship between unemployment and the rate of wage increases.

He notes that predictions of a tightening labour market leading to higher wages are predicated on assumptions of growth averaging 3% or as much as 3.5%.

He will also say a sustained return to past rates of economic growth will be impossible unless we can ensure a reasonably equitable distribution of income, involving a faster rate of wage increases, especially for the low-paid.

[Dec 27, 2018] Nationalism can be a good thing. We have to make the case for it Discussion The Guardian

Dec 27, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Eric Kaufmann, professor of politics at Birkbeck, has a forthcoming book, Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities . He argues that what I would call "bad nationalism" – the global surge in rightwing populism – is driven by large-scale immigration, and the threat it poses to the cultural identity of the ethnic majority. Some people fear change; they prefer the monocultural landscape in which they grew up, and visible changes to it threaten their sense of belonging and security. Certain attitudes are, if not hereditary, baked in to the point where they may as well be.

He supports this view with plentiful survey data, a favourite nugget being that the way you answer the question, "Would you prefer your children to be well-mannered, or to be considerate?" is a major predictor of whether you'd vote for or against Trump and Brexit .

The question is a proxy for what the cognitive linguist George Lakoff calls the strict father (well-mannered) versus the nurturant family (considerate) model. These frames are the timeless and elemental organising principles for our political divisions – authoritarian versus pluralist, right versus left – all the way back to Christ the Warrior versus Christ the Saviour.

I believe people respond to authoritarian and pluralist arguments according to who's making them, how trenchantly they are made, and the economic, media and political environment around them. Austerity soil has always been notoriously fertile for authoritarian ideas. Yet Kaufmann dismisses any economic factor, saying that had there been one, 2008 would have seen an upturn in rightwing nationalism, not 2017. My view is that depressions take years, not months, to grind people down.


UnstableGenius -> KingOfNothing , 9 May 2018 15:20

To me the key questions are how are the key decisions made and by whom are they made?

Globalism (not globalization, mind you) is a process whereby decisionmaking gets shifted farther and farther from the people and democratic accountability is continually weakened - ironically often with the rationale that we need this to "compete with China".

As a result, national borders (and therefore cultures) become less and less important and institutions like central banks, the EU, the WTO, etc. become ever more powerful. What you call neoliberalism is an effect - not the cause - of this phenomenon, in my opinion.

By the way, I agree with you that there is hope - in fact I am more optimistic today than I have been for many years - although probably for very different reasons than you.

DavidPavett -> formerlefty , 9 May 2018 15:16
I am quite sure that for the time being the nation state is an essential form of political and economic organisation. So I accept the necessity of nations. I reject nationalist ideologies which at best are confused, like ZW's argument, and at worst are very nasty things indeed.

I was stunned by the modernity of Renan's speech when I read it. Glad to see that it is available online. Hope you read it.

KingOfNothing -> UnstableGenius , 9 May 2018 15:01
No, thats not the case.

Globalisation is the ability to move goods/finance/ideas/culture around the global at speeds unheard of - there is no way to alter this, so your definition is inexact by quite a margin.

What is happening is neoliberalism - the economic sytem which has hijacked Globalisation - is playing havoc across the world.

These are not one and the same thing. Nationalism is a reaction to neoliberailsm, and the way it is concentrating wealth in the hands of the few.

Take a look at places like Finland, Norway and other parts of Europe, where they have restrained neoliberalism and do not have the same levels of inequality as in the USA or the UK. Japan is the most equal developed nation in the world. We need to marry strong democratic structures (at national and global level) with globalisation at the expense of neo-liberalism, not in support of it.

In short, your view is depressing and misguided. There is hope.

UnstableGenius -> KingOfNothing , 9 May 2018 14:15
Globalism is a system where a cosmopolitan class of technocratic elites makes all the decisions after talking among themselves in well-appointed conference rooms to which common people are not given access (think of what goes on in Brussels or in the ECB tower every day).
Democracy is something else.
In my opinion the two are mutually incompatible.
TheVixen -> hflashman , 9 May 2018 09:32
Yes, I'm talking about both British and non-British Muslims. Here's the clarification you're looking for: ICM Research for Channel 4 found that more than 100,000 British Muslims sympathize with suicide bombers and people who commit other terrorist acts. Moreover, only one in three British Muslims (34%) would contact the police if they believed that somebody close to them had become involved with jihadists.

In addition, 23% of British Muslims said Islamic Sharia law should replace British law in areas with large Muslim populations.

On social issues, 52% of the Muslims surveyed said they believe homosexuality should be illegal, compared to 22% of non-Muslim Britons.

39% of Muslims surveyed believe women should always obey their husbands, compared to 5% for non-Muslims. One in three British Muslims refuse completely to condemn the stoning of women accused of adultery.

Admittedly, this ICM survey is from 2016 so the picture may have improved, but I think you'll agree, these attitudes are quite a long way from the enlightenment values mentioned.

DavidPavett -> brexitman , 9 May 2018 07:21
Open borders and nationalism are really different issues. One can recognise the need for borders and border controls without convincing oneself that the people within a given border line are therefore endowed with some common essence about which they can feel pride or shame.

The pity about this is that liberal writers like ZW nearly always start from zero on this issue as if there wasn't a whole mass of discussion of a very detailed kind that has already taken place. Thus I would say that Ernest Renan's speech to the Surbonne in the 1880s published as What is a Nation? (reprinted in Shloma Sand's book On the Nation and the 'Jewish People' ) is well in advance of ZW's musings.

DavidPavett , 9 May 2018 03:37
I am with Einstein on this. He was once asked if he regarded himself as a German or a Jew. He replied: "I look upon myself as a man. Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind".
DavidPavett -> DrDeYoung , 9 May 2018 03:26
I found ZW's suggestion that "you do not need to be proud of Oliver Cromwell in order to be proud of Jessica Ennis-Hill" both revealing and ridiculous. If one is going to pick a figure from English history not to be proud of why on earth would one choose Cromwell? And on what grounds exactly does ZW feel proud of JE-H?

The Cromwell reference leads to a further point. Can the English, on ZW's argument, take pride in the actions of Scots prior to the Act of Union? And can they take pride in the actions of the Irish from Northern but not Southern Ireland?

I would nuance what you say just a little. Our actions contribute to producing not only things but also people. A parent can feel justified pride in the actions of his/her children as can a teacher in the actions of his/her pupils. There can also be a justified sense of collective pride for people who have contributed to that collective. ZW is right about that. She gets into a muddle when she tries to project this collective pride backwards in time to things we could have had no part in.

ponkala , 9 May 2018 02:13
People can be proud of their country , there is nothing wrong with it ,but when a country consists of many ethnic groups and religions, identifying the country only with majority ethno linguistic or religious group can lead to discrimination , alienation and resentment . This has led to civil wars in many regions. Canada and Switzerland are some of the exceptions where federal system and equalities of ethno linguistic groups have strengthened their countries .I would call this good nationalism.
On the other hand, many countries in Asia and Africa are suffering from the conflicts due to persecution or discrimination inflicted upon minorities from the majoritarian governments.
Modi in India is using the nationalistic card, trying to give an impression that the country only belongs to Hindus and Hindi speakers. In reality, India is not even a country , it is a collection of nation states with many ethnic groups , languages and religions which were united during the British rule. It is more diverse than the whole of Europe .However Modi is keen to perpetuate the myth India is homogenous , this natinalistic ideology might risk formenting divisions and conflicts in the future.I would call it 'bad nationalism '
joylessnortherner , 9 May 2018 00:50
Aren't we looking for the word patriotism as opposed to nationalism here Mz. Williams? I've always cleaved to Orwell's definitions of patriotism and nationalism. Predictably, nationalism gets short shrift.....largely because nationalism is dim, divisive and utterly undigestible for the vast majority of a nation at ease with itself. This is why Moggo, Bojo, Foxy and Gove prefer nationalism.

[Dec 27, 2018] Neoliberalism mantra: The dog eat dog economy simply represents our nature, it's who we are, we thrive under libertarianism.

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Jas636 -> Friarbird , 4 Jun 2018 01:38

Why would I refute points that I agree with?

I'm not the one who has a problem with neo-liberalism, it's provided for me more than adequately. Having spent a lot of time living overseas, it's provided ALL Australians with a far better deal than a few billion others.

If you are too naive to see this, then maybe you need to try an alternative for a while. It's quite ok, i'll be waiting for when the alternative fails (they always do) and I can come back and pick off the assets from the carcus of that little experiment for less than a cent in the dollar.

The dog eat dog economy simply represents our nature, it's who we are, we thrive under libertarianism.

internationalist07 07 -> Jas636 , 4 Jun 2018 01:34
I think you mean Neo liberal utopia
Friarbird -> GoronwyPrice , 4 Jun 2018 01:31
Po-faced, Libertarian BOLLOCKS.
Privatisation is sucker-farming.
Milking the punters, like ants milk aphids.
Farming them, like bellbirds do with leaf-bugs.
And even THAT is only part of the equation.
The fondest goal, the one which gives the management class hard-ons ?
Privatisation de-unionises their workforces.
GreyBags -> Shiner01 , 4 Jun 2018 01:29
It is quite strange that the biggest supporters of neo-liberal economics with its belief that giving money to the rich will solve all our problems call themselves 'Christians'.

I can't remember when Jesus preached trickle down. I don't remember the bit where Jesus said to treat those seeking asylum and fleeing violence like they are the scum of the earth. I don't remember when Jesus said the poor needed a good kick in the guts while they are down to motivate them to work harder. I don't remember when Jesus said we should cut funds from the sick to balance the budget. I don't remember Jesus saying that if you bear false witness often enough then you will fool enough of the people enough to keep power so you can look after your corporate buddy buddies.

In fact, almost all of the politicians in the Coalition who proclaim to be 'Christian' must have their own secret bible because nothing I have heard from the New Testament justifies their actions.

Me, I'm an atheist and I have more care, consideration, ethics and compassion than the entire collection of right wing bible bashers sitting in parliament today.

Friarbird -> RobertJREYNOLDS , 4 Jun 2018 01:20
"......the scam that is neo-liberalism."

No throwaway line.
A 'farming the suckers' scam is all it ever was.
With a view to massive wealth transfer.

Hasn't it worked well ?

Ozponerised , 4 Jun 2018 01:19
Thanks for this. We need more of these articles pointing out the bullshit behind this story that the Coalition has been feeding the gullible peasantry with for over 30 years, sneering, smirking and sniggering as truckloads of public money goes to private corporations. The money received from selling off public assets has been shoved into private businesses who then feel very free to charge like bulls.
It's a shame so many folk still fall for this bullshit meaning that their own families, work colleagues and community get shafted through diminishing public services.
Mal_Function , 4 Jun 2018 01:16
Brother Can You Spare a Dime

They used to tell me I was building a dream
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
I was always there right on the job

They used to tell me I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle de dum
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al
It was Al all the time
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Songwriters: E. Y. Harburg / Jay Gorney
Brother Can You Spare a Dime lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Next Decade Entertainment, Inc, Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc.

prettygoody -> GoronwyPrice , 4 Jun 2018 01:11
'This is more or less the definition of increased productivity and it is what ultimately leads to improved living standards for everyone'

Lazy, neoliberal, supply-side economic guff. Neoliberals undermine government and democracy and then scavenge on the wreckage. When does 'ultimately' begin for 'everyone'? Never.

'Private companies provide the same service with much less labour'

Firing people is the answer? What a hardened realist you are. Must be great to be so certain in your neoliberal convictions. Are you really telling us that every privatisation has been a success?

These pieces of infrastructure have been built through generations of work and wise investment - they are not any one government's to sell. It's just easier for a corrupt, rudderless, feckless neoliberal shill to sell it than it is for them to to run it.

Friarbird -> ADamnSmith2016 , 4 Jun 2018 01:05
Can't even begin to address the characteristic Libertarian slyness in all that.
But I'll try.
"What you call neoliberalism was a set of responses to the failure of socialism or as Tony Blair said 'what matters is what works'."
Incorrect.
What I--what the world--calls "Neoliberalism', is the corpse of Classical economics, resurrected post-WW2 by Friedman and Hayek's 'Mont Pelerin Society. '
Why was it buried ?
Because during the Great Depression, its dogmatic insistence on continued austerity and wage cuts only made things worse.
After all, in an economic slump, whats the worst thing you can do ?
Deprive people of whatever little purchasing power they have.
So, goodbye Classical economics.
After which, govts SPENT their societies out of slump, putting people to work.
(O, the horror ! O, the heresy !)
The public works of that era include Germany's autobahns and the US New Deal projects, including the Tennessee Valley system and similar in Western States.
( O the horror ! O the heresy !)
Friedman, Hayek and the gang looked at those and post-WW2 programs of public benefit, such as the UK's NHS and shat themselves. Typical fear-driven conservatives, they were convinced such programs represented the thin end of the wedge which MUST end in imposition of Soviet-style conditions.
What utter paranoid crap.
Their resurrected corpse of Classical economics ?.
THAT is what is 'Neoliberalism'.
Whether or not I call it so is immaterial.
Then, this lofty bit of finger-wagging assertion;
"This process of economic evolution is necessarily imperfect and incomplete...."
Your Lordship's overview is appreciated...
"....but currently leaves you free to own a computer, read news on-line, communicate using the internet (maybe using NBN?) and express your views freely. "
Sez who ?
You ?
Besides, the only one talking about that old bogey, "socialism" is you.
Because its a conveniently perjorative label, eh ?
Pretty infantile, though.

"Anybody who doesn't agree with EVERYTHING I say, must be a 'socialist.' And they can't play with my toys."

PS 'Adam', why do LIbertarians always project a Superiority Complex ?
Why are the buggers always so PLEASED WITH THEMSELVES ?

Tasmanian Cryptik -> 20thCenturyFox , 4 Jun 2018 00:58
Socialise the losses, privatise the gains.
RatioDecidend -> Elizabeth Connor , 4 Jun 2018 00:55
intelligent comment. Due to corporate media indoctrinating propaganda it will take sometime for others to understand where the problem lies.
20thCenturyFox , 4 Jun 2018 00:41
Neoliberalism = Socialism for the Rich - Capitalism for the Poor.

Politics needs reform, plain & simple. Fed ICAC and Integrity Commission is a good start but it's not enough. The rules have to change too. Major decisions like privatising services or tax handouts to the rich, shouldn't by law be allowed to get through parliament or the senate unless the claims being made to justify them are quantifiable & demonstrated to be in the National Interest. Currently politicians have no obligation to do either.

e.g. claiming that jobs will be created if Penalty rates are cut = there's no way to quantify such a BS claim and Doug Cameron got them to admit that in Senate Estimates. Even so they were allowed to lie through their teeth and impose it anyway with no requirement to prove their BS claims. This corporate tax handout = once again they claim it will lead to more wealth to average Australians and more jobs but it can't be quantified or guaranteed via regulation so it's all bullshit. The rich will hoard the wealth & kick Australians in the guts as usual. That's what they've always done and always will do. Privatisation of electricity..what a crock of shit. They claimed it would create competition and drive down prices. What's happened? The complete opposite but politicians KNOW they're not accountable and therein 'lies' the problem. The shortsheeting of the original NBN, = yet another lie. They've totally crippled Australia's ability to compete in a digital age and completely screwed regional 2nd tier cities and towns in terms of growth. As far as the National interest is concerned the shortsheeting of the NBN is the complete opposite. Even so they were allowed to bastardise that too without any accountability whatsoever. Australians need to start demanding political reform so these bastards are accountable to the people.

grumpyom -> Fred1 , 4 Jun 2018 00:28
Neoliberalism is just the academic name for the political ideology of greed, corruption, self interest, self entitlement, corporate welfare, inequality, user pays, and poverty is your fault.

George Monbiot does it well too.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

grumpyom , 4 Jun 2018 00:18
Do you see any contradiction between privatised electricity and socialised stadiums?

Neoliberalism explains it all. Corruption in politics means that only profitable assets are privatised. Stadiums lose money, so are kept in private hands as corporate welfare for the various billionaire team owners and TV networks.

Elizabeth Connor , 4 Jun 2018 00:10
I love Richard Denniss! What a brilliantly concise and yet well supported argument. Now we just need someone who can say it in terms that will persuade unwilling voters to think carefully about their vote. If they do think carefully they simply cannot return this government to power, now that they're all revealed as nothing but crony capitalists.

I must admit that like many people I also thought neoliberalism was an ideology, but then I couldn't understand why they were so inconsistent in their spending of 'tax-payers' funds'.

From now on I'll be pointing out those inconsistencies with more confidence - armed with Richard's incontrovertible points, and also by a closer reading of Canadian Kean Birch's article:

https://theconversation.com/what-exactly-is-neoliberalism-84755.

Here's Birch's definition of neoliberalism:

[The term neoliberalism ] is used to refer to an economic system in which the "free" market is extended to every part of our public and personal worlds.

And here's wikipedia's definition of crony capitalism:

Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risks they take, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class.

NB But there's a more explicit definition here, which I like much better:

Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.

https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-term-crony-capitalism-mean-What-are-the-long-term-economic-costs-of-crony-capitalism-for-a-country

And from where I sit, crony capitalism cannot be defended by anyone with any kind of integrity.

sierrasierra -> telbraithwaite , 4 Jun 2018 00:04
Yes, we have a spot of bother, and I think that their name - Institute of Public Affairs - is quite a misnomer.

The way these people operate is more akin to Opus Dei and many other 'secret societies' that have another public face altogether.

Given that IPA's agenda is a private members wish list which has a huge impact on matters of a broad public nature, it's rather akin to incest, and we know where the confusion between Church and State takes us regarding separation of powers, exactly where we are right now .two Royal Commissions that are joined at the hip, Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013 – 2017) and our current horror show Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation, and Financial Services Industry which could for all intents and purposes be as long as aforementioned.

Stay with me, as these are issues that relate to other 'energy' systems, namely money, sex and power, and if we have any doubts as to how far this cancer has spread, a quick purview of the following members ought to resolve it for you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Public_Affairs#Political_links

https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/1bz7et/ipas_75_point_list_for_abbott /

For the 70th Birthday big bash, we know that guests to the party were:
• Gina Rinehart
• Rupert Murdoch
• Tony Abbott
• George Pell - Australian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church
• Michael Kroger - President of the Victorian division of the Liberal Party of Australia and former director of the IPA
• Mitch Fifield - Communications Minister

Think horizontal and vertical industries/associations and you begin to get the picture, and that's before thinking about BCA and VECCI.

Billyswagg , 4 Jun 2018 00:03
First, elect the other mob next time around. They're in the pockets of the multinationals and the US alliance as well, but they're not quite as bad, yet. The next thing is a full-on assault on mainstream media. The frontline of the revolution, if there is to be one, is the media. No more guns or territorial claims, it's a battle for the mind. Education is the key. The "Neolibs" attack education at every opportunity - teachers, curriculum, funding etc. etc. but there's nothing wrong with education - the real problem is that the mainstream media relentlessly, all day every day works to an agenda of dis-education, deliberately undermining and destroying the work of our schools. They preach doubt and mistrust - of learning, facts, truth, intelligence, pure science, art, music, culture, thoughtfulness, forbearance, empathy and altruism. They teach us to monetise and gamble on everything. Their aim is to dumb everyone down to the point where not only can't they read an analog clock or drive their own car but become entirely dependent on the word of authority (of which they are the mouthpiece) for a continued existence. Today, with our vast social platforms we can target their lies and threats, one by one. Pick each one, attack it, viciously, loudly, risibly, with facts, comedy, derision and invitations to dance. Spread it wide. Call them out at every opportunity. Sneer them into oblivion. Mainstream media is the primary problem. That's what must be destroyed.
Dunkey2830 -> Dave Bradley , 3 Jun 2018 23:53

Maybe the ALP have learnt from their mistakes


No, regrettably they have not.
The neoliberalist 'mistake' has been going on for around 40 yrs now - it has proved a relentless descent into inequality and austerity.

Chris Bowen at the National Press Club :
"...Labor will go to the next election:
Achieving budget balance in the same year as the government;
Delivering bigger cumulative budget surpluses over forward estimates as well as substantially bigger surpluses over the ten year medium term; and
That the majority of savings raised from our revenue measures over the medium term will go towards budget repair and paying down debt...."

Pure neoliberal economic poison that will create further hardship for our citizens, worsen inequality and recess the economy yet further.

People have got to come to understand that the bigger surpluses Bowen speaks of are federal tax collection surpluses; i.e. he intends to withdraw further spending capacity from the private sector, all while the current account deficit already draws 3.5% GDP (~$30bn) a yr from that same heavily indebted private sector.

This Bowen statement report from the SMH :
"The whiff of a surplus, not reaching at least 1 per cent of GDP until 2026-27, does not adequately protect Australia against the potential roiling seas of international uncertainty," he will say.
"Australia needs bigger surpluses, sooner than the government is scheduling.
"We can't afford to let the next four years go to waste in the efforts for a healthier, safer budget surplus."

Absolute macroeconomic stupidity, arrogant, vandalous ideological madness.
When will the people come to their senses and stop supporting such socially destructive errant neoliberal economic alchemy?

BiggerPictureCait -> Stopthelibs , 3 Jun 2018 23:53
Just look at the Citizens Assembly overseeing the law change in the recent Irish referendum. Worked a treat, cause those involved wanted to find the bvest alternative, rather than feather their own nest.

[Dec 27, 2018] Neoliberal ideology is free market, neoliberal practice is crony capitalism

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

jclucas , 3 Jun 2018 23:25

It is indeed important to make the distinction between the ideology of neoliberalism - the ideology of private enterprise is good, and public spending is bad - and the operational system of crony capitalism - the game of mates played by government and the special interests.

And it is certainly equally important to call out the monumental hypocrisy involved in the government's application of the ideology's set of rules to the powerless and public and the government's application of corrupt practice rules to the special interests.

The system is destroying the egalitarian character of Australia and fanning the flames of nativist authoritarianism here.

But what's even more dangerous is the fundamental dishonesty that the system necessitates, and the alienating influence it has - on top of the growing economic inequality.

The system has destroyed the economic and environmental viability and sustainability of the planet on which human civilization depends.

What is becoming increasingly clear to more and more of the public is that - simple put- the system cannot be allowed to go on as it has been proceeding because it threatens the future of civilization on earth.

Change is imperative now. However, how that will unfold is unclear, as well as, the toll the destruc5turing system will take.

What is clear is that a great restructuring must happen - and soon.

[Dec 25, 2018] The problem with neoliberalism

Guardian readers responces
Notable quotes:
"... Winchester, Hampshire ..."
"... Wallington, Surrey ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Michael Greenwood , Geoff Naylor and David Murray on the failures of economic policy

While agreeing with the thrust of Paul Mason's article ( A new politics of emotion is needed to beat the far right , Journal, 26 November), it is surely necessary to employ economics if we are to defeat neoliberalism. We have lived under this regime, with increasing severity, for 25 years or so. The result has been the stagnation of real incomes for the large majority, with the benefits of GDP growth accruing to those at the top of income and wealth distributions. This has suppressed growth, as those with less money tend to spend it and those with more hide it and avoid tax. Lower UK growth is clearly shown in comparative data.

So if neoliberalism is a school of economics, it is a failure if the aim of economic policy is to encourage growth and the reinvestment of the benefits. Of course, neoliberalism is not economics, it is political dogma, supported by its beneficiaries. We need economics undergraduates to demand to be taught real economics and not the propaganda of power that is neoliberalism.
Michael Greenwood
Manchester

• In his search for a political narrative of economic hope to counteract the rise of rightwing populism, Paul Mason overlooks the sense of belonging that exists in faith communities. Here, a selfless collaboration for the inclusive good of one another has never required disruption of the free-market economy. It is just that this ethos has not been introduced at the national economic and political levels.
Geoff Naylor
Winchester, Hampshire

• All suffered the same 2007-08 financial crash, but the "UK has weakest wage growth of wealthy nations" ( Report , 27 November). Anything to do with Tory-led government economic policy?
David Murray
Wallington, Surrey

[Dec 25, 2018] Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse by Van Badham

Dec 25, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

For 40 years, the ideology popularly known as "neoliberalism" has dominated political decision-making in the English-speaking west.

People hate it . Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar yet the philosophy's entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources that one of its megaphones once declared its triumph "the end of history".

... ... ...

Paul Keating's rejection

It was a year ago that a third sign first appeared, when the dark horse of Australian prime ministers, Paul Keating, made public an on-balance rejection of neoliberal economics. Although Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser instigated Australia's first neoliberal policies, it was Keating's architecture of privatisation and deregulation as a Labor treasurer and prime minister that's most well remembered.

Now, "we have a comatose world economy held together by debt and central bank money," Keating has said, "Liberal economics has run into a dead end and has had no answer to the contemporary malaise." What does the disavowal mean? In terms of his Labor heir Bill Shorten's growing appetite for redistributive taxation and close relationship to the union movement, it means "if Bill Shorten becomes PM, the rule of engagement between labour and capital will be rewritten," according to The Australian this week. Can't wait!

Tony Abbott becomes a fan of nationalising assets

Or maybe's Sukkar's right about the socialists termiting his beloved Liberal party. How else to explain the earthquake-like paradigm shift represented by the sixth sign? Since when do neoliberal conservatives argue for the renationalisation of infrastructure, as is the push of Tony Abbott's gang to nationalise the coal-fired Liddell power station? It may be a cynical stunt to take an unscientific stand against climate action, but seizing the means of production remains seizing the means of production, um, comrade. "You know, nationalising assets is what the Liberal party was founded to stop governments doing," said Turnbull, even as he hid in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains to weather – strange coincidence – yet another Newspoll loss.

• Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist


uhurhi , 27 Apr 2018 05:43

"new introduction to a re-released Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. Collective, democratic political action is our only chance for freedom and enjoyment."

Might be true. But frightening that people should naively still think that democracy is to be found in the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' [ ie those who know what's good for you even if you don't like it ] of the Communist Manifesto after the revelations of what that leads to in the Gulag Archipelago , Mao's China , Pol Pot , Kim John - un .

How quickly the world forgets. - you might just as well advocate Mein Kampf it's the same thing in the end !

fleax -> internationalist07 07 , 27 Apr 2018 05:43
most "isms" kill off their rivals and the unbelievers when they usurp power
charleyb23 -> RedmondM , 27 Apr 2018 05:37
That's what you claim and it might be so but I'm not interested in keeping a score on the matter. The point you failed to get is that the people you mentioned where totalitarian thugs. They used the banner of communism to achieve their ends. They would have used what ever ideology that was in fashion to achieve the same results.
daily_phil , 27 Apr 2018 05:35
Does present day neo-liberalism actually qualify as a political movement?

Vested interests and the dollar seem to have all the power. Lies and deception are so common the truth is seen as the enemy. The voting public are merely fools for manipulation. Nah, neo-liberalism is not government, it is something far nastier, and clearly not what the public vote for, presuming a vote actually counts for anything anymore.

[Dec 24, 2018] The Guardian's Bush obituary plumbs new depths of sycophantic hypocrisy by Kit Knightly

Dec 24, 2018 | off-guardian.org

The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge." Lord Acton

George Herbert Walker Bush died on Saturday. He was 94 years old. Thanks to decisions he made throughout his career, thousands – perhaps millions – of people never got near 94. He invaded Iraq in 1991, instituted sanctions that destroyed the country. He pardoned those involved in the Iran-Contra affair and was head of the CIA when Operation Condor launched the military coup in Argentina in 1976 .

None of that makes it into The Guardian 's obituary , of course.

Instead, Simon Tisdall – a mindless servant to the status quo, always happy to weave invective about our designated enemies – treats us to paragraph after paragraph of inane anecdotes.

Good old Georgie once gave him a lift in Air Force One.

Barbara gave him useful advice about raising Springer Spaniels.

The following words and phrases are not found anywhere in this article: CIA, Iraq, Iran-Contra, Argentinian coup, Iran Air Flight 655, NAZI, Panama.

Rather, Tisdall refers Bush's term as "before the era of fake news". Which makes him either a complete a liar or profoundly under-qualified to write on the subject – as the Bush-era spawned the original fake news: The Nayirah testimony . A pack of lies told before the Senate, and used to justify a war in the middle-east.

A Bush family tradition.

Tisdall talks of Bush's family – "he enjoyed a privileged upbringing in a monied east coast family" – but doesn't say that his father, Prescott Bush, was a known Nazi sympathiser and was even implicated in an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Franklin Delano Roosevelt .

Bush started two wars as President. Planned and enabled countless crimes as director of the CIA. pardoned all those implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. Refused to apologise when the US Navy "accidentally" shot down an Iranian airliner, killing over 200 civilians, including 60 children.

He was the original neocon – his administration brought us Cheney and Powell and Rumsfeld. Gave birth to the ideology that stage-managed 9/11, launched the "War on Terror", and cut a blood-stained swath across North Africa and the Middle East.

We don't hear about that.

What we DO hear about is Bush's "deep sense of public duty and service" and that "Bush was a patriot who did not need cheap slogans to express his belief in enduring American greatness". No space is given over to analysis, to examine the fact that "belief in enduring American greatness" is quasi-fascism, and responsible for more violent deaths this century than any other cause you can name.

In hundreds of words, a notionally left-wing paper has nothing but praise for a highly unpopular right-wing president. No space is given over even to the gentlest of rebukes.

The whole article is an exercise in talking without saying anything. Pleasantries replacing truth. Platitudes where facts should be. A nothing burger, with a void on the side and an extra order of beige.

It's an obituary of Harold Shipman that eschews murder talk and rhapsodises about his love of gardening.

A eulogy to Pinochet that praises his economic reforms but neglects all the soccer stadiums full of corpses.

An epitaph to Hitler that focuses, not on his "controversial political career", but on his painting and his vegetarianism.

Did you know Genghis Khan once lent me a pencil? He was a swell guy. The world will miss him.

We're no longer supposed to examine the lives, characters or morals of our leaders. Only "honour their memory" and be "grateful for their service". History is presented to us, not as a series of choices made by people in power, but as a collection of inevitabilities. Consequences are tragic but unavoidable. Like long-dead family squabbles – To dwell on them is unseemly, and to assign blame unfair.

Just as with John McCain, apologism and revisionism are sold to us as manners and good taste. Attempts to redress the balance and tell the truth are met with stern glares and declarations that it is "too soon".

It's never "too soon" to tell the truth.

John McCain was a dangerous war-mongering lunatic. George Bush Sr was a sociopath from a family of corrupt sociopaths. The world would be a far better, and much safer place if just one major newspaper was willing to say that.

Really, there are two obituaries to write here:

First – George HW Bush, corrupt patriarch of an old and malign family, passing out of this world to face whatever eternal punishment (hopefully) awaits those who sell their immortal soul in exchange for a brief taste of power.

Second – The Guardian, perhaps a decent newspaper once-upon-a-time, now a dried out husk. A zombified slave to the state, mindless and brainless and lifeless. No questions, no reservations, no hesitation. Obediently licking up the mess their masters leave behind.

It's sickening.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.


Michael McNulty says Dec, 9, 2018

My mother believed it was only Bush Senior's longevity that prevented some of the neo-cons from bumping off Bush Junior. He was President in name only and has long since fulfilled his usefulness in committing the US to endless war. He is prone to verbal gaffes and that must make him a liability, and when powerful evil people get nervous they often turn deadly.
vexarb says Dec, 5, 2018
Like son, like father -- Bush War Crimes in Iraq:

https://youtu.be/cqiq8P8dRtY

vexarb says Dec, 4, 2018
Cut&Pasted from Lavrov interview in today's Saker Vineyard:

Question: When the death of President George H.W. Bush was announced, President Putin expressed his condolences in a very emotional message. George Bush Sr. believed that one of the worst mistakes of his presidency was failure to prevent the Soviet Union's dissolution. Did you meet with him? What are your impressions of him?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that George Bush Sr greatly contributed to the development of the United States and ensured that his country responsibly played its role in the world, considering its weight in international affairs.

I remember very well how President George H.W. Bush visited Moscow, and then he went to Ukraine where he encouraged the Soviet republics' political forces to do their duty by preserving the country rather than create huge, tragic problems for millions of people who became citizens of different states the morning after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Mr Bush was a great politician. I believe that every word that will be said about his achievements reflect the people's true attitude to this man. However, one comment about the link between President Bush and the demise of the Soviet Union. I heard a commentator say that George Bush Sr made history by helping Mikhail Gorbachev soft-land the Soviet Union. In fact, George Bush Sr never did that; he simply wanted to protect millions of people from political games. This is what we can say confidently about him.

https://thesaker.is/lavrovs-interview-and-answers-to-questions-for-the-programme-moscow-kremlin-putin/

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different frank says Dec, 4, 2018
The Webster tarpley book about him is interesting
Also regarding the "gulf war". The then US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie gave saddam the nod to invade Kuwait.
He was set up.
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ARTICLE5/april.html
Francis Lee says Dec, 4, 2018
It was German journalist, Udo Ulfkotte actually spilled the beans regarding the western media in his best seller, Journalisten Gekaufte, (Bought Journalists). Ulfkotte described the degree to which the CIA has penetrated the western media and corrupted, or bribed ( including himself) the system which has become a PR organization for the intelligence services, and MIC. On publication it immediately sold 120,000.00 copies and then strangely became unavailable in English. He was described as a 'conspiracy theorist' (but of course) and died at the relatively young age of a heart attack at 56. There are some salient issues surrounding his death raised by Jonas Schneider in his book 'The Mysterious Death of Udo Ulfkotte: Evidence for a Murder.

[Dec 24, 2018] People like you must count as a great success for the obedience training that keeps capitalist society running smoothly, with the few dissidents casually dismissed as "a bunch of tin foil hat wearing fruitcakes".

Dec 24, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Peter Bolton says Dec, 6, 2018

You know already what I will respond to this. And I know already what you will say in return. So, instead of getting into a back and forth about it, I will simply leave you with something to consider.

The fact that each successive report that comes out that refutes the claims of the truther movement is automatically dismissed by people like you shows how conspiracy theory thinking works. The final 9/11 report comes out in 2004 and, of course, the truthers dismiss it because it was written by a branch of the federal government who you believe perpetrated 9/11 in the first place. Then Popular Mechanics publishes a 5,500 word report in 2005 extensively answering and debunking the movement claims.

Here, you people can't claim that it was a government cover-up -- at least not directly -- because Popular Mechanics is a privately owned publication. Therefore, new sub-conspiracy theories are invented to "prove" how Popular Mechanics is part of the cover-up. To give just one example Christopher Bollyn "claimed to have discovered why the 100-year-old engineering magazine would take part in a government cover-up of the crime of the century: A young researcher on the magazine's staff named Benjamin Chertoff was a cousin of then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and the magazine was seeking to whitewash the criminal conspiracy with its coverage." (Slate 2011) Here we are seeing the kind of incredible mental contortion that truthers are willing to engage in to continue believing their theories.

Then in 2008 the National Institute of Standards and Technology released the final installment of its study into the causes behind the collapse of the buildings -- $16 million was invested into the investigation. And, as I well know, you and other truthers will have a smart Alec come-back as to why the NIST report is wrong, its authors are part of the vast conspiracy and so on. On and on it goes no matter how many reports are published by however many experts.

Again, I am not interested in getting dragged into a back-and-forth about the merits and demerits of these reports. Rather, I wish to point out the flawed reasoning inherent to 9/11 trutherism: that it has its own internal mechanisms for discounting any evidence that contradicts its central tenets. It therefore constitutes a closed system of thought because there is nothing that would ever count as a refutation. In other words, for all contradictory evidence another explanation is made to retroactively fit the latest gap in the theory that is exposed.

Now, I know full well that this is probably not going to change your mind either. And I'm sure that there will be plenty of responses to this comment and thumbs down from Off-Guardian readers. But I hope that you at least consider whether you are wrong about this subject. For my part, I worry that 9/11 trutherism obscures what are indeed important subjects -- US imperialism, US govt. corruption, the nefarious influence of the CIA, the legitimate grievance that people in the Middle East have against the US, Israel, the Saudi dictatorship and so on. Above all, I worry that 9/11 trutherism makes it open season for the real enemies -- the US foreign policy establishment, et cetera -- to portray the resistance to them and their agenda as a bunch of tin foil hat wearing fruitcakes. I feel strongly that the left needs to jettison this in-group, conspiracy theory-type stuff really become a major force and overturn the status quo.

milosevic says Dec, 9, 2018
People like you must count as a great success for the obedience training that keeps capitalist society running smoothly, with the few dissidents casually dismissed as "a bunch of tin foil hat wearing fruitcakes".

Even NIST eventually admitted that WTC-7 free-fell for 2.5 seconds. That can only happen if all the support columns fail at exactly the same time; otherwise it would topple over sideways. Only controlled explosives can make that happen.

Your touching faith in the word of ruling-class "experts", over the evidence of your own eyes, and basic physics, is a credit to the Middle Ages. It would warm the hearts of the Catholic theologians who refused to look through Galileo's telescope because they knew, as a matter of revealed truth, that what he said couldn't possibly be true.

What do the claims of a bunch of tinfoil-hat-wearing fruitcakes count for, against not just ruling class dogma, but the entire weight of respectable middle-class opinion? The social status and careers of millions of right-thinking professionals, like you, depend on believing, or at least pretending to believe, not just the 9/11 Official Story, but all the other Official Stories as well. How could all those comfy middle-class people, with their comfy middle-class careers and high-status friends, be wrong? That would throw the entire plan for next weekend's dinner party into question.

Do you believe the Offical Skripal Story? The Official ISIS story? The Official Syrian Chemical Weapons Story? The Official JFK Assassination Story? The Official USS Liberty Story? The Official Tonkin Gulf Story? How do you decide which Official Stories to believe, except on the basis of careerism and status-seeking?

https://www.ae911truth.org/evidence/free-fall-acceleration

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SBmyPW6gGGI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Peter Bolton says Dec, 16, 2018
Again, I am not interested in getting drawn into a back-and-forth about the various claims of 9/11 truthers like yourself. I would just like to make one comment and then leave two things for yourself and other truthers on here to consider.

First, I would like to comment upon the fact that I have been subjected to some rather nasty personalized abuse on this thread simply for challenging the claims of trutherism. I'm not pointing this out to feel aggrieved or to search for sympathy or to make myself out as some kind of victim. Rather I do so to illustrate how it is indicative of the negative and mind-closing effects of the group-think and the conspiracy theorist mind-set. It goes something like this: "everyone who questions the tenets of the great truther theory is the enemy, not just a skeptic but rather a collaborator in the evil system that suppresses the "truth"."

Second, I want to provide a link to an excellent article that addresses the claims of truthers head-on: https://www.skeptical-science.com/critical-thinking/911-conspiracy-theories-debunked/

The people it discusses were truthers and many of them reexamined their beliefs after being confronted by actual specialists on the subjects basing their truther beliefs on. If you are open-minded as you claim to be, then have the decency to at least read the article and consider its points, rather than just reflexively rejecting the source as part of the great cover-up.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a quote from Noam Chomsky. Now, I am well aware that you think Chomsky is a sell-out for not getting on board with trutherism and that you have all kinds of fancy come-backs as to why he is wrong. But he raises a very important issue of priorities for people on the anti-imperialist left to consider. Is this obsession with this issue really helping us to fight against imperialism and all of the other iniquities of the world? I think not:

"One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work." Noam Chomsky

Makropulos says Dec, 3, 2018
Ah "truther", that neologism which serves the same purpose as the recasting of the term "conspiracy" to designate foolishness, gullibilty etc.

And as for Chomsky, well here's what he had to say about the 9/11 "inside job" theory:

"And even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, who cares? It doesn't have any significance. It's a little bit like the huge energy that's put out on trying to figure out who killed John Kennedy. Who knows? Who cares? Plenty of people get killed all the time, why does it matter that one of them happened to be John F. Kennedy?"

Let's just consider that for a moment. Chomsky is considering the possibilty -- however remote in his view -- that 9/11 may indeed have been an inside job. And he's saying it doesn't have any significance that the US goverment carried out an attack on its own population! It doesn't have any significance that the "war on terror" was launched on the basis of a lie!

This is the moment when Chomsky truly stood revealed. He was like the kid with his hand in the cookie jar who instantly concocts any number of excuses all of which contradict each other. And yet even when caught out like this, he has his supporters who say he "dispels 9/11 theories with sheer logic"!

milosevic says Dec, 3, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TwZ-vIaW6Bc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Makropulos says Dec, 3, 2018
That's the one. I mean – who knows and who cares? It's not as if a terrorist attack on mainland America that altered the face of New York and launched a war across the world is actually important.
Peter Bolton says Dec, 4, 2018
Well, I think the fact that Noam Chomsky has said this demonstrates how few people accept these 9/11 truther ideas -- even amongst people who generally agree with your (and my) kind of politics. George Galloway, who like Chomsky is about as far politically from the neocons as you can get, has also spoken very eloquently against trutherism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A5ToK6g0m8

Ironically, the only remotely public figure who does that I've heard mentioned on this thread is some Reaganite crank that I had never heard of until now. That really does not bode well for you, does it?

Makropulos says Dec, 4, 2018
Au contraire Peter, it does not bode well for the entire realm of mainstream discourse. Logically what Chomsky said is simply monstrous. As is this:

"I think the fact that Noam Chomsky has said this demonstrates how few people accept these 9/11 truther ideas"

What is the hold that this man has that he only has to say something to "demonstrate" what most think?

Makropulos says Dec, 4, 2018
And having now listened to Mr Galloway and once again having to put up with his portentous stretching out ..of the ..sentence to -- quite frankly pad the time out, I see that his "points" come down to the following:

Two planes flew into the twin towers. Yes -- there's no disputing that one.

GW Bush could not possibly have planned the thing himself. Yes again -- no dispute. At this point I must express my gratitude to Reagan for finally proving that the guy in front is just a puppet.

If the US did it themselves and it "got out" it would be the end of America's credibility. Yes indeed. Which is why, all across the mainstream press, it will only ever be presented as a "nutty conspiracy theory"

milosevic says Dec, 4, 2018
Galloway: "I saw, myself, the airplanes hitting the twin towers."

-- which is supposed to constitute proof of the official Evil-Terrorists-In-A-Cave-In-Afghanistan story.

attention, "flaxgirl": your grand unified theory of 9/11 now needs to incorporate George Galloway as a fake witness for the US government, which seems strange, given his decades of opposition, both before and after, to the imperial warfare for which 9/11 served as a pretext.

The political function of the No-Planes-At-WTC claims could not be more clear; it's so that people who dispute other aspects of the Official Story can all be dismissed as deranged idiots.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
But Peter you need to look at the evidence for yourself and not take others' word for it. And be guided by those who know how buildings collapse -- Chomsky certainly doesn't.
This is a wonderful tutorial by Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

The story of 9/11 is utterly preposterous. The only reason people believe it is to do with psychology of how we relate to power nothing to do with the actuality of the story -- because it's utterly ludicrous.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
Forgot link to tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ged-FIf46dc

This is my article on Chomsky's sophistry on 9/11:
https://off-guardian.org/2016/10/11/analysis-of-the-sophistry-of-noam-chomsky-on-911/

Jay-Q says Dec, 4, 2018
Wut? " less violent ones like England, the US or France " From here on it just gets worse until Chomsky has no credible position left to argue from.

Heightened sense of cognitive dissonance by old Noam.

' even if it were true, which is extremely unlikely, then who cares? It doesn't have any significance."

Wow, for someone with such intellect this is some low-level thinking. I almost feel sorry for Chomsky for holding such an immoral position. Would he feel the same way if his wife was murdered? "Ah, there's other things to worry about, anything else is a diversion of energy." Very sad.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
Where basic physics is concerned we should not speak of theory. The only possible explanation for the collapse of the buildings is controlled demolition. There is no doubt whatsoever that 9/11 was an inside conspiracy. There is also no doubt that death and injury were staged – at least, there is zero evidence of its reality in the visual record and one would think that for the 3,000 dead and 6,000 injured claimed there would be at least one piece of evidence for their reality, rather than every piece (anomalously small in number) in the visual record perfectly fitting "staged". Not to mention other anomalies unrelated to the visual record and that actual killing and injuring of people by the perpetrators would take a highly-problematic form in the shape of a great number of loved ones (as opposed to the tiny number presented) and the injured themselves when controlled demolition was so obvious.
kevin morris says Dec, 4, 2018
When you say that there is no doubt whatsoever that 9/11 was an inside conspiracy, I feel you are being overconfident unless what you are saying is that there is some evidence that some figures at the World Trade Centres seemed to have foreknowledge.

Frankly, although we all have our theories as to who was responsible, I remain in full agreement with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth who state simply that the official account conflicts with physics. All else is suspicion and supposition. It may well be well grounded supposition, but until we discover who planned and executed the event and who definitely had foreknowledge, what we are dealing with is speculation.

The problem with that is that the great many people who refuse to believe anything other than the official account of 9/11 dismiss our views as those of cranks

milosevic says Dec, 4, 2018
there is some evidence that some figures at the World Trade Centres seemed to have foreknowledge

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wq-0JIR38V0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

flaxgirl says Dec, 7, 2018
Kevin,

The buildings came down by controlled demolition. The evidence for that is incontrovertible and the rationale presented by NIST for fire being the cause is demonstrably not based on a skerrick of evidence and is obviously fraudulent and false. There is not a single reason to suspect that the cause of collapse of all the buildings wasn't controlled demolition. If you believe there is a single reason to suspect another cause can you please provide it.

Since waking up to 9/11, I find that people either decide something is something with too little evidence or refrain from deciding on what something is when the evidence is so overwhelming you're practically drowning in it. Being conservative in judgement in the face of overwhelming evidence is no virtue in my opinion.

I have engaged in conversation with Mick West who runs the metabunk.org website that allegedly debunks all the conspiracy theories. We have gone back and forth a number of times over the cause of WTC-7's collapse and I have invited him to respond to an Occam's Razor challenge to provide 10 points that favour "fire" over "controlled demolition". He did not respond to the challenge, nor could he provide a single point that favours fire over controlled demolition. Not a single point -- didn't change his mind though.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

Nor has anyone responded to my other Occam's Razor challenges. I judge when I see that there is a reasonable amount of evidence and that evidence points all one way and there is no evidence pointing any other way. If you disagree with this method fair enough.

flaxgirl says Dec, 7, 2018
And just to add, that, of course, it must be an inside job in the case of controlled demolition. As Graeme MacQueen says, there is no room in the official story for controlled demolition.

The big secret is though that death and injury were staged. That's the real secret.

flaxgirl says Dec, 4, 2018
It was a totally excellent piece. No reservations.

"Theory"? Are you serious? If you believe that 9/11 was the work of 19 barely-trained terrorists (one of whom cried when asked to do steep turns and stalls according to his alleged flying instructor but was tasked with the most impossibly-expert manoeuvre of doing a 330 degree turn into the Pentagon), armed with boxcutters who managed to hijack 4 planes, navigate them into 3 iconic buildings without being molested by a single fighter interceptor through the most defended airspace on earth, which subsequently caused the 10-second collapses (displaying all the characteristics of controlled demolition and none of fire-caused collapses) of three high-rise steel frame buildings, here's a $5,000 challenge for you. All you have to do is provide 10 points that support the "fire" hypothesis over the "controlled demolition" hypothesis for the collapse of WTC-7 and you can choose your own structural engineer to validate your points. There's so very much material on the collapse it shouldn't be very difficult. In fact, all you have to do is come up with one point to support WTC-7's collapse by fire and I'll give you $5,000. One point -- validated by a structural engineer of your choice. https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/5000-challenge.html

9/11 is probably the biggest hoax in history and includes the very clever subhoax of 3,000 dead and 6,000 injured. Not only was it a hoax but they did not aim for realism in any shape or form and gave us extra clues in addition to their preposterous against-physical-and-administrative-reality story.

This is what Paul Craig Roberts, chairman of The Institute for Political Economy, who has had careers in scholarship and academia, journalism, public service, and business, has to say about 9/11.
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/about-paul-craig-roberts/

According to the official story, on September 11, 2001, the vaunted National Security State of the World's Only Superpower was defeated by a few young Saudi Arabians armed only with box cutters. The American National Security State proved to be totally helpless and was dealt the greatest humiliation ever inflicted on any country claiming to be a power.

That day no aspect of the National Security State worked. Everything failed.

The US Air Force for the first time in its history could not get intercepter jet fighters into the air.

The National Security Council failed.

All sixteen US intelligence agencies failed as did those of America's NATO and Israeli allies.

Air Traffic Control failed.

Airport Security failed four times at the same moment on the same day. The probability of such a failure is zero.

