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Slightly Skeptical View on Neoliberal Transformation of University Education

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Introduction

Previously education was mostly about "finding yourself" -- developing understanding of the world and yourself, as well as developing those set of abilities that you was gifted most. And deciding what you want to do in the future, within contins of job market and your abilities.  Neoliberalism has changed that dramatically. Education now is just in "investment" into your "entrepreneurial self" to increase your value as "human capital" holder and this your value in the "labout market." (Symptomatic Redness -Philip Mirowski - YouTube).  That's bullsh*t, but people already brainwashed by neoliberals from the middle school buy it uncritically.

Today we live in a world of predatory bankers, predatory educators, predatory health care providers, all of them out for themselves…. Neoliberalism  is the philosophy of the Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign…. They are pretend to belong to so called "creative vlass", but in reality are self-interested, parasitical, and predatory. Common people are not admissible to this new aristocracy even if they have two university educations.

In the current circumstances education is no longer the answer to rising inequality. Instead of serving as a social lift it, it designed to propagate the current status of parents and at least in some cases, became more of a social trap converting poorer or more reckless (as in specializing in areas were job market is not existent) graduates into debt slaves without chances to repay the loans. All this is connected with neoliberal transformation of education. With the collapse of post-war public funded educational model and privatization of the University education students face a pretty cruel world. World in which they are cows to milk.

Now universities became institutions very similar to McDonalds ( or, in less politically correct terms, Bordellos of Higher Learning). Like McDonalds they need to price their services so that to receive nice profit and they to make themselves more attractive to industry they intentionally feed students with overspecialized curriculum instead of concentrating on fundamentals and the developing the ability to understand the world. Which was the hallmark of university education of the past.

Since 1970th Neo-Liberal University model replaced public funded university model (Dewey model). It is now collapsing as there are not that many students, who are able (and now with lower job prospects and persistent tales of graduates working as bartenders) to pay inflated tuition fees. Foreigners somewhat compensates for this , but with current high prices Canada, UK and Europe are more attractive for all but the most rich parents.   That means that higher education again by-and-large became privilege of the rich and upper middle class.

Lower student enrollment first hit after  dot-com boom, when the number of students who want to be programmers decines several times.   Expensive private colleges start hunting for people with government support (such a former members of Arm forces).  The elite universities, which traditionally serve the top 1% and rich foreigners fared better but were also hit. As David Schultz wrote in his article (Logos, 2012):

Yet the Dewey model began to collapse in middle of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the retrenchment of the SUNY and CUNY systems in New York under Governor Hugh Carey in 1976 that began the end of the democratic university. What caused its retrenchment was the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

The fiscal crisis of the 1970s was born of numerous problems. Inflationary pressures caused by Vietnam and the energy embargoes of the 1970s, and recessionary forces from relative declines in American economic productivity produced significant economic shocks, including to the public sector where many state and local governments edged toward bankruptcy.

Efforts to relieve declining corporate profits and productivity initiated efforts to restructure the economy, including cutting back on government services. The response, first in England under Margaret Thatcher and then in the United States under Ronald Reagan, was an effort to retrench the state by a package that included decreases in government expenditures for social welfare programs, cutbacks on business regulations, resistance to labor rights, and tax cuts. Collectively these proposals are referred to as Neo-liberalism and their aim was to restore profitability and autonomy to free markets with the belief that unfettered by the government that would restore productivity.

Neo-liberalism had a major impact on higher education. First beginning under President Carter and then more so under Ronald Reagan, the federal and state governments cut taxes and public expenditures. The combination of the two meant a halt to the Dewey business model as support for public institutions decreased and federal money dried up.

From a high in the 1960s and early 70s when states and the federal government provided generous funding to expand their public systems to educate the Baby Boomers, state universities now receive only a small percentage of their money from the government. As I pointed out in my 2005 Logos “The Corporate University in American Society” article in 1991, 74% of the funding for public universities came from states, in 2004; it was down to 64%, with state systems in Illinois, Michigan and Virginia down to 25%, 18%, and 8% respectively. Since then, the percentages have shrunk even more, rendering state universities public institutions more in name than in funding.

Higher education under Neo-liberalism needed a new business model and it found it in the corporate university. The corporate university is one where colleges increasingly use corporate structures and management styles to run the university. This includes abandoning the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) shared governance model where faculty had an equal voice in the running of the school, including over curriculum, selection of department chairs, deans, and presidents, and determination of many of the other policies affecting the academy. The corporate university replaced the shared governance model with one more typical of a business corporation.

For the corporate university, many decisions, including increasingly those affecting curriculum, are determined by a top-down pyramid style of authority. University administration often composed not of typical academics but those with business or corporate backgrounds had pre-empted many of the decisions faculty used to make. Under a corporate model, the trustees, increasingly composed of more business leaders than before, select, often with minimal input from the faculty, the president who, in turn, again with minimal or no faculty voice, select the deans, department heads, and other administrative personnel.

University bureaucracy and presidents became way too greedy

Neoliberalism professes the idea the personal greed can serve positive society goals, which is reflected in famous neoliberal slogan "greed is good". And university presidents listen. Now presidents of neoliberal universities do not want to get $100K per year salary, they want one, or better several, million dollars -- the salary of the CEO of major corporation (Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds - NYTimes.com)

At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.

The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.

The co-authors, Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood, found that administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.

“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Ms. Wood said. “But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”

... ... ...

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual survey of public university presidents’ compensation, also released Sunday, found that nine chief executives earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2012-13, up from four the previous year, and three in 2010-11. The median total compensation of the 256 presidents in the survey was $478,896, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

... ... ...

As in several past years, the highest-compensated president, at $6,057,615 in this period, was E. Gordon Gee, who resigned from Ohio State last summer amid trustee complaints about frequent gaffes. He has since become the president of West Virginia University.

This trick requires dramatic raising of tuition costs. University bureaucracy also got taste for better salaries and all those deans, etc want to be remunerated like vice presidents. So raising the tuition costs became the key existential idea of neoliberal university. Not quality of education, but tuition costs now are the key criteria of success. And if you can charge students $40K per semester it is very, very good. If does not matter that most population get less then $20 an hour.

The same is true for professors, who proved to be no less corruptible. And some of them, such as economic departments, simply serve as prostitutes for financial oligarchy. So they were corrupted even before that rat race for profit. Of course there are exceptions. But they only prove the rule.

As the result university tuition inflation outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds. At some point amount that you pay (and the level of debt after graduation) becomes an important factor in choosing the university. So children of "have" and "have nots" get into different educational institutions and do not meet each other. In a way aristocracy returned via back door.

Job market situation and hidden financial rip offs

Neoliberal university professes "deep specialization" to create "ready for the job market" graduates. And that creates another problem: education became more like stock market game and that makes more difficult for you to change your specialization late in the education cycle. But too early choice entails typical stock market problem: you might miss the peak of the market or worse get into prolonged slump, as graduates in finance learned all too well in 2008.

That's why it is important not to accumulate too much debt: large debt after graduation put you in situation like "all in" play in poker. You essentially bet that in the chosen specialty there will be open positions with high salary, when you graduate. If you lose this bet , you became a debt slave for considerable period of your life.

As a result of this "reaction to the market trends" by neoliberal universities, when universities became appendixes of HR of large corporations students need to be more aware of real university machinery, then students in 50th or 60th of the last century. And first student should not assume that the university is functioning for  their benefits.

One problem for a student is that there are now way too many variables that you do not control. Among them:

On the deep level neoliberal university is not interested to help you to find specialization and place in life where can unleash your talents. You are just a paying customers much like in McDonalds, and university interests are such they might try to push you in wrong direction or load you with too much debt.

If there is deep mismatch as was with computer science graduates after crash of dot-com boom, or simply bad job market due to economy stagnation and you can't find the job for your new specialty (or if you got "junk" specialty with inherent high level of unemployment among professionals) and you have substantial education debt, then waiting tables or having some other MacJob is a real disaster for you. As with such salaries you simply can't pay it back. So controlling the level of debt is very important and in this sense parents financial help is now necessary. In other words education became more and more "rich kids game".

That does not mean that university education should be avoided for those from families with modest means. On the contrary it provides unique experience and help a person to mature in multiple ways difficult to achieve without it. It is still one of the best ways to get vertical mobility. But unless parents can support you need to try to find the most economical way to obtain it without acquiring too much debt. This is you first university exam. And if you fail it you are in trouble.

For example, computer science education is a great way to learn quite a few things necessary for a modern life. But the price does matter and prestige of the university institution that you attend is just one of the factors you should consider in your evaluation. It should not be the major factor ("vanity fair") unless your parents are rich and can support you. If you are good you can get later a master degree in a prestigious university after graduation from a regular college. Or even Ph.D.

County colleges are greatly underappreciated and generally provide pretty high standard of education, giving ability to students to save money for the first two years before transferring to a four year college. They also smooth the transition as finding yourself among people who are only equal or superior then you (and have access to financial resource that you don't have) is a huge stress. The proverb say that it is better to be first in the village then last in the town has some truth in it. Prestigious universities might provide a career boost (high fly companies usually accept resumes only from Ivy League members), but they cost so much that you need to be a son or daughter of well-to-do parents to feel comfortably in them. Or extremely talented. Also amount of career boost that elite universities provide depends on whom your parents are and what connections they have. It does not depend solely on you and the university. Again, I would like to stress that you should resist "vanity fair" approach to your education: a much better way is to try to obtain BS in a regular university and them try to obtain MS and then, if you are good, PHD, in a prestigious university. Here is a fragment of an interesting discussion that covers this topic (Low Mobility Is Not a Social Tragedy?, Feb 13, 2013 ; I recommend you to read the whole discussion ):

kievite:

I would like to defend Greg Clack.

I think that Greg Clack point is that the number of gifted children is limited and that exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies (story of Alexander Hamilton was really fascinating for me, the story of Mikhail Lomonosov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Lomonosov was another one -- he went from the very bottom to the top of Russian aristocracy just on the strength of his abilities as a scientist). In no way the ability to "hold its own" (typical for rich families kids) against which many here expressed some resentment represents social mobility. But the number of kids who went down is low -- that's actually proves Greg Clack point:

(1) Studies of social mobility using surnames suggest two things. Social mobility rates are much lower than conventionally estimated. And social mobility rates estimated in this way vary little across societies and time periods. Sweden is no more mobile than contemporary England and the USA, or even than medieval England. Social mobility rates seem to be independent of social institutions (see the other studies on China, India, Japan and the USA now linked here).

Francisco Ferreira rejects this interpretation, and restates the idea that there is a strong link between social mobility rates and inequality in his interesting post.

What is wrong with the data Ferreira cites? Conventional estimates of social mobility, which look at just single aspects of social status such as income, are contaminated by noise. If we measure mobility on one aspect of status such as income, it will seem rapid.

But this is because income is a very noisy measure of the underlying status of families. The status of families is a combination of their education, occupation, income, wealth, health, and residence. They will often trade off income for some other aspect of status such as occupation. A child can be as socially successful as a low paid philosophy professor as a high paid car salesman. Thus if we measure just one aspect of status such as income we are going to confuse the random fluctuations of income across generations, influenced by such things as career choices between business and philosophy, with true generalised social mobility.

If these estimates of social mobility were anywhere near correct as indicating true underlying rates of social mobility, then we would not find that the aristocrats of 1700 in Sweden are still overrepresented in all elite occupations of Sweden. Further, the more equal is income in a society, the less signal will income give of the true social status of families. In a society such as Sweden, where the difference in income between bus drivers and philosophy professors is modest, income tells us little about the social status of families. It is contaminated much more by random noise. Thus it will appear if we measure social status just by income that mobility is much greater in Sweden than in the USA, because in the USA income is a much better indicator of the true overall status of families.

The last two paragraphs of Greg Clark article cited by Mark Thoma are badly written and actually are somewhat disconnected with his line of thinking as I understand it as well as with the general line of argumentation of the paper.

Again, I would like to stress that a low intergenerational mobility includes the ability of kids with silver spoon in their mouth to keep a status close to their parent. The fact that they a have different starting point then kids from lower strata of society does not change that.

I think that the key argument that needs testing is that the number of challengers from lower strata of the society is always pretty low and is to a large extent accommodated by the societies we know (of course some societies are better then others).

Actually it would be interesting to look at the social mobility data of the USSR from this point of view.

But in no way, say, Mark Thoma was a regular kid, although circumstances for vertical mobility at this time were definitely better then now. He did possessed some qualities which made possible his upward move although his choice of economics was probably a mistake ;-).

Whether those qualities were enough in more restrictive environments we simply don't know, but circumstances for him were difficult enough as they were.

EC -> kievite...

"the number of gifted children is limited"

I stopped reading after that. I teach at a high school in a town with a real mix of highly elite families, working class families, and poor families, and I can tell you that the children of affluent parents are not obviously more gifted than the children of poor families. They do, however, have a lot more social capital, and they have vastly more success. But the limitations on being "gifted" are irrelevant.

According to an extensive study (Turkheimer et al., 2003) of 50,000 pregnant women and the children they went on to have (including enough sets of twins to be able to study the role of innate genetic differences), variation in IQ among the affluent seems to be largely genetic.

Among the poor, however, IQ has very little to do with genes -- probably because the genetic differences are swamped and suppressed by the environmental differences, as few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances.

kievite -> EC...

All you said is true. I completely agree that "...few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances." So there are losses here and we should openly talk about them.

Also it goes without saying that social capital is extremely important for a child. That's why downward mobility of children from upper classes is suppressed, despite the fact that some of them are plain vanilla stupid.

But how this disproves the point made that "exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies"? I think you just jumped the gun...

mrrunangun:

The early boomers benefitted from the happy confluence of the postwar boom, LBJ's Great Society efforts toward financial assistance for those seeking to advance their educations, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act which opened opportunities for marginalized social groups in institutions largely closed to them under the prewar social customs in the US.

The US Supreme Court is made up of only Jews and Catholics as of this writing, a circumstance inconceivable in the prewar America. Catholics were largely relegated to separate and unequal institutions. Jews' opportunities were limited by quotas and had a separate set of institutions of their own where their numbers could support such. Where their numbers were not sufficient, they were often relegated to second rate institutions.

Jewish doctors frequently became the leading men in the Catholic hospitals in Midwestern industrial towns where they were unwelcome in the towns' main hospitals. Schools, clubs, hospitals, professional and commercial organizations often had quota or exclusionary policies. Meritocracy has its drawbacks, but we've seen worse in living memory.

The really cruel world of a neoliberal university

Of course bad things that happened to you during your university years are soon forgotten and nostalgia colors everything in role tones, but the truth is that the modern university is a very cruel world. Now more then ever. Here are some random observations of the subject (See also my Diploma Mills page about high education sharks for which sucking you dry financially is the main goal ):

Lysenkoism and petty, greedy pseudo-scientific scum as professors and teachers

Most teachers and Professors in the university are good, honest people who are trying to make some contribution to science and teach students (difficult things to mix). But not all. One of the most dangerous feature of neoliberal university are influx of people who represent a toxic mix of teacher, snake oil seller, careerist and cult follower. They are not teachers but brainwashers, hired guns -- propagandists masquerading as University professors. That is why we have witnessed such a corruption and politicization of science and rising proportion of research and theories taught at the universities that are fraudulent.

Previously teacher was a person somewhat similar to a monk. A person who consciously traded the ability to work in science to the possibility of acquiring material wealth, at least excessive material wealth. As Ernest Rutherford once reminded Pyotr Kapitsa "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)

But in neoliberal university way too many teachers/researchers took Faustian bargain when one trades the academic independence for above average personal wealth, influence, for the power grab. And despite popular image of scientists and university professors they proved to be as corruptible by money as Wall Street traders ;-). This is because the sponsors of their research such as big business, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government vie to publish reports and results that put the sponsors in the best light. Good example is relations of pharmaceutical industry and academia

“The answer to that question is at once both predictable and shocking: For the past two decades, medical research has been quietly corrupted by cash from private industry. Most doctors and academic researchers aren't corrupt in the sense of intending to defraud the public or harm patients, but rather, more insidiously, guilty of allowing the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to manipulate medical science through financial relationships, in effect tainting the system that is supposed to further the understanding of disease and protect patients from ineffective or dangerous drugs. More than 60 percent of clinical studies--those involving human subjects--are now funded not by the federal government, but by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. That means that the studies published in scientific journals like Nature and The New England Journal of Medicine--those critical reference points for thousands of clinicians deciding what drugs to prescribe patients, as well as for individuals trying to educate themselves about conditions and science reporters from the popular media who will publicize the findings--are increasingly likely to be designed, controlled, and sometimes even ghost-written by marketing departments, rather than academic scientists. Companies routinely delay or prevent the publication of data that show their drugs are ineffective.

...

“ Novartis, stepped in and provided additional funding for development. In 1984, private companies contributed a mere $26 million to university research budgets. By 2000, they were ponying up $2.3 billion, an increase of 9000 percent that provided much needed funds to universities at a time when the cost of doing medical research was skyrocketing.”

Historically the scientific community is held together through its joint acceptance of the same fundamental principles of conducting research (and teaching those results) and ethics. Scientific research is best practiced in a voluntary, honest and free atmosphere. But this idyllic arrangement as well as scientific ethics now belongs to the past ( The Corruption of Science )

“It’s a long-standing and crucial question that, as yet, remains unanswered: just how common is scientific misconduct? In the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh reports the first meta-analysis of surveys questioning scientists about their misbehaviours. The results suggest that altering or making up data is more frequent than previously estimated and might be particularly high in medical research.

...There is immense pressure on scientists to produce results, to publish, to seek glory, or just to get tenure. Scientists are human beings, after all, and sometimes they approach their field with preconceptions or biases. Politics certainly comes into play; consider eugenics in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, or eugenics in Nazi Germany.

Now we can talk only about the level of political and economical pressure and corresponding level of corruption on professors and scientists, not so much about presence or absence of corruption in science and education. What really matters for students is that when they feel that a professor is a scum, they nevertheless try to imitate. See for example Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.

Historically the situation started to change even before neoliberal university became a dominant educational institution. Previously, despite the fact that money for science were in short supply, scientists maintained a self-discipline. That changed after WWII. Prior to World War II there was little government financial support for science. A graduate student working on a Ph.D. degree was expected to make a new discovery to earn that degree. And if somebody else came first he needed to find a new theme and to restart his work.

But with the advent of NSF scientists started to "propose" directions of research to get funding. And be sure this instill atmosphere of sycophantism and political correctness. This process accelerated dramatically since 1980th with the ascendance of neoliberalism as a dominant USA ideology, when greed became playing significant role in US universities. It should be understood that now the university professor is no longer is a teacher and a scientist, but predominantly "grants provider" for the university and that means that he/she is in the first place a political agent, a manipulator on a mission from the external agent (typically the state via NSF or other agency, see The Corruption of Science in America -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net)

For the unwashed masses University professor career still represents the ultimate carrier of truth for a given discipline, so his opinion have a distinct political weight. And the architects of our neoliberal world fully use this "superstition". Like we can see with neoclassical economics, economists have turned into an instrument of cognitive manipulation, when under the guise of science financial oligarchy promote beneficial to itself but false and simplistic picture of the world, using University professors to brainwash the masses into "correct" thinking.

Professors literally became a religious figures, and cult members or even cult leaders. The first sign of this dangerous disease of the modern university was probably Lysenkoism in the USSR. In this sense one can say that Lysenkoism represented a natural side effect of shrinking of freedom of the scientific community and growing influence of political power on science. As by Frederick Seitz noted in his The Present Danger To Science and Society

Everyone knows that the scientific community faces financial problems at the present time. If that were its only problem, some form of restructuring and allocation of funds, perhaps along lines well tested in Europe and modified in characteristic American ways, might provide solutions that would lead to stability and balance well into the next century. Unfortunately, the situation is more complex, made so by the fact that the scientific establishment has become the object of controversy from both outside and inside its special domain. The most important aspects of the controversy are of a new kind and direct attention away from matters that are sufficiently urgent to be the focus of a great deal of the community's attention.

The assaults on science from the outside arise from such movements as the ugly form of "political correctness" that has taken root in important portions of our academic community. There are to be found, in addition, certain tendencies toward a home-grown variant of the anti-intellectual Lysenkoism that afflicted science in the Stalinist Soviet Union. So-called fraud cases are being dealt with in new, bureaucratic ways that cut across the traditional methods of arriving at truth in science. From inside the scientific community, meanwhile, there are challenges that go far beyond those that arise from the intense competition for the limited funds that are available to nourish the country's scientific endeavor.

The critical issue of arriving at a balanced approach to funding for science is being subordinated to issues made to seem urgent by unhealthy alliances of scientists and bureaucrats. Science and the integrity of its practitioners are under attack and, increasingly, legislators and bureaucrats shape the decisions that determine which paths scientific research should take. There is, in addition, a sinister tendency, especially in environmental affairs, toward considering the undertaking of expensive projects that are proposed by some scientists to remedy worst-case formulations of problems before the radical and expensive remedies are proven to be needed. They are viewed seriously though they are based on the advice of opportunistic alarmists in science who leap ahead of what is learned from solid research to encourage support for the expensive remedies they perceive to be necessary. The potential for very great damage to science and society is real.

Textbook racket is a part of neoliberal transformation of university education

Unfortunately a large part of the textbook market in the USA has all signs of corrupted monopoly infested with cronyism and incompetence to the extent that Standard Oil practices looks pretty benign in comparison. As the site MakeTextbooksAffordable.com states on its font page:

The report found that even though students already pay $900 year for textbooks, textbook publishers artificially inflate the price of textbooks by adding bells and whistles to the current texts, and forcing cheaper used books off the market by producing expensive new editions of textbooks that are barely different from the previous edition.

And some university professors are part of these scheme. Congressmen David Wu sites the opinion of the publisher in his letter "If a student is paying hundreds of dollars for a book, it's because the professor has ordered the Cadillac edition". But that might be true only for CS where any professor can easily find a cheaper high quality substitute from publishers like O'Reilly (and students can do this too, see Softpanorama Bookshelf actually about finding the best CS book (and some other) at reasonable prices. In other disciplines like mathematics situation is a real racket: The cost of a common calculus textbook is over $100 in the USA. This is a blatant, open rip-off. Economics is probably even worse with some useless junk selling for almost $300 per book.

In the meantime, enterprising students have many ways to cut the cost of buying textbooks.

But here one needs to see a bigger picture: low quality of recommended textbooks and, especially, the quality of university instruction makes it necessary buying additional textbooks. Also the ownership of best textbooks often makes the difference between success and failure in the particular course. In this sense additional $100 spending for books for each course makes economic sense as the common alternative is to drop the course, which often means $1K of more loss.

There are several ways to save on additional textbooks that hopefully can somewhat compensate for the low quality of tuition in a typical university. With some effort a student can often save approximately 50% of the cover price. Again my Links2bookstores page contains more information.

At the same time if the instructor is weak, or, worse, belongs to "fundamentalists", a category of instructors that does not distinguish between important and unimportant things and overloads the course with "useless overcomplexity" additional books are one of few countermeasures against this typical university-style rip-off. Dropping the course is a difficult maneuver that requires perfect timing and problems with instructor and the course content usually do not surface during the first month of the study when you can still do it for free or with minimal damage.

College textbook publishing became a racket with the growth of neoliberalism. And it is pretty dirty racket with willing accomplishes in form of so called professors like Greg Mankiw. For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200. An interesting discussion of this problem can be found at Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks'

Tim Taylor on why textbooks cost so much:

Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks: High textbook prices are a pebble in the shoe of many college students. Sure, it's not the biggest financial issue they face, But it's a real and nagging annoyance that for hinders performance for many students. ...
David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein at National Public Radio took up this question recently on one of their "Planet Money" podcasts. ... For economists, a highlight is that they converse with Greg Mankiw, author of what is currently the best-selling introductory economics textbook, which as they point out is selling for $286 on Amazon. Maybe this is a good place to point out that I am not a neutral observer in this argument: The third edition of my own Principles of Economics textbook is available through Textbook Media. The pricing varies from $25 for online access to the book, up through $60 for both a paper copy (soft-cover, black and white) and online access.

Several explanations for high textbook prices are on offer. The standard arguments are that textbook companies are marketing selling to professors, not to students, and professors are not necessarily very sensitive to textbook prices. (Indeed, one can argue that before the rapid rise in textbook prices in the last couple of decades, it made sense for professors not to focus too much on textbook prices.) Competition in the textbook market is limited, and the big publishers load up their books with features that might appeal to professors: multi-colored hardcover books, with DVDs and online access, together with test banks that allow professors to give quizzes and tests that can be machine-graded. At many colleges and universities, the intro econ class is taught in a large lecture format, which can include hundreds or even several thousand students, as well as a flock of teaching assistants, so some form of computerized grading and feedback is almost a necessity. Some of the marketing by textbook companies involves paying professors for reviewing chapters--of course in the hope that such reviewers will adopt the book.

The NPR show casts much of this dynamic as a "principal-agent problem," the name for a situation in which one person (the "principal") wants another person (the "agent") to act on their behalf, but lacks the ability to observe or evaluate the actions of the agent in a complete way. Principal-agent analysis is often used, for example, to think about the problem of a manager motivating employees. But it can also be used to consider the issue of students (the "principals") wanting the professor (the "agent") to choose the book that will best suit the needs of the students, with all factors of price and quality duly taken into account. The NPR reporters quote one expert saying that the profit margin for high school textbooks is 5-10%, because those books decisions are made by school districts and states that negotiate hard. However, profit margins on college textbooks--where the textbook choice is often made by a professor who may not even know the price that students will pay--are more like 20%.

The NPR report suggests this principal-agent framework to Greg Mankiw, author of the top-selling $286 economic textbook. Mankiw points out that principal-agent problems are in no way nefarious, but come up in many contexts. For example, when you get an operation, you rely on the doctor to make choices that involve costs; when you get your car fixed, you rely on a mechanic to make choices that involve costs; when you are having home repairs done, you rely on a repair person or a contractor to make choices that involve costs. Mankiw argues that professors, acting as the agents of students, have legitimate reason to be concerned about tradeoffs of time and money. As he notes, a high quality book is more important "than saving them a few dollars"--and he suggests that saving $30 isn't worth it for a low-quality book.

But of course, in the real world there are more choices than a high-quality $286 book and a low-quality $256 book. The PIRG student surveys suggest that up to two-thirds of students are avoiding buying textbooks at all, even though they fear it will hurt their grade, or are shifting to other classes with lower textbook costs. If a student is working 10 hours a week at a part-time job, making $8/hour after taxes, then the difference between $286 book and a $60 book is 28.25 hours--nearly three weeks of part-time work. I am unaware of any evidence in which students were randomly assigned different textbooks but otherwise taught and evaluated in the same way, and kept time diaries, which would show that higher-priced books save time or improve academic performance. It is by no means obvious that a lower-cost book (yes, like my own) works less well for students than a higher-cost book from a big publisher. Some would put that point more strongly.

A final dynamic that may be contributing to higher-prices textbooks is a sort of vicious circle related to the textbook resale market. The NPR report says that when selling a textbook over a three-year edition, a typical pattern was that sales fell by half after the first year and again by half after the second year, as students who had bought the first edition resold the book to later students. Of course, this dynamic also means that many students who bought the book new are not really paying full-price, but instead paying the original price minus the resale price. The argument is that as textbooks have increased in price, the resale market has become ever-more active, so that sales of a textbook in later years have dwindled much more quickly. Textbook companies react to this process by charging more for the new textbook, which of course only spurs more activity in the resale market.

A big question for the future of textbooks is how and in what ways they migrate to electronic forms. On one side, the hope is that electronic textbooks will offer expanded functionality, as well as being cheaper. But this future is not foreordained. At least at present, my sense is that the functionality of reading and taking notes in online textbooks hasn't yet caught up to the ease of reading on paper. Technology and better screens may well shift this balance over time. But even setting aside questions of reading for long periods of time on screen, or taking notes on screen, at present it remains harder to skip around in a computerized text between what you are currently reading and the earlier text that you need to be checking, as well as skipping to various graphs, tables, and definitions. To say it more simply, in a number of subjects it may still be harder to study an on-line text than to study a paper text.

Moreover, as textbook manufacturers shift to an on-line world, they will bring with them their full bag of tricks for getting paid. The Senack report notes:

Today’s marketplace offers more digital textbook options to the student consumer than ever. “Etextbooks” are digitized texts that students read on a laptop or tablet. Similar to PDF documents, e-textbooks enable students to annotate, highlight and search. The cost may be 40-50 percent of the print retail price, and access expires after 180 days. Publishers have introduced e-textbooks for nearly all their traditional textbook offerings. In addition, the emergence of the ereader like the Kindle and iPad, as well as the emergence of many e-textbook rental programs, all seemed to indicate that the e-textbook will alter the college textbook landscape for the better.

However, despite this shift, users of e-textbooks are subject to expiration dates, on-line codes that only work once, page printing limits, and other tactics that only serve to restrict use and increase cost.

Unfortunately for students, the publishing companies’ venture into e-textbooks is a continuation of the practices they use to monopolize the print market.

JohnH:

My understanding is that there are cases where the professor requires the textbook he wrote and for which he receives royalties...

In such cases, the publisher and the professor's interests align against the student, who pays through the teeth.

djb:

good article but i have a real problem with introductory texts on economics

they are completely biased, mostly towards supply side of the debate

meaning, of course, they are wrong

if they just contained that which is undeniably true then ok, or if they presented it as this school of thought says this and that school of thought says the other, ok,

The Raven:

A general rule of thumb: half the selling price of a book is spent before the first impression is made on paper. Speaking as a very small publisher, I think the main problem is that the texts are expensive to produce.

They take a lot of editorial and design effort, so the fixed costs of textbook production are high, the production costs are often high, and textbook bestsellers are not common, so they don't usually make it up on volume.

Now, one could, for standard freshman and sophomore texts, aim at lower costs and higher volumes, but that's not academic publishing, and nothing is going to help with upper-level texts; the market is just not that big.

pgl -> to The Raven...

Excellent! With a high elasticity of demand, the increase in quantity beats the drop in price. Unless the marginal cost of printing books is higher than I suspect it is, Mankiw's publisher is not a profit maximizing monopolist. I'm telling you the best economics is right here and we don't charge $286!

The Raven -> to pgl...

Thanks.

You'd have to market a book *hard* to get that increase in demand, though. It's not a student-by-student sale decision; the professors have to be marketed. The other thing about publishing economics that people outside the industry don't realize: most books don't make much money, so publishers rely on the good-sellers and the best-sellers for much of their profits. If you've got something you're pretty sure is going to be in demand, *you mark it up,* because in William Golding's immortal phrase, "Nobody knows anything."

Over the past 25 or so years, the consolidation of publishing has put the money types more and more in control of the business. And the money types always want to only market best sellers. This is sort of like Germany saying that everyone should make money exporting. "That trick never works."

Now, if anyone wanted to bring the price of an Econ 101 book down, one could do a no-frills book, small, soft-covered, and strictly monochrome, or perhaps an ebook. (But watch out—only some ebook readers support mathematics well.) It might cost $50 or so (I'm guessing—I'm not a textbook publisher.) It would not look impressive, and this might make a problem for marketing, but students could still learn from it. And—who knows?—it might even sell.