If such a thing had actually happened, there would have been demands from the White House, from Congress, and from the media for an investigation. Officials would have been held accountable for their failures. Heads would have rolled.

Instead, the White House resisted for one year the 9/11 families' demands for an investigation. Finally, a collection of politicians was assembled to listen to the government's account and to write it down. The chairman, vice chairman, and legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission have said that information was withheld from the commission, lies were told to the commission, and that the commission "was set up to fail." The worst security failure in history resulted in not a single firing. No one was held responsible.

Washington concluded that 9/11 was possible because America lacked a police state.
The PATRIOT Act, which was awaiting the event was quickly passed by the congressional idiots. The Act established executive branch independence of law and the Constitution. The Act and follow-up measures have institutionalized a police state in "the land of the free."

Osama bin Laden, a CIA asset dying of renal failure, was blamed despite his explicit denial. For the next ten years Osama bin Laden was the bogyman that provided the excuse for Washington to kill countless numbers of Muslims. Then suddenly on May 2, 2011, Obama claimed that US Navy SEALs had killed bin Laden in Pakistan. Eyewitnesses on the scene contradicted the White House's story. Osama bin Laden became the only human in history to survive renal failure for ten years. There was no dialysis machine in what was said to be bin Laden's hideaway. The numerous obituaries of bin Laden's death in December 2001 went down the memory hole. And the SEAL team died a few weeks later in a mysterious helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The thousands of sailors on the aircraft carrier from which bin Laden was said to have been dumped into the Indian Ocean wrote home that no such burial took place.

The fairy tale story of bin Laden's murder by Seal Team Six served to end the challenge by disappointed Democrats to Obama's nomination for a second term. It also freed the "war on terror" from the bin Laden constraint. Washington wanted to attack Libya, Syria, and Iran, countries in which bin Laden was known not to have organizations, and the succession of faked bin Laden videos, in which bin Laden grew progressively younger as the fake bin Laden claimed credit for each successive attack, had lost credibility among experts.

Watching the twin towers and WTC 7 come down, it was obvious to me that the buildings were not falling down as a result of structural damage. When it became clear that the White House had blocked an independent investigation of the only three steel skyscrapers in world history to collapse as a result of low temperature office fires, it was apparent that there was a coverup.

After 13 years people at home and abroad find the government's story less believable.
The case made by independent experts is now so compelling that mainstream media has opened to it. Here is Richard Gage of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth on C-SPAN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zbv2SvBEec#t=23

Anticitizen one says Dec, 4, 2018
The only thing that surprises me about 9/11 these days is that new evidence linking Russia to the event hasn't been fabricated, sorry, discovered yet.

[Dec 24, 2018] Revealed: the dark past of Outcast , MI6 s top wartime double agent

Notable quotes:
"... It is also a nice illustration of how "Westminster Style" democracy works. Any chance that the electorate might elect a left wing government and you get a Zinoviev letter or a Bologna railway station bombing. ..."
"... In other words "Elect whom you like". ("Provided we like them too!") It's really a bit like herding sheep. ..."
Oct 11, 2015 | The Guardian

The documents reveal him as Alexis Bellegarde, one of four White Russian aristocrats believed to have been behind an infamous forgery 15 years before the war began. The revelations of Bellegarde's importance to MI6 will increase suspicions that British agents had a hand in the production of the "Zinoviev letter"; its leak to the Daily Mail many believe cost Labour the 1924 general election.

foolisholdman -> Brian Milne 11 Oct 2015 05:55

Brian Milne

It is also a nice illustration of how "Westminster Style" democracy works. Any chance that the electorate might elect a left wing government and you get a Zinoviev letter or a Bologna railway station bombing.

In other words "Elect whom you like". ("Provided we like them too!") It's really a bit like herding sheep.

AlbertTatlock53 -> LordUpminster 11 Oct 2015 08:35

Despite the blandness of the OH volumes on Ultra, some facts did leak out, like having a month's notice of the Italian declaration of war and useful tactical and operational details like the positions of wolf packs. It also reminded me of a couple of anecdotes about Ultra information by unwitting sources in memoirs. I wouldn't deprecate Ultra or the British war effort that far. The British army that went to Normandy was the most mechanised and armoured army in history and pulled rather more than its own weight in the coalition. The principal offensive weapon of the British empire was Bomber Command, which in the spring-summer of 1943 began to devastate the German war economy.

The Soviet and then the US contributions to the war dwarfed the British empire but only relatively, it was still a superpower in 1945, though by the Suez crime it had become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Murder Inc.

LordUpminster ID7678903 11 Oct 2015 04:04

And no doubt the establishment will continue to play such dirty tricks to undermine our so called democracy

Not the slightest: according to our friend jamesforysthe below that's essentially what they're for.

Re. the Zinoviev letter, I did see one theory many years ago that the man behind it was the then-Polish Army Minister Władysław Sikorski, the one who later headed the Polish exile government in London and was killed in an air crash. Certainly in October 1924 he was bragging to people in governmental circles in Warsaw that it was his agents who had arranged it - though why exactly is not easy to see, given that Poland had no particular political interest in Britain at the time. I suspect that it was empty boasting, and that it was Russian emigrés who were responsible.

Coming up soon: conclusive proof that Jeremy Corbyn was once an agent of the Tsarist Okhrana.

Brian Milne 11 Oct 2015 04:00

Had Labour won, thus Baldwin, MacDonald, Baldwin, Chamberlain probably not have been the course of politics, would the UK necessarily have moved further left? The question remains to be seen, but unless somebody more genuinely socialist had replaced MacDonald probably not. However, the outcome may well have been a far more amicable relationship with the Soviet Union, the Versailles Treaty and League of Nations possibly better conformed to and the rise of Hitler less likely. The Zinoviev letter may well have been as much a contributory denominator in that than is implied. Of course, we hall never know really, only historians expounding their own theories and interpretations of history.

samuel glover -> jamesforsythe 11 Oct 2015 01:43

"Some brilliant espionage across the Middle-east and Israel is precisely what's needed to bring these politically infantile areas into western like democratic administrations, this century, not next. And with fewer wars. "

First, you think western intelligence agencies **haven't** been prominent in the history of that region?!?!?

Second, you think these same agencies are capable of just whipping up entire social and political structures and cultures on demand? Do you read newspapers?

Remember that these agencies -- in America, in Britain, in every NATO country -- spent decades and billions of dollars and billions of man-hours staring obsessively at the USSR. EVERY ONE of them was completely blindsided when the Soviet Union folded up.

error418 -> jamesforsythe 10 Oct 2015 23:21

"Our" best interests or that intelligence service´s best interests? ISI in Pakistan is a good example of such a service gone rogue. Experts in election rigging.

Frisco27 10 Oct 2015 19:06

"Sexing up" documents? What a scumbag... That would never happen these days.

[Dec 24, 2018] Income inequality happens by design. We cant fix it by tweaking capitalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market. ..."
"... The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go? ..."
"... Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership. ..."
"... family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery. ..."
"... Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo. ..."
"... Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs. ..."
"... So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context. ..."
"... Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this. I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries. ..."
Dec 05, 2015 | The Guardian

The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality. They still struggle for access to the basics

... ... ...

The disparities in wealth that we term "income inequality" are no accident, and they can't be fixed by fiddling at the edges of our current economic system. These disparities happened by design, and the system structurally disadvantages those at the bottom. The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality; even their very chances for access to the most basic tools of life are almost nil.

... ... ...

Too often, the answer by those who have hoarded everything is they will choose to "give back" in a manner of their choosing – just look at Mark Zuckerberg and his much-derided plan to "give away" 99% of his Facebook stock. He is unlikely to help change inequality or poverty any more than "giving away" of $100m helped children in Newark schools.

Allowing any of the 100 richest Americans to choose how they fix "income inequality" will not make the country more equal or even guarantee more access to life. You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools, even when you're the master; but more to the point, who would tear down his own house to distribute the bricks among so very many others?

mkenney63 5 Dec 2015 20:37

Excellent article. The problems we face are structural and can only be solved by making fundamental changes. We must bring an end to "Citizens United", modern day "Jim Crow" and the military industrial complex in order to restore our democracy. Then maybe, just maybe, we can have an economic system that will treat all with fairness and respect. Crony capitalism has had its day, it has mutated into criminality.

Kencathedrus -> Marcedward 5 Dec 2015 20:23

In the pre-capitalist system people learnt crafts to keep themselves afloat. The Industrial Revolution changed all that. Now we have the church of Education promising a better life if we get into debt to buy (sorry, earn) degrees.

The whole system is messed up and now we have millions of people on this planet who can't function even those with degrees. Barbarians are howling at the gates of Europe. The USA is rotting from within. As Marx predicted the Capitalists are merely paying their own grave diggers.

mkenney63 -> Bobishere 5 Dec 2015 20:17

I would suggest you read the economic and political history of the past 30 years. To help you in your study let me recommend a couple of recent books: "Winner Take all Politics" by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson and "The Age of Acquiescence" by Steve Fraser. It always amazes me that one can be so blind the facts of recent American history; it's not just "a statistical inequality", it's been a well thought-out strategy over time to rig the system, a strategy engaged in by politicians and capitalists. Shine some light on this issue by acquainting yourself with the facts.


Maharaja Brovinda -> Singh Jill Harrison 5 Dec 2015 19:42

We play out the prisoner's dilemma in life, in general, over and over in different circumstances, every day. And we always choose the dominant - rational - solution. But the best solution is not based on rationality, but rather on trust and faith in each other - rather ironically for our current, evidence based society!


Steven Palmer 5 Dec 2015 19:19

Like crack addicts the philanthropricks only seek to extend their individual glory, social image their primary goal, and yet given the context they will burn in history. Philanthroptits should at least offset the immeasurable damage they have done through their medieval wealth accumulation. Collaborative philanthropy for basic income is a good idea, but ye, masters tools.


BlairM -> Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 19:10

Well, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, capitalism is the worst possible economic system, except for all those other economic systems that have been tried from time to time.

I'd rather just have the freedom to earn money as I please, and if that means inequality, it's a small price to pay for not having some feudal lord or some party bureaucrat stomping on my humanity.

brusuz 5 Dec 2015 18:52

As long as wealth can be created by shuffling money from one place to another in the giant crap shoot we call our economy, nothing will change. Until something takes place to make it advantageous for the investor capitalists to put that money to work doing something that actually produces some benefit to the society as a whole, they will continue their extractive machinations. I see nothing on the horizon that is going to change any of that, and to cast this as some sort of a racial issue is quite superficial. We have all gotten the shaft, since there is no upward mobility available to anyone. Since the Bush crowd of neocons took power, we have all been shackled with "individual solutions to societal created problems."

Jimi Del Duca 5 Dec 2015 18:31

Friends, Capitalism is structural exploitation of ALL WORKERS. Thinking about it as solely a race issue is divisive. What we need is CLASS SOLIDARITY and ORGANIZATION. See iww.org We are the fighting union with no use for capitalists!

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 18:04

You'd be better off reading Marx if you want to understand capitalism. I think you are ascribing the word to what you think it should be rather than what it is.

It is essentially a class structure rather than any defined economic system. Neoliberal is essentially laissez faire capitalism. It is designed to suborn nation states to corporate benefit.

AmyInNH -> tommydog

They make $40 a month. Working 7 days a week. At least 12 hour days. Who's fed you that "we're doing them a favor" BS?

And I've news for you regarding "Those whose skills are less adaptable to doing so are seeing their earnings decline." We have many people who have 3 masters degrees making less than minimum wage. We have top notch STEM students shunned so corporations can hire captive/cheaper foreign labor, called H1-Bs, who then wait 10 years working for them waiting for their employment based green card. Or "visiting" students here on J1 visas, so the employers can get out of paying: social security, federal unemployment insurance, etc.

Wake up and smell the coffee tommydog. They've more than a thumb on the scale.

seamanbodine,
I am a socialist. I decided to read this piece to see if Mr. Thrasher could write about market savagery without propounding the fiction that whites are somehow exempt from the effects of it.

No, he could not. I clicked on the link accompanying his assertion that whites who are high school dropouts earn more than blacks with college degrees, and I read the linked piece in full. The linked piece does not in fact compare income (i.e., yearly earnings) of white high school dropouts with those of black college graduates, but it does compare family wealth across racial cohorts (though not educational ones), and the gap there is indeed stark, with average white family wealth in the six figures (full disclosure, I am white, and my personal wealth is below zero, as I owe more in student loans than I own, so perhaps I am not really white, or I do not fully partake of "whiteness," or whatever), and average black family wealth in the four figures.

The reason for this likely has a lot to do with home ownership disparities, which in turn are linked in significant part to racist redlining practices. So white dropouts often live in homes their parents or grandparents bought, while many black college graduates whose parents were locked out of home ownership by institutional racism and, possibly, the withering of manufacturing jobs just as the northward migration was beginning to bear some economic fruit for black families, are still struggling to become homeowners. Thus, the higher average wealth for the dropout who lives in a family owned home.

But this is not what Mr. Thrasher wrote. He specifically used the words "earn more," creating the impression that some white ignoramus is simply going to stumble his way into a higher salary than a cultivated, college educated black person. That is simply not the case, and the difference does matter.

Why does it matter? Because I regularly see middle aged whites who are broken and homeless on the streets of the town where I live, and I know they are simply the tip of a growing mountain of privation. Yeah, go ahead, call it white tears if you want, but if you cannot see that millions (including, of course, not simply folks who are out and out homeless, but folks who are struggling to get enough to eat and routinely go without needed medication and medical care) of people who have "white privilege" are indeed oppressed by global capitalism then I would say that you are, at the end of the day, NO BETTER THAN THE WHITES YOU DISDAIN.

If you have read this far, then you realize that I am in no way denying the reality of structural racism. But an account of economic savagery that entirely subsumes it into non-economic categories (race, gender, age), that refuses to acknowledge that blacks can be exploiters and whites can be exploited, is simply conservatism by other means. One gets the sense that if we have enough black millionaires and enough whites dying of things like a lack of medical care, then this might bring just a little bit of warmth to the hearts of people like Mr. Thrasher.

Call it what you want, but don't call it progressive. Maybe it is historical karma. Which is understandable, as there is no reason why globally privileged blacks in places like the U.S. or Great Britain should bear the burden of being any more selfless or humane than globally privileged whites are or have been. The Steven Thrashers of humanity are certainly no worse than many of the whites they cannot seem to recognize as fully human are.

But nor are they any better.
JohnLG 5 Dec 2015 17:23

I agree that the term "income inequality" is so vague that falls between useless and diversionary, but so too is most use of the word "capitalism", or so it seems to me. Typically missing is a penetrating analysis of where the problem lies, a comprehensibly supported remedy, or large-scale examples of anything except what's not working. "Income inequality" is pretty abstract until we look specifically at the consequences for individuals and society, and take a comprehensive look at all that is unequal. What does "capitalism" mean? Is capitalism the root of all this? Is capitalism any activity undertaken for profit, or substantial monopolization of markets and power?

Power tends to corrupt. Money is a form of power, but there are others. The use of power to essentially cheat, oppress or kill others is corrupt, whether that power is in the form of a weapon, wealth, the powers of the state, or all of the above. Power is seductive and addictive. Even those with good intensions can be corrupted by an excess of power and insufficient accountability, while predators are drawn to power like sharks to blood. Democracy involves dispersion of power, ideally throughout a whole society. A constitutional democracy may offer protection even to minorities against a "tyranny of the majority" so long as a love of justice prevails. Selective "liberty and justice" is not liberty and justice at all, but rather a tyranny of the many against the few, as in racism, or of the few against the many, as by despots. Both forms reinforce each other in the same society, both are corrupt, and any "ism" can be corrupted by narcissism. To what degree is any society a shining example of government of, for, and by the people, and to what degree can one discover empirical evidence of corruption? What do we do about it?

AmyInNH -> CaptainGrey 5 Dec 2015 17:15

You're too funny. It's not "lifting billions out of poverty". It's moving malicious manufacturing practices to the other side of the planet. To the lands of no labor laws. To hide it from consumers. To hide profits.

And it is dying. Legislatively they choke off their natural competition, which is an essential element of capitalism. Monopoly isn't capitalism. And when they bribe legislators, we don't have democracy any more either.

Jeremiah2000 -> Teresa Trujillo 5 Dec 2015 16:53

Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market.

The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go?

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:45

Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

The words "OWN" and "ASSETS" are the key descriptors of the definition of wealth. But these words are not well understood by the vast majority of Americans or for that matter, global citizens. They are limited to the vocabulary used by the wealthy ownership class and financial publications, which are not widely read, and not even taught in our colleges and universities.

The wealthy ownership class did not become wealthy because they are "three times as smart." Still there is a valid argument that the vast majority of Americans do not pay particular attention to the financial world and educate themselves on wealth building within the current system's limited past-savings paradigm. Significantly, the wealthy OWNERSHIP class use their political power (power always follows property OWNERSHIP) to write the system rules to benefit and enhance their wealth. As such they have benefited from forging trade policy agreements which further concentrate OWNERSHIP on a global scale, military-industrial complex subsidies and government contracts, tax code provisions and loopholes and collective-bargaining rules – policy changes they've used their wealth to champion.

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:44

Unfortunately, when it comes to recommendations for solutions to economic inequality, virtually every commentator, politician and economist is stuck in viewing the world in one factor terms – human labor, in spite of their implied understanding that the rich are rich because they OWN the non-human means of production – physical capital. The proposed variety of wealth-building programs, like "universal savings accounts that might be subsidized for low-income savers," are not practical solutions because they rely on savings (a denial of consumption which lessens demand in the economy), which the vast majority of Americans do not have, and for those who can save their savings are modest and insignificant. Though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the "stock market exchanges," purchased with their earnings as labor workers (savings), their stock holdings are relatively minuscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners. Pew Research found that 53 percent of Americans own no stock at all, and out of the 47 percent who do, the richest 5 percent own two-thirds of that stock. And only 10 percent of Americans have pensions, so stock market gains or losses don't affect the incomes of most retirees.

As for taxpayer-supported saving subsidies or other wage-boosting measures, those who have only their labor power and its precarious value held up by coercive rigging and who desperately need capital ownership to enable them to be capital workers (their productive assets applied in the economy) as well as labor workers to have a way to earn more income, cannot satisfy their unsatisfied needs and wants and sufficiently provide for themselves and their families. With only access to labor wages, the 99 percenters will continue, in desperation, to demand more and more pay for the same or less work, as their input is exponentially replaced by productive capital.

As such, the vast majority of American consumers will continue to be strapped to mounting consumer debt bills, stagnant wages and inflationary price pressures. As their ONLY source of income is through wage employment, economic insecurity for the 99 percent majority of people means they cannot survive more than a week or two without a paycheck. Thus, the production side of the economy is under-nourished and hobbled as a result, because there are fewer and fewer "customers with money." We thus need to free economic growth from the slavery of past savings.

I mentioned that political power follows property OWNERSHIP because with concentrated capital asset OWNERSHIP our elected representatives are far too often bought with the expectation that they protect and enhance the interests of the wealthiest Americans, the OWNERSHIP class they too overwhelmingly belong to.

Many, including the author of this article, have concluded that with such a concentrated OWNERSHIP stronghold the wealthy have on our politics, "it's hard to see where this cycle ends." The ONLY way to reverse this cycle and broaden capital asset OWNERSHIP universally is a political revolution. (Bernie Sanders, are you listening?)

The political revolution must address the problem of lack of demand. To create demand, the FUTURE economy must be financed in ways that create new capital OWNERS, who will benefit from the full earnings of the FUTURE productive capability of the American economy, and without taking from those who already OWN. This means significantly slowing the further concentration of capital asset wealth among those who are already wealthy and ensuring that the system is reformed to promote inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.

yamialwaysright 5 Dec 2015 16:13

I was interested and in agreement until I read about structured racism. Many black kidsin the US grow up without a father in the house. They turn to anti-social behaviour and crime. Once you are poor it is hard to get out of being poor but Journalists are not doing justice to a critique of US Society if they ignore the fact that some people behave in a self-destructive way. I would imagine that if some black men in the US and the UK stuck with one woman and played a positive role in the life of their kids, those kids would have a better chance at life. People of different racial and ethnic origin do this also but there does seem to be a disproportionate problem with some black US men and some black UK men. Poverty is one problem but growing up in poverty and without a father figure adds to the problem.

What the author writes applies to other countries not just the US in relation to the super wealthy being a small proportion of the population yet having the same wealth as a high percentage of the population. This in not a black or latino issue but a wealth distribution issue that affects everyone irrespective of race or ethnic origin. The top 1%, 5% or 10% having most of the wealth is well-known in many countries.

nuthermerican4u 5 Dec 2015 15:59

Capitalism, especially the current vulture capitalism, is dog eat dog. Always was, always will be. My advice is that if you are a capitalist that values your heirs, invest in getting off this soon-to-be slag heap and find other planets to pillage and rape. Either go all out for capitalism or reign in this beast before it kills all of us.

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:32

Our antiquated class structure demonstrates the trickle up of Capitalism and the need to counterbalance it with progressive taxation.

In the 1960s/1970s we used high taxes on the wealthy to counter balance the trickle up of Capitalism and achieved much greater equality.

Today we have low taxes on the wealthy and Capitalism's trickle up is widening the inequality gap.

We are cutting benefits for the disabled, poor and elderly so inequality can get wider and the idle rich can remain idle.

They have issued enough propaganda to make people think it's those at the bottom that don't work.

Every society since the dawn of civilization has had a Leisure Class at the top, in the UK we call them the Aristocracy and they have been doing nothing for centuries.

The UK's aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

Feudalism - exploit the masses through land ownership
Capitalism - exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

The system itself provides for the idle rich and always has done from the first civilisations right up to the 21st Century.

The rich taking from the poor is always built into the system, taxes and benefits are the counterbalance that needs to be applied externally.

Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 15:31

I often chuckle when I read some of the right wing comments on articles such as this. Firstly, I question if readers actually read the article references I've highlighted, before rushing to comment.

Secondly, the comments are generated by cifers who probably haven't set the world alight, haven't made a difference in their local community, they'll have never created thousands of jobs in order to reward themselves with huge dividends having and as a consequence enjoy spectacular asset/investment growth, at best they'll be chugging along, just about keeping their shit together and yet they support a system that's broken, other than for the one percent, of the one percent.

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies issued this week analyzed the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans and found that "the wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States". That means that 100 families – most of whom are white – have as much wealth as the 41,000,000 black folks walking around the country (and the million or so locked up) combined.

Similarly, the report also stated that "the wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population" of the nation. Here again, the breakdown in actual humans is broke down: 186 overwhelmingly white folks have more money than that an astounding 55,000,000 Latino people.

family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery.

soundofthesuburbs -> soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:26

It is the 21st Century and most of the land in the UK is still owned by the descendants of feudal warlords that killed people and stole their land and wealth.

When there is no land to build houses for generation rent, land ownership becomes an issue.

David Cameron is married into the aristocracy and George Osborne is a member of the aristocracy, they must both be well acquainted with the Leisure Class.

I can't find any hard work going on looking at the Wikipedia page for David Cameron's father-in-law. His family have been on their estate since the sixteenth century and judging by today's thinking, expect to be on it until the end of time.

George Osborne's aristocratic pedigree goes back to the Tudor era:

"he is an aristocrat with a pedigree stretching back to early in the Tudor era. His father, Sir Peter Osborne, is the 17th holder of a hereditary baronetcy that has been passed from father to son for 10 generations, and of which George is next in line."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/george-osborne-a-silver-spoon-for-the-golden-boy-2004814.html

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:24

The working and middle classes toil to keep the upper class in luxury and leisure.

In the UK nothing has changed.

We call our Leisure Class the Aristocracy.

For the first time in five millennia of human civilisation some people at the bottom of society aren't working.

We can't have that; idleness is only for the rich.

It's the way it's always been and the way it must be again.

Did you think the upper; leisure class, social calendar disappeared in the 19th Century?
No it's alive and kicking in the 21st Century ....

Peer into the lives of today's Leisure Class with Tatler. http://www.tatler.com/the-season

If we have people at the bottom who are not working the whole of civilisation will be turned on its head.

"The modern industrial society developed from the barbarian tribal society, which featured a leisure class supported by subordinated working classes employed in economically productive occupations. The leisure class is composed of people exempted from manual work and from practicing economically productive occupations, because they belong to the leisure class."

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions, by Thorstein Veblen. It was written a long time ago but much of it is as true today as it was then. The Wikipedia entry gives a good insight.

DBChas 5 Dec 2015 15:13
"income inequality" is best viewed as structural capitalism. It's not as if, did black and brown people and female people somehow (miraculously) attain the economic status of the lower-paid, white, male person, the problem would be solved--simply by adjusting pay scales. The problem is inherent to capitalism, which doesn't mean certain "types" of people aren't more disadvantaged for their "type." No one is saying that. For capitalists, it's easier to rationalize the obscene unfairness (only rich people say, "life's not fair") when their "type" is regarded as superior to a different "type," whether that be with respect to color or gender or both.

Over time--a long time--the dominant party (white males since the Dark Ages, also the life-span of capitalism coincidentally enough) came to dominance by various means, too many to try to list, or even know of. Why white males? BTW, just because most in power and in money are white males does not mean ALL white males are in positions of power and wealth. Most are not, and these facts help to fog the issue.

Indeed, "income inequality," is not an accident, nor can it be fixed, as the author notes, by tweaking (presumably he means capitalism). And he's quite right too in saying, "You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools..." I take that ALSO to mean, the problem can't be fixed by way of what Hedges has called a collapsing liberal establishment with its various institutions, officially speaking. That is, it's not institutional racism that's collapsing, but that institution is not officially recognized as such.

HOWEVER, it IS possible, even when burdened with an economics that is capitalism, to redistribute wealth, and I don't just mean Mark Zuckerberg's. I mean all wealth in whatever form can be redistributed if/when government decides it can. And THIS TIME, unlike the 1950s-60s, not only would taxes on the wealthy be the same as then but the wealth redistributed would be redistributed to ALL, not just to white families, and perhaps in particular to red families, the oft forgotten ones.

This is a matter of political will. But, of course, if that means whites as the largest voting block insist on electing to office those without the political will, nothing will change. In that case, other means have to be considered, and just a reminder: If the government fails to serve the people, the Constitution gives to the people the right to depose that government. But again, if whites as the largest voting block AND as the largest sub-group in the nation (and women are the largest part of that block, often voting as their men vote--just the facts, please, however unpleasant) have little interest in seeing to making necessary changes at least in voting booths, then...what? Bolshevism or what? No one seems to know and it's practically taboo even to talk about possibilities. Americans did it once, but not inclusively and not even paid in many instances. When it happens again, it has to happen with and for the participation of ALL. And it's worth noting that it will have to happen again, because capitalism by its very nature cannot survive itself. That is, as Marx rightly noted, capitalism will eventually collapse by dint of its internal contradictions.


mbidding Jeremiah2000 5 Dec 2015 15:08

Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo.

Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs.

Consider as well that you don't have transportation to get a job that would improve your circumstances. You earn too much to qualify for meaningful levels of food support programs and fall into the insurance gap for subsidies because you live in a state that for ideological reasons refuses to expand Medicaid coverage. Your local schools are a disgrace but you can't take advantage of so-called school choice programs (vouchers, charters, and the like) as you don't have transportation or the time (given your employer's refusal to set fixed working hours for minimum wage part time work) to get your kids to that fine choice school.

You may have a fridge and a stove, but you have no food to cook. You may have access to running water and electricity, but you can't afford to pay the bills for such on account of having to choose between putting food in that fridge or flushing that toilet. You can't be there reliably for your kids to help with school, etc, because you work constantly shifting hours for crap pay.

Get back to me after six months to a year after living in such circumstances and then tell me again how Americans don't really live in poverty simply because they have access to appliances.


Earl Shelton 5 Dec 2015 15:08

The Earned Income Tax Credit seems to me a good starting point for reform. It has been around since the 70s -- conceived by Nixon/Moynihan -- and signed by socialist (kidding) Gerald Ford -- it already *redistributes* income (don't choke on the term, O'Reilly) directly from tax revenue (which is still largely progressive) to the working poor, with kids.

That program should be massively expanded to tax the 1% -- and especially the top 1/10 of 1% (including a wealth tax) -- and distribute the money to the bottom half of society, mostly in the form of work training, child care and other things that help put them in and keep them in the middle class. It is a mechanism already in existence to correct the worst ravages of Capitalism. Use it to build shared prosperity.


oKWJNRo 5 Dec 2015 14:40

So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context.

We can probably all agree that Capitalism has brought about widespread improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions, for example, compared to the feudal system that preceded it... But it also disproportionately benefits the upper echelons of Capitalist societies and is wholly unequal by design.

Capitalism depends upon the existence of a large underclass that can be exploited. This is part of the process of how surplus value is created and wealth is extracted from labour. This much is indisputable. It is therefore obvious that capitalism isn't an ideal system for most of us living on this planet.

As for the improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions etc that Capitalism has fostered... Most of these were won through long struggles against the Capitalist hegemony by the masses. We would have certainly chosen to make these improvements to our landscape sooner if Capitalism hadn't made every effort to stop us. The problem today is that Capitalism and its powerful beneficiaries have successfully convinced us that there is no possible alternative. It won't give us the chance to try or even permit us to believe there could be another, better way.

Martin Joseph -> realdoge 5 Dec 2015 14:33

Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this.

I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries.

VWFeature 5 Dec 2015 14:29

Markets, economies and tax systems are created by people, and based on rules they agree on. Those rules can favor general prosperity or concentration of wealth. Destruction and predation are easier than creation and cooperation, so our rules have to favor cooperation if we want to avoid predation and destructive conflicts.

In the 1930's the US changed many of those rules to favor general prosperity. Since then they've been gradually changed to favor wealth concentration and predation. They can be changed back.

The trick is creating a system that encourages innovation while putting a safety net under the population so failure doesn't end in starvation.

A large part of our current problems is the natural tendency for large companies to get larger and larger until their failure would adversely affect too many others, so they're not allowed to fail. Tax law, not antitrust law, has to work against this. If a company can reduce its tax rate by breaking into 20 smaller (still huge) companies, then competition is preserved and no one company can dominate and control markets.

Robert Goldschmidt -> Jake321 5 Dec 2015 14:27

Bernie Sanders has it right on -- we can only heal our system by first having millions rise up and demand an end to the corruption of the corporations controlling our elected representatives. Corporations are not people and money is not speech.

moonwrap02 5 Dec 2015 14:26

The effects of wealth distribution has far reaching consequences. It is not just about money, but creating a fair society - one that is co-operative and cohesive. The present system has allowed an ever divide between the rich and poor, creating a two tier society where neither the twain shall meet. The rich and poor are almost different species on the planet and no longer belong to the same community. Commonality of interest is lost and so it's difficult to form community and to have good, friendly relationships across class differences that are that large.

"If capitalism is to be seen to be fair, the same rules are to apply to the big guy as to the little guy,"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/2-charts-that-show-what-the-world-really-thinks-about-capitalism-a6719851.html


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 14:17

Sorry. I get it now. You actually think that because the Washington elite has repealed Glass-Steagel that we live in a unregulated capitalistic system.

This is so far from the truth that I wasn't comprehending that anyone could think that. You can see the graph of pages published in the Federal Register here. Unregulated capitalism? Wow.

Dodd Frank was passed in 2010 (without a single Republican vote). Originally it was 2,300 pages. It is STILL being written by nameless bureaucrats and is over 20,000 pages. Unregulated capitalism? Really?

But the reality is that Goliath is conspiring with the government to regulate what size sling David can use and how many stones and how many ounces.

So we need more government regulations? They will disallow David from anything but spitwads and only two of those.


neuronmaker -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:16

Do you understand the concept of corporations which are products of capitalism?

The legal institutions within each capitalist corporations and nations are just that, they are capitalist and all about making profits.

The law is made by the rich capitalists and for the rich capitalists. Each Legislation is a link in the chain of economic slavery by capitalists.

Capitalism and the concept of money is a construction of the human mind, as it does not exist in the natural world. This construction is all about using other human beings like blood suckers to sustain a cruel and evil life style - with blood and brutality as the core ideology.


Marcedward -> MarjaE 5 Dec 2015 14:12

I would agree that our system of help for the less-well-off could be more accessible and more generous, but that doesn't negate that point that there is a lot of help out there - the most important help being that totally free educational system. Think about it, a free education, and to get the most out of it a student merely has to show up, obey the rules, do the homework and study for tests. It's all laid out there for the kids like a helicopter mom laying out her kids clothes. How much easier can we make it? If people can't be bothered to show up and put in effort, how is their failure based on racism


tommydog -> martinusher 5 Dec 2015 14:12

As you are referring to Carlos Slim, interestingly while he is Mexican by birth his parents were both Lebanese.

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:12

Why isn't that capitalism? It's raw capitalism on steroids.

Zara Von Fritz -> Toughspike 5 Dec 2015 14:12

It's an equal opportunity plantation now.

Robert Goldschmidt 5 Dec 2015 14:11

The key to repairing the system is to identify the causes of our problems.

Here is my list:

The information technology revolution which continues to destroy wages by enabling automation and outsourcing.

The reformation of monopolies which price gouge and block innovation.

Hitting ecological limits such as climate change, water shortages, unsustainable farming.

Then we can make meaningful changes such as regulation of the portion of corporate profit that are pay, enforcement of national and regional antitrust laws and an escalating carbon tax.

Zara Von Fritz -> PostCorbyn 5 Dec 2015 14:11

If you can believe these quality of life or happiness indexes they put out so often, the winners tend to be places that have nice environments and a higher socialist mix in their economy. Of course there are examples of poor countries that practice the same but its not clear that their choice is causal rather than reactive.

We created this mess and we can fix it.

Zara Von Fritz -> dig4victory 5 Dec 2015 14:03

Yes Basic Income is possibly the mythical third way. It socialises wealth to a point but at the same time frees markets from their obligation to perpetually grow and create jobs for the sake of jobs and also hereford reduces the subsequent need for governments to attempt to control them beyond maintaining their health.

Zara Von Fritz 5 Dec 2015 13:48

As I understand it, you don't just fiddle with capitalism, you counteract it, or counterweight it. A level of capitalism, or credit accumulation, and a level of socialism has always existed, including democracy which is a manifestation of socialism (1 vote each). So the project of capital accumulation seems to be out of control because larger accumulations become more powerful and meanwhile the power of labour in the marketplace has become less so due to forces driving unemployment. The danger is that capital's power to control the democratic system reaches a point of no return.


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 13:42

"I do not have the economic freedom to grow my own food because i do not have access to enough land to grow it and i do not have the economic clout to buy a piece of land."

Economic freedom does NOT mean you get money for free. It means that means that if you grow food for personal use, the federal government doesn't trash the Constitution by using the insterstate commerce clause to say that it can regulate how much you grow on your own personal land.

Economic freedom means that if you have a widget, you can choose to set the price for $10 or $100 and that a buyer is free to buy it from you or not buy it from you. It does NOT mean that you are entitled to "free" widgets.

"If capitalism has not managed to eradicate poverty in rich first world countries then just what chance if there of capitalism eradicating poverty on a global scale?"

The average person in poverty in the U.S. doesn't live in poverty:

In fact, 80.9 percent of households below the poverty level have cell phones, and a healthy majority-58.2 percent-have computers.

Fully 96.1 percent of American households in "poverty" have a television to watch, and 83.2 percent of them have a video-recording device in case they cannot get home in time to watch the football game or their favorite television show and they want to record it for watching later.

Refrigerators (97.8 percent), gas or electric stoves (96.6 percent) and microwaves (93.2 percent) are standard equipment in the homes of Americans in "poverty."

More than 83 percent have air-conditioning.

Interestingly, the appliances surveyed by the Census Bureau that households in poverty are least likely to own are dish washers (44.9 percent) and food freezers (26.2 percent).

However, most Americans in "poverty" do not need to go to a laundromat. According to the Census Bureau, 68.7 percent of households in poverty have a clothes washer and 65.3 percent have a clothes dryer.

(Data from the U.S. census.)

[Dec 24, 2018] Phone in sick: its a small act of rebellion against wage slavery

Notable quotes:
"... By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more. ..."
"... How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish. ..."
"... I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. ..."
Oct 24, 2015 | The Guardian

"Phoning in sick is a revolutionary act." I loved that slogan. It came to me, as so many good things did, from Housmans, the radical bookshop in King's Cross. There you could rummage through all sorts of anarchist pamphlets and there I discovered, in the early 80s, the wondrous little magazine Processed World. It told you basically how to screw up your workplace. It was smart and full of small acts of random subversion. In many ways it was ahead of its time as it was coming out of San Francisco and prefiguring Silicon Valley. It saw the machines coming. Jobs were increasingly boring and innately meaningless. Workers were "data slaves" working for IBM ("Intensely Boring Machines").

What Processed World was doing was trying to disrupt the identification so many office workers were meant to feel with their management, not through old-style union organising, but through small acts of subversion. The modern office, it stressed, has nothing to do with human need. Its rebellion was about working as little as possible, disinformation and sabotage. It was making alienation fun. In 1981, it could not have known that a self-service till cannot ever phone in sick.

I was thinking of this today, as I wanted to do just that. I have made myself ill with a hangover. A hangover, I always feel, is nature's way of telling you to have a day off. One can be macho about it and eat your way back to sentience via the medium of bacon sandwiches and Maltesers. At work, one is dehydrated, irritable and only semi-present. Better, surely, though to let the day fall through you and dream away.

Having worked in America, though, I can say for sure that they brook no excuses whatsoever. When I was late for work and said things like, "My alarm clock did not go off", they would say that this was not a suitable explanation, which flummoxed me. I had to make up others. This was just to work in a shop.

This model of working – long hours, very few holidays, few breaks, two incomes needed to raise kids, crazed loyalty demanded by huge corporations, the American way – is where we're heading. Except now the model is even more punishing. It is China. We are expected to compete with an economy whose workers are often closer to indentured slaves than anything else.

This is what striving is, then: dangerous, demoralising, often dirty work. Buckle down. It's the only way forward, apparently, which is why our glorious leaders are sucking up to China, which is immoral, never mind ridiculously short-term thinking.

So again I must really speak up for the skivers. What we have to understand about austerity is its psychic effects. People must have less. So they must have less leisure, too. The fact is life is about more than work and work is rapidly changing. Skiving in China may get you killed but here it may be a small act of resistance, or it may just be that skivers remind us that there is meaning outside wage-slavery.

Work is too often discussed by middle-class people in ways that are simply unrecognisable to anyone who has done crappy jobs. Much work is not interesting and never has been. Now that we have a political and media elite who go from Oxbridge to working for a newspaper or a politician, a lot of nonsense is spouted. These people have not cleaned urinals on a nightshift. They don't sit lonely in petrol stations manning the till. They don't have to ask permission for a toilet break in a call centre. Instead, their work provides their own special identity. It is very important.

Low-status jobs, like caring, are for others. The bottom-wipers of this world do it for the glory, I suppose. But when we talk of the coming automation that will reduce employment, bottom-wiping will not be mechanised. Nor will it be romanticised, as old male manual labour is. The mad idea of reopening the coal mines was part of the left's strange notion of the nobility of labour. Have these people ever been down a coal mine? Would they want that life for their children?

Instead we need to talk about the dehumanising nature of work. Bertrand Russell and Keynes thought our goal should be less work, that technology would mean fewer hours.

Far from work giving meaning to life, in some surveys 40% of us say that our jobs are meaningless. Nonetheless, the art of skiving is verboten as we cram our children with ever longer hours of school and homework. All this striving is for what exactly? A soul-destroying job?

Just as education is decided by those who loved school, discussions about work are had by those to whom it is about more than income.

The parts of our lives that are not work – the places we dream or play or care, the space we may find creative – all these are deemed outside the economy. All this time is unproductive. But who decides that?

Skiving work is bad only to those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

So go on: phone in sick. You know you want to.

friedad 23 Oct 2015 18:27

We now exist in a society in which the Fear Cloud is wrapped around each citizen. Our proud history of Union and Labor, fighting for decent wages and living conditions for all citizens, and mostly achieving these aims, a history, which should be taught to every child educated in every school in this country, now gradually but surely eroded by ruthless speculators in government, is the future generations are inheriting. The workforce in fear of taking a sick day, the young looking for work in fear of speaking out at diminishing rewards, definitely this 21st Century is the Century of Fear. And how is this fear denied, with mind blowing drugs, regardless if it is is alcohol, description drugs, illicit drugs, a society in denial. We do not require a heavenly object to destroy us, a few soulless monsters in our mist are masters of manipulators, getting closer and closer to accomplish their aim of having zombies doing their beckoning. Need a kidney, no worries, zombie dishwasher, is handy for one. Oh wait that time is already here.

Hemulen6 23 Oct 2015 15:06

Oh join the real world, Suzanne! Many companies now have a limit to how often you can be sick. In the case of the charity I work for it's 9 days a year. I overstepped it, I was genuinely sick, and was hauled up in front of Occupational Health. That will now go on my record and count against me. I work for a cancer care charity. Irony? Surely not.

AlexLeo -> rebel7 23 Oct 2015 13:34

Which is exactly my point. You compete on relevant job skills and quality of your product, not what school you have attended.

Yes, there are thousands, tens of thousands of folks here around San Jose who barely speak English, but are smart and hard working as hell and it takes them a few years to get to 150-200K per year, Many of them get to 300-400K, if they come from strong schools in their countries of origin, compared to the 10k or so where they came from, but probably more than the whining readership here.

This is really difficult to swallow for the Brits back in Britain, isn't it. Those who have moved over have experiences the type of social mobility unthinkable in Britain, but they have had to work hard and get to 300K-700K per year, much better than the 50-100K their parents used to make back in GB. These are averages based on personal interactions with say 50 Brits in the last 15 + years, all employed in the Silicon Valley in very different jobs and roles.

Todd Owens -> Scott W 23 Oct 2015 11:00

I get what you're saying and I agree with a lot of what you said. My only gripe is most employees do not see an operation from a business owner or managerial / financial perspective. They don't understand the costs associated with their performance or lack thereof. I've worked on a lot of projects that we're operating at a loss for a future payoff. When someone decides they don't want to do the work they're contracted to perform that can have a cascading effect on the entire company.

All in all what's being described is for the most part misguided because most people are not in the position or even care to evaluate the particulars. So saying you should do this to accomplish that is bullshit because it's rarely such a simple equation. If anything this type of tactic will leaf to MORE loss and less money for payroll.


weematt -> Barry1858 23 Oct 2015 09:04

Sorry you just can't have a 'nicer' capitalism.

War ( business by other means) and unemployment ( you can't buck the market), are inevitable concomitants of capitalist competition over markets, trade routes and spheres of interests. (Remember the war science of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from the 'good guys' ?)
"..capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt". (Marx)

You can't have full employment, or even the 'Right to Work'.

There is always ,even in boom times a reserve army of unemployed, to drive down wages. (If necessary they will inject inflation into the economy)
Unemployment is currently 5.5 percent or 1,860,000 people. If their "equilibrium rate" of unemployment is 4% rather than 5% this would still mean 1,352,000 "need be unemployed". The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.
Government is 'over' you not 'for' you.

Governments do not exist to ensure 'fair do's' but to manage social expectations with the minimum of dissent, commensurate with the needs of capitalism in the interests of profit.

Worker participation amounts to self managing workers self exploitation for the maximum of profit for the capitalist class.

Exploitation takes place at the point of production.

" Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wages system!'"

Karl Marx [Value, Price and Profit]

John Kellar 23 Oct 2015 07:19

Fortunately; as a retired veteran I don't have to worry about phoning in sick.However; during my Air Force days if you were sick, you had to get yourself to the Base Medical Section and prove to a medical officer that you were sick. If you convinced the medical officer of your sickness then you may have been luck to receive on or two days sick leave. For those who were very sick or incapable of getting themselves to Base Medical an ambulance would be sent - promptly.


Rchrd Hrrcks -> wumpysmum 23 Oct 2015 04:17

The function of civil disobedience is to cause problems for the government. Let's imagine that we could get 100,000 people to agree to phone in sick on a particular date in protest at austerity etc. Leaving aside the direct problems to the economy that this would cause. It would also demonstrate a willingness to take action. It would demonstrate a capability to organise mass direct action. It would demonstrate an ability to bring people together to fight injustice. In and of itself it might not have much impact, but as a precedent set it could be the beginning of something massive, including further acts of civil disobedience.


wumpysmum Rchrd Hrrcks 23 Oct 2015 03:51

There's already a form of civil disobedience called industrial action, which the govt are currently attacking by attempting to change statute. Random sickies as per my post above are certainly not the answer in the public sector at least, they make no coherent political point just cause problems for colleagues. Sadly too in many sectors and with the advent of zero hours contracts sickies put workers at risk of sanctions and lose them earnings.


Alyeska 22 Oct 2015 22:18

I'm American. I currently have two jobs and work about 70 hours a week, and I get no paid sick days. In fact, the last time I had a job with a paid sick day was 2001. If I could afford a day off, you think I'd be working 70 hours a week?

I barely make rent most months, and yes... I have two college degrees. When I try to organize my coworkers to unionize for decent pay and benefits, they all tell me not to bother.... they are too scared of getting on management's "bad side" and "getting in trouble" (yes, even though the law says management can't retaliate.)

Unions are different in the USA than in the UK. The workforce has to take a vote to unionize the company workers; you can't "just join" a union here. That's why our pay and working conditions have gotten worse, year after year.


rtb1961 22 Oct 2015 21:58

By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more.

Pay less attention to advertising and more attention to the enjoyable simplicity of life, of real direct human relationships, all of them, the ones in passing where you wish a stranger well, chats with service staff to make their life better as well as your own, exchange thoughts and ideas with others, be a human being and share humanity with other human beings.

Mkjaks 22 Oct 2015 20:35

How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish.

toffee1 22 Oct 2015 19:13

It is only considered productive if it feeds the beast, that is, contribute to the accumulation of capital so that the beast can have more power over us. The issue here is the wage labor. The 93 percent of the U.S. working population perform wage labor (see BLS site). It is the highest proportion in any society ever came into history. Under the wage labor (employment) contract, the worker gives up his/her decision making autonomy. The worker accepts the full command of his/her employer during the labor process. The employer directs and commands the labor process to achieve the goals set by himself. Compare this, for example, self-employed providing a service (for example, a plumber). In this case, the customer describes the problem to the service provider but the service provider makes all the decisions on how to organize and apply his labor to solve the problem. Or compare it to a democratically organized coop, where workers make all the decisions collectively, where, how and what to produce. Under the present economic system, a great majority of us are condemned to work in large corporations performing wage labor. The system of wage labor stripping us from autonomy on our own labor, creates all the misery in our present world through alienation. Men and women lose their humanity alienated from their own labor. Outside the world of wage labor, labor can be a source self-realization and true freedom. Labor can be the real fulfillment and love. Labor together our capacity to love make us human. Bourgeoisie dehumanized us steeling our humanity. Bourgeoisie, who sold her soul to the beast, attempting to turn us into ever consuming machines for the accumulation of capital.

patimac54 -> Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 17:39

Well said. Most retail employers have cut staff to the minimum possible to keep the stores open so if anyone is off sick, it's the devil's own job trying to just get customers served. Making your colleagues work even harder than they normally do because you can't be bothered to act responsibly and show up is just plain selfish.
And sorry, Suzanne, skiving work is nothing more than an act of complete disrespect for those you work with. If you don't understand that, try getting a proper job for a few months and learn how to exercise some self control.

TettyBlaBla -> FranzWilde 22 Oct 2015 17:25

It's quite the opposite in government jobs where I am in the US. As the fiscal year comes to a close, managers look at their budgets and go on huge spending sprees, particularly for temp (zero hours in some countries) help and consultants. They fear if they don't spend everything or even a bit more, their spending will be cut in the next budget. This results in people coming in to do work on projects that have no point or usefulness, that will never be completed or even presented up the food chain of management, and ends up costing taxpayers a small fortune.

I did this one year at an Air Quality Agency's IT department while the paid employees sat at their desks watching portable televisions all day. It was truly demeaning.

oommph -> Michael John Jackson 22 Oct 2015 16:59

Thing is though, children - dependents to pay for - are the easiest way to keep yourself chained to work.

The homemaker model works as long as your spouse's employer retains them (and your spouse retains you in an era of 40% divorce).

You are just as dependent on an employer and "work" but far less in control of it now.


Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 16:41

I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. If I found out one of my co-workers called in because of a hangover, I'd be pissed. You made the choice to get drunk, knowing that you had to work the following morning. Putting it into the same category of someone who is sick and may not have the luxury of taking off because of a bad employer is insulting.


[Dec 21, 2018] Looks like an o ld, sick neocon Hillarty still tries to influence events, continuing her warmongring

The trouble with CIA democrats is not that they are stupid, but that that are evil.
Hillary proved to be really destructive witch during her Obama stunt as the Secretary of State. Destroyed Libya and Ukraine, which is no small feat.
Notable quotes:
"... The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided. ..."
"... She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League. ..."
Dec 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Pavel , December 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

The Grauniad just quoted a tweet from a predictably OUTRAGED @HillaryClinton:

Actions have consequences, and whether we're in Syria or not, the people who want to harm us are there & at war. Isolationism is weakness. Empowering ISIS is dangerous. Playing into Russia & Iran's hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.

This from the woman who almost singlehandedly (i.e. along with David Cameron and Sarkovy) destroyed Libya and allowed -- if not encouraged -- the flow of US weapons to go into the hands of ISIS allies in the US-Saudi-Israeli obsession with toppling Assad regardless of the consequences. As Justin Raimondo wrote in Antiwar.com in 2015:

The policy of the Obama administration, and particularly Hillary Clinton's State Department, was – and still is – regime change in Syria. This overrode all other considerations. We armed, trained, and "vetted" the Syrian rebels, even as we looked the other way while the Saudis and the Gulf sheikdoms funded groups like al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates who wouldn't pass muster. And our "moderates" quickly passed into the ranks of the outfront terrorists, complete with the weapons we'd provided.

This crazy policy was an extension of our regime change operation in Libya, a.k.a. "Hillary's War," where the US – "leading from behind" – and a coalition of our Western allies and the Gulf protectorates overthrew Muammar Qaddafi. There, too, we empowered radical Islamists with links to al-Qaeda affiliates – and then used them to ship weapons to their Syrian brothers, as another document uncovered by Judicial Watch shows.

After HRC's multiple foreign policy fiascos she is the last person who should be commenting on this matter.

a different chris, December 21, 2018 at 11:50 am

> the people who want to harm us are there & at war

Sounds like then they are too busy to harm us? She is truly an idiot. Thanks again, Ivy League.

[Dec 20, 2018] Manufacturing Truth by CJ Hopkins

Dec 04, 2018 | off-guardian.org
you're one of the millions of human beings who, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, still believe there is such a thing as "the truth," you might not want to read this essay. Seriously, it can be extremely upsetting when you discover that there is no "truth" or rather, that what we're all conditioned to regard as "truth" from the time we are children is just the product of a technology of power, and not an empirical state of being. Humans, upon first encountering this fact, have been known to freak completely out and start jabbering about the "Word of God," or "the immutable laws of quantum physics," and run around burning other people at the stake or locking them up and injecting them with Thorazine. I don't want to be responsible for anything like that, so consider this your trigger warning.

OK, now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at how "truth" is manufactured. It's actually not that complicated. See, the "truth" is well, it's a story, essentially. It's whatever story we are telling ourselves at any given point in history ("we" being the majority of people, those conforming to the rules of whatever system wields enough power to dictate the story it wants everyone to be telling themselves). Everyone understands this intuitively, but the majority of people pretend they don't in order to be able to get by in the system, which punishes anyone who does not conform to its rules, or who contradicts its story. So, basically, to manufacture the truth, all you really need is (a) a story, and (b) enough power to coerce a majority of people in your society to pretend to believe it.

I'll return to this point a little later. First, let's look at a concrete example of our system manufacturing "truth." I'm going to use The Guardian's most recent blatantly fabricated article ( "Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy" ) as an example, but I could just as well have chosen any of a host of other fabricated stories disseminated by "respectable" outlets over the course of the last two years. The "Russian Propaganda Peddlers" story. The "Russia Might Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton" story. The "Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid" story. The "Golden Showers Russian Pee-Tape" story. The "Novichok Assassins" story. The "Bana Alabed Speaks Out" story. The "Trump's Secret Russian Server" story. The "Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis" story. The "Russians Orchestrated Brexit" story. The "Russia is Going to Hack the Midterms" story. The "Twitter Bots" story. And the list goes on.

I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama, and many others). [ ed. including us ]

The short version is, The Guardian's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece (employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

[Dec 20, 2018] Opinion The Guardian's Desperate Attempt To Connect Assange To Russiagate Backfires

Dec 20, 2018 | disobedientmedia.com

The Guardian's latest attack on Julian Assange was not only a fallacious smear, it represented a desperate attempt on behalf of the British intelligence community to conflate the pending US charges against the journalist with Russiagate. The Guardian's article seeks to deflect from the reality that the prosecution of Assange will focus on Chelsea Manning-Era releases and Vault 7, not the DNC or Podesta emails.

We assert this claim based on the timing of the publication, the Guardian's history of subservience to British intelligence agencies, animosity between The Guardian and WikiLeaks, and the longstanding personal feud between Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Assange. This conclusion is also supported by Harding's financial and career interest in propping up the Russiagate narrative

[Dec 20, 2018] The Guardian's Reputation In Tatters After Forger Revealed To Have Co-Authored Assange Smear

Notable quotes:
"... " The information in this post alone should make everyone question why in the world the Guardian would continue to use a source like Villavicencio who is obviously tied to the U.S. government, the CIA, individuals like Thor Halvorssen and Bill Browder, and opponents of both Julian Assange and former President Rafael Correa." ..."
"... 2014 Ecuador's Foreign Ministry accused the Guardian of publishing a story based on a document it says was fabricated by Fernando Villavicencio, pictured below with the authors of the fake Manafort-Assange 'secret meeting' story, Harding and Collyns." ..."
"... "There is also evidence that the author of this falsified document is Fernando Villavicencio, a convicted slanderer and opponent of Ecuador's current government. This can be seen from the file properties of the document that the Guardian had originally posted (but which it has since taken down and replaced with a version with this evidence removed)." ..."
"... " This video from the news wire Andes alleges that Villavicencio's name appeared in the metadata of the document originally uploaded alongside The Guardian's story." ..."
"... One of my greatest journalistic experiences was working for months on Assange's research with colleagues from the British newspaper the Guardian, Luke Harding, Dan Collins and the young journalist Cristina Solórzano from @ somos_lafuente " ..."
"... The tweet suggests, but does not specifically state, that Villavicencio worked with the disastrous duo on the Assange-Manafort piece. Given the history and associations of all involved, this statement alone should cause extreme skepticism in any unsubstantiated claims, or 'anonymously sourced' claims, the Guardian makes concerning Julian Assange and Ecuador. ..."
"... The two photographs of Villavicencio with Harding and Collyns as well as the evidence showing he co-authored the piece doesn't just capture a trio of terrible journalists, it documents the involvement of multiple actors associated with intelligence agencies and fabricated stories. ..."
"... Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win." ..."
"... That Harding and Collyns worked intensively with Villavicencio for "months" on the "Assange story," the fact that Villavicencio was initially listed as a co-author on the original version of the Guardian's article, and the recent denial by Fidel Narvaez , raises the likelihood that Harding and the Guardian were not simply the victims of bad sources who duped them, as claimed by some. ..."
Dec 20, 2018 | disobedientmedia.com

Regular followers of WikiLeaks-related news are at this point familiar with the multiple serious infractions of journalistic ethics by Luke Harding and the Guardian, especially (though not exclusively) when it comes to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. However, another individual at the heart of this matter is far less familiar to the public. That man is Fernando Villavicencio, a prominent Ecuadorian political activist and journalist, director of the USAID-funded NGO Fundamedios and editor of online publication FocusEcuador .

Most readers are also aware of the Guardian's recent publication of claims that Julian Assange met with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on three occasions. This has now been definitively debunked by Fidel Narvaez, the former Consul at Ecuador's London embassy between 2010 and 2018, who says Paul Manafort has never visited the embassy during the time he was in charge there. But this was hardly the first time the outlet published a dishonest smear authored by Luke Harding against Assange. The paper is also no stranger to publishing stories based on fabricated documents.

In May, Disobedient Media reported on the Guardian's hatchet-job relating to 'Operation Hotel,' or rather, the normal security operations of the embassy under former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. That hit-piece , co-authored by Harding and Dan Collyns, asserted among other things that (according to an anonymous source) Assange hacked the embassy's security system. The allegation was promptly refuted by Correa as "absurd" in an interview with The Intercept , and also by WikiLeaks as an "anonymous libel" with which the Guardian had "gone too far this time. We're suing."

A shared element of The Guardian's 'Operation Hotel' fabrications and the latest libel attempting to link Julian Assange to Paul Manafort is none other than Fernando Villavicencio of FocusEcuador. In 2014 Villavicencio was caught passing a forged document to the Guardian , which published it without verifying it. When the forgery was revealed, the Guardian hurriedly took the document down but then tried to cover up that it had been tampered with by Villavicencio when it re-posted it a few days later.

How is Villavicencio tied to The Guardian's latest smear of Assange? Intimately, it turns out.

Who is Fernando Villavicencio?

Earlier this year, an independent journalist writing under the pseudonym Jimmyslama penned a comprehensive report detailing Villavicencio's relationships with pro-US actors within Ecuador and the US. She sums up her findings, which are worth reading in full :

" The information in this post alone should make everyone question why in the world the Guardian would continue to use a source like Villavicencio who is obviously tied to the U.S. government, the CIA, individuals like Thor Halvorssen and Bill Browder, and opponents of both Julian Assange and former President Rafael Correa."

As most readers recall, it was Correa who granted Assange asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Villavicencio was so vehemently opposed to Rafael Correa's socialist government that during the failed 2010 coup against Correa he falsely accused the President of "crimes against humanity" by ordering police to fire on the crowds (it was actually Correa who was being shot at). Correa sued him for libel, and won, but pardoned Villavicencio for the damages awarded by the court.

Assange legal analyst Hanna Jonasson recently made the link between the Ecuadorian forger Villavicencio and Luke Harding's Guardian stories based on dubious documents explicit. She Tweeted : 2014 Ecuador's Foreign Ministry accused the Guardian of publishing a story based on a document it says was fabricated by Fernando Villavicencio, pictured below with the authors of the fake Manafort-Assange 'secret meeting' story, Harding and Collyns."

Jonasson included a link to a 2014 official Ecuadorian government statement which reads in part:

"There is also evidence that the author of this falsified document is Fernando Villavicencio, a convicted slanderer and opponent of Ecuador's current government. This can be seen from the file properties of the document that the Guardian had originally posted (but which it has since taken down and replaced with a version with this evidence removed)."

The statement also notes that Villavicencio had fled the country after his conviction for libeling Correa during the 2010 coup and was at that time living as a fugitive in the United States.

It is incredibly significant, as Jonasson argues, that the authors of the Guardian's latest libelous article were photographed with Villavicencio in Ecuador shortly before publication of the Guardian's claim that Assange had conducted meetings with Manafort.

Jonasson's Twitter thread also states: " This video from the news wire Andes alleges that Villavicencio's name appeared in the metadata of the document originally uploaded alongside The Guardian's story." The 2014 Guardian piece, which aimed a falsified shot at then-President Rafael Correa, would not be the last time Villavicencio's name would appear on a controversial Guardian story before being scrubbed from existence.

Just days after the backlash against the Guardian reached fever-pitch, Villavicencio had the gall to publish another image of himself with Harding and Collyns, gloating : "

One of my greatest journalistic experiences was working for months on Assange's research with colleagues from the British newspaper the Guardian, Luke Harding, Dan Collins and the young journalist Cristina Solórzano from @ somos_lafuente " [Translated from Spanish]

The tweet suggests, but does not specifically state, that Villavicencio worked with the disastrous duo on the Assange-Manafort piece. Given the history and associations of all involved, this statement alone should cause extreme skepticism in any unsubstantiated claims, or 'anonymously sourced' claims, the Guardian makes concerning Julian Assange and Ecuador.

Astoundingly, and counter to Villavicencio's uncharacteristic coyness, a recent video posted by WikiLeaks via Twitter does show that Villavicencio was originally listed as a co-author of the Guardian's Manafort-Assange allegations, before his name was edited out of the online article. The original version can be viewed, however, thanks to archive services.

The two photographs of Villavicencio with Harding and Collyns as well as the evidence showing he co-authored the piece doesn't just capture a trio of terrible journalists, it documents the involvement of multiple actors associated with intelligence agencies and fabricated stories.

All of this provoke the question: did Villavicencio provide more bogus documents to Harding and Collyns – Harding said he'd seen a document, though he didn't publish one (or even quote from it) so readers might judge its veracity for themselves – or perhaps these three invented the accusations out of whole-cloth?

Either way, to quote WikiLeaks, the Guardian has "gone too far this time" and its already-tattered reputation is in total shambles.

Successful Propaganda, Failed Journalism

Craig Murray calls Harding an " MI6 tool ", but to this writer, Harding seems worse than an MI6 stooge: He's a wannabe-spook, hanging from the coat-tails of anonymous intelligence officers and publishing their drivel as fact without so much as a skeptical blink. His lack of self-awareness and conflation of anecdote with evidence sets him apart as either one of the most blatant, fumbling propagandists of our era, or the most hapless hack journalist to stain the pages of printed news.

To provide important context on Harding's previous journalistic irresponsibility, we again recall that he co-authored the infamous book containing the encryption password of the entire Cablegate archive, leading to a leak of the unredacted State Department Cables across the internet. Although the guilty Guardian journalists tried to blame Assange for the debacle, it was they themselves who ended up on the receiving end of some well-deserved scorn.

In addition to continuing the Guardian's and Villavicencio's vendetta against Assange and WikiLeaks, it is clearly in Harding's financial interests to conflate the pending prosecution of Assange with Russiagate. As this writer previously noted , Harding penned a book on the subject, titled: " Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win." Tying Assange to Russiagate is good for business, as it stokes public interest in the self-evidently faulty narrative his book supports.

Even more concerning is the claim amongst publishing circles, fueled by recent events, that Harding may be writing another book on Assange, with publication presumably timed for his pending arrest and extradition and designed to cash in on the trial. If that is in fact the case, the specter arises that Harding is working to push for Assange's arrest, not just on behalf of US, UK or Ecuadorian intelligence interests, but also to increase his own book sales.

That Harding and Collyns worked intensively with Villavicencio for "months" on the "Assange story," the fact that Villavicencio was initially listed as a co-author on the original version of the Guardian's article, and the recent denial by Fidel Narvaez , raises the likelihood that Harding and the Guardian were not simply the victims of bad sources who duped them, as claimed by some.

It indicates that the fake story was constructed deliberately on behalf of the very same intelligence establishment that the Guardian is nowadays only too happy to take the knee for.

In summary, one of the most visible establishment media outlets published a fake story on its front page, in an attempt to manufacture a crucial cross-over between the pending prosecution of Assange and the Russiagate saga. This represents the latest example in an onslaught of fake news directed at Julian Assange and WikiLeaks ever since they published the largest CIA leak in history in the form of Vault 7, an onslaught which appears to be building in both intensity and absurdity as time goes on.

The Guardian has destroyed its reputation, and in the process, revealed the desperation of the establishment when it comes to Assange.

[Dec 17, 2018] Withouth the USSR as a countervailing force the level of inequality in Western societies will always rise to the level on which riots will start and then will fluctuates around this level.

Dec 17, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

AmyInNH -> Riever , 23 Aug 2016 10:00

Swing between extremes, however, consistent in US history, economic predatory dependence on free/ultra cheap labor with no legal rights. Current instantiation, offshored and illegal and "temporary" immigrant labor. Note neither party in the US is proposing "immigration reform" is green card upon hire. Ds merely propose green card for time served for those over X number of years donated as captive/cheap.
The entitled to cheap/captive now want it in law, national laws and trade agreements.
All privilege/no responsibilities, including taxes.
Doesn't scale. 1929 says so, 2008 says so.
CivilDiscussion , 23 Aug 2016 10:25
Liberals, the Left, Progressives -- whatever you want to call them suffer from a basic problem. They don't work together and have no common goals. As the article stated they complain but offer no real solutions that they can agree on. Should we emphasize gay pride or should we emphasize good-paying jobs and benefits with good social welfare benefits? Until they can agree at least on priorities they will never reform the current corrupt system -- it is too entrenched. Even if the Capitalist Monstrosity we have now self-destructs as the writer indicates -- nothing good will replace it until the Left get their act together.
AmyInNH -> Juillette , 23 Aug 2016 10:16
"Lesser of two evils" needs to go on the burn pile.
Encumbent congress needs a turn over.
Not showing up to vote is not okay. If people can't think of someone they want to write-in, "none of the above" is a protest vote. Not voting is silence, which equals consent.
Local elections, beat back Koch/ALEC, hiding on ballots as "Libertarian". "Privatize everything" is their mantra, so they can further profitize via inescapeable taxes, while gutting "regulation" - safety and market integrity, with no accountability.
Corporation 101: limited liability. While means we are left holding the bag. As in bailout - $125 billion in 1990, up to $7.7 trillion in 2008.
Dave_P -> Isiodore , 23 Aug 2016 09:59
Anything the Economist presents as the overriding choice is probably best relegated to one factor among many. I respect Milanovic's work, but he's seeing things from where we are now. Remember we've seen populist surges come and go from the witch-burnings and religious panics of the 17th century to 1890s Bryanism and the 1930s far right, and each time they've yielded to a more articulate vision, though the last time it cost sixty million dead - not something we want to see repeated. This time it's hard because dissent still clings to a "post-ideological" delusion that those on top never succumbed to. But change will come as what I'd term "post-rational" alternatives fail to deliver. Let's hope it's sooner rather than later.
willpodmore , 23 Aug 2016 09:53
"Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt." Thank you Martin, at least someone writing in the Guardian has got the point!
We voted against the EU's unelected European Central Bank, its unelected European Commission, its European Court of Justice, its Common Agricultural Policy and its Common Fisheries Policy.
We voted against the EU's treaty-enshrined 'austerity' (= depression) policies, which have impoverished Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
We voted against the EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would privatise all our public services, which threatens all our rights, and which discriminates against the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
We voted against the EU's tariffs against African farmers' cheaper produce.
We opposed the City of London Corporation, the Institute of Directors, the CBI, the IMF, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley, which all wanted us to stay in the EU.
We voted against the EU's undemocratic trilogue procedure and its pro-austerity Semester programme. We voted to leave this undemocratic, privatisation-enforcing, austerity-enforcing body.
AmyInNH -> ciaofornow , 23 Aug 2016 10:39
Bailout was because that was public savings, pensions, 401ks, etc. the banks were playing with, and lost. Bailout is billing all of us for it. Bad, letting the banks/financial "services" not only survive but continue the exact same practices.
Bailout: $7.2 to $7.7 trillion. Current derivative holdings: $500 trillion.
Not just moral hazard but economic hazard when capitalism basic rule is broken, allow bad businesses to die of their own accord. Subversion currently called "too big to fail", rather than tell the public "we lost all your savings, pensions, ...".
AmyInNH -> Dave_P , 23 Aug 2016 09:40
Relocating poverty from the East into the West isn't improvement.
Creating sweatshops in the East isn't raising their standard of living.
Creating economies so economically unstable that population declines isn't improvement.
Trying to bury that fact with immigration isn't improvement.
Configuring all of the above for record profit for the benefit of a tiny percentage of the population isn't improvement.
Gaming tax law to avoid paying into/for extensive business use of federal services and tax base isn't improvement.
Game over. Time for a reboot.
marxistelf -> Tobyrob , 23 Aug 2016 09:24
I am glad you finally concede a point on neo-liberalism. The moral hazard argument is extremely poor and typical in this era of runaway CEO pay, of a tendency to substitute self-help fables (a la "The monk who sold his Ferrari) and pop psychology ( a la Moral Hazard) for credible economic analysis.
The economic crisis is rooted in the profit motive just as capitalist economic growth is. Lowering of Tarrif barriers, outsourcing, changes in value capture (added value), new financial instruments, were attempts to restore the falling rate of profit. They did for a while, but, as always happens with Capitalism, the seeds of the new crisis were in the solution to the old.
And all the while the state continues growing in an attempt to keep capitalism afloat. Neoliberalism failed ( or should I say "small state" ) and here is the graph to prove it:
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/include/usgs_chartSp03t.png
Homer32 , 23 Aug 2016 07:32
Interesting, and I believe accurate, analysis of the economic and political forces afoot. However it is ludicrous to state that Donald trump, who is a serial corpratist, out-sourcer, tax avoider and scam artist, actually believes any of those populist principles that you ascribe so firmly to him. The best and safest outcome of our election, in my opinion, would be to have a Clinton administration tempered by the influences from the populist wings of both parties.
Juillette , 23 Aug 2016 06:42
Great article, however the elite globalists are in complete denial in the US. Our only choice is to vote them out of power because the are owned by Wall Street. Both Bernie and Trump supporters should unite to vote establishment out of Washington.
Dave_P -> ShaunNewman , 23 Aug 2016 06:38
The opiate of the masses. As the churches empty, the stadiums fill.
Dave_P -> ciaofornow , 23 Aug 2016 06:36
There were similar observations in the immediate aftermath of 2008, and doubtless before. Many of us thought the crisis would trigger a rethink of the whole direction of the previous three decades, but instead we got austerity and a further lurch to the right, or at best Obama-style stimulus and modest tweaks which were better than the former but still rather missed the point. I still find it flabbergasting and depressing, but on reflection the 1930s should have been a warning of not just the economic hazards but also the political fallout, at least in Europe. The difference was that this time left ideology had all but vacated the field in the 1980s and was in no position to lead a fightback: all we can hope for is better late than never.
idontreadtheguardian -> thisisafact , 23 Aug 2016 05:16
Yes it is, it's an extremely bad thing destroying the fabric of society. Social science has documented that even the better off are more happy, satisfied with life and feel safer in societies (i.e. the Scandinavian) where there is a relatively high degree of economic equality. Yes, economic inequality is a BAD thing in itself.

Oh, give me a break. Social science will document anything it can publish, no matter how spurious. If Scandanavia is so great, why are they such pissheads? There has always been inequality, including in workers' paradises like the Soviet Union and Communist China. Inequality is what got us where we are today, through natural selection. Phenotype is largely dependent on genotype, so why shouldn't we pass on material wealth as well as our genes? Surely it is a parent's right to afford their offspring advantages if they can do so?

SaulGe -> John Black , 23 Aug 2016 03:30
Have you got any numbers? Or references for your allegations. I say the average or median wealth, opportunity, economic circumstance and health measures are substantially better than a generation (lets say 30 years) ago.

Heres this years data. Note the top 25 or so are almost all liberal western type democracies with mixed economies. http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_price_rankings?itemId=105

And here is the graph showing growth in wages whilst it slowed for a variety of complex reasons has been overall strong for 25 of the last 30 years http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2015/jun/pdf/bu-0615-2.pdf

Again I don't think our system is perfect. I don't deny that some in our societies struggle and don't benefit, particularly the poorly educated, disabled, mentally ill and drug addicted. I actually agree that we could better target our social redistribution from those that have to those that need help. I disagree that we need higher taxes, protectionism, socialism, more public servants, more legislation. Indeed I disagree with proposition that other systems are better.

shastakath -> TimWorstall , 23 Aug 2016 03:17
George Orwell said, in the 30s, that the price of social justice would include a lowering of living standards for the working- & middle-classes, at least temporarily, so I follow your line of thought. However, the outrageous tilt toward the upper .1% has no "adjustment" fluff to shield it from the harsh despotism it represents. So, do put that in your statistical pipe and smoke it.

[Dec 17, 2018] The only problem with the slogan "make America great again" is that the USA is not America

Add to this that Trump changed his election slogan from "make America [ "working class"] great again" to "make Amerca [financial oligarchy] great again"
Dec 17, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

ShaunNewman -> TyroneBHorneigh , 23 Aug 2016 00:29

The only problem is that 'America' does not exist. America is a part description of a continent and I think we are talking about the USA (only one country on North American soil) Why do the yanks always have to exaggerate their own importance like the Olympics bloke who claimed he was robbed at gunpoint lol! Do the USAians actually have an inferiority complex?

[Dec 16, 2018] Exploitation of other people as a priority as well as lack on empathy and compassion are two components which make up a psychopathic personality

Neoliberalism as "psychopath-friendly" social system...
Dec 16, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

ShaunNewman -> Mauryan , 23 Aug 2016 20:59

Exploitation is high on the priority list of any Tory government, wealth should be distributed much more fairly than it currently is. The tories only serve the rich, they have no time or empathy for the poor.

Empathy and compassion are vacant in the tory philosophy of the world. These two components make up a psychopathic personality.

[Dec 16, 2018] Neoliberalism has had its day. So what happens next (The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics) by Martin Jacques

Highly recommended!
It is very interesting and educational to read this pre-election article two years later and see where the author is right and where he is wrong. The death of neoliberalism was greatly exaggerated. It simply mutated in the USA into "national neoliberalism" under Trump. As no clear alternative exists it remain the dominant ideology and universities still brainwash students with neoclassical economics. And in way catchy slogan "Make America great again" under Trump means "Make American working and lower middle class great again"
It is also clear that Trump betrayed or was forced to betray most of his election promises. Standrd of living of common americans did not improve under his watch. most of hi benefits of his tax cuts went to large corporations and financial oligarch. He continued the policy of financial deregulation, which is tantamount of playing with open fire trying to warm up the house
What we see under Trump is tremendous growth of political role of intelligence agencies which now are real kingmakers and can sink any candidate which does not support their agenda. And USA intelligence agencies operated in 2016 in close cooperation with the UK intelligence agencies to the extent that it is not clear who has the lead in creating Steele dossier. They are definitely out of control of executive branch and play their own game. We also see a rise of CIA democrats as a desperate attempt to preserve the power of Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ('soft neoliberals" turned under Hillary into into warmongers and neocons) . Hillary and Bill themselves clearly belong to CIA democrats too, not only to Wall Street democrats, despite the fact that they sold Democratic Party to Wall Street in the past. New Labor in UK did the same.
But if it is more or less clear now what happened in the USa in 2016-2018, it is completely unclear what will happen next. I think in no way neoliberalism will start to be dismantled. there is no social forces powerful enough to start this job, We probably need another financial crisi of the scale of 2008 for this work to be reluctantly started by ruling elite. And we better not to have this repetition of 2008 as it will be really devastating for common people.
Notable quotes:
"... the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion. ..."
"... It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present. ..."
"... In the period 1948-1972, every section of the American population experienced very similar and sizable increases in their standard of living; between 1972-2013, the bottom 10% experienced falling real income while the top 10% did far better than everyone else. In the US, the median real income for full-time male workers is now lower than it was four decades ago: the income of the bottom 90% of the population has stagnated for over 30 years . ..."
"... On average, between 65-70% of households in 25 high-income economies experienced stagnant or falling real incomes between 2005 and 2014. ..."
"... As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable. ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... "'Populism' is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don't like." Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both. ..."
"... According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population. ..."
"... The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement. ..."
"... Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation . ..."
"... those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s. ..."
"... Capital in the Twenty-First Century ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

In the early 1980s the author was one of the first to herald the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the west. Here he argues that this doctrine is now faltering. But what happens next?

The western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer. Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.

After almost nine years, we are finally beginning to reap the political whirlwind of the financial crisis. But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left had all bought into its philosophy, New Labour a classic in point. They knew no other way of thinking or doing: it had become the common sense. It was, as Antonio Gramsci put it, hegemonic. But that hegemony cannot and will not survive the test of the real world.

The first inkling of the wider political consequences was evident in the turn in public opinion against the banks, bankers and business leaders. For decades, they could do no wrong: they were feted as the role models of our age, the default troubleshooters of choice in education, health and seemingly everything else. Now, though, their star was in steep descent, along with that of the political class. The effect of the financial crisis was to undermine faith and trust in the competence of the governing elites. It marked the beginnings of a wider political crisis.

But the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion.

It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present.

But by far the most disastrous feature of the neoliberal period has been the huge growth in inequality. Until very recently, this had been virtually ignored. With extraordinary speed, however, it has emerged as one of, if not the most important political issue on both sides of the Atlantic, most dramatically in the US. It is, bar none, the issue that is driving the political discontent that is now engulfing the west. Given the statistical evidence, it is puzzling, shocking even, that it has been disregarded for so long; the explanation can only lie in the sheer extent of the hegemony of neoliberalism and its values.

But now reality has upset the doctrinal apple cart. In the period 1948-1972, every section of the American population experienced very similar and sizable increases in their standard of living; between 1972-2013, the bottom 10% experienced falling real income while the top 10% did far better than everyone else. In the US, the median real income for full-time male workers is now lower than it was four decades ago: the income of the bottom 90% of the population has stagnated for over 30 years .

A not so dissimilar picture is true of the UK. And the problem has grown more serious since the financial crisis. On average, between 65-70% of households in 25 high-income economies experienced stagnant or falling real incomes between 2005 and 2014.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot

The reasons are not difficult to explain. The hyper-globalisation era has been systematically stacked in favour of capital against labour: international trading agreements, drawn up in great secrecy, with business on the inside and the unions and citizens excluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being but the latest examples; the politico-legal attack on the unions; the encouragement of large-scale immigration in both the US and Europe that helped to undermine the bargaining power of the domestic workforce; and the failure to retrain displaced workers in any meaningful way.

As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot, as graphically illustrated by the support for Trump and Sanders in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs : "'Populism' is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don't like." Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both.

Brexit is a classic example of such populism. It has overturned a fundamental cornerstone of UK policy since the early 1970s. Though ostensibly about Europe, it was in fact about much more: a cri de coeur from those who feel they have lost out and been left behind, whose living standards have stagnated or worse since the 1980s, who feel dislocated by large-scale immigration over which they have no control and who face an increasingly insecure and casualised labour market. Their revolt has paralysed the governing elite, already claimed one prime minister, and left the latest one fumbling around in the dark looking for divine inspiration.

The wave of populism marks the return of class as a central agency in politics, both in the UK and the US. This is particularly remarkable in the US. For many decades, the idea of the "working class" was marginal to American political discourse. Most Americans described themselves as middle class, a reflection of the aspirational pulse at the heart of American society. According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population.

Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt. Hitherto, on both sides of the Atlantic, the agency of class has been in retreat in the face of the emergence of a new range of identities and issues from gender and race to sexual orientation and the environment. The return of class, because of its sheer reach, has the potential, like no other issue, to redefine the political landscape.

The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, is a function of politics

The re-emergence of class should not be confused with the labor movement. They are not synonymous: this is obvious in the US and increasingly the case in the UK. Indeed, over the last half-century, there has been a growing separation between the two in Britain. The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement.

Indeed, Ukip has been as important – in the form of immigration and Europe – in shaping its current attitudes as the Labour party. In the United States, both Trump and Sanders have given expression to the working-class revolt, the latter almost as much as the former. The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, as the left liked to think, is a function of politics.

The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation .

Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s. With this background, it is hardly surprising that a majority in the west now believe their children will be worse off than they were. Second, those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s.

A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been a massive seller. His work and that of Tony Atkinson and Angus Deaton have pushed the question of the inequality to the top of the political agenda. In the UK, Ha-Joon Chang , for long isolated within the economics profession, has gained a following far greater than those who think economics is a branch of mathematics.

Meanwhile, some of those who were previously strong advocates of a neoliberal approach, such as Larry Summers and the Financial Times 's Martin Wolf, have become extremely critical. The wind is in the sails of the critics of neoliberalism; the neoliberals and monetarists are in retreat. In the UK, the media and political worlds are well behind the curve. Few recognize that we are at the end of an era. Old attitudes and assumptions still predominate, whether on the BBC's Today programme, in the rightwing press or the parliamentary Labor party.

Following Ed Miliband's resignation as Labour leader, virtually no one foresaw the triumph of Jeremy Corbyn in the subsequent leadership election. The assumption had been more of the same, a Blairite or a halfway house like Miliband, certainly not anyone like Corbyn. But the zeitgeist had changed. The membership, especially the young who had joined the party on an unprecedented scale, wanted a complete break with New Labour. One of the reasons why the left has failed to emerge as the leader of the new mood of working-class disillusionment is that most social democratic parties became, in varying degrees, disciples of neoliberalism and uber-globalisation. The most extreme forms of this phenomenon were New Labour and the Democrats, who in the late 90s and 00s became its advance guard, personified by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, triangulation and the third way.

But as David Marquand observed in a review for the New Statesman , what is the point of a social democratic party if it doesn't represent the less fortunate, the underprivileged and the losers? New Labour deserted those who needed them, who historically they were supposed to represent. Is it surprising that large sections have now deserted the party who deserted them? Blair, in his reincarnation as a money-obsessed consultant to a shady bunch of presidents and dictators, is a fitting testament to the demise of New Labour.

The rival contenders – Burnham, Cooper and Kendall – represented continuity. They were swept away by Corbyn, who won nearly 60% of the votes. New Labour was over, as dead as Monty Python's parrot. Few grasped the meaning of what had happened. A Guardian leader welcomed the surge in membership and then, lo and behold, urged support for Yvette Cooper, the very antithesis of the reason for the enthusiasm. The PLP refused to accept the result and ever since has tried with might and main to remove Corbyn.

Just as the Labour party took far too long to come to terms with the rise of Thatcherism and the birth of a new era at the end of the 70s, now it could not grasp that the Thatcherite paradigm, which they eventually came to embrace in the form of New Labour, had finally run its course. Labour, like everyone else, is obliged to think anew. The membership in their antipathy to New Labour turned to someone who had never accepted the latter, who was the polar opposite in almost every respect of Blair, and embodying an authenticity and decency which Blair patently did not.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better

Corbyn is not a product of the new times, he is a throwback to the late 70s and early 80s. That is both his strength and also his weakness. He is uncontaminated by the New Labour legacy because he has never accepted it. But nor, it would seem, does he understand the nature of the new era. The danger is that he is possessed of feet of clay in what is a highly fluid and unpredictable political environment, devoid of any certainties of almost any kind, in which Labour finds itself dangerously divided and weakened.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better. David Cameron was guilty of a huge and irresponsible miscalculation over Brexit. He was forced to resign in the most ignominious of circumstances. The party is hopelessly divided. It has no idea in which direction to move after Brexit. The Brexiters painted an optimistic picture of turning away from the declining European market and embracing the expanding markets of the world, albeit barely mentioning by name which countries it had in mind. It looks as if the new prime minister may have an anachronistic hostility towards China and a willingness to undo the good work of George Osborne. If the government turns its back on China, by far the fastest growing market in the world, where are they going to turn?

Brexit has left the country fragmented and deeply divided, with the very real prospect that Scotland might choose independence. Meanwhile, the Conservatives seem to have little understanding that the neoliberal era is in its death throes.

Dramatic as events have been in the UK, they cannot compare with those in the United States. Almost from nowhere, Donald Trump rose to capture the Republican nomination and confound virtually all the pundits and not least his own party. His message was straightforwardly anti-globalisation. He believes that the interests of the working class have been sacrificed in favour of the big corporations that have been encouraged to invest around the world and thereby deprive American workers of their jobs. Further, he argues that large-scale immigration has weakened the bargaining power of American workers and served to lower their wages.

He proposes that US corporations should be required to invest their cash reserves in the US. He believes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) has had the effect of exporting American jobs to Mexico. On similar grounds, he is opposed to the TPP and the TTIP. And he also accuses China of stealing American jobs, threatening to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports.

To globalisation Trump counterposes economic nationalism: "Put America first". His appeal, above all, is to the white working class who, until Trump's (and Bernie Sander's) arrival on the political scene, had been ignored and largely unrepresented since the 1980s. Given that their wages have been falling for most of the last 40 years, it is extraordinary how their interests have been neglected by the political class. Increasingly, they have voted Republican, but the Republicans have long been captured by the super-rich and Wall Street, whose interests, as hyper-globalisers, have run directly counter to those of the white working class. With the arrival of Trump they finally found a representative: they won Trump the Republican nomination.

Trump believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources

The economic nationalist argument has also been vigorously pursued by Bernie Sanders , who ran Hillary Clinton extremely close for the Democratic nomination and would probably have won but for more than 700 so-called super-delegates, who were effectively chosen by the Democratic machine and overwhelmingly supported Clinton. As in the case of the Republicans, the Democrats have long supported a neoliberal, pro-globalisation strategy, notwithstanding the concerns of its trade union base. Both the Republicans and the Democrats now find themselves deeply polarised between the pro- and anti-globalisers, an entirely new development not witnessed since the shift towards neoliberalism under Reagan almost 40 years ago.

Another plank of Trump's nationalist appeal – "Make America great again" – is his position on foreign policy. He believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources. He argues that the country's alliance system is unfair, with America bearing most of the cost and its allies contributing far too little. He points to Japan and South Korea, and NATO's European members as prime examples. He seeks to rebalance these relationships and, failing that, to exit from them.

As a country in decline, he argues that America can no longer afford to carry this kind of financial burden. Rather than putting the world to rights, he believes the money should be invested at home, pointing to the dilapidated state of America's infrastructure. Trump's position represents a major critique of America as the world's hegemon. His arguments mark a radical break with the neoliberal, hyper-globalisation ideology that has reigned since the early 1980s and with the foreign policy orthodoxy of most of the postwar period. These arguments must be taken seriously. They should not be lightly dismissed just because of their authorship. But Trump is no man of the left. He is a populist of the right. He has launched a racist and xenophobic attack on Muslims and on Mexicans. Trump's appeal is to a white working class that feels it has been cheated by the big corporations, undermined by Hispanic immigration, and often resentful towards African-Americans who for long too many have viewed as their inferior.

A Trump America would mark a descent into authoritarianism characterised by abuse, scapegoating, discrimination, racism, arbitrariness and violence; America would become a deeply polarised and divided society. His threat to impose 45% tariffs on China , if implemented, would certainly provoke retaliation by the Chinese and herald the beginnings of a new era of protectionism.

Trump may well lose the presidential election just as Sanders failed in his bid for the Democrat nomination. But this does not mean that the forces opposed to hyper-globalisation – unrestricted immigration, TPP and TTIP, the free movement of capital and much else – will have lost the argument and are set to decline. In little more than 12 months, Trump and Sanders have transformed the nature and terms of the argument. Far from being on the wane, the arguments of the critics of hyper-globalisation are steadily gaining ground. Roughly two-thirds of Americans agree that "we should not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems". And, above all else, what will continue to drive opposition to the hyper-globalisers is inequality.

[Dec 16, 2018] The neoliberals are organised and well funded. The left have fragmented and is infected with identity politics. That means that neoliberalism will survive and prosper in the foreseeable future and the standard of living of population will slide further

End of cheap oil is the next milestone in the development of neoliberalism. It remain to be seen if it can survive the end of cheap oil.
Notable quotes:
"... According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population. ..."
"... American politicians, Obama in particular, constantly talk about "the middle class" when they want to refer to the bulk of the working population, as if almost everybody were doctors, lawyers, teachers and managers. ..."
"... This situation in the USA remind me of Australia where we have a choice between two right wing parties ..."
"... austerity for the working class while the rich go untouched even to pay a fair share of taxation. It's world wide the servants of the 1% who own 50% of the world's economy. ..."
"... There is no country in the world that doesn't have a mixture of both. The mix is probably a bit strained in north Korea but those countries where private capital is supreme all have intolerable conditions for workers. The Nordic countries probably have the most enlightened approach and best living standards for the majority. Remember well the old adage: With communism man exploits man. With capitalism it's the other way round. ..."
"... one can only hope neoliberalism is dead and/or dying.... ..."
"... Trump does not truly represent the labor or economically frustrated class. He is saying things that they'd like to hear. He is a rich and pompous man who belongs to the class which benefited tremendously from neoliberalistic policies. People are so fed up with inequality, their emotions can be directed in any direction and manipulated. Anger needs a target - Mexicans, Blacks, women, Muslims, immigrants and the list expands. Trump is misleading them by speaking in their voices while enjoying the comfort of luxury that he built by exploiting those very people. ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

opinerimo , 23 Aug 2016 23:23

Quote: According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population.

How strange. American politicians, Obama in particular, constantly talk about "the middle class" when they want to refer to the bulk of the working population, as if almost everybody were doctors, lawyers, teachers and managers. It's good therefore to know that the American people know better than their politicians how to classify themselves.

ShaunNewman -> shockrah , 23 Aug 2016 21:28
This situation in the USA remind me of Australia where we have a choice between two right wing parties. The LNP is extreme/ultra right wing and our Labor Party is right wing controlled. At least in Britain you have a choice, from afar it seems that your Conservative Party is equal to our LNP but your Labour Party seems to be a little more Left wing than our Labor Party which is a good thing for Britain.
ShaunNewman -> willpodmore , 23 Aug 2016 21:21
willpodmore your next target must be your tory government, they are doing to you what our tory government in Australia is doing to us and if Trump gets elected the USA tory government will do to them, austerity for the working class while the rich go untouched even to pay a fair share of taxation. It's world wide the servants of the 1% who own 50% of the world's economy. If you don't believe me type the 1% own 50% of Earth's economy into Dr Goggle and see what come up.
ShaunNewman -> CivilDiscussion , 23 Aug 2016 21:16
The one thing all Left leaning people do agree on is 'fairness' and equity for all, in economic terms it means that huge corporations pay a fair share of tax, as working people do. Sadly Tory govts ignore the profits of corporations and fail to force them to pay a fair share of tax. The basic problem that the neo-cons suffer from is insatiable greed where enough is never enough, selfishness is also a trait along with lack of empathy or compassion for their fellow mankind.
ShaunNewman -> IsleWalker , 23 Aug 2016 21:12
"neoliberalism" is simply unregulated capitalism as practiced by Tory governments around the world. Labour governments usually regulate and force these huge corporations to pay a fair share of taxation from their huge incomes. The corporations are owned by the 1% who own 50% of the world economy and continuing to grow on a daily basis.
ShaunNewman -> Vintage59 , 23 Aug 2016 21:09
Yes, nothing has changed in my lifetime except the 1% now own 50% of Earth's economy. Working people have always struggled while the rich build their mansions, both Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have the right idea of a fair distribution of wealth. This means these huge corporations paying their fair share of their income in taxes to the host country so "all" the people receive some benefit, apart from the 1%.
ShaunNewman -> blaster1 , 23 Aug 2016 21:04
blaster1, the joke of the century, globalisation -- which will only increase to the benefit of everyone eventually. You obviously have little knowledge apart from what the Tories feed you. 1% of the global population own 50% of Earth's economy and through their corporations who the tories allow to avoid paying tax will build on that 50% how long will it eventually take the other 99% to receive any benefit? 200,000 years?
ShaunNewman -> Mauryan , 23 Aug 2016 20:59
Exploitation is high on the priority list of any Tory government, wealth should be distributed much more fairly than it currently is. The tories only serve the rich, they have no time or empathy for the poor. Empathy and compassion are vacant in the tory philosophy of the world. These two components make up a psychopathic personality.
ShaunNewman -> pantomimetorie , 23 Aug 2016 20:56
pantomimetorie yes, and England could also be if you had a government who were not merely servants of the rich. A government interested in the fair distribution of wealth. Not a tory government, obviously!
ShaunNewman -> pantomimetorie , 23 Aug 2016 20:53
There's no such thing as neoliberalism, it's just capitalism and capitalism actually works, unlike socialism.

Yes it works alright, it works for the 1% of the global population who own 50% of the global economy, sadly it leaves in its wake an underclass of people living below the poverty line struggling to survive. It works for the rich, but there is no mechanism in the system that the conservative will use to force the rich to pay their fair share of taxation to the country included in that are the multibillion pound multinational corporations who pay little to naught in taxes also which leaves a huge swathe of the population on Struggle Street and the sooner that democratic socialism is instituted the better off the other 99% will be.

foryousure -> pantomimetorie , 23 Aug 2016 19:00
Keep up! There is no country in the world that doesn't have a mixture of both. The mix is probably a bit strained in north Korea but those countries where private capital is supreme all have intolerable conditions for workers. The Nordic countries probably have the most enlightened approach and best living standards for the majority. Remember well the old adage: With communism man exploits man. With capitalism it's the other way round.
foryousure -> AmyInNH , 23 Aug 2016 18:51
Think they call it lobbying. Companies pay professional lobby firms staffed with ex MPs or whatever to ' meet' ministers. The PR companies make 'donations' to party funds and push for government contracts, changes in legislation, favorable to their industry tax breaks. You can do it of course. Write to your mp to get your local roads, parks, libraries, improved. Don't hold your breath.

That has to be the joke of the year if not the century!!!!!!!!!!!!

pantomimetorie , 23 Aug 2016 17:02
The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present.

It would be interesting to see those growth figures with inflation taken into account or to average them out across the whole world and not just the West. I suspect that if the massive growth in India, China and the rest of Asia was taken into account the growth figures wouldn't be so bad.

66378741 , 23 Aug 2016 14:50
one can only hope neoliberalism is dead and/or dying....
Dave_P -> AmyInNH , 23 Aug 2016 13:58
Excuse me? You're the one claiming rural inhabitants "have no idea" what city life entails. That may have been the case centuries ago, but not now. Offshoring is small potatoes in the shift of global production. It may have been big news a decade ago. We aren't a decade ago.

"Poverty = no kids" is your myth. Human history proves otherwise. Nobody's "decimating western/westernized population for profit". Is what you're about really more white people, fewer brown people? Just say it, this is the Guardian, we've heard it all before.

So run your country then. But intelligently, not on the basis of twisted myth-making and dodgy race myths that we had enough of in 1945.

makingtime -> ijustcalledtosay85 , 23 Aug 2016 13:36

The left, at least as far as I know, have not been able to build up a solid set of ideas on which to build a political agenda nor have they sought to gain traction for their ideas in sites of knowledge production. The neoliberals were organised and waiting when their turn came. For me, the left have fragmented and have turned to cultural critiques and identity politics, forgoing any kind of realistic transformative agenda.

Apologies for not answering earlier.

i) Traction in sites of knowledge production is happening certainly. Again I can point to the article for support - Stiglitz, Ha-Joon Chang, Piketty etc did not arise to such prominence due to an organised left-wing agenda but because events in the real world demanded an explanation for why neoliberalism wasn't delivering its universal benison as promised, and indeed was showing empirical signs that it might be poisonous to economic activity in certain fundamental ways.

ii) In my view it is quite possible to support identity politics (social liberalism if you like) and a more left wing view of economics. At present the more enthusiastic placard wavers are seeing identity politics as more likely to produce a beneficial change, but many are recognising that the former hegemony of neoliberalism is breaking, and the best way to really enhance the welfare of vulnerable groups is to promote universal economic justice in some form.

iii) You appear to want to replace one hegemonic system of thought with another. But these are the wrong tactics for me, since we have things to do in the real world.

By all means explain some of the properties your new left hegemonic theory should have, I'd be very interested to hear them.
But in the end the practical steps are obvious and consist of applying left wing principles to the modern economy. An example would be privatising the natural monopoly of the railways.

If that sounds retro, it isn't, because we've never had to deal with an economy in this condition before. We must proceed step by step in my view. The hegemony of neoliberalism was damaging and lasted 40 years and counting. We must be pragmatic to be successful, given what we know about the modern economy, and proceed by finding successful strategies rather than an abstruse new theory that ignores the messy present in favour of some pure, simple conception of the world backed up by the PR department. As I said above, one of the critical faults of neoliberalism is its insistence that it is the answer to everyone's prayers. That certainty is also the seed of its destruction, because to avoid doubts it eventually has to answer those unrealistic prayers.

Mauryan , 23 Aug 2016 13:24
Trump does not truly represent the labor or economically frustrated class. He is saying things that they'd like to hear. He is a rich and pompous man who belongs to the class which benefited tremendously from neoliberalistic policies. People are so fed up with inequality, their emotions can be directed in any direction and manipulated. Anger needs a target - Mexicans, Blacks, women, Muslims, immigrants and the list expands. Trump is misleading them by speaking in their voices while enjoying the comfort of luxury that he built by exploiting those very people.
AmyInNH -> Dave_P , 23 Aug 2016 13:18
Billions of Chinese and Indian have never seen a toilet in their life, so yes, they really don't know what life in a city is. And that doesn't make them "dumb". In their domain, farming, you don't look like a brain storm either.

Offshoring isn't a "tiny element". We are no longer self sustaining and if China slammed the door (as they did for a brief instant on Japan), there'd be serious heartburn in the US before transitioning.

The official western tautology is fail/fail for the public. Not enough jobs to consider having kids? Too bad. Not enough money to raise your kids? Too bad. Due to natural events? No, due to political gaming.

Decimating western/westernized population for profit. It's not complicated. It is you who claim immigration is needed to leave it as it is. "Ending our ability to pay pensions by ending immigration isn't improvement either. "

The west has no business meddling with the rest of the planet if it can't run their own countries.

Matthew Coate -> blaster1 , 23 Aug 2016 12:52

What they are really referring to is globalisation -- which will only increase to the benefit of everyone eventually.

Given the available statistics, your statement can only be described as the proclamation of a sort of religious faith.

Dave_P -> AmyInNH , 23 Aug 2016 12:29
People aren't so dumb as you imagine. They really didn't know about life in the city? Every village had its emigrant. I've no such disdain for those who made that move.

Offshoring's now a tiny element in western deindustrialisation. Your costs are too high, you can't compete: don't blame those worse off than yourself, put your own house in order and educate your workforce to do better than flip burgers.

"Birth control brings down reproduction rates" is a meaningless tautology. People have been practising birth control for centuries, mainly by delaying marriage. The PRB peddles malthusian nonsense that the past half-century has clearly discredited. I thought you were for population growth anyway: "economies so economically unstable that population declines"? Make your mind up.

The ridiculous boom did crash, in 2008. Maybe you missed it. I want to know how we go forward. But people need to pay attention to what's going on outside our head too.

weematt -> Mizzentop , 23 Aug 2016 12:13
I correct misrepresentations of the truth such as yours.

And the problem with communism is that it suspends peoples right in favour of central control.

Communism and socialism is a post -capitalist society, means exactly the same thing to me as they did to Marx also.

The common ownership and democratic control by us all, of all the means and instruments for creating and distributing wealth. 'Common' and 'social' mean the same. Nothing to do with state ownership or corporate or private ownership.

Nothing to do with central control either . It is a post-capitalist system which utilises the technological advances of capitalism to produce for use to satisfy human needs, using self feeding loopback informational tools for stock measurements and control with direct inputs at local regional and global levels to allow calculation in kind, as opposed to the economic calculation of capitalism, only necessary to satisfy profit taking.

The reality is that we can all choose to be rich or poor. We are free to do as we wish (within the law).

Nonsense. If you are born poor you will most likely die poor. Poverty is both absolute and relative. All wealth comes from the exploited abour of the working class which creates a surplus value above its rationed access (wages). A commonly owned society, would not have rich or poor, we would all have free access to the commonly produced wealth, with no elite classes creaming it off and storing it.

Other than that, mind your own damn business, if you can't deal with the arguments.

blaster1 , 23 Aug 2016 12:04
One of the biggest downsides of the rise of Corbyn and Sanders, interesting though it is, is the oxygen it seems to be giving to several old Marxist hacks who have made a good living for decades banging on about their discredited and blood soaked ideology, ie Jacques et al. Recently joined by that newly hatched Marxist harpie on the block, the hipster bearded and thoroughly poisonous Richard Seymour.
The fact is there is not and never was any such thing as "neoliberalism". What they are really referring to is globalisation- which will only increase to the benefit of everyone eventually. The world is shrinking ever faster and that is no bad thing. Progress, evolution, the future, call it what you want. To try and make out that it is halting or in reverse is plainly nonsense.
AmyInNH -> foryousure , 23 Aug 2016 11:18
They buy politicians who gift them with cheap labor via labor glut. Buying politicians is called bribery.
AmyInNH -> Roger Elliott , 23 Aug 2016 11:14
???
What I remember of Reagan,
- spent like a drunken sailor, "defense" spending, til it broke US economy
- unbounded "adjustable rate" and "balloon" mortgages, first bank bailout, bill kicked down the road to Bush Sr., $125 billion, when it blew up
- "trickle down", wealth transfer, via having taxed public pick up the tab for not just his defense binge spending, but also corporate welfare programs (patent office, Import/Export bank, infrastructure, etc.)
- first soup kitchens, adults panhandling/will work for food signs that I'd ever seen
- illegal immigrant amnesty, millions
- "War On Drugs" and right after that black neighborhoods flooded with crack
Reagan and Thatcher kicking off their "gut the public of wealth" agenda.
AmyInNH -> ShaunNewman , 23 Aug 2016 11:00
Including suppression of wage/benefits by flooding the labor markets.
AmyInNH -> macsporan , 23 Aug 2016 10:57
Their story is "you're a failure". Because a) you don't work hard enough/long enough, b) hold your household together (if you were at work all waking hours), c) don't know how to raise decent, independent kids (whilst being at work every waking hour), d) aren't motivated to improve your lot in life if you need to work every waking hour and e) probably need to take stress management classes if this gets on your nerves because you personally are driving up "our" health care costs with your irresponsible neglect of your health.

Or, as the economists tout in the papers, "Productivity is up!" Or as the oligarchical put it, "we need immigrant work force", who'll do it for cheaper and not complain or burden us with their need for an actual life outside of work.

CivilDiscussion , 23 Aug 2016 10:54
Clinton is, was, and still is. despite her recent fake reversal, a staunch supporter of TPP and other trade agreements that will further impoverish the working class. She is the furthest thing from a populist. Case closed.
Vintage59 , 23 Aug 2016 10:54
It's the neobullshit era but then it always is.
AmyInNH -> Mkjaks , 23 Aug 2016 10:40
The "experts", like Greenspan, use extremely limited variables. Hence, reports of a "good economy". We ask, good for who?

[Dec 14, 2018] Hidden neoliberal inner party : US chamber of commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Business Roundtable

Notable quotes:
"... The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action. ..."
"... Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. ..."
"... In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. ..."
"... The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base. ..."
"... It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism. ..."
"... The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests ..."
"... Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold. ..."
"... Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. ..."
"... By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. ..."
"... Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s. ..."
"... Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:42

The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action.

The corporations involved accounted for 'about one half of the GNP of the United States' during the 1970s, and they spent close to $900 million annually (a huge amount at that time) on political matters. Think-tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Center for the Study of American Business, and the American Enterprise Institute, were formed with corporate backing both to polemicize and, when necessary, as in the case of the National Bureau of Economic Research, to construct serious technical and empirical studies and political-philosophical arguments broadly in support of neoliberal policies.

Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. With abundant finance furnished by wealthy individuals (such as the brewer Joseph Coors, who later became a member of Reagan's 'kitchen cabinet') and their foundations (for example Olin, Scaife, Smith Richardson, Pew Charitable Trust), a flood of tracts and books, with Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia perhaps the most widely read and appreciated, emerged espousing neoliberal values. A TV version of Milton Friedman's Free to Choose was funded with a grant from Scaife in 1977. 'Business was', Blyth concludes, 'learning to spend as a class.

In singling out the universities for particular attention, Powell pointed up an opportunity as well as an issue, for these were indeed centers of anti-corporate and anti-state sentiment (the students at Santa Barbara had burned down the Bank of America building there and ceremonially buried a car in the sands). But many students were (and still are) affluent and privileged, or at least middle class, and in the US the values of individual freedom have long been celebrated (in music and popular culture) as primary. Neoliberal themes could here find fertile ground for propagation. Powell did not argue for extending state power. But business should 'assiduously cultivate' the state and when necessary use it 'aggressively and with determination'

In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. The supposedly 'progressive' campaign finance laws of 1971 in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics.

A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech.15 Political action committees could thereafter ensure the financial domination of both political parties by corporate, moneyed, and professional association interests. Corporate PACs, which numbered eighty-nine in 1974, had burgeoned to 1,467 by 1982.

The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base.

It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism.

The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests the evangelical Christians eagerly embraced the alliance with big business and the Republican Party as a means to further promote their evangelical and moral agenda.

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:23

Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold.

The worldwide political upheavals of 1968, for example, were strongly inflected with the desire for greater personal freedoms. This was certainly true for students, such as those animated by the Berkeley 'free speech' movement of the 1960s or who took to the streets in Paris, Berlin, and Bangkok and were so mercilessly shot down in Mexico City shortly before the 1968 Olympic Games. They demanded freedom from parental, educational, corporate, bureaucratic, and state constraints. But the '68 movement also had social justice as a primary political objective.

Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. It has long proved extremely difficult within the US left, for example, to forge the collective discipline required for political action to achieve social justice without offending the the Construction of Consent desire of political actors for individual freedom and for full recognition and expression of particular identities. Neoliberalism did not create these distinctions, but it could easily exploit, if not foment, them.

In the early 1970s those seeking individual freedoms and social justice could make common cause in the face of what many saw as a common enemy. Powerful corporations in alliance with an interventionist state were seen to be running the world in individually oppressive and socially unjust ways. The Vietnam War was the most obvious catalyst for discontent, but the destructive activities of corporations and the state in relation to the environment, the push towards mindless consumerism, the failure to address social issues and respond adequately to diversity, as well as intense restrictions on individual possibilities and personal behaviors by state-mandated and 'traditional' controls were also widely resented. Civil rights were an issue, and questions of sexuality and of reproductive rights were very much in play.

For almost everyone involved in the movement of '68, the intrusive state was the enemy and it had to be reformed. And on that, the neoliberals could easily agree. But capitalist corporations, business, and the market system were also seen as primary enemies requiring redress if not revolutionary transformation: hence the threat to capitalist class power.

By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. But it had to be backed up by a practical strategy that emphasized the liberty of consumer choice, not only with respect to particular products but also with respect to lifestyles, modes of expression, and a wide range of cultural practices. Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s.

In the US case a confidential memo sent by Lewis Powell to the US Chamber of Commerce in August 1971. Powell, about to be elevated to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, argued that criticism of and opposition to the US free enterprise system had gone too far and that 'the time had come––indeed it is long overdue––for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshaled against those who would destroy it'.

Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together.

[Dec 14, 2018] What percentage of CIA budget goes to the support of free press

Notable quotes:
"... Because once we go from "corruption is getting more and more common; something must be done" to "meh," we are crossing from a flawed democratic republic to outright tyranny and oligarchy with little way back. ..."
"... Why would anyone expect anything different from the Times, or any major U.S. Newspaper or media outlet? They are organs of the intelligence community and have been for many years. ..."
"... I think the ridiculous and pathetic explanations by NYT in this case are, in part, due to the fact that they simply don't care enough to produce better answers. In their view, these CIA connections and those with other Govt. agencies are paramount, and must be maintained at all costs. ..."
"... It is likely that the relationship is a little more formal than mere collusion ..."
"... "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few" [George Bernard Shaw" ..."
"... Has been since Judith Miller told us there were WMD in Iraq in 2003. They don't plan anticipations of crises, but the actual crises themselves. In a moral world, the NYT is as guilty of genocide as Bush and Blair. ..."
Dec 01, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

capatriot , 29 Aug 2012 15:49

Good article. I especially like this:

The more important objection is that the fact that a certain behavior is common does not negate its being corrupt. Indeed, as is true for government abuses generally, those in power rely on the willingness of citizens to be trained to view corrupt acts as so common that they become inured, numb, to its wrongfulness. Once a corrupt practice is sufficiently perceived as commonplace, then it is transformed in people's minds from something objectionable into something acceptable.

Because once we go from "corruption is getting more and more common; something must be done" to "meh," we are crossing from a flawed democratic republic to outright tyranny and oligarchy with little way back.

Besides, they don't all do it ... there are honorable reporters out there, some few of whom work for the Times and the Post.

BradBenson , 29 Aug 2012 15:48
Another great article Glenn. The Guardian will spread your words further and wider. Salon's loss is the world's gain.

Why would anyone expect anything different from the Times, or any major U.S. Newspaper or media outlet? They are organs of the intelligence community and have been for many years. That these email were allowed to get out under FOIA is indicative of the fact that there are some people on the inside who would like to get the truth out. Either that, or the head of some ES-2's Assistant Deputy for Secret Shenanigans and Heinous Drone Murders will roll.

CautiousOptimist , 29 Aug 2012 15:40
Glenn - Any comments on the recently disclosed emails between the CIA and Kathryn Bigelow?
CasualObs , 29 Aug 2012 15:32
Scott Horton quote on closely related Mazzetti reporting (in this case regarding misleading reporting on how important CIA/Bush torture was in tracking down and getting bin Laden, the focus of this movie):

"I'm quite sure that this is precisely the way the folks who provided this info from the agency [to Mazzetti] wanted them to be understood, but there is certainly more than a measure of ambiguity in them, planted with care by the NYT writers or their editors. This episode shows again how easily the Times can be spun by unnamed government sources, the factual premises of whose statements invariably escape any examination."

http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/blog/winners-sinners-mary-murphy-mark-mazzetti

I think the ridiculous and pathetic explanations by NYT in this case are, in part, due to the fact that they simply don't care enough to produce better answers. In their view, these CIA connections and those with other Govt. agencies are paramount, and must be maintained at all costs.

If you don't like their paper-thin answers, tough. In their view (imo) this will blow over and business will resume, with the all-important friends and connections intact. Thus leaving the machinery intact for future uncritical, biased and manipulative "spin" of NYT by any number of unnamed govt. sources/agencies...

Montecarlo2 , 29 Aug 2012 15:29

In what conceivable way is Mazzetti's collusion with the CIA an "intelligence matter" that prevents the NYT's managing editor from explaining what happened here?

That one is easy, as we learned in the Valerie Plame affair. It is likely that the relationship is a little more formal than mere collusion.

hominoid , 29 Aug 2012 15:27
Just another step down the ladder towards despotism. "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few" [George Bernard Shaw"
LakerFan , 29 Aug 2012 15:13

The relationship between the New York Times and the US government is, as usual, anything but adversarial. Indeed, these emails read like the interactions between a PR representative and his client as they plan in anticipation of a possible crisis.

Has been since Judith Miller told us there were WMD in Iraq in 2003. They don't plan anticipations of crises, but the actual crises themselves. In a moral world, the NYT is as guilty of genocide as Bush and Blair.

The humor seems to go completely out of the issue when 100,000 people are dead and their families and futures changed forever.

Like I said, in a moral world....

[Dec 14, 2018] New York Times aka The Langley Newsletter

"We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few."
Notable quotes:
"... bin laden gave terror a face. how conveeeenient for warmongers everywhere! ..."
"... CIA in collusion with mainstream newspaper NYT. And you call this news ? ..."
"... collusion between the us media and the us government goes back much, much further. Chomsky has plenty of stuff about this... ..."
"... The NYTimes has its own agenda and bends the news that's fit to print. Journalistic integrity? LOL. No one beat the war drums louder for Bush's Neocons before the Iraq war. Draining our nation's resources, getting young Americans killed (they didn't come from the 1%, you see). The cradle of civilization that's the Iraqi landscape wiped out. Worst, 655,000 Iraqis lost their lives, said British medical journal Lancet, creating 2.5mn each internal & external refugees. ..."
"... The NYT never dwelled on the numbers of Iraqis killed. Up to a few weeks ago, its emphasis on the current Syrian tragedy is to inform us on the hundreds or thousands who've lost their lives. ..."
"... World financial meltdown? When Sanford Weill of Citi pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall late 1990's, the FDR era 17-page law separating commercial from investment banks, a measure that's preserved the nation's banking integrity for over half a century, the Nyt added its megaphone to the task, urging Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin to comply, editorializing In 1988: "Few economic historians now find the logic behind Glass-Steagall persuasive" . In 1990, that "banks and stocks were a dangerous mixture" "makes little sense now." ..."
"... just off the top of my head I recall the editor of one of a British major was an MI5 agent; this is in the public domain. ..."
"... We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few. ..."
"... The NYT has been infiltrated for decades by CIA agents. Just notice their dogged reporting on the completely debunked "lone-gunman" JFK theory---they will always report that Oswald acted alone---this is the standard CIA story, pushed and maintained by the NYT despite overwhelming evidence that there was a conspiracy (likely involving the CIA). ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com

samesamesame , 1 Sep 2012 13:02

bin laden gave terror a face. how conveeeenient for warmongers everywhere!
loftytom , 1 Sep 2012 10:40

I assume we're going to see a NYT expose on the large scale dodgy dealings of the Guardian Unlimited group then?

They could start with the tax dodging hypocrisy first. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/05/16/has-the-guardian-exploited-tax-loopholes-to-save-millions/

kantarakamara , 1 Sep 2012 10:04
"@smartypants54

29 August 2012 9:44PM
Glenn,

I've often wondered what you think of the journalism of someone like Seymour Hirsch. (sic) He broke some very important stories by cozying up to moles in the MIC.

You'e confusing apples with oranges. Hersh seeks information on issues that outrage him. These do not usually include propaganda for the intelligence agencies, but information they would like to suppress. He's given secret information because he appears to his informers as someone who has a long record of integrity.

Therealguyfaux -> Montecarlo2 , 1 Sep 2012 07:48
It's straight outta that old joke about the husband being caught by his wife in flagrante delicto with the pretty young lady neighbour, who then tells his wife that he and his bit on the side weren't doing anything: "And who do you believe-- me, or your lying eyes?"
Haigin88 , 1 Sep 2012 06:58
New York Times a.k.a. The Langley Newsletter
globalsage , 1 Sep 2012 06:32
CIA in collusion with mainstream newspaper NYT. And you call this news ?
snookie -> LakerFan , 1 Sep 2012 05:46
collusion between the us media and the us government goes back much, much further. Chomsky has plenty of stuff about this...
hlkcna , 1 Sep 2012 02:28
The NYTimes has its own agenda and bends the news that's fit to print. Journalistic integrity? LOL. No one beat the war drums louder for Bush's Neocons before the Iraq war. Draining our nation's resources, getting young Americans killed (they didn't come from the 1%, you see). The cradle of civilization that's the Iraqi landscape wiped out. Worst, 655,000 Iraqis lost their lives, said British medical journal Lancet, creating 2.5mn each internal & external refugees.

Following the pre-Iraq embellishment, NYT covered up its deeds by sacrificing Journalist Judith Miller. As Miller answered a post-war court case, none other than Chairman & CEO Arthur Sulzberger jr. locked arms with her as they entered the courtroom.

The NYT never dwelled on the numbers of Iraqis killed. Up to a few weeks ago, its emphasis on the current Syrian tragedy is to inform us on the hundreds or thousands who've lost their lives.

World financial meltdown? When Sanford Weill of Citi pushed for the repeal of Glass-Steagall late 1990's, the FDR era 17-page law separating commercial from investment banks, a measure that's preserved the nation's banking integrity for over half a century, the Nyt added its megaphone to the task, urging Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin to comply, editorializing In 1988: "Few economic historians now find the logic behind Glass-Steagall persuasive" . In 1990, that "banks and stocks were a dangerous mixture" "makes little sense now."

NYT, a liberal icon? In year 2000, when I lived in NYC, New York Daily News columnist A.M. Rosenthal used to regularly demonize China in language surpassing even Rush Limbaugh. I told myself nah, that's not the Rosenthal-former-editor of the NYT. Only when I read his obituary a few years later did I learn that it was indeed the same one.

Grandfield , 1 Sep 2012 00:56
Well of course. And just off the top of my head I recall the editor of one of a British major was an MI5 agent; this is in the public domain.
weallshineon , 1 Sep 2012 00:42
We pledge subservience to the Owners of the United Corporations of America, and to the Oligarchy for which it stands, one Greed under God, indivisible, with power and wealth for few.

NOAM CHOMSKY _MANUFACTURING CONSENT haven't read it? read it. read it? read it again.

thought totalitarianism and the ruling class died in 1945? think again. thought you wouldn't have to fight like grandpa's generation to live in a democratic and just society? think again.

You are not the 1 percent.

JET2023 -> MonaHol , 31 Aug 2012 21:53
Would that we could hold these discussions without reference to personal defamations -- "darkened ignorance" and "educate yourself" which sounds like "f___ yourself". Why can't we just say "I respectfully disagree"? Alas, when discussing political issues with leftists, that seems impossible. Why the vitriol?

Greenwald's more lengthy posts make it clear that he believes that people who differ with him are "lying" and basing their viewpoint upon "a single right wing blogger". He chooses this explanation over the obvious and accurate one -- legal rationales developed by the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration. The date of Greenwald's archive is February 19, 2006. Oddly, he bases all of his contentions upon whatever he could glean up to that date. But the legal rationale for warrantless wiretaps was based upon memos written by John Yoo at the OLC that Greenwald did not have access to in 2006. The memos were not released until after Obama took office in 2009.

Obama released them in a highly publicized press conference staged for maximum political impact. Greenwald could not possibly have understood the legal rationale for the program since he had not been privy to them until March 2009 if, indeed, he has bothered to acquaint himself with them since then. Either way, nobody was "lying" except those who could have understood the full dimension and willfully chose to hide or ignore the truth. It's not exactly like I am new to this subject as you seem to imply. I wrote a 700 page book about Obama administration duplicity in this same vein. An entire chapter is devoted to this very topic.

Warrantless wiretaps were undertaken after a legal ruling from OLC. And after Obama took office, warrantless wiretaps were continued. Obviously since they were based upon OLC rulings, since no prosecutions have ever been suggested and since they have continued uninterrupted after Obama took office, the Justice Department under both administrations agrees with me and disagrees with Greenwald. We arrive at this disagreement respectfully. Despite Obama's voluminous denunciations of the Bush anti-terror approach on the campaign trail, he resurrected nearly every plank of it once he took office.

But this is a subsidiary point to a far larger point that some observers on this discussion to their credit were able to understand. Despite all of these pointless considerations, the larger point of my original post was that Greenwald missed the "real" story here, which was that the collusion between NYT and CIA was not due to institutional considerations as Greenwald seems to allege, but due to purely partisan considerations. That, to me, is the story he missed.

I find that people who are losing debates try to shift the focus to subsidiary points hoping that, like a courtroom lawyer, if they can refute a small and inconsequential detail raised in testimony, they will undercut the larger truth offered by the witness. It won't work. Too much is on the record. And neither point, the ankle-biting non-issue about legality of warrantless wiretaps or the larger, salient point about the overt partisan political dimension of NYT's collusion with a political appointee at CIA who serves on the Obama reelection committee, has been refuted.

Joseph Toomey
Author, "Change You Can REALLY Believe In: The Obama Legacy of Broken Promises and Failed Policies"

JoshuaFlynn , 31 Aug 2012 20:15
Conspiracy theorists, have been, of course, telling you this for years (given media's motive is profit and not honesty). I suppose the exact same conspiracy theorists other guardian authors have been too eager to denounce previously?
MonaHol -> JET2023 , 31 Aug 2012 18:50

The NSA wiretap program revealed by Risen was not illegal as Greenwald wrongly asserts. As long as one end of the intercepted conservation originated on foreign soil as it did, it was perfectly legal and required no FISA court authorization.

Mr. Toomey, in 2006 Greenwald published a compendium of legal arguments defending the Bush Admin's warrantless wiretapping and the (sound) rebuttals of them. It is exhaustive, and covers your easily dispensed with argument. By way of introduction to his many links to his aggregated, rigorous analyses of the legal issues, he wrote this:

I didn't just wake up one day and leap to the conclusion that the Administration broke the law deliberately and that there are no reasonable arguments to defend that law-breaking (as many Bush followers leaped to the conclusion that he did nothing wrong and then began their hunt to find rationale or advocates to support this conclusion). I arrived at the conclusion that Bush clearly broke the law only by spending enormous amounts of time researching these issues and reading and responding to the defenses from the Administration's apologists.

He did spend enormous time dealing with people such as yourself, and all of his work remains available for you to educate yourself with, at the link provided above.

JET2023 -> Franklymydear0 , 31 Aug 2012 18:43
Maybe you'd like to explain that to Samuel Loring Morison who was convicted and spent years in the federal system for passing classified information to Janes Defence Weekly. I'm sure he'd be entertained. Larry Franklin would also like to hear it. He's in prison today for violating the Espionage Act.

Courts have recognized no press privilege exists when publishing classified data. In 1971, the Supreme Court vacated a prior restraint against NYT and The Washington Post allowing them to publish the Pentagon Papers. But the court also observed that prosecutions after-the-fact would be permissible and not involve an abridgement of the free speech clause. It was only the prior restraint that gave the justices heartburn. They had no issue with throwing them in the slammer after the deed was done.

Thomas Drake, a former NSA official, was indicted and convicted after revealing information to reporters in 2010. The statute covers mere possession which even NYT recognized could cover reporters as well. There have been numerous other instances of arrests, indictments and prosecutions for disclosure to reporters. It's only been due to political calculations and not constitutional limitations that have kept Risen and others out of prison.

utkarsh356 , 31 Aug 2012 12:39
Manufacturing Consent: The political economy of mass media by Noam Chomsky can perhaps explain most of the media behaviour.
HiggsBoson1984 , 31 Aug 2012 12:26
The NYT has been infiltrated for decades by CIA agents. Just notice their dogged reporting on the completely debunked "lone-gunman" JFK theory---they will always report that Oswald acted alone---this is the standard CIA story, pushed and maintained by the NYT despite overwhelming evidence that there was a conspiracy (likely involving the CIA).
Leviathan212 , 31 Aug 2012 10:54
What outrages me the most is the NYT's condescending attitude towards its readers when caught in this obvious breach of journalistic ethics.

Both Baquet and Abramson, rather than showing some humility or contrition, are acting as if nothing bad has happened, and that we are stupid to even talk about this.

Leviathan212 -> AnnaMc , 31 Aug 2012 10:28

This article misses the elephant in the room. Namely, that the NYT only plays footsies with Democrats in positions of power. With the 'Pubs, it's open season.

Not true. There are many examples of the NYT colluding with the Bush administration, some of which Glenn has mentioned in this article. Take, for example, the fact that the NYT concealed Bush's wire-tapping program for almost a year, at the request of the White House, and didn't release details until after Bush's re-election.

ranroddeb , 31 Aug 2012 10:10
" The optics aren't what they look like " This phrase brings to mind the old Dem catch phrase " Who you gonna believe me or your lying eyes? " .

[Dec 14, 2018] Operation Mockingbird has never stopped

Notable quotes:
"... The Government leaks classified material at will for propaganda advantage, but hunts Assange and tortures Private Manning for the same. ..."
"... these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation – a virtual merger – between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them. ..."
"... The issue under discussion here, however, is the extent to which the media is an eager partner in the message-sending, rather than an unwitiing tool. ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
Chris Harlos , 29 Aug 2012 19:01
The New York Crimes. The seamless web of media, government, business: a totalitarian system. Darkly amusing, perhaps, unless one begins to tally the damage.

USA Inc. Viva Death,

Did you hear the one about the investment banker whose very expensive hooker bite off his crank?

rrheard , 29 Aug 2012 18:36
I'm not sure what's scarier--that the CIA is spending taxpayer dollars spending even a split second worrying about what a two bit hack like Maureen Dowd writes, or that the NY Times principals are so institutionally "captured" that they parrot "CIA speak".

Well what's actually scarier is that Operation Mockingbird has never stopped.

Or maybe that our purported public servants in the legislature are bipartisanly and openly attempting to repeal portions of the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 banning domestic propaganda.

America is becoming a real sick joke. And the last to know will be about 65% of the populace I like to call Sheeple.

024601 -> SanFranDouglas , 29 Aug 2012 18:32
Very depressing. I thought we would get a smart bunch over here. The major trend I've noticed instead? Blind support for the empire and the apparatus that keeps it thriving. Unable to be good little authoritarians and cheer for the now collapsing British Empire, they have to cheer for it's natural predecessor, the American Empire. This includes attacking all those who might question the absolute infallible of The Empire. Folks like.. Glenn. It is fascinating to watch, if not disheartening.
SanFranDouglas -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 18:29

So all cozying up to spooks is not always a bad thing, huh?

Just my point.

I see. I thought your point was that there was some sort of equivalence between Hersh's development of sources to reveal truths that their agencies fervently wished to keep secret and Mazzetti's active assistance in protecting an agency's image from sullying by fellow journalists.

I guess I stand corrected. . .

shenebraskan -> Jpolicoff , 29 Aug 2012 18:12
And that ended his career in government service, as it should have...or not:

From Wikipedia: John O. Brennan is chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; officially his title is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.

Jpolicoff , 29 Aug 2012 18:01
Unfortunately this is nothing new for Mazetti or the New York Times, nor is it the first time Glenn Greenwald has called Mazetti out on his cozy relationship with the CIA:

The CIA and its reporter friends: Anatomy of a backlash
The coordinated, successful effort to implant false story lines about John Brennan illustrates the power the intelligence community wields over political debates.
Glenn Greenwald Dec. 08, 2008 |

...Just marvel at how coordinated (and patently inaccurate) their messaging is, and -- more significantly -- how easily they can implant their message into establishment media outlets far and wide, which uncritically publish what they're told from their cherished "intelligence sources" and without even the pretense of verifying whether any of it is true and/or hearing any divergent views:

Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, New York Times, 12/2/2008:

Last week, John O. Brennan, a C.I.A. veteran who was widely seen as Mr. Obama's likeliest choice to head the intelligence agency, withdrew his name from consideration after liberal critics attacked his alleged role in the agency's detention and interrogation program. Mr. Brennan protested that he had been a "strong opponent" within the agency of harsh interrogation tactics, yet Mr. Obama evidently decided that nominating Mr. Brennan was not worth a battle with some of his most ardent supporters on the left.

Mr. Obama's search for someone else and his future relationship with the agency are complicated by the tension between his apparent desire to make a clean break with Bush administration policies he has condemned and concern about alienating an agency with a central role in the campaign against Al Qaeda.

Mark M. Lowenthal, an intelligence veteran who left a senior post at the C.I.A. in 2005, said Mr. Obama's decision to exclude Mr. Brennan from contention for the top job had sent a message that "if you worked in the C.I.A. during the war on terror, you are now tainted," and had created anxiety in the ranks of the agency's clandestine service.

...The story, by Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, noted that John O. Brennan had withdrawn his name from consideration for CIA director after liberal critics attacked his role in the agency's interrogation program, even though Brennan characterized himself as a "strong opponent" within the agency of harsh interrogation techniques. Brennan's characterization was not disputed by anyone else in the story, even though most experts on this subject agree that Brennan acquiesced in everything that the CIA did in this area while he served there.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/08/cia/print.html

CitizenTM , 29 Aug 2012 17:52
The Government leaks classified material at will for propaganda advantage, but hunts Assange and tortures Private Manning for the same.
tballou , 29 Aug 2012 17:51
"these emails reflect the standard full-scale cooperation – a virtual merger – between our the government and the establishment media outlets that claim to act as "watchdogs" over them."

Glenn - the only objection I have to your column and all your previous columns on this matter is that I am not sure the establishment media actually claim to be watchdogs, at least not any more, and certainly not since Sept 11. They really are more like PR reps.

SanFranDouglas -> OneWorldGovernment , 29 Aug 2012 17:51

The media is another tool in the [government, in this case] arsenal to help send a message, as are speeches before think tanks and etc.

Yes. The issue under discussion here, however, is the extent to which the media is an eager partner in the message-sending, rather than an unwitiing tool.

OneWorldGovernment , 29 Aug 2012 17:44
Did everyone forget the Judith Miller article? The usage of Twitter and other social media during the Iranian election of 2009? The leaks about the Iranian nuclear program in the Telegraph? ARDA?

The U.S. government, along with every other government in the world, uses the media to influence public opinion and send geopolitical messages to others that understand the message (normally not the masses). The media is another tool in the arsenal to help send a message, as are speeches before think tanks and etc.

We use social media to create social unrest if it aligns with our interests. We use the media to send political messages and influence public opinion. The vast majority of reporting in the N.Y. Times, WSJ, Guardian, Telegraph, and etc. do not reflect this, but every now and then "unnamed sources" help further a geopolitical message.

In this country, it has been that way since before the founding fathers and the Republic. Remember the Federalist, Anti-Federalist, Sam Adams as Vtndex, and etc.? Newspapers used for "propaganda" purposes.

SanFranDouglas -> smartypants54 , 29 Aug 2012 17:42

Upthread I asked him for his comments on the reporting of Seymour Hirsh. He is someone who cozied up to all kinds of people - and wound up busting some extremely important stories in the process.

I think a modest amount of review of Sy Hersh's work will demonstrate that his "cozying up" hasn't included running interference for the spooks' official PR flacks.

DuErJournalist , 29 Aug 2012 17:42
The New York Times: Burn after reading!

[Dec 14, 2018] The whole austerity crisis thing appears to have been engineered so that a few blinkered and unpatriotic, vulture mafia privateers can make a killing, selling off vital state assets, such as infrastructure and ports, to the Chinese. This is a very suspicious and widespread trend.

Notable quotes:
"... Bob Marley got it right.... the human race is becoming a rat race, and it's a disgrace. ..."
"... The biggest problem is the financialisation of the economy... what is the actual value of things? The market is so manipulated that real price discovery is not possible. ..."
"... We have an over-cooked service-sector economy unsustainably reliant on cheap debt, cheap energy, and cheap manufactured goods to fuel our 'high-end levels of consumption, and mobility or living standards, and an over-heated housing market that is unsustainably run according to the needs of investors and landlords rather than residents or tenants. ..."
"... What we need is a coordinated approach between our nations. Undercutting each other on corporate taxes, writing tax avoidance into law, and continuing to allow multinationals to influence our politicians and play our governments against each other is exactly the game we must end. ..."
"... Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further.... ..."
"... "Ransom". There is no better word to describe it. This (the ransom mentality) is exactly the reactionary, vindictive, doctrinaire psychology that must be extracted like a cancer from our institutional lives and the human species. A monolithic task. But identifying the cause is the first step to cure. ..."
"... these are the new medieval transnational barons ..."
Jun 09, 2013 | theguardian.com
MysticFish -> Crackerpot , 8 Jun 2013 14:43
@Crackerpot - The whole austerity crisis thing appears to have been engineered so that a few blinkered and unpatriotic, vulture mafia privateers can make a killing, selling off vital state assets, such as infrastructure and ports, to the Chinese. This is a very suspicious and widespread trend.
artheart , 8 Jun 2013 14:38

Bob Marley got it right.... the human race is becoming a rat race, and it's a disgrace.

I see it every day from the window of my flat, on a main road, in Bethnal Green. There's a 'mentally unstable' Rastafarian who stands by the overground station, and shouts things out to people like "You're living in babylon".

I do sometimes think he's not the mental one.

artheart -> HolyInsurgent , 8 Jun 2013 14:32
@HolyInsurgent

The biggest problem is the financialisation of the economy... what is the actual value of things? The market is so manipulated that real price discovery is not possible.

We have an over-cooked service-sector economy unsustainably reliant on cheap debt, cheap energy, and cheap manufactured goods to fuel our 'high-end levels of consumption, and mobility or living standards, and an over-heated housing market that is unsustainably run according to the needs of investors and landlords rather than residents or tenants.

The whole thing is going to blow apart. Our 'aspirations' are slowly killing us - they're destroying the social fabric.

MikeInCanada , 8 Jun 2013 14:28
What we need is a coordinated approach between our nations. Undercutting each other on corporate taxes, writing tax avoidance into law, and continuing to allow multinationals to influence our politicians and play our governments against each other is exactly the game we must end.
HolyInsurgent , 8 Jun 2013 14:08

Deborah Orr: Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further....

I never thought I would live long enough to see this level of honesty ATL. It should have been published long ago, but at least the discussion now begins.

"Ransom". There is no better word to describe it. This (the ransom mentality) is exactly the reactionary, vindictive, doctrinaire psychology that must be extracted like a cancer from our institutional lives and the human species. A monolithic task. But identifying the cause is the first step to cure.

peterpuffin -> PointOfYou , 8 Jun 2013 14:03
@PointOfYou - these are the new medieval transnational barons

[Dec 14, 2018] Here's the funny thing about those who cheer the broken neoliberal model. They promise we will get to those "sunny uplands" with exactly the same fervor as old Marxists.

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism? This is not just a financial agenda. This a highly organized multi armed counterculture operation to force us, including Ms Orr [unless she has...connections] into what Terence McKenna [who was in on it] termed the `Archaic Revival'. That is - you and me [and Ms Orr] - our - return to the medieval dark ages, if we indeed survive that far. ..."
"... The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. ..."
"... the UK government did intervene in the economy when it bailed out the banks to the tune of many billions of pounds underwritten by the taxpayer. The markets should always be regulated sufficiently (light touch is absolutely useless) to prevent the problems currently being experienced from ever happening again. ..."
"... Traditional liberalism had died decades before WWII and was replaced by finance capitalism. What happened after WW II was that capitalism had to make various concessions to avoid a socialist revolution: social and political freedoms indeed darted ahead. ..."
"... No chance mate, at least not all the time greasy spiv and shyster outfits like hedge funds are funding Puffin face and the Vermin Party. They are never going to bite the hand that feeds them ..."
"... And in case we get uppity and endeavour to challenge the economic paradigm and the rule of these neoliberal elites, there's the surveillance state panopticon to track our movements and keep us in check. ..."
"... There is not a shred of logical sense in neoliberalism. You're doing what the fundamentalists do... they talk about what neoliberalism is in theory whilst completely ignoring what it is in practice. In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism. ..."
"... She, knowingly, let neo-liberal economic philosophy come trumpeting through the door of No10 and it's been there ever since; it has guided our politicians for the past 30 odd years. Hence, it is Thatcher's fault. She did this and another bad thing: the woman who glorified household economics pissed away billions of pounds of North Sea Oil. ..."
"... Bailouts have been a constant feature of neoliberalism. In fact the role of the state is simply reduced to a merely commissioning agent to private parasitical corporations. History has shown the state playing this role since neoliberalism became embedded in policy since the 1970s - Long Term Capital Management, Savings and Loans, The Brady Plan, numerous PFI bailouts and those of the Western banking system during the 1982 South American, 1997 Asian and 2010 European debt crises. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | discussion.theguardian.com

Jenny340 -> EllisWyatt, 8 Jun 2013 13:37

@EllisWyatt - Here's the funny thing about those who cheer the broken neoliberal model. They promise we will get to those "sunny uplands" with exactly the same fervor as old Marxists.
PointOfYou , 8 Jun 2013 13:37

Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

Neoliberalism? This is not just a financial agenda. This a highly organized multi armed counterculture operation to force us, including Ms Orr [unless she has...connections] into what Terence McKenna [who was in on it] termed the `Archaic Revival'. That is - you and me [and Ms Orr] - our - return to the medieval dark ages, if we indeed survive that far.

The same names come up time and time again. One of them being, father of propaganda, Edward Bernays.

Bernays wrote what can be seen as a virtual Mission Statement for anyone wishing to bring about a "counterculture." In the opening paragraph of his book Propaganda he wrote:

"..The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.

This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organised. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses.

It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind..."[28]

Bernays' family background made him well suited to "control the public mind." He was the double nephew of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud. His mother was Freud's sister Anna, and his father was Ely Bernays, brother of Freud's wife Martha Bernays.

Snookerboy -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 13:17
@OneCommentator - the UK government did intervene in the economy when it bailed out the banks to the tune of many billions of pounds underwritten by the taxpayer. The markets should always be regulated sufficiently (light touch is absolutely useless) to prevent the problems currently being experienced from ever happening again.

Those at the bottom of society and those in the public sector are the ones paying the price for this intervention in the UK. If you truly believe in the 'free' market then all of these failing organisations (banks, etc) should have been allowed to fail. The problem is that the wealth created under the current system is virtually all going to those at the top of the income scale and this needs to change and is one of the main reasons that neo liberalism should be binned!

ATrueFinn -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 13:09
@ OneCommentator 08 June 2013 5:21pm

No, it was as recently as ww2 more or less

Traditional liberalism had died decades before WWII and was replaced by finance capitalism. What happened after WW II was that capitalism had to make various concessions to avoid a socialist revolution: social and political freedoms indeed darted ahead.

Do read a book about history!

clairesdad -> brighton2 , 8 Jun 2013 13:06
@brighton2 - No chance mate, at least not all the time greasy spiv and shyster outfits like hedge funds are funding Puffin face and the Vermin Party. They are never going to bite the hand that feeds them.
NotWithoutMyMonkey , 8 Jun 2013 13:01
And in case we get uppity and endeavour to challenge the economic paradigm and the rule of these neoliberal elites, there's the surveillance state panopticon to track our movements and keep us in check.
TedStewart , 8 Jun 2013 12:51
Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

Are you saying neoliberalism is a great big useless pile of shit? Then you are absolutely right!

kingcreosote -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 12:47
@ MickGJ 08 June 2013 1:08pm . Get cifFix for Firefox .

I know what you are saying it's just sooner or later as those at the bottom continue to be squeezed the wealthy will sow their own seeds of destruction. I think we are witnessing the end game which is reflected in the desperation of the coalition to flog everything regardless of the efficacy of such behavior, they feel time is running out and they would be right.

taxhaven , 8 Jun 2013 12:44
Call it what you will - "neoliberalism", "neoconservatism", "socialism" or whatever it is...

This debate is not even really solely about money: this is about liberty , about free choice, about being permitted to engage in voluntary exchange of goods and services with others, unmolested. About the users of services becoming the ones paying for those services.

Ultimately the real effect will be to remove power from governments and hand it back to where it belongs - the free market.

dmckm -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 12:43
@ OneCommentator 08 June 2013 5:04pm . Get cifFix for Firefox .

voluntary transactions among free agents. That's called a free market and it is by far the most efficient way to produce wealth humanity has ever known.

Could you explain how someone bound by a contract of employment, with the alternative, destitution, is a 'free agent'?

jazzdrum -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 12:25
@SpinningHugo - Nothing comes out of nothing and i well remember black Monday in the City. That was the start of the spivs running the economy as if it were a casino. If you think its only on CiF that Thatcher gets the blame, think on this, Scotland, a whole nation blames her too.
TedSmithAndSon -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 12:24
@theguardianisrubbish -

Unless you are completely confused by what neoliberalism is there is not a shred of logical sense in this.

There is not a shred of logical sense in neoliberalism. You're doing what the fundamentalists do... they talk about what neoliberalism is in theory whilst completely ignoring what it is in practice. In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism.

Savers in a neoliberal society are lambs to the slaughter. Thatcher "revitalised" banking, while everything else withered and died.

Neoliberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom, communism is definitely not. Neoliberalist policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty in Asia and South America.

Neoliberalism is based on the thought that you get as much freedom as you can pay for, otherwise you can just pay... like everyone else. In Asia and South America it has been the economic preference of dictators that pushes profit upwards and responsibility down, just like it does here.

I find it ironic that it now has 5 year plans that absolutely must not be deviated from, massive state intervention in markets (QE, housing policy, tax credits... insert where applicable), and advocates large scale central planning even as it denies reality, and makes the announcement from a tractor factory.

Neoliberalism is a blight... a cancer on humanity... a massive lie told by rich people and believed only by peasants happy to be thrown a turnip. In theory it's one thing, the reality is entirely different. Until we're rid of it, we're all it's slaves. It's an abhorrent cult that comes up with purest bilge like expansionary fiscal contraction to keep all the money in the hands of the rich.

outragedofacton -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 12:02
@MickGJ - You are wrong about the first 2 of course. Banksters get others to do their shit.

But unfortunately the poor sods who went down on D Day were in their way fighting for Wall Street as much as anything else. It's just that they weren't told about it by the Allies massive propaganda machine. So partly right

5/10

LetsGetCynical , 8 Jun 2013 11:57

The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

Which would be what? State planning? Communism? Totally free market capitalism? Oh wait, we already have the best of a bad bunch, a mixed capitalist economy with democracy. That really is the crux of it, our system isn't perfect, never will be, but nobody has come up with a better solution.

outragedofacton -> artheart , 8 Jun 2013 11:55
@artheart - Thank goodness for RT.

Learn also about the West's nefarious activities in the Middle East.

ATrueFinn -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 11:51
@ fr0mn0where 08 June 2013 4:29pm

Barclays bank "only" paid out £660m in dividends to the bearers of risk capital, while its bonus pot for a very select number of its staff was £1.5bn.

Fascinating! Now, one could infer that Barclays represent "beneficial capitalism", rewarding its hard-working employees, but maybe we won't.

This is not the traditional capitalist style

The Traditional capitalist is not an extinct species but under threat. For the time being the population is stagnant in some countries and even increasing in some others. However, due to the foraging capacity of Neoliberal creature , competing in the same economical niche, the size and life expectation of it are diminishing.

dmckm -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 11:50
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 10:59am . Get cifFix for Firefox .

She, knowingly, let neo-liberal economic philosophy come trumpeting through the door of No10 and it's been there ever since; it has guided our politicians for the past 30 odd years. Hence, it is Thatcher's fault. She did this and another bad thing: the woman who glorified household economics pissed away billions of pounds of North Sea Oil.

szwalby -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 11:30
@MickGJ - No, you're right. Why let yesterdays experience feed into what you expect of the future? Lets go forwards goldfish like, every minute a brand new one, with no baggage!
And by the way, who saved the hide of the very much private sector banks and financial institutions? The hated STATE, us tax payers!
fr0mn0where -> ATrueFinn , 8 Jun 2013 11:29
@ATrueFinn -

I think I agree with everything that you say here? The people at the top these days aren't really of much use for anything, including capitalism. The only thing that they do excel at is lining their own pockets and securing their privileged position in society.

They have become quite up front about it. There was a bit of a fuss last year when Barclays bank "only" paid out £660m in dividends to the bearers of risk capital, while its bonus pot for a very select number of its staff was £1.5bn. Barclays released a statement before their AGM explaining:

"Barclays is fully committed to ensuring that a greater proportion of income and profits flow to shareholders notwithstanding that it operates within the constraints of a competitive market."

This is not the traditional capitalist style competition that they are talking about where companies competed as to who can return the biggest profit for their shareholders this now comes secondary to the real competition which is for which company can return the biggest bonuses for a small group of employees.

theonionmurders -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 11:05
@theguardianisrubbish

Bailouts have been a constant feature of neoliberalism. In fact the role of the state is simply reduced to a merely commissioning agent to private parasitical corporations. History has shown the state playing this role since neoliberalism became embedded in policy since the 1970s - Long Term Capital Management, Savings and Loans, The Brady Plan, numerous PFI bailouts and those of the Western banking system during the 1982 South American, 1997 Asian and 2010 European debt crises.

No wonder you're so ignorant of the basics of economic policy if you won't flick through a book - fear of accepting that you're simply wrong is a sure sign of either pig ignorance or denial, and is as I said embarrassing so its not really much point in wasting anymore time engaging with you.

petercs , 8 Jun 2013 10:44

The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda.

..."neoliberal", concept behind the word, has nothing to do with liberal or liberty or freedom...it is a PR spin concept that names slavery with a a word that sounds like the opposite...if "they" called it neoslavery it just wouldn't sell in the market for political concepts.

..."austerity" is the financial sectors' solution to its survival after it sucked most the value out of the economy and broke it. To mend it was a case of preservation of the elite and the devil take the hindmost, that's most of us.

...and even Labour, the party of trade unionism, has adopted austerity to drive its policy.

...we need a Peoples' Party to stand for the revaluation of labour so we get paid for our effort rather than the distortion, the rich xxx poor divide, of neoslavery austerity.

Crackerpot , 8 Jun 2013 10:43
When the IMF 'admitted' that the first bail out of Greece was 'bungled' are they trying to imply that the subsequent bail outs have been a success....
artheart , 8 Jun 2013 10:34
People need to start watching The Keiser Report to hear the truth, if they can handle the truth. Link here: http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/

I simply cannot recommend it enough.

MickGJ -> bluebirds , 8 Jun 2013 10:30

@bluebirds - deregulated capitalism has failed

Of course it has. And it will continue to "fail", while provide us with all sorts of goodies, for the foreseeable future. Capitalism's endless "failure" is of no more concern than human mortality. Ever tried, ever failed, try again, fail better.
epinoa -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 10:25
@CaptainGrey -

Except it's not. It is still very much alive and growing.

In as much as a zombie is.

The "alternatives" have crashed and burned save Cuba and North Korea.

I'd say the current oligarchical form of capitalism has crashed quite spectacularly. I say this as a free market capitalist too.

[Dec 14, 2018] Noam Chomsky pointed this out aeons ago though-that the American model is to use tax money to benefit private interests through technological infrastructure

Notable quotes:
"... Now we see moneyed entities with vested interests, carpet bagging and flogging off the NHS and an unelected fossil fuel mandarin, at the heart of government decision making, appointing corporate yea-sayers, to the key government departments, with environmental responsibilities. Corporations capturing the state apparatus for their own ends, is 'corporatism.' ..."
"... "Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits." ..."
"... The bailout is simply actual neoliberalism as opposed to the theory inside tiny right wing minds. The system depends on the wealthy not being allowed to suffer the consequences of their own greed, or it would represent revolution and still not work. ..."
"... Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits. It always amusing to see neoliberal morons shout about the red menace when they're two sides of the same coin. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is nothing if not the opposite extreme of the communist planned economy. Like the communist planned economy, neoliberalism is doomed to failure. I think we've all been sold a lie. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | discussion.theguardian.com

epinoa -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 10:19

@Fachan -

Just as democracy is the worst system of government except for all other, so capitalism is the worst economic model except for all other.