T.J.:

The issue is that textbook publishers release new editions every couple of years. For many subjects, including economics, this is absurd. Sciences don't change that quickly.

For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200.

Has principles of microeconomics changed that much over the course of 6 years? No, but textbook companies make a few changes on the margin and charge you hundreds of dollars for a new edition. Many times, professors require online access codes to supplement their lecture. Therefore, the student is forced into the newer edition, in which often there is no substantial differences or major improvements in presenting the material.

When you have that sort of market power, it is easy to achieve economic rents.

pgl -> to T.J....

"Sciences don't change that quickly". One would hope those freshwater books changed after their utter failures to predict the most recent recession. But they likely haven't.

cm -> to T.J....

There are errata, and some content that the author has in mind doesn't make it into the first edition, or not at the intended quality/depth. Most people who have never published something substantial have no idea how much work it is to get non-fiction scientific/technical stuff publication ready. Not only on the author's part but also editing and proofreading/giving feedback at a collegial level. (Not meaning to knock down fiction, that's a different set of challenges.)

Bill Ellis:

Two Ideas I would like to see combined. A period of Universal public service that earns a free higher and or tech education. Something like the GI bill for all.

I think making universal public service a right of passage could help us be a more unified society. If we have kids from inner city Detroit, rural West Virginia, suburban San Francisco and the oil fields of Oklahoma working side by side it would open their eyes to each other in ways that are never experienced by most American kids who are living in communities of institutional self-segregation.

Having said that.. free education is a no brainer no matter what.
To cover everyone's tuition it would only cost us about forty billion more than the feds already spend on higher ed. That's a rounding error in terms of our total budget.

We subsidize big oil and gas to the tune of about 50 billion a year.

The maddening thing is that the national debate is not even close to taking Free Ed seriously. Instead Liz Warren is portrayed some kind of wild eyed radical for proposing a modest cut in interest rates on student loans and some narrow way to get some forgiveness of debt.

John Cummings:

It is part of the educational industrial complex (which include vouchers and government backed private school industrial complex)

Educational industrial complex
Military industrial complex
Medical industrial complex
Prison industrial complex

Fred C. Dobbs:

(Evidently, 'It’s Economics 101'.)

Higher education: Why textbooks cost so much http://econ.st/1yzDU5Z via @TheEconomist - Aug 16th 2014

Students can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics”—even if they don’t read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteen fold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation (see chart, at link).

Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves. The 20m post-secondary students in America often have little choice in the matter. Small wonder textbooks generate megabucks.

But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but can’t be resold. And if all else fails, there is always the library.

Related: How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up http://t.usnews.com/a2B567 via @usnews - Aug 28, 2012

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

(A bunch of experts discuss the matter.)

Room for Debate: The Real Cost of College Textbooks http://nyti.ms/1qEHasX - July 2010

(Including a couple of economists!)

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

How to Cut Your Textbook Costs in Half -- or More-Kiplinger http://po.st/nCZsxY - August 2014

(By renting e-books, donchaknow.)

(Turns out Mankiw's Econ textbook, which
currently costs $289 in hardcover from
Amazon, can be rented in Kindle format
for a mere $173 - for 180 days.)

(Hardcover rental is $70, however.)

Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...

(Wait a second. The Federales fixed
this problem back in 2008...)

Advocates say a new set of federal provisions, aimed at driving down the cost of college textbooks, should help students this fall. On July 1, (2010) these rules took effect:

Publishers must give professors detailed information about textbook prices, revision histories and a list of alternate formats.

Publishers have to sell materials typically bundled with textbooks -- such as CDs, DVDs and workbooks -- separately so students don't have to buy them.

Colleges have to include in-course schedules with required textbooks for each class, including the book's price and International Standard Book Number, an identifying tool.

The protections, included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, are an attempt to lessen student debt, said U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., on Wednesday.

"The cost of education is of concern not only to students and families but to the nation," Durbin said, explaining why the government got involved in textbook prices. "Students are emerging with more and more debt."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/22/97931_new-federal-rules-take-aim-at.html?rh=1

Charles Peterson:

A $289 econ text is only marked up 20% ???

I'm not sure how to account for this, but I believe a full account of markup should include royalties if they have become outrageous economic rent.

Jim Harrison:

Textbooks have been outrageously expensive for a long time, though some of the prices quoted in this article were astonishing to me and I used to be in the business. Nothing much has changed. The complaints and the defenses sound very familiar. Even in the 70s and 80s, publishers groused about how the used trade hurt their sales and the suggestion was repeatedly made that one way around the trap was to produce much cheaper texts and make up the difference on volume. Unfortunately, the numbers never add up for that business plan since the major textbook publishers have huge sunk costs in the big sales forces needed to support the current model. Anyhow, good cheap books have long been available for many big undergrad courses if profs want to assign them and don't mind producing their own tests and other teaching aids. A handful of profs do just that and were already doing it thirty years ago, but they are a distinct minority.

About the revision racket: the funny thing is that old editions of textbooks are often better than more recent editions. Market research makes good books worse in much the same way that it eventually screws up software by the relentless addition of bells and whistles. I'm a technical writer these days and keep copies of several old classics at hand when I need to brush up: Feynman's lectures on physics; the first edition of Freeman, Pisani, and Purves on Statistics; the 2nd edition of Linus Pauling's Intro Chem text; Goldstein on Thermo; and a real museum piece, Sylvaner Thomas' Calculus Made Easy. Many of these books have been reprinted by Dover and are available for peanuts.

To be fair, the high price for textbooks makes more sense in some fields than in others. The three or four year revision cycle is absurd for math books since the math remains the same decade after decade, but texts in areas like molecular biology really do have to be revised frequently and substantively, a very labor-intensive task. Which is why I give a pass to the Biology editors and the folks who struggle to update the Intermediate Accounting books with the latest FASB standards.

cm -> to Jim Harrison...

Can you elaborate on the revision "paradox"? Surely not only in very new fields, the state of the art progresses, or textbook authors see a need or opportunity to include new material (I suspect somebody setting out to write a comprehensive text has more ideas what to write about than can be finished at the required quality in the required time, for the first edition).

How would the subsequent editions be worse, if the new content is driven by the author and not by external marketing considerations, unless the new material is at the expense of older material (e.g. #pages limit)?

From my very limited experience, authors who are not in it for making a profit, and who write for a small market (selling up to a few thousand copies per year is a small market) run into substantial overhead costs for editing, marketing (i.e. making the existence of the book known to the target audience), and distribution, and basically have to do the work for free. Some, and perhaps most, certainly academic, publishers have "charity" programs where they publish small editions where they at best break even or even cross-subsidize them out of "full rate" publications. Then people complain about excessive prices for the latter.

Leading Edge Boomer:

Jeebus, $286 for a textbook, from an author who is often wrong lately? I co-authored a graduate computer science text (low volume = higher cost) that retailed in the low two digits.

cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...

I will not comment on the author's merit or lack thereof, but $286 is really in "WTF" territory, for any textbook.

cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...

I once contributed to a book, and the authors/editors decided to collectively waive their royalties to hit an affordable price (and I suspect it was still a charity deal on the part of the largely academic publisher). But I got my free copy.

Jim Harrison:

At least for big market textbooks, the motive for revisions is generally financial and that's as true for the authors as the publishers. In fact, the authors are often the ones who push for new editions as their royalty checks steadily diminish. In cases where it's the authors who are reluctant to revise for whatever reason, publishers often sweeten the deal with advances, grants, or other goodies.

I don't mean to be completely cynical. Authors and editors certainly try to produce a better product when they put out new editions, and it very often happens that the second edition is better than the first. Especially in later cycles, however, the changes are usually pretty cosmetic. The editor in charge of the project solicits advice from users and potential users and comes up with a list of "improvements" in a process not entirely different than what happens when various interests in Washington get their pet provisions put in a bill. If you think that professor X is likely to adopt the text if you go along with his ideas and plug his contributions in the acknowledgements, the idea is very likely to be irresistible.

The sales force also weighs in. They want feature they can tout; but since real improvements are hard to come by, that usually means more and more pedagogy: boxes, pictures, computer programs, and umpteen forms of emphasis. Let me assure you it takes desperate ingenuity to come up with something new to add to an Intermediate Algebra textbook. "Now with a new way to factor trinomials" isn't exactly a memorable pitch. Meanwhile, after three or four editions, the author, who presumably would be the best source of serious innovation for a new edition, is generally bored to death with the project.

As I said above, there are textbooks that really do need perpetually revision for substantive reasons; but in most fields what Freshmen and Sophomores need to learn has been known for a long time. My remarks on revisions also don't apply very well to upper level texts in smaller markets, in part because students tend to hang on to serious books in their majors so the companies have less incentive to beat the used book market with new editions.

reason:

From what I remember of my university days (in the long distant past), we didn't have text books (that was for school kids). We had lectures and lists of reading materials (that if we were lucky we could find in the library and photocopy relvant sections). I did have a copy of Samualson (relatively cheap). But the emphasis was on a reading a variety of sources. What has changed, and why?

reason:

P.S. Not have text books would have the advantage of ensuring that the students attended lectures and stayed awake during them.

Jay:

No mention of the cost for this textbook...

http://www.amazon.com/Economics-Paul-Krugman/dp/1429251638/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1413545846&sr=8-2&keywords=krugman+wells

grizzled:

My own biggest peeve concerns calculus textbooks, especially introductory calculus textbooks. The material hasn't changed in at least 60 years, if not longer. If it weren't for the current ridiculously long copyright terms people could just use old ones.

The last time I took the subject our professor went to some lengths to let us use the previous edition, which was available used. The only real change in the next edition was in the problems. That is, if a student was assigned "problem 8 in section xxx" having the most recent edition was the only way to know what the problem was.

I don't see any redeeming value in this.

Bloix:

My son took an intro geology course a few years ago. The textbook price at the school bookstore was about $125. He purchased the gray market (legal) "international edition" - word for word, page for page the same, but with a different picture on the cover - over the internet for about $50.

It's my understanding that this sort of price-differential is common. Mankiw's book appears to be available in the "international edition" for $60 (soft cover).

http://www.abebooks.com/9781285165875/Principles-Economics-7th-Edition-Mankiw-128516587X/plp

Please don't tell me that publishers and authors are not making money when they sell their books for US$50 or 60 in Australia.

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov


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[Jan 15, 2019] Profit Over People Neoliberalism and Global Order eBook Noam Chomsky Kindle Store

Jan 15, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Trevor Neal 4.0 out of 5 stars Opinionated November 2, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The book, Profit over People by Noam Chomsky, Linguist turned political / social critic, is an indictment against the process of globalization currently in vogue. Supporters of U.S. International policy and trade agreements beware. If you agree with present policy then this book is not for you. However, if you seek to examine your views, or if you need data to utilize as a critique of current policy then Noam Chomsky offers a strong expose of capitalism and globalization.

The book revolves around several major themes, including an examination of neoliberalism, its definition, history, and how it is utilized in current policy. Next, Mr. Chomsky turns to how consent for neoliberalism is manufactured through institutions such as the media. He ends with a critique of U.S. Foreign policy especially in Latin America, the NAFTA agreement, and insights into the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas Mexico during the 1990's.

Mr. Chomsky uses neoliberalism as a pejorative term to connote the practices of economic liberalization, privatization, free trade, open markets, and deregulation. In 'Profit over People' it is defined "as the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit." Neoliberalism is based on the economic theories of Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and the policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

At the time of 'Profit Over People,' Neoliberalism had been the dominant economic paradigm for a couple decades. In his critique of this paradigm, Mr. Chomsky observed that it was being used to justify the corporate domination of the civic and public life of nations including the U.S. He also noted that through neoliberalism, capitalism was being equated with democracy and supporters were using this perspective to advocate for deregulation policies as well as international trade agreements. He insinuated that at the same time corporations were manufacturing consent for economic liberalization their real goal was to attempt to gain control of international markets. A quote from the introduction illustrates this theme;

"....as Chomsky points out, markets are almost never competitive. Most of the economy is dominated by massive corporations with tremendous control over their markets and that therefore face precarious little competition of the sort described in economic textbooks and politicians speeches. Moreover, corporations themselves are effectively totalitarian organizations, operating along nondemocratic lines."

Contemplating the issues Mr. Chomsky raises it is difficult to be objective with him because his argument is so one-sided. He does not have one good thing to say about the effects of globalization or trade agreements. There definitely are some negative effects of globalization, yet it raises red flags in the mind of a discerning reader when positive effects are overlooked. For example, he is very critical of NAFTA and provides evidence in support of his argument, yet his critique is before NAFTA even went into effect.

Still, although a little outdated, and opinionated, Profit over People provides important insights into the process of globalization, and who gains from the process. Mr. Chomsky raises legitimate concerns about current trends in global development, and the forces behind it. This is why I consider 'Profit over People' a book worth reflecting on.

[Jan 14, 2019] Happy countries don't elect Donald Trump as President - Desperate Ones Do!

People are ready to rebel... Stability of countries is underrated and it is easy to destroy it and very difficult or often impossible to rebuilt it.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com


John McCandlish 4.0 out of 5 stars Good book - but dinging him one star for not being bold and honest with himself October 20, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition

I encourage people to read this book. My four star rating certainly does NOT reflect my agreement with all of his points and arguments. However, debate and understanding of other viewpoints is important. Compared to many other right-wing books, Tucker I think makes a lot of valid points.

However, I am dinging him one-star because I don't think he put himself really out there. I suspect he wants to protect his viewership on Fox by not calling out Trump when appropriate. Tucker never once mention Trump where Trump does not stand for what Tucker stands for. The words civility is often mentioned; yet nothing about our President outright meanness, cruelty, and lack of civility. Also, I get and agree with the subject of Free Speech and some of the extremists on the left. Yet failing to mention the attacks on the free press from Trump illustrates his weakness to be completely objective. (Yes the MSM is liberal, but free press is still part of our democracy). Probably most important is Tucker's failure to even address tax and fiscal policy in regards to the elites. Maybe Tucker thinks a ballooning debt is okay (both Obama and Trump); and the Trump tax cut is not part of the elite structure to gain even more power. Seems odd to me.

Other noteworthy items for potential readers. Be prepared for two long rants. While I lean liberal, I had no idea what Chelsea Clinton was up to. Apparently she is destroying the world. lol. It's almost like Tucker just has a personal vendetta with her. I myself don't keep up with any President's kids. ...okay, that's a little bit of a lie. I find the SNL skits on Don Jr. and Eric very funny. Tucker's other personal vendetta is with Ta-Nehisi Coates. I got in the first two minutes Tucker didn't like the book and thought it full of holes. I didn't agree with everything Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote either just like I don't agree with everything Tucker writes; but I have rated both as four stars.

Scott Z. 4.0 out of 5 stars Missing an Action Plan October 27, 2018 Format: Hardcover

T.C. - Kudos, you absolutely nailed it with title and introduction. The first paragraph exacts our situation, and lowers down your reader ever so softly, allowing us to know: You Do Get It. Perhaps best explified with this little zinger:

"Happy countries don't elect Donald Trump as President - Desperate Ones Do!"

And, please accept a Big Thank You for taking the time to narrate your own book. IT truly is the best way to consume the content.

"Nothing is really hidden - Only ignored!!" I sincerely doubt our ruling class - which reasoned away why Trump was ever elected.. Will Ever Get This Point. Today's ruling elite's are fully insulated and it is EXACTLY the way they like it. They have it Far Too Good living in a No Answer Required reality while being fed by lobbists. Heck our leadership is so far removed, they couldn't hear the ever increasing cries for Civil Revolution that have bellowed on since at least, 2010. On the other hand, Donald Trump sure did! He campaigned exactly on this. And some of us that voted for him, are willing to bet too - The Wizards of Oz [Federal Reserve] were listening as rebels yelled with question of their secret club and it's role in this funneling - decades long downward swirel. Lest anyone forget, it was they [under FDR's New Deal] who are postured with pinnicle to shield us from another Great Depression.

So What if Trump tells lies. Don't you get it? It's FREE Speech on Steroids. He's making a statement about our First Amendment.

Your next 8 chapters... profoundly filled with deep and convincing material.. albeit, sometimes shocking in perspective... clearly articulates our reality... all of which, when glued together tells us exactly what we know: The Boat has Run Amuk!

The meaty middle of your publication... filled with oceans of content - leaves this reader to wonder which think tank supported your endevour? I mean, material like this doesn't just come from perusing the Washington or New York Post. Lastly, you give thanks to your Fox Team but come on... this is far too volumous for stellar three research artists to uncover - even if given 5 years.

Notwithstanding, it was your epilog that brought my Biggest Disappointment. Any sailor knows if you want to Right a Rolled Ship, you'll first need Force - to get the thing uprighted, and a Super Slurping Sump to get it drained. Only then, can we change how it Floats.. and which way it Sails. In fairness, perhaps you are implying the ship was uprighted by such a force back in Nov. 2016, with the election of President Trump. If so, I clearly missed that one from you.

Amazingly, with just under two years in office, his administration has made tremendous headway at operating the bilge. And, I don't think there has been another president in the history of your country who has Done More of what he campaigned on, to this point in any administration. And only the next election cycle will determine if the Coast Guard has begun sailing toward us in rescue.

With our capitalistic democracy you can't just wish the boat to flip and drain. While your "Tend to the Population" idea is both eloquent and laudable - and will help change the course once the keel is down.. it does nothing to cause money to stop flowing up the hill. When 2% of the population holds 90% of the wealth, when the outdated middle class based Income Taxation System is wrapped around a middle class that is no longer in existence, then there's little hope for the lower 10% to emerge. Heck, take this to a basic conversation about our democracy. We have lost faith in the power of our vote against the lobbists. The middle and lower class population can't spare the time to handle your decentralized suggestion even if leaders did fork over some power. We fell in the ocean long ago and are doing all we can to tread water, while fending off the circling sharks.

Sir, you know full well there is no incentive in our current democracy which will change what has been 40+ years in the making.. that which your middle 8 chapters so eloquently reveal. Oh, one or two politicians with genuine heart will try. But the two party system and all it's disfunctional glory will only laugh.

You suggest our leaders should proceed slow, that they decentralize power. Again laudable in therory, but reality suggests we stand too far devided in these "United States" and far too loudly is the call for revolution. The politicians are pandering the point!

We need to break the Democratically Elected, Capitalistically Funded - Autocratcy! Short of a mutiny, I for one have lost faith to believe anything else is going to right the ship. Rather than offer a mildly soft solution, your book needed to speak to action. And how it will get done!

R. Patrick Baugh 4.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas to ponder November 6, 2018 Format: Hardcover

Love him or loathe him (I happen to know him, and I'd describe him as a "charming rogue" after sitting next to him at dinner on several occasions), the author has some very interesting things to say about why we as a nation seem to be headed in the direction we're heading. A few of his facts that he uses to back up his ideas seem a little "let me see if I can find an obscure fact or quote to back my point up" and fly in the face of reality (which is why I only gave 4 stars), but he presents some ideas that everyone should consider - you may choose not accept them, but an open-minded, independent person would take the time to actually think about what he's saying instead of dismissing it out of hand.

[Jan 14, 2019] Carlson labeled the "1% Gang" as "globalist" schemers who could care less about the folks at the bottom - or our America. He wrote that they hide their contempt for the poor and working class behind the "smokescreen of identity politics." They are leaving us with a "Them vs. Us" society, he warned - "a new class system."

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Bill Hughes 4.0 out of 5 stars I'm giving Carlson's tome three out of five stars. November 3, 2018 Format: Hardcover Let's face it, we live in trying times. Take politics for example. Donald Trump's Right-leaning Republicans (The Repugs) couldn't be more divided from Nancy Pelosi's Liberal Democrats (The Dims) on just about every serious issue. How wide? Think Atlantic Ocean wide!

We don't need any expert to tell us that either. Things are so bad, most sane people won't bring up sensitive subjects, such as government, race, immigration, the environment, and on and on, in the company of strangers. To do so is to risk starting WWIII. Under the reign of "El Presidente," aka "The Donald," it has all gotten worse.

When I was growing up in a heavily-democratic South Baltimore, a Republican was a novelty. There was only one on my block in Locust Point. She kept a low profile. This was so even during the halcyon days of Republican Theodore "Teddy" McKeldin, twice mayor of Baltimore and twice governor of Maryland.

Things have changed dramatically. Now, my old democratic political club on South Charles Street, near the Cross Street market, "The Stonewall," a once-strong bastion for the working class, is no more. Its boss, Harry J. "Soft Shoes" McGuirk, too, has passed on to his final reward. Its loyal followers, the ever faithful precinct workers, have vanished along with it. Instead, there's a booming housing market with properties, new and old, selling in Federal Hill, and Locust Point, too, for over one half million dollars.

During my salad days, you could have bought a whole block of houses in Locust Point for that kind of money. That day is over.

The Millennials, aka "Generation Y," have flooded the area. They have also found it hard to identify with either major political party, or major institutions, according to a recent Pew Study. Bottom line: The Millennials have demonstrated little or no interest in democratic machine politics. This is not a good sign for maintaining a vigorous participatory democracy at either the local or national level.

Enter Tucker Carlson and his best-selling book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution." It couldn't be more timely with divisions in the country rising daily and sometimes leading to - violence!

The author zeroed in on America's grasping ruling clique. I like to call them "The 1% Gang." The numbers keep changing for the worse. One study shows them owning about 40 percent of the country's wealth. They own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, according to a Federal Survey of Consumers Finances.

In a recent "Portside" commentary, writer Chuck Collins, pointed out that the wealth of America's three richest families has grown by 6,000 percent since 1982. Today, they owned as "much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined." (11.02.18)

Carlson labeled the "1% Gang" as "globalist" schemers who could care less about the folks at the bottom - or our America. He wrote that they hide their contempt for the poor and working class behind the "smokescreen of identity politics." They are leaving us with a "Them vs. Us" society, he warned - "a new class system."

How did Donald Trump win in 2016? Carlson gives his spin on that controversial election: He said, "desperate" countries elect candidates like Trump. The voters were, in effect, giving the "middle finger" to the ruling class, after decades of "unwise leaders." Once the voters believe that "voting is pointless," anything can happen. Wise leaders should understand this. But after listening to Hillary Clinton perpetually whine about her losing bid, "poor Hillary," in 2016, for the highest office, I'm not so sure they do.

To underscore the charge of unwise leadership, the author pointed to the stupid decisions to "invade Iraq and bail out Wall Street lowering interest rates, opening borders and letting the manufacturing sector collapse and the middle class die." The people, Carlson emphasized, sent a strong message: "Ignore voters for long enough and you get Donald Trump." To put it another way, Hillary's "Deplorables" had spoken out loud and clear.

I especially enjoyed how Carlson ripped into the Neocons' leading warmonger, Bill Kristol. He exposed the latter's secret agenda to become the "ideological gatekeeper of the Republican party." Kristol believed the U.S. should be bombing and invading countries throughout the Middle East. His main claim to infamy was his support for the illegal and immoral U.S. invasion of Iraq. When Trump critiqued the Iraq War and its promoters, Carlson wrote "Kristol erupted." That feud continues to this day. I'm sure if Trump goes along with a US invasion of Iran, they will patch things up - quickly.

Question: Shouldn't warmongering be a "Hate Crime?"

In summing up his book, Carlson said that the "1% Gang," hasn't gotten the message. They are "fools, unaware that they are captains on a sinking ship."

Let's hope the Millennials are listening. It sure is odd, however, that this book advocating "reason" in our political life, comes from a commentator associated with a television station which is known as a bastion of unreason - Fox News! The author is an anchor on the Fox News Channel.

Although, Carlson deserves credit for blasting both the Left and Right in his book, I found some of his arguments lacking substance. Nevertheless, his main point about greedy lunatics running the country into the ground, and the need for a campaign to stop them, warrants immediate attention by an informed electorate.

I'm giving Carlson's tome three out of five stars.

[Jan 14, 2019] Liars, Leakers, and Liberals The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Jeanine Pirro

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Kenneth LeBeau 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller Russia Probe is a witch hunt! September 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Very accurate review of the agenda aimed at overturning the results of the Election of 2016. The Deep State is exposed. Corruption, deceit, bias at the upper levels of the FBI, CIA, Department of Justice, Clinton Foundation & how they attempted to undermine the President of the U.S.

[Jan 14, 2019] The Deep State How an Army of Bureaucrats Protected Barack Obama and Is Working to Destroy the Trump Agenda

OK, now Russiagate reached the level when books are written about it ;-). It is clear to any non-biased observer that a color revolution was launched against Trump by the Deep State using their stooges in Depart of Justice and FBI (Rosenstein and FBI cabal). Probably coordinated by Brennan, to who essentially McCabe and Strzok reported.
All pretention of democracy and due legal procedure were thrown into the garbage can with amazing ease. And Witch hunt was unleashed on such a scale that it would make Staling propagandists during Show Trials to blush.
It would be interesting to read a book detailing Great Britain interference and MI6 story about Steele dossier, though. See The British Role In Initiating Russiagate Shift Frequency
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Serenity... TOP 100 REVIEWER 4.0 out of 5 stars ~~ September 18, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Transparency/Checks and Balances/Civil Service Reform

First of all, I am neither a Republican or a Democrat. I have voted on the qualifications of the candidates since I was first eligible. Many years ago many. I have voted in every single election except for this last Presidential one. And, many by absentee ballot as I served 20 years in the United States Navy and am now a proud retired USN Chief Petty Officer. Notice I said except for this last election .I absolutely could not vote for either candidate.

Why? My main objection to voting for Clinton was her handling of the emails. My career in the US Navy involved handling classified material on a daily basis. And, a Top Secret clearance for the last 6 of my 20 years. And, these clearances were not given out freely. From receipt of the message to the destruction, every single step every one was recorded and upon destruction, two witnesses were required. I had more reservations about voting for her but the mishandling of the emails was the major one.

As for voting for Trump, I just could not force myself to vote for him.. Enough said.

I ordered this book to see what Jason Chaffetz , Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee had to say about the state of affairs in the US. To paraphrase the author the Deep State exists to control information available to the American public. They don't like exposure, accountability or responsibility in their tactics.

The Transportation Security Agency, the Secret Service, Whistle Blowers, the Veterans Administration problems including Phoenix, AZ, Fast and Furious scandal, illegal immigration (including catch and release), the Benghazi attack and many more topics are covered.

The Freedom of Information Act (1966) was detailed in depth including the 9 exceptions to this act. Requests doubled during the O'Bama Presidency and many requests were denied. It also appears that this is one area that needs to be reformed. And, along with that comes much more transparency in our government.

One thing I have never understood is the reason that it is so difficult to fire government employees. I did work for 3 agencies after I retired from the US Navy and found it mind boggling that it was nearly impossible. If one was fired, the Merit Protection Board stepped in to assist. The entire system of Federal Employees should be overhauled, in my opinion. And, the number of Federal employees not paying their taxes continues to increase...

Bottom line is that despite the checks and balances in the Congress, they are not being utilized. Our faith in government is gone and without faith, our nation is suffering.

After reading this, my eyes have been opened in many areas. Do I believe a Deep State exists in the US? Yes, I do. The author provides many, many examples which are backed up with statistics. Time to do major overhaul and put more transparency back in our government.

Wanted to edit by adding a few sentences...My AHA moment was when the author went with LCOL Wood (Utah National Guard) on 12 SEP 2012 to visit Benghazi. Jeremy Freeman was present and representing FOIA. He was denied access to a meeting due to his security clearance not being high enough. Who did he call to try and gain access in the middle of the night? Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton's assistant. . Didn't work as access was still denied. What was this about? It was explained in 'The Deep State'.

Highly recommended.

Note:

Nearly the last 20 % on my Kindle were acknowledgements and an Index. It was stated that the 'index does not match the edition from which it was created'. So, use the search tools for your E book instead.

Hawkeye 5.0 out of 5 stars September 27, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Feckless Congressional oversight!

This very well written, easy to read for all, book is a composition of several stories of what should be routine successful United States Congressional oversight over the last 10 years that has allow an administration to defaecate on the rule of law. In my six years in "The Swamp" I did not meet with Mr. Chaffetz but I appreciated his speaking, now writing style, and the wit that comes across in this publication.

I ordered this book last month to hear Jason Chaffetz's, Former Congressman and Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, story regarding the state of affairs of congress during the Obama Regime. To paraphrase the author the Deep State exists to control information available to the American public. They dislike "Sunshine which is the best disinfectant", accountability or responsibility in their tactics which we are seeing exposed every night for the last 2 years!

The book confirms my impressions and experience of the existence of the deep state and the governmental groups that continue to take advantage of the American taxpayer. Chaffetz provides examples where the Deep State continues to impede progress and efficiency within the US Government. He presents congress as a "Paper Tiger" with impotent and absent oversight due to a growing government. The Obama Administration had its way with congress for eight long years probably due to the poor leadership at the top, John Boehner and Paul Ryan, which allowed and undermined the authority of congress to provide oversight (US Code 192).

Chapter eight regarding Benghazi Terrorist Attack which the president, secretary of state, and the UN ambassador outright lied is very disturbing. It is a prime example of how government agencies block and distort the truth from the American peoples' representatives. If today with almost 350 million inhabitants in the country and a government three times the size of the 1960's The Deep State can successfully manipulate the events of the last ten years and the present resist movement on the Trump agenda; with a smaller government The Deep State could have conspired to assassinate our 35th president.

In several places in the book I noticed the author's animus with government employees earning more that the legislators which was my experience and exposed to during my times in and out of government. The guide in the last chapter on how to fight the Deep State is laid out with sound logic and common sense. If congress is too small as the author states to deal with this government expansion, then allow an outside agent as Judicial Watch (who seems to be more effective) perform the oversight under contract! Thank God for Jason Chaffetz for writing this must read for every taxpayer.

Aletheuo 5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic October 3, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is a GREAT book for our times. Chaffetz did this country a GREAT service by writing about his first hand knowledge on how the Deep State is destroying the United States. The book is super easy to read and very interesting, so practically anyone can understand it and "enjoy" it. Some of the things that he shares/exposes follow (it's all in the book):
1. The unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by Elizabeth Warren and her minions was "purposely designed to bypass Congress, checks, and balances, and oversight. It is funded by the Federal Reserve," which means Congress can't cut its purse strings. What does the CFPB spend its money on? No one knows, because they aren't accountable to anyone and yet the CFPB is one of the larger government agencies. This agency needs to be shut down.
2. David Nieland (DHS inspector general's office) admitted that he and his staff were directed to delay the report of the investigation of the Secret Services trysts with prostitutes in foreign countries until after the 2012 election.
3. The DOJ refuses to accept cases of contempt of Congress unless they happen to agree with the case. Furthermore, they refuse to investigate and charge Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, Lois Lerner and other corrupt individuals. These people got off scot-free with pensions and no punishments for crimes committed.
4. John Koskinen misled and lied to Congress and got off scot-free (page 90).
5. The State Department sent a "spy" to watch over and listen to former Congressman Chaffetz' overseas investigation into the Benghazi incident. This man, Jeremy Freeman, did not have the security clearance to sit in on some of the briefings, which ultimately led to a confrontation. Freeman was apparently reporting back to Clinton and her staff so that they could be aware of what information might be made public which would counter their spin (remember Rice's false claim that the Benghazi incident was entirely cause by a You Tube video).
6. The State Dept. abandoned the American heroes from Benghazi and left them overseas (page 125) and would not pay to fly them home. They had to find their own way and pay their own way. Furthermore, these men had the security clearances revoked immediately after the incident.
7. The Deep State prints thousands of pages of irrelevant material when a demand is made to turn over documents on some subject to Congress. This is a normal operational procedure for them. They only hold back the important documents that incriminate the person in question or the issue at hand. They publicly claim having turned over tens of thousands of pages of documents to Congress, but most of them are copies of websites, copies of magazine articles and other irrelevant material that has very little (or nothing) to do with the original demand.
8. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is just as reluctant to charge Hillary Clinton as was his predecessor. He has something to hide just like the rest of them (page 154). What happened to putting criminals in prison???
9. Chaffetz wrote "It's undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day." (p. 158)
10. "The Deep State benefits from illegal immigration." (page 179) This is because it requires a larger government (allowing for more Deep State cronies) to "figure" out the immigration problem and they are very good at persuading illegals to vote for socialists (Democrats).
11. G--gle, A--z-n, and the big tech firms "rent" workers from other countries and pay them very, very low salaries. These are people on H1B visas. This is all while the tech leaders are calling for higher minimum wages etc... (page 180)
12. The number one H1B visa employer in Brooklyn in 2018 is JP Morgan Chase.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The stories are compelling. The facts are there from a U.S. Congressman who served 8.5 years. It's time for all patriotic American's to make a stand and fight back against the socialist Deep State. It's time to fight their guile, their mischief, their malicious lies, and their goal of tearing down the sovereignty of the United States. I highly recommend this book. Get it. Read it. Take action now.

[Jan 14, 2019] Spygate The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Johnny G 5.0 out of 5 stars The Complex Made Easy! October 9, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Regardless of your politics this is a must read book. The authors do a wonderful job of peeling back the layered onion that is being referred to as "Spy Gate." The book reads like an imaginative spy thriller. Except it is as real a fist in the stomach or the death of your best friend. In this case it is our Constitution that is victimized by individuals entrusted with "protecting and defending it from all enemies DOMESTIC and foreign."

Tis is in many ways a sad tail of ambition, weak men, political operatives & hubris ridden bureaucrats. The end result IF this type of activity is not punished and roundly condemned by ALL Americans could be a desent into Solzhenitsyn's G.U.L.U.G type of Deep State government run by unaccountable political appointees and bureaucrats.

Elections are just for show like many trials in the old USSR. The in power Party is the power NOT the individual voting citizens. In the end this book is about exposing the pernicious activities of those who would place themselves above the voting citizens of America. ALL Americans should be aware of those forces seen and unseen that seek to injure our Constitutional Republic. This book is footnoted extensively lest anyone believes it is a polemic political offering.

JAK 5.0 out of 5 stars The truth hurts and that's the truth October 11, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This book has content that you will not see or find anywhere else. while the topic itself is covered elsewhere in large mainstream media Outlets the truth of what is actually happening is rarely ever exposed. If there was a six-star recommendation or anything higher because the truth is all that matters, he would receive it. This book is put together with so many far-left (CNN, BLOOMBERG, DLSTE, YAHOO ECT) leading news stories as being able to support the fact of what happened, it's possible to say oh well that just didn't happen but it was reported by the left and when you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together it is painfully obvious to see what happened...... If these people involved don't go to jail the death of our Republic has already happened

[Jan 14, 2019] The Russia Hoax The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump Gregg Jarrett 9788925598352 Amazon.com

The books does not answer the key question: if it was not Russian influence, who of forign powers tried to influence the election: GB, Israel, Saudi, or all three. We have solid evidence of interference of British intelligence services into the election. Which means May government interference.
Also important to understand that FBI from the very beginning was apolitical tool. Nothing new here.
This dirty political witch hunt has one major goal to cement the cracks in neoliberal society that appear after 2008 Financial crash. This attempt failed and Pateigenosse Mueller is unable to change that. Confidence in the ruling neoliberal oligarchy collapsed and problem with the inequality laid now bare.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

KB from Illinois 5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed. Raises many questions about politically motivated investigations. September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

My interest in this book occurred by chance. Over the past couple years reading news stories on sites like Yahoo News I sensed a very overt stance against President Trump. It appeared very obvious to me, but I wanted some confirmation whether these views may have validity, or perhaps not. So I started to investigate other opinions via some of the conservative talk radio shows. Up until this time, I rarely listened to them. One was the Sean Hannity Show and Gregg Jarrett was sitting in for Sean on one of the shows. He mentioned his book and I thought it sounded interesting. My basic assumption even prior to reading this book was I never felt there was any illegal Trump/Russian collusion in our recent election. I couldn't see how it would ever be done in such a way that would actually affect the voting outcome (other than if it were some kind of ballot box type fraud). So I had doubts about all the related investigations. When this book was mentioned I figured it would offer some factual information to help me understand the investigations better. It did accomplish that. And much more awareness.

One of the major items about this book is that it is well researched and documented. This made me feel somewhat comfortable about its content. There is so much misinformation making its rounds today that knowing what is truthful and what isn't can become a real guessing game. I could even ask 'Did Mr. Jarrett fabricate his sources'? At this point I will go on faith that they are real.

Based on that assumption, he presents a very hard case about the Russian collusion investigation as not being quite what the U.S.A. people are being led to believe by the media outlets. So much so, I hope this book could be a catalyst for other investigations (assuming that isn't already being planned). As summarized in this book, a major point is about federal investigative departments having integrity in performing their duties, and doing so legally and without prejudice or political partisanship. This book does raise some real concerns.

The author states at the end of the book "The people who should read this book, probably won't". Unfortunately he is probably correct. As a country we seem so divided today politically. It is my impression that anti-Trumpers will probably not want to acknowledge any conflicting thoughts or facts to their beliefs. But this book could be a great exercise in broadening one's knowledge regarding the investigations on Trump. It would show a different viewpoint than that being touted by much of the media, and has the facts backing it up. At the very least, it can provide some food for thought.

Grady T. Birdsong 5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the honest truth about corruption in our Government November 23, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

As Gregg Jarrett states in the Epilogue of this book, "The people who should read this book, probably won't... they are intellectually dishonest in believing that the president must have committed some crime in connection with Russia...There was never any plausible evidence that Trump or his campaign collaborated with Russia to win the presidency... Comey's scheme to trigger the appointment of his friend as special counsel was a devious maneuver by an unscrupulous man..."
As many of these events unfolded I have watched closely and performed my own "tests of reasonableness" from facts presented. Utilizing logic and common sense I often wondered if I was missing something? What crystal ball would have predicted that Donald Trump would run for the presidency? One example: The press told us he had been a political asset for many years and had been exchanging Intel with the Russians...
Then I heard about this book, purchased it and began reading it... I could hardly put it down... The information in it is astonishing! It is all to clear now...
Jarrett has researched, compiled and formatted an almost air-tight legal case (within this book) for prosecuting these "weasels." The astonishing levels of corruption and crimes committed by those in the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI are unprecedented. He has compiled an extraordinary amount of source information to back up his many claims throughout the book. I am totally perplexed that our so-called leaders in Congress are allowing this abuse to go unpunished... baffling? This disgraceful abuse of power documented by Jarrett will come back to haunt us! A well written expose by Mr. Jarrett!

E. Christine Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller, Rosenstein & the members of the Special Council SHOULD be on trial! November 24, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's research leaves NO DOUBT that drastic action needs to be taken to hold these people- PRETENDING to represent the law- accountable & end their "assassination" tactics on our tax dollar.
This is not Halloween, not a play. This is REALITY with our laws running amok!
And our Congress - our elected officials, supposedly servants of We, the People, - is not taking action?
How is this possible?

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The deep bias rooted in the Deep State, better known now as The Swamp October 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Incredibly well researched and well written book which explains methodically in an easy to read style the undeniable deep seated bias against President Trump at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI. They tried to first prevent him from being elected by exonerating Hillary Clinton of a long list of crimes committed during her tenure as Secretary of State and then smearing him with a politically motivated fake "Dossier". When that didn't work, they have tried to undermine his presidency from the start with an equally politically motivated Special Prosecutor investigating "Collusion with Russia" in an investigation which had no crime to investigate from the start. A must read for all Americans.

Andrew Maile 5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative, but yet digestible, read........ September 30, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This author writes with a very smooth, easy, but detailed style. The book brings in much law for the reader to digest, but, somehow, does not get a reader tangled up in the weeds. As for the thrust of the book: A detailed 'tick tock' of the day by day events that have taken America to the point we are today on this entire question of Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election.
This book really is vivid proof that the 'deep state' does emphatically exist. Not as a structure or organization with secret meetings,rituals or handshakes. But as a mentality, or common political/social view of government, stemming from the longevity of bureaucracy to feel invulnerable to popular will because of their simple edict that 'we'll still be here after you're long gone'. And from this, these bureaucrats build liaisons with favoring political elites that lead to deep, hidden, obscure --shall we say 'deep state'-- actions to pervert the popular will for the ends of a few.
This book vividly displays why bureaucrats (whose lifeblood is to promote more government) so turn their collective hand to supporting Democrats, the party of government. Yates covering for Comey and the blackmailing of Gen. Flynn, Comey leaking to a friend in Academia that provokes the appointment of his (Comey's) close associate --indeed, his mentor-- Robert Mueller. Senior bureaucrats (McCabe, Strzok) playing inside baseball to maneuver themselves for promotion in the expected new (Democratic) administration that they so much support and wish for. Indeed friendships with FISA judges to assure bogus warrants can be obtained against political enemies.
Where money and power are traded as coin of the realm in a way that is so antiseptic and hidden. Nobody says 'How much money will it take'; instead it's 'I can help you fund raise'. Rod Blagojevich was foolish enough to call a bribe a bribe...well, he's in jail, but Strzok's wife isn't.
It just goes on and on................it's simple corruption!!! And the band plays on......the human comedy continues........

JG Kuhl 5.0 out of 5 stars How about a media complicity sequel? September 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Excellent detailed and researched book that simply amazes me. Lynch, Comey, Clinton, Stzrok, Orr, Rosenstein, McCabe, Reid and Brennen all worked seamlessly to install Hillary and have a backup plan B to lay the groundwork to impeach Trump in case she doesn't make it. All under the oversight of Obama. Neat trick, but what follows is even more orchestrated: MEDIA COMPLICITY! You can't pull this off unless you have the full cooperation willingly or otherwise of: NBC, CBS, NPR, ABC, MSNBC, and most of all CNN, the New York Times, and Washington Post! Here's where the real story lies. The media and the Democrat party are simpatico, joint at the brain and mouth and one other orifice. This is the real story that Jarrett only pays passing attention to. Sequel maybe, I hope so. Jon Kuhl Papillion, NE & New England

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The Deep State Is Real September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is very thorough and completely exposes the Deep State. If there were any doubts about the conspiracy to depose President Trump before reading this book, there certainly aren't any afterwards. After reading the book, I am very disappointed and discouraged to find that our government has such liars and criminals in the FBI, the DOJ, and the Congress. I have completely lost any confidence I had in the U.S. government and will never believe in it again, unless there is a complete house-cleaning in the FBI and the DOJ.

S. Martin Shelton 4.0 out of 5 stars This attack to undermine our democracy is unparalleled in the history of our republic. October 1, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Jarrett pens a comprehensive review of the Deep State's inordinate fraud on our Constitution -- perhaps the greatest attack on our constitutional republic in the history of our country. He writes in clear and empathetic style. His narrative evolves in a coherent and logical progression that details the conspirators' skullduggery in an "ABC" type of progression. He cites exactly who violated the relevant federal statute and why and how it was violated. Unfortunately, as of 30 September 2018 -- the date I'm preparing the review -- none of the miscreants have been indicted even though the documentation of evidence is ponderous.

Larry A. Whited 4.0 out of 5 stars One Less than Five Stars August 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's study -- and that is what this book is, a study -- covers two main aspects of recent history. First and foremost it is an in-depth look at the tactics and forces arrayed against President Trump. Intertwined with this comes by necessity a parallel look at Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, her presidential run, as well as a broader look at the activities of the Clintons with the nearly full support of those same forces that are now aligned against the presidency of Donald Trump. The nature of the often overlapping issues and the personnel involved has resulted in a fair amount of repetition of key points. This was not a lazy attempt to achieve a book-length manuscript, as Jarrett's original copy by his own admission in the acknowledgments was a hefty 100,000 words before the publisher encouraged him to trim things down.

It is unfortunate that this book will be dismissed by so many who are unwilling to understand and accept that the pervasive high-level animosity against President Trump has evolved into a direct and active threat against our country -- and this threat is compounded by a complicit media that is eager to pounce. The rule of law has been twisted and contorted if not completely abandoned. Trump is the primary target, but whether by design or happenstance it is the U.S. Constitution that is being the most assaulted. The danger of this cannot be overemphasized -- we are at a critical crossroads. Gregg Jarret understands this and was motivated to bring this truth to light. He is no sycophant of President Trump. His loyalty is to the rule of law and to our Constitution rather than to political agendas on either side.

I withheld one star because a great opportunity was lost. This book will never appear in classrooms, and it will likely be stocked in few law libraries. It most certainly should be, and it needs to be read and studied. The flagrant abuses of power by the DOJ, the FBI, and others need to be brought out into a bright light and the corruption purged. As a people we need to get our head out of the sand and realize what has been going on behind closed doors -- our future is most definitely at stake. The lost opportunity that I am alluding to comes down to the expressed (albeit well deserved) disdain and disgust that Gregg Jarrett now has towards those who are participating in this hoax that he has so thoroughly revealed. I fear even the preface itself will turn away those who most need to read this book.

What will be perceived as bias before the facts are presented and developed will allow or even cause those who need to read this book to close their minds, giving them the excuse they want to dismiss the evidence. If strictly the evidence and history had alone been presented with Jarrett's (again, well-deserved) animosity being held in check and edited out, then perhaps this book could have become a classic for later generations to study assuming that we survive these perilously subversive times. I did the math, and there are 771 supporting references -- an average of 70 per chapter -- documenting Jarrett's research, plus 12 references even in the epilogue. Obviously, we are not talking about willfully blind opinion with no basis in fact.

The antagonists who post their 1-star reviews with almost all of them having obviously never read the book (Re. few verified purchases) reveal a dangerous willful ignorance that they are happy to embrace. Their mindset should concern us all.

[Jan 14, 2019] Nanci Pelosi and company at the helm of the the ship the Imperial USA

Highly recommended!
The quote below is from Tucker book... Tucker Carlson for President ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves. ..."
"... Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet. ..."
"... They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Most terrifying of all, the crew has become incompetent. They have no idea how to sail. They're spinning the ship's wheel like they're playing roulette and cackling like mental patients. The boat is listing, taking on water, about to sink. They're totally unaware that any of this is happening. As waves wash over the deck, they're awarding themselves majestic new titles and raising their own salaries. You look on in horror, helpless and desperate. You have nowhere to go. You're trapped on a ship of fools.

Plato imagined this scene in The Republic. He never mentions what happened to the ship. It would be nice to know. What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves.

The people who did it don't seem aware of what they've done. They don't want to know, and they don't want you to tell them. Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet.

They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers.

[Jan 14, 2019] Ship of Fools How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution Tucker Carlson 9781501183669 Amazon

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Don't drink and read October 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover

Don't drink wine and read this book, you'll get angry and make posts on social media that are completely accurate and your friends will hate you.

Doyle 5.0 out of 5 stars Tucker at his best October 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I am 73 and voted for Bill Clinton both times. Was heavily involved in local union as president of a local. I have witnessed the declining middle class. The loss of our critical steel industry and the SHAFTA deal as we termed it NAFTA was first started by Bush Senior adopted as a center piece by Bill Clinton and and supported by both party's. Then we witnessed the migration of jobs, factories and the middle class becoming food stamp recipients. I couldn't understand how our country willing destroyed our manufacturing jobs. I wondered how we could ever fight a world war with no Steel and Aluminum plants. I became very disillusioned with both political party's. I felt Neither party gave a dime about the real loss to our country.

When the Towers fell I witnessed how it must have been when Pearl Harbor was attacked. People actually came together the Recruiter offices were packed with both men and women wanting to extract revenge on the terrorist. Then the longest war in our history began. It saddens me to say that our wonderful country hasn't won a war since World War 2. But not because of our military but the politicians . Vietnam was a for profit war most that fought there didn't have a clue as to why we were bogged down there and not one of the Generals had any idea how to fight this terrible travesty that took over 58000 lives and uncounted lives of veterans since.

When Trump announced his bid for president he was ridiculed by the elite from both party's . He listened to the disillusioned to the workers that lost everything. When Trump won it was a shot across the bow of the powers that be.

Our president is far from perfect however he heard the masses and brought back some semblance of sanity. Once again President has given hope to our country that had been commandeered by an apologist President . Who was not respected on the world stage. Thank you Tucker for this book.

Alan F. Sewell 5.0 out of 5 stars Tucker Carlson in sharpest focus October 2, 2018 Format: Hardcover

If there's one word that describes Tucker Carlson, it is "sharp." He cuts to the core of each issue, explains it concisely, and shucks away the hidden agendas of those who want to manipulate the issue for their own self-serving agendas.

That's exactly what he does in this book. It is written conversationally, the way Tucker Carlson talks on TV. He has condensed millions of words about the advent of Donald Trump into two sentences: "Countries can survive war and famines and disease. They cannot survive leaders who despise their own people." Tucker elaborates:

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Donald Trump was in many ways an unappealing figure. He never hid that. Voters knew it. They just concluded that the options were worse -- and not just Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, but the Bush family and their donors and the entire Republican leadership, along with the hedge fund managers and media luminaries and corporate executives and Hollywood tastemakers and think tank geniuses and everyone else who created the world as it was in the fall of 2016: the people in charge. Trump might be vulgar and ignorant, but he wasn't responsible for the many disasters America's leaders created .

There was also the possibility that Trump might listen. At times he seemed interested in what voters thought. The people in charge demonstrably weren't. Virtually none of their core beliefs had majority support from the population they governed .Beginning on election night, they explained away their loss with theories as pat and implausible as a summer action movie: Trump won because fake news tricked simple minded voters. Trump won because Russian agents "hacked" the election. Trump won because mouth-breathers in the provinces were mesmerized by his gold jet and shiny cuff links.
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He covers many insights provided in other excellent books by Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, Anne Coulter, Charles Murray, and Jordan Peterson. But he brings them into the sharpest focus in his own unique way. For example, he addresses the issue of income inequality, which the Republican and Conservative Establishments seems afraid of:

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America thrived for 250 years mostly because of its political stability. The country had no immense underclass plotting to smash the system. There was not a dominant cabal of the ultrawealthy capable of overpowering the majority. The country was fundamentally stable. On the strata of that stability its citizens built a remarkable society.

In Venezuela . small number of families took control of most of the Venezuelan economy. America isn't Venezuela. But if wealth disparities continue to grow, why wouldn't it be? Our political leaders ought to be concerned. Instead they work to make the country even less stable, by encouraging rapid demographic change
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He is courageous in pointing out that excessive immigration, of the kind that Wall Street Republicans and Liberals Democrat want, is perhaps detrimental to the interests of most Americans:

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. Democrats know immigrants vote overwhelmingly for them, so mass immigration is the most effective possible electoral strategy: You don't have to convince or serve voters; you can just import them. Republican donors want lower wages.
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He talks about the social stratification of American society: that we have become an overly-credentialized society that concentrates its wealth into a tiny number of elites, while the middle class struggles far in the rea:

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The path to the American elite has been well marked for decades: Perform well on standardized tests, win admission to an elite school, enter one of a handful of elite professions, settle in a handful of elite zip codes, marry a fellow elite, and reproduce.
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Tucker castigates the corruption of Conservatives and Liberals. He characterizes Republican House leader Paul Ryan as a bought-and-paid-for tool of multinational corporations. He talks about how Liberals have also become corrupted. The old-time Liberals (like his elementary school teacher) were an affable group of socially-conscious, well-meaning, and charmingly eccentric people. Some of those Liberals are still around. But many have become the greediest of Wall Street charlatans who operate the most oppressive companies here and abroad. Even worse, they have come do despise their fellow American citizens who have been distressed by the unstable economy of recent decades:

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This is the unspoken but core assumption of modern American elites: I went to Yale and live on ten acres in Greenwich because I worked hard and made wise choices. You're unemployed and live in an apartment in Cleveland because you didn't. The best thing about old-fashioned liberals was how guilty they were. They felt bad about everything, and that kept them empathetic and humane. It also made them instinctively suspicious of power, which was useful. Somebody needs to be.
=====

Tucker concludes by explaining why the Establishments of both parties are whining about what they think is "the end of democracy" (translation: "We, the Establishment, think democracy is ending because the people won't vote for our candidates"). Then he gives the Establishment his trademark, one-sentence summation:

"If you want to save democracy, you've got to practice it."

TN_MAN 4.0 out of 5 stars Solution is Weak October 16, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Tucker Carlson does a good job, in this book, of laying out the mistakes being made by the Political Establishment in America. He takes both flavors of the Establishment to task. Both the smug, leftist Democrats and the soft Republican RINO's. I thought that I was educated on the problems being caused by this 'Ship of Fools' but Mr. Carlson informed me that things were even worse than I feared.

Where the book is weak is in the area of offered solutions. This is why I only gave it 4 stars. Mr. Carlson assumes that the Establishment set is purely driven by greed and a selfish desire for more and more power. So, his 'Solution' is to just tongue-lash them for being so greedy and selfish. He seems to assume that such shaming will force them to reform from within. This is delusional.

The Establishment is driven not only by greed and a lust for power. Many of them truly believe in a Marxist-Socialist ideology. They have taken over the education system, the legacy media, Hollywood and many big internet companies. This makes their ideology self-perpetuating. They cannot and will not reform on their own. Mr. Carlson is walking up the gangplank and joining the 'Ship of Fools' if he believes that 'self-reform' is a solution.

No, there are only two solutions. One is the election of 'disruptors', like President Trump, who will gradually reform both the Government and the Education System so as to replace Marxist-Socialism with a return to the core American principles of a Representative Republic. The other, I am sad to say, is forcible suppression of the Establishment Class by the American People. The smug elites may imagine that the police and military will support them. However, they won't do it against their own people. Especially for a ruling class that does nothing but belittle both the police and the military at every opportunity.

I truly don't want to see this second approach implemented. America already has enough blood-stained pages in her history. Nevertheless, if the Establishment and the Marxist-Socialist Education system is not reined in, it will end up with many of the Establishment Class hanging from lampposts or facing firing squads. I truly hope it does not come to that.

Not Original, But a Great Read, and a Great Primer October 28, 2018

"Ship of Fools" extends the recent run of books that attack the American ruling class as decayed and awful. However it is characterized, as the professional-management elite, the Front Row Kids, or one of many other labels, all these books argue the ruling class is running our country into the ground, and most argue it is stupid and annoying to boot. I certainly agree, and I also tend to agree with the grim prognostication in the subtitle, that revolution is coming -- that is, this will end in blood. What this book fails to offer, though, just like all these books, is any kind of possible other solution. Which, after a while, reinforces the reader's conclusion that there is no other solution.

Not a word in this book is truly original. That's not to say it's bad: Carlson is highly intelligent and well informed, and his book is extremely well written, clever, funny, and compelling. As with most current political books, Donald Trump appears often, not as himself, but as a phenomenon, whose rise deserves and requires explanation, and who therefore implicitly frames the book, though the author stops mentioning him about halfway through. Carlson's thoughts on Trump, however, are no more original than the rest of the book, the basic conclusion of which is that actions have consequences, and Trump is a natural consequence of the actions taken by our ruling class. In Greek myth, when you sow the earth with dragon's teeth, you get fierce warriors; today, when you harrow the disempowered with rakes, you get Trump.

Carlson, in his Introduction, recites a familiar litany, of the evisceration of the middle class and the emergence of the new class system, where there is a great gulf set between the ruling class and the mass of Americans. Part of the gap is money, shown by increased income and asset inequality. Part of the gap is status, as shown by behavior, such as consumption habits, but even more visible in differences in opportunity, where many desirable options are available to those who pass elite filters such as attending the right universities, and are wholly unavailable to the rest. Few people, of whatever political persuasion, would deny the emergence of this gap; it is what conclusions to draw that are in dispute.

This widening horizontal fracture between mass and elite is reflected in the political parties. The Democrats have shifted from a party of the masses, to a party focused on elite concerns, such as "identity politics, abortion, and abstract environmental concerns." They ignore existential threats to the non-elites such as the loss of good manufacturing jobs, the opioid epidemic, the dropping life span of the non-elite, and that Obamacare and crony capitalism handouts to the insurance companies and lawyers have made insurance unaffordable for the working class. The Republicans have always been more focused on the elite (until Trump), and so have shifted position less, but are no less blameless. Carlson recognizes that the common Republican talking point, that nobody in America is actually poor by historical standards, is mostly irrelevant for these purposes. Inequality is perceived on a relative scale, and it creates envy. As Jonathan Haidt has explained at length, for many people's moral views, fairness is a key touchstone, and abstract economic arguments are not an adequate response. And whatever the causes or rationales, this abandonment of the masses by both parties leaves nobody with power representing the non-elite.

Now, I think this horizontal fracture analysis of the political parties is a bit too simplistic. I see American politics as a quadrant, in which neoliberal Democrats like Hillary Clinton have more in common with elite-focused Republicans like Jeb Bush than they do with either Bernie Sanders Democrats or Trump Republicans, who have much in common with each other. Carlson collapses this quadrant into a duality, in essence lumping Clinton and Bush into one group, and Sanders and Trump acolytes into another. This conceals certain critical issues, especially between the two portions of the quadrant that constitute those excluded from the ruling class. But I suppose Carlson's main goal is to highlight the elite/non-elite distinction on which he builds his case.

The rest of the book is an expansion on this Introduction, in which history is intertwined with analysis of the present day. Carlson heavily focuses on immigration, i.e., "Importing a Serf Class." This is the issue most clearly separating the ruling class from the ruled. Democrat and Republican elites have actively cooperated to flood America with alien immigrants, legal and illegal, against the wishes and interests of the masses. Diversity is not our strength, "it's a neutral fact, inherently neither good nor bad. . . . Countries don't hang together simply because. They need a reason. What's ours?" Carlson contrasts Cesar Chavez, who hated illegal immigrants as wage-lowering scum, with today's elites, who demand illegal immigrants so they can be waited on hand and foot in their gated palaces. These changes are reflected in the official programs of the parties and in the pronouncements of their mandarins -- or they were, until Trump showed up, and modified the Republican approach. What is more, they extend now to seemingly unrelated single-issue pressure groups -- the Sierra Club, for example, now shrilly demands unlimited immigration, increased pressure on the environment be damned.

Immigration, though, is just one example of how the elites now ignore the legitimate interests of the working class. Apple treats workers (Chinese, to be sure) like slaves, but burns incense at the concerns of the elite such as gender inequality in management, so no attention is paid to the workers -- the time of Dorothy Day is long gone. Amazon treats its employees as human robots, yet nobody in power complains. Facebook corrupts our youth through deliberate addiction and is chummy with killer regimes, yet no Congressman challenges them for that. Meanwhile the Democratic Party has exiled real representatives of the masses, whom they used to lionize, such as Ralph Nader. How do the elites reconcile this behavior in their own minds? They are united in their belief that their elite status is the result of merit, what Carlson cleverly calls "secular Calvinism." The masses have less because they deserve less. That is to say, elite liberals, in particular, no longer challenge the hierarchy on behalf of the truly powerless, which is, as Jordon Peterson points out, the traditional and valid role of the Left. Instead, they denigrate the powerless, the bitter-clingers, the deplorables, while assuring themselves that because they focus on elite matters supposedly related to "oppressions," such as granting new rights to homosexuals (a wealthy and powerful group), that they are somehow maintaining their traditional role.

Carlson also covers "Foolish Wars," in which the masses die for elite stupidity, such as George W. Bush's delusion that the Arab world wanted democracy. Again, the cutting humor shows through: "One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. . . . The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans. Max Boot is living proof it's happening in America." Trump, at least in the campaign, saw the demands for ever-more foreign wars as what they are -- an abomination. The ruling classes, on the other hand, are all for more wars -- a departure from the past, especially among Democrats.

It's not just Max Boot that Carlson attacks by name. He slices up Bill Kristol for several pages. It is brutal. (I was a young intern in the White House when Dan Quayle was Vice President and Kristol his chief of staff. Kristol was a preening moron even then; unlike a fine wine, he has not improved with age.) Carlson also savages Ta-Nehisi Coates at length, although that's a bit like thrashing a man tied up in a gimp suit, too easy. Referring to Coates's miserable book, he says "It's a measure how thoroughly the diversity cult has corroded the aesthetic standards of our elite that the book was greeted with almost unanimous praise, which is to say, lying."

Next comes free speech. Liberals used to support free speech, no matter the cause; now the elite is eager to violently suppress speech that displeases them (or, more accurately, speech that threatens them by proving to be effective in eroding their power). Such suppression is primarily something pushed by the Left, though the elite Right is happy to cooperate. Carlson adduces the infamous dawn SWAT raids on conservatives by elite Democrats in Wisconsin, led by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisholm, judge Barbara Kluka, and prosecutor Francis Schmitz (who have escaped punishment, so far, unfortunately, although if the revolution that Carlson seems to predict arrives, hopefully they will be remembered). Brendan Eich and James Damore also make an appearance, as individuals persecuted by the elites, in the form of corporations, for their speech.

Carlson makes an important point here, one ignored by the odious coterie of inside-the-beltway corporate Republicans and #NeverTrumpers -- that even though they are not subject to the First Amendment, it is false that corporations who behave this way cannot or should not be disciplined. As he notes, "Government regulates all sorts of speech in the private sector." What government doesn't do is regulate speech in a way that protects conservatives -- restriction of speech is a sword used only to enforce the dominion of the Left. The Right needs to weaponize it against the Left, not to defend an abstract and unnecessary principle that is ignored when harm is done to them. As I have written elsewhere, a good place to start would be legislatively forbidding all sizeable corporations from any discrimination based on speech or other expressive action (such as donating money to a cause) that the federal government could not legally forbid (e.g.., obscenity). The law would be enforced by massive statutory damages ($500,000 per occurrence), one-way fee shifting against the companies, and a huge federal enforcement bureaucracy empowered with broad discovery powers. This would apply both to protect employees and, critically, to protect all speech and actions of the public where the corporation, such as Twitter or Facebook, offers a supposedly neutral platform for the public to make statements. It would further apply, beyond mere speech, to forbid discrimination by all entities providing services analogous to common carriers, such as payment processors, notably PayPal, and credit card processors, whose services are now being selectively denied to suppress conservative speech. In addition, online shopping platforms such as Amazon would also be deemed common carriers, not permitted to refuse to list any non-illegal good for sale if they held themselves out as acting as a seller of general merchandise, or as acting as a platform to match third-party sellers and buyers. All this would be a good start to break the power of the corporate Left; it would be a change from conservatives' belief that private businesses should be left alone, but if they won't leave us alone, there is no reason we should leave them alone.