Shame we only have bastardized forms of them.
bridkid5 -> NotAgainAgain , 8 Jun 2013 10:18
@NotAgainAgain - this is very true, it reminds me of an engineering company I worked for in Nottingham (since gone under). The production manger was a corrupt thief. He gradually sub-contracted the production work out to other companies in the area, taking backhanders for his troubles.

Once all the production was farmed out, he somehow got himself promoted to director level, where he and a sycophant subbed all the design work out. So all the production and design was done out of house, standards dropped and the company closed, leaving him with a nice payoff, just prior to retirement.

Some would say he played a blinder, my interpretation is he ruined a perfectly viable company, making a very good product, and over the course of about 5 years put over 30 people out of work.

In a just world he would be spending his retirement in prison.

ATrueFinn -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 10:13
@ MickGJ 08 June 2013 2:16pm

ext year's harvest (possibly of GM food which makes better use of scarce resources)

Indeed. Wheat will grow as flour and fly to our cupboards.

ATrueFinn -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 10:10
@ fr0mn0where 08 June 2013 1:53pm

Income distribution and a happy workforce is actually very good for business as well as society!

Of course it is, but the capitalists do not know it. In many countries, including Finland, the "condition of the working classes", ie. working conditions, have been in rapid decline for the last 20 years.

Permanent salaried jobs have been replaced with temps from agencies, unpaid overtime is becoming the norm, burnouts are commonplace and so on.

If in your country things are different, no mass lay-outs and outsourcing to China, count yourself lucky!

crinklyoldgit , 8 Jun 2013 10:04
On form, Debs. Here is something I like.

But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments

Noam Chomsky pointed this out aeons ago though-that the American model is to use tax money to benefit private interests through technological infrastructure.

It was ever thus, if in slightly different forms. Still it is surprising that they have gone so quickly from their stated position at the start of the republic of a rejection of kings and emperors to their position now of corruption so ingrained it is impossible to make distinctions. Proxy emperors are emperors all the same, no matter the rhetoric that promotes them.

One senses that there is very little 'going back' possible. Besides, the great Neoliberal scam is predicated upon the qualities of the 'governments' we have and the capacity of those 'rhetoricians' with the capacity to say anything or play any role, to lick any arse, to get elected. Such apparent strength is weakness. In this world that now exists here, we have now entered the same world as the USSR in the eighties, where the announcement of bumper harvests of wheat, made everyone with a brain cell groan and think 'Oh fuck! no bread this winter-quick, run to the shops now, and buy up all the flour there'.

But there is now no way to declare that without being seen as beyond the pale-a bug eyed conspiracist.

Still, I am a believer in the connectedness of this world. The economic system and its mythologies are just weird and distorted canaries in the coalmine of the wider environment. It is indicating that there is a misalignment between the way we think and what is possible in this world. Austerity promoters and 'Keynsian' Ballsites are one and the same thing-both pretenders that the key to the problems is within their narrow gifts

Hubris is followed by nemesis. In a wider sense what we seen now is a complete failure of the capacity to educate and to learn,and moderate behaviour, and find some way of caring for our 'others', beyond the core of 'self'. nationalism is essentially an extension of 'self'. We now shall see the failure of a retraction of thought into nationalism and scapegoating.

I predict that the population of the world will decline over the next century-quite markedly.
The only solace is that at the end of the process, the pain will be forgotten. It always is.

MysticFish -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:57
@MickGJ - Cameron said 'We will cut the deficit, not the NHS,' and promised to be the 'greenest government ever,' saying that you could 'go green,' if you voted 'blue.'

Now we see moneyed entities with vested interests, carpet bagging and flogging off the NHS and an unelected fossil fuel mandarin, at the heart of government decision making, appointing corporate yea-sayers, to the key government departments, with environmental responsibilities. Corporations capturing the state apparatus for their own ends, is 'corporatism.'

Spoutwell , 8 Jun 2013 09:53

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce.

There was very little 'healthy economic growth' in Britain in the second half of the 20th century. Britain was bankrupt after WW2 with its people dependent on Marshall Aid and food contributions from its former 'colonies'.

Whatever 'growth' occured after Marshall Aid arrived was scuppered by a class system where company managers were more concerned with walking on the workers than with keeping their businesses afloat while such discrimination provoked hard left trade union policies which left british industry uncompetitive and ultimately non-existent.

If that wasn't enough, Thatcherism arrived to re-inforce class discrimination, sell off national services and assets and replace social policy with neo-liberal consumerism. Whether the workforce was swollen by women or anyone else is immaterial.

The anti-democratic incestuous class conflict latent in British society continues to ensure that the UK will remain a mere vassal state of foot-soldiers and consumers for international neo-liberal capitalism.

MurchuantEacnamai -> DasInternaut , 8 Jun 2013 09:49
@DasInternaut - Completely agree. The performance has been poor to absymal. But this is a failure of democratic governance because the collective interests of citizens as consumers and service users are not being represented and enforced by the elected politicians since they have been suborned by the capitalists elites and their fellow-travellers.

The people, indeed, have been sold a lie, but, unfortunately, it is only UKIP which is making the political waves by revealing selected aspects of this lie. The three established parties have been 'bought' to varying extents. But more and more citizens are beginning to realise the extent to which they have been bought.

Itsrainingtin , 8 Jun 2013 09:44
There is an upside to all of this, maybe I wont get modded so much from now on for being so angry at the ideological criminals . Hopefully the middle classes will cotton on to the fact that all this is not a mad hatters tinfoil hobby, we need more of them to be grumpy.
szwalby -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:43
@MickGJ - We've already seen it. Not great so far. GS4, Winterbourne view, southern cross, trains...............Welfare to work companies, delivering no better results than people left to their own devices. Energy companies.

We'll see if the new wave of free schools, academy schools, and all the service outsourced by the council perform any better.

Doubtful, as to make a profit, they have to employ poorer paid people, less well qualified, and once they've got a contract, they've got very little competition, as when the second round of bidding comes around, as the firms having got the first contract are the only one with relevant experience, they are assured of renewal, the money machine will keep going!

MurchuantEacnamai -> TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 09:39
@TedSmithAndSon - There's a huge difference between meddling and ensuring effective governance. But I expect in your omniscence you know that.
theguardianisrubbish -> theonionmurders , 8 Jun 2013 09:38
@theonionmurders - I am not going to read a book.

Neoliberalism are policies that are influenced by neo classical economics. If you are suggesting that the neoliberal school of thought would advocate any kind of a bailout then you are mistaken. Where else have I "apparently" embarrassed myself?

theguardianisrubbish -> TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 09:28
@TedSmithAndSon - This is just an inaccurate rant not a reply.

"The system depends on the wealthy not being allowed to suffer the consequences.."

Unless you are completely confused by what neolibralism is there is not a shred of logical sense in this.

"The debt industry are the lenders who take advantage of a financial system..."

Which is what savers are. They come in the form of individuals businesses and governments. This encompasses everyone.

"whilst paying the lowest possible rate. Wonga, for instance."

If you are a lender you do not pay anything, you receive.

"Thatchers revolution was to take our citizenship and give it a value, whilst making everyone else a consumer, all for a handful of magic beans in the shape of British Gas shares."

...not forgetting that she revitalised the economy and got everyone back to work again.

"Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits."

Neoliberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom, communism is definitely not. Neoliberalist policies have lifted millions of people out of poverty in Asia and South America. Communism has no benefits for society open your eyes!

theonionmurders -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 09:24

@theguardianisrubbish - Does this author not realise that a government bailout goes against the whole neoliberal school of thought?

No it isn't. You're confusing neoliberalism with neo classical economics. The level of knowledge on economic theory here is sometimes embarrassing.

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/rsw/research_centres/theory/conf/rg/harvey_a_brief_history_of_neoliberalism.pdf

MickGJ -> ATrueFinn , 8 Jun 2013 09:16

@ATrueFinn - After they are finished, what do Singaporeans eat?

Next year's harvest (possibly of GM food which makes better use of scarce resources). I imagine the sun will eventually stop bombarding us with the energy that powers photosynthesis but I'm not losing any sleep over it.
richmanchester -> MurchuantEacnamai , 8 Jun 2013 09:13
@MurchuantEacnamai - I think the point is this, Amazon make money by selling books, they avoid paying taxes, yet expect an educated, literate population to be provided for them, on the grounds that illiterate people don't buy books, and expect roads to move the books around on.

So who will pay for this?

TedSmithAndSon -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 09:12
@theguardianisrubbish - No! The bailout is simply actual neoliberalism as opposed to the theory inside tiny right wing minds. The system depends on the wealthy not being allowed to suffer the consequences of their own greed, or it would represent revolution and still not work.

The debt industry are the lenders who take advantage of a financial system designed to push profits upwards (neoliberalism in practice), whilst paying the lowest possible rate. Wonga, for instance.

Thatchers revolution was to take our citizenship and give it a value, whilst making everyone else a consumer, all for a handful of magic beans in the shape of British Gas shares.

Neoliberalism in practice is every bit as bad as Communism in practice, with none of the benefits. It always amusing to see neoliberal morons shout about the red menace when they're two sides of the same coin.

szwalby -> MickGJ , 8 Jun 2013 09:04
@MickGJ -

.and provides them at a massively inflated cost accompanied by unforgivable waste and inefficiency, appalling service and life-threatening incompetence.

as opposed to the private sector, who always does what it says it will do, at reasonable cost, for the benefit of their customers, and with due regards to ethics? Like the Banks, the financial sector, who will never sell you a product that isn't the best for you, regardless of their interest? the private companies like Southern Cross, GS4?

The private insurance who refuse to take you on the minute you've got some illness or disability? Get off it! The state isn't perfect, the services it provides are not perfect, but replacing them with private provision isn't the answer!

DasInternaut -> MurchuantEacnamai , 8 Jun 2013 08:59
@MurchuantEacnamai - How would you rate how well British government has done in ensuring markets are genuinely competitive. How well has British government done in ensuring our energy market is competitive, for example. Does the competitiveness we observe in the energy market give customers better or worse value than they had before deregulation? How do you rate the British government's performance in rail and public transport, with respect to competitiveness?

Personally, and notwithstanding the notable exception of telecoms, I rate the British (and US) government's performance in deregulating state entities, creating new markets and ensuring competition, as poor.

Neoliberalism is nothing if not the opposite extreme of the communist planned economy. Like the communist planned economy, neoliberalism is doomed to failure. I think we've all been sold a lie.

[Dec 14, 2018] Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom ..."
"... Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law. ..."
"... So it seems that your suggestion is for a return to western capitalism post-war style - would that be right? (b.t.w. if I bring up the whole Soviet Union thing, it is partly because quite a few commentators in this debate come across as if they wish for something much more leftist than that). ..."
"... What you have missed, is that the lions share of the proceeds of that growth are not going to ordinary people but to a tiny minority of super rich. It is not working for the majority. ..."
"... The taxpayers are left to pick up the tab, nations are divided against immigrants and scroungers and then unfettered evangelists like you can spout as pompously as you like about how much big business would like to remove the state from corporate affairs. ..."
"... Without the state there wouldn't be neo-Liberalism, it took state regulated capitalism to build what unfettered purists insist on tearing apart for short term greed. ..."
"... The trouble is Neo-Liberals do not want to remove the state at all, they want to BE the state and in the process rendering democracy pretty much meaningless. And they've succeeded. ..."
"... The biggest swindle ever pulled was turning the most glaring and crushing failure of unfettered corporatism into the biggest and most crushing power grab implemented in order to suppress the will of the people ..."
"... Nobody hates a market more than a monopoly and capitalism must inevitably end in monopoly as it has. For the profiteering monopolies investment especially via taxation is insane as it can only undermine their monopoly. ..."
"... The bankers have always known that the austerity caused by having to pay off un-payable loans, that increase every year, will eventually produce countries very similar to the "Weimar Days" in pre-Hitler Germany. ..."
"... They also know that drastic conditions such as these often lead to a collapse of democracy and a resurgence of Fascism. ..."
"... Neoliberalism could not exist without massive state support. So the term is meaningless. There is nothing "liberal" about having a huge state funded military industrial complex that acts a Trojan horse for global corporations, invading other countries for resources. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is a branch of economic ideology which espouses the value of the free-market, and removing all protective legislation, so that large companies are free to do what they want, where-ever they want, with no impediments from social or environmental considerations, or a nation's democratic preferences. ..."
"... Business-friendly to who exactly: the nation or hostile overseas speculators? ..."
"... The golden age of 1945 - 1975 or so witnessed huge rises in standards of living so your point linking neo-liberalism to rising standards of living is literally meaningless. There was an explosive growth in economic activity during the three or four post war decades ..."
"... The assumption shared by many round here that the young are some untapped resource of revolutionary energy is deeply mistaken ..."
Jun 10, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

WyldeWolfe , 10 Jun 2013 19:42

Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom

So it's been a success then.

disorderedworld , 10 Jun 2013 17:21
A wonderful article that names the central issue. Neoliberal ideology acted as a smokescreen that enabled the financially powerful to rewrite the rules and place themselves beyond the law. The resultant rise of financial capitalism, which now eclipses the productive manufacturing-based capitalism that was the engine of world growth since the industrial revolution, has propelled a dangerous self-serving elite to the centre of world power. It's not just inequality that matters, but the character of the global elite.
MatthewBall -> murielbelcher , 10 Jun 2013 16:23
@murielbelcher -

The neo-liberal order commenced only in the late 1970s - there was a very different order prior to this which was not "soviet socialism" as you term it.

So it seems that your suggestion is for a return to western capitalism post-war style - would that be right? (b.t.w. if I bring up the whole Soviet Union thing, it is partly because quite a few commentators in this debate come across as if they wish for something much more leftist than that).

Anyway, my worry with this idea is that I am just not convinced that life in "The West 1945-80" was better on the whole than in "The West 1980-present". It's true that unemployment is higher these days, but a lot of work in the post-war years was boring and physically exhausting; in factories and mines where conditions were degrading and bad for health; and where industrial relations were simply terrible. I think as well that the higher unemployment is a localized phenomenon that many developing countries are not experiencing (this is relevant because Deborah Orr proposes change for the whole world, not merely the West).

There were also frequent recessions and booms - in fact, more frequent (albeit shorter) than now. What seems to have changed in this respect is that, whereas we used to alternate regularly between 2-3 years of boom and 1-2 years of bust, we now have 15 years of continuous boom followed by a (maybe?) 10 year bust (this pattern began around 1980). If you asked me which of these two patterns I preferred, then I think I'd go for the pre-1980 pattern, but its not clear to me that the post-1980 pattern is so much worse as to underwrite a savage indictment of the whole system.

As for Casino banking: they should reform that. Britain's Coalition Government has done something in that respect, although its not very radical - I am hoping Labour can do more. There is certainly a lot to be said for banks going back to a pre-"Big Bang" sense of tradition and prudence.

Buts let's not also forget the plus sides in the ledger for post-1980 capitalism: hundreds of millions in the former third world lifted out of poverty; unprecedented technological innovation (e.g. the internet, which makes access to knowledge more equal even as income inequality grows); and the accomodation (at least in the West) of progressive social change, such as the empowerment of ethnic minorities, LGBT people and women.

Change, yes - but lets be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

MatthewBall -> Grich , 10 Jun 2013 15:40
@Grich -

What you have missed, is that the lions share of the proceeds of that growth are not going to ordinary people but to a tiny minority of super rich. It is not working for the majority. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/07/58-of-real-income-growth-since-1976-went-to-top-1-and-why-that-matters.html

OK, but both the claim and the link cited in support talk only about a problem in the US. This can't really answer my point, which was that the rest of the world should not be expected to support a change to the economic system of the whole world just because of problems that are mostly localised to North America and Europe. People in developing countries might like the fact that they are, at last, catching "the West" up, and might well not care much about widening inequality of incomes in Western societies.

If you are going to propose changes that you want the whole world to adopt, as Deborah Orr does, then you should be careful to avoid casually assuming that Africa, India, China, et al, feel the same way about the world's recent history as we do. It seems to me that not enough care has been demonstrated in this regard.

MarkHH -> MickGJ , 10 Jun 2013 13:34

@MickGJ - Left to their own devices the most extreme neo-liberals would remove the state almost completely from corporate life.

Except when the State has to step in to prop up an unsustainable ideology. Then it's all meek murmurings and pleas for forgiveness and a timid "we'll be better from now" concessions and the Government obliges the public with the farce that they actually intend to do anything at all but make the public pay for the financial sector's state subsidized profligacy.

Once the begging bowl is re-filled of course then the pretense of "business as usual" profligacy rises to the fore.

The taxpayers are left to pick up the tab, nations are divided against immigrants and scroungers and then unfettered evangelists like you can spout as pompously as you like about how much big business would like to remove the state from corporate affairs.

When you well know that is the last thing big business would like to do. More of the state owned pie is always the most urgent of priorities. Poorer services at inflated costs equates as 'efficiency' until the taxpayer is again left to step in and pick up the bill.

Without the state there wouldn't be neo-Liberalism, it took state regulated capitalism to build what unfettered purists insist on tearing apart for short term greed.

The trouble is Neo-Liberals do not want to remove the state at all, they want to BE the state and in the process rendering democracy pretty much meaningless. And they've succeeded.

The biggest swindle ever pulled was turning the most glaring and crushing failure of unfettered corporatism into the biggest and most crushing power grab implemented in order to suppress the will of the people.

Just as IMF loans come with 'obligations' the principle of democracy itself was sold as part of 'the solution'.

The unsustainable, sustained. By slavery to debt, removal of society's safety net and an economy barely maintained by industries that serve the rich, vultures that prey on the weak and rising living costs and the drudgery of a life compounded by a relentless bombardment of everything in life that is unattainable.

Toeparty , 10 Jun 2013 05:28
Nobody hates a market more than a monopoly and capitalism must inevitably end in monopoly as it has. For the profiteering monopolies investment especially via taxation is insane as it can only undermine their monopoly. With the economy now globalised not even a world war could sweep away the current ossified political economy and give capitalism a new lease on life. It's socialism or monopoly capitalist barbarism. Make your choice.
DracoTBastard , 10 Jun 2013 05:26

The IMF exists to lend money to governments,

Money that the governments don't actually need as they can print their own money and spend it to use their countries own resources and then raise taxes to offset the extra spending and thus maintaining monetary value. The reality is that a government should never, ever borrow money.
Malakia123 , 10 Jun 2013 03:35
The beginning period between the two world wars (1919-33) in Germany called the Weimar Republic shows us exactly what severe austerity imposed by the Treaty of Versailles caused. Because the German economy contracted severely due to reparations payments, steady inflation and severe unemployment ensued. Of course the FED having started the Great Depression in America had not helped matters much anywhere in the world. The bankers have always known that the austerity caused by having to pay off un-payable loans, that increase every year, will eventually produce countries very similar to the "Weimar Days" in pre-Hitler Germany.

They also know that drastic conditions such as these often lead to a collapse of democracy and a resurgence of Fascism.

What causes inflation is uncontrolled speculation of the kind we have seen fed by private banking at various crucial points in history, such as the Weimar Republic. When speculation is coupled with debt (owed to private banking cartels) such as we are seeing in America and Europe now, the result is disaster. On the other hand, when a government issues its own "good faith" commerce-related currency in carefully measured ways as we saw in Roman times or Colonial America, it causes supply and demand to increase together, leaving prices unaffected. Hence there is no inflation, no debt, no unemployment, and no need for income taxes.

In reality, the Weimar financial crisis began with the impossible reparations payments imposed at the Treaty of Versailles. It is very similar to the austerity being imposed on European Nations and America as we speak – regardless of the fact that the IMF is trying to pose as "the Good Cop" at the moment! The damage has been done to nations like Greece, and others are soon to follow. The uncontrollable greed of banks and corporations is leading to an implosion of severe magnitude! It's time to open their books and put a stop to these private banks right now!

brucefiiona -> MysticFish , 9 Jun 2013 20:36
@MysticFish - So the US who has a greater spend on the military than communist China is neoliberal?

Neoliberalism could not exist without massive state support. So the term is meaningless. There is nothing "liberal" about having a huge state funded military industrial complex that acts a Trojan horse for global corporations, invading other countries for resources.

The term neoliberal is not only meaningless but misleading as it implies a connection with true liberalism, of which it has no meaningful connection.

brucefiiona , 9 Jun 2013 20:28
Do away with deceptive terms like neoliberalism, capitalism, socialism, left wing and right wing and things become clearer.

At root a lot of the people who get involved in all of the above have very similar character traits - love of power, greed, deceitful, ruthlessness. Most start out with these character traits, and others gain them as a result of power.

Anyone high up in politics or business is unhinged. You have to be. The organizational structures in these things are so synthetic, the beliefs so artificial, rigid, dogmatic and inhuman that only a unhinged person could prosper in this climate.

Most reasonable people admit doubt, are willing to accept compromise, are willing to make the occasional sacrifice for the greater good. All these things are what make us human, however all these things are seen as weaknesses in the inverted world of business and politics.

Business and politics creates an environment where the must inhuman traits prosper.

fr0mn0where -> murielbelcher , 9 Jun 2013 14:42
@murielbelcher -

"no but the highly placed banking and financial class are along with their venal political mates"

For sure but are they capitalists? Although they may well own capital does their power derive from the ownership of capital? You may, or may not be interested in this lecture on the future of capitalism by John Kay.

MysticFish -> AssistantCook , 9 Jun 2013 14:28
@AssistantCook - Neoliberalism is a branch of economic ideology which espouses the value of the free-market, and removing all protective legislation, so that large companies are free to do what they want, where-ever they want, with no impediments from social or environmental considerations, or a nation's democratic preferences. Von Hayek was a major influence and Thatcher was a loyal disciple, as was the notorious dictator, Pinochet. It is economic theory, designed for vulture capitalists, and unpopular industries like fossil fuel or tobacco, and usually the 'freedom' is all one-sided.
MysticFish -> DavidPavett , 9 Jun 2013 14:12
@DavidPavett - If states are too big, then what about multinational banks and corporations? I wonder why Neoliberal ideology does not try to limit the size of these. They are cumbersome and destructive, predatory dinosaurs and yet our politicians seem mesmerised to the point of allowing them special favours, tax incentives and the ability to determine our nation's policies in matters such as energy and health. Why not 'Small is Beautiful,' when it comes to companies? It doesn't make sense to shrink the state but then let non-transparent and unaccountable, multinational companies become too powerful. One gets the feeling the country is being invaded by the interests of hostile nations, using all-too-convenient Neoliberal ideology and hidden behind a corporate mask.
Jesús Rodriguez , 9 Jun 2013 12:46
Is the IMF ever stop evading its responsibility and blaming others for the worldwide financial tragedy it has provoked? Is it ever stop hurting the working class?
theguardianisrubbish -> murielbelcher , 9 Jun 2013 07:28
@murielbelcher -

"Neo-liberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom for the rich and powerful elites is all."

No it is not that is what you want to believe. There is nothing in this statement other than an opinion based on nothing.

"Many people across the globe were lifted out of poverty between 1945-1980 so what does your statement about neo-liberalism prove"

Which countries during this period saw massive sustainable reductions in poverty without some free market model in place?

"It is you who should open your eyes and stop expecting people on here to accept your ideological beliefs and statements as facts."

I don't expect people to accept my beliefs I am just pointing out why I think their beliefs are wrong. This is a comment section the whole idea of it is to comment on different views and articles. How can you ever benefit or make an accurate decision or belief if you do not try to understand what the opposite belief is? I think nearly everything I have said has been somewhat backed up by logic or a fact, I have not said wishy washy statements like:

"Neo-liberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom for the rich and powerful elites is all."

Unless you can expand on this and give evidence or some form of an example why you think its true then it makes no sense. You are not the only commentor on this article to make a similar statement and the way people have attempted to justify it is due to bailouts but as I have said a bailout is not part of the neoliberal school of thought so if you have a problem with bailouts you don't have a problem with neoliberalism.

theguardianisrubbish -> murielbelcher , 9 Jun 2013 07:10
@murielbelcher - I don't want to go to far into Thatcherism because it is slightly off topic. The early 80s recession was a global recession and yes during the first few years unemployment soared. Why was that because the trade unions were running amok the UK was losing millions of days of work per month.

Inflation was getting out of control and the only way to solve it was a self induced recession. You cannot seriously believe that without the reforms that she implemented we would not have recovered as quick as we did nor can you argue that it was possible for her or anyone else to turn around such an inefficient industry. Don't forget the problems of the manufacturing industry go back way before Thatcher's time.

theguardianisrubbish -> someoneionceknew , 9 Jun 2013 06:34
@someoneionceknew -

"Here's your problem. You believe that banks lend savings. They don't. Loans create deposits create reserves."

I am not claiming to be an expert on this if you are then let me know and please do correct me. I agree banks do not lend deposits but they do lend savings. There is a difference putting money on deposit is different to say putting money into an ISA. I don't agree though that deposits create reserves I believe that they come from the central bank otherwise banks would be constrained by the amount of deposits in the system which is not true and something you have said is not true.

Nevertheless, the majority of liquidity in the bond markets (like most other markets) comes from institutional investors, i.e pension funds, unit trusts, insurance companies, etc. They get their money from savings by consumers as well as sometimes companies. Ok we don't always give our money to insurance companies when we save but via premiums is another way the ordinary consumer contributes to this so called "debt industry". I also said that foreign and local governments buy debt and companies invest directly into the debt market.

MysticFish -> MickGJ , 9 Jun 2013 06:17
@MickGJ - Business-friendly to who exactly: the nation or hostile overseas speculators?
theguardianisrubbish -> TedSmithAndSon , 9 Jun 2013 06:14
"In theory the banks should have been allowed to go bust, but the consequences where deemed too high (as they inevitable are). "

Iceland would disagree.

"The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism."

Why have only the rich benefited from the bailout? You are not making any sense.

"The result is socialism for the rich using the poor as the excuse, which is the reality of neoliberalism."

Why? You cannot just say a statement like that and not expand, it makes no sense.

"Thatcher "revitalised" banking, while everything else withered and died."

...but also revitalised the economy and got everyone back to work.

"Neoliberalism is based on the thought that you get as much freedom as you can pay for, otherwise you can just pay... like everyone else."

Again you have to expand on this because it makes no sense.

"In Asia and South America it has been the economic preference of dictators that pushes profit upwards and responsibility down, just like it does here."

Don't think that is true in most cases nor would it make sense. Why would a dictator who wants as much power as possible operate a laissez-faire economy? You cannot have personal freedom without having economic freedom, it is a necessary not sufficient condition. Tell me a case where these is a large degree of political freedom but little to no economic freedom. Moreover look at the countries in Asia and South America that have adopted a neoliberal agenda and notice their how poverty as reduced significantly.

"I find it ironic that it now has 5 year plans that absolutely must not be deviated from, massive state intervention in markets (QE, housing policy, tax credits... insert where applicable), and advocates large scale central planning even as it denies reality, and makes the announcement from a tractor factory."

Who has 5 year plans?

"In theory it's one thing, the reality is entirely different."

If the reality is different to the theory then it is not neoliberalism that is being implemented therefore it makes no sense to dispute the theory. Look at where it has been implemented, the best case in the world at the moment is Hong Kong look at how well that country has performed.

"a massive lie told by rich people "

I can assure you I am not rich.

"Until we're rid of it, we're all it's slaves."

Neoliberalism is based on personal freedom. If you believe this about neoliberalism in your opinion give me one economic school of thought where this does not apply.

theguardianisrubbish -> theonionmurders , 9 Jun 2013 05:35
@theonionmurders -

"Bailouts have been a constant feature of neoliberalism."

What you are saying does not make sense. Whatever you say about that there was no where else to turn the government had to bailout out the banks a neolibralist would disagree.

"In fact the role of the state is simply reduced to a merely commissioning agent to private parasitical corporations. "

That's corporatism which so far you have described pretty well.

"History has shown the state playing this role since neoliberalism became embedded in policy since the 1970s - Long Term Capital Management, Savings and Loans, The Brady Plan, numerous PFI bailouts and those of the Western banking system during the 1982 South American, 1997 Asian and 2010 European debt crises."

What?! Bailouts have been occurring before the industrial revolution. Deregulation in the UK occurred mainly during the 80s not 70's. Furthermore financial deregulation occurred in the UK in 1986. In the USA the major piece of financial deregulation was the Gramm Leach Bliley Act which was passed in 1999. So you have just undercut your own point with the examples you gave above. You could argue Argentina and we could argue all day about the causes of that, but I would say that any government that pursues an expansionary monetary policy under a fixed ER is never going to end well.

"...policy if you won't flick through a book."

My point was that when people quote a source they tend to either quote the page that the point comes from. To be honest if this book is telling you that neoliberalism and neoclassical are significantly different (which you seemed to suggest in you earlier post) then I would suggest put the book down.

ATrueFinn -> fireman36 , 9 Jun 2013 04:17
@ fireman36 09 June 2013 1:32am

Don't like it? Change the rules.

Exactly! However:

"Google, Amazon and Apple... avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments."

Yes to the first, no to the second. Corporations with revenues exceeding the GDP of a small nation have quite a lot of power: Exxon's revenue is between the GDP of Norway and Austria. In Finland Nokia generated 3 4 % of the GDP for a decade and the government bent backwards to accommodate its polite requests, including a specific law reducing the privacy of employees' emails.

Grich -> MatthewBall , 8 Jun 2013 22:29
@MatthewBall -

I am not sure if this is true. We have the same economic system (broadly speaking, capitalism) as nearly every country in the world, and the world economy is growing at a reasonable rate, at around 3-4% for 2013-14 (see http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/c1.pdf for more details).

We percieve a problem in (most of) Europe and North America because our economies are growing more slowly than this, and in some cases not at all. The global growth figure comes out healthy because of strong growth in the emerging countries, like China, Brazil and India, who are narrowing the gap between their living standards and ours. So, the world as a whole isn't broken, even if our bit of it is going through a rough patch.

What you have missed, is that the lions share of the proceeds of that growth are not going to ordinary people but to a tiny minority of super rich. It is not working for the majority. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/07/58-of-real-income-growth-since-1976-went-to-top-1-and-why-that-matters.html

oriel46 -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 22:08
@Fachan - Except that it isn't capitalism that was being criticized here, but neoliberalism: a distinction that's often lost on neoliberals themselves, ironically.
TomorrowsWorld , 8 Jun 2013 19:58
I'm sure that Denis Healy and any number of African economists would confirm that the IMF is quite simply a refuge of absolutely last resort, when investor confidence in your economy is so shattered that the only way ahead is to open the shark gates and allow big money to plunder whatever value remains there, without the benefit of any noticeable return for your people. Greece is but one more victim of a syndrome that encompasses all the science and forensic analysis of ritual sacrifice.
murielbelcher -> OneCommentator , 8 Jun 2013 19:10
@OneCommentator - don't confuse economic deregulation which acted as handmaiden to global finance and multinationals as economic freedoms for population

China's govt was doing what china's govt had decided to do from 1978 BEFORE the election of Thatcher in 1979 or Reagan in 1980 (office from Jan 1981), so very little correlation there I think

The GATT rounds whether you agree with their aims or not were the products of the post war decades, again before Thatcher and Reagan came to power

The golden age of 1945 - 1975 or so witnessed huge rises in standards of living so your point linking neo-liberalism to rising standards of living is literally meaningless. There was an explosive growth in economic activity during the three or four post war decades

murielbelcher -> theguardianisrubbish , 8 Jun 2013 19:04
@theguardianisrubbish - you can't get away with this

She DID not get everyone back to work again. There were two recessions at either end of the 1980s. She TRIPLED unemployment during the first half of the 1980s and introduced the phenomenon of high structural unemployment and placing people on invalidity benefits to massage the headline unemployment count. Give us the figures to back up your assertion that she "got everyone back to work again." I suspect that you cannot and your statement stands for the utter nonsense that it is in any kind of reality.

A few months after she was forced out Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1991 during yet another recession declared that "unemployment was a price worth paying"!!!

Neo-liberalism is based on the thought of personal freedom for the rich and powerful elites is all. Many people across the globe were lifted out of poverty between 1945-1980 so what does your statement about neo-liberalism prove

It is you who should open your eyes and stop expecting people on here to accept your ideological beliefs and statements as facts.

Because they are not: in no shape, way or form

fireman36 , 8 Jun 2013 19:03
Not very impressed to be honest. For starters:

"The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State."

That's glib and inaccurate. A better read about the IMF from an insider: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/ Digest: the biggest problem the IMF have to deal with in bailouts is always the politics of cronyism; free-market oligarchs and government in cahoots.

"Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern -- and thus win or lose -- under the IMF-supported plan. The real fight in Thailand and Indonesia in 1997 was about which powerful families would lose their banks. In Thailand, it was handled relatively smoothly. In Indonesia, it led to the fall of President Suharto and economic chaos."

MickGJ -> JohnBroggio , 8 Jun 2013 18:42

@JohnBroggio - who caters for the idealist vote?

Generally whoever happens to be in opposition at the time. This made the LibDems the ideal (sorry) choice for a long time but then they broke a long-standing if unspoken promise that they would never actually be in government.

Last weekś Economist has some very interesting stuff from the British Social Attitudes survey which shows the increasing drift away from collectivist ideals towards liberalism over each succeeding generation.

The assumption shared by many round here that the young are some untapped resource of revolutionary energy is deeply mistaken

[Dec 14, 2018] Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom by Deborah Orr

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe ..."
"... The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask. ..."
"... Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. ..."
"... Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised. ..."
"... Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

Sat 8 Jun 2013 02.59 EDT First published on Sat 8 Jun 2013 02.59 EDT

The IMF's limited admission of guilt over the Greek bailout is a start, but they still can't see the global financial system's fundamental flaws, writes Deborah Orr. Photograph: Boris Roessler/DPA FILE T he International Monetary Fund has admitted that some of the decisions it made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis were wrong, and that the €130bn first bailout of Greece was "bungled". Well, yes. If it hadn't been a mistake, then it would have been the only bailout and everyone in Greece would have lived happily ever after.

Actually, the IMF hasn't quite admitted that it messed things up. It has said instead that it went along with its partners in "the Troika" – the European Commission and the European Central Bank – when it shouldn't have. The EC and the ECB, says the IMF, put the interests of the eurozone before the interests of Greece. The EC and the ECB, in turn, clutch their pearls and splutter with horror that they could be accused of something so petty as self-preservation.

The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask.

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. They know the crash was a debt-bubble that burst. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return; even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely. The thing is this: the crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State. Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralised and faceless, to be efficient and responsive. I agree. The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further – some setting about the task with greater relish than others. Now the task, supposedly, is to get the free market up and running again.

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people – people who expect to be well paid themselves, having been brought up believing in material aspiration, as consumers need to be.

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"? The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda. But how can the privatisation of societal welfare possibly happen when unemployment is already high, working people are turning to food banks to survive and the debt industry, far from being sorry that it brought the global economy to its knees, is snapping up bargains in the form of busted high-street businesses to establish shops with nothing to sell but high-interest debt? Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer unsustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments.

And further, those who invest in these companies, and insist that taxes should be low to encourage private profit and shareholder value, then lend governments the money they need to create these populations of sophisticated producers and consumers, berating them for their profligacy as they do so. It's all utterly, completely, crazy.

The other day a health minister, Anna Soubry , suggested that female GPs who worked part-time so that they could bring up families were putting the NHS under strain. The compartmentalised thinking is quite breathtaking. What on earth does she imagine? That it would be better for the economy if they all left school at 16? On the contrary, the more people who are earning good money while working part-time – thus having the leisure to consume – the better. No doubt these female GPs are sustaining both the pharmaceutical industry and the arts and media, both sectors that Britain does well in.

As for their prioritising of family life over career – that's just another of the myriad ways in which Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic. Its prophets and its disciples will happily – ecstatically – tell you that there's nothing more important than family, unless you're a family doctor spending some of your time caring for your own. You couldn't make these characters up. It is certainly true that women with children find it more easy to find part-time employment in the public sector. But that's a prima facie example of how unresponsive the private sector is to human and societal need, not – as it is so often presented – evidence that the public sector is congenitally disabled.

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce. Soubry and her ilk, above all else, forget that people have multiple roles, as consumers, as producers, as citizens and as family members. All of those things have to be nurtured and invested in to make a market.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised.

Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. And even as the results of their folly become ever more plain to see, they are grudging in their admittance of the slightest blame, bickering with their allies instead of waking up, smelling the coffee and realizing that far too much of it is sold through Starbucks.

[Dec 14, 2018] The era of neoliberalism has seen a massive increase in government, not a shrinkage. The biggest change is the role of governments - to protect markets rather than to protect the rights and dignities of its citizens

Notable quotes:
"... The era of neoliberalism has seen a massive increase in government, not a shrinkage. The biggest change is the role of governments - to protect markets rather than to protect the rights and dignities of its citizens. When viewed by outcome rather than ideological rhetoric, it becomes increasingly clear that neoliberalism has nothing to do with shrinking the state, freeing markets, or freeing the individual, and everything to do with a massive power grab by a global elite. ..."
"... What was the billions of pounds in bank bailout welfare and recession on costs all about? You tell me. All the result of the application of your extremist free market ideology? Let the banks run wild, they mess up and the taxpayer has to step in with bailout welfare and pay to clear up the recession debris ..."
"... Market participants and their venal political friends have during the past 30 years of extremist neo-liberal ideology rigged, abused, distorted and subverted their market and elite power to tilt the economic and social balance massively in their favour ..."
"... Neo liberalism = the favoured ideology of the very rich and powerful elite ..."
"... at last somebody is looking at globalisation and asking whose interests is it designed to serve? It certainly ain't for the people. ..."
"... the highly placed banking and financial class are along with their venal political mates ..."
"... We've had three decades of asset stripping in favor of the rich elites and look at the mess we're in now. ..."
"... I strongly believe that people are not being told the full story. Like the NSA surveillance revelation, the effects will not be pretty when the facts are known. No country needs the IMF. ..."
"... The mythology surrounding deficits and national debt is a religion that the world is in desperate need of debunking. Like religion, the mythology is used as a means of power and entrenchment of privilege for the Ruling Caste, not the plebs (lesser mortals). ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
justamug , 8 Jun 2013 18:09
This article is a testament to our ignorance. Orr is no intellectual slouch, but somehow, like many in the mainstream, she still fails to address some fundamental assumptions and thus ends up with a muddled argument.

"What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return;"

Lending has not stopped - it's just moved out of one market into another. Banks are making profits, and banks profit are made by expanding credit.

Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralised and faceless, to be efficient and responsive.

Yes and no. There is a difference between what is preached and what happens in practice. The era of neoliberalism has seen a massive increase in government, not a shrinkage. The biggest change is the role of governments - to protect markets rather than to protect the rights and dignities of its citizens. When viewed by outcome rather than ideological rhetoric, it becomes increasingly clear that neoliberalism has nothing to do with shrinking the state, freeing markets, or freeing the individual, and everything to do with a massive power grab by a global elite.
murielbelcher -> MurchuantEacnamai , 8 Jun 2013 18:06
@MurchuantEacnamai - well righty ideologues such as yourself and your venal political acolytes have utterly failed to support the case or institute measures that: "apply effective democratic governance to ensure market

What was the billions of pounds in bank bailout welfare and recession on costs all about? You tell me. All the result of the application of your extremist free market ideology? Let the banks run wild, they mess up and the taxpayer has to step in with bailout welfare and pay to clear up the recession debris

Market participants and their venal political friends have during the past 30 years of extremist neo-liberal ideology rigged, abused, distorted and subverted their market and elite power to tilt the economic and social balance massively in their favour

You the taxpayer are good enough to bail us out when we mess up but then we demand that your services are cut in return and that your employment is ever more precarious and wages depressed (at the lower end of the scale - never ever the higher of course!! That's the neo-liberal deal isn't it

Neo liberalism = the favoured ideology of the very rich and powerful elite and boy don't they know how to work its levers

freedomrespect , 8 Jun 2013 18:00
Very insightful commentary and at last somebody is looking at globalisation and asking whose interests is it designed to serve? It certainly ain't for the people. Amazing it's been approved on a UK liberal newspaper as well!
Boguille -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 17:57
@Fachan - There was nothing in the article about envy. It was an exposition of the failure of our present system which allows the rich to get ever richer. That would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the increasing disparity in wealth is bringing down the economy and making it less productive while leaving a large part of the population in, or on the verge of, poverty.
murielbelcher -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 17:41
@CaptainGrey - but we're not talking about that form of capitalism are we?

Surely you must realise that there are very very different forms of capitalism. The capitalism that reigns now would not have permitted the creation of the NHS had it not been devised in the1940s when a very different type of capitalism reigned. Its political acolytes and its cheerleader press would have denounced the NHS as an extremist commie idea!!

murielbelcher -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 17:39
@fr0mn0where - it was crumbling in the 1980s

The Chicago boys swarmed into eastern Europe after 1989 to introduce a form of gangster unbridled capitalism. The very Chicago boys led by Milton Friedman who used the dictator Pinochet's Chile as test bed for their ideology from September 1973 after the coup that overthrew Allende

murielbelcher -> fr0mn0where , 8 Jun 2013 17:35
@fr0mn0where - no but the highly placed banking and financial class are along with their venal political mates

We've had three decades of asset stripping in favor of the rich elites and look at the mess we're in now.

murielbelcher -> MatthewBall , 8 Jun 2013 17:33
@MatthewBall - social democracy

The neo-liberal order commenced only in the late 1970s - there was a very different order prior to this which was not "Soviet Socialism" as you term it.

As such this extremist rich man's ideological experiment has had a long innings and has failed as the events of 2008 laid bare for all to see - it has been tried out disastrously on live human beings for 34 years and has now been thoroughly discredited with the huge bank bailouts and financial crash and ensuing and enduring recession It was scarcely succeeding prior to this with high entrenched rates of unemployment, frequent recessions/booms and busts and unsustainable property bubbles and deregulated unstable speculative aka casino banking activity

Time for a change

RidiculousPseudonym , 8 Jun 2013 17:26
This is basically right, but a few comments.

1. Neoliberalism cannot be pinned on one party alone. It was accepted by the Thatcher government, but no Prime Minister since has seriously challenged it.

2. Neoliberalism is logically contrary to conservative values. Either there are certain moral imperatives so important that it is worth wasting money over them, or there are not. No wonder that Tories are torn in two, not to mention Labour politicians who also try to combine neoliberalism and moral principle.

3. Saying "even Adam Smith" is understandable but unfair. His work was rather enlightened in the context of mercantilism, and of course the Wealth of Nations was not his only book. Others will know his work better than me, but I think he dwells rather strongly on problems of persistent poverty.

4. The political and redistributive functions of nations are indeed damaged by neolib, but I don't think there is any realistic way of getting that power back without applying capital controls. If we apply capital controls, all hell breaks loose.

5. Ergo, we are stuck with a situation where neolib is killing democracy, distributive justice and conservative moral values, but there is nothing we can do about it without pulling the plug altogether and unleashing a sharp drop in wealth and 1930s nationalistic havoc. A bit of a tragedy, indeed.

HolyInsurgent , 8 Jun 2013 17:22

Deborah Orr: The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt.

I strongly believe that people are not being told the full story. Like the NSA surveillance revelation, the effects will not be pretty when the facts are known. No country needs the IMF. Any national government with its own national currency sovereignty can pay its own debts within its own country with its own currency. International borrowing in foreign markets is the biggest myth since religion. But since neoliberalism and its inherent myths have been swallowed whole for so long, we are still at the stage where the child points and laughs at the nude emperor. The fallout from the revelation and remedy is to follow.

The problem with the Eurozone is not that the Euro is the "national" currency. Control of the Euro resides with the European Central Bank, not the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, IMF). The European Central Bank, as sole controller of the Euro (the "national" currency), can issue funds to constituent Eurozone states to the extent necessary. I challenge anyone to demonstrate how any central bank does not have power over its own currency!

The mythology surrounding deficits and national debt is a religion that the world is in desperate need of debunking. Like religion, the mythology is used as a means of power and entrenchment of privilege for the Ruling Caste, not the plebs (lesser mortals).

someoneionceknew -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 17:18
@colonelraeburn - Excuse me? Private bank credit caused the housing price inflation.

Politicians were complicit in deregulating and appointing non-regulators but they didn't make the loans.

MickGJ -> DavidPavett , 8 Jun 2013 17:16

@DavidPavett - Does anyone have any idea what this is supposed to mean? There are certainly no leads on this in the link given to "the philosopher" John Gray

Gray wrote this in the Guardian in 2007:

Whether in Africa, Asia, Latin America or post-communist Europe, policies of wholesale privatisation and structural adjustment have led to declining economic activity and social dislocation on a massive scale

This doesn't seem to support Orrś assertion that he is calling for a structural adjustment, rather the opposite. I'ḿ not really familiar with Grayś work but he seems to be rather against the universal imposition of any system, new or old.
katiewm -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 16:46
@CaptainGrey - Capitalism is not an undifferentiated mass. Late-stage neoliberal hypercapitalism as practiced in the US and increasingly in the UK is a very different beast than the traditional European capitalist social democracy or the Nordic model, which have been shown to work relatively well over time. In fact, neoliberal capitalism - the sort Orr is talking about here - is marked by increasing decline both in the state and in the economy, as inequality in wealth distribution creates a society of beggars and kings instead of spenders and savers. The gains achieved through carefully regulated capitalism won't stick around in the free-for-all conditions preferred by those whose ideology demands the sell-off of the state.
jazzdrum -> PeterWoking , 8 Jun 2013 16:16
@PeterWoking - For some parts of the world , yes they are more affluent now , but a huge part of the globe is still without food and water .

I think de regulation of the financial sector has caused a huge amount of damage to the world all round and to be honest, i expect more of the same as the Bankers are still in control.

[Dec 09, 2018] Britain on the Leash with the United States but at Which End by James George Jatras

Oct 13, 2018 | off-guardian.org

The "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom is often assumed to be one where the once-great, sophisticated Brits are subordinate to the upstart, uncouth Yanks.

Iconic of this assumption is the mocking of former prime minister Tony Blair as George W. Bush's "poodle" for his riding shotgun on the ill-advised American stagecoach blundering into Iraq in 2003. Blair was in good practice, having served as Bill Clinton's dogsbody in the no less criminal NATO aggression against Serbia over Kosovo in 1999.

On the surface, the UK may seem just one more vassal state on par with Germany, Japan, South Korea, and so many other useless so-called allies . We control their intelligence services, their military commands, their think tanks, and much of their media. We can sink their financial systems and economies at will. Emblematic is German Chancellor Angela Merkel's impotent ire at discovering the Obama administration had listened in on her cell phone, about which she – did precisely nothing. Global hegemony means never having to say you're sorry.

These countries know on which end of the leash they are: the one attached to the collar around their necks. The hand unmistakably is in Washington. These semi-sovereign countries answer to the US with the same servility as member states of the Warsaw Pact once heeded the USSR's Politburo. (Sometimes more. Communist Romania, though then a member of the Warsaw Pact refused to participate in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia or even allow Soviet or other Pact forces to cross its territory.

By contrast, during NATO's 1999 assault on Serbia, Bucharest allowed NATO military aircraft access to its airspace, even though not yet a member of that alliance and despite most Romanians' opposition to the campaign.)

But the widespread perception of Britain as just another satellite may be misleading.

To start with, there are some relationships where it seems the US is the vassal dancing to the tune of the foreign capital, not the other way around. Israel is the unchallenged champion in this weight class, with Saudi Arabia a runner up. The alliance between Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) – the ultimate Washington "power couple" – to get the Trump administration to destroy Iran for them has American politicos listening for instructions with all the rapt attention of the terrier Nipper on the RCA Victor logo . (Or did, until the recent disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Whether this portends a real shift in American attitudes toward Riyadh remains questionable . Saudi cash still speaks loudly and will continue to do so whether or not MbS stays in charge.)