Identity, and its uses by the ruling class, swing next into the author's crosshairs. Carlson notes the elites don't bear the costs of the "diversity cult"; the masses do. The elites whip up fear of white supremacists as a political tool, even though the sum total of real white supremacists is trivial and they have no power. That is, the elites inflame racial passions for every group but whites, not realizing how dangerous that is. Of the obvious question, why whites shouldn't organize as a group, Carlson points out that some have asked the question, "but so far they have been self-discrediting: haters, morons, and charlatans. What happens when someone calm and articulate does it?" I am not eager to find out, but we are probably going to.

And, on feminism, Carlson notes the inconvenient truth that women are far less happy, as reported by the University of Chicago's longitudinal General Social Survey, than they were forty years ago, and that those with traditional views of gender roles are much happier, in general and in their marriages, than their harpy cousins. The latter, though, are dominant in the elites; Carlson names here names and shames Sheryl Sandberg. Moreover, the elites mandate a focus on their obsessive concerns about sexual behavior, including demanding the masses endorse claims utterly divorced from reality. "Men posing as female weight lifters isn't the biggest problem Western civilization faces, but it's an ominous symptom of deeper rot. When the people in charge retreat into fantasy, and demand that everyone else join them there, society itself becomes impervious to reality." Non-elite men, meanwhile, are treated like dirt, can't find jobs, and die at ever-younger ages, and the elite doesn't care -- in fact, it (mostly) discreetly celebrates. Finally, on environmentalism, elites don't care about the actual environment, cleaning up the trash, but rather about abstractions like supposed global warming, while they urge their private jets to greater speed.

It is a fast and compelling read. True, every so often Carlson missteps when talking about history. No, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the crown prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, assassinated in 1914, was not "a second-string Austrian nobleman." Nor is it even remotely true that "Divide and conquer. That's how the British ruled India." Equally untrue is that "The right to express your views is the final bulwark that shields the individual from the mob that disagrees with him." The right to own and carry effective military weaponry, enshrined in the Second Amendment, is that right. Speech is a distant second as a bulwark. For a very smart man, Carlson seems to avoid any but recent history, and given these examples, that is probably a wise choice for him.

OK, so far, so good. The book is worth reading -- as I say, nothing original, but for those not attuned to such matters and looking for a primer, an excellent read. I eagerly looked forward to the last chapter, or rather the Epilogue, "Righting the Ship." That was a mistake. It is less than two pages. It offers bad history, suggesting that the only two alternatives are a system of oppressive rulers and oppressed serfs, and democracy. The former, supposedly, is the norm; our democracy is special, but it is under attack. Carlson therefore offers us, or rather our ruling class, two options: suspend democracy, or "attend to the population . . . If you want to save democracy, you've got to practice it." The alternative is likely civil war.

This is not helpful. Leaving aside that democracy is far from the only system that has provided a proper equilibrium between the ruling class and the masses (as Carlson himself admits when talking at length about the disappearance today of noblesse oblige), Carlson offers no reason at all for the ruling classes to take his advice. Why would they? Even if they accepted his analysis, which they don't, and won't, there is zero historical example of a late-stage ruling class reforming itself voluntarily. Carlson's Epilogue is just so much space filling. I suspect he knows that, too, which is why his Introduction is longer and more apocalyptic -- because he thinks that rupture is the future, and only hopes it will involve minimal violence. Rupture is almost certainly inevitable, but the end result is unlikely to be the saving of democracy as it exists now, since democracy is an inherently unstable system and at least partially responsible for the core fact of which Carlson complains, the rot of the ruling class. Thus, this book is a decent introduction to the topic of ruling class vice and decay, but no more. 16 people found this helpful Helpful 1 1 comment Report abuse

R. Larry Overstreet 4.0 out of 5 stars, November 1, 2018

Enlightening, but with Frustrations I like to watch Tucker Carlson's show on the Fox network. This book reads just like his opening monologues on his show, and I think that some (maybe much) of its content is a direct spinoff from that show. His writing sounds just like he speaks on his program. It is terse, compact, and often riveting. It is well written, and I did not observe any "typos" in its pages. He also provides excellent summaries of a wide ranging set of topics. For all of that, I would give the book a 5 star rating.

However, the book has a serious weakness for anyone who desires to use it to identify sources either easily or accurately. For examples, Tucker often directly quotes individuals (using quotation marks) but does not provide the sources where he obtained the quoted information. Many times he will refer to articles in Time magazine, or the Washington Post, or the Los Angeles Times, etc., but does not give the author of the articles, nor the titles, nor the dates. This makes a reader wonder precisely what those sources are. I recognize that Tucker is writing for an "ordinary reader," but for any reader who desires to have precise source data, this book is completely lacking. For that reason, I gave it a 4 star rating.

Amazon Customer 4.0 out of 5 stars, October 14, 2018

Eye opening

Being pre-baby boomer (1943) I have witnessed most of this. I guess I was aware on some level but not until Bill Clinton did I really start to pay close attention to political slide that is so evident now. Much of the Democratic screed is utter BS but to youngsters it is new, exciting and entirely believable because they have no from of reference.

Vantage2020 4.0 out of 5 stars October 24, 2018

Tucker Will Make You Angry

The average liberal, democrat, or progressive might want to avoid this book unless they possess a fair amount of courage. I'm talking about the courage to have their world view challenged. About what, you ask? A short, partial list includes immigration, racism, environmentalism, global warming, and the first amendment. And left wing folks are not the heroes of the piece. Then again, this book is not full of heroes. But the elites and ruling classes, most--but certainly not all--of whom are are left wing as described here--consistently occupy the roles of the villains in Ship of Fools. Tucker writes clearly and concisely in sketch and essay format. Each topic he tears into, and there are many, ends up shredded, in ruins when he's done with it and moves on. My only regret as he angers me about one issue and then the next is that he fails to offer solutions. I believe that's from whence the anger emanates. Readers might like to read that there is something obvious, if not easy, they can do to correct the moronic and hypocritical deeds the elites have bequeathed to the rest of us.

EastTexasGal 4.0 out of 5 stars October 22, 2018

Appreciated the History

Being a fairly regular viewer of Tucker Carlson Tonight, I had heard a.lot of his views on, e.g., Environmentalism, Gender Issues, Feminism, etc. What I appreciated about his book was that he explained how, when and why these became issues for America and the process by which so many good ideas have been derailed by greed, personal agendas, and selfishness.

Ocean View Retiree 4.0 out of 5 stars October 27, 2018

But what do we do?

On balance, he's right! ! I'm a great fan of Tucker Carlson on TV; he routinely takes on the lip flappers in the same way he does in this book. Every night. Five nights a week. And to what end?

The subject is hypocrisy, pure and unadulterated. It won't change, no matter what. Reading books like it only serves to frustrate me because people like Tucker know what's going on and we are all powerless to do anything about it. Yes, I'll vote and go to meetings, but it's all so miniscule.

Keep on truckin Tucker. Maybe someday somebody will listen.

Medusa 4.0 out of 5 stars October 23, 2018

Moving right along until.....

My copy of the book went from page 184 to 217, which is bad enough, but from page 217 onward it was a rehash of Chapter 6. Fortunately, I also purchased the CD or I would never know what else Tucker had to say. Amazon, look into this!

The book itself, what I could read of it, is right on. He says we're on the brink of revolution. I think we're already there. We are no longer a republic; we are an oligarchy, IMO. Tucker points out the reasons why. Much of what he says in the book you have probably heard him say on his show. That may prevent you from buying this book but sometimes repetition is good, especially when it's on subjects that address our imminent demise as a sovereign nation if we don't wake up. Tucker is not an alarmist; he's a realist. Liberals will hate this book b/c truth hurts.

Dr. Russell Warren 4.0 out of 5 stars December 9, 2018

Only one paragraph on the last page devoted to the solution? Shameful

I give Mr. Carlson a four for his succinct statement of the major political/social problem of our society. It can be found in the preface and itself is a major contribution to understanding society's major challenge and the imperative to address it.
95% of the book is devoted to fleshing out the problem. But this section is much too verbose. Also Carlson tucks in his pet opinions uch as his belief that global warming is not happening. That is not at all essential to his argument. Whatever side one is on, the pet opinions distract from the imperative of the fundamental problem and tend to be divisive.

He gets one star for the solution to the problem. It is covered in the last paragraph on the last page. One might hope that almost half of the book might be devoted to it. After all, it does little good to identify a problem and then leave the reader to fend for himself in solving it. The absence of his thinking about it makes one wonder how serious he is in addressing society's greatest challenge. This book needed an enlightened and heavy-handed editor.

[Jan 14, 2019] Beware of billionaires and bankers bearing gifts: In education, philanthropy means Billionaires buying the policies they want

that's how neoliberalism was installed in the USA
Notable quotes:
"... quelle surprise ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Paradox of Privilege

"Winners Take All" is one of several recently published books raising difficult questions about how the world's biggest donors approach their giving. As someone who studies, teaches and believes in philanthropy, I believe these writers have started an important debate that could potentially lead future donors to make make a bigger difference with their giving.

Giridharadas to a degree echoes Ford Foundation President Darren Walker , who has made a stir by denouncing a " paradox of privilege " that "shields (wealthy people) from fully experiencing or acknowledging inequality, even while giving us more power to do something about it."

Like Walker , Giridharadas finds it hard to shake the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke of "the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary."

To avoid changes that might endanger their privileges, mega-donors typically seek what they call win-win solutions. But however impressive the quantifiable results of those efforts may seem, according to this argument, those outcomes will always fall short. Fixes that don't threaten the powers that be leave underlying issues intact.

Avoiding Win-Lose Solutions

In Giridharadas's view, efforts by big funders , such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation , to strengthen public K-12 education systems by funding charter schools look past the primary reason why not all students learn at the same pace: inequality .

As long as school systems are funded locally, based on property values, students in wealthy communities will have advantages over those residing in poorer ones. However, creating a more equal system to pay for schools would take tax dollars and advantages away from the rich. The wealthy would lose, and the disadvantaged would win.

So it's possible to see the nearly $500 million billionaires and other rich people have pumped into charter schools and other education reform efforts over the past dozen years as a way to dodge this problem.

Charters have surely made a difference for some kids, such as those in rural Oregon whose schools might otherwise have closed. But since the bid to expand charters doesn't address childhood poverty or challenge the status quo – aside from diluting the power of teacher unions and raising the stakes in school board elections – this approach seems unlikely to help all schoolchildren.

Indeed, years into the quest to fix this problem without overhauling school Paying for Tuition

Bloomberg's big donation raises a similar question.

He aims to make a Johns Hopkins education more accessible for promising low-income students. When so many Hopkins alumni have enjoyed success in a wide range of careers, what can be wrong with that?

Well, paying tuition challenges millions of Americans, not just the thousands who might attend Hopkins . Tuition, fees, room and board at the top-ranked school cost about $65,000 a year.

Only 5 percent of colleges and universities were affordable , according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy, a nonpartisan global research and policy center, for students from families earning $69,000 a year or less.

Like Giridharadas, the institute argues paying for college is "largely a problem of inequity."

Bloomberg's gift will certainly help some people earn a Hopkins degree. But it does nothing about the bigger challenge of making college more affordable for all in a country where student debt has surpassed $1.5 trillion .

One alternative would be to finance advocacy for legislative remedies to address affordability and inequity. For affluent donors, Giridharadas argues, this could prove to be a nonstarter. Like most of what he calls " win-lose solutions ," taking that route would lead to higher taxes for the wealthy.

Subsidies for Gifts from the Rich

Similarly, who could quibble with Bezos spending $2 billion to fund preschools and homeless shelters? Although he has not yet made clear what results he's after, I have no doubt they will make a difference for countless Americans.

No matter how he goes about it, the gesture still raises questions. As Stanford University philanthropy scholar Rob Reich explains in his new book " Just Giving ," the tax break rich Americans get when they make charitable contributions subsidizes their favorite causes.

Or, to phrase it another way, the federal government gives initiatives supported by Bezos and other wealthy donors like him preferential treatment. Does that make sense in a democracy? Reich says that it doesn't.

me title=

The elected representatives in democracies should decide how best to solve problems with tax dollars, not billionaires who are taken with one cause or another, the Stanford professor asserts.

That's why I think it's so important to ask the critical questions that Giridharadas and Reich are raising, and why the students taking my philanthropy classes this semester will be reading "Winners Take All" and "Just Giving."

Editor's note: Johns Hopkins University Press provides funding as a member of The Conversation US, which also has a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. The Gates Foundation is a funder of The Conversation Media Group.


tongorad , January 11, 2019 at 10:35 am

In education, philanthropy means Billionaires buying the policies they want. Re Bill Gates, Eli Broad, DeVos, etc,

Adam Eran , January 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm

None of the common tactics of the "reformers" have scientific backing. So (union-busting) charter schools, merit pay (because teachers are motivated by money), and testing kids until their eyeballs bleed are all bogus, and do not have an impact on educational outcomes.

The plutocrats have even funded a propaganda film called "Waiting for Superman" in which Michelle Rhee applies "tough love" to reform failing Washington D.C. schools, firing lots of teachers because their students' test scores didn't make the cut, etc.

Waiting for Superman touts the Finnish schools as the ones to emulate and they are very good ones, too. Omitted from their account is the fact that Finnish teachers are tenured, unionized, respected and quite well paid.

So what does correlate with educational outcomes? Childhood poverty. In Finland, only 2% of their children are poor. In the U.S. it's 23%.

The problem is systemic, not the teachers, or the types of schools.

L , January 11, 2019 at 10:52 am

In some sense this is nothing new. Back when Pittsburgh was a network of steel mills and mine tailings Carnegie funded meuseums, libraries, arboretums, and strike-breakers who shot workers that complained. He was public about the need to "give back" and made a point of demanding that the places were open on Sundays because he forced his workers to do 12 hour days six days a week.

No doubt he may have felt he was helping, and no doubt the institutions have been and still are a positive benefit, but they also did nothing to attack the root cause of the suffering nor did they make any fundamental change in society. That would upset his apple cart. By the same token the fact that private donors needed to fund public institutions was based upon the simple fact that they had all the money.

It is also notable that some of the more recent endeavors such as Gates' tech-driven charter schools, or Facebook's donation to the same, or for that matter Apple's donation of iPads to LAUSD have a direct commercial component. The intial gift may be free but in the end it is market-making as much of the cash routes back to the company. They may genuinely believe in the solution but the financial connection is also clear.

More interesting though Pierre Omidyar who combined his business and "philanthropy" more directly by putting money into a foundation that then invests in startups he runs which "do social good" or which sell technology to those that do so.

Ultimately Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos may have more to play with than Carnegie ever dreamed of but at the end of the day much of what they are doing is the same, starving necessary institutions of funds, smoothing out the rough edges of their PR (especially when, like Bezos, they are in the crosshairs), and then peddling "solutions" that look good but only reinforce the conditions that make them rich.

JerryDenim , January 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm

" have a direct commercial component. The intial gift may be free but in the end it is market-making as much of the cash routes back to the company."

How true, but you might not even be cynical enough. Back in 2012 (I believe) there was reportage about large banks quitely lobbying Bloomberg to make big cuts to the New York City's funding of local charities and non-profits. Several million dollars were cut as a result of the austerity lobbying by the banks. The same week the food pantry where I volunteered, which lost $40,000 of City funding if memory serves me correctly, received a "generous" gift of a folding table from Citibank. My wife who at the time worked at a large non-profit dedicated to community issues in the South Bronx, had to attend a presentation by a Citibank employee with a name like "How the Nonprofit Community Has Failed the Community". Her attendance was a courtesy demanded in exchange for a several thousand dollar donation from Citibank to her nonprofit. Her non-profit lost much more in funding from the City due to the banks' lobbying efforts, and surprise surprise, what was the main thrust of the Citibank presentation? How micro-finance lending can help historically marginalized communities of course! My wife's organization was engaged in several programs aimed at encouraging and aiding entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Citibank saw local non-profits that were helping the community keep their collective heads above the water as competition. Their programatic work was harmful to the bank's business model of luring people into odious debt by promulgating an environment of despair and desperation.

Beware of billionaires and bankers bearing gifts. Their vast fortunes should be trimmed down to size with taxation/force and distributed democratically according to the needs of the community, not the whims of the market or the misguided opinions of non-expert, know-it-all billionaires who have never lived nor worked in the communities they claim to care about.

Montanamaven , January 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Charity makes people supplicants which is a form of servitude. "Thank you kindly, sir, for you gracious gift." That is not a "free" society. We should have a society where no one needs some good folks' trickle downs. A basic guaranteed income might work better than the system we have now especially with an affordable heath care system. It would eliminate food banks and homeless shelters and jobs involving making lists and forms and graphs for the Medical Insurance Business. And it would eliminate a lot of other stupid and bullsh*t jobs. Yes, I've been rereading David Graeber's "Bullsh*t Jobs."

chuck roast , January 11, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Several years ago I collected signatures for Move to Amend, an organizations which advocates for an anti-corporate personhood amendment to the US Constitution. I learned two things:
1. ordinary citizens 'get it' about corporations running the show, and they are enthusiastic about bringing them to heel, and
2. ordinary citizens who work in 501(c)3 non-profits are far less enthusiastic about the possible withering away of their cozy corporate dole.
So, while the giant vampire squids of the world drift lazily along on a fine current of their own making, keep in mind that there are huge schools of pilot fish that depend on their leavings for survival. All of these small fish will surely resist any effort to tenderize this calamari.

drHampartzunk , January 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm

No one said it better than William Jewett Tucker, a contemporary critic of Carnegie:

"I can conceive of no greater mistake, more disastrous in the end to religion if not to society, than of trying to make charity do the work of justice."

David in Santa Cruz , January 11, 2019 at 8:28 pm

This was a terrific post on a very important issue.

Even in my insignificant little burg we have experienced this problem first-hand. A local Charter School was doing a very good job of "keeping out the brown people" and publishing a "walk of shame" of all who made "voluntary" contributions to their coffers, thus "outing" those who didn't (the California constitution forbids schools that spend public money from requiring fees). They even went so far as to hire a Head of School from one of the last Mississippi Segregation Acadamies, just in case their "mission" wasn't clear. Admission was by lottery ("because lotteries are fair!"), unless you happened to be on their massively bloated and self-appointed Board (including influential local officials, quelle surprise !). Those with learning differences or languages other than English were "strongly discouraged" from even applying.

The Charter covered their operating budget with all those "voluntary" contributions, and had sequestered all the cash squeezed out of the local public schools, in order to buy an office building (because kids just love preparing for the world of work by going to school in office buildings!). A local billionaire whose name rhymes with "Netflix" bailed them out with a $10M donation for the building when it appeared that some in authority might look askance at who would be the beneficiaries of this insider real estate deal using skimmed-off public monies.

Scratch a Charter School and 9 times out of 10 there's a real estate deal underlying it ("Because, the children !"). Billionaires should have no more influence than any other individual voter in making public policy.

orange cats , January 13, 2019 at 9:45 am

Grrrrr, Charter Schools are making me angry. The real estate deal(s), you mention are absolutely true. Here's another sweet scheme in Arizonia: "The Arizona Republic has reported that Rep. Eddie Farnsworth stands to make about $30 million from selling three charter schools he built with taxpayer money.
The toothless Arizona State Board for Charter Schools approved the transfer of his for-profit charter school to a new, non-profit company. He might collect up to $30 million -- and maybe even continue running the operation in addition to retaining a $3.8 million share in the new for-profit company.

The Benjamin Franklin charter schools operate in wealthy neighborhoods. The 3,000 students have good scores and the schools have a B rating. But that's not surprising, since most of the parents have high incomes and college educations. If the schools are like most charters in the state, they're more racially segregated than the campuses in the surrounding school districts. The state pays the charter schools $2,000 per student more than it pays traditional school districts like Payson -- which is supposedly to make up for the charter's inability to issue bonds and such.

However, converting the charters to a non-profit company will enable the schools to avoid property taxes and qualify for federal education funds. Taxpayers will essentially end up paying for the same schools twice, since taxpayers have footed the bills for the lease payments to the tune of about $5 million annually. Now, the new owners will use taxpayer money to finance the purchase of buildings already paid for by taxpayers."

drHampartzunk , January 11, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Stevenson school in Mountain View CA, a public school with PACT (parents and children together), has a lottery. Its students are 70% white. Across the street, Theuerkauf, which does not have PACT, is 30% white and no lottery. And a huge difference in the two schools test scores. Smells illegal.

Also, Google took the former building of the former PACT program hosting school, which resulted in this grotesque distortion of the supposed public service the school district provides.

Michael Fiorillo , January 12, 2019 at 9:09 am

As a former NYC public school teacher who fought against the billionaire-funded hostile takeover of public education for two decades, I'm gratified to see the beginnings of a harsher critique of so-called philanthropy, in education and everywhere else.

But the next hurdle is to overcome the tic of always qualifying critique and pushback with talk of the "good intentions" of these Overclass gorgons. Their intention are not "good" in the way most human beings construe that word, and are the same as they've always been: accumulation and establishing the political wherewithal to maintain/facilitiate the same. This hustle does the added trick of getting the public to subsidize it's own impoverishment and loss of political power (as in Overclass ed reformers funding efforts to eliminate local school boards).

When there is near-total congruence between your financial/political interests and the policies driven by your "philanthropy," the credibility of your "good intentions" transacts at an extremely high discount, no matter how much you try to dress it up with vacuous and insipid social justice cliches. For a case in point, just spend five minutes researching the behavior and rhetoric of Teach For America.

Malanthropy (n): the systemic use of non-profit, tax-exempt entities to facilitate the economic and political interests of their wealthy endowers, to the detriment of society at large. See also, Villainthropy.

Mattski , January 12, 2019 at 11:07 am

The critical thing, I have found, is to see "philanthropy" and charitable endeavor as a cornerstone of capitalism, without which the system would–without any doubt–fail. Engels and others documented, contemporary scholars have continued to document, the way that the wives of the first factory owners established almshouses and lying in hospitals where the deserving poor were separated from the undeserving, dunned with religion and political cant, and channelled into various forms of work, including reproductive labor. A very big piece of the neoliberal puzzle involves the rise of the NGO during the Clinton/Blair period, and its integration with works of the like of the IMF and USAID, the increasing sophistication of this enterprise which has at times also included union-busting (see Grenada in the aftermath of the US invasion) and worse. As a State Department function, the Peace Corps integrates the best of charity, grassroots capitalism, and good old Protestant cant.

Spring Texan , January 12, 2019 at 5:54 pm

I've read the Winners Take All book and it's terrific! Even if you understand the general outlines, the author will make you see things differently because of his intimate knowledge of how this ecosystem works. Highly recommended! Also recommend his twitter account, @AnandWrites ‏

He's really good on "pinkerizing" too, and "Thought Leaders" and how they comfort the comfortable.

[Jan 14, 2019] The neoliberal European Union is dead, but it does not know it yet

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

At this point, deja vu mind-set returns to teach a powerful lesson. Having once witnessed a major historical reversal, one knows that historical determinism isan illusion -- opium for people on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Machiavelli insisted that surrender is a bad idea because we never know what surprises fortune may have in store for us. In Machiavelli's view, there are "good times" and "bad times" in politics, and the good ruler is not one who can fend off the "bad times" so much, as one who has accumulated enough goodwill among citizens to help him ride out those bad times.

The argument of this short book is that European Union is going through a really bad time today, torn apart by numerous crises that damage confidence in the future of the project among citizens across the continent. So the disintegration of the union is one of the most likely outcomes.

[Jan 14, 2019] Amazon.com Power Politics (Second Edition) (9780896086685) Arundhati Roy Books

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Luc REYNAERT 5.0 out of 5 stars Dissent is the only thing worth globalizing October 29, 2009 Format: Paperback

For A. Roy, a writer has the responsibility to take sides overtly.
In these violent diatribes, she tears the masks of the `missionaries to redeem the wretched' and of those preaching privatization and globalization as the one and only solution for the whole world's economic problems.

The hypocrisy of globalization
For A. Roy, globalization has nothing to do with the eradication of poverty. It will not pull the Third World out of the stagnant morass of illiteracy, religious bigotry or underdevelopment. In India, 70 % of the population still has no electricity and 30 % is still illiterate.
Globalization means crudely and cruelly `Life is Profit'. `Its realm is raw capital, its conquest emerging markets, its prayers profits, its borders limitless, its weapons nuclear.'
Privatization (of agriculture, seeds, water supply, electricity, power plants, commodities, telecommunications, knowledge) consists only in the transfer of productive public assets from the State to private interests (transnational corporations).
The globalization's economic agenda `munches through the economies of poor countries like a cloud of locusts.' One example: by hugely subsidizing their farm industries, the rich countries put impoverished subsistence farmers in the Third World out of business and chase them into the cities.

The hypocrisy of the war against terrorism
For A. Roy, the rich countries are the real worshippers of the cult of violence. They manufacture and sell almost all the world's weapons and possess the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, nuclear).
At the head of ICAT (The Coalition Against Terror) stays a country which spends mind-boggling military budgets to fight a few bunches of manipulated terrorists created by the hegemon himself. It committed `the most of genocides, ethnic cleansing, and human rights violations. It sponsored, armed and financed untold numbers of dictators and supports military and economic terrorism.' Its aim is full spectrum dominance.
But, as Paul Krugman remarked, the replacement of the Cold War issue by the (manipulated) terrorism one as a justification for massive military spending was (and is) a very big failure.

Arundhati Roy's bitter and angry texts are a must read for all those who want to understand the world we live in.

C. Mclemore 4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh take on globalization June 1, 2003 Format: Paperback

Arundhati Roy bristles at being called a "writer-activist" (too much like sofa-bed, she says), but the rest of us should be grateful that the author of "The God of Small Things" is taking on the establishment, here and in India.
Part of Mrs. Roy's greatness is that she is not colored by the partisan debates that influence the dialogue on issues such as globalization in America. She is an equal-opportunity critic, taking on Clinton and Bush. Although other authors pledge no allegiance to either side of the aisle, Roy has a fresh perspective, and has a take on globalization that I haven't found in works by American authors.
This book is set up as a collection (a rather random collection) of several essays. The first essay gives a wonderful perspective of globalization (ie. the expansion of American business interests) from a foreign perspective. She examines the impact of the global economic movement on the actual people being affected by it at the lowest level. She reveals the influence of the privatization of the electric industry through the eyes of India's poorest citizens.
The second essay goes in-depth into politics in India, primarily addressing the enormous number of dams being built in the country, and the impacts (economic, environmental, social) that they will have. Mrs. Roy explicitly recounts how Enron scammed the Indian government into building new power generators, and how this will cost India hundreds of millions per year while lining the pockets of American business interests.
Critics will say that "Power Politics" is devoid of hard facts and analysis, but there can be no doubt that this book is worth a read. She may lack the economic background of Stiglitz, but her passion and style, in addition to her ability to articulate the important issues in the globalization debate in a readable manner, will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in global economic expansion.

[Jan 13, 2019] There was no mistaking what had just happened. Elizabeth wasn't merely asking him to get out of her office. She was telling him to leave the company -- immediately. Mosley had just been fired

Jan 13, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Mosleys unease with all these claims had grown since that morn- ing's discovery. For one thing, in his eight months at Theranos, he'd never laid eyes on the pharmaceutical contracts. Every time he inquired about them, he was told they were "under legal review." More important, he'd agreed to those ambitious revenue forecasts because he thought the Theranos system worked reliably.

If Elizabeth shared any of these misgivings, she showed no signs of it. She was the picture of a relaxed and happy leader. 'Ihe new valuation, in particular, was a source of great pride. New directors might join the board to relied the growing roster of investors, she told him.

Mosley saw an opening to broach the trip to Switzerland and the office rumors that something had gone wrong. When he did, Elizabeth admitted that there had been a problem, but she shrugged it off. It would easily be fixed, she said.

Mosley was dubious given what he now knew. He brought up what Shaunak had told him about the investor demos. They should stop doing them if they weren't completely real, he said. "We've been fooling investors. We can't keep doing that."

Elizabeth's expression suddenly changed. Her cheerful demeanor of just moments ago vanished and gave way to a mask of hostility. It was like a switch had been flipped. She leveled a cold stare at her chief financial officer.

"Henry, you're not a team player," she said in an icy tone. "I think you should leave right now."

There was no mistaking what had just happened. Elizabeth wasn't merely asking him to get out of her office. She was telling him to leave the company -- immediately. Mosley had just been fired.

[Jan 07, 2019] Christianity and Neo-Liberalism- The Spritiual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond- Paul M. Elliott- 9780940931688- Amazon.com- Books

Aug 22, 2014 | www.amazon.com

A CALL (FROM A FORMER RULING ELDER) FOR LOCAL CONGREGATIONS TO SEPARATE FROM THE OPC

Paul M. Elliott is president of TeachingTheWord Ministries, and is the principal speaker on The Scripture-Driven Church radio broadcast; he is a former Ruling Elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and has written other books such as A Denomination in Denial (An Evaluation of the Report of the Committee to Study the Doctrine of Justification of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church) .

He wrote in the first chapter of this 2005 book, "Like cancer in the human body, liberalism in the body of the church begins undetected and unrecognized. By the time Christians recognize the cancer of liberalism and are stirred to action, often it is too late to stop its deadly progress. The damage has been done, and a spiritual crisis is upon the church. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church [OPC] is now in such a spiritual crisis, and the crisis has spread well beyond it. The crisis centers on the conflict between authentic Biblical Christianity and an Antichristian counterfeit. The church needs to understand the nature of this crisis, how it came about, its deadly effects, and what Scripture says must be done. That is the purpose of this book." (Pg. 11-12) He adds, "we shall see how present-day neo-liberalism strikingly parallels the old liberalism, but with contemporary points of emphasis and new subtleties we shall examine neo-liberalism's corrupting influence on the OPC and other denominations." (Pg. 15-16) Significantly, he adds, "this book is a call to recognize the dangers of remaining in the OPC, and to acknowledge that the time has come to separate from it." (Pg. 28)

He is strongly critical of Norman Shepherd [e.g., The Call of Grace ]: "Norman Shepherd and those who follow his errors substitute the waters of baptism for the blood of Christ. They teach, in effect, that God's covenant is a covenant in water, not blood." (Pg. 53) He adds, "In God's economy, faith and works are mutually exclusive in justification; mingling the two is impossible but Shepherd says that the impossible is not only possible, but necessary. He redefines faith to be 'faith-plus.' He erects a false doctrine of justification that un-Scripturally packs all sorts of works into the 'saving faith' which he equates with 'justifying faith.'" (Pg. 55)

He asserts, "neo-liberals pretend to be what they are not, and profess to believe what they do not Neo-liberals profess salvation by faith in Christ alone, but they teach salvation by Christ plus man's faithfulness. Neo-liberals profess to believe in the authority of Scripture, but they teach the primacy of human scholarship Neo-liberals profess to preach the all-sufficiency of His obedience for the salvation of souls. Neo-liberals profess to believe in full assurance of salvation, but they teach that the believer can never be assured." (Pg. 65-66)

He argues, "In the long run, it is not simply a matter of the OPC tolerating the preaching of two gospels. The true Gospel is being displaced. Satan is quite content to fight a war of attrition. If the false gospel continues to be propagated at the seminary level as the one that is 'truly Reformed,' it will take only a generation for the preaching of the true Gospel to become rare or even die out entirely in the denomination. That is exactly what has happened in other denominations." (Pg. 125) He charges, "The OPC has had thirty years to purge itself of these errors, and has repeatedly refused to do so. Instead of removing the cancer it has stimulated its growth. In 2004 it showed once again that it has no stomach for the hard choices it needs to make." (Pg. 237) He adds, "it is not surprising that Norman Shepherd's heresies, which were allowed to take root over thirty years ago, have spread like a cancer in the years since. It is not surprising that Shepherd and his followers continue to be welcome in many parts of the OPC. It is not surprising that Richard Gaffin's teachings have become the dominant position at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, and have flowed from there into the churches of the OPC and other denominations." (Pg. 284)

He asks, "how does a neo-liberal minority dominate the OPC today?... liberals rely on the cooperation, or at least inaction, of the doctrinally indifferent . Their watchword is tolerance. They see controversy as one of the greatest evils, and they see tolerance of varying views under one big confessional tent as the way to avoid controversy Doctrinal disputes are an airing of dirty laundry that must be avoided Intolerance of error becomes the only intolerable thing." (Pg. 313-314)

He recalls the separation of his own home congregation from the OPC: "before deciding to recommend separation from the OPC, the session authorized a Sunday evening study series on the doctrinal issues at stake The study shifted its focus to the errors commonly taught---Shepherdism, Federal Vision theology, and the New Perspective on Paul The congregation subsequently separated from the OPC by voting on a resolution of separation It also made it clear that the congregation was separating from the authority of a body that has abandoned the marks of a true church of Jesus Christ, rather than withdrawing under the authority of that body as if it still possessed the Biblical qualities to exercise spiritual authority." (Pg. 339-340) He concludes, "this book has been a call to recognize the new dangers of remaining in the OPC, and to acknowledge that the time has come to separate from it. We urge you to be obedient to that Biblical imperative, no matter what the cost." (Pg. 365)

This book will be of interest to those concerned with the Federal Vision and Norman Shepherd controversies, as well as debates within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and other conservative Reformed denominations.

[Jan 06, 2019] Neocons in US niversities: Everything Madeleine Albright Doesn t Like is Fascism

Notable quotes:
"... The fact that obviously deranged fanatic hack has students is a testimony to a sewer level of the US "elite-producing" machine and a pathetic sight contemporary US "elite" represents. ..."
"... "political science" is not a science but pseudo-academic field for losers who do not want to study real history or take courses which actually develop intellect and provide fundamental knowledge. ..."
Jan 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website January 5, 2019 at 7:02 pm GMT

Early on in her book, Albright says:

My students remarked that the Fascist chiefs we remember best were charismatic

Marked in bold is the most terrifying thing about Albright's book and I am not even going to read her pseudo-intellectual excrement. The fact that obviously deranged fanatic hack has students is a testimony to a sewer level of the US "elite-producing" machine and a pathetic sight contemporary US "elite" represents.

This is apart from the fact that "political science" is not a science but pseudo-academic field for losers who do not want to study real history or take courses which actually develop intellect and provide fundamental knowledge.

[Jan 05, 2019] Other People's Money The Real Business of Finance John Kay 9781610396035 Amazon.com Books

Jan 05, 2019 | www.amazon.com

2 people found this helpful

Alan F. Sewell 4.0 out of 5 stars Negligence and profusion, therefore must prevail? September 30, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Author John Kay sets forth the theme of his book, and its title, at the beginning:

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The directors of (banks and corporations), being the managers rather of other people's money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with anxious vigilance. . . NEGLIGENCE AND PROFUSION, THEREFORE MUST ALWAYS PREVAIL, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776
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Kay then echoes the warnings of Karl Marx who predicted that capitalists would use finance as a means to subvert the economy:

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The central paradox of this chapter is the intensification of the dichotomy that Marx described, between the physical assets themselves and the securities that represent them.
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Kay is neither a Marxist nor a rabid free-market acolyte. He's a practical minded monetary systems economist, esteemed enough to have become the first director of Oxford's Business School. He advises governments on financial policy. He has written an enjoyably readable book that holds even a financial layperson's interest. It pulls you along by explaining financial issues with everyday real-life examples that all readers can understand. He backs up his explanations with delightful anecdotes from the past and present. Being neither an anti-banking populist or an apologist for bankers' unethical behaviors, Kay gives a level-headed critique of the "financial economy" that has developed in the last 30 years in the developed countries, especially the USA and UK.

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Parts of the finance sector today .demonstrate the lowest ethical standards of any legal industry. If London casinos were even accused of the malpractices to which London banks have admitted -- false reporting, misleading customers and unauthorised trading -- the individuals responsible would be barred from the industry and the licences of the institutions concerned revoked within hours. The finance sector has experienced actual criminality on a wide scale, from liar loans to LIBOR rate-fixing.

Financial innovation was critical to the creation of an industrial society; it does not follow that every modern financial innovation contributes to economic growth. Many good ideas become bad ideas when pursued to excess.
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That jives with what I saw as a real estate investor at the epicenter of the 2008 Financial Crisis. The economy imploded because the banks became insolvent due to their dereliction of due diligence on the rotten loans they bought from local mortgage originators, who issued mortgages to millions of non-creditworthy customers who had no incomes to pay back the mortgages, then pawned off the bogus mortgages to the big banks, who did not care that they were bogus because they rolled them up into collateralized debt obligations (CDO)s that they sold to their unsophisticated customers who didn't understand the risk of what they were buying.

How did it come to be that:
A) So many bankers became so corrupt?
B) They came to control so much of the world's commerce, that the entire global economy was brought down by the bankers' malfeasance?

Those are the deeper issues that McKay seeks to explain. He describes how "financialization" is characterized by:

• The liquidation of the physical economy. Large companies no longer invest in physical structures such as office buildings and factories. They lease their offices and contract the manufacture of their products to cheap-labor subcontractors in the Third World.

• "Financial engineering" where debt replaces wealth. Banks and publicly traded corporations load themselves with junk bonds and complex derivatives that hide debt and make the institutions look like they have strong balance sheets when they're actually insolvent.

• The criminalization of finance. Kay talks about how criminals like Enron's Jeff Skilling was "aggressively courted by all major investment banks" while he was in the process of defrauding Enron's shareholders, customers, and employees.

• The government becomes captive to bankers. Bankers fund candidates' campaigns and hire them on as partners with lavish compensation when they retire from public office. Government policy is therefore bent toward favoring bankers.

• The inversion of risk from business owners to employees and taxpayers. When banks and businesses fail, their management rarely suffers. The rank-and-file employees lose their jobs, and the vendors and creditors are stiffed by bankruptcy, which voids debt. Financialization transfers wealth away from the majority of people who earn their livelihood as wage earners and to the tiny fraction that makes it money managing financial instruments. It is Robin Hood in reverse, and explains why the standard of living of the middle glass appears to be in free fall.

• Wealth is "pulled forward" from future generations when bankers pull the strings of their political puppets to induce them to bail out insolvent banks with public money that will be added to the national debts our children and grandchildren are obligated to repay

• A steadily eroding standard of living as banks and publicly traded companies fritter away their physical assets and load them with debt that has to be paid back by later generations.

After such a stinging indictment, I'd expect Kay to favor more intensive regulation of the financial sector to transform it from a parasitic element of the economy to a productive one. But that is not the case. He believes that written regulations are easily subverted and that bankers will in any case ignore them whenever they perceive profitable ways to scam the public. They have already proven willing to pay undreds of billions of fines each year as a "cost of doing business" for violating laws already on the books.

Kay believes the fundamental solution is "to get the money out of politics" by disallowing banking and corporate executives from funding politicians' campaigns. I'm dubious on that idea, because banks and corporations will still be able to maintain their influence over cooperative politicians by promising to make them millionaires when they leave office.

Kay's other idea is to strike at the root of financial malfeasance by inculcating a sense of professional ethics in business and banking. I'm dubious on that point too. I've seen banking and accounting criminals get flushed out of prestigious firms, only to immediately go out and infiltrate other prestigious firms and corrupt them. There seems to be no sense of shame in large publicly traded business and banks, and therefore it will be difficult to get started with a tradition of integrity where none exists.

Kay finally does get around to the idea of separating the most conflicted aspects of banking by "ring fencing" the separate departments in a bank. Banks that accept deposits from the public should not be able to use them to speculate in risky investments with the expectation of being bailed out by public money when markets fail; banks that play the market should not be allowed to advise their customers to take the losing end of the bank's trades; and so on. But how can this be accomplished without regulation?

I thus feel that Kay's prescriptions for reform are weak. For that reason I took one star off the five I would have otherwise given it. Even so, the book remains a most valuable read. It will educate lay readers to the way the financial systems of the USA, Britain, and Europe operate --- why they failed in 2008 and why they remain far less sound than they should be. This knowledge is indispensable to anyone who invests in the markets or who depends upon financial institutions to manage their savings

[Jan 03, 2019] The parable of casino capitalism, or neoliberal finance innovative method of weighting the ox via wisdom of the crow

Jan 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

In 1906 the great statistician Francis Galton observed a competition to guess the weight of an ox at a country fair. Eight hundred people entered. Galton, being the kind of man he was, ran statistical tests on the numbers. He discovered that the average guess was extremely close to the weight of the ox. This story was told by James Surowiecki, in his entertaining book The Wisdom of Crowds. 2

Not many people know the events that followed. A few years later, the scales seemed to become less and less reliable. Repairs would be expensive, but the fair organiser had a brilliant idea. Since attendees were so good at guessing the weight of an ox, it was unnecessary' to repair the scales. The organiser would simply ask everyone to guess the weight, and take the average of their estimates.

A new problem emerged, however. Once weight-guessing competitions became the rage, some participants tried to cheat. They even tried to get privileged information from the farmer who had bred the ox. But there was fear that, if some people had an edge, others would be reluctant to enter the weight-guessing competition. With few entrants, you could not rely on the wisdom of crowds. The process of weight discovery would be damaged.

So strict regulatory rules were introduced. The farmer was asked to prepare three monthly bulletins on the development of his ox. These bulletins were posted on the door of the market for everyone to read. If the farmer gave his friends any other information about the beast, that information was also to be posted on the market door. And anyone who entered the competition who had knowledge about the ox that was not available to the world at large would be expelled from the market. In this way the integrity of the weight-guessing process would be maintained.

Professional analysts scrutinised the contents of these regulatory' announcements and advised their clients on their implications. They' wined and dined farmers; but once the farmers were required to be careful about the information they' disclosed, these lunches became less useful. Some smarter analysts realised that understanding the nutrition and health of the ox wasn't that useful anyway. Since the ox was no longer being weighed -- what mattered was the guesses of the bystanders -- the key' to success lav not in correctly assessing the weight of the ox but in correctly' assessing what others would guess. Or what other people would guess others would guess. And so on.

Some people -- such as old Farmer Buffett -- claimed that the results of this process were more and more divorced from the realities of ox rearing. But he was ignored. True, Farmer Buffett's beasts did appear healthy and well fed, and his finances ever more prosperous; but he was a countryman who didn't really understand how markets work.

International bodies were established to define the rules for assessing the weight of the ox. There were two competing standards -- generally accepted ox-weighing principles, and international ox-weighing standards. But both agreed on one fundamental principle, which followed from the need to eliminate the role of subjective assessment by any individual. The weight of the ox was officially defined as the average of everyone's guesses.

One difficulty was that sometimes there were few, or even no, guesses of the weight of the ox. But that problem was soon overcome. Mathematicians from the University of Chicago developed models from which it was possible to estimate what, if there had actually been many guesses as to the weight of the ox, the average of these guesses would have been. No knowledge of animal husbandry was required, only a powerful computer.

By' this time, there was a large industry of professional weight-guessers, organisers of weight-guessing competitions and advisers helping people to refine their guesses. Some people suggested that it might be cheaper to repair the scales, but they' were derided: why go back to relying on the judgement of a single auctioneer when you could benefit from the aggregated wisdom of so many clever people?

And then the ox died. Amid all this activity', no one had remembered to feed it.

[Jan 03, 2019] The Rise of the Trader

Jan 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

No sooner did you pass the fake fireplace than you heard an ungodly roar, like the roar of a mob ... It was the sound of well-educated young white men baying for money on the bond market.

TOM WOLFE, The Bonfire of the Vanities. 1987

We are Wall Street. It's our job to make money. Whether it's a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn't matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. ...

We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We're used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don't take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don't demand a union. We don't retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we'll eat that....

We aren't dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive.

Reported by STACY-MARIE ISHMAEL, FT Alphaville, 30 April 2010

[Dec 31, 2018] Public Domain Day 2019 - Duke University School of Law

Notable quotes:
"... The Ten Commandments ..."
Dec 31, 2018 | law.duke.edu

For the first time in over 20 years, on January 1, 2019, published works will enter the US public domain. 1

Works from 1923 will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee. They include dramatic films such as The Ten Commandments , and comedies featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. There are literary works by Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, and Edith Wharton, the "Charleston" song, and more. And remember, this has not happened for over 20 years. Why? Works from 1923 were set to go into the public domain in 1999, after a 75-year copyright term. But in 1998 Congress hit a two-decade pause button and extended their copyright term for 20 years, giving works published between 1923 and 1977 an expanded term of 95 years. 2

But now the drought is over. How will people celebrate this trove of cultural material? Google Books will offer the full text of books from that year, instead of showing only snippet views or authorized previews. The Internet Archive will add books, movies, music, and more to its online library. Community theaters are planning screenings of the films. Students will be free to adapt and publicly perform the music. Because these works are in the public domain, anyone can make them available, where you can rediscover and enjoy them. (Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print -- see here , here , and here .) In addition, the expiration of copyright means that you're free to use these materials, for education, for research, or for creative endeavors -- whether it's translating the books, making your own versions of the films, or building new music based on old classics.

Here are some of the works that will be entering the public domain in 2019. A fuller (but still partial) listing of over a thousand works that we have researched can be found here .

Films Books

[Dec 30, 2018] C. Northcote Parkinson, 83, Dies; Writer With a Wry View of Labor - The New York Times

VIEW PAGE IN TIMESMACHINE
Dec 30, 2018 | www.nytimes.com
March 12, 1993, Page 00019 The New York Times Archives

C. Northcote Parkinson, the British historian and writer who propounded the notion that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion," died Tuesday at a clinic near his home in Canterbury, England. He was 83.

The cause of death was not announced.

Mr. Parkinson first put forth his famous dictum in an article for The Economist magazine in 1955. The article brought him considerable attention, and in 1958 he published an expanded version, "Parkinson's Law."

The book, which included the corollary that work expands to occupy the people available for its completion, became a best-seller. Mr. Parkinson once expressed surprise that the book seemed to be so well received by its implicit targets, business executives and government officials, at a time when corporate and state bureaucracies were growing rapidly. Where Six Do the Work of One

Mr. Parkinson said the theory had its roots in his experience in World War II, when he worked in training and administration for the War Office and the Royal Air Force.

"I observed, somewhat to my surprise, that work which could be done by one man in peacetime, was being given to about six in wartime," he told The Times of London. "I think this was mainly because there wasn't the same opportunity for other people to criticize. You could always riposte: 'Don't you know there's a war on?' "

His work was a mixture of serious economic analysis and satire. He argued that administrators and executives tend to make work for each other, and that because executives prefer to have subordinates rather than rivals, they create and perpetuate bureaucracies in which power is defined by the number of subordinates.

A committee, he said, "grows organically, flourishes and blossoms, sunlit on top and shady beneath, until it dies, scattering the seeds from which other committees will spring."

No matter how much work is actually getting accomplished, Mr. Parkinson wrote, the number of workers in an organization would relentlessly expand at a rate that he calculated, perhaps tongue in cheek, between 5.7 percent and 6.56 percent a year. From Cambridge to Singapore

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was born on July 30, 1909, in northern England. He attended Cambridge University and received a doctorate in history from Kings College in London.

He taught at Cambridge and at a private boys' school in the late 1930's, before his wartime service. After the war he became a lecturer in naval history at the University of Liverpool, then moved to Singapore in 1950, where he became the Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya. After the publication of "Parkinson's Law," he went on to complete scholarly works, including "British Intervention in Malaya, 1867 to 1877."

He wrote more than 60 books, including "Mrs. Parkinson's Law" (1968), which applied his principle to the household level. He also wrote business histories and fiction, including "Jeeves: a Gentleman's Personal Gentleman" (1979), the "biography" of the hero of the P. G. Wodehouse novels.

Mr. Parkinson is survived by his third wife, Iris Hilda Waters, whom he married in 1985, a son and a daughter from his first marriage and two sons and a daughter from his second marriage.


[Dec 30, 2018] New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson - A book review by Professor Carroll Quigley

Notable quotes:
"... "New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson" ..."
Dec 30, 2018 | www.carrollquigley.net

" New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson ",
a review by Carroll Quigley in The Washington Sunday Star , November 18, 1963,
of a book:
EAST AND WEST ,
by C. Northcote Parkinson.
Houghton Mifflin: New York, 1963

 

"New Book by C. Northcote Parkinson"

East and West, by C. Northcote Parkinson
(Houghton, Mifflin, 1963, $5.00),
a history of the contact of Europe and Asia since the fall of Troy, is the author's thirteenth book.
Carroll Quigley, author of The Evolution of Civilizations, teaches history at Georgetown University.

C. Northcote Parkinson, one-time Professor at the University of Malaya (but now removed from academic halls to the more remunerative work of an economic consultant in London), has produced more than a dozen books over the last 29 years. Most of these sank with scarcely a ripple, until, in 1957, his Parkinson's Law roused widespread enthusiasm. Its attack on bureaucracy and Big Government was kept afloat in a sea of jokes which helped to conceal the fact that the author's basic outlook was contemporary with Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). Three years later, Parkinson shifted his attention from politics to economics, and, in The Law and the Profits , attacked the basic principle of twentieth century taxation from a Spencerian (or John Birchite) point of view. He deplored the graduated income tax and any tax of over 25 per cent. This book, with fewer and poorer jokes, revealed its author's old-fashioned outlook to anyone who reads with both eyes.

Now Mr. Parkinson has shifted his field once again, this time to history. Lacking his earlier camouflage of jokes, except in isolated spots, East and West shows that Parkinson's historical training is as dated as his politics and economics, almost pure Oxbridge, vintage 1880. And unfortunately, not one of the better samples of that year. Except for its length, this work might pass for an undergraduate tutorial essay worthy of a "gentleman's C" or of a Third Class in the Final Schools examination.

The characteristics of a mediocre book are not very much different from those of a merely "passing" undergraduate essay and are fully evident in this volume: (1) underlying confusion of thought, and thus of organization; (2) inadequate knowledge of the evidence; (3) limited reading of up-to-date authorities; and (4) masses of factual information without strict control of its relevancy.

For Parkinson, as for his Victorian contemporaries, the meeting of East and West begins with the Iliad (on page 1) and advances chronologically, based on the writings of Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch, and the lesser historians of the wars against Carthage and the achievements of the Caesars, with much borrowing from that up to date writer, Edward Gibbon. More than half the volume is concerned with the period from the fall of Troy to the fall of Constantinople, and much of the rest is a prosaic account of the expansion of Europe to Asia (especially southern Asia) since the fifteenth century. The period before 1000 B.C., the immense impact of archaeological discoveries since 1880, the newer literary evidence obtained from the twentieth century's deciphering of papyrus and archaeological inscriptions are ignored. As a result, Parkinson believes (galley 45) that the "first wave of oriental influence to reach Europe came from Persia....Zoroaster [about 500 B.C.]" Such a statement wipes aside almost the whole of European, including Greek, culture as non-existent even when, like the alphabet, it was called by an Asiatic name. Parkinson has a whole chapter on Alexander the Great, but ignores all recent work on the subject going back to W. W. Tarn (1938). His extensive attention to military exploits may seem to reflect the present (1963) concern with military history, but Parkinson's approach is biographical not tactical, and his treatment of war recalls my own happy days reading G. A. Henty. There are scattered footnote references to books on the history of armaments but no evidence that Parkinson really read them, for he tells us such untruths as that the crossbow could be "shot with accuracy from a horse ridden at a gallop" (gal. 59), that "the real cavalryman" was invented by Macedonia before Alexander the Great's time (galley 21) (when real cavalry could, in fact, come into action only with the invention of stirrups many centuries after Alexander).

Much of the amorphous character of this volume arises from failure to define its terms. The first five words of the Introduction read, "This book deals with civilizations," but there is a firm refusal to demark any civilizations or culture areas. Instead, it soon appears that the author is thinking of Asia and Europe as geographic areas (which he mistakenly divides at the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea instead of at the Pripet Marshes, which form the only meaningful boundary.) This two-part division leads to great confusion because the situation can hardly be understood in terms any simpler than a four-factor mélange (Western, Asiatic, northern steppe grasslands, and Semitic). Culturally the optimistic and balanced empiricism of the West and the resigned Heraclitean flux of Asia have been separated by the rationalistic, dualistic, and often extremist, outlooks of the Indo-Europeans and the Semites. The former of these buffers left its imprint most strongly on Iran (Zoroaster and Mani) and on Greece (Plato), carried on through Byzantium and Russia. It is a fundamental fact in any history of the contacts of Asia and the West that many of these contacts were filtered through the two buffers of the Indo-European and the Semite cultural heritages.

Even on the simple level of contact between two geographic areas, Parkinson's attempt to show the interaction of Europe and Asia is almost a total failure. This results from his neglect of the most obvious interchanges and of the whole of the early (and most significant) period and from his failure to establish a chronological outline based on the factors which impelled such interchanges. These factors have rested on the interaction of climate changes and technology, with the former dominating the situation in the more remote past (by influencing the ability of the grasslands of Central Asia and Arabia to support herds of grazing animals and the human populations which used these herds as food) and the latter dominating the situation in recent centuries, with a lengthy period (500 B.C.-1700) of transition in between. Lacking any conception of this interplay of forces, Parkinson has no real conception of why the interactions occurred and falls back on quite unconvincing explanations based on personal reactions and personal revenge. The Persian invasion of Greece in 490 B.C. is explained as a reaction to the Greek capture of Troy in 1184 B.C.! (galley 2 and 8)

Even in Parkinson's day under the great Queen Victoria every school boy knew Ex Oriente Lux . Europe's peoples and languages came from the east as did the very basic attributes of European life: its food (wheat, beef, lamb, swine, fowls), its textiles (wool, linen, cotton, silk), its systems of measures (12 eggs in a dozen, 12 inches in a foot, 12 hours in the day and in the night, 60 minutes in the hour), its basic technology (writing, the wheel, paper, printing type, gun powder, the plow, the number system), and those three major targets of Parkinson's antipathy, governmental bureaucracy, taxation, and state regulation of economic life. Even today, a London economic consultant wears trousers and a jacket slashed in the rear so that the sides will hang straight as he sits on his horse, attire derived from a Turkic cultural predecessor in the central Asian grasslands of two millennia ago.

This volume contains scores, possibly hundreds of gross factual errors. If these were based only on the ignorance and prejudices of 1880, we might pass over them in silence, but when they join the current campaign to corrupt our youth with the myths of John Birch they should be pointed out. Parkinson tells us (galley 67) that the decline of Asia after A.D. 1000 was fundamentally due to biological decadence but the "immediate cause was of course, excessive taxation." We are solemnly informed (galley 102) that Marxism, like Marx himself, is "a religion derived ultimately from Judaism." Or again (galley 76), of British "administrative talent...the best always went overseas, leaving only the dregs in Whitehall." As long ago as the time of Alexander the Great, Greek ascendency in Asia meant that "democracy had to go" (galley 21). And of course, the fall of Rome in the West was due to "overtaxation" (galley 47).

These numerous outbursts of personal prejudice are buried in great masses of simple factual errors. Parkinson's knowledge of geography, despite his personal travels, is woefully deficient. Roman military control of the Balkans in the 3rd century, he says (galley 47) required "the reconquest of Dacia and Mesopotamia", a statement which is not only nonsense, but implies that Rome had previously held Mesopotamia. Or again (galley 51), he tells us that the Arabs, about 800, controlled the whole trade route between Canton and Cordova -- "from end to end."

Among numerous factual errors are statements: 1. that the Hittites taught Babylon to train horses (gal. 1; it was the Mittani); 2. that the people east of the Halys River in Asia Minor were "of Semitic character" (gal. s; they were largely Hurrian); 3. that the Hittites first coined money (gal. 6; it was the Lydians almost 800 years later); that all "Phoenician" literature was lost in the destruction of Carthage by Rome (gal. 13); 5. that no Greek would discard his possessions to become a beggar (gal. 17; there was a whole school of Greeks, the Cynics); 6. that the militarization of Spartan life was not based on "necessity" but on "self-respect" (gal. 17; it was based on the need to keep down ten times as numerous Helots); 7. that "the Greeks ceased to be discoverers when they became teachers" under Alexander (gal. 22; this ignores the amazing achievements of Hellenistic science, such as Hipparchus or Archimedes); 8. that the middle classes were "a Greek invention" (gal. 26; the Phoenicians were more middle class than the Greeks and much earlier); 9. that Rome obtained its original culture from the Greeks (gal. 30; it was from the Etruscans); 10. that the Greeks had a belief in Progress (gal. 39; on the contrary, the Greeks believed in retrogression from a remote "Golden Age"); 11. that the "pastoral type of economy" was earlier than the rise of agriculture (gal. 1; it was several thousand years later); 12. that Indo-European invaders about 1600 made Babylon "the center of the Hittite Empire" (gal. 2; Babylon was never a Hittite city); 13. that Alexander's Empire brought four "of the five known civilizations...in a single monarchy" (gal. 27; it did not include either India or China); 14. that Roman ships reached India (gal. 37); 15. that the Russian choice of Byzantine Christianity [presumably over the Latin type] brought Russia "into the western rather than the Eastern Camp" (gal. 48); 16. that "Gothic architecture is plainly Islamic" (gal. 58); 17. that the United States "began to look on the Chinese and the Japanese as possible customers and converts" because of the completion of the trans-continental railway in 1869 (gal. 73; American merchant ships were trading extensively with both peoples before the Civil War); and 18. that "discoveries in navigation did not precede but followed the great voyages of discovery" (gal. 81; in fact, the compass, rudder, sails, hull construction, and methods of determining latitude were all in use before the great navigations.)

Fortunately Parkinson does not launch this myriad of errors on the reader without fair warning, for in the Preface we may read, "Given a more suitable diet, as recommended by the food reformers (plain food, uncooked, and Spartan) I might perhaps have had the energy to ransack libraries....Instead I have relied upon the results of desultory reading...." Surely an honest statement, but without scholarship, the volume certainly needs more jokes!

[Dec 30, 2018] Obituary- Professor C. Northcote Parkinson by HELENA ROGERS

Mar 12, 1993 | independent.co.uk

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, writer, historian and economist, born 30 July 1909, Raffles Professor of History University of Malaya 1950-58, books include Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth 1934, The Rise of the Port of Liverpool 1952, Parkinson's Law: the pursuit of progress 1958, British Intervention in Malaya 1867-1877 1960, Mrs Parkinson's Law 1968, The Law of Delay 1971, Industrial Disruption 1973, Britannia Rules 1977, Jeeves: a gentleman's personal gentleman 1979, The Guernseyman 1982, The Fur-Lined Mousetrap 1984, married 1943 Ethelwyn Graves (one son, one daughter; marriage dissolved), 1952 Elizabeth Ann Fry (died 1983; one daughter), 1985 Ingrid Waters, died Canterbury 9 March 1993.

ASK ANYONE if they have heard of 'Parkinson's Law' and they will probably answer, 'Yes, but I can't call it to mind.' Tell them that 'Work expands to fill the time available for its completion' and they will laugh and say with feeling that they most certainly have heard of the law, and understand its effects completely. C. Northcote Parkinson coined the phrase which is now known and quoted by frustrated business people (indeed, anyone trying to find 'spare' time) all over the world.

'Granted that work (and especially paper-work),' he wrote, 'is . . . elastic in its demands on time, it is manifest that there need be little or no relationship between the work to be done and the size of the staff to which it may be assigned. A lack of real activity does not, of necessity, result in leisure. A lack of occupation is not necessarily revealed by a manifest idleness. The thing to be done swells in importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time to be spent.'

Parkinson first presented his formula in a humorous and paradoxical article for the Economist in 1958. This and a further series of essays were published by John Murray as Parkinson's Law in the same year with illustrations by Osbert Lancaster (it remains in print as a Penguin Business 'Management Classic'). He based his law, aimed largely but not only at the workings of bureaucracy, on experience gained in the Second World War with an Officer Cadet Training Unit in the RAF, and as a War Office staff officer.

General recognition of his law, he wrote, 'is shown in the proverbial phrase 'It is the busiest man who has time to spare.' Thus an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half an hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and 20 minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar box in the next street. The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.'

Most of Cyril Northcote Parkinson's large output as a writer disguises this wonderful sense of humour. As an authority on maritime history, in particular the Napoleonic era, he has a wealth of informative books to his name, including Trade in the Eastern Seas (1937), The Trade Winds (1948), The Rise of the Port of Liverpool (1952), War in the Eastern Seas (1954), as well as an imaginary biography, The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower (1970). As with the Hornblower biography, he used his historical knowledge to write the 'Delancey' saga, naval historical novels about a young midshipman in the Napoleonic wars, and his rise through the ranks eventually to become Admiral of the Fleet.

An unassuming man, Parkinson lived the latter part of his life modestly, if elegantly, in a Canterbury close, continuing to write on the subjects he loved most. His middle years, however, after the phenomenal success of Parkinson's Law, were taken up with lecturing and after-dinner speaking. He found it hugely amusing that he should be so appreciated in this way, and yet his easy manner and witty turn of phrase invited the attention of the most reluctant listener.

His early life was 'rather dull', he thought: educated at St Peter's School, York, he went on to study History at Cambridge. He left to become a historian, and took a further degree in London. After returning to Cambridge to do research, he could see only a dull future. 'There seemed to be nothing ahead but a series of professorships', he said. 'So I began to write books on naval history instead.' His first teaching post - arranged around his writing - was at Blundell's School, Tiverton. He wrote a book about it, attracted particularly by - as he explained - 'the school's most distinguished pupil, Guy Fawkes'. He later lectured in naval history at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, a post he held at the outbreak of the Second World War, and assisted in the formation of the National Maritime Museum.