Specifics of the peculiar US-UK relationship stem from the period of flux at the end of World War II. The United States emerged from the war in a commanding position economically and financially, eclipsing Britannia's declining empire that simply no longer had the resources to play the leading role. That didn't mean, however, that London trusted the Americans' ability to manage things without their astute guidance. As Tony Judt describes in Postwar , the British attitude of " superiority towards the country that had displaced them at the imperial apex " was "nicely captured" in a scribble during negotiations regarding the UK's postwar loan:

In Washington Lord Halifax
Once whispered to Lord Keynes:
"It's true they have the moneybags
But we have all the brains."

Even in its diminished condition London found it could punch well above its weight by exerting its influence on its stronger but (it was confident) dumber cousins across the Pond. It helped that as the Cold War unfolded following former Prime Minister Winston Churchill's 1946 Iron Curtain speech there were very close ties between sister agencies like MI6 (founded 1909) and the newer wartime OSS (1942), then the CIA (1947); likewise the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, 1919) and the National Security Administration (NSA, 1952). Comparable sister agencies – perhaps more properly termed daughters of their UK mothers – were set up in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This became the so-called "Five Eyes" of the tight Anglosphere spook community, infamous for spying on each others' citizens to avoid pesky legal prohibitions on domestic surveillance .

Despite not having two farthings to rub together, impoverished Britain – where wartime rationing wasn't fully ended until 1954 – had a prime seat at the table fashioning the world's postwar financial structure. The 1944 Bretton Woods conference was largely an Anglo-American affair , of which the aforementioned Lord John Maynard Keynes was a prominent architect along with Harry Dexter White, Special Assistant to the US Secretary of the Treasury and Soviet agent.

American and British agendas also dovetailed in the Middle East. While the US didn't have much of a presence in the region before the 1945 meeting between US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Saudi King ibn Saud, founder of the third and current ( and hopefully last ) Saudi state – and didn't assume a dominant role until the humiliation inflicted on Britain, France, and Israel by President Dwight Eisenhower during the 1956 Suez Crisis – London has long considered much of the region within its sphere of influence. After World War I under the Sykes-Picot agreement with France , the UK had expanded her holdings on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, including taking a decisive role in consolidating Saudi Arabia under ibn Saud. While in the 1950s the US largely stepped into Britain's role managing the "East of Suez," the former suzerain was by no means dealt out. The UK was a founding member with the US of the now-defunct Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in 1955.

CENTO – like NATO and their one-time eastern counterpart, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) – was designed as a counter to the USSR. But in the case of Britain, the history of hostility to Russia under tsar or commissar alike has much deeper and longer roots, going back at least to the Crimean War in the 1850s . The reasons for the longstanding British vendetta against Russia are not entirely clear and seem to have disparate roots: the desire to ensure that no one power is dominant on the European mainland (directed first against France, then Russia, then Germany, then the USSR and again Russia); maintaining supremacy on the seas by denying Russia warm-waters ports, above all the Dardanelles; and making sure territories of a dissolving Ottoman empire would be taken under the wing of London, not Saint Petersburg. As described by Andrew Lambert , professor of naval history at King's College London, the Crimean War still echoes today :

"In the 1840s, 1850s, Britain and America are not the chief rivals; it's Britain and Russia. Britain and Russia are rivals for world power, and Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, which is much larger than modern Turkey -- it includes modern Romania, Bulgaria, parts of Serbia, and also Egypt and Arabia -- is a declining empire. But it's the bulwark between Russia, which is advancing south and west, and Britain, which is advancing east and is looking to open its connections up through the Mediterranean into its empire in India and the Pacific. And it's really about who is running Turkey. Is it going to be a Russian satellite, a bit like the Eastern Bloc was in the Cold War, or is it going to be a British satellite, really run by British capital, a market for British goods? And the Crimean War is going to be the fulcrum for this cold war to actually go hot for a couple of years, and Sevastopol is going to be the fulcrum for that fighting."

Control of the Middle East – and opposing the Russians – became a British obsession, first to sustain the lifeline to India, the Jewel in the Crown of the empire, then for control of petroleum, the life's blood of modern economies. In the context of the 19th and early 20th century Great Game of empire, that was understandable. Much later, similar considerations might even support Jimmy Carter's taking up much the same position, declaring in 1980 that "outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force." The USSR was then a superpower and we were dependent on energy from the Gulf region.

But what's our reason for maintaining that posture almost four decades later when the Soviet Union is gone and the US doesn't need Middle Eastern oil? There are no reasonable national interests, only corporate interests and those of the Arab monarchies we laughably claim as allies. Add to that the bureaucracies and habits of mind that link the US and UK establishments, including their intelligence and financial components.

In view of all the foregoing, what then would policymakers in the United Kingdom think about an aspirant to the American presidency who not only disparages the value of existing alliances – without which Britain is a bit player – but openly pledges to improve relations with Moscow ? To what lengths would they go to stop him?

Say 'hello' to Russiagate!

One can argue whether or not the phony claim of the Trump campaign's "collusion" with Moscow was hatched in London or whether the British just lent some " hands across the water " to an effort concocted by the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Clinton Foundation, and their collaborators at Fusion GPS and inside the Obama administration. Either way, it's clear that while evidence of Russian connection is nonexistent that of British agencies is unmistakable, as is the UK's hand in a sustained campaign of demonization and isolation to sink any possible rapprochement between the US and Russia .

As for Russiagate itself, just try to find anyone involved who's actually Russian. The only basis for the widespread assumption that any material in the Dirty Dossier that underlies the whole operation originated with Russia is the claim of Christopher Steele , the British "ex" spy who wrote it, evidently in collaboration with people at the US State Department and Fusion GPS. (The notion that Steele, who hadn't been in Russia for years, would have Kremlin personal contacts is absurd. How chummy are the heads of the American section of Chinese or Russian intelligence with White House staff?)

While there are no obvious Russians in Russiagate, there's no shortage of Brits. These include (details at the link) :

Andrew Wood , a former British ambassador to Russia Stefan Halper , a dual US-UK citizen. Ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove . Robert Hannigan , former director of GCHQ; there is reason to think surveillance of Trump was conducted by GCHQ as well as by US agencies under FISA warrants. Hannigan abruptly resigned from GCHQ soon after the British government denied the agency had engaged in such spying. Alexander Downer , Australian diplomat (well, not British but remember the Five Eyes!). Joseph Mifsud , Maltese academic and suspected British agent.

At present, the full role played by those listed above is not known. Release of unredacted FISA warrant requests by the Justice Department, which President Trump ordered weeks ago, would shed light on a number of details. Implementation of that order was derailed after a request by – no surprise – British Prime Minister Theresa May . Was she seeking to conceal Russian perfidy, or her own underlings'?

It would be bad enough if Russiagate were the sum of British meddling in American affairs with the aim of torpedoing relations with Moscow. (And to be fair, it wasn't just the UK and Australia. Also implicated are Estonia, Israel, and Ukraine .) But there is also reason to suspect the same motive in false accusations against Russia with respect to the supposed Novichok poisonings in England has a connection to Russiagate via a business associate of Steele's, one Pablo Miller , Sergei Skripal's MI6 recruiter . (So if it turns out there is any Russian connection to the dossier, it could be from Skripal or another dubious expat source, not from the Russian government.) Skripal and his daughter Yulia have disappeared in British custody. Moscow flatly accuses MI6 of poisoning them as a false flag to blame it on Russia.

A similar pattern can be seen with claims of chemical weapons use in Syria : "We have irrefutable evidence that the special services of a state which is in the forefront of the Russophobic campaign had a hand in the staging" of a faked chemical weapons attack in Douma in April 2018. Ambassador Aleksandr Yakovenko pointed to the so-called White Helmets, which is closely associated with al-Qaeda elements and considered by some their PR arm: "I am naming them because they have done things like this before. They are famous for staging attacks in Syria and they receive UK money." Moscow warned for weeks before the now-postponed Syrian government offensive in Idlib that the same ruse was being prepared again with direct British intelligence involvement, even having prepared in advance a video showing victims of an attack that had not yet occurred.

The campaign to demonize Russia shifted into high gear recently with the UK, together with the US and the Netherlands, accusing Russian military intelligence of a smorgasbord of cyberattacks against the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and other sports organizations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the Dutch investigation into the downing of MH-17 over Ukraine, and a Swiss lab involved with the Skripal case, plus assorted election interference. In case anyone didn't get the point, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson declared : "This is not the actions of a great power. This is the actions of a pariah state, and we will continue working with allies to isolate them."

To the extent that the goal of Williamson and his ilk is to ensure isolation and further threats against Russia, it's been a smashing success. More sanctions are on the way . The UK is sending additional troops to the Arctic to counter Russian "aggression." The US threatens to use naval power to block Russian energy exports and to strike Russian weapons disputed under a treaty governing intermediate range nuclear forces. What could possibly go wrong?

In sum, we are seeing a massive, coordinated hybrid campaign of psy-ops and political warfare conducted not by Russia but against Russia, concocted by the UK and its Deep State collaborators in the United States. But it's not only aimed at Russia, it's an attack on the United States by the government of a foreign country that's supposed to be one of our closest allies, a country with which we share many venerable traditions of language, law, and culture.

But for far too long, largely for reasons of historical inertia and elite corruption, we've allowed that government to exercise undue influence on our global policies in a manner not conducive to our own national interests. Now that government, employing every foul deception that earned it the moniker Perfidious Albion , seeks to embroil us in a quarrel with the only country on the planet that can destroy us if things get out of control.

This must stop. A thorough reappraisal of our "special relationship" with the United Kingdom and exposure of its activities to the detriment of the US is imperative.

James George Jatras is an analyst, former U.S. diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership.

[Dec 09, 2018] NYT and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having planted CIA workers as NYT writers

Notable quotes:
"... Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.) ..."
Aug 30, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
sanda1scuptorNYC , 30 Aug 2012 07:36
Howard Zinn said, in a speech given shortly after the 2008 Presidential election, "If you don't know history, it's like you were born yesterday. The government can tell you anything." (Speech was played on DemocracyNow www.democracynow.org about Jan. 4, 2009 and is archived, free on the website.)

Being older (18 on my last Leap Year birthday - 72), I recall the NYTimes and CIA have had relationship with, and was caught having "planted CIA workers" as NYTimes writers. Within my adult lifetime, in fact.

sigil , 30 Aug 2012 05:49

This is what the CIA reflexively does: insists that [...] it is an "intelligence matter".

In a sense the CIA is always going to be right on this one - "Central Intelligence Agency" - but only as a matter of nomenclature, rather than of any other dictionary definition of the word "intelligence".

Brusselsexpats , 30 Aug 2012 05:49
Actually the collusion between the CIA and big business is far more damaging. The first US company I worked for in Brussels (it was my first job) was constantly being targeted by the US media for having connections to corrupt South American and Third World regimes. On what seemed like an almost monthly basis our personnel department would send round memos saying that we were strictly forbidden to talk to journalists about the latest exposé.

It was great fun - even the telex operators knew who the spies were.

kcameron , 30 Aug 2012 05:26
The line "'The optics aren't what they look like,' is truly an instant classic. It reminds me of one of my favorite Yogi Berra quotes (which, unlike many attributed to him, is real, I think). Yogi once said about a restaurant in New York "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Perhaps Yogi should become an editor for the Times.
AmityAmity , 30 Aug 2012 04:55
British readers will no doubt be shocked -- shocked! -- to learn of cozy relations between a major news organization and a national intelligence agency.

... ... ...

MiltonWiltmellow , 30 Aug 2012 02:40

"'I know the circumstances, and if you knew everything that's going on, you'd know it's much ado about nothing,' Baquet said. 'I can't go into in detail. But I'm confident after talking to Mark that it's much ado about nothing.'

"'The optics aren't what they look like,' he went on. 'I've talked to Mark, I know the circumstance, and given what I know, it's much ado about nothing.'"

How can you have a Party if you don't have Party elites?

And how can a self-respecting member of the Party claim their individual status within the Party without secret knowledge designed to identify one another as members of the Party elite?

[Proles are] natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals ... Life, if you looked about you, bore no resemblance not only to the lies that streamed out of the telescreens, but even to the ideals the Party was trying to achieve. ... The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering -- a world of of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons -- a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting -- 300 million people all with the same face. The reality was decaying, dingy cities, where underfed people shuffled to and fro in leaky shoes... [ 1984 ,pp 73-74]

It makes no difference if an imagined socialist England, a collapsing Roman city-state empire, an actual Soviet Union, or a modern American oligarchy.

Party members thrive while those wretched proles flail in confused and hungry desperation for something authentic (like a George Bush) or even simply reassuring (like a Barack Obama.)

Non-elite members of the Party -- functionaries -- mistake their "secret" knowledge as professional courtesy rather than as perquisite and status marker. (I don't suppose it's a secret to anyone that the US CIA regularly plants stories in the NYTimes and elsewhere... unless you weren't paying attention in the strident disinfo campaign prior to the Iraq invasion.)

Manzetti has "no bad intent" because he is loyal to the Party.

Like all loyal (and very well compensated) Party members, he would never do anything as subversive as reveal Party secrets.

People can be detained for almost any reason these days!

After all, what's the future of a Party that lacks effective enforcement?

[Dec 09, 2018] The fatal flaw of neoliberalism: it s bad economics: Neoliberalism and its usual prescriptions – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics by Dani Rodrik

Notable quotes:
"... The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash ..."
"... The use of the term "neoliberal" exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters's article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle . The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today's world. ..."
"... That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. ..."
"... homo economicus ..."
"... A version of this article first appeared in Boston Review ..."
"... Main illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare ..."
Nov 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
As even its harshest critics concede, neoliberalism is hard to pin down. In broad terms, it denotes a preference for markets over government, economic incentives over cultural norms, and private entrepreneurship over collective action. It has been used to describe a wide range of phenomena – from Augusto Pinochet to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, from the Clinton Democrats and the UK's New Labour to the economic opening in China and the reform of the welfare state in Sweden.

The term is used as a catchall for anything that smacks of deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation or fiscal austerity. Today it is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas and practices that have produced growing economic insecurity and inequality, led to the loss of our political values and ideals, and even precipitated our current populist backlash .

We live in the age of neoliberalism, apparently. But who are neoliberalism's adherents and disseminators – the neoliberals themselves? Oddly, you have to go back a long time to find anyone explicitly embracing neoliberalism. In 1982, Charles Peters, the longtime editor of the political magazine Washington Monthly, published an essay titled A Neo-Liberal's Manifesto . It makes for interesting reading 35 years later, since the neoliberalism it describes bears little resemblance to today's target of derision. The politicians Peters names as exemplifying the movement are not the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, but rather liberals – in the US sense of the word – who have become disillusioned with unions and big government and dropped their prejudices against markets and the military.

The use of the term "neoliberal" exploded in the 1990s, when it became closely associated with two developments, neither of which Peters's article had mentioned. One of these was financial deregulation, which would culminate in the 2008 financial crash and in the still-lingering euro debacle . The second was economic globalisation, which accelerated thanks to free flows of finance and to a new, more ambitious type of trade agreement. Financialisation and globalisation have become the most overt manifestations of neoliberalism in today's world.

That neoliberalism is a slippery, shifting concept, with no explicit lobby of defenders, does not mean that it is irrelevant or unreal. Who can deny that the world has experienced a decisive shift toward markets from the 1980s on? Or that centre-left politicians – Democrats in the US, socialists and social democrats in Europe – enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism, such as deregulation, privatisation, financial liberalisation and individual enterprise? Much of our contemporary policy discussion remains infused with principles supposedly grounded in the concept of homo economicus , the perfectly rational human being, found in many economic theories, who always pursues his own self-interest.

But the looseness of the term neoliberalism also means that criticism of it often misses the mark. There is nothing wrong with markets, private entrepreneurship or incentives – when deployed appropriately. Their creative use lies behind the most significant economic achievements of our time. As we heap scorn on neoliberalism, we risk throwing out some of neoliberalism's useful ideas.

The real trouble is that mainstream economics shades too easily into ideology, constraining the choices that we appear to have and providing cookie-cutter solutions. A proper understanding of the economics that lie behind neoliberalism would allow us to identify – and to reject – ideology when it masquerades as economic science. Most importantly, it would help us to develop the institutional imagination we badly need to redesign capitalism for the 21st century.


N eoliberalism is typically understood as being based on key tenets of mainstream economic science. To see those tenets without the ideology, consider this thought experiment. A well-known and highly regarded economist lands in a country he has never visited and knows nothing about. He is brought to a meeting with the country's leading policymakers. "Our country is in trouble," they tell him. "The economy is stagnant, investment is low, and there is no growth in sight." They turn to him expectantly: "Please tell us what we should do to make our economy grow."

The economist pleads ignorance and explains that he knows too little about the country to make any recommendations. He would need to study the history of the economy, to analyse the statistics, and to travel around the country before he could say anything.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tony Blair and Bill Clinton: centre-left politicians who enthusiastically adopted some of the central creeds of Thatcherism and Reaganism. Photograph: Reuters

But his hosts are insistent. "We understand your reticence, and we wish you had the time for all that," they tell him. "But isn't economics a science, and aren't you one of its most distinguished practitioners? Even though you do not know much about our economy, surely there are some general theories and prescriptions you can share with us to guide our economic policies and reforms."

The economist is now in a bind. He does not want to emulate those economic gurus he has long criticised for peddling their favourite policy advice. But he feels challenged by the question. Are there universal truths in economics? Can he say anything valid or useful?

So he begins. The efficiency with which an economy's resources are allocated is a critical determinant of the economy's performance, he says. Efficiency, in turn, requires aligning the incentives of households and businesses with social costs and benefits. The incentives faced by entrepreneurs, investors and producers are particularly important when it comes to economic growth. Growth needs a system of property rights and contract enforcement that will ensure those who invest can retain the returns on their investments. And the economy must be open to ideas and innovations from the rest of the world.

But economies can be derailed by macroeconomic instability, he goes on. Governments must therefore pursue a sound monetary policy , which means restricting the growth of liquidity to the increase in nominal money demand at reasonable inflation. They must ensure fiscal sustainability, so that the increase in public debt does not outpace national income. And they must carry out prudential regulation of banks and other financial institutions to prevent the financial system from taking excessive risk.

Now he is warming to his task. Economics is not just about efficiency and growth, he adds. Economic principles also carry over to equity and social policy. Economics has little to say about how much redistribution a society should seek. But it does tell us that the tax base should be as broad as possible, and that social programmes should be designed in a way that does not encourage workers to drop out of the labour market.

By the time the economist stops, it appears as if he has laid out a fully fledged neoliberal agenda. A critic in the audience will have heard all the code words: efficiency, incentives, property rights, sound money, fiscal prudence. And yet the universal principles that the economist describes are in fact quite open-ended. They presume a capitalist economy – one in which investment decisions are made by private individuals and firms – but not much beyond that. They allow for – indeed, they require – a surprising variety of institutional arrangements.

So has the economist just delivered a neoliberal screed? We would be mistaken to think so, and our mistake would consist of associating each abstract term – incentives, property rights, sound money – with a particular institutional counterpart. And therein lies the central conceit, and the fatal flaw, of neoliberalism: the belief that first-order economic principles map on to a unique set of policies, approximated by a Thatcher/Reagan-style agenda.

Consider property rights. They matter insofar as they allocate returns on investments. An optimal system would distribute property rights to those who would make the best use of an asset, and afford protection against those most likely to expropriate the returns. Property rights are good when they protect innovators from free riders, but they are bad when they protect them from competition. Depending on the context, a legal regime that provides the appropriate incentives can look quite different from the standard US-style regime of private property rights.

This may seem like a semantic point with little practical import; but China's phenomenal economic success is largely due to its orthodoxy-defying institutional tinkering. China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices in property rights. Its reforms produced market-based incentives through a series of unusual institutional arrangements that were better adapted to the local context. Rather than move directly from state to private ownership, for example, which would have been stymied by the weakness of the prevailing legal structures, the country relied on mixed forms of ownership that provided more effective property rights for entrepreneurs in practice. Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), which spearheaded Chinese economic growth during the 1980s, were collectives owned and controlled by local governments. Even though TVEs were publicly owned, entrepreneurs received the protection they needed against expropriation. Local governments had a direct stake in the profits of the firms, and hence did not want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

China relied on a range of such innovations, each delivering the economist's higher-order economic principles in unfamiliar institutional arrangements. For instance, it shielded its large state sector from global competition, establishing special economic zones where foreign firms could operate with different rules than in the rest of the economy. In view of such departures from orthodox blueprints, describing China's economic reforms as neoliberal – as critics are inclined to do – distorts more than it reveals. If we are to call this neoliberalism, we must surely look more kindly on the ideas behind the most dramatic poverty reduction in history.

One might protest that China's institutional innovations were purely transitional. Perhaps it will have to converge on western-style institutions to sustain its economic progress. But this common line of thinking overlooks the diversity of capitalist arrangements that still prevails among advanced economies, despite the considerable homogenisation of our policy discourse.

What, after all, are western institutions? The size of the public sector in OECD countries varies, from a third of the economy in Korea to nearly 60% in Finland. In Iceland, 86% of workers are members of a trade union; the comparable number in Switzerland is just 16%. In the US, firms can fire workers almost at will; French labour laws have historically required employers to jump through many hoops first. Stock markets have grown to a total value of nearly one-and-a-half times GDP in the US; in Germany, they are only a third as large, equivalent to just 50% of GDP.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'China turned to markets, but did not copy western practices ... ' Photograph: AFP/Getty

The idea that any one of these models of taxation, labour relations or financial organisation is inherently superior to the others is belied by the varying economic fortunes that each of these economies have experienced over recent decades. The US has gone through successive periods of angst in which its economic institutions were judged inferior to those in Germany, Japan, China, and now possibly Germany again. Certainly, comparable levels of wealth and productivity can be produced under very different models of capitalism. We might even go a step further: today's prevailing models probably come nowhere near exhausting the range of what might be possible, and desirable, in the future.

The visiting economist in our thought experiment knows all this, and recognises that the principles he has enunciated need to be filled in with institutional detail before they become operational. Property rights? Yes, but how? Sound money? Of course, but how? It would perhaps be easier to criticise his list of principles for being vacuous than to denounce it as a neoliberal screed.

Still, these principles are not entirely content-free. China, and indeed all countries that managed to develop rapidly, demonstrate the utility of those principles once they are properly adapted to local context. Conversely, too many economies have been driven to ruin courtesy of political leaders who chose to violate them. We need look no further than Latin American populists or eastern European communist regimes to appreciate the practical significance of sound money, fiscal sustainability and private incentives.


O f course, economics goes beyond a list of abstract, largely common-sense principles. Much of the work of economists consists of developing stylised models of how economies work and then confronting those models with evidence. Economists tend to think of what they do as progressively refining their understanding of the world: their models are supposed to get better and better as they are tested and revised over time. But progress in economics happens differently.

Economists study a social reality that is unlike the physical universe. It is completely manmade, highly malleable and operates according to different rules across time and space. Economics advances not by settling on the right model or theory to answer such questions, but by improving our understanding of the diversity of causal relationships. Neoliberalism and its customary remedies – always more markets, always less government – are in fact a perversion of mainstream economics. Good economists know that the correct answer to any question in economics is: it depends.

Does an increase in the minimum wage depress employment? Yes, if the labour market is really competitive and employers have no control over the wage they must pay to attract workers; but not necessarily otherwise. Does trade liberalisation increase economic growth? Yes, if it increases the profitability of industries where the bulk of investment and innovation takes place; but not otherwise. Does more government spending increase employment? Yes, if there is slack in the economy and wages do not rise; but not otherwise. Does monopoly harm innovation? Yes and no, depending on a whole host of market circumstances.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Today [neoliberalism] is routinely reviled as a shorthand for the ideas that have produced growing economic inequality and precipitated our current populist backlash' Trump signing an order to take the US out of the TPP trade pact. Photograph: AFP/Getty

In economics, new models rarely supplant older models. The basic competitive-markets model dating back to Adam Smith has been modified over time by the inclusion, in rough historical order, of monopoly, externalities, scale economies, incomplete and asymmetric information, irrational behaviour and many other real-world features. But the older models remain as useful as ever. Understanding how real markets operate necessitates using different lenses at different times.

Perhaps maps offer the best analogy. Just like economic models, maps are highly stylised representations of reality . They are useful precisely because they abstract from many real-world details that would get in the way. But abstraction also implies that we need a different map depending on the nature of our journey. If we are travelling by bike, we need a map of bike trails. If we are to go on foot, we need a map of footpaths. If a new subway is constructed, we will need a subway map – but we wouldn't throw out the older maps.

Economists tend to be very good at making maps, but not good enough at choosing the one most suited to the task at hand. When confronted with policy questions of the type our visiting economist faces, too many of them resort to "benchmark" models that favour the laissez-faire approach. Kneejerk solutions and hubris replace the richness and humility of the discussion in the seminar room. John Maynard Keynes once defined economics as the "science of thinking in terms of models, joined to the art of choosing models which are relevant". Economists typically have trouble with the "art" part.

This, too, can be illustrated with a parable. A journalist calls an economics professor for his view on whether free trade is a good idea. The professor responds enthusiastically in the affirmative. The journalist then goes undercover as a student in the professor's advanced graduate seminar on international trade. He poses the same question: is free trade good? This time the professor is stymied. "What do you mean by 'good'?" he responds. "And good for whom?" The professor then launches into an extensive exegesis that will ultimately culminate in a heavily hedged statement: "So if the long list of conditions I have just described are satisfied, and assuming we can tax the beneficiaries to compensate the losers, freer trade has the potential to increase everyone's wellbeing." If he is in an expansive mood, the professor might add that the effect of free trade on an economy's longterm growth rate is not clear either, and would depend on an altogether different set of requirements.

This professor is rather different from the one the journalist encountered previously. On the record, he exudes self-confidence, not reticence, about the appropriate policy. There is one and only one model, at least as far as the public conversation is concerned, and there is a single correct answer, regardless of context. Strangely, the professor deems the knowledge that he imparts to his advanced students to be inappropriate (or dangerous) for the general public. Why?

The roots of such behaviour lie deep in the culture of the economics profession. But one important motive is the zeal to display the profession's crown jewels – market efficiency, the invisible hand, comparative advantage – in untarnished form, and to shield them from attack by self-interested barbarians, namely the protectionists . Unfortunately, these economists typically ignore the barbarians on the other side of the issue – financiers and multinational corporations whose motives are no purer and who are all too ready to hijack these ideas for their own benefit.

As a result, economists' contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favour of more trade, more finance and less government. That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire. The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.


H ow then should we think about globalisation in order to liberate it from the grip of neoliberal practices? We must begin by understanding the positive potential of global markets. Access to world markets in goods, technologies and capital has played an important role in virtually all of the economic miracles of our time. China is the most recent and powerful reminder of this historical truth, but it is not the only case. Before China, similar miracles were performed by South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and a few non-Asian countries such as Mauritius . All of these countries embraced globalisation rather than turn their backs on it, and they benefited handsomely.

Defenders of the existing economic order will quickly point to these examples when globalisation comes into question. What they will fail to say is that almost all of these countries joined the world economy by violating neoliberal strictures. South Korea and Taiwan, for instance, heavily subsidised their exporters, the former through the financial system and the latter through tax incentives. All of them eventually removed most of their import restrictions, long after economic growth had taken off.

But none, with the sole exception of Chile in the 1980s under Pinochet, followed the neoliberal recommendation of a rapid opening-up to imports. Chile's neoliberal experiment eventually produced the worst economic crisis in all of Latin America. While the details differ across countries, in all cases governments played an active role in restructuring the economy and buffering it against a volatile external environment. Industrial policies, restrictions on capital flows and currency controls – all prohibited in the neoliberal playbook – were rampant.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Protest against Nafta in Mexico City in 2008: since the reforms of the mid-90s, the country's economy has underperformed. Photograph: EPA

By contrast, countries that stuck closest to the neoliberal model of globalisation were sorely disappointed. Mexico provides a particularly sad example. Following a series of macroeconomic crises in the mid-1990s, Mexico embraced macroeconomic orthodoxy, extensively liberalised its economy, freed up the financial system, sharply reduced import restrictions and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). These policies did produce macroeconomic stability and a significant rise in foreign trade and internal investment. But where it counts – in overall productivity and economic growth – the experiment failed . Since undertaking the reforms, overall productivity in Mexico has stagnated, and the economy has underperformed even by the undemanding standards of Latin America.

These outcomes are not a surprise from the perspective of sound economics. They are yet another manifestation of the need for economic policies to be attuned to the failures to which markets are prone, and to be tailored to the specific circumstances of each country. No single blueprint fits all.


A s Peters's 1982 manifesto attests, the meaning of neoliberalism has changed considerably over time as the label has acquired harder-line connotations with respect to deregulation, financialisation and globalisation. But there is one thread that connects all versions of neoliberalism, and that is the emphasis on economic growth . Peters wrote in 1982 that the emphasis was warranted because growth is essential to all our social and political ends – community, democracy, prosperity. Entrepreneurship, private investment and removing obstacles that stand in the way (such as excessive regulation) were all instruments for achieving economic growth. If a similar neoliberal manifesto were penned today, it would no doubt make the same point.

ss="rich-link"> Globalisation: the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world Read more

Critics often point out that this emphasis on economics debases and sacrifices other important values such as equality, social inclusion, democratic deliberation and justice. Those political and social objectives obviously matter enormously, and in some contexts they matter the most. They cannot always, or even often, be achieved by means of technocratic economic policies; politics must play a central role.

Still, neoliberals are not wrong when they argue that our most cherished ideals are more likely to be attained when our economy is vibrant, strong and growing. Where they are wrong is in believing that there is a unique and universal recipe for improving economic performance, to which they have access. The fatal flaw of neoliberalism is that it does not even get the economics right. It must be rejected on its own terms for the simple reason that it is bad economics.

A version of this article first appeared in Boston Review

Main illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

[Dec 09, 2018] Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MikeSw , 30 Oct 2018 22:36

Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others.

Minority government? There is no such thing - there is only 'government', and it is supposed to involve all members of parliament in the decision-making process. 'Majority' governments are an anathema to good governance. Every time I hear the likes of Tony Abbott claim they have a mandate to implement ALL their policies, even though they only receive around 35% of the primary vote, I want to throw something at the TV.

Bugger them! Make them work for a living - and make them consider ALL views, not just the ones from their own party.

Bradtheunveiler -> BrianLC , 30 Oct 2018 22:36
Win the ALP will next election. By a huge majority too. Looking forward to neg gearing and CGT discount reform in particular.
Onesimus_Tim -> StuartJJ , 30 Oct 2018 22:35

Preferences are an extremely good feature of our voting system

Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote.

Preferential voting also makes it more possible for the major party duopoly being overturned, allowing people to vote for a good independent without taking the risk of helping a despised major party candidate from winning by default.

[Dec 09, 2018] The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Territorian -> Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:49

"The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry." You are spot on.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Handing out buckets of money to NT Country Liberal Party supporters. Scullion just happened to be a professional fisher before entering parliament.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/indigenous-advancement-funding-redirected-to-cattlemen-and-fishing-groups

Barnaby Joyce: Minister for Agriculture while his Department was too scared to report disgusting conditions in the live sheep export trade.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/agriculture-minister-promises-to-fix-live-export-regulation-after-damning-report

DukeofWoyWoy , 30 Oct 2018 23:48
What a logical and stirring argument you put forward Richard Denniss, and a large majority of the electorate would have to agree.
However there is also a large number of people in the electorate that cannot appear to rise from their nightly slumber without wearing their Blue, Red, Green or Orange tinted glasses before facing the new day.
And because of this, and preferential voting, sneaking in the background is a plethora of the wild mindless sub creatures called politicians who demand their rights to sit in the big white building on Canberra;s Capital Hill, just waiting to spoil not only the electorate's party but also known to prostitute the country's governance to their own advantage.
Richard, we desperately need a follow up stirring article on how to overcome this black menace to our country, for the sake of our country.
Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:38
If you think the public has an appetite for more bureaucrats, more rules and regulations to micromanage people's lives and even more political wheeling and dealing in Canberra, you should get out more.

That the coalition government is on the slide is of no long term consequence. We'll get a Labor government next year and in a few years another coalition government and so on.

What is of long term significance is the loss of public trust in pretty much all of the institutions - including goverment and the various government agencies that would be more powerful under your scenario.

The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry. Perhaps the solution lies in more direct democracy.

The same sex marriage plebiscite demonstrated that we commoners can deliberate on a sensitive issue, and in doing so behave far better than our elected representatives in Parliament. And can make a sensible and progressive decision that our elected representatives could not - both coalition and Labor MPs had opposed same sex marriage when it was raised in th e Parliament.

The internet provides a platform for direct decision making by the citizenry. Perhaps we should try that instead of what you are suggesting.

diggerdigger , 30 Oct 2018 22:12
It's been clear for years that proportional representation has progressively meant death to effective government, and that it forces major parties policy development further to the political fringes to appeal to the fruit loops on the periphery of their respective demographics. Time for a return to simple preferential voting (a-la-house of Reps) in the senate, and an overhaul of what's considered a valid ballot - if you want to only rank 1, 2, 3 or all candidates it should be entirely your choice.

Hung parliaments, with diametrically opposed clumps of "independents" jointly holding the balance of power can only ever deliver legislative stasis and constant political turmoil (as we have experienced since 2010 and Europe and the US have suffered for the last decade).

Oh for the good old days when one or the other of the major parties held a working majority in both houses, and policy was targeted at the 'sensible centre" of the Australian electorate. At worst, they only had to deal with a couple of sensible Democrats, and the odd lunatic fringe-ist like Harradine.

[Dec 09, 2018] People who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes just get mopped up by two major parties who represent thatsame neooliberal sharks who want to devour the voters

Notable quotes:
"... I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonGlaeston , 31 Oct 2018 04:56

Yes, yes! MMP!!

Having spent many years in a New Zealand under a First Past the Post system and then Mixed Member Proportional, I am an enthusiastic supporter of proportional systems.

I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long.

Hettie7-> melbournesam 31 Oct 2018 00:45

Proportional representation makes the most sense. Each party gets the same percentage of seats in the parliament as it received votes in the election. That really is fair.

[Dec 09, 2018] Nationalisation of essential services is required to put this country back on an even keel. It was a stupid idea by governments (of all persuasions) to sell off monopoly essential service assets. The neoliberal experiment has failed.

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonRabbit99 , 31 Oct 2018 01:17

Nationalisation of essential services is required to put this country back on an even keel. It was a stupid idea by governments (of all persuasions) to sell off monopoly essential service assets. The neoliberal experiment has failed.
Carlosthepossum , 31 Oct 2018 01:15
'Neoliberalism is dead.'
However, we cannot rest until it is buried and cremated.
economicalternative -> Bewareofnazihippies , 31 Oct 2018 01:03
Beware: Just build a HUGE worker owned, democratically run (by workers) sector to compete against privately owned concerns. If workers are (democratically) involved in running and managing their own workplaces that will give plenty of competition for private concerns. Workers will be involved in the 'politics' and economics of their local area as part of work. They'll have more control over the technologies they want to use, how much profit they want to make or not, wages, investment, working conditions and all aspects of their concern. Workers would 'participate' more and be more involved in thinking about larger concerns. This would make a nation/region more democratic on the 'ground'. Not just reliant on 'representative' democracy/voting. You'd still need over-arching government(s) but people would have more direct control over their livelihoods and work conditions. Such a BIG sector would give (I'm talking about Health, Education, manufacturing etc - not 'bread shop', basket-weaving coops/social enterprises) private enterprise some REAL competition on prices and services. It would deliver democracy to masses of people, some control over wealth generation/economy and on a large enough scale CHANGE society in terms of social justice and politics.

You don't need to go to State control or Private control of 'the economy'. Just the right kinds of structures.

Nintiblue , 31 Oct 2018 01:03
Its not dead yet.

Neoliberalism is like a cancer on a health democracy. If we'd treated it in its early magnifications (when the Librerals and far right old version of Labor), first started selling off public assets (that are then charged back to citizens to use at increasing price rates etc), we would have been fine.

But now the cancer is deep in democracy's lymph glads ( in many of our public services) and so needs radical prolonged treatment and some surgery to assure the country's thriving democracy survives.

First surgically remove the source: cease (vote out always) all right wing conservative nutters from ever gaining power, or media mogul influence of government. Most but not all hide in the Coalition.

Then, begin the reconstruction surgery to re-assert public assets and services. This is a temporary but life saving cost.

Then, monitor and manage, (educate) the citizens about this scourge on democracy.

Dunkey2830 , 31 Oct 2018 01:00

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build.

Neoliberalism is far from dead Richard - neoliberalism is deeply entrenched in mainstream thinking its corporate enriching magic works insidiously - mostly subliminally under cover of 'sensible' free market self clearing 'orthodox' economics.
You and many others from 'progressive' TAI almost daily, unwittingly play a role in reinforcing and entrenching neoliberal ideology in the community by framing macroeconomic analysis/commentary in neoliberal terms.
Your oft repeated call for 'budget balance' over the business cycle is such an example. Only fiscal deficits can build a prosperous productive nation in the absence of consistent external surpluses - no government can ever build and expand a nation without permanently injecting more funds into the non government sector than (through taxation etc) it withdraws.

Both our major parties of government espouse neoliberal economic orthodoxy as if there is no alternative - and no one calls them out - not even the quasi progressive TAI.

DSGE based 'orthodox' economics provides the lifeblood to neoliberalism - the myth of tax collections funding expenditure provides plausible cover to constrain spending on citizen/social services - but when it comes to war/corporate subsidy spending, such constraints are immediately abandoned.
Hetereodox MMT exposes the lie of such DSGE myths - but faithful Ptolemaic 'progressives' refuse to investigate or debate such Copernican macroeconomic sacrilege.

The recent TAI 'outlook' economic conference (proudly sponsored by 'The Australian'!! ) was a classic progressive 'fail'; loaded with orthodox 'experts' like Bowen and Keating spouting austerity inducing neoliberal orthodoxy - not one heterodox economist was invited to present the unwelcome, uncomfortable truth of sovereign nation macroeconomic reality.
Prof Bill Mitchell is Australia's most widely & internationally respected REAL progressive heterodox academic - yet the TAI ignores him.

Neoliberalism won't die until it extracts the last breath of available wealth from Australia's citizenry. It will die a savage death with the onset of the impending depression 'to end all depressions' when the collapsing housing bubble leaves citizens with a 'decades long' bubble of unpayable private debt.

Only then will people realise they have been elaborately 'conned' - too late.

P.S. For all TRUE progressives:
Some brilliant short videos here and here by Parody Project.

CaligulaMcNutt -> CaptnGster , 31 Oct 2018 00:54
That's really the point, much as you might expect government like the Howard and Abbott ones to have stuck to their claimed neo-liberal principles, neither substantially altered the compulsory nature of the scheme, despite the fact that it ran more or less completely contrary to Chicago School principles. Howard might have been fond of shouting "socialism" or "nanny state" when he felt the need to criticise something, but deeds speak stronger than words, and for all his p!ssing and moaning he was never going to do anything that stopped all those truckloads of money finding their way to his friends in the banking industry.
Alltherage -> elliot2511 , 31 Oct 2018 00:51
Yes historically high mass immigration in Australia has been used as a trojan horse by the adherents of neo-liberalism - to break down the pay and conditions of Australian workers and their rights and entitlements.
By importing "ready made" skilled workers, neither the Government or the private sector have had to go to the trouble of training their workforce nor bear any of the costs of educating and training them.
As to the lower skilled imported workers, in the main, this is a crude device to cut out the locals so that accepted or legislated pay and conditions can be lowered. Most of those imported workers don't know their rights and are ripe for exploitation.
The shonks, rip off and quick buck merchants love neo-liberalism for the what it has done to the Australian labour market.
And the Labor party has been complicit in all this - when it should have been protecting Australians and Australian workers present and future from the ravaging impacts of neo-liberalism.
Ozperson , 31 Oct 2018 00:48
For something that's supposedly dead, it still looks like neoliberalism is in charge to me. The relentless commodification of every aspect of life continues apace. Money is still the measure of everything and takes precedence over the environment, ethics, community, creativity, discovery, and virtually everything else you care to name. When water thiefs, big bankers, corrupt politicians, environmental despoilers, and those that start pointless wars are IN GAOL, then I'll start to believe things are changing.
Saint-Just -> FelixKruell , 31 Oct 2018 00:47
Neoliberalism is not simply an economic agenda. From the beginning it was conceived as and then constructed to be much more than that - it was in fact as much a pedagogical cum psychological operation to change minds across generations with regard to free-market capitalism and thus to orient all thinking to that, than it was a matter of simple monetary or trade policy. Of course, this had to be done with a good deal of repression and oppression backing it up, here and there - Chile e.g. Thus electing neoliberalism is an effect of this pedagogy over time - we are all schooled in its 'normality - and not a reflection of either some natural desire for it or an educated choice.
Nicholas Haines , 31 Oct 2018 00:40
I agree that we should be discussing fiscal policy but I suspect that Richard Denniss is using a false frame for this topic. He probably adheres to the claim made by the macroeconomic equivalent of pre-Copernican physics that a government that issues its own currency, enforces taxes in that currency, and allows the currency to float in foreign exchange markets can run out of its currency.

The fiscal policy of the federal government should be to employ all available labour in socially useful and environmental sustainable productive activity, maintain price stability, minimize inequality of income and wealth, and fund public services and infrastructure to the maximum extent permitted by the resources that are available for sale in the government's currency.

If you think that the government's fiscal policy should be to reduce a fiscal deficit or deliver a fiscal surplus, you are a dill.

It makes no sense to target a particular fiscal balance because the outcome is driven largely by the aggregated spending and saving decisions of the domestic non-government sector and the external sector. The federal government does not control those variables.

The federal government needs to target economically, socially, and environmentally desirable goals and allow the fiscal balance to reach whatever level is needed at any given time to achieve those goals.

economicalternative -> BlueThird , 31 Oct 2018 00:39
'Democracy' needs to be structural as well as a moral idea. Workers have been disempowered and impoverished and disenfranchished by neoliberalism. An answer to structurally improve the wealth AND democratic power of the workers is to build a HUGE co operative sector in each economy: worker owned workplaces/businesses/concerns AND democratically run. THAT will improve the situation for workers/punters: democracy where they live and work. Democracy rooted not in fine ideas only about rights but bedded down in economic livelihoods. People will take an interest in their local 'politics' and also understand more of the politics of the nation. You don't have to get rid of 'capitalism' just give it a 'good run' for it's money - some real COMPETITION. Cooperatively run Hospitals, owned by doctors and nurses and other stakeholders - not for profit - that'll soon see the 'private' for profit' health providers/rorters wind their prices and necks in. Socially owned, worker-owned, government/taxpayer supported enterprise, work places, democratically run will boot up the level of 'democracy' in our societies. We can still have voter style over-arching national government of course. If you don't root democracy where people actually can participate and which gives them a lot of control over their workplaces/livelihood, then it can all be hijacked by the greedy and cunning (see neoliberalism). OH, a large cooperative sector in the economy democratically run by workers won't deliver 'heaven on earth' - it'll still be run by people!
slorter -> HauptmannGurski , 31 Oct 2018 00:37
It is also a tool of the neoliberals along with the whole neoliberal trend in macroeconomic policy. The essential thing underlying this, is to try to reduce the power of government and social forces that might exercise some power within the political economy -- workers and others -- and put the power primarily in the hands of those dominating in the markets. That's often the financial system, the banks, but also other elites. The idea of neoliberal economists and policymakers being that you don't want the government getting too involved in macroeconomic policy. You don't want them promoting too much employment because that might lead to a raise in wages and, in turn, to a reduction in the profit share of the national income.

Austerity fits into the mix very well Keeping wages low, or debt pressure high, means workers will be less likely to complain or make demands. As workers struggle to provide their families with all the temptations that a capitalist society offers, they become far less likely to risk their employment, and less able to improve their situation.

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

Alltherage -> misterwildcard , 31 Oct 2018 00:29
It shows a great sense of inferiority and knowing our "proper"place, that the populace apparently accepted the colloquial term for neo-liberalism or economic rationalism, as being "trickle down economics" and that all that the populace deserved and was going to get was a trickle of the alleged wealth and benefits created.
Why were most people so compliant and accepting of something that as a concept, from the outset, was clearly signalling it would economically completely discriminate against the 99% and was intended to provide such a meager share of the wealth and economic benefits generated?
eerstehondopdemaan -> MikeSw , 31 Oct 2018 00:23
Excellent statement Mike.

A quick look around the world provides clear evidence that there really are a lot of alternatives.

That's the crux: many (western, developed) countries before us have proven over and over again that the best type of democratic government is one in which consensus is the basis for long-term decisions to the benefit of all. Is it tedious? Yes. Frustrating at times? You bet. Slow? Indeed, quite often so. But the point is, consensus-based decision making works and eventually is in everyone's interest (left, right and centre), resulting in better long-term outcomes. With the added benefit that new "majority" Governments won't throw out the children with the bathwater all the time.

I'd add one aspect to the article though, and that is to combine a form of proportional representation with longer terms of Government. You won't get much meaningful done in 3 years, whatever form of representation you choose. 4 years, 5 years... whatever strikes the best balance between governments getting some runs on the board and voters feeling empowered to change government coalitions in the ballot box when they stuff up.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism clearly works for the interests of the minority and against the interests of the majority. Households are now worse off than they were 6 years ago and large businesses are enjoying record profits.

But what economic system worked in the interests of majority of population. There was only one such system -- USA in 1935-1970th and it was the result of WWII and record profits of the US corporation after the war, when both Europe and Japan were devastated.
In no way the USSR was social system that worked for the majority of population. It worked for the Nomenklatura -- a pretty narrow caste, similar to current top 1% under neoliberalism.
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

regoblivion , 31 Oct 2018 00:08

I like Prof.Bill Mitchell's saying that most Progressives are Neo liberals in disguise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOMo3xuSyWM&t=66s

Until we ditch the Neo Liberal garbage about Deficits, Debt and their confusion about Monetary and Fiscal Policy, nothing can change.

meanwhile Tick Tock goes the Carbon Clock.

ianwford , 31 Oct 2018 00:02
Neoliberalism clearly works for the interests of the minority and against the interests of the majority. Households are now worse off than they were 6 years ago and large businesses are enjoying record profits. It feels as if the australian economy is being run for the benefit of a small percentage of wealthy shareholders.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism contains policies that the right have embraced with open arms, like compulsory retirement savings (which have enriched the private sector, especially banks and their shareholders), would have caused sharp intakes of breath from the steely-eyed theorists who came up with the concept

While a purported devotion to the principles and precepts of neo-liberalism has been claimed by decades of right-wing politicians, businesses and bankers, drilling down deeper often reveals that what is really happening in favoring the economic interests of the few at the expense of the many, and very often involving compulsorily actions like switch to 401K accounts. Which was stoke of genius for neoliberals to fleeces common people. acquired
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

CaligulaMcNutt , 30 Oct 2018 23:45

Speaking as no fan of neo-liberalism, but there is a risk that the term gets overused. Things that the right have embraced with open arms, like compulsory retirement savings (which have enriched the private sector, especially banks and their shareholders), would have caused sharp intakes of breath from the steely-eyed theorists who came up with the concept. While a purported devotion to the principles and precepts of neo-liberalism has been claimed by decades of right-wing politicians, businesses and bankers, drilling down deeper often reveals that what is really happening in favouring the economic interests of the few at the expense of the many, and very often involving compulsorily acquired public resources being re-directed to business, with barely even the thinnest veneer of genuine theoretical observance to the neo-liberal model. Both neo-liberalism itself, and bogus claims of its practical use and benefits, need to be dead and buried.
LovelyDaffodils -> misterwildcard , 30 Oct 2018 23:45
I really would love the rich and powerful who basically prey on the average person/worker/mums and dads, to be held accountable and penalised properly in relation to their deeds. These bastards destroy families in their grab for greed, and almost every time they are excused by their cohorts, and even go on to bigger and better opportunities to keep feeding their voracious greedy appetites. Basically they steal, so why isn't their proceeds of crime taken back by government; and why do they not do any jail time?
GreyBags , 30 Oct 2018 23:36
Natural monopolies like water and power, roads and public transport should be in public hands. All call centres dealing with government issues should be done by public servants, not outsourced to foreign corporations.

I'd start with a bank. Give people a non-greed infested alternative.

Under neo-liberalism we have gone from 1 person, 1 vote to $1, one vote. The con job that is 'small government and little or no regulations' is bad for society and the environment. Greed over need.

slorter -> MachiavellisCat , 30 Oct 2018 23:20
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/30/why-a-neoliberal-society-cant-survive /

Dr. T. J. Coles is director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research and the author of several books, including Voices for Peace (with Noam Chomsky and others) and the forthcoming Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (both Clairview Books).