His service career had begun in the Territorial Army, which he loved passionately, but it seemed to disappoint him that he never took part in active service. With a twinkle in his eye, he recounted that although he would have been a willing to play his part, he seemed to complete the war 'without killing or even seriously annoying any Germans'. He went on to say that the most dangerous episode of his war years was getting married. Then, to add 'insult to injury', his regiment disbanded at the time. 'I think they had a sort of grudge against me.'

He restored and lived for many years at Elham Manor, in Kent, while continuing to write books and lecture on naval and maritime history.

In 1950 he experienced a complete change when he accepted a chair as Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya, a post he held for eight years. The end of his time in Malaya came soon after the publication of the book which was to transform his life. With obvious delight he reported what Enoch Powell said of him: 'He's like a man who found an oil-well in his back garden.' The first publisher to which the book was offered returned it promptly. The second, Parkinson said, 'threw it in the wastepaper basket, but later retrieved it and thought again'.

After the success of Parkinson's Law, he entered the world of after-dinner lecturing and continued to be amazed that so many people wanted to hear him speak; he was often asked to give hour- long lectures to audiences of up to 8,000. After Leaving Malaya he held visiting professorships at Harvard University, in 1958, and the universities of Illinois and California in 1959-60. Thereafter he gave up his 'proper job' as an academic to devote his time to writing through the winter and lecturing across the United States in the summer.

It was with relief that he eventually gave up the lecturing circuit to live quietly with his third wife, in Canterbury, having moved there in 1989. Here he relaxed in peace in the shadow of the cathedral, and worked on his final project, his autobiography, A Law Unto Myself.

'The inexorable working of Parkinson's law ensures that appointments have constantly to be made and the question is always how to choose the right candidate . . . Past methods fall into two main categories, the British and the Chinese . . . The British method (old pattern) depended upon an interview in which the candidate had to establish his identity. He would be confronted by elderly gentlemen seated round a mahogany table who would presently ask him his name. Let us suppose that the candidate replied, 'John Seymour'. One of the gentlemen would then say, 'Any relation to the Duke of Somerset?' To this the candidate would say, quite possibly, 'No, sir.' Then another gentleman would say, 'Perhaps you are related, in that case, to the Bshop of Warminster?' If he said 'No, sir' again, a third would ask in despair, 'To whom then are you related?' ' Illustration by Osbert Lancaster for Parkinson's Law

(Photographs omitted)

[Dec 27, 2018] The Yoda of Silicon Valley by Siobhan Roberts

Highly recommended!
Although he is certainly a giant, Knuth will never be able to complete this monograph - the technology developed too quickly. Three volumes came out in 1963-1968 and then there was a lull. January 10, he will be 81. At this age it is difficult to work in the field of mathematics and system programming. So we will probably never see the complete fourth volume.
This inability to finish the work he devoted a large part of hi life is definitely a tragedy. The key problem here is that now it is simply impossible to cover the whole area of ​​system programming and related algorithms for one person. But the first three volumes played tremendous positive role for sure.
Also he was distracted for several years to create TeX. He needed to create a non-profit and complete this work by attracting the best minds from the outside. But he is by nature a loner, as many great scientists are, and prefer to work this way.
His other mistake is due to the fact that MIX - his emulator was too far from the IBM S/360, which became the standard de-facto in mid-60th. He then realized that this was a blunder and replaced MIX with more modem emulator MIXX, but it was "too little, too late" and it took time and effort. So the first three volumes and fragments of the fourth is all that we have now and probably forever.
Not all volumes fared equally well with time. The third volume suffered most IMHO and as of 2019 is partially obsolete. Also it was written by him in some haste and some parts of it are are far from clearly written ( it was based on earlier lectures of Floyd, so it was oriented of single CPU computers only. Now when multiprocessor machines, huge amount of RAM and SSD hard drives are the norm, the situation is very different from late 60th. It requires different sorting algorithms (the importance of mergesort increased, importance of quicksort decreased). He also got too carried away with sorting random numbers and establishing upper bound and average run time. The real data is almost never random and typically contain sorted fragments. For example, he overestimated the importance of quicksort and thus pushed the discipline in the wrong direction.
Notable quotes:
"... These days, it is 'coding', which is more like 'code-spraying'. Throw code at a problem until it kind of works, then fix the bugs in the post-release, or the next update. ..."
"... AI is a joke. None of the current 'AI' actually is. It is just another new buzz-word to throw around to people that do not understand it at all. ..."
"... One good teacher makes all the difference in life. More than one is a rare blessing. ..."
Dec 17, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

With more than one million copies in print, "The Art of Computer Programming " is the Bible of its field. "Like an actual bible, it is long and comprehensive; no other book is as comprehensive," said Peter Norvig, a director of research at Google. After 652 pages, volume one closes with a blurb on the back cover from Bill Gates: "You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing."

The volume opens with an excerpt from " McCall's Cookbook ":

Here is your book, the one your thousands of letters have asked us to publish. It has taken us years to do, checking and rechecking countless recipes to bring you only the best, only the interesting, only the perfect.

Inside are algorithms, the recipes that feed the digital age -- although, as Dr. Knuth likes to point out, algorithms can also be found on Babylonian tablets from 3,800 years ago. He is an esteemed algorithmist; his name is attached to some of the field's most important specimens, such as the Knuth-Morris-Pratt string-searching algorithm. Devised in 1970, it finds all occurrences of a given word or pattern of letters in a text -- for instance, when you hit Command+F to search for a keyword in a document.

... ... ...

During summer vacations, Dr. Knuth made more money than professors earned in a year by writing compilers. A compiler is like a translator, converting a high-level programming language (resembling algebra) to a lower-level one (sometimes arcane binary) and, ideally, improving it in the process. In computer science, "optimization" is truly an art, and this is articulated in another Knuthian proverb: "Premature optimization is the root of all evil."

Eventually Dr. Knuth became a compiler himself, inadvertently founding a new field that he came to call the "analysis of algorithms." A publisher hired him to write a book about compilers, but it evolved into a book collecting everything he knew about how to write for computers -- a book about algorithms.

... ... ...

When Dr. Knuth started out, he intended to write a single work. Soon after, computer science underwent its Big Bang, so he reimagined and recast the project in seven volumes. Now he metes out sub-volumes, called fascicles. The next installation, "Volume 4, Fascicle 5," covering, among other things, "backtracking" and "dancing links," was meant to be published in time for Christmas. It is delayed until next April because he keeps finding more and more irresistible problems that he wants to present.

In order to optimize his chances of getting to the end, Dr. Knuth has long guarded his time. He retired at 55, restricted his public engagements and quit email (officially, at least). Andrei Broder recalled that time management was his professor's defining characteristic even in the early 1980s.

Dr. Knuth typically held student appointments on Friday mornings, until he started spending his nights in the lab of John McCarthy, a founder of artificial intelligence, to get access to the computers when they were free. Horrified by what his beloved book looked like on the page with the advent of digital publishing, Dr. Knuth had gone on a mission to create the TeX computer typesetting system, which remains the gold standard for all forms of scientific communication and publication. Some consider it Dr. Knuth's greatest contribution to the world, and the greatest contribution to typography since Gutenberg.

This decade-long detour took place back in the age when computers were shared among users and ran faster at night while most humans slept. So Dr. Knuth switched day into night, shifted his schedule by 12 hours and mapped his student appointments to Fridays from 8 p.m. to midnight. Dr. Broder recalled, "When I told my girlfriend that we can't do anything Friday night because Friday night at 10 I have to meet with my adviser, she thought, 'This is something that is so stupid it must be true.'"

... ... ...

Lucky, then, Dr. Knuth keeps at it. He figures it will take another 25 years to finish "The Art of Computer Programming," although that time frame has been a constant since about 1980. Might the algorithm-writing algorithms get their own chapter, or maybe a page in the epilogue? "Definitely not," said Dr. Knuth.

"I am worried that algorithms are getting too prominent in the world," he added. "It started out that computer scientists were worried nobody was listening to us. Now I'm worried that too many people are listening."


Scott Kim Burlingame, CA Dec. 18

Thanks Siobhan for your vivid portrait of my friend and mentor. When I came to Stanford as an undergrad in 1973 I asked who in the math dept was interested in puzzles. They pointed me to the computer science dept, where I met Knuth and we hit it off immediately. Not only a great thinker and writer, but as you so well described, always present and warm in person. He was also one of the best teachers I've ever had -- clear, funny, and interested in every student (his elegant policy was each student can only speak twice in class during a period, to give everyone a chance to participate, and he made a point of remembering everyone's names). Some thoughts from Knuth I carry with me: finding the right name for a project is half the work (not literally true, but he labored hard on finding the right names for TeX, Metafont, etc.), always do your best work, half of why the field of computer science exists is because it is a way for mathematically minded people who like to build things can meet each other, and the observation that when the computer science dept began at Stanford one of the standard interview questions was "what instrument do you play" -- there was a deep connection between music and computer science, and indeed the dept had multiple string quartets. But in recent decades that has changed entirely. If you do a book on Knuth (he deserves it), please be in touch.

IMiss America US Dec. 18

I remember when programming was art. I remember when programming was programming. These days, it is 'coding', which is more like 'code-spraying'. Throw code at a problem until it kind of works, then fix the bugs in the post-release, or the next update.

AI is a joke. None of the current 'AI' actually is. It is just another new buzz-word to throw around to people that do not understand it at all. We should be in a golden age of computing. Instead, we are cutting all corners to get something out as fast as possible. The technology exists to do far more. It is the human element that fails us.

Ronald Aaronson Armonk, NY Dec. 18

My particular field of interest has always been compiler writing and have been long awaiting Knuth's volume on that subject. I would just like to point out that among Kunth's many accomplishments is the invention of LR parsers, which are widely used for writing programming language compilers.

Edward Snowden Russia Dec. 18

Yes, \TeX, and its derivative, \LaTeX{} contributed greatly to being able to create elegant documents. It is also available for the web in the form MathJax, and it's about time the New York Times supported MathJax. Many times I want one of my New York Times comments to include math, but there's no way to do so! It comes up equivalent to: $e^{i\pi}+1$.

48 Recommend
henry pick new york Dec. 18

I read it at the time, because what I really wanted to read was volume 7, Compilers. As I understood it at the time, Professor Knuth wrote it in order to make enough money to build an organ. That apparantly happened by 3:Knuth, Searching and Sorting. The most impressive part is the mathemathics in Semi-numerical (2:Knuth). A lot of those problems are research projects over the literature of the last 400 years of mathematics.

Steve Singer Chicago Dec. 18

I own the three volume "Art of Computer Programming", the hardbound boxed set. Luxurious. I don't look at it very often thanks to time constraints, given my workload. But your article motivated me to at least pick it up and carry it from my reserve library to a spot closer to my main desk so I can at least grab Volume 1 and try to read some of it when the mood strikes. I had forgotten just how heavy it is, intellectual content aside. It must weigh more than 25 pounds.

Terry Hayes Los Altos, CA Dec. 18

I too used my copies of The Art of Computer Programming to guide me in several projects in my career, across a variety of topic areas. Now that I'm living in Silicon Valley, I enjoy seeing Knuth at events at the Computer History Museum (where he was a 1998 Fellow Award winner), and at Stanford. Another facet of his teaching is the annual Christmas Lecture, in which he presents something of recent (or not-so-recent) interest. The 2018 lecture is available online - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cR9zDlvP88

Chris Tong Kelseyville, California Dec. 17

One of the most special treats for first year Ph.D. students in the Stanford University Computer Science Department was to take the Computer Problem-Solving class with Don Knuth. It was small and intimate, and we sat around a table for our meetings. Knuth started the semester by giving us an extremely challenging, previously unsolved problem. We then formed teams of 2 or 3. Each week, each team would report progress (or lack thereof), and Knuth, in the most supportive way, would assess our problem-solving approach and make suggestions for how to improve it. To have a master thinker giving one feedback on how to think better was a rare and extraordinary experience, from which I am still benefiting! Knuth ended the semester (after we had all solved the problem) by having us over to his house for food, drink, and tales from his life. . . And for those like me with a musical interest, he let us play the magnificent pipe organ that was at the center of his music room. Thank you Professor Knuth, for giving me one of the most profound educational experiences I've ever had, with such encouragement and humor!

Been there Boulder, Colorado Dec. 17

I learned about Dr. Knuth as a graduate student in the early 70s from one of my professors and made the financial sacrifice (graduate student assistantships were not lucrative) to buy the first and then the second volume of the Art of Computer Programming. Later, at Bell Labs, when I was a bit richer, I bought the third volume. I have those books still and have used them for reference for years. Thank you Dr, Knuth. Art, indeed!

Gianni New York Dec. 18

@Trerra In the good old days, before Computer Science, anyone could take the Programming Aptitude Test. Pass it and companies would train you. Although there were many mathematicians and scientists, some of the best programmers turned out to be music majors. English, Social Sciences, and History majors were represented as well as scientists and mathematicians. It was a wonderful atmosphere to work in . When I started to look for a job as a programmer, I took Prudential Life Insurance's version of the Aptitude Test. After the test, the interviewer was all bent out of shape because my verbal score was higher than my math score; I was a physics major. Luckily they didn't hire me and I got a job with IBM.

M Martínez Miami Dec. 17

In summary, "May the force be with you" means: Did you read Donald Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming"? Excellent, we loved this article. We will share it with many young developers we know.

mds USA Dec. 17

Dr. Knuth is a great Computer Scientist. Around 25 years ago, I met Dr. Knuth in a small gathering a day before he was awarded a honorary Doctorate in a university. This is my approximate recollection of a conversation. I said-- " Dr. Knuth, you have dedicated your book to a computer (one with which he had spent a lot of time, perhaps a predecessor to PDP-11). Isn't it unusual?". He said-- "Well, I love my wife as much as anyone." He then turned to his wife and said --"Don't you think so?". It would be nice if scientists with the gift of such great minds tried to address some problems of ordinary people, e.g. a model of economy where everyone can get a job and health insurance, say, like Dr. Paul Krugman.

Nadine NYC Dec. 17

I was in a training program for women in computer systems at CUNY graduate center, and they used his obtuse book. It was one of the reasons I dropped out. He used a fantasy language to describe his algorithms in his book that one could not test on computers. I already had work experience as a programmer with algorithms and I know how valuable real languages are. I might as well have read Animal Farm. It might have been different if he was the instructor.

Doug McKenna Boulder Colorado Dec. 17

Don Knuth's work has been a curious thread weaving in and out of my life. I was first introduced to Knuth and his The Art of Computer Programming back in 1973, when I was tasked with understanding a section of the then-only-two-volume Book well enough to give a lecture explaining it to my college algorithms class. But when I first met him in 1981 at Stanford, he was all-in on thinking about typography and this new-fangled system of his called TeX. Skip a quarter century. One day in 2009, I foolishly decided kind of on a whim to rewrite TeX from scratch (in my copious spare time), as a simple C library, so that its typesetting algorithms could be put to use in other software such as electronic eBook's with high-quality math typesetting and interactive pictures. I asked Knuth for advice. He warned me, prepare yourself, it's going to consume five years of your life. I didn't believe him, so I set off and tried anyway. As usual, he was right.

Baddy Khan San Francisco Dec. 17

I have signed copied of "Fundamental Algorithms" in my library, which I treasure. Knuth was a fine teacher, and is truly a brilliant and inspiring individual. He taught during the same period as Vint Cerf, another wonderful teacher with a great sense of humor who is truly a "father of the internet". One good teacher makes all the difference in life. More than one is a rare blessing.

Indisk Fringe Dec. 17

I am a biologist, specifically a geneticist. I became interested in LaTeX typesetting early in my career and have been either called pompous or vilified by people at all levels for wanting to use. One of my PhD advisors famously told me to forget LaTeX because it was a thing of the past. I have now forgotten him completely. I still use LaTeX almost every day in my work even though I don't generally typeset with equations or algorithms. My students always get trained in using proper typesetting. Unfortunately, the publishing industry has all but largely given up on TeX. Very few journals in my field accept TeX manuscripts, and most of them convert to word before feeding text to their publishing software. Whatever people might argue against TeX, the beauty and elegance of a property typeset document is unparalleled. Long live LaTeX

PaulSFO San Francisco Dec. 17

A few years ago Severo Ornstein (who, incidentally, did the hardware design for the first router, in 1969), and his wife Laura, hosted a concert in their home in the hills above Palo Alto. During a break a friend and I were chatting when a man came over and *asked* if he could chat with us (a high honor, indeed). His name was Don. After a few minutes I grew suspicious and asked "What's your last name?" Friendly, modest, brilliant; a nice addition to our little chat.

Tim Black Wilmington, NC Dec. 17

When I was a physics undergraduate (at Trinity in Hartford), I was hired to re-write professor's papers into TeX. Seeing the beauty of TeX, I wrote a program that re-wrote my lab reports (including graphs!) into TeX. My lab instructors were amazed! How did I do it? I never told them. But I just recognized that Knuth was a genius and rode his coat-tails, as I have continued to do for the last 30 years!

Jack512 Alexandria VA Dec. 17

A famous quote from Knuth: "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." Anyone who has ever programmed a computer will feel the truth of this in their bones.

[Dec 22, 2018] Family of Secrets The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years

" This family had a role in the assassination of JFK, 9/11, and other covert operations failures that are nothing less than sinister... "Starting with Prescott Bush's business dealings with the Nazi's, to George H. Bush's association with Lee Harvey Oswald, Saddam Hussein, and others.... all the way to George W. Bush's dealings with Osama Bin Laden long before he became a 'Terrorist'."
This book reveals a system that is broken and deeply corrupt. The old adage is true "things are not as they appear". Don't read this if you don't have the intellectual honesty to admit this.
Notable quotes:
"... The same Crichton whose secret military intelligence unit counted dozens of men who simultaneously held jobs as Dallas police officers? ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Robert P. Morrow 5.0 out of 5 stars Russ Baker thinks CIA George Herbert Walker Bush was involved in the JFK assassination. I agree. February 19, 2011 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

I highly recommend this book. If anything Russ Baker goes very easy on the Bush Crime Family. For example google "Chip Tatum Pegasus" and you will find he is not mentioned in this book. Then there is the case of the 1980's Franklin pedophile ring and GHW Bush's associations with pedophilic pimp Lawrence E. King. Again, that is a whopping Bush family "secret" and it is not in this book.

However, Baker does lay out a pretty google circumstantial case that GHW Bush may very well have been involved in the JFK assassination. May I quote Baker asking GHW Bush:

On the day of the assassination, were you in touch with your friend and Republican running mate Jack Crichton, a military intelligence figure who was connected to figures forcing their way into the pilot car of Kennedy's motorcade? The same Crichton who controlled the man who served as the interpreter between Oswald's wife and police and reframed her words so as to implicate Oswald in Kennedy's shooting? The same Crichton who was working out of a secret underground communications bunker below the streets of Dallas?

The same Crichton whose secret military intelligence unit counted dozens of men who simultaneously held jobs as Dallas police officers? The same Crichton who did secret oil industry intelligence work in the Middle East while you did intelligence related oil industry work via your company, Zapata Offshore?

-Finally, do you know people who consider the events of November 22, 1963 to, in their minds, "reflect the very best of the American spirit?" You say almost nothing, ever, about the Kennedy assassination, even skipping over it in your own memoir, which details much more trivial events of the same year. Why is that? And why then, in your eulogy for former President Ford, a member of the increasingly-discredited Warren Commission, did you go out of your way to oddly praise him for promoting the increasingly-discredited "single bullet theory?" You said:

"After a deluded gunman assassinated President Kennedy, our nation turned to Gerald Ford and a select handful of others to make sense of that madness. And the conspiracy theorists can say what they will, but the Warren Commission report will always have the final definitive say on this tragic matter. Why? Because Jerry Ford put his name on it and Jerry Ford's word was always good."

Why did you, so bizarrely, smile when you uttered those words?

Now, with your Medal of Freedom, given you by a Democratic president who ran as an agent of change, you truly seem to be enjoying the last laugh."

James McDonald 5.0 out of 5 stars MSM is reporting the history of the dead Bush but you won't be told about the State Crimes. December 1, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I've had this publication for several years. It's important to point out I've not read this publication completely but rather I've used it for key search terms. If you don't have access using this kind of information, you are way behind the curve on how this platform can be used for research. It becomes even more vital in today's world of fake news reports as exampled by what we being presented with today. These same electronic e'books can be read on the computer too.

A few example on how you can cut and paste the vital info is presented below:

lone gunman is a much more comforting notion in our democracy than a vast apparatus that can bring down presidents. Give us a simple explanation that easily encapsulates the horrible and then we can retain forever all that we have held to be true. If there was any genius in the Bush administration, it was the understanding that Americans did not want to confront complexities and had a great need of "bad guys" to blame for what had gone wrong.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years . Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

The Iraq War was not, and never had been, about an imminent threat to the safety of America and its allies; even Republicans like former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan were publicly acknowledging that it was mostly about oil.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (p. 3). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

The reason the Bushes are relevant today, even with W.' s exit from the national stage, is that the family and its colleagues and associates represent an elite that has long succeeded in subverting our democratic institutions to their own ends. And they will continue to do so unless their agenda and methods are laid bare to public scrutiny.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (p. 6). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

George William Bush acknowledged under oath -- as part of a deposition in a lawsuit brought by a nonprofit group seeking records on Bush's past -- that he was the junior officer on a three-to four-man watch shift at CIA headquarters between September 1963 and February 1964, which was on duty when Kennedy was shot. 6 "I do not recognize the contents of the memorandum as information furnished to me orally or otherwise during the time I was at the CIA," he said. "In fact, during my time at the CIA, I did not receive any oral communications from any government agency of any nature whatsoever. I did not receive any information relating to the Kennedy assassination during my time at the CIA from the FBI. Based on the above, it is my conclusion that I am not the Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency referred to in the memorandum."

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (p. 11). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

Devine's role in setting up Zapata would remain hidden for more than a decade -- until 1965. At that point, as Bush was extricating himself from business to devote his energies to pursuing a congressional seat, Devine's name suddenly surfaced as a member of the board of Bush's spin-off company, Zapata Offshore -- almost as if it was his function to keep the operation running. To be sure, he and Bush remained joined at the hip. As indicated in the 1975 CIA memo, Bush and Devine enjoyed a "close relationship" that continued while Mr. Bush was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations nine years later. In fact, Devine even accompanied then-congressman Bush on a two-week junket to Vietnam, leaving the day after Christmas in 1967, a year before the Republicans would retake the White House. After being "out" of the CIA since 1953, Devine's top-secret security clearance required an update, though what top-secret business a freshman congressman on the Ways and Means Committee could have, requiring two weeks in Vietnam with a "businessman," was not made clear.

Baker, Russ. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years (pp. 13-14). Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. Kindle Edition.

There's more but I hope my review of this work and the value of it will be apparent.

I most strongly recommend this book for the research in the discovery of State Crimes Against Democracy.

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ReviewerY 5.0 out of 5 stars Tells how the Saudis for decades did dirty work the CIA didn't want to do itself (including ... May 12, 2015 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Probably a "must read". Tells how the Saudis for decades did dirty work the CIA didn't want to do itself (including Iran Contra), and they did it with the coordination and assistance of Poppy Bush and his companies. Describes "W" Bush as an incompetent who failed at numerous jobs that Daddy got him, and never succeeded at anything (other than marrying Laura and ending his alcohol addiction when she threatened to leave him) until he became Texas governor. Goes into detail about "W"'s draft dodging, and desertion of the Air Force Reserve without being court martialed.

Randall M. 5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to understand what was really happening and how the American citizens have been betrayed and hoodwinked by the Bush's this is a great book. January 29, 2018 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

From Samuel Bush late 19th century to Bush 43 the book reveals the double life of the Bush family. The connections and associations throughout a century leave little doubt that the Bush family is entwined in many of the most historical and tragic events of wars, politics and covert activities of the USA. If you want to understand what was really happening and how the American citizens have been betrayed and hoodwinked by the Bush's this is a great book.

Bibliophiledw 5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This One! Many skeletons in this Closet! Whew! August 5, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

WOW! The closest I can come t o describing this is to say it is a multi-level, generational expose of "incestuous" relationships WITHOUT the sex! How can that be? Read it and learn. If I'd known how pervasive and of such longstanding and widespread these relationships.... I would've started with a 14' x 14' white board and diagrammed a kind of "family" tree and still would have had to write small! - really small. Someone said: "What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." This is like THE largest can of worms; it was hard to keep track, but Russ Baker did and showed how each player was connected to the next - sometimes it was linear and other times it went sideways, but always came back to the beginning family of Bush. Oh my.

Mayo Quin 5.0 out of 5 stars How the elites affect public policy and the course of history November 15, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

The tangential names and places are fully explained in this book. The reality of elite dynasties (Bush, Rockefeller, Kennedy) is undeniable. These people affect our lives, often in ways only they know about. Connections are inherited, my friends. To get your feet wet, visit YouTube and watch one of the video interviews with author Russ Baker.

Hoosier CheeseHead 5.0 out of 5 stars The seamy side of American politics exposed August 7, 2015 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

An outstanding read, chock-full of background info on this dynastic American family.
Not flattering to them, but the allegations are mostly substantiated.
There are some questionable flights of speculation, which taint the book's general objectivity.
I was shocked to learn of the many ways in which the same prominent figures kept popping-up, complicit in the huge events of the past several decades (the Kennedy assassination, Watergate scandal, Nixon's downfall, etc.).
And Geo.H.W. Bush was the "Man Behind the Curtain", swirling in the murky background of every story.
My perception of BOTH Bush presidents has been fundamentally altered.
Fascinating.

TLR 5.0 out of 5 stars Essential hidden history October 5, 2013 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Besides being an expose of the Bush dynasty, Baker demonstrates the close ties between many different groups that people tend to think of as being separate - Texas oilmen, military intelligence, Wall Street, FBI, CIA, the arms industry, organized crime, etc. It's a big revolving door, a huge network of the Old Boys Club. The elites of the world are interested in power and wealth, not in ideology.

He offers a cautionary note about trusting declassified government documents:

"Allen Dulles once called CIA documents 'hieroglyphics.'...Dulles used to expound on such elements of tradecraft to his fellow Warren Commission members. On one occasion, he told them that no one would be able to grasp an intelligence memo except for those involved in its creation and their colleagues...When Thomas J. Devine, Poppy Bush's business partner and a former CIA agent, coyly suggested to me that the problem with journalists like myself is that 'you believe what you read in government documents,' he was referring to such deeply coded disinformation."

Stephen Courts 5.0 out of 5 stars Bush Family Of Secrdts January 18, 2012 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

A must read book by noted journalist Russ Baker that documents the inherently obvious connections with the bush family and the CIA, oil billionaires, energy giants and many more conflicts of interest, particularly with Ken Lay and Enron. This is a book that reveals the true bush dynastry. For example, I was not aware of Prescott Bush's mentoring of Richard Nixon and his close relationship to President Eisenhower and how Prescott got Ike to put the young inexperienced Nixon on the 1952 presidential ticket. The entire sorid history of the bush's going back to post WW One and their support of the Nazi's in washing money for the 2nd World War. Allen Dulles figures prominantly in this terrific read. Don't be fooled by the gentel George H W Bush. His connections to the CIA go back way farther than he admits, and he figures prominantly in Iran Contra. George H W Bush is the only known individual who cannot account for where he was during the Coup D'Etat in November 1963. The man is a liar and a coward as well as a thief. Baker spends about 75 pages detailing George H W Bush's involvement in Watergate and the downfall of the Nixon administration. Well written and documented. This is a five star book and a must read for truth seekers. Stephen Courts

[Dec 18, 2018] Neoliberalism and After ? by Michael A. Peters

So in 2018 chickens hatched in 2008 come home to roost.
The financial meltdown of 2008 is no longer fresh in our minds. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, to save itself from bankruptcy, the US paid leading banks in excess of $16 trillion - the biggest bailout ever! This itself had a huge impact on the overall debt burden.
Was 2017 a bond bubble that was deflated in 2018 or it was "everything bubble" and stocks are the next in line. The lowest S&P500 went during22008 crisis was 670 I think.
Notable quotes:
"... financial crisis poses a fundamental challenge to globalization and to the finance capitalism of the Anglo-American neoliberal model of the free market. ..."
Apr 30, 2011 | www.amazon.com

Reinhart and Rogoff (2008) suggest that 'the present U.S. financial crisis is severe by any metric.' Many have pointed to the systemic nature of the crisis. Gokay (2009) suggests an analysis in terms of' the explosive growth of the financial system during the last three decades relative to manufacturing and the economy as a whole' with the huge growth of finance capitalism and 'the proliferation of speculative and destabilizing financial institutional arrangements and instruments of wealth accumulation.' This has meant 'the rise of new centers and the loss of relative weight of the U.S. as a global hegemonic power' with increasing resource depletion and ecological crisis. He goes on to argue:

The current financial crisis (and economic downturn) has not come out of blue. It is the outcome of deep-seated contradictions within the structure of global economic system. It is not a 'failure' of the system, but it is central to the mode of functioning of the system itself. It is not the result of some 'mistakes' or 'deviations,' but rather it is inherent to the logic of the system. ( http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?contexr=va&and=123 )

... ... ...

The question is the nature of the systemic crisis: does it mean the end of U.S. style capitalism? Does it mean the end of neoliberalism? Does it mean the end of capitalism itself?

Undoubtedly, the financial and economic crisis of 2008 is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe.

Altman (2009) argues hat governments in the U.S. and Europe will turn inward to focus on domestic recovery especially as their citizens begin to make demands, such as the 'tea-party' ) phenomenon in the U.S.

The international fiscal deficits will discourage the U.S. and Western nations from embarking on any international initiatives in foreign policy and Western capital markets will take several years to recover as the banks insulate themselves by becoming risk-averse.

Perhaps, most importantly 'the economic credibility of the West has been undermined by the crisis' (p. 10)...

... ... ...

Whatever the economic advantages of progress toward the 'knowledge economy,' the 'creative economy' and, even the 'green economy the fact is that the cur- rent financial crisis poses a fundamental challenge to globalization and to the finance capitalism of the Anglo-American neoliberal model of the free market. As Harold James (2009: 168) reminds us

'The response to the Asian crisis of 1997-98 was the reinforcement of the American model of financial capitalism, the so-called Washington consensus'

and he goes on to argue

'The response to the contagion caused by the U.S. subprime crisis of 2007-8 will be the elaboration of the Chinese model.' ...

[Dec 16, 2018] Sociopaths Live Longer Survival Guide For A Culture In Decline by Frank Tomben

Notable quotes:
"... To cope with that, there is another whole industry of diversion, media, drugs, you name it, and that works very well, I know. But nowadays, there is a certain unease in the air, some people feel like they are led to the slaughterhouse ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Egoistic individuals win against altruistic individuals. Altruistic societies win against egoistic societies. Everything else is commentary.

... ... ...

A friend of mine works for a TV station. When 9/11 hit, he confided in me that champagne corks were hitting the ceiling at his workplace. I wasn't particularly shocked at this revelation, and I don't assume anybody will be, but I think it speaks volumes about the way culture works nowadays. It is no longer a band tying us together for which we feel thankful and are ready to make sacrifices to, because we have been systematically overloaded with unnecessary information to stimulate our desires, and we have been taught that every thing and everybody can be easily replaced, so we tend to think nothing really matters. But things weren't always like this.

The premise of this book is that we live in a declining culture. To me, that is apparent every day. I work with electronic appliances that people depend upon, but nobody wants to know how they function, what is damaging, or how you can repair them. Even official jobs that are advertised as "maintenance" consist of not actually repairing stuff, instead focusing on selling new stuff. This can be safely ascribed to an idea put forth by neo-liberalism: that everybody can be replaced, because it's not important how the work is done as long as it's done at all. People in leading positions want to think like that because it makes their job easier, so they tend to ignore any evidence to the contrary.

And of course that is a way to make money and waste resources, so in our current world it is "successful". But we all know resources are limited, And of course that is a way to make money and waste resources, so in our current world it is "successful". But we all know resources are limited, and if the only way to be successful is by wasting limited resources, that success is, by definition, limited. And it is not only material resources that are wasted, but human resources as well. People think "doesn't matter, there are too many people on this planet anyway", but when people feel wasted, they develop negative feelings.

To cope with that, there is another whole industry of diversion, media, drugs, you name it, and that works very well, I know. But nowadays, there is a certain unease in the air, some people feel like they are led to the slaughterhouse , because we know, about 40% of us are going to be replaced by robots, and we don't know what will happen, other civilizations have tripped over less already. There might be a civil war coming, that's what fascists and Isis are rooting for, or a robot-led police state, that's what the top 1% are rooting for, one thing we do know is: democracy is helplessly taking it in the ass from capitalism.

So some people turn to activism. I will not lie: I value my life too much for that kind of bullshit. And I really think it isn't necessary. But I don't want to deter anybody from engaging in such behavior. Only we have to stay aware of the powers at be, and we can learn from history. When the fascists took over Germany, they made use of census data acquired decades before which listed people who were disabled, gay, which they proceeded to fill their concentration camps with. Now compare that with the data that is collected in our time and imagine a similar regime change. You don't have to look very far; the people of Turkey experienced something in that vein not long ago. Several similar examples can be found throughout history, so you should be aware of the possible consequences of activism.

But what's the alternative, you ask? I've given that some serious thought for decades, and this book is just one of several ways to give you an idea...

From the book flap:

I also strongly recommend you learn to trust people. It makes life so much easier and allows you to focus on your own development instead of worrying what other people might think. Even with the occasional disappointment, life is just so much more fun that way than by being paranoid. While we are on the subject of trust, which is obviously a foundation for all relationships, it s also a major perk derived from them. Nowadays, people tend to think that relationships are means to exploit other people to gain money (although we all know it's a bubble), status or to let them do your work for you. And then they wonder and complain why other people do die same shit to them. So let me put it in very basic words: it doesn't matter whether you believe in god.

As long as you are part of society, you might just as well consider the people around you as your collective god, because you aren't able to live without them, especially if shit starts hitting the fan. Our current culture is self- conscious enough to realize it has no long term perspective, that's why we tend to admire the con men and vote them into power. But thinking ahead, it's obvious that this will lead us nowhere. So when the next bubble bursts, people who are revered today might find their heads put on sticks. In this light, it becomes apparent that the true value of relationships is honing your sense who you can trust how much, and that is something you need regardless of what culture you live in, even more when it crumbles beneath your feet.

[Dec 16, 2018] Palace of Ashes China and the Decline of American Higher Education by Mark S. Ferrara

Notable quotes:
"... I see this in young people all around, 25-35 year old's saddled with $50-100k in debt defining every action and option they have (or don't!). Not everyone gets themselves into this bind, people make poor decisions, but our higher educational institutions readily promote without ample warning and education and the result is what's rumored to be a $1 Trillion student loan debt bubble. This isn't sustainable ..."
"... Educational institutions should not be seen as a profit making enterprise, education should be attainable to all without the fear of untenable costs. ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Andrew S 4.0 out of 5 stars An in-depth discussion on education and how we got to where we are today in the US... September 21, 2018 Format: Hardcover

A very scholarly and educational read, well researched and documented. It is very in-depth, perhaps not for the light hearted but I learned quite a bit about education philosophies world-wide, their origins, how that effects current thoughts and practices, etc. And how the United States higher educational institutions have gotten to where they are today, money printing machines with unsustainable growth and costs being pushed onto those just seeking to potentially better themselves.

I see this in young people all around, 25-35 year old's saddled with $50-100k in debt defining every action and option they have (or don't!). Not everyone gets themselves into this bind, people make poor decisions, but our higher educational institutions readily promote without ample warning and education and the result is what's rumored to be a $1 Trillion student loan debt bubble. This isn't sustainable

My years in oversea schools took place long ago, I can't testify nor draw direction comparisons to the situation we face today. But I can say, that with three young kids approaching college age we remain highly concerned to terrified what the costs and our kids futures.

Educational institutions should not be seen as a profit making enterprise, education should be attainable to all without the fear of untenable costs.

This is a good read, recommended.

[Dec 16, 2018] Polarizing Development Alternatives to Neoliberalism and the Crisis by Lucia Pradella, Thomas Marois

Dec 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Neoliberal economic policies, with their emphasis on market-led development and individual rationality, have been exposed as bankrupt not only by the global economic crisis but also by increasing social opposition and resistance. Social movements and critical scholars in Latin America, East Asia, Europe and the United States, alongside the Arab uprisings, have triggered renewed debate on possible different futures. While for some years any discussion of substantive alternatives has been marginalized, the global crisis since 2008 has opened up new spaces to debate, and indeed to radically rethink, the meaning of development. Debates on developmental change are no longer tethered to the pole of 'reform and reproduce': a new pole of 'critique and strategy beyond' neoliberal capitalism has emerged.

Despite being forcefully challenged, neoliberalism has proven remarkably resilient. In the first years since the crisis erupted, the bulk of the alternative literature pointed to continued growth in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and in other big emerging market countries to affirm the necessary role for the state in sustaining capitalist development. New developmental economists have consequently reasserted themselves. Their proposals converged into a broader demand for global Keynesianism (Patomaki, 2012) -- a demand that is proving to be less and less realistic in the face of a deepening global economic crisis.

Interpreting and Resisting Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is a historical phenomenon. In the early 1970s firms began to feel acutely the impact of falling profitability. Many managers and owners believed the mounting power of organized labor was responsible. Indeed, this emerging structural crisis of capitalism was amplified by increasing labor militancy and social opposition, and by the rising challenge of socialism and nationalism from the Global South - the greatest wave of decolonization in world history (Arrighi, 2007: 136). The power of the United States reached its nadir with its defeat in Vietnam (1975), with the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s, and with the spread of revolutionary struggles, notably in Latin America. It is against this backdrop that the rise of neoliberalism becomes understandable.

Neoliberalism's set of pro-market and anti-labor policies were first implemented by the brutal US-backed Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973). The monetarist economic principles of the infamous 'Chicago Boys' guided the process. At this time, however, many other governments in the South resisted initial demands by the Northern-dominated international financial institutions (IFIs), notably the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), to implement rapid 'shock therapy' structural adjustment programmes.

The 1979 to 1982 Volcker Shock changed matters dramatically. Paul Volcker, then head of the US Federal Reserve, allowed US interest rates to skyrocket from around 5 per cent to over 20 per cent, ostensibly to halt persistent inflation and to shock the US economy out of stagnation. This move sparked a global rise in interest rates and a wave of profound economic crises in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Soviet bloc. Governments in these countries lost the ability to service their debts because of the dramatic falls in the prices received for and the quantity of their primary goods exported. This triggered the 1980s debt crisis, which opened an opportunity for governments North and South to press more systematically for neoliberal transformation.

Instead of mobilizing workers and peasants against this new form of economic imperialism, governments in the South began to reorient their economies toward intensified export production in order to earn the foreign currency needed to repay their loans. With the fall of the Soviet Union, neoliberal shock therapy was also extended to Russia and other Eastern European countries. In the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Western governments mobilized their military power to facilitate the entrenchment of neoliberal policies at a terrible human cost.

Neoliberalism has entailed processes of contested socio-economic transformation. Amidst great popular resistance and economic instability, post-war state-led strategies of development gave way to market-oriented neoliberal ones, or the so-called 'Washington consensus'. The economist John Williamson identified ten policies characteristic of the consensus: fiscal discipline, reduction in public expenditure, tax reform, financial liberalization, market-determined exchange rates, trade liberalization, an open door to foreign direct investment, privatization of public service and state-owned enterprises, deregulation, and secure property rights. These policies have led to higher unemployment, worsening social inequalities, widespread impoverishment, peasant land dispossessions, unsustainable urbanization and increased worker exploitation.

Contributors to this book describe many of the specific developmental transformations in the Global South, and how neoliberal processes have led to an expansion of the global reserve army of workers and accelerated international migration. At the same time, financial and trade deregulation have enhanced the power of finance capital and multinational corporations, which they have used to pursue the outsourcing and offshoring of many industrial and service activities. This globalization of production has brought with it intensified processes of ecological destruction.

Women and the poor are the most negatively impacted by the neoliberal privatization of public services. As women increasingly enter into the workforce, the privatization of public services magnifies their 'double burden'. Such transformations have been global, having negative impacts on workers in the South and, increasingly, in the North.

The neoliberal policies shaping these transformative processes are derived from neoclassical economic theory. Neoclassical theory obscures and naturalizes the exploitative foundations of capitalism because it reduces labor to just another factor of production, not unlike other 'technical inputs' like land and capital. The social reproduction of workers is further assumed to be a private, genderless process restricted to the household, when it is in fact vital to overall capital accumulation processes. In not dissimilar ways, neoclassical economics tends to treat the environment as an externality. Further embedded in this kind of approach is a tendency towards methodological nationalism. Certain models presuppose that capital and labor do not move internationally and that international trade represents merely exchange of commodities between national units. It follows, in theory, that by promoting domestic specialization according to a given country's comparative advantage, free trade would spontaneously stabilize participating 'national' economies at an equilibrium level, maintaining employment and growth in all of them.

With its emphasis on liberal, market-based notions of individual equality and freedom, neoclassical economics conceals underlying social polarizations and exploitative relationships characteristic of capitalism. In reality, neoliberal transformation favors the interests of the strongest capitals internationally (see Shaikh, 2005). Despite the proclaimed spontaneity of the market, moreover, neoliberalism does not lead to a retreat of the state. Rather, neoliberalism is marked by the class-based restructuring of the state apparatus in ways that have responded to the evolving needs of capital accumulation (for example, around new financial imperatives). What is more, as today's capitalism is dominated by Northern powerhouses like the United States and Western European countries, the extension of capitalist relations globally embodies these imperialist powers' aspirations to retain supremacy in the hierarchy of states.

Neoliberalism, in fact, has always occurred through and within states, never in the absence of states. Actually existing neoliberal transformations are mediated by the hierarchical position of a given state within the world market and by specific social struggles. Consequently, neoliberal transition in the United States is not the same as neoliberalism transition in India or Iraq, and each entails specific national, class, racial and gendered dimensions. Yet contributors to this book recognize that neoliberalism is a class-based political and economic project, defined by the attack of capital and neoliberal state authorities on the collective capacity of organized labor, the peasantry and popular classes to resist the subordination of all social, political, economic and ecological processes to accumulation imperatives. The subsequent consolidation of neoliberalism globally has thus been to the benefit of global capital, and has come at the expense of workers, women and the poor. Relations of imperialist domination, environmental exploitation, racial and gender oppression are constitutive dimensions of this class struggle.

Neoliberal consolidations nonetheless generate new social resistances. Many contributors to this book identify continuing processes involving the decomposition of working classes and the formation of important social movements. With the 1999 demonstrations in Seattle, these struggles assumed an inter-American character. Various indigenous groups, trade unionists, faith-based and women's organizations marched alongside environmentalists and farmers in a collective bid to shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO) talks (Burbach, Fox and Fuentes, 2013: 2). In the new millennium, the 'alter-globalisation' movement has attained a truly global scale. Yet the movement has not been without problems. Notably, the activists and organizations have failed to produce precise sets of collective demands or a coherent international political programme. Pre-existing antagonisms among workers and peoples across lines of national and social oppression were not overcome. The movement, as a result, failed to articulate collective resistance across national, regional and international levels (Prashad, 2013: 235). After the huge demonstrations against the war on Iraq (2003), it gradually faded away.

Still, resistances to neoliberalism grew thereafter, especially in the Global South. In some cases these made significant advances. For example, while the United States and other Western states were bogged down with military aggressions in the Middle East, US control over Latin America eased. Social mobilizations there enjoyed new spaces for action, which helped give rise to a variety of progressive governments less subservient to imperialist interests and the competitive imperatives of neoliberal development. In this book, Abelardo Marifta-Flores suggests that progressive income redistribution and the reinforcement of regional integration processes are among the most significant achievements. Susan Spronk and Sarah Miraglia highlight the progressive, albeit imperfect, gendered dimensions of the Bolivarian transformative movement in Venezuela. Neoliberal transformations also create new socio-economic conditions that may undermine US and Western hegemony. As several authors attest, for example, the relocation of industrial production towards East Asia has generated new centers of accumulation. Consequently, Western imperial powers now face a major challenge with the rise of China and India. So too have other big emerging capitalisms, like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Indonesia and the Gulf States, become ever more important centers of accumulation. This has lent support to arguments suggesting global hegemony has started to shift from the West to the East.

To be sure, these emerging capitalisms, China in particular, offer alternative sources of foreign direct investment, international aid, developmental loans and technological know-how to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Leaders of the BRICS have, for example, called for a 'multipolar' reform of the financial system and of the IFIs, which includes the establishment of a new multilateral Development Bank, the 'BRICS Bank'. Yet the extent to which these changes offer an alternative at all has everything to do with the extent to which South -- South relations and flows of know-how do not serve to extend and reproduce exploitative class relations of domination, even be they under novel forms of sub/ Southern imperialism. This remains to be seen, and indeed the global crisis is affecting the terms of this debate.

The Global Crisis and the Resilience of Neoliberalism

The global crisis that emerged in the United States in 2007 was rooted in the preceding decades of neoliberal restructuring. Its immediate trigger, however, was the subprime mortgage lending debacle. The US subprime crisis then took a global turn in late September 2008 with the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. As investors scrambled to preserve their wealth and dump any toxic assets they had bought into, otherwise liquid US credit markets seized up, bringing the global financial system to the edge of ruin. Only massive and sustained state intervention prevented the system's implosion. Many Western governments rolled out financial Keynesianism. This entailed nationalizing failed private banks and industries and adding trillions of dollars to the public debt. The governments thus staved off global economic collapse but only by incurring massive increases in new public debts. This gave rise to the sovereign debt crises in the 'peripheral' EU countries. A number of developing countries also incurred new public debts as governments rolled out economic stimulus packages to help sustain domestic investment, maintain employment and buttress internal demand.

On the one hand, the privileges and powers gained by global capital under neoliberal transformation remain largely intact. Indeed, imperialist governments have done everything in their power to reinforce the current system. Such is the aim of the quantitative easing and zero interest rate policies being pursued by the US Federal Reserve, the Banks of England and Japan, and increasingly the European Central Bank. These actions are intended to prop up the financial markets, support the prices of financial assets and make these countries' exports more competitive. Throughout it all neoliberal technocrats remain unwavering in their ideological commitments to market-oriented development. For example, the World Bank's Global Financial Development Report 2013 attempts to reframe the global crisis not as a fundamental problem of 'market failure' and capitalism, but instead as essentially about 'state failure' and flawed human nature. The solution? More of the same neoliberal policies implemented since the 1980s, but now guided and sustained by a more robust state apparatus that ensures better market discipline...

[Dec 13, 2018] Toxic Philanthropy The Spirit of Giving While Taking by By Lynn Parramore

Yves: "Homer had this figured out long ago: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." But the press has done a great job of presenting squillionaires trying to remake society along their preferred lines as disinterested philanthropy. "
Notable quotes:
"... By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst, the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
"... America's new "philanthrocapitalists" are enabling social problems rather than solving them ..."
"... British novelist Anthony Trollope once observed, "I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so bloodthirsty as a professed philanthropist." ..."
"... Legendary short seller Jim Chanos, who teaches business students to spot fraud, understands why: when he scrutinizes a company for signs of shady activity, one of the things he looks for is an uptick in philanthropy -- a strategy business ethics professor Marianne Jennings has named as one of the "seven signs of ethical collapse" in organizations. Chanos refers to the ruse as "doing good to mask doing bad." ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst, the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

America's new "philanthrocapitalists" are enabling social problems rather than solving them

A new breed of wealthy do-gooders armed with apps and PowerPoints claim they want to change the world. But with their market-oriented values and often-shortsighted prescriptions, are really they going to change it for the better?

Or change it at all?

Anand Giridharadas, who has traveled first-class in the rarefied realm of 21 st -century "philanthrocapitalists," harbors serious doubts. In his acclaimed book, " Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World ," the business reporter and former McKinsey consultant exposes the willful blindness of bright-eyed social entrepreneurs and TED-talking executives who, having drunk their own late-stage capitalist Kool-Aid, are now ready to serve us all. Compliments of the house.

Doing Good, Masking Bad

British novelist Anthony Trollope once observed, "I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so bloodthirsty as a professed philanthropist."

Legendary short seller Jim Chanos, who teaches business students to spot fraud, understands why: when he scrutinizes a company for signs of shady activity, one of the things he looks for is an uptick in philanthropy -- a strategy business ethics professor Marianne Jennings has named as one of the "seven signs of ethical collapse" in organizations. Chanos refers to the ruse as "doing good to mask doing bad."

Such cynical public relations gambits are familiar enough to New Yorkers using Citi Bike, the public-private bike share system funded by Citigroup, whose misdeeds helped spark the global financial crisis of 2007-8. Or visitors to the Sackler Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, named for the family whose members own Purdue, the pharmaceutical company that fueled America's opioid crisis through deceptive marketing of the addictive painkiller OxyContin.

But another sort of deep-pocketed philanthropist is harder to pin down. The harm she causes seems less direct; her motives more lofty. This type is fond of touting "win-win" solutions to social problems and tossing out terms like "impactful" and "scalable" and "paradigm-shifting" -- the kind of lingo fed to business school students in lieu of critical thinking. Members of this group nevertheless refer to themselves as "thought leaders."

These would-be benefactors of humanity tend to like former president Bill Clinton, whose Clinton Global Initiative became the ultimate road show for eager converts to what Giridharadas calls the faith of "win-winnerism," i.e. "I'm doing great in this racket, and so can you." Inhabiting Silicon Valley start-ups, venture capital firms, think tanks, and consulting companies in large metropolitan areas, philanthrocapitalists speak reverently of global poverty, but rarely touch down in places like Appalachia or rural Mississippi.

They are people like John Mackey, the chief executive of Whole Foods Market, whose book "Conscious Capitalism" is the bible for those aspiring to the win-win faith. In his formulation, CEOs are not simply the heads of companies, but transcendent beings that find "great joy and beauty in their work, and in the opportunity to serve, lead, and help shape a better future." Mackey's philosophy is one in which the beneficiaries of commerce should dedicate themselves to social improvement because they are obviously the best equipped to do the job. The public is meant to humbly follow.

This last bit, as Giridharadas shrewdly points out, may be far more radical than the old trickle-down philosophy of yesterday's winners, who lobbied the government to get out of their way so that the bounteous by-products of their cutthroat activities could descend unimpeded to the poor. The new winners want something even more audacious: to replace the role of government as guardian of the common good.

Giridharadas presents searching conversations with well-educated, often well-meaning people floating above and apart from the lives of ordinary Americans, wishing to ease their consciences but failing both to clearly see the problems of society and to notice, for more than a nagging moment, the ways in which their own lives are financed by the fruits of injustice. They end up embracing a warm-and-fuzzy vision of changing the world that leaves brutal underlying structures securely in place.

The author has said what few who have traveled in this world have said plainly, lest their passport be revoked: the efforts of philanthrocapitalists are largely disruptive, rather than beneficial, to public life.

You can see it in the kind of ideas they embrace. Lecture slots at Davos don't get doled out for discussing the need to expand popular, time-tested programs like Social Security and Medicare that are proven to reduce poverty and economic inequality. Such sensible fare is not nearly "innovative" or exotic enough -- and besides, it might require the wealthy to pay additional taxes. Better are schemes like universal basic income that tend to favor elite interests (such as continuing to pay workers inadequate wages) or creating technological solutions like the one offered in the book by a young win-winnerist: an app that charges workers to manage the unpredictable cash flow caused by erratic work schedules.

And what of campaigning to outlaw the exploitative business practice that causes the problem in the first place? Notsomuch.

Talking about victims plays well on the philanthrocapitalist circuit, but pointing out perpetrators is largely forbidden. You can wow the crowd by peddling for-profit schemes to help the poor, but you won't get the same applause by calling to jail criminal executives. Yet, as Giridharadas makes clear, even the fanciest app will not erase the feeling among ordinary people that the system has been captured by a small group of the rich and powerful -- a feeling that drives them away in disgust from establishment politics and makes them very angry indeed.

What the philanthrocapitalist has a hard time admitting is that meaningful structural change involves a lot more than an app and a PowerPoint. It means taking on financialized corporations that engage in stock market manipulation to enrich shareholders rather than investing in workers and products that are actually useful to human beings. It requires fixing a regressive tax system in which the wealthy pay less on their investments than working people pay on their earned income. It means empowering workers and taking on the coercive hierarchies of wealth and power that are locking into place a dual economy where the affluent become so removed from the struggles of the majority that they hardly speak the same language.

Antidemocratic and unaccountable, the new philanthropists emerge in Giridharadas's cautionary book less as the solvers of social problems than the deluded enablers. The emperor may stand there in his organic underpants waving a pie chart, but in the court of public opinion, it is increasingly obvious that he's not in the least interested in dismantling his own palace.

[Dec 12, 2018] The Neoliberal Agenda and the Student Debt Crisis in U.S. Higher Education (Routledge Studies in Education)

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism's presence in higher education is making matters worse for students and the student debt crisis, not better. ..."
"... Cannan and Shumar (2008) focus their attention on resisting, transforming, and dismantling the neoliberal paradigm in higher education. They ask how can market-based reform serve as the solution to the problem neoliberal practices and policies have engineered? ..."
"... What got us to where we are (escalating tuition costs, declining state monies, and increasing neoliberal influence in higher education) cannot get us out of the SI.4 trillion problem. And yet this metaphor may, in fact, be more apropos than most of us on the right, left, or center are as yet seeing because we mistakenly assume the market we have is the only or best one possible. ..."
"... We only have to realize that the emperor has no clothes and reveal this reality. ..."
"... Indeed, the approach our money-dependent and money-driven legislators and policymakers have employed has been neoliberal in form and function, and it will continue to be so unless we help them to see the light or get out of the way. This book focuses on the $1.4+ trillion student debt crisis in the United States. It doesn't share hard and fast solutions per se. ..."
"... In 2011-2012, 50% of bachelor's degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $40,000 and about 28% of associate degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $30,000 (College Board, 2015a). ..."
Dec 12, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Despite tthe fact that necoliberalism brings poor economic growth, inadequate availability of jobs and career opportunities, and the concentration of economic and social rewards in the hands of a privileged upper class resistance to it, espcially at universities, remain weak to non-existant.

The first sign of high levels of dissatisfaction with neoliberalism was the election of Trump (who, of course, betrayed all his elections promises, much like Obma before him). As a result, the legitimation of neoliberalism based on references to the efficient
and effective functioning of the market (ideological legitimation) is
exhausted while wealth redistribution practices (material legitimation) are
not practiced and, in fact, considered unacceptable.

Despite these problems, resistance to neoliberalism remains weak.
Strategics and actions of opposition have been shifted from the sphere of
labor to that of the market creating a situation in which the idea of the
superiority and desirability of the market is shared by dominant and
oppositional groups alike. Even emancipatory movements such as women,
race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation have espoused individualistic,
competition-centered, and meritocratic views typical of ncolibcral dis-
courses. Moreover, corporate forces have colonized spaces and discourses
that have traditionally been employed by oppositional groups and move-
ments. However, as systemic instability' continues and capital accumulation
needs to be achieved, change is necessary. Given the weakness of opposi-
tion, this change is led by corporate forces that will continue to further
their interests but will also attempt to mitigate socio-economic contra-
dictions. The unavailability of ideological mechanisms to legitimize
ncolibcral arrangements will motivate dominant social actors to make
marginal concessions (material legitimation) to subordinate groups. These
changes, however, will not alter the corporate co-optation and distortion of
discourses that historically defined left-leaning opposition. As contradic-
tions continue, however, their unsustainability will represent a real, albeit
difficult, possibility for anti-neoliberal aggregation and substantive change.

Connolly (2016) reported that a poll shows that some graduated student loan borrowers would willingly go to extremes to pay off outstanding student debt. Those extremes include experiencing physical pain and suffering and even a reduced lifespan. For instance, 35% of those polled would take one year off life expectancy and 6.5% would willingly cut off their pinky finger if it meant ridding themselves of the student loan debt they currently held.

Neoliberalism's presence in higher education is making matters worse for students and the student debt crisis, not better. In their book Structure and Agency in the Neoliberal University, Cannan and Shumar (2008) focus their attention on resisting, transforming, and dismantling the neoliberal paradigm in higher education. They ask how can market-based reform serve as the solution to the problem neoliberal practices and policies have engineered?

It is like an individual who loses his keys at night and who decides to look only beneath the street light. This may be convenient because there is light, but it might not be where the keys are located. This metaphorical example could relate to the student debt crisis. What got us to where we are (escalating tuition costs, declining state monies, and increasing neoliberal influence in higher education) cannot get us out of the SI.4 trillion problem. And yet this metaphor may, in fact, be more apropos than most of us on the right, left, or center are as yet seeing because we mistakenly assume the market we have is the only or best one possible.

As Lucille (this volume) strives to expose, the systemic cause of our problem is "hidden in plain sight," right there in the street light for all who look carefully enough to see. We only have to realize that the emperor has no clothes and reveal this reality. If and when a critical mass of us do, systemic change in our monetary exchange relations can and, we hope, will become our funnel toward a sustainable and socially, economically, and ecologically just future where public education and democracy can finally become realities rather than merely ideals.

Indeed, the approach our money-dependent and money-driven legislators and policymakers have employed has been neoliberal in form and function, and it will continue to be so unless we help them to see the light or get out of the way. This book focuses on the $1.4+ trillion student debt crisis in the United States. It doesn't share hard and fast solutions per se. Rather, it addresses real questions (and their real consequences). Are collegians overestimating the economic value of going to college?

What are we, they, and our so-called elected leaders failing or refusing to sec and why? This critically minded, soul-searching volume shares territory with, yet pushes beyond, that of Akers and Chingos (2016), Baum (2016), Goldrick-Rab (2016), Graebcr (2011), and Johannscn (2016) in ways that we trust those critically minded authors -- and others concerned with our mess of debts, public and private, and unfulfilled human potential -- will find enlightening and even ground-breaking.

... ... ...

In the meantime, college costs have significantly increased over the past fifty years. The average cost of tuition and fees (excluding room and board) for public four-year institutions for a full year has increased from 52,387 (in 2015 dollars) for the 1975-1976 academic year, to 59,410 for 2015-2016. The tuition for public two-year colleges averaged $1,079 in 1975-1976 (in 2015 dollars) and increased to $3,435 for 2015-2016. At private non-profit four-year institutions, the average 1975-1976 cost of tuition and fees (excluding room and board) was $10,088 (in 2015 dollars), which increased to $32,405 for 2015-2016 (College Board, 2015b).

The purchasing power of Pell Grants has decreased. In fact, the maximum Pell Grants coverage of public four-year tuition and fees decreased from 83% in 1995-1996 to 61% in 2015-2016. The maximum Pell Grants coverage of private non-profit four-year tuition and fees decreased from 19% in 1995-1996 to 18% in 2015-2016 (College Board, 2015a).

... ... ....

... In 2013-2014, 61% of bachelor's degree recipients from public and private non-profit four-year institutions graduated with an average debt of $16,300 per graduate. In 2011-2012, 50% of bachelor's degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $40,000 and about 28% of associate degree recipients from for-profit institutions borrowed more than $30,000 (College Board, 2015a).

Rising student debt has become a key issue of higher education finance among many policymakers and researchers. Recently, the government has implemented a series of measures to address student debt. In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (2005) was passed, which barred the discharge of all student loans through bankruptcy for most borrowers (Collinge, 2009). This was the final nail in the bankruptcy coffin, which had begun in 1976 with a five-year ban on student loan debt (SLD) bankruptcy and was extended to seven years in 1990. Then in 1998, it became a permanent ban for all who could not clear a relatively high bar of undue hardship (Best 6c Best, 2014).

By 2006, Sallie Mae had become the nation's largest private student loan lender, reporting loan holdings of $123 billion. Its fee income collected from defaulted loans grew from $280 million in 2000 to $920 million in 2005 (Collinge, 2009). In 2007, in response to growing student default rates, the College Cost Reduction Act was passed to provide loan forgiveness for student loan borrowers who work full-time in a public service job. The Federal Direct Loan will be forgiven after 120 payments were made. This Act also provided other benefits for students to pay for their postsecondary education, such as lowering interest rates of GSL, increasing the maximum amount of Pell Grant (though, as noted above, not sufficiently to meet rising tuition rates), as well as reducing guarantor collection fees (Collinge, 2009).

In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) was passed to increase transparency and accountability. This Act required institutions that are participating in federal financial aid programs to post a college price calculator on their websites in order to provide better college cost information for students and families (U.S. Department of Education |U.S. DoE|, 2015a). Due to the recession of 2008, the American Opportunity Tax Credit of 2009 (AOTC) was passed to expand the Hope Tax Credit program, in which the amount of tax credit increased to 100% for the first $2,000 of qualified educational expenses and was reduced to 25% of the second $2,000 in college expenses. The total credit cap increased from $1,500 to $2,500 per student. As a result, the federal spending on education tax benefits had a large increase since then (Crandall-Hollick, 2014), benefits that, again, are reaped only by those who file income taxes.

[Dec 12, 2018] Neoliberalism in the USA repeats the path of Marxism Leninism in the USSR

Dec 12, 2018 | www.amazon.com

During the last decades of Soviet power, the importance of Communist ideology' was frequently
overrated abroad. Only after the downfall of the regime did it become clear that Marxism-Leninism
was no longer taken seriously; lip service was still paid to it, but it became the subject of ridicule
among those at the very' top.

Is there a danger that a similar misapprehension may prevail now that political views once found only' at the periphery' of the political system have moved to its center?

... ... ....

... In the 1980s, a strange situation had arisen: The KGB spent much of its time harassing and persecuting the dissidents, but they believed as little in communism and the Soviet system as their victims. They did what they did because they had been given orders from above. What is known about their real convictions? Deep down many of them were probably cynics, willing apparently' to serve any' system as long as it preserved their privileged positions. What of the current situation? How important is ideology', and what is the specific weight of power and money'?

... ... ...