Jakartaboy , 30 Oct 2018 22:42
The current economic model being used by capitalist countries across the world is failing most of the people in these countries while enriching tiny elites. Unfortunately, politicians in these countries are often in the pockets of the elite or are themselves members of the elite.

We need a new economic narrative which better reconciles the needs of the population with the directives of the market.

[Dec 09, 2018] China version of neoliberalism is not without huge problems

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

diggerdigger -> everywhereman , 30 Oct 2018 23:41

Why not? Profits to the nation, not greedy corporates and their shareholders.

I think you will find there were no profits made that could be put "to the nation." When the wall came down, the USSR and the entire eastern bloc were completely bankrupt.

As was Mao's China prior to the emergence of Deng and his "to get rich is glorious" mantra, that set China on its current path. Of course his generally market-oriented approach has since been bastardised to one of One Party State-capitalism dominated by cronyism, corruption, and a perverted justice system.

Yes it has generated vast wealth, but it is an empire built on sand. As any analysis of its shadow banking system will show.

And while the legions of newly minted millionaires of party benevolence celebrate, the hundreds of millions stuck in poverty are left to fend for themselves.

[Dec 09, 2018] The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build

Neoliberalism is a secular religion, so it doe need to be rational, to remains influential or even dominant, much like Bolshevism or Trotskyism (actually neoliberalism should be viewed as a perverted mutation of Trotskyism -- Trotskyism for irch) . It took 70 years for Bolshevism to became discredited and collapse (under the attack from neoliberalism).
In the absence of alternatives neoliberalism might continues to exist in zombie state for a very long time.
Notable quotes:
"... Poverty rate in the USA has been increasing since about the year 2000. ..."
"... Why do you think that all around the world voters are going hard against Neoliberalism and why do you think that Neoliberals are desperately trying to save their bankrupt philosophy by hiding behind Nationalism and Racism? ..."
"... While I would very much like to agree with the notion that neo-liberalism is dead, there's rather too much evidence that its pernicious influence lingers ghost-like and ghastly, having suffused far too many politicians of an ultra-conservative ilk ..."
"... The true believers in the neo-liberal faith, as it was never other than a creed espoused by Thatcher and Pinochet among others, are like those in the catholic church who continued to advocate an earth centric universe long after science proved them wrong. ..."
"... It will be a long wait until these myopic adherents to the gospel of Hayek, Friedman and Buchanan, are consigned to the waste bin of history where they belong. Until then, it will remain a struggle to right the many wrongs of this mis-guided and shallow populism. ..."
"... The neocons have had their day, though it'll no doubt take one hell of an effort to drag them out of their crony-capitalist, snouts-in-the-trough ways. The profit motive in the provision of essential services should be confined to covering costs, maintenance and associated investment. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

GreenExerciseAddict , 30 Oct 2018 23:29

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build.

Unfortunately, I see lots of deaths but none of them is neoliberalism. I can see death of a decent safety net in Australia. Death of biodiversity. Death of ecosystems. Death of intelligent debate. Death of science.

Alpo88 -> Fred1 , 30 Oct 2018 23:26
You are completely delusional Freddie.

Poverty rate in the USA has been increasing since about the year 2000. The international poverty trend has been decreasing over time only because the definition of poverty is to earn less than $1.25 per day..... So, if you earn $10/day you are well above the poverty line: Good luck living on that income in any OECD country!

Standards of living are decreasing in Australia... ever heard of the housing crisis? The household debt crisis?.... Paying for hospital and medicines, education, electricity and other services.... should I go on?.... ACOSS found that "there are just over 3 million people (13.2%) living below the poverty line of 50% of median income – including 739,000 children (17.3%)".

"The evil neo-liberalism" has delivered poverty, massive inequality, dissatisfaction, unemployment/sub-employment and casualization, collapse of public services, high costs of living.... and deterioration of the environment...

Why do you think that all around the world voters are going hard against Neoliberalism and why do you think that Neoliberals are desperately trying to save their bankrupt philosophy by hiding behind Nationalism and Racism?

Revenant13 , 30 Oct 2018 23:24
While I would very much like to agree with the notion that neo-liberalism is dead, there's rather too much evidence that its pernicious influence lingers ghost-like and ghastly, having suffused far too many politicians of an ultra-conservative ilk.

The true believers in the neo-liberal faith, as it was never other than a creed espoused by Thatcher and Pinochet among others, are like those in the catholic church who continued to advocate an earth centric universe long after science proved them wrong.

It will be a long wait until these myopic adherents to the gospel of Hayek, Friedman and Buchanan, are consigned to the waste bin of history where they belong. Until then, it will remain a struggle to right the many wrongs of this mis-guided and shallow populism.

David Smith -> adamhumph , 30 Oct 2018 23:21
Abso-bloody-lutely! The neocons have had their day, though it'll no doubt take one hell of an effort to drag them out of their crony-capitalist, snouts-in-the-trough ways. The profit motive in the provision of essential services should be confined to covering costs, maintenance and associated investment. It's so painfully obvious that the market has not met the needs of the average citizen without absurd cost. Bring on the revolution!

[Dec 09, 2018] What made anyone think neo-liberalism was going to work? Why was this even tried or got past a focus group?

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

misterwildcard , 30 Oct 2018 22:12

What made anyone think neo-liberalism was going to work? Why was this even tried or got past a focus group?
Only the Murdoch press ever dreamed this could have any merit and a few totally selfish and controlling wealthy people. 2008 and the GFC should have killed this idea instead it gained traction as the perpetrators not only were not prosecuted but were subsidised to create more havoc. Find the culprits and jail them ... it is not too late.

[Dec 09, 2018] All essential infrastructure should be Nationalised. Water electricity supply and generation, ports and railways, educational facilities, one major bank, one country wide telco and mail delivery.

Notable quotes:
"... What about "competition", the God of Neoliberals?.... Competition can have some positive role in society only in an environment of Regulation. That's why the future is neither Neoliberal nor Socialist, but a Mixed Economy Social Democracy. ..."
"... Bring back a Commonwealth Bank! In fact bring back State run Electricity, Gas and Water utilities... ..."
"... The Coalition these days proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

adamhumph , 30 Oct 2018 22:14

All essential infrastructure should be Nationalised. Water electricity supply and generation, ports and railways, educational facilities, one major bank, one country wide telco and mail delivery. Remove the for profit aspect, and they become assets. In at least a few of these they also provide training opportunities across a wide spectrum of careers
Joshua Tree , 30 Oct 2018 22:13
Nationalise the banks and the Mining Industry . Take back control of outrageous wages in both these sectors and return profits to the taxpayer .

Nationalise the State Governments in other words get rid of them and appoint federal controlled administrators same with local councils, sack the lot of them and appoint administrators.

Alpo88 , 30 Oct 2018 22:08
Just like the AFP is "nationalised", or education is also to a big extent "nationalised", alongside a big chunk of the health system.... so we can nationalise other things, such as the modes of production and distribution of energy, major mineral resources, etc.

What about "competition", the God of Neoliberals?.... Competition can have some positive role in society only in an environment of Regulation. That's why the future is neither Neoliberal nor Socialist, but a Mixed Economy Social Democracy.

Which party is for a Mixed Economy Social Democracy?.... Labor and to some extent the Greens. A bunch of independents are also happy with the concept.... Together they are currently a majority, only waiting for a Federal election.

JAKLAUGHING , 30 Oct 2018 22:08
Bring back a Commonwealth Bank! In fact bring back State run Electricity, Gas and Water utilities...
Joey Rocca , 30 Oct 2018 22:01

The Coalition these days proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

Spot on Richard, excellent article. A Federal ICAC is a must.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I don't like using the term "neo-liberalism" that much because there is nothing "new" or "liberal" about it, the term itself just helps hide the fact that it's a political project more about power than profit and the end result is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector. ..."
"... Since the word "privatisation" is clearly no longer popular, the latest buzzword from this project is "outsourcing". ..."
"... As far as I can see "neo-liberalism", or what I prefer to call managerial and financialised feudalism is not dead, it's still out and about looking around for the next rent-seeking opportunity. ..."
"... In the political arena, is enabling porkies facilitate each other in every lunatic pronouncement about "Budget repair" and "on track for a surplus". And its spotty, textbook-spouting clones ("all debt is debt! Shriek, gasp, hyperventilate!") fall off the conveyor belts of tertiary education Australia-wide, then turn up on The Drum as IPA 'Research Fellows' to spout their evidence-free assertions. ..."
"... And don't forget the handmaiden of neoliberalism is their macroeconomic mythology about government "debt and borrowing" which will condemn our grandchildren to poverty - inter-generational theft! It also allows them to continue dismantling government social programs by giving tax-cuts to reduce "revenue" and then claiming there is no money to fund those programs. ..."
"... "Competition" as the cornerstone of neoliberal economics was always a lie. Corporations do their best to get rid of competitors by unfair pricing tactics or by takeovers. And even where some competitors hang in there by some means (banks, petrol companies) the competition that occurs is not for price but for profit. ..."
"... We find a shift away from democratic processes and the rise of the "all new adulation of the so-called tough leader" factor, aka Nazism/Fascism. From Trump to Turkey, Netanyahu to Putin, Brazil to China, the rise of the "right" in Europe, the South Americas, where the leader is "our great and "good" Teacher", knows best, and thus infantalises the knowledge and awareness of the rest of the population. Who needs scientists, when the "leader" knows everything? ..."
"... There are indeed alternatives to neoliberalism, most of which have been shown to lead back to neoliberalism. Appeals for fiscal and monetary relief/stimulus can only ever paper over the worst aspects of it's relentless 'progress', between wars, it seems. ..."
"... Neoliberalism seems vastly, catastrophically misunderstood. Widely perceived as the latest abomination to spring from the eternal battle 'twixt Labour and Capital, it's actual origins are somewhat more recent. Neoliberalism really, really is not just "Capitalism gone wrong". It goes much deeper, to a fundamental flaw buried( more accurately 'planted') deep in the heart of economics. ..."
"... In 1879 an obscure journalist from then-remote San Francisco, Henry George, took the world by storm with his extraordinary bestseller Progress and Poverty . Still the only published work to outsell the Bible in a single year, it did so for over twenty years, yet few social justice advocates have heard of it. ..."
"... George gravely threatened privileged global power-elites , so they erased him from academic history. A mind compared, in his time with Plato, Copernicus and Adam Smith wiped from living memory, by the modern aristocracy. ..."
"... In the process of doing so, they emasculated the discipline of economics, stripped dignity from labour, and set in motion a world-destroying doctrine. Neo-Classical Economics(aka neoliberalism) was born , to the detriment of the working-citizen and the living world on which s/he depends. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

ElectricJolt , 31 Oct 2018 04:38

I don't like using the term "neo-liberalism" that much because there is nothing "new" or "liberal" about it, the term itself just helps hide the fact that it's a political project more about power than profit and the end result is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector.

Since the word "privatisation" is clearly no longer popular, the latest buzzword from this project is "outsourcing". If you've had a look at The Canberra Times over the last couple of weeks there have been quite a few articles about outsourcing parts of Medicare and Centrelink, using labour hire companies and so on – is this part of a current LNP plan to "sell off" parts of the government before Labour takes the reins in May?

As far as I can see "neo-liberalism", or what I prefer to call managerial and financialised feudalism is not dead, it's still out and about looking around for the next rent-seeking opportunity.

Friarbird , 31 Oct 2018 04:02
Neoliberalism "dead"? I think not. It is riveted on the country like a straitjacket.

Which is exactly what it was always intended to be, a system gamed and rigged to ensure the wage-earning scum obtain progressively less and less of the country's productive wealth, however much they contributed to it. The wage theft and exploitation Neoliberalism fosters has become the new norm. Neoliberal idealogues thickly infest Federal and State Treasuries.

In the political arena, is enabling porkies facilitate each other in every lunatic pronouncement about "Budget repair" and "on track for a surplus". And its spotty, textbook-spouting clones ("all debt is debt! Shriek, gasp, hyperventilate!") fall off the conveyor belts of tertiary education Australia-wide, then turn up on The Drum as IPA 'Research Fellows' to spout their evidence-free assertions.

The IPA itself has moles in govt at every level--even in your local Council. Certainly in ours.

Neoliberalism is "dead"? Correction. Neoliberalism is alive, thriving---and quick to ensure its glaring deficiencies and inequities are solely attributable to its opponents. Now THERE'S a surprise.....

totaram -> JohnArmour , 31 Oct 2018 03:01
Agree! And don't forget the handmaiden of neoliberalism is their macroeconomic mythology about government "debt and borrowing" which will condemn our grandchildren to poverty - inter-generational theft! It also allows them to continue dismantling government social programs by giving tax-cuts to reduce "revenue" and then claiming there is no money to fund those programs.
exTen , 31 Oct 2018 02:30
Neoliberalism will not be dead until the underpinning of neoliberalism is abandoned by ALP and Greens. That underpinning is their mindless attachment to "budget repair" and "return to surplus". The federal government's "budget" is nothing like a currency user's budget. Currency users collect in order to spend whereas every dollar spent by the federal government is a new dollar and every dollar taxed by the federal government is an ex-dollar. A currency cannot sensibly have "debt" in the currency that it issues and no amount of surplus or deficit now will enhance or impair its capacity to spend in future. A currency issuer does not need an electronic piggybank, or a Future Fund, or a Drought Relief Fund. It can't max out an imaginary credit card. It's "borrowing" is just an exchange of its termless no-coupon liabilities (currency) for term-limited coupon-bearing liabilities (bonds). The federal budget balance is no rational indicator of any need for austerity or for stimulus. The rational indicators are unemployment (too small a "deficit"/too large a surplus) and inflation (too large a "deficit"/too small a "surplus"). Federal taxation is where dollars go to die. It doesn't "fund" a currency issuer's spending - it is there to stop the dollars it issues from piling up and causing inflation and to make room for spending by democratically elected federal parliament. The name of the game is to balance the economy, not the entirely notional and fundamentally irrelevant "budget".
Copperfield , 31 Oct 2018 01:51
"Competition" as the cornerstone of neoliberal economics was always a lie. Corporations do their best to get rid of competitors by unfair pricing tactics or by takeovers. And even where some competitors hang in there by some means (banks, petrol companies) the competition that occurs is not for price but for profit.

And changing the electoral system? Yes indeed. After years of observation it seems to me that the problem with our politics is not individual politicians (although there are notable exceptions) but political parties. Rigid control of policies and voting on party instruction (even by the Greens) makes the proceedings of parliament a complete waste of time. If every policy had to run the gauntlet of 150 people all voting by their conscience we would have better policy. The executive functions could be carried out by a cabinet also elected from those members. But not going to happen - too many vested interests in the parties and their corporate sponsors.

gidrys , 31 Oct 2018 01:34
With the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil (even though nearly 30% of electors refused to vote) it may be a little presumptuous to dissect the dead corpse of neoliberalism, as Richard Denniss' hopes that we can.

What is absolutely gob-smacking is that Brazilians voted for him; a man that Glenn Greenwald describes as "far more dangerous than Trump" , that Bolsonaro envisages military dictatorships as "being a far more superior form of government" advocating a civil war in order to dispose of the left.

Furthermore, the election of this far-right neoliberal extremist also threatens the Amazon forest and its indigenous people; with a global impact that will render combatting climate change even more difficult.

Locally, recent Liberal Party battles over leadership have included the neolib factor, as the lunatic right in that party - who I suspect would all love to be a Bolsonaro themselves - aggressively activate their grumblings and dissension.

Oh, Richard how I wish you were right; but in the Victorian election campaign - currently underway - I have seen Socialist candidates behaving in a manner that doesn't garner hope in a different way of doing politics.

The fact that 'our' democracy is based on an adversarial, partisan system leaves me with little hope. Alain Badiou wrote that "ours is not a world of democracy but a world of imperial conservatism using democratic phraseology" ; and until that imposition is discarded 'our' democracy will remain whatever we are told it is, and neolibs will continue to shove their bullshit down our throats as much as they can.

beeden , 31 Oct 2018 01:33
There is no abatement to the wealthiest in the global communities seeking greater wealth and thus increasing inequality.

Taking a local example,

We find a shift away from democratic processes and the rise of the "all new adulation of the so-called tough leader" factor, aka Nazism/Fascism. From Trump to Turkey, Netanyahu to Putin, Brazil to China, the rise of the "right" in Europe, the South Americas, where the leader is "our great and "good" Teacher", knows best, and thus infantalises the knowledge and awareness of the rest of the population. Who needs scientists, when the "leader" knows everything?

Have the people of the world abrogated their democratic responsibility?

Or is it the gerrymandering chicanery of US Republican backers/politicians( so long as you control the voting machines ) that have sent the ugly message to the world, Power is yours for the making and taking by any means that ignores the public's rights in the decision making process. Has the "neo-liberal" world delivered a corrupted system of democracy that has deliberately alienated the world's population from actively participating fully in the full awareness that their vote counts and will be counted?

Do we need to take back the controls of democracy to ensure that it is the will of the people and not a manipulation by vested interest groups/individuals? You're darn tootin'!!!

Matt Quinn , 31 Oct 2018 01:32
A thoughtful piece. Thanks. There are indeed alternatives to neoliberalism, most of which have been shown to lead back to neoliberalism. Appeals for fiscal and monetary relief/stimulus can only ever paper over the worst aspects of it's relentless 'progress', between wars, it seems.

Neoliberalism seems vastly, catastrophically misunderstood. Widely perceived as the latest abomination to spring from the eternal battle 'twixt Labour and Capital, it's actual origins are somewhat more recent. Neoliberalism really, really is not just "Capitalism gone wrong". It goes much deeper, to a fundamental flaw buried( more accurately 'planted') deep in the heart of economics.

Instead of trying to understand Neo-Classical Economics it is perhaps more instructive to understand what it was built, layer by layer, to obscure. First the Land system, then the Wealth system, and finally the Money system (hived off into a compartment - 'macroeconomics'). Importantly, three entirely different categories of "thing" .

In 1879 an obscure journalist from then-remote San Francisco, Henry George, took the world by storm with his extraordinary bestseller Progress and Poverty . Still the only published work to outsell the Bible in a single year, it did so for over twenty years, yet few social justice advocates have heard of it.

George set out to discover why the worst poverty always seemed to accompany the most progress. By chasing down the production process to its ends, and tracing where the proceeds were going, he succeeded spectacularly. From Progress and Poverty , Chapter 17 - "The Problem Explained" :

Three things unite in production: land, labor, and capital. Three parties divide the output: landowner, laborer, and capitalist. If the laborer and capitalist get no more as production increases, it is a necessary inference that the landowner takes the gain.

George gravely threatened privileged global power-elites , so they erased him from academic history. A mind compared, in his time with Plato, Copernicus and Adam Smith wiped from living memory, by the modern aristocracy.

In the process of doing so, they emasculated the discipline of economics, stripped dignity from labour, and set in motion a world-destroying doctrine. Neo-Classical Economics(aka neoliberalism) was born , to the detriment of the working-citizen and the living world on which s/he depends.

Einstein was a fan of George, and used his methods of thought-experiment and powerful inductive reasoning to discover Relativity, twenty years later. Henry Georges brilliant insights into Land (aka nature), Wealth (what you want, need), and Money (sharing mechanism) are as relevant as ever, and until they are rediscovered, we are likely to re-run the 1900's over and over, with fewer and fewer resources.

~ How Land Barons, Industrialists and Bankers Corrupted Economics .

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism us the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Alan Ritchie , 31 Oct 2018 22:24

Neoliberalism, the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology . Dual streams of bull shit to confuse the citizens while the Country's immense wealth is stolen.

[Dec 09, 2018] The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations

Notable quotes:
"... Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MobyAhab , 31 Oct 2018 00:09

Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged.

Yeah! Philip Morris comes to mind. "The cost to taxpayers of the Australian government's six-year legal battle with the tobacco giant Philip Morris over plain packaging laws can finally be revealed, despite the government's efforts to keep the cost secret.

The commonwealth government spent nearly $40m defending its world-first plain packaging laws against Philip Morris Asia, a tobacco multinational, according to freedom of information documents.

Documents say the total figure is $38,984,942.97."

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/02/revealed-39m-cost-of-defending-australias-tobacco-plain-packaging-laws

[Dec 09, 2018] Neo- liberalism is not dead its only just started. We are not in an era of democracy and freedom but of Oligarchy and governmental servitude. In the era of legalised privateering.

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Moron_Strictos_freed , 31 Oct 2018 00:00

Neo- liberalism is not dead its only just started. We are not in an era of democracy and freedom but of Oligarchy and governmental servitude.
Less restrictions doesn't mean freedom it mean free booters, privateers , and plunderers are given government support and handouts the only thing free is their right to take.

The pirates who plunder the most are given Hero status and those plundered are laughed at as losers.

Looks around you governments are becoming agents of theft find ways to channel money to those who don't need it . They say its right wing fascism but its not for all their evil the fascists were determined to improve the lot of the people, however perversely they went about it.

What we have today is legalised privateering.

None of the political parties today have the least intention to change a system that works for them.

Bewareofnazihippies -> Fred1 , 30 Oct 2018 23:58
Fred, I can't remember who said it, but an observer of human systems and institutions made the observation that unless the prevalent social, economic or political structures of the day was not either changed or renewed, then those within the system would 'game' it; corrupting it from within for personal benefit to the detriment of society as a whole.
This perfectly sums up neo-liberalism.
Whatever positive virtues were extolled when this ideology was adopted wholesale by so many governments and societies (and please spare me the '-we delivered billions out of poverty!' line, that was a positive byproduct, never the objective of neo-liberalism), it has since become thoroughly corrupted, serving an ever shrinking percentage of society - entrenching a super-wealthy 'ruling class' that makes a mockery of the idea of democracy.
It's time to ditch this 21st Century feudalistic construct, and replace it with something that serves the whole of society with more justice than this current gravy train for the one percenters.
Bluetwo , 30 Oct 2018 23:54
Fully agree with the things being said here. The privatisation of essential services has been a bloody disaster. Telecommunications, health, education energy production/distribution. Look at what the NSW conservatives are doing the the public transport or the feds have done to our communications, including Telstra the ABC and SBS.

But the issue is that this will just turn into an ongoing political football with each successive conservative government trying to sell off the farm again.

These critical public services and infrastructure must be protected in law needing a referendum to make major changes. Also their funding must be guaranteed and they must be run at arms length from the government to reduce political interference and ensure they are delivering the best possible service and are competitive with the huge private sector operators.

There charter of operation and obligation to the public must be extremely robust and clearly outline their duties of care to operate in a transparent and open fashion putting the public interest as a priority.

FelixKruell , 30 Oct 2018 23:50

The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement.

You can have democratic engagement voting for a 'neo-liberal economic agenda'. In fact we've had it for decades.

But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

They're politicians - they've never applied their ideological views in a pure way. This is nothing new.

Ironically, one of the major objections to proportional representation in Australia has been that it tends to deliver minority government, a situation that the major parties prefer to avoid.

There's a big difference between minority government by a major party + a handful of votes, versus a minority government by a handful of minority parties, or a major party + a minor party. They tend to lead to the kind of instability we'd prefer to avoid.

The death of neoliberalism means

I think you've called it a bit prematurely. Both major parties here are still peddling neo-liberalism, with policies which only differ on the margins.

[Dec 09, 2018] Never forget that fascism is the natural defence mechanism of capital. After it is accrued, it must be defended

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberal doctrine leads to skyrocketing inequality, a swelling in the desperate and forgotten poor who are vulnerable to populist messaging and the idea of a strongman peddling easy answers to keep people safe as civil unrest increases. Fascism seeks power for power's sake and total control over the populace, and always cruelty to the marginalised, the 'others'. How all the right wingers hand-wringing over the idea of 'socialist communisms!!1!' can't see that, I don't know. ..."
"... All over the world, failed neoliberalism is being replaced by right-wing populist nationalism & I don't think "repairing democratic institutions" is at the top of their to-do list. ..."
"... I'm certainly in favour of greater nationalisation, especially of essential services. But around the world, neo-liberalism has morphed into neo-fascism and this is where the next fight must be. ..."
"... In social systems, natural selection favours cooperation. In addition, we are biased toward ethical behaviours, so cooperation and sharing are valued in human societies. ..."
"... The consequences of four decades of financialized neoliberal trade policies were by no means equally shared. Internal and external class relations were made evident through narrowly distributed booms followed by widely distributed busts. ..."
"... No wonder you get fascist right wing insurgence in this climate! ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

CatPerson420 , 30 Oct 2018 23:18

Never forget that fascism is the natural defence mechanism of capital. After it is accrued, it must be defended. The current trend in global politics is not an anomaly but an entirely predictable outcome.

Neoliberal doctrine leads to skyrocketing inequality, a swelling in the desperate and forgotten poor who are vulnerable to populist messaging and the idea of a strongman peddling easy answers to keep people safe as civil unrest increases. Fascism seeks power for power's sake and total control over the populace, and always cruelty to the marginalised, the 'others'. How all the right wingers hand-wringing over the idea of 'socialist communisms!!1!' can't see that, I don't know.

It's too late for the US I fear, and time is rapidly running out for the UK if they don't pull their finger out and have another referendum before the self immolation of Brexit.

Rikyboy , 30 Oct 2018 23:07
All over the world, failed neoliberalism is being replaced by right-wing populist nationalism & I don't think "repairing democratic institutions" is at the top of their to-do list.

If Australia does swing the pendulum to the left, it, along with NZ, will be one of the few countries to do so. De-privatising will not be easy & will be met with a huge reactionary backlash. They'll need to tread very carefully if they want to stay in government.

jclucas , 30 Oct 2018 23:02
Neoliberalism may be dead but the neoliberals in the government will never admit it as they seamlessly transition to authoritarian nationalism with populist promises - and failure to deliver on them.

The neoliberal project was always a philosophical cover for crony capitalism that betrayed the public interest by rewarding vested interests for their patronage, perverted democracy, and served as a mechanism for perverting the natural function of an economy - to fairly distribute goods, resources, and services throughout society - to favor the welfare of the few over the many.

The self-interested culture of neoliberalism - the cult of the individual that denies the common good - pervades every aspect of Australia's life as a nation - business, politics, sport, education, and health - denying and crowding out public spirit, selfless service, and societal wellbeing.

For meaningful change to occur there must be a rebirth of the conception of the public good, and the virtue and necessity of acting to realise it.

However at this stage there is not a communal recognition of what the problem is let alone how to go about repairing it. For that to happen there must be a widely accepted narrative that naturally leads to the obvious actions that must be take to redress the damage done by the neoliberal con job: decreasing economic inequality, restoring democracy, and rebuilding a sense of common cause.

Piecemeal change will not be sufficient to enact the the sweeping transformation that has to occur in every department of life. It is not enough to tax multinationals, to have a federal integrity commission, to build a renewable future, or to move to proportional representation.

Someone, some party, some coherent philosophical perspective has to explain why it must be done.

BlueThird , 30 Oct 2018 22:57
It's certainly the case that the Liberal party, in particular, are now using ideas that fall outside and to the right of neo-liberalism, but it's also obviously the case that neo-liberalism and current Liberal thinking share the same underlying goal. Namely, the transfer of wealth and power towards a narrower and narrower group of people and corporations.

That suggests the death of neo-liberalism is coming about because – having done so much damage already – it's no longer capable of delivering the required results, and that we're moving into a new phase of the death spiral. I think that can also be seen in both the US (where Trump is using the identified problems of neo-liberalism to further the same basic agenda, but with less decorum and a larger cadre of useful idiots) and the UK (where there's still a very strong possibility that Brexit will be used as an excuse to roll back great swathes of social and democratic safeguards).

Perhaps even more worrying – given the latest reports on how we're destroying habitat as well as the climate, and how much of our biodiversity is in South America, particularly the Amazon – is that Brazil is how on a similar path.

The likelihood is that the Liberal party won't get away with what they have planned, but they – and the forces behind them – certainly won't stop trying. And unfortunately it's far from obvious that the Labor party will repudiate neo-liberalism anytime soon. That they signed up for the latest iteration of TPP is hardly a good omen.

Democratic re-engagement is the better way forward from neo-liberalism, but unfortunately I think it's unlikely to be the one that we end up taking.

All of that said, the deepest problem of all is the way in which democracy and government have been corrupted, often via the media, but typically at the behest of corporations, and if there is a way forward it has to be found in addressing those interactions

tolpuddler , 30 Oct 2018 22:28
I'm certainly in favour of greater nationalisation, especially of essential services. But around the world, neo-liberalism has morphed into neo-fascism and this is where the next fight must be.
slorter , 30 Oct 2018 22:19
Well we have had 3+ decades of the dogma!

In social systems, natural selection favours cooperation. In addition, we are biased toward ethical behaviours, so cooperation and sharing are valued in human societies.

But what happens when we are forced into an economic system that makes us compete at every level? The logical outcome is societal decline or collapse.

Perhaps the worst aspect of neoliberalism was its infection of the Labor party. This has left our social infrastructure alarmingly exposed.

The consequences of four decades of financialized neoliberal trade policies were by no means equally shared. Internal and external class relations were made evident through narrowly distributed booms followed by widely distributed busts.

Globally, debt has forced policy convergence between political parties of differing ideologies. European center-left parties have pushed austerity even when ideology would suggest the opposite.

No wonder you get fascist right wing insurgence in this climate!

Thank you Richard Denniss we need to highlight this more and more and start educating the dumbed down population saturated with neoliberal snake oil!

[Dec 05, 2018] Manufacturing Official Narrative by C.J. Hopkins

Guardian is just a propaganda outlet. That sad fact does not exclude the possibility of publishing really good articles, thouth. That still happens occasionally.
The fact that they follow MI6 and Foreign Office talking points in all foreign events coverage a is just a testament the GB is a "national security state". Nothing more, nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama , and many others). ..."
"... The short version is, The Guardian 's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece ( employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally ), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it. ..."
"... By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other "respectable," "authoritative" outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian 's story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and "leftists" who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange. ..."
"... And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story. ..."
"... It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. ..."
"... Those who are conforming to [official truth] are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so. ..."
"... The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. ..."
"... It is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution." ..."
"... The distinction is simple. We can't know the truth about distant and complex events like 9/11 or JFK unless we were directly involved, and those people are all dead. For big events we have to rely on, or ignore, the official accounts. ..."
"... Given all this, still, we can approach an approximation of truth that some can agree on. Here is where the trouble starts . ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.unz.com

...First, let's look at a concrete example of our system manufacturing official narrative (aka "official truth" or "truth" -- note quotes ). I'm going to use The Guardian 's most recent blatantly fabricated article (" Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy ") as an example, but I could just as well have chosen any of a host of other fabricated stories disseminated by "respectable" outlets over the course of the last two years. The " Russian Propaganda Peddlers " story. The " Russia Might Have Poisoned Hillary Clinton " story. The " Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid " story. The " Golden Showers Russian Pee-Tape " story. The " Novichok Assassins " story. The " Bana Alabed Speaks Out " story. The " Trump's Secret Russian Server " story. The " Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis " story. The " Russians Orchestrated Brexit " story. The " Russia is Going to Hack the Midterms " story. The " Twitter Bots " story. And the list goes on.

I'm not going to debunk the Guardian article here. It has been debunked by better debunkers than I (e.g., Jonathan Cook , Craig Murray , Glenn Greenwald , Moon of Alabama , and many others).

The short version is, The Guardian 's Luke Harding, a shameless hack who will affix his name to any propaganda an intelligence agency feeds him, alleged that Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, secretly met with Julian Assange (and unnamed "Russians") on numerous occasions from 2013 to 2016, presumably to conspire to collude to brainwash Americans into not voting for Clinton. Harding's earth-shaking allegations, which The Guardian prominently featured and flogged, were based on well, absolutely nothing, except the usual anonymous "intelligence sources." After actual journalists pointed this out, The Guardian quietly revised the piece ( employing the subjunctive mood rather liberally ), buried it in the back pages of its website, and otherwise pretended like they had never published it.

By that time, of course, its purpose had been served. The story had been picked up and disseminated by other "respectable," "authoritative" outlets, and it was making the rounds on social media. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, in an attempt to counter the above-mentioned debunkers (and dispel the doubts of anyone else still capable of any kind of critical thinking), Politico posted this ass-covering piece speculating that, if it somehow turned out The Guardian 's story was just propaganda designed to tarnish Assange and Trump well, probably, it had been planted by the Russians to make Luke Harding look like a moron. This ass-covering piece of speculative fiction, which was written by a former CIA agent, was immediately disseminated by liberals and "leftists" who are eagerly looking forward to the arrest, rendition, and public crucifixion of Assange.

At this point, I imagine you're probably wondering what this has to do with manufacturing "truth." Because, clearly, this Guardian story was a lie a lie The Guardian got caught telling. I wish the "truth" thing was as simple as that (i.e., exposing and debunking the ruling classes' lies). Unfortunately, it isn't. Here is why.

Much as most people would like there to be one (and behave and speak as if there were one), there is no Transcendental Arbiter of Truth. The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that "truth" is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

Nor are there many "truths" (i.e., your truth and my truth). There is only one "truth" the "official truth". The "truth" according to those in power. This is the whole purpose of the concept of truth. It is the reason the concept of "truth" was invented (i.e., to render any other "truths" lies). It is how those in power control reality and impose their ideology on the masses (or their employees, or their students, or their children). Yes, I know, we very badly want there to be some "objective truth" (i.e., what actually happened, when whatever happened, JFK, 9-11, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Schrödinger's dead cat, the Big Bang, or whatever). There isn't. The truth is just a story a story that is never our story.

The "truth" is a story that power gets to tell, and that the powerless do not get to tell, unless they tell the story of those in power, which is always someone else's story. The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative. They either parrot the "truth" of the ruling classes or they utter heresies of one type or another. Naturally, the powerless do not regard themselves as heretics. They do not regard their "truth" as heresy. They regard their "truth" as the truth, which is heresy. The truth of the powerless is always heresy.

For example, while it may be personally comforting for some of us to tell ourselves that we know the truth about certain subjects (e.g., Russiagate, 9-11, et cetera), and to share our knowledge with others who agree with us, and even to expose the lies of the corporate media on Twitter, Facebook, and our blogs, or in some leftist webzine (or "fearless adversarial" outlet bankrolled by a beneficent oligarch), the ruling classes do not give a shit, because ours is merely the raving of heretics, and does not warrant a serious response.

Or all right, they give a bit of a shit, enough to try to cover their asses when a journalist of the stature of Glenn Greenwald (who won a Pulitzer and is frequently on television) very carefully and very respectfully almost directly accuses them of lying. But they give enough of a shit to do this because Greenwald has the power to hurt them, not because of any regard for the truth. This is also why Greenwald has to be so careful and respectful when directly confronting The Guardian , or any other corporate media outlet, and state that their blatantly fabricated stories could, theoretically, turn out to be true. He can't afford to cross the line and end up getting branded a heretic and consigned to Outer Mainstream Darkness, like Robert Fisk, Sy Hersh, Jonathan Cook, John Pilger, Assange, and other such heretics.

Look, I'm not trying to argue that it isn't important to expose the fabrications of the corporate media and the ruling classes. It is terribly important. It is mostly what I do (albeit usually in a more satirical fashion). At the same time, it is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution." People already know the truth the official truth, which is the only truth there is. Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

And this is why The Guardian will not be punished for publishing a blatantly fabricated story. Nor will Luke Harding be penalized for writing it. Luke Harding will be rewarded for writing it, as he has been handsomely rewarded throughout his career for loyally serving the ruling classes. Greenwald, on the other hand, is on thin ice. It will be instructive to see how far he pushes his confrontation with The Guardian regarding this story.

As for Julian Assange, I'm afraid he is done for. The ruling classes really have no choice but to go ahead and do him at this point. He hasn't left them any other option. Much as they are loathe to create another martyr, they can't have heretics of Assange's notoriety running around punching holes in their "truth" and brazenly defying their authority. That kind of stuff unsettles the normals, and it sets a bad example for the rest of us heretics.

#

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

Manufacturing Truth

James Forrestal , says: December 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm GMT

Good piece. I think there's another layer, though.

The truth or falsehood of individual facts about the physical world can often be determined with near-certainty. But when it comes to history, or "news" about current events/ politics, reality is much too complex to address directly. Too many individual facts to be comprehensible, let alone useful.

We must pick, choose, emphasize, or ignore particular elements, and arrange them into some kind of structure, in order to form a useful narrative. Or in the case of "news," the legacy media oligarchy largely performs this function for us -- we simply passively accept/ adopt their narrative. Or, in many cases, "choose" between the closely-related variants of that narrative offered by the "liberal" vs. "conservative" press.

This process of abstraction, simplification, and organization inevitably involves data loss. So no narrative is "true" in the same sense that individual facts about the real world are true. But some narratives incorporate large amounts of "facts" that are demonstrably false, and some are more useful/ descriptive/ predictive than others. No one engaged in this process is "objective." They -- or we -- are all in some way part of the story. It should be self-evident that some narratives are more useful to the perceived interests of owners of major media outlets than others, and that these will assume a much more prominent place in their coverage than ones that are deleterious to those interests.

Ideally, most people would take these factors into account when evaluating the "news," and maintain a much more skeptical attitude than they typically do. But there are several factors that prevent this.

One is simply time/ efficiency. These individual narratives, taken together, support -- and are supported by -- our overall worldview. There aren't enough hours in the day to be constantly skeptical about everything, especially since the major tools of distortion involved in constructing mainstream narratives tend to be selection bias/ memory-holing, with obvious lies about known facts (like the Guardian story referenced here) used only sparingly. It's simply not practical to to constantly consider potentially "better" narratives, and to reevaluate one's worldview based on these.

And which narrative we believe often has more to do with perceived social pressure/ social acceptability than with "truth." As you put it,

Those who are conforming to it are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

Mass media pushing a common narrative creates an artificial perception of social consensus. Creating, or even finding, alternative narratives means fighting the inertia of this perceived consensus, and potentially suffering social costs for believing in the "wrong" one. The social role of narratives is largely independent of their "truth" -- if what you're "supposed" to believe is highly implausible, that actually gives it higher value as a signal of loyalty to the establishment.

It's probably best to maintain a resolutely agnostic attitude toward most "news" items, unless one is particularly interested in that particular event. " Why are they pushing this particular story?" "Why now ?" and " What are they trying to accomplish here?" are often more useful questions than "Is it true?"

It's not a new issue -- only exacerbated by the advent of mass visual media:
"Propaganda" -- Edward Bernays (1928)
"The Free Press"– Hilaire Belloc (1918)

Kratoklastes , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT
I get what Hopkins is trying to do here, but redefining terms (i.e., "truth") doesn't do what he thinks it does.

The truth is not ' what most people think '; it's not ' what we are told to believe '; it's not ' the official narrative '.

There is a useful cautionary tale embedded in Hopkins' piece, but he doesn't tease it out properly.

Take this excerpt:

The truth is what whoever has the power to say it is says it is. If we do not agree that that "truth" is the truth, there is no higher court to appeal to. We can argue until we are blue in the face. It will not make the slightest difference. No evidence we produce will make the slightest difference. The truth will remain whatever those with the power to say it is say it is.

With significant caveats, it is a reasonable description of the way the political world works: if the political class decides that its interests are best served by declaring that a specific narrative X is 'true', it will obtain immediate compliance from about half the livestock, and can then rely on force (peer pressure; subsidy or taxation; state coercion) to get an absolute majority of the herd to declare that they accept the 'truth' of X .

If X is objectively false, too bad.

Try to run a legal argument based on the objective falsity of a thing that the political class has deemed to be true: you'll be shit outta luck.

This is highly relevant where I am sitting: here are two examples – one really obvious, one a bit less so (but far more important because of its radical implications).

Obvious Example: Drug Dogs

Recent research has shown that drug sniffing dogs give false positive signals between 60% and 80% of the time – i.e., in terms of identifying people who are in actual physical possession of drugs at any point in time, drug sniffing dogs perform worse than a coin toss.

Note that this is before considering that the dog's handler is often pointing the dog at a target that the handler thinks is likely to be carrying drugs. (Although in reality, drug dogs are paraded around at concerts and in public spaces, sniffing every passer-by).

However there is an Act of Parliament (capitalise all the magic words) that asserts that a signal from a drug sniffing dog is sufficient to qualify as what Americans call "probable cause" – i.e., reasonable suspicion for a search.

Does anyone think that evidence should be admissible if it results from a search conducted based on 'probable cause' derived from a method that produces worse outcomes than tossing a coin?

Judges will tie themselves into absolute epistemological knots to get that evidence admitted – and they will refuse to permit defence Counsel from adducing evidence about drug dog inaccuracy because since the defendant actually did have drugs in their possession, the dog didn't signal falsely.

In other words, the judge conflates posterior probability with prior probability; the prior probability that the dog is correct, is 10%-40%; this should not suffice to generate probable cause (or 'reasonable suspicion).

More Interesting Example: 'Representative' Democracy

In general, Western governments assert that their legitimacy stems from two primary sources: some founding set of principles (usually a constitution – written or otherwise), and 'representativeness' (including ratification of the constitution by a representative mechanism, for those places with written foundational documents).

The Arrow Impossibility Theorem [1,2] and the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem [3,4], both show that there is no way of accurately determining group preferences using an ordinal voting mechanism.

What this boils down to, is that representativeness is a lie – and it's a lie before any consideration of voting outcomes ; it's a meta -problem (the problem that ordinal voting cannot do what it is claimed to do – viz ., accurately identify the 'will of the people'/'social preferences'/'what the people want').

Beyond the meta-problem, there is also the actual counting problem: no government has ever been elected having obtained the votes of an outright bare majority, i.e., 50%-plus-1 of the entire eligible franchise. (It's more like 25-35% for most parliamentary systems – for US presidential elections in the full-franchise period, the winner is voted for by 29% of the eligible population; you would be horrified to look at US Senate results).

So when the new unhappy lords (and their Little Eichmann bureaucrat enablers) promulgate laws based on assertions of legitimacy because of a constitutional Grundnorm and/or the representative nature of government both of those things are pretty obvious furphies; they are objectively not 'truth' and no amount of heel-clicking and wishing will make it so.

Which brings us to a key legal aphorism that has a jurisprudential history going back four centuries: Ratio legis est anima legis, et mutata legis ratione, mutatur ex lex – which dates from Milborn's case ( Coke 7a KB [1609]).

The reason for a law is the soul of the law, and if the reason for a law has changed, the law is changed .

What this means – explicitly – is that " no law can survive the [extinction of the] reasons on which it is founded ".

American courts re-expressed this as " cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex " (the reason for a law having ceased, the law itself ceases) – e.g., in Funk v. United States , 290 US 371 (1933) in which Justice Sutherland opined –

This means that no law can survive the reasons on which it is founded. It needs no statute to change it; it abrogates itself . If the reasons on which a law rests are overborne by opposing reasons, which in the progress of society gain a controlling force, the old law, though still good as an abstract principle, and good in its application to some circumstances, must cease to apply as a controlling principle to the new circumstances.

(Emphasis mine)

Again: try running this argument in a court: " The asserted basis for all laws promulgated by the government, is provably false. Under a doctrine with a 4-century jurisprudential provenance, the law itself is void ."

See how far you get.

So Hopkins makes a good-but-obvious point – power does not respect either rights or truth; as such it does you no good whatsoever to have the actual truth on your side. He should have made the point better.

References (links are to PDFs of each paper)

[1] Arrow (1950). " A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare " Journal of Political Economy 58 (4): 328–346

[2] Geanakoplos, John (2005). " Three Brief Proofs of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem " Economic Theory 26 (1): 211–215

[3] Gibbard (1973). " Manipulation of voting schemes: a general result " Econometrica 41 (4): 587–601.

[4] Satterthwaite (April 1975). " Strategy-proofness and Arrow's Conditions: Existence and Correspondence Theorems for Voting Procedures and Social Welfare Functions " Journal of Economic Theory 10: 187–217.

Brabantian , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:18 pm GMT
C J Hopkins, despite some good quotes and insights above, regrettably falls into the trap of peddling Derrida-tier relativistic nonsense, playing a word game about 'truth', as if 'truth' was not real merely because most people have strong incentives to avoid being devoted to it

Where you stand depends upon where you sit, etc., Karl Marx's dictums about economic and power positions shaping consciousness, and of course the century-old classic:

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

from Upton Sinclair (1878-1968). Hopkins more or less repeats Sinclair when he says

Those who are conforming to [official truth] are doing so, not because they are deceived, but because it is safer and more rewarding to do so.

Despite selling-out truth to the relativism devil in some passages, Hopkins nevertheless creates some quotable, including the particularly insightful:

The powerless are either servants of power or they are heretics. There is no third alternative.

The following notion of Hopkins is seen now and then in the alt-sphere, but always bears repeating

It is important to realize that "the truth" is not going to "rouse the masses from their slumber" and inspire them to throw off their chains. People are not going to suddenly "wake up," "see the truth" and start "the revolution."

... ... ...

Kratoklastes , says: December 3, 2018 at 11:28 pm GMT
@Tulip

The coin of truth is iron and blood.

That's absolutely, 100% wrong.

Iron and blood are the tools used to force people to accept what isn't true. (Another way to tell: it was uttered by a fucking politician – a cunt who wanted to live in palaces paid for by the sweat of other people's brows).

Truth does not need violence to propagate itself: in a completely-peaceful system of free exchange, bad ideas (of which lies are a subset) will get driven out of the market place because they will fail to conform to ground truth.

Falsehood requires violence (arguably it is a form of violence: fraud is 'violent' because it causes its victims to misallocate their resources or to deform their preferences and expectations).

In a very real sense, truth does not need friends: all it requires is an absence of powerful enemies.

RobinG , says: December 4, 2018 at 12:21 am GMT
@James Forrestal

Occupation of the American Mind: Israel's Public Relations War in the United States

https://www.occupationmovie.org/

This film shows a great example of propaganda in action. Free to watch now and this link also includes a short version and a trailer.

Jett Rucker , says: Website December 4, 2018 at 3:04 am GMT
When I tell any Truth, it is not for the sake of Convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those who Do.

~ William Blake, 1810

polistra , says: December 4, 2018 at 7:33 am GMT
The distinction is simple. We can't know the truth about distant and complex events like 9/11 or JFK unless we were directly involved, and those people are all dead. For big events we have to rely on, or ignore, the official accounts.

But we CAN know the truth about our own situation, our own neighborhood, and our own families. The current riots in France are a concrete ASSERTION of local truth against the blatant and condescending official lies. The majority of France is getting poorer and suffering more from migrant crime. Macron insists that starvation is necessary to serve Gaia, and crime is necessary to serve Juncker. The people would prefer to have a leader that serves France.

The scalpel , says: Website December 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm GMT
@FB Scientific truth is limited by two factors – assumptions, and hidden variables. For example, we might drop a brick in a vacuum and believe that it falls at 9.8 m/s squared. Here, we make the assumption that the force of gravity is constant. And for most of history we were unaware of the hidden variable of relativity to the speed of light.

So, assuming (LOL) that we are able to eliminate all assumptions and account for all hidden variables, there is a scientific truth. That is ASSUMING we are not just a simulation in someone elses computer!

Given all this, still, we can approach an approximation of truth that some can agree on. Here is where the trouble starts .

DFH , says: December 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
What is truth? – John 18:38
FB , says: December 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm GMT
@The scalpel LOL and then there is the 'observer effect' also especially in good old quantum mechanics in the end scientific truth does boil down to what 'some can agree on'
Tulip , says: December 4, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@Kratoklastes Strength is the production of force over distance. That is to say, force is a quantifiable, physical phenomenon that, deconstruct it as much as you want, will hit you like a tsunami whether you believe it or not.

Force only works because there is a real world that transcends philosophical bullshit and marketing.

The subjective piece is will: victory is attained when the enemies will to resist is crushed. Through the repeated use of physical force, eventually any enemy can be worn down and vanquished.

The world is finite, desire is infinite, and for every desire and appetite, there is a will. As multiple wills will that they attain their infinite desires in a finite world, there will always be a conflict of will, which will always ultimately be resolved by force. Which means ultimately, despite the rich imaginations and appetites of humans, and their related striving, physical force will ultimately rule the day, and conquer, condition, and constrain the mental life of mankind.

Of course, desire and appetite will not take no for an answer, and in their frustration, they will imagine, fantasize, and conceptualize rationales for why this is not so. This is the nature of our desires, and in good times of prosperity and peace, they may even bend our reason in the direction of these appetites and fantasies, until the instincts for self preservation and endurance rust, and are even forgotten. But like the moon revealed by a passing cloud, the perpetual war of human existence will inevitably reassert itself, and those that have prepared for the inevitable will vanquish those who were content to daydream when they should have been preparing.

TimothyPMadden , says: December 4, 2018 at 8:52 pm GMT
What is truth ?

Truth is a word .

After reading the article and the aggregate comments, I am strengthened in my belief that the physics analogy of Schrödinger's cat is among the most useful (and notwithstanding the otherwise valid criticism of it in the comments). In the same way that the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, does not purport to define a given word, per se , but rather gives a detailed description of how the word has in fact been used over the years and centuries.

I refer to my version of Schrödinger's cat as counter-sense words or oscillating-contradictions .

Oscillating contradictions and cogno-linguistic manipulation

The primary means by which corporate supremacy, for example, is achieved and maintained in practice is via the maintenance and use of a small arsenal of about two dozen critical counter-sense or yo-yo -like words/terms that are asserted or claimed to mean either "X" or "Minus-X" at the option of the decision-maker.

Among the most important and sui generis (in a class of its own) is the word person which is held to mean a living, breathing being of conscience (literally a being of equity) with the rights, powers and privileges of such being ("X"), or else it can mean a corporate entity which is a notional/inanimate item of property to be bought and sold and otherwise traded for profit in the stock and financial markets ("Minus-X").

By way of example/demonstration of the ongoing cognitive manipulation process, if someone had managed to hit the judges of the U.S. Supreme Court with a blast of truth-ray just before they announced their decision in Citizens United, here is what we may have got instead:

[MORE]

We here at the Supreme Court are part of what can be fairly and broadly referred to as an arm of the entrenched-money-power.

At certain times and under certain circumstances it is to our enormous advantage over you the masses that corporations be natural-persons-in-law with the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person or living being of conscience.

At other times and other circumstances it is to our enormous advantage over you the masses that corporations be items of property that can be actively bought and sold and traded for profit in the stock and financial markets.

Your laughable naiveté is manifest in your expectation that you are going to receive a definitive answer from this Court, or even that it is possible for us to give you one. Among the foundational purposes of this Court is to actively prevent that question from being answered definitively at all. The instant we give a definitive answer, the game is over.

Whatever answer we give you must perpetuate the systematized delusion that the same concept (corporate personhood) can mean either X (a living being of conscience), or minus-X (an item of property), depending on the ever-changing needs of the decider.

So our current answer is that a corporation is a natural-person-in-law with the rights, powers and privileges of a natural person, except when it isn't. We'll let you know next time whether that situation has changed in the meantime.

Essentially all counter-sense words/terms follow that same template .

Notwithstanding that the respective concepts are logically and objectively mutually exclusive , the judges of the Courts (and the broadly-defined financial-world/social-control-structure) maintain that it can be either or both , and we'll let you know if and when it becomes important.

So a corporate person has a right of free speech when giving money to influence political parties, but not to object to itself being sold as a piece of property in the stock and financial markets or when it is acquired in a merger or takeover financed by its own assets. If a corporation has the legal capacity and rights of a natural person, then how can it be owned as the legal property of another? The purpose of the Courts is to ensure that that question is never presented in that way.

After person , the remaining most significant counter-sense or yo-yo -like words are (surprise surprise) essentially all money-and-finance-based, and the most important among these is the word principal and its role in facilitating illegal front-loading or ex-temporal fraud (interest illegally and unlawfully compounded in advance).

Is the amount of principal the actual or net amount advanced by the creditor and received by the debtor for their own use and control?

Or is it the amount that the debtor agrees that they owe regardless of the amount received?

Is the amount of principal a question of fact ? Or of the agreement of parties ?

[Here is the premise / offer that is referenced immediately below:]

Lender (e.g., typical second-mortgage lender): "I will loan you $10,000 at 20% per annum provided that you sign and give to me a marketable security that claims or otherwise purports to evidence that I have loaned you $15,000 at 10% per annum, plus an undisclosed and unregistered side-agreement and cheque (check) back to me for a bonus or loan fee of $5,000 as a payment from the nominal proceeds."

In the process example used above, what is the principal amount of the loan? Is it $10,000 because that is the factual net amount invested by the creditor and received by the debtor for their own use? Or is it $15,000 because that is the amount that the debtor is required to falsely agree that they have received and owe as a condition of the loan? Or is it $20,000 because that is the total cash-equivalent/money assets ($15,000 mortgage + $5,000 cheque) that the debtor has to give to the creditor?

Is it a noun/fact ? Or is it an adjective/opinion merely pretending to be a noun? All debt and therefore money in the world today depends on the answer to that question that theoretically cannot exist.

Principal is a special type (and most significant form) of counter-sense word or oscillating contradiction where dictionaries normally only give one sense, while commercial practice defines the contrary. It would be very difficult to put the Whatever-the-debtor-agrees-that-they-owe sense into a dictionary, because the fraud against meaning (as well as the criminal law) is manifest in spelling it out, and ever more so in more specialized financial dictionaries.

So virtually every legal, financial, accounting, and ordinary English dictionary and/or regulation defines it to the effect "The actual amount invested, loaned or advanced to the debtor/borrower net of any interest, discount, premium or fees", while virtually every financial security in the real world at least implicitly incorporates the fraudulent alternative/contrary meaning.

This in turn allows the academic world to function on the rational/factual definition, while the markets maintain a wholly contradictory deemed or pretended reality, while both remain oblivious to the contradiction.

Thus principal means the nominal creditor's actual and net investment, unless it doesn't .

With this class of counter-sense word where there is a necessary and definitive answer, the real job of the judges of the Courts becomes to make certain that the question is never officially asked, and under no circumstances is it to be definitively answered.

With just one of these words you can theoretically steal the Earth . With a financial system that is relatively saturated with them, such becomes child's play . With these rules a group of competently-trained chimpanzees otherwise pulling levers at random could do as well as the so-called wizards of Wall Street .

And significantly, these oscillating contradictions enable the judges to be self-righteous in the extreme on behalf of the entrenched-money-power, while looting the little people of the product of their labour.

As in: You have received the principal amount ($10,000) and you are going to pay back the principal amount ($15,000) plus the ever-accumulating (and super-leveraged) interest upon it according to your contract, while the meaning of the word oscillates between fact and opinion – between a noun and an adjective – according to what the judge needs it to mean (or accommodate) at any given instant in time.

It seems impossibly obvious in this simple example, but with several of them orchestrated simultaneously or sequentially, anything can truly be made to mean anything .

A partial list of the most critical oscillating-contradicitions includes: loan, credit, discount, interest, rate-of-interest, agreement, contract, security, repay, restitution, etc., all of which mean either "X" or its conceptual opposite "Minus-X" at the option of the entrenched-money-power whose vast financial fortunes are founded on such cogno-linguistic arbitrage .

Here are what I believe to be four essential tools needed to triangulate reality via congo-linguistic parallax . The first two are mine, and the last two are from the American and English Courts, respectively.

1. Humans are highly cogno-linguistic . We perceive reality very largely as a function of the language that we use to describe it. Most everyone inherently believes and presumes that you have to be able to think something before you can say it. The greater reality is that, above a certain base level of perception and communication, you have to have the words and language by which to say something before you can think it .

2. The world is ever-increasingly controlled and administered by people who genuinely believe whatever is necessary for the answer they need. Administrative agents of the entrenched-money-power have solved the criminal-law enigma of mens rea or guilty mind by evolving or devolving (take your pick) into professional schizophrenics who genuinely believe whatever they need to believe for the answer they need, and who communicate among themselves subconsciously by how they name things. They suffer a cogno-linguistically-induced diminished capacity that renders them incapable of perceiving reality beyond labels .

3. Their core business model or modus operandi is the systematized delusion :

"A "systematized delusion" is one based on a false premise, pursued by a logical process of reasoning to an insane conclusion ; there being one central delusion, around which other aberrations of the mind converge." Taylor v. McClintock, 112 S.W. 405, 412, 87 Ark. 243. (West's Judicial Words and Phrases (1914)).

4.

One must not confuse the object of a conspiracy [to defraud] with the means by which it is intended to be carried out. Scott v. Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1974] 60 Cr. App. R. 124 H.L.

I have long since abandoned my search for truth, per se, since I came to realize that the best I can ever do is to constantly strive to move closer to it. With apologies to the physicists, Truth is the Limit of Infinite Good Faith .

The Scalpel , says: Website December 5, 2018 at 12:34 am GMT
@Tulip " which will always ultimately be resolved by force."

Right there is where you lost the plot. That statement is just your opinion and it cannot be proven true. The rest of your argument falls victim to this logical error.

" and those that have prepared for the inevitable will vanquish those who were content to daydream when they should have been preparing."

Also, just your opinion. For example, the "dreamer" might die still comforted by his/her dreams, while the "prepper" might waste his life witing for the "inevitable' that never arrives.

redmudhooch , says: December 5, 2018 at 2:15 am GMT
Truth shall set you free.

For the First Time Since 9/11, Federal Gov't Takes Steps to Prosecute the Use of Explosives to Destroy WTCs

https://thefreethoughtproject.com/911-lawyers-petition-grand-jury-explosives/

In what can be described as a monumental step forward in the relentless pursuit of 9/11 truth, a United States Attorney has agreed to comply with federal law requiring submission to a Special Grand Jury of evidence that explosives were used to bring down the World Trade Centers.

The Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry successfully submitted a petition to the federal government demanding that the U.S. Attorney present to a Special Grand Jury extensive evidence of yet-to-be-prosecuted federal crimes relating to the destruction of three World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 (WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7).

After waiting months for the reply, the U.S. Attorney responded in a letter, noting that they will comply with the law.

Some good documentary films here to watch for free:

http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/

Heres a couple more. Occupation of the American Mind is very good. All of John Pilgers films are great.

James Forrestal , says: December 5, 2018 at 3:58 am GMT

@Wizard of Oz

My question/quibble relates to your objection to the use of sniffer dogs to establish probable cause for search because it is no better than a coin toss. That seems fallacious if, according to your figures, the dogs sniff 500 people and get excited by 10 of them of which 3 are correctly identified and 7 are false positives.

Yeah. The concepts of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value might be very helpful in assessing this.

[Dec 04, 2018] Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom by Deborah Orr

Notable quotes:
"... The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State. ..."
"... Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralized and faceless, to be efficient and responsive ..."
"... The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about ..."
"... Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

he IMF's limited admission of guilt over the Greek bailout is a start, but they still can't see the global financial system's fundamental flaws, writes Deborah Orr.

The International Monetary Fund has admitted that some of the decisions it made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis were wrong, and that the €130bn first bailout of Greece was "bungled". Well, yes. If it hadn't been a mistake, then it would have been the only bailout and everyone in Greece would have lived happily ever after.

Actually, the IMF hasn't quite admitted that it messed things up. It has said instead that it went along with its partners in "the Troika" – the European Commission and the European Central Bank – when it shouldn't have. The EC and the ECB, says the IMF, put the interests of the Eurozone before the interests of Greece. The EC and the ECB, in turn, clutch their pearls and splutter with horror that they could be accused of something so petty as self-preservation.

The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask.

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. They know the crash was a debt-bubble that burst. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return; even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely. The thing is this: the crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State.

Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralized and faceless, to be efficient and responsive. I agree.

The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further – some setting about the task with greater relish than others. Now the task, supposedly, is to get the free market up and running again.

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people – people who expect to be well paid themselves, having been brought up believing in material aspiration, as consumers need to be.

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"? The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda. But how can the privatization of societal welfare possibly happen when unemployment is already high, working people are turning to food banks to survive and the debt industry, far from being sorry that it brought the global economy to its knees, is snapping up bargains in the form of busted high-street businesses to establish shops with nothing to sell but high-interest debt? Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer un-sustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments.

And further, those who invest in these companies, and insist that taxes should be low to encourage private profit and shareholder value, then lend governments the money they need to create these populations of sophisticated producers and consumers, berating them for their profligacy as they do so. It's all utterly, completely, crazy.

The other day a health minister, Anna Soubry , suggested that female GPs who worked part-time so that they could bring up families were putting the NHS under strain. The compartmentalised thinking is quite breathtaking. What on earth does she imagine? That it would be better for the economy if they all left school at 16? On the contrary, the more people who are earning good money while working part-time – thus having the leisure to consume – the better. No doubt these female GPs are sustaining both the pharmaceutical industry and the arts and media, both sectors that Britain does well in.

As for their prioritising of family life over career – that's just another of the myriad ways in which Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic. Its prophets and its disciples will happily – ecstatically – tell you that there's nothing more important than family, unless you're a family doctor spending some of your time caring for your own. You couldn't make these characters up. It is certainly true that women with children find it more easy to find part-time employment in the public sector. But that's a prima facie example of how unresponsive the private sector is to human and societal need, not – as it is so often presented – evidence that the public sector is congenitally disabled.

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce. Soubry and her ilk, above all else, forget that people have multiple roles, as consumers, as producers, as citizens and as family members. All of those things have to be nurtured and invested in to make a market.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised.

Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. And even as the results of their folly become ever more plain to see, they are grudging in their admittance of the slightest blame, bickering with their allies instead of waking up, smelling the coffee and realising that far too much of it is sold through Starbucks.

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberalism is just a sanitised-sounding expression, to cover-up the fact that what we are really seeing here is re-branded, far-right corporatist ideology

Notable quotes:
"... 'Neoliberalism' is just a sanitised-sounding expression, to cover-up the fact that what we are really seeing here is re-branded, far-right, corporatist ideology. ..."
"... There is a major dividing line. There are those who recognise the abuses of the system and lobby for changes and there are those who lobby for further exploitation. ..."
"... The West became over-indebted when it embraced globalisation which necessarily impoverishes the Middle and Working Classes of the developed nations. A chap called Jimmy Goldsmith warned of this and was widely condemned for it. There is another issue Guardianistas would rather not confront : you can a welfare state or you can have open borders. But you can't have both. ..."
"... Private enterprise is inefficient because at it's heart it rules out cooperation. Being happiest if it's a monopoly, there's nothing a business would like better than wipe out all competition. ..."
"... Right now, the neoliberals think that those in the Far East are the workers and those in the West are the consumers, until the Far East becomes the market and wages so low in the West that they become the workers, unless of course some kind souls decide to invest money in Education, Health and infrastructure in Africa on a huge scale, so we then have Africa as the workers and the far East as the market, and the West, apart from those who own large numbers of shares or business outright, presumably either starve to death or pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and start all over again, inventing and setting up completely new industries, providing the newly universally educated and healthy Chinese and Africans and South Americans haven't done it first. ..."
"... The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes ..."
"... Except it's not. It is still very much alive and growing. ..."
"... deregulated capitalism has failed. That is the product of the last 20 years. The pure market is a fantasy just as communism is or any other ideology. In a pure capitalist economy all the banks of the western world would have bust and indeed the false value "earned" in the preceding 20 years would have been destroyed. ..."
"... "Multinationals need to recognise that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate." However, the gains for the transnational rich are immediate and enormous, while the failure of their markets is slow and, so far, almost entirely painless. ..."
"... Accountants now hold the whip hand in government and business. They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. They advocate selling off industries, outsourcing to low wage economies, zero hours contracts and deregulation (under the bogus campaign line of cutting red tape). ..."
"... Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can , because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... If you invent a set of rules that says a country that deficit spends above an arbitrary percentage of its GDP is horribly inefficient and far too high then it should not be a surprise that when that happens, it is described as such. ..."
"... But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people ..."
"... The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes is gobbling up the last scintilla of surplus that can be extracted from the poor ( anyone not independently wealthy). ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

MysticFish , 8 Jun 2013 04:29

'Neoliberalism' is just a sanitised-sounding expression, to cover-up the fact that what we are really seeing here is re-branded, far-right, corporatist ideology.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- Benito Mussolini

NotAgainAgain -> EllisWyatt , 8 Jun 2013 04:15
@EllisWyatt -

There is a major dividing line. There are those who recognise the abuses of the system and lobby for changes and there are those who lobby for further exploitation.

So on the one hand there are relatively rich philanthropists who are quietly supporting campaigns to redistribute wealth and our abstaining, and on the other you have people arguing for repealing employment legislation.Worst of the lot are people who pretend to care about the poor but then proceed to fill their own boots.

As consequence people like Warren Buffet should perhaps be among the good guys, whilst people like Tony Blair are the worst of lot.

Uncertainty -> RedHectorReborn , 8 Jun 2013 04:09
@RedHectorReborn - The rich have extracted all of the wealth from the wells and is now turning to fracking, regardless of the cost to us all.
thenardiers , 8 Jun 2013 04:08
All very true. The failures of markets are well documented in economics: the tendency towards monopoly, the failure to value social goods etc.

In addition, it is ironic that the arch advocates of the 'free market' came begging ( read lobbying) to their governments insisting upon public financial bailouts for themselves or their counter parties. It was the 'free markets' failure to correctly price 'risk' that was the route of the economic collapse.

As regards access to 'free markets' it seems patently obvious that if you extract the most money from that market (Amazon et al), you should contribute a fair share towards the infrastructure of that market: roads, educations, health care etc.

1nn1t -> EllisWyatt , 8 Jun 2013 04:06

@EllisWyatt - ... we have a real problem with corporations that have a default setting of minimize taxes through ever more complex structures. It can't be beyond the wit of HMRC to reduce the complexity of the tax legislation and make it harder to avoid? The prize is continued access to the UK market

We also have the problem that for half the households in the land the level of welfare and benfits rather than wages is the major determinant of their disposable income and general prosperity.

The welfare code is now comparable in size to the tax code. The tax-benefit affairs of the working poor in the UK are now becoming as complex as those of the companies that employ them.

The welfare rights industry, which is essentially tax-benefit-lawyering for claimants, is now as large and complex as the tax-lawyering industry for companies.

It really is insane that we set the minimum wage so low that it attracts income tax, and then attempt to collect tax from the employing company to fund a tax credit to top up the same low wages that the same company is paying.

marienkaefer , 8 Jun 2013 04:00
The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market

Does it? where does it say that? An article which as usual blanket condemns "financial institutions" but actually means banks.

gyges1 , 8 Jun 2013 03:59
The West became over-indebted when it embraced globalisation which necessarily impoverishes the Middle and Working Classes of the developed nations. A chap called Jimmy Goldsmith warned of this and was widely condemned for it. There is another issue Guardianistas would rather not confront : you can a welfare state or you can have open borders. But you can't have both.
JamesValencia , 8 Jun 2013 03:59
Most interesting.

Though I'd say private enterprise is capable of building markets - but not of sustaining them. Take books: If few people know how to read, someone will start a fee paying school to teach those who can pay for it. Then books will take off. And that will generate money for some, who'll send their kids to school.

However it will always, inevitably, crash at some point: Business can build up, but will always do it in destructuve cycles - exactly like the brush fires that destroy and regenerate the savannas. As somebright spark once said: Capitalism contains the seeds of it's own destruction, or something along those lines.

And we don't want to live like that - so we have regulation, and the state.And the state fertilises, and safeguards, by cutting the grass, making mulch, and spreading the rich gooey muck all over the nice, green, verdant, state controlled pampa.

The cowboys, now, they prefer no cutting of grass, and letting their cattle chomp away undistrurbed. And now my analogy is starting to wear thin.

The bottom line: Private enterprise is inefficient because at it's heart it rules out cooperation. Being happiest if it's a monopoly, there's nothing a business would like better than wipe out all competition.

Hence, the necessity for state spending, and state regulation, which the private sector is blind to, because it can't look ahead.

Rochdalelass , 8 Jun 2013 03:57
Well said Deborah!

People are members of families, and are employers and workers, who are customers or clients, and part of their local communities and professions and trades and hobbyists/clubs who are large scale wholesale consumers who create the markets that provides employment and income to individuals who are workers. And, and, one big circle.

Right now, the neoliberals think that those in the Far East are the workers and those in the West are the consumers, until the Far East becomes the market and wages so low in the West that they become the workers, unless of course some kind souls decide to invest money in Education, Health and infrastructure in Africa on a huge scale, so we then have Africa as the workers and the far East as the market, and the West, apart from those who own large numbers of shares or business outright, presumably either starve to death or pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and start all over again, inventing and setting up completely new industries, providing the newly universally educated and healthy Chinese and Africans and South Americans haven't done it first.

OK. I was against it for a long time, but go ahead. There's no way of avoiding it. Eat the Rich. Apart from the fact that ultra thin is fashionable, and with all that dieting and exercising, they are the only people who actually get the time for lots of exercise these days, and they'll taste incredibly tough and stringy.

EllisWyatt -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 03:56
@CaptainGrey - Ssshhh not on CiF, we all know that capitalism has failed its just that we can't point to a successful alternative model because such a thing has never existed, its just that this time its different and the model I advocate will lead us all to the sunny uplands of utopia.

Obviously there will be a little bit of coercion and oppression to get us to those sunny uplands, but you can't make an omlette etc. plus don't worry that stuff will only happen to "bad people"

CaptainGrey -> emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 03:55
@emkayoh -

The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes

Except it's not. It is still very much alive and growing. The "alternatives" have crashed and burned save Cuba and North Korea. Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result.
bluebirds -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 03:55
@CaptainGrey - deregulated capitalism has failed. That is the product of the last 20 years. The pure market is a fantasy just as communism is or any other ideology. In a pure capitalist economy all the banks of the western world would have bust and indeed the false value "earned" in the preceding 20 years would have been destroyed.
MylesMackie , 8 Jun 2013 03:55
In the 19th century based on experience the public services became part of the public sector to avoid corruption and corporate blackmail. The neoclassical revolution of the late 20th century has pushed us back to days when elites regarded the state as their property. Democracy was a threat which won out either through the British model or violent revolution. A small elite cannot endure if the majority feel exploited.

The Bilderberg Conference should look to the past and learn from the mistakes committed. Neoclassicism will eventually impoverish them

1nn1t -> UnevenSurface , 8 Jun 2013 03:53

@UnevenSurface - Multinationals need to recognise that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate.

"Multinationals need to recognise that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate." However, the gains for the transnational rich are immediate and enormous, while the failure of their markets is slow and, so far, almost entirely painless.
EllisWyatt -> UnevenSurface , 8 Jun 2013 03:52
@UnevenSurface - I think corporation tax is becoming obsolete given globalization and the increasing dominance of online / global distribution.

Amazon, Starbucks (and to a lesser extent Google) need to have people on the ground in their market, for customer service, distribution, warehouse staff, baristas etc. So they'll pay employer taxes etc.

The question is is that enough? I think we are missing a trick with the UK market due to outdated tax legislation that hasn't really changed in 30 years.

After the US the UK is arguably the most attractive market in the world. Large, homogenous, wealthy with a low propensity to save and a rapid rate of adoption of new technology / products. We need to think about how we can exploit this in relation to corporate taxes because even though I am far from left wing, we have a real problem with corporations that have a default setting of minimise taxes through ever more complex structures.

It can't be beyond the wit of HMRC to reduce the complexity of the tax legislation and make it harder to avoid? The prize is continued access to the UK market

bluebirds , 8 Jun 2013 03:42
Accountants now hold the whip hand in government and business. They know the price of everything but the value of nothing. They advocate selling off industries, outsourcing to low wage economies, zero hours contracts and deregulation (under the bogus campaign line of cutting red tape).

All of these policies will ultimately end up with capitalism destroying itself. Low wage stagnation will result in penniless consumers which results in no growth which results in cuttin wages to maintain shareholder returns which results in penniless consumers etc etc etc. All our institutions are gradually eroded and life for the average citizen will become more and more unpleasant.

Willsmodger , 8 Jun 2013 03:42
Profit share may be a way forward, it's not perfect, companies can effectively use it to freeze wages and benefit from unpaid overtime, that creates unemployment as four people working a couple of hours extra ever day are denying someone else a job, but used in the right way it could ensure people get a share in the wealth they help create.

At the sharp end it's tough, at the company I worked at, all the managers were summoned to a meeting in September and told they had until Christmas to increase turnover and profits, or they would be out of a job.

At the same company, one of my managers complained that a successful manager at another branch was a crook. The CEO replied 'Yes, but he's a crook that makes a million pounds in profit every year'. I wonder how Deborah's article would have gone down with him?

peterfieldman , 8 Jun 2013 03:42
Everything was easier when the U S and Europe ran the world's economies with Bank regulations, currency controls and only the establishment could avoid income, capital gains and IHT taxes and grow wealthy generation after generation. Today there are simply too many players in the global arena and the rules have been torn up. We are in a jungle where greed is rife and only the powerful and corrupt survive, shipping and burying their loot in offshore havens.

We need a new global order with a change of mentality and more morality among the world's politicians, banking and corporate leaders. Unless we end corruption and exploitation of natural resources in the poor nations and a fairer distribution of the economic wealth the world faces economic and social collapse

Febo , 8 Jun 2013 03:41

Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can , because they are more powerful than governments.

Is it beyond the wit of government to close these (perfectly legal) loopholes? Otherwise, what you are asking for is for these companies to make charitible donations to government - nothing wrong with that per se, but let's not hide behind the misleading term 'tax avoidance' - companies are obliged to minimise taxes within the law, face it.

Liquidity Jones -> NicholasB , 8 Jun 2013 03:35
@NicholasB -

It is perfectly clear that in much of the EU public expenditure has been horribly inefficient and far too high

If you invent a set of rules that says a country that deficit spends above an arbitrary percentage of its GDP is horribly inefficient and far too high then it should not be a surprise that when that happens, it is described as such.

Whether that has any basis in reality or, as I suspect, is only relevant within its own ridiculous framework, is surely the question.

NotAgainAgain -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 03:32
@Fachan -

Deborah Orr is established writer for the Guardian and Married to a Will Self whose is almost certainly a millionaire. She is one of the rich. The idea that envy is driving her politics is just utterly absurd, and suggests a total lack of reflection.

finnkn , 8 Jun 2013 03:31

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people

Not really; Amazon is just as happy to sell us trashy films, multipacks of chocolate, obesity drugs and baseball bats to stove our neighbour's head in. There's certainly an argument to be made that companies should have a duty to invest in the infrastructure that enables their product to be transported, stored etc...but they shouldn't be expected to give a toss if their customers are unhealthy ignoramuses. A market's a market.

NotAgainAgain -> NicholasB , 8 Jun 2013 03:24
@NicholasB -

But some countries manage to do this much more efficiently and effectively than others.

In Europe it would appear to be the Social Democratic Nordic countries and Germany which has very strong employment rights. Korea's economic growth was based on government investment and a degree of protectionism. These are precisely the ideas that neoliberalism opposes.

Liquidity Jones , 8 Jun 2013 03:23
If they had adopted The Keynes Plan at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference then the IMF and the World Bank would never have been set up. We most likely would not have had the euro crisis and the problem of trade imbalances between counties would most likely have gone away.

Now that is what I call 'Keynesian'. Feel free to continue to make up your own definitions though.

kingcreosote , 8 Jun 2013 03:19
Socialism for the 1% with the rest scraping around for the crumbs in an ever more divided world run by The Bilderbergers who play the politicians like puppets.
RedHectorReborn -> emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 03:18
@emkayoh - I am not sure its in its death throes, I think what we are seeing is capitalism attempting to transform itself again. The success of that transformation will depend on how willing people across the western world to put up with reduced welfare, poverty pay and almost no employment rights. If we say no and make things too hot for the ruling class we have a chance to take control of the future direction of our world, if not then what's the point.
NicholasB , 8 Jun 2013 03:16
This is a strange rant. Everyone agrees that free markets need to be nurtured by appropriate state institutions. But some countries manage to do this much more efficiently and effectively than others. It is perfectly clear that in much of the EU public expenditure has been horribly inefficient and far too high.

There is no contradiction between being in favour of free markets and believing that markets and societies should be nurtured appropriately. We think people should be free and all accept that they should be nurtured.

UnevenSurface , 8 Jun 2013 03:10

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"?

Corporate taxation is best explained as the license that business pays to access the market -- which is in turn created through the schools, hospitals, roads, etc. that the tax pays for. Unfortunately the new Corporate Social Irresponsibility being acted out by multinationals today neatly avoids paying that license, and sooner or later will damage them. Multinationals need to recognize that paying tax is an investment. Without that tax, their markets will slowly evaporate.

emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 03:09
The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes is gobbling up the last scintilla of surplus that can be extracted from the poor ( anyone not independently wealthy).

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What sticks in the neoliberalism craw is that the state provides these services instead of private businesses, and as such "rob" them of juicy profits! The state, the last easy cash cow! ..."
"... Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church. ..."
"... when Thatcher and Reagan deregulated the financial markets in the 80s, that's when the trouble began which in turn led to the immense crash in 2008. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy ..."
"... The state has merged with the corporations so that what is good for the corporations is good for the state and visa versa. The larger and richer the state/corporations are, the more shyster lawyers they hire to disguise misdeeds and unethical behavior. ..."
"... If you support a big government, you are supporting big corporations as well. The government uses the taxpayer as an eternal fount of fresh money and calls it their own to spend as they please. Small businesses suffer unfairly because they cannot afford the shyster lawyers and accountants that protect the government and the corporations, but nobody cares about them. ..."
"... Deborah's point about the illogical demands of neoliberalism are indeed correct, which is somewhat ironic as neoliberalism puts objective rationality at the heart of its philosophy, but I digress... ..."
"... There would not be NHS, free education etc. without socialism; in fact they are socialism. It took the Soviet-style socialism ("statism") 70 years to collapse. The neoliberalistic capitalism has already started to collapse after 30 years. ..."
"... I'm always amused that neoliberal - indeed, capitalist - apologists cannot see the hypocrisy of their demands for market access. Communities create and sustain markets, fund and maintain infrastructure, produce and maintain new consumers. Yet the neolibs decry and destroy. Hypocrites or destructive numpties - never quite decided between Pickles and Gove ..."
"... 97% of all OUR money has been handed over to these scheming crooks. Stop bailing out the banks with QE. Take back what is ours -- state control over the creation of money. Then let the banks revert to their modest market-based function of financial intermediaries. ..."
"... The State can't be trusted to create our money? Well they could hardly do a worse job than the banks! Best solution would be to distribute state-created money as a Citizen's Income. ..."
"... To promote the indecent obsession for global growth Australia, burdened with debt of around 250 billion dollars, is to borrow and pay interest on a further 7 billion dollars to lend to the International Monetary Fund so as it can lend it to poorer nations to burden them with debt. ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
szwalby , 8 Jun 2013 06:03
This private good, public bad is a stupid idea, and a totally artificial divide. After all, what are "public spends"? It is the money from private individuals, and companies, clubbing together to get services they can't individually afford.

What sticks in the neoliberalism craw is that the state provides these services instead of private businesses, and as such "rob" them of juicy profits! The state, the last easy cash cow!

TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 06:01
Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church.

It's subsumed the entire planet, and waiting for them to see sense is a hopeless cause. In the end it'll probably take violence to rid us of the Neoliberal parasite... the turn of the century plague.

fr0mn0where -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
@CaptainGrey -

"Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result."

I agree with you and it was this beneficial version of capitalism that brought down the Iron Curtain. Working people in the former Communist countries were comparing themselves with working people in the west and wanted a piece of that action. Cuba has hung on because people there compare themselves with their nearest capitalist neighbor Haiti and they don't want a piece of that action. North Korea well North Korea is North Korea.

Isn't it this beneficial capitalism that is being threatened now though? When the wall came down it was assumed that Eastern European countries would become more like us. Some have but who would have thought that British working people would now be told, by the likes of Kwasi Kwarteng and his Britannia Unchained chums, that we have to learn to accept working conditions that are more like those in the Eastern European countries that got left behind and that we are now told that our version of Capitalism is inferior to the version adopted by the Communist Party of China?

jazzdrum -> bullwinkle , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
@bullwinkle - No , when Thatcher and Reagan deregulated the financial markets in the 80s, that's when the trouble began which in turn led to the immense crash in 2008.
Eddiel899 , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy.

This type of government began in America about 150 years ago with the Rockefellers, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Ford etc who took advantage of new inventions, cheap immigrant labour and financial deregulation in finance and social mores to amass wealth for themselves and chaos and austerity for workers.

All this looks familiar again today with new and old oligarchs hiding behind large corporations taking advantage of the invention of the €uro, mass immigration into western Europe and deregulation of the financial "markets" and social mores to amass wealth for a super-wealthy elite and chaos and austerity for workers.

So if we want to see where things went wrong we need only go back 150 years to what happened to America. There we can also see our future?

WilliamAshbless -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:49
@CaptainGrey

The beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won

Free education and the NHS are state institutions. As Debbie said, Amazon never taught anyone to read. Beneficial capitalism is an oxymoron resulting from your lack of understanding.

cpp4ever -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:41
@CaptainGrey -

especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result.

At one and the same time being privatized and having their funding squeezed, a direct result of the neoliberal dogma capitalism of austerity. Free access is being eroded by the likes of ever larger student loans and prescription costs for a start.

ATrueFinn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 05:41
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 10:02am .

Nah. They achieved this by copying the west.

I would not go that far. The Western Capitalist Party is only now getting to be as powerful as CCP and China started the "reforms" in the late 1970s.

succulentpork , 8 Jun 2013 05:36

they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments

Let's not get carried away here. Let's consider some of the things governments can do, subject only to a 5 yearly check and challenge:

  1. force people upon pain of imprisonment to pay taxes to them
  2. pay out that tax money to whomever they like
  3. spend money they don't have by borrowing against obligations imposed on future taxpayers without their agreement
  4. kill people in wars, often from the comfort of a computer screen thousands of miles away
  5. print money and give it to whomever they like,
  6. get rid of nation state currencies and replace them with a single, centrally controlled currency
  7. make laws and punish people who break them, including the ability to track them down in most places in the world if they try and run away.
  8. use laws to create monopolies and favour special interests

Let's now consider what power apple have...

- they can make iPhones and try to sell them for a profit by responding to the demands of the mass consumer market. That's it. In fact, they are forced to do this by their owners who only want them to do this, and nothing else. If they don't do this they will cease to exist.

generalelection , 8 Jun 2013 05:26
The state has merged with the corporations so that what is good for the corporations is good for the state and visa versa. The larger and richer the state/corporations are, the more shyster lawyers they hire to disguise misdeeds and unethical behavior.

If you support a big government, you are supporting big corporations as well. The government uses the taxpayer as an eternal fount of fresh money and calls it their own to spend as they please. Small businesses suffer unfairly because they cannot afford the shyster lawyers and accountants that protect the government and the corporations, but nobody cares about them. Remember, that Green Energy is big business, just like Big Pharma and Big Oil. Most government shills have personally invested in Green Energy not because they care about the environment, only because they know that it is a safe investment protected by government for government. The same goes for large corporations who befriend government and visa versa.

... ... ...

finnkn -> NeilThompson , 8 Jun 2013 05:20
@NeilThompson - It's all very well for Deborah to recommend that the well paid share work. Journalists, consultants and other assorted professionals can afford to do so. As a self-employed tradesman, I'd be homeless within a month.
finnkn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 05:17
@SpinningHugo - Interesting that those who are apparently concerned with prosperity for all and international solidarity are happy to ignore the rest of the world when it's going well, preferring to prophesy apocalypse when faced with government spending being slightly reduced at home.
sedan2 -> Fachan , 8 Jun 2013 05:11
@Fachan -

Dont see a lot of solutions in this article - as long as our sentiments revolve around envy of the rich, we wont get very far

Yeah, there actually wasn't anything in this article which even smelled of "envy of the rich". Read it again.

KingOfNothing -> 1nn1t , 8 Jun 2013 05:03
@1nn1t - That is a point which just isn't made enough. This is the first group of politicians for whom a global conflict seems like a distant event.

As a result we have people like Blair who see nothing wrong with invading countries at a whim, or conservatives and UKIP who fail to understand the whole point of the European Court of Human Rights.

They seem to act without thought of our true place in the world, without regard for the truly terrible capacity humanity has for self destruction.

REDLAN1 , 8 Jun 2013 05:03
Deborah's point about the illogical demands of neoliberalism are indeed correct, which is somewhat ironic as neoliberalism puts objective rationality at the heart of its philosophy, but I digress...

The main problem with replacing neoliberalism with a more rational, and fairer system, entails that people like Deborah accept that they will be less wealthy. And that my friends is the main problem. People like Deborah, while they are more than happy to point the fingers at others, are less than happy to accept that they are also part of the problem.

(Generalisation Caveat: I don't know in actuality if Deborah would be unhappy to be less wealthy in exchange for a fairer system, she doesn't say)

Herbolzheim , 8 Jun 2013 04:49
Good critique of conservative-neoliberalism, unless you subscribe to it and subordinate any morals or other values to it. She mentions an internal tension and I think that's because conservatism and neoliberal market ideology are different beasts.
NotAgainAgain -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 04:47
@CaptainGrey -

There are different models of capitalism quite clearly the social democratic version in Scandinavia or the "Bismarkian" German version have worked a lot better than the UKs.

DavidPavett , 8 Jun 2013 04:45

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem.

How is it a sign of that? We are offered no clues.

What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return;

Try reading a history of financial crashes to dislodge this idea.

... even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely.

This may or may not be true but here it is mere assertion.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt.

At this point I start to have real doubts as to whether Deborah Orr has actually read even the Executive Summary of the Report this article is ostensibly a response to.

All the comments that follow about the need for public infrastructure, education, regulated markets and so on are made as if they were a criticism of the IMF and yet the IMF says many of those same things itself. The IMF position may, of course, be contradictory - but then that is something that would need to be demonstrated. It seems that Deborah has not got beyond reading a couple of Guardian articles on the issues she discusses and therefore is in no position to do this.

Thus, for example in its review of world problems of Feb 2013 the IMF comments favorably that in Bangladesh in order to boost competitiveness

Efforts are being made to narrow the skills gap with other countries in the region, as the authorities look to take full advantage of Bangladesh's favorable demographics and help create conditions for more labor-intensive led growth. The government is also scaling up spending on education, science and technology, and information and communication technology.

Which seems to be the sort of thing Deborah Orr is calling for. She should spend a little time on the IMF website before criticising the institution. It is certainly one that merits much criticism - but it needs to be informed.

And the solution to the problems? For Deborah Orr the response

... from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

Does anyone have any idea what this is supposed to mean? There are certainly no leads on this in the link given to "the philosopher" John Gray. And what a strange reference that is. John Gray, in his usual cynical mode, dismisses the idea of progress being achieved by the EU. But then I suppose that is consistent from a man who dismisses the idea of progress itself.

... Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic.

The first step in serious political analysis is to understand that the people one opposes are not crazy and are not devoid of logic. If that is not clearly understood then all that is left is the confrontation of assertion and contrary assertion. Of course Conservative neoliberalism has a logic. It is one I do not agree with but it is a logic all the same.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this [the need for public investment and a recognition of the multiple roles that individuals have].

Wrong again.

It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market.

And again.

This stuff can't be made up as you go along on the basis of reading a couple of newspaper articles. You actually have to do some hard reading to get to grip with the issues. I can see no signs of that in this piece.

EllisWyatt -> NotAgainAgain , 8 Jun 2013 04:43
@NotAgainAgain - We are going off topic and that is in no small part down to my own fault, so apologies. Just to pick up the point, I guess my unease with the likes of Buffet, Cooper-Hohn or even the wealthy Guardian columnists is that they are criticizing the system from a position of power and wealth.

So its easy to advocate change if you feel that you are in the vanguard of defining that change i.e. the reforms you advocate may leave you worse off, but at a level you feel comfortable with (the prime example always being Polly's deeply relaxed attitude to swingeing income tax increases when her own lifestyle will be protected through wealth).

I guess I am a little skeptical because I either see it as managed decline, a smokescreen or at worst mean spiritedness of people prepared to accept a reasonable degree of personal pain if it means other people whom dislike suffer much greater pain.

Again off topic so sorry about that

NotAgainAgain -> mountman , 8 Jun 2013 04:43
@mountman -

The critical bit is this

"There is a clear legal basis in Germany for the workplace representation of employees in all but the very smallest companies. Under the Works Constitution Act, first passed in 1952 and subsequently amended, most recently in 2001, a works council can be set up in all private sector workplaces with at least five employees."

http://www.worker-participation.eu/National-Industrial-Relations/Countries/Germany/Workplace-Representation

The UK needs to wake up to the fact that managers are sometimes inept or corrupt and will destroy the companies they work for, unless their are adequate mechanisms to hold poor management to account.

ATrueFinn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 04:42
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 9:26am

More people lifted out of poverty in China over the last 25 years than the entire population of South America.

Maybe we need the Chinese Communist Party to take over the world?

ATrueFinn -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 04:40
@ CaptainGrey 08 June 2013 8:43am

Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won

There would not be NHS, free education etc. without socialism; in fact they are socialism. It took the Soviet-style socialism ("statism") 70 years to collapse. The neoliberalistic capitalism has already started to collapse after 30 years.

irishaxeman , 8 Jun 2013 04:40
I'm always amused that neoliberal - indeed, capitalist - apologists cannot see the hypocrisy of their demands for market access. Communities create and sustain markets, fund and maintain infrastructure, produce and maintain new consumers. Yet the neolibs decry and destroy. Hypocrites or destructive numpties - never quite decided between Pickles and Gove, y'see.
EllisWyatt -> JamesValencia , 8 Jun 2013 04:38
@JamesValencia - Actually on reflection you are correct and I was wrong in my attack on the author above. Having re-read the article its a critique of institutions rather than people so my points were wide of the mark.

I still think that well heeled Guardian writers aren't really in a position to attack the wealthy and politically connected, but I'll save that for a thread when they explicitly do so, rather than the catch all genie of neoliberalism.

bullwinkle -> bluebirds , 8 Jun 2013 04:38
@bluebirds -

@CaptainGrey - deregulated capitalism has failed. That is the product of the last 20 years. The pure market is a fantasy just as communism is or any other ideology. In a pure capitalist economy all the banks of the western world would have bust and indeed the false value "earned" in the preceding 20 years would have been destroyed.

If the pure market is a fantasy, how can deregulated capitalism have failed? Does one not require the other? Surely it is regulated capitalism that has failed?

snodgrass , 8 Jun 2013 04:36
97% of all OUR money has been handed over to these scheming crooks. Stop bailing out the banks with QE. Take back what is ours -- state control over the creation of money. Then let the banks revert to their modest market-based function of financial intermediaries.

The State can't be trusted to create our money? Well they could hardly do a worse job than the banks! Best solution would be to distribute state-created money as a Citizen's Income.

EllisWyatt -> 1nn1t , 8 Jun 2013 04:35
@1nn1t - Some good points, there is a whole swathe of low earners that should not be in the tax system at all, simply letting them keep the money in their pocket would be a start.

Second the minimum wage (especially in the SE) is too low and should be increased. Obviously the devil is in the detail as to the precise rate, the other issue is non compliance as there will be any number of businesses that try and get around this, through employing people too ignorant or scared to know any better or for family businesses - do we have the stomach to enforce this?

Thirdly there is a widespread reluctance to separate people from the largesse of the state, even at absurd levels of income such as higher rate payers (witness child tax credits). On the right they see themselves as having paid in and so are "entitled" to have something back and on the left it ensures that everyone has a vested interest in a big state dipping it hands into your pockets one day and giving you something back the next.

Broken system

1nn1t -> Uncertainty , 8 Jun 2013 04:34

@Uncertainty - Which is why the people of the planet need to join hands.

The only group of people in he UK to see that need were the generation that faced WW2 together. It's no accident that, joining up at 18 in 1939, they had almost all retired by 1984.
BruceMullinger , 8 Jun 2013 04:31
To promote the indecent obsession for global growth Australia, burdened with debt of around 250 billion dollars, is to borrow and pay interest on a further 7 billion dollars to lend to the International Monetary Fund so as it can lend it to poorer nations to burden them with debt.

It is entrapment which impoverishes nations into the surrender of sovereignty, democracy and national pride. In no way should we contribute to such economic immorality and the entire economic system based on perpetual growth fuelled by consumerism and debt needs top be denounced and dismantled. The adverse social and environmental consequence of perpetual growth defies all sensible logic and in time, in a more responsible and enlightened era, growth will be condemned.

[Dec 03, 2018] The banks put their own short-term interests above their long-term interests of financial stability

Notable quotes:
"... Socialism for the 1% with the rest scraping around for the crumbs ..."
"... Don't you think a global recession and massive banking collapse should be classified as 'crash and burn'? ..."
"... It's one of the major contradictions of modern conservatism that the raw, winner-takes-all version of capitalism it champions actually undermines the sort of law abiding, settled communities it sees as the societal ideal. ..."
"... Rich people have benefited from this more than most: they need workers trained by a state-funded education system and kept healthy by a state-funded healthcare system; they depend on lending from banks rescued by the taxpayer; they rely on state-funded infrastructure and research, and – like all of us – on a society that does not collapse. Whether they like it or not, they would not have made their fortunes without the state spending billions of pounds ..."
"... You have to be careful when you take on the banksters. Abe Lincoln John Kennedy and Hitler all tried or (in Kennedy's case planned) on the issuance of money via the state circumventing the banks. All came to a sticky end. No wonder politicians run scared of them. ..."
"... Now, that's a novel interpretation! The working people in "Communist" countries had free healthcare and education, guaranteed employment and heavily subsidized housing. The reason we have healtcare and free education is that working people in Capitalist countries would otherwise have revolted to have Socialism. In the absence of competition, there is no benefit for the Capitalist to be "beneficial". ..."
"... The banks could plainly see that they were stoking a bubble, but chose not to pass on the increased risk of lending to consumers by raising their interest rates and coolling the market. Why? Because they were making a handsome short-term profit. The banks put their own short-term interests above their long-term interests of financial stability. When the house of cards came tumbling down - we bailed them out. It was idiotic banks who failed to properly control their risk of lending that caused the crash, not interventionist politicians. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com
JFBridge , 8 Jun 2013 08:21
Virtually everyone knows what went wrong, with the exception only of uncontrollable ultra-right neoliberal buffs who try and put the blame on everyone else with various out and out lies and deceptions, and they are thankfully petering and dying out by the day, including deluded contributors to CiF, who seem to be positively and cruelly reveling in the suffering their beloved thesis has and is causing.

So, now that we know the symptoms, what about the cure? The coalition want to make the poor and vulnerable suffer even more than they have done over the last three decades or so while still refusing to clamp down and wholly regulate the bankers, corporates and free markets, who still hold too much power like the unions in the 70's,while Ed Miliband and 'One Nation Labour' merely suggest in mild, diffident terms about financial regulation and a more balanced economy, while still not wanting to upset those nice bankers too much.

It's time they were upset though, and made to pay for their errors and recklessness; while they still award themselves bonuses and take advantage of Gideon's recent tax cut, the poor and vulnerable who were never responsible for the long recession now have money taken off them and struggle to feed, pay bills and clothe themselves and their families, supported by the Daily Fail and co. who look on them as scrounging, lazy, criminal, violent, drunken, drug addicted and promiscuous sub-humans, who deserve their fate.

There's quite a few in the middle/professional classes (many bankers) if they didn't know, but they don't bother with such, do they?

MatthewBall -> emkayoh , 8 Jun 2013 08:20
@emkayoh -

The economic model we have is bankrupt and in its death throes

I am not sure if this is true. We have the same economic system (broadly speaking, capitalism) as nearly every country in the world, and the world economy is growing at a reasonable rate, at around 3-4% for 2013-14 (see http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/c1.pdf for more details).

We perceive a problem in (most of) Europe and North America because our economies are growing more slowly than this, and in some cases not at all. The global growth figure comes out healthy because of strong growth in the emerging countries, like China, Brazil and India, who are narrowing the gap between their living standards and ours. So, the world as a whole isn't broken, even if our bit of it is going through a rough patch.

This is pertinant to a discussion of Deborah Orr's article, because in it she calls for global changes:

The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

My point is: I don't think this argument will work, because I don't see why the emerging countries would want wholesale change to what, for them, is quite a successful recipe, just because it going down badly in Europe. Instead, European countries need to do whatever it takes to fix their banking systems; but also learn to live within their means, and show some more of the discipline and enterprise that made them wealthy in the first place.

jazzdrum -> Uncertainty , 8 Jun 2013 08:12
@Uncertainty - I`m not defending philanthropy, i am saying in answer to some personal attacks on Miss Orr below the line, that her status as either rich or poor is irrelevant, it is her politics that count .
Tony Benn and Polly Toynbee both receive much abuse in this manner on Cif.
00000010 -> colonelraeburn , 8 Jun 2013 08:10