In its cultural history, Russia went through a golden and a silver age, but now there are few prospects even for a bronze age. One feels reminded of Pushkin's reaction having finished listening to Nikolai Gogol reading to him Dead Souls: "God, what a sad country, our Russia."

[Dec 11, 2018] John Taylor Gatto s book, The Underground History of American Education, lays out the sad fact of western education ; which has nothing to do with education; but rather, an indoctrination for inclusion in society as a passive participant. Docility is paramount in members of U.S. society so as to maintain the status quo

Highly recommended!
Creation of docility is what neoliberal education is about. Too specialized slots, as if people can't learn something new. Look at requirements for the jobs at monster or elsewhere: they are so specific that only people with previous exactly same job expertise can apply. Especially oputragious are requernets posted by requetng firm. There is something really Orvallian in them. That puts people into medieval "slots" from which it is difficult to escape.
I saw recently the following requirements for a sysadmin job: "Working knowledge of: Perl, JavaScript, PowerShell, BASH Script, XML, NodeJS, Python, Git, Cloud Technologies: ( AWS, Azure, GCP), Microsoft Active Directory, LDAP, SQL Server, Structured Query Language (SQL), HTML, Windows OS, RedHat(Linux), SaltStack, Some experience in Application Quality Testing."
When I see such job posting i think that this is just a covert for H1B hire: there is no such person on the planet who has "working knowledge" of all those (mostly pretty complex) technologies. It is clearly designed to block potential candidates from applying.
Neoliberalism looks like a cancer for the society... Unable to provide meaningful employment for people. Or at least look surprisingly close to one. Malignant growth.
Dec 11, 2018 | www.ianwelsh.net

[Dec 10, 2018] The Code of Putinism Brian D. Taylor 9780190867317 Amazon.com Books

Dec 10, 2018 | www.amazon.com

This book completely lacks the understanding of the phenomenon called Putinism. Which is a flavor neoliberalism (neoliberalism with Russian Characteristics to borrow the term from Chinese ;-)

The author limits himself to very superficial, kitchen level of understand of Putinism
== quote ==
<blockquote>
The code of Putinism has also shaped the economic system. "Putinomics" is also a hybrid system, combining the formal institutions of market capitalism with a set of informal clan networks. At the top of the Putinist economic system are Putin and his circle, who make the most important decisions and benefit from and sustain the system. State domination of the oil and gas sector is central to Putinomics, as are Putin's personal links to the
key players in this industry. Throughout the economy, the arbitrary power of state officials is often central to who wins and who loses, given the weakness of the rule of law and formal property rights.
</blockquote>
== end ==
The author also adhere to the dominant Western propaganda clichés way too much. Interpretation of Khodorkovsky travails is one example. As soon as you read how the author interpret Yukos story, you can throw the book into the garbage can -- it is clear that it is mostly propaganda, not an academic study.

Similarly the author makes big deal that Putin is a statist, forgetting that all neoliberals are statists par excellence:
== quote ==
Perhaps the most fundamental component of Putin's thinking is that he
is a statist (in Russian, a gosudarstvennik). In his first major programmatic
statement as Russia's ruler, on the eve of the millennium in December 1999,
he made this point quite emphatically. Russia, he averred, was different from
the United States or England, with their liberal traditions; in Russia, the state
"has always played an exceptionally important role... [and] is the source and
guarantor of order, the initiator and driving force of any change."
== end ==

And it is neoliberal ideology which determines who wins and who loses. And not understanding this simple fact dooms the book.

In reality, the events of 1991 were a neoliberal revolution in Russia when Communists elite defected and changed the sides adopting neoliberalism. This transformation instantly brought to the power oligarchs and resulted in economic rape of Russia by Western powers (Harvard mafia story is one example here, Browder is another).

The only issue that the author presented more or less OKt is the existence of a huge problem of the selection of Putin's successor. Charismatic leaders often present this problem, and they often create political crisis or turmoil when they leave the political arena. But with the collapse of neoliberalism in 2008 Putin's days are numbered in any case. And recent fiasco with pension reform is just one confirmation of the problems that any neoliberal leader faces. Even tremendously popular one. Russia needs the new leader with the clear "after-neoliberalism" vision. Re-nationalization of some former state assets probably would be urgently needed as well. With all his strengths and tremendous political talent, Putin is not such a leader. He is yet another "soft" neoliberal, and the key members of his close circle (Medvedev, Kudrin, etc.) are "soft" neoliberals too.

After coming to power, Putin tried to tame Russian oligarchs and transform comprador capitalism that emerged under Yeltsin into what can be called "national neoliberalism" (somewhat similar to Trumpism, although politically Trump is a pigmy in comparison with Putin, who is probably one of the most capable diplomats and politicians of our era).

Truth be told Putin fight with oligarch proved to be somewhat futile "in the long run." But it was a brilliant tactical move in the short run. The problem is that neoliberalism like a dragon in fairy tale regenerates comprador oligarchs heads after most odious heads were cut. Now Sechin and Deripaska started also represent a problem. But in any case taking of the chessboard, so to speak, such notorious oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky, Vladimir Gusinsky, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky ( the purge, which, unfortunately, was not done in the USA after 2008 and speeds troubles to this country) was a positive step and the act of political courage on the part of Putin. Ukraine represents an example of what happens if such a purge is not done and oligarchs became more powerful then the state.

This is the nature of the beast as a version of Trotskyism (with the slogan "Financial elite unite" instead of "Proletarians of all countries unite and the same idea of Permanent Revolution with the goal to build the global neoliberal empire via color revolutions and direct invasions.) It also creates strong comprador mentality among the Russian neoliberal elite (Medvedev, Kudrin, etc.), the problem that China faces as well, and that undermines Putin efforts.

The level of technological dependence on the West is another unsolvable problem for Putinism ( to the extent it represents economically resurging Russia.) That gives the USA as the center the global neoliberal empire powerful tools to keep Russia in check. Which Obama started to use to squeeze Russia and Trump continuing the Obama policy with probably even more vigor (with Pompeo and Bolton as the "sanctions men" of neocon persuasion)

The main crime of Putin as for Washington, DC is that he refused to be the vassal of Washington, and that generated sanctions and the series of provocations as well as the attempt to encircle Russia, including Nulandgate -- coups d'état which brought to power Ukrainian far-right nationalists in 2014. But still, in a way, subscribed to neoliberal dogma and he wanted co-existence with other neoliberal powers, including the USA.

I understand the element of "publish-of-perish" mentality here and the need for political correctness, but there should be some courage, or at least flexibility as well. Taking the position of a stooge of standard Western propaganda outline guarantee publishing but is despicable from the academic standpoint.

[Dec 10, 2018] The Crisis of Neoliberalism by Gérard Duménil, Dominique Lévy

Notable quotes:
"... The unquenchable quest for high income on the part of the upper classes must be halted. ..."
"... They maintain it is a mistake to isolate it merely in the context of the financial innovation and deregulation occurring from the late 1990s. Instead, capitalism has particular historical tendencies and specific class relations. ..."
"... However, because politics and social class alliances can change, so can the profitability. The current crisis was not caused by falling rates of profits, but by financial innovation, credit overextension, and the particular social class alliances facilitating these activities. ..."
Amazon.com

Neoliberalism is a new stage of capitalism that emerged in the wake of the structural crisis of the 1970s. It expresses the strategy of the capitalist classes in alliance with upper management, specifically financial managers, in- tending to strengthen their hegemony and to expand it globally. As of 2004, when our book Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution was published by Harvard University Press, this strategy appeared successful, based on its own objectives, the income and wealth of a privileged minority, and the dominance of a country. The contemporary crisis is an outcome of the contradictions inherent in that strategy. The crisis revealed the strategy's unsustainable character, leading to what can be denoted as the "crisis of neoliberalism." Neoliberal trends ultimately unsettled the foundations of the economy of the "secure base" of the upper classes -- the capability of the United States to grow, maintain the leadership of its financial institutions worldwide, and ensure the dominance of its currency -- a class and imperial strategy that resulted in a stalemate.

A New Social Order-A Multipolar World

The crisis of neoliberalism is the fourth structural crisis in capitalism since the late nineteenth century. Each of these earthquakes introduced the establishment of a new social order and deeply altered international relations. The contemporary crisis marks the beginning of a similar process of transition. Not only is financial regulation involved, but a new corporate governance, the rebuilding of the financial sector, and new policies are now required. The basic tenets and practices of neoliberal globalization will be questioned, and production has to be "re-territorialized" in the United States to a significant extent. Accordingly, countries such as China, India, or Brazil will become gradually less dependent on their relationship to the United States. It will be, in particular, quite difficult to correct for the macro trajectory of declining trends of accumulation and cumulative disequilibria of the U.S. economy once the present Great Contraction is stopped.

In any event, the new world order will be more multipolar than at present. Further, if such changes are not realized successfully in the United States, the decline of U.S. international hegemony could be sharp. None of the urgently required tasks in the coming decades to slow down the comparative decline of the U.S. economy can be realized under the same class leadership and unchecked globalizing trends. The unquenchable quest for high income on the part of the upper classes must be halted. Much will depend on the pressure exerted by the popular classes and the peoples of the world, but the "national factor," that is, the national commitment in favor of the preservation of U.S. preeminence worldwide, could play a crucial role. The necessary adjustment can be realized in the context of a new social arrangement to the Right or to the Left, although, as of the last months of 2009, the chances of a Left alternative appear slim.

It is important to understand that the contemporary crisis is only the initial step in a longer process of rectification. How long this process will last depends on the severity of the crisis, and national and international political strife. The capability of the U.S. upper classes to perform the much needed adjustment and the willingness of China to соllaborate will be crucial factors. A crisis of the dollar could precipitate a sequence of events that would alter the basic features of the process.

... ... ...

The Strategy of the U.S. Upper Classes in Neoliberalism: The Success and Failure of a Bold Endeavor

Two very distinct categories of phenomena are involved in the analysis of the contemporary crisis: the historical dynamics of capitalism, on the one hand, and financial and macro mechanisms, on the other hand. The interpretation of the crisis lies at the intersection of these two sets of processes, and the difficulty is to do justice to both and account for their reciprocal relationships.

Neoliberalism should be understood as a new phase in the evolution of capitalism. As such, it can be described intrinsically-its basic mechanisms and contradictions. The reference to a m ost recent phase raises, however, the issue of previous phases. The comparison with earlier periods reveals the traits proper to the new period. The analysis of the social, political, and economic trends that led to the establishment of neoliberalism is also telling of the nature and fate of this social order. Symmetrically, the notion of a crisis of neoliberalism implies a possible transition to a new phase, and the nature of the society that will prevail in the wake of the contemporary crisis is a major component of the investigation here.

... ... ...

A central thesis in Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution is that the overall dynamics of capitalism under neoliberalism, both nationally and internationally, were determined by new class objectives that worked to the benefit of the highest income brackets, capitalist owners, and the upper fractions of management. The greater concentration of income in favor of a privileged minority was a crucial achievement of the new social order. Income statement data make this apparent. In this respect, a social order is also a power configuration, and implicit in this latter notion is "class" power. National accounting frameworks add to this observation that a large and increasing fraction of U.S. capital income comes from outside of the United States. Not only class relations are involved, but also imperial hierarchies, a permanent feature of capitalism.

The new configuration of income distribution was the outcome of various converging trends. Strong pressure was placed on the mass of salaried workers, which helped restore profit rates from their low levels of the 1970s or, at least, to put an end to their downward trend. The opening of trade and capital frontiers paved the way to large investments in the regions of the world where prevailing social conditions allowed for high returns, thus generating income flows in favor of the U.S. upper classes (and broader groups that benefit to some extent by capital income). Free trade increased the pressure on workers, the effect of the competition emanating from countries where labor costs are low. Large capital income flows also derived from the growing indebtedness of households and the government. Extreme degrees of sophistication and expansion of financial mechanisms were reached after 2000, allowing for tremendous incomes in the financial sector and in rich households. The crisis, finally, revealed that a significant fraction of these flows of income were based on dubious profits, due to a n increasing overvaluation of securities.

Besides the comparative interests of social classes, the leading position of the United States, economically, politically, and militarily, must also be considered. The political conditions underlying the dominance of the United States in the decades preceding the crisis are well known. Two major factors are the fall of the Soviet Union and the weakness of Europe as a political entity. Neoliberalism corrected for the earlier decline of the leadership of the United States in the 1970s, at least vis-a-vis Europe and Japan. The U.S. economy is still the largest in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), with a leadership in fields as important as research and innovation, both in production and financial mecha- nisms. As a consequence, the dollar is acknowledged as the international currency.

The international neoliberal order -- known as neoliberal globalization -- was imposed throughout the world, from the main capitalist countries of the center to the less developed countries of the periphery, often at the cost of severe crises as in Asia and Latin America during the 1990s and after 2000. As in any stage of imperialism, the major instruments of these international power relations, beyond straightforward economic violence, are corruption, subversion, and war. The main political tool is always the establishment of a local imperial-friendly government. The collaboration of the elites of the dominated country is crucial, as well as, in contemporary capitalism, the action of international institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Economically, the purpose of this domination is the extraction of a "surplus" through the imposition of low prices of natural resources and investment abroad, be it portfolio or foreign direct investment. That countries of the periphery want to sell their natural resources and are eager to receive foreign invest- ment does not change the nature of the relations of domination, just as when, within a given country, workers want to sell their labor power, the ultimate source of profit.

The same notion, hegemony, is used here to refer to both class hierarchi- cal relationships, as in neoliberalism, and imperialism internationally. No distinction is made between hegemony and domination as in approaches of Gramscian inspiration. The notion emphasizes a common aspect within class and international mechanisms. In each instance, a class or country leads a process of domination in which various agents are involved. In neoliberalism, the upper fractions of capitalist classes, supported by finan- cial institutions, act as leaders within the broader group of upper classes in the exercise of their common domination. Similarly, the United States acts as leader within the broader group of imperialist countries. ... ... .. ..the upper classes, to the Right. A shift would occur within the compara- tive interests of these classes.

b. It is hard to imagine that such a far-reaching transformation would be accomplished without significant support from the popular classes. A degree of concession to the popular classes might be necessary. Consequently, a political orientation to the Center Right could be expected.

3. Diversification in the rest of the world. Such a new strategy of strengthening of the U.S. domestic economy would have important consequences for countries of the periphery profoundly engaged in the neoliberal international division of labor. But, in the long run, such trends open opportunities toward the establishment of national development models as was the case after the Great Depression (as in import-substitution industrialization in Latin America), the much needed alternative to neoliberal globalization. Independent of the path followed by the United States, the situation will differ significantly around the globe. An increased diversity will be observed in the establishment of new social orders more or less to the Right or to the Left. Europe is not committed to international hegemony as is the United States, and the European Union is politically unable to pursue such an ambitious strategy. Europe might-paradoxically, given its history -- become the traditional neoliberal stronghold in the coming decades.

It is still unclear whether social democratic trends in a few countries of Latin America will open new avenues to social progress. The crucial factor will be the impact of the contemporary crisis on China. Either, having suecessfully superseded the consequences of the crisis, China will experience strengthened neoliberal trends as if nothing had happened, or the experience of the crisis, in China itself or in the rest of the world, will work in favor of a "third way" along the contemporary pattern of the mixed economy that prevails in China.

Even if new social arrangements are successfully established in the United States, it is hard to imagine that U.S. hegemony will be preserved. There will be no clear substitute to an impaired U.S. dominance, and a multipolar configuration, around regional leaders, will gradually prevail in the coming decades. A bipolar world, Atlantic and Asian, is a possible outcome. Abstracting from rising international confrontation if conflicting interests cannot be superseded, the optimistic scenario is that new international hierarchies will be expressed within international institutions to which the task of global governance would be slowly transferred.

This new environment would be favorable to the international diversification of social orders around the globe. This would mean a sharp break with the logic of neoliberal globalization, with a potential for developing countries depending, as in the case of the popular classes concerning domestic social orders, on what these countries would be able to impose.

The stakes are high.

Hans G. Despain, June 6, 2012

Unique and Stimulating Account of the Great Financial Recession of 2008

This book can be highly recommended as a book on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, and a book of politics, political economy, class analysis, sociology, and history. Very impressive accomplishment.

The strength of this book on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 is that Dumenil and Levy place the crisis in a larger historical perspective. They maintain it is a mistake to isolate it merely in the context of the financial innovation and deregulation occurring from the late 1990s. Instead, capitalism has particular historical tendencies and specific class relations.

This is a very impressive volume published by Harvard University Press. It offers a play by play of the Great Financial Recession of 2008, beginning from 2000 in chapters 12 - 17, the political response and the continued stagnation in domestic economies and instability within the international economic order in chapters 18 - 20, along with very interesting historical policy observations and recommendations for this current crisis in chapters 21 - 25. Nonetheless the real power of this book occurs in its historical analysis of capitalist development since 1970s described in great detail in chapters 1 - 11.

According to Dumenil and Levy the historical tendencies of capitalism are radically mediated by politics and social class configurations (i.e. alliances). They argue capitalistic development, since 1880s, has gone through four primary stages and corresponding crises. They emphasize these developments are not historically necessary, but contingent on politics and social class configurations. Moreover, their analysis is particular to the capitalistic development in the United States and Western Europe, they are able to generalize or internationalize their analysis because of the U.S. global hegemony (although they certainly accept there are modes of resisting this hegemony (e.g. Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China, etc.).

Dumenil and Levy have demonstrated in previous work the tendency of the rate of profit to fall in capitalistic economies. However, because politics and social class alliances can change, so can the profitability. The current crisis was not caused by falling rates of profits, but by financial innovation, credit overextension, and the particular social class alliances facilitating these activities. There is no single cause of the crisis, but broader social political mechanisms at work and in the process of transformation.

The basic story goes like this: following the Great Depression of 1930 a strong social political alliance emerged between the management class and "popular classes" (this popular class includes blue and white collar workers, including quasi-management, clerical, and professional, which cannot be reduced to the traditional "working-class"). In the 1970s there was a severe profitability crisis, the legislative and institutional response to this crisis caused a fracture between management and popular classes, and a re-alliance between management and capitalist classes (which includes ownership and financial classes).

Once the alliance between capitalist classes and management had been forged in late 1970s and 1980s, profitability returned and financial incentives and financial innovation reconfigured personal incentives and corporate motivations. Most important according to Dumenil and Levy is that these historical transformations manifested a "divorce" between ownership/finance and the domestic economy and its actual production process. The political system did nothing to reconcile this disconnect, indeed expedited the divorce via deregulation and financial innovation, what the economic literature calls "financialization" (although, to repeat in several countries the response was radically different and in specific opposition to U.S. hegemony and the neo-liberalism which the U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, and WTO exported to the rest of the world).

This is a very

[Dec 08, 2018] Americans don't "meekly allow fincancial crimes," No, Americans hugely endorse them. More students keep enrolling in all the biz schools all the time -- much more than any other field of study -- health care being a distant second

As long as RICO statute is not applied to big banks that current situation will continue.
And under neoliberalism it will be never be applied. Universities will continue helping big banks to recruit new talent. Like in poor neibophood gang leaders recruit street fighter.
Notable quotes:
"... The students not only continue to flock to the amorality skills courses, but also put themselves into mega-debt by student loans to turn themselves not just imaginatively and ethically over to the corporate idolatries, but also to do another double whammy on themselves. ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | www.alternet.org

kyushuphil -> Neo Conned 6 years ago ,

People don't "meekly allow these crimes," Neo. Americans hugely endorse them.

The students not only continue to flock to the amorality skills courses, but also put themselves into mega-debt by student loans to turn themselves not just imaginatively and ethically over to the corporate idolatries, but also to do another double whammy on themselves. They accept the servitude of massive student loan debt, and ensure by prolonged interest payments on that debt to keep bloating all the most cynically immoral of high finance.

And then all the other departments of corporate academe have seen how smoothly work the most rank of corporate habits to ensure most mediocrity for most rank careerisms -- and all have only increased departmentalism protocols over recent years. Tenure now means nothing more than max award for most-narrowed specialist minds and for all most-max conformists in all those niched fields.

Nuthin' "meek" about all this, Neo. The corporate disease, the cubicle culture, the deference to plutocracy, the reduced literacy, the tracking to numbers -- all has been only steroided since Citizens United quite flagrantly legally underlined what most genteel in corporate ed have been doing for years.

willymack > kyushuphil • 6 years ago

Well said, and sadly, TRUE.

zonmoy > kyushuphil • 6 years ago

and how have students been pushed into those programs and the problems pushed on them by the corporate crooks that own everything including our government.

[Dec 06, 2018] Understanding Society Sexual harassment in academic contexts

Dec 06, 2018 | understandingsociety.blogspot.com

Sexual harassment in academic contexts
Sexual harassment of women in academic settings is regrettably common and pervasive, and its consequences are grave. At the same time, it is a remarkably difficult problem to solve. The "me-too" movement has shed welcome light on specific individual offenders and has generated more awareness of some aspects of the problem of sexual harassment and misconduct. But we have not yet come to a public awareness of the changes needed to create a genuinely inclusive and non-harassing environment for women across the spectrum of mistreatment that has been documented. The most common institutional response following an incident is to create a program of training and reporting, with a public commitment to investigating complaints and enforcing university or institutional policies rigorously and transparently. These efforts are often well intentioned, but by themselves they are insufficient. They do not address the underlying institutional and cultural features that make sexual harassment so prevalent.

The problem of sexual harassment in institutional contexts is a difficult one because it derives from multiple features of the organization. The ambient culture of the organization is often an important facilitator of harassing behavior -- often enough a patriarchal culture that is deferential to the status of higher-powered individuals at the expense of lower-powered targets. There is the fact that executive leadership in many institutions continues to be predominantly male, who bring with them a set of gendered assumptions that they often fail to recognize. The hierarchical nature of the power relations of an academic institution is conducive to mistreatment of many kinds, including sexual harassment. Bosses to administrative assistants, research directors to post-docs, thesis advisors to PhD candidates -- these unequal relations of power create a conducive environment for sexual harassment in many varieties. In each case the superior actor has enormous power and influence over the career prospects and work lives of the women over whom they exercise power. And then there are the habits of behavior that individuals bring to the workplace and the learning environment -- sometimes habits of masculine entitlement, sometimes disdainful attitudes towards female scholars or scientists, sometimes an underlying willingness to bully others that finds expression in an academic environment. (A recent issue of the Journal of Social Issues ( link ) devotes substantial research to the topic of toxic leadership in the tech sector and the "masculinity contest culture" that this group of researchers finds to be a root cause of the toxicity this sector displays for women professionals. Research by Jennifer Berdahl, Peter Glick, Natalya Alonso, and more than a dozen other scholars provides in-depth analysis of this common feature of work environments.)

The scope and urgency of the problem of sexual harassment in academic contexts is documented in excellent and expert detail in a recent study report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine ( link ). This report deserves prominent discussion at every university.

The study documents the frequency of sexual harassment in academic and scientific research contexts, and the data are sobering. Here are the results of two indicative studies at Penn State University System and the University of Texas System:


The Penn State survey indicates that 43.4% of undergraduates, 58.9% of graduate students, and 72.8% of medical students have experienced gender harassment, while 5.1% of undergraduates, 6.0% of graduate students, and 5.7% of medical students report having experienced unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion. These are staggering results, both in terms of the absolute number of students who were affected and the negative effects that these experiences had on their ability to fulfill their educational potential. The University of Texas study shows a similar pattern, but also permits us to see meaningful differences across fields of study. Engineering and medicine provide significantly more harmful environments for female students than non-STEM and science disciplines. The authors make a particularly worrisome observation about medicine in this context:

The interviews conducted by RTI International revealed that unique settings such as medical residencies were described as breeding grounds for abusive behavior by superiors. Respondents expressed that this was largely because at this stage of the medical career, expectation of this behavior was widely accepted. The expectations of abusive, grueling conditions in training settings caused several respondents to view sexual harassment as a part of the continuum of what they were expected to endure. (63-64)
The report also does an excellent job of defining the scope of sexual harassment. Media discussion of sexual harassment and misconduct focuses primarily on egregious acts of sexual coercion. However, the authors of the NAS study note that experts currently encompass sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, and gender harassment under this category of harmful interpersonal behavior. The largest sub-category is gender harassment:
"a broad range of verbal and nonverbal behaviors not aimed at sexual cooperation but that convey insulting, hostile, and degrading attitudes about" members of one gender ( Fitzgerald, Gelfand, and Drasgow 1995 , 430). (25)
The "iceberg" diagram (p. 32) captures the range of behaviors encompassed by the concept of sexual harassment. (See Leskinen, Cortina, and Kabat 2011 for extensive discussion of the varieties of sexual harassment and the harms associated with gender harassment.)


The report emphasizes organizational features as a root cause of a harassment-friendly environment.

By far, the greatest predictors of the occurrence of sexual harassment are organizational. Individual-level factors (e.g., sexist attitudes, beliefs that rationalize or justify harassment, etc.) that might make someone decide to harass a work colleague, student, or peer are surely important. However, a person that has proclivities for sexual harassment will have those behaviors greatly inhibited when exposed to role models who behave in a professional way as compared with role models who behave in a harassing way, or when in an environment that does not support harassing behaviors and/or has strong consequences for these behaviors. Thus, this section considers some of the organizational and environmental variables that increase the risk of sexual harassment perpetration. (46)
Some of the organizational factors that they refer to include the extreme gender imbalance that exists in many professional work environments, the perceived absence of organizational sanctions for harassing behavior, work environments where sexist views and sexually harassing behavior are modeled, and power differentials (47-49). The authors make the point that gender harassment is chiefly aimed at indicating disrespect towards the target rather than sexual exploitation. This has an important implication for institutional change. An institution that creates a strong core set of values emphasizing civility and respect is less conducive to gender harassment. They summarize this analysis in the statement of findings as well:
Organizational climate is, by far, the greatest predictor of the occurrence of sexual harassment, and ameliorating it can prevent people from sexually harassing others. A person more likely to engage in harassing behaviors is significantly less likely to do so in an environment that does not support harassing behaviors and/or has strong, clear, transparent consequences for these behaviors. (50)
So what can a university or research institution do to reduce and eliminate the likelihood of sexual harassment for women within the institution? Several remedies seem fairly obvious, though difficult.
As the authors put the point in the final chapter of the report:
Preventing and effectively addressing sexual harassment of women in colleges and universities is a significant challenge, but we are optimistic that academic institutions can meet that challenge--if they demonstrate the will to do so. This is because the research shows what will work to prevent sexual harassment and why it will work. A systemwide change to the culture and climate in our nation's colleges and universities can stop the pattern of harassing behavior from impacting the next generation of women entering science, engineering, and medicine. (169)

[Dec 01, 2018] Whataboutism charge is a change of a thought crime, a dirty US propaganda trick. In reality truth can be understood only in the historica context

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's not what aboutism it's called having consistency and principles. It's like Jack the Ripper calling Ted Kennedy a murderer. It matters if both sides are doing deals with Russia and only one has proved collusion with Russia government officials ..."
"... Your new Mcarthyism isn't working but nice try since it's all you have to offer ..."
"... Whataboutism is a call out for hypocrisy. It wasn't invented by the Russians. It was in use by a carpenter over two-thousand years ago: "Why do you call out for a dust mote in my eye when there is a log in yours?" ..."
"... Nothing new under the sun. ..."
"... Kind of like What about Russian interference in our Elections? Whatabout that, as a clear and dangerous deflection from Hillary taking blame for her incompetent and corrupt 2016 campaigns? ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

O Society , August 14, 2018 at 8:26 pm

"What about Clinton?" is an example of Whataboutism, which is a classic Russian propaganda technique used to divert attention away from the relevant subject, statement, argument, etc at hand with an accusation of hypocrisy.

It takes the form, "What about _______?"

Whataboutism is a type of psychological projection. It uses blame shifting to attribute wrong doing or some character defect to someone else with a goal of sabotaging the conversation by steering the speaker to become defensive.

On the playground, the kids call it "I know you are, but what am I?"

I have no idea whether any of this Russiagate stuff is real. We have seen no evidence, so I remain skeptical until someone shows actual evidence of Trump-Putin collusion.

However, I do know where Donald Trump got a bunch of his money, and where he and his followers got Whataboutism.

A Guide to Russian Propaganda

Gregory Herr , August 14, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Shouldn't that be "A Guide to Ukrainian Propaganda"?

Gregory Herr , August 14, 2018 at 9:20 pm

It seems to me that jean agreed with your characterisation of Trump and in no way was trying to sabotage the conversation. jean referenced some facts about characters relevant to the broader topic.

I would contend that every time I've heard the cry of "well, that's just whataboutism", the purpose of that claim has been to avoid addressing the points made–thus sabotaging further engagement or conversation.

So now, after all this time, you still "have no idea" whether Russiagate nonsense is real–what a fine fence-straddler you are. And then to suggest that "whataboutism" is made in Russia and slyly connect that to "Trump and his followers" -- well, you just lost me brother.

Jean , August 14, 2018 at 10:05 pm

lol

It's not what aboutism it's called having consistency and principles. It's like Jack the Ripper calling Ted Kennedy a murderer. It matters if both sides are doing deals with Russia and only one has proved collusion with Russia government officials

That would be Hillary

I understand why you would want to deflect from that but it won't change the facts

Your new Mcarthyism isn't working but nice try since it's all you have to offer

zendeviant , August 15, 2018 at 5:30 am

Whataboutism is a call out for hypocrisy. It wasn't invented by the Russians. It was in use by a carpenter over two-thousand years ago: "Why do you call out for a dust mote in my eye when there is a log in yours?"

Nothing new under the sun.

michael , August 15, 2018 at 5:33 am

Kind of like What about Russian interference in our Elections? Whatabout that, as a clear and dangerous deflection from Hillary taking blame for her incompetent and corrupt 2016 campaigns?

jeff montanye , August 17, 2018 at 6:38 am

and her incompetent and corrupt tenure as secretary of state which gave so many people a really good idea of what her presidency would look like.

Nop , August 15, 2018 at 10:06 pm

The accusation "whataboutism" just a childish way of trying to deny the point of view of rival interests. Like plugging your ears and chanting "la la la".

[Nov 29, 2018] Literature, language, history are essential for a truly cultured human.

Notable quotes:
"... They are from the social sciences like Political Science or International Relations which are empty of real content. ..."
"... They throw in sometimes some "game theory" to give that an aura of "science", but most of it is BS. ..."
"... Tucker Carlson is the only media individual left that is brave enough to state the truth. So by implication the United States has zero democracy when it comes to our foreign policy. ..."
Nov 29, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Bálint Somkuti , 8 hours ago

Being on the affected side as a historian please let me add, that the students' majority studies microhistory, family, company, or even family members' personal events that is, which adds very little to our understanding of the world. It is overly and openly supported currently in most universities for a number of reasons.

This is why obviously ideologically biased works about major correspondences such as Piketty's or Niall Ferguson's, not to mention that young Israeli guy (Yair??) has so much effect. Because basically they are the only ones, or at least the ones with the chance to publish, who take the great effort of choosing the harder way and making the necessary research. There are too few willing to take the harder path.

Scientification, or should I say natural scientification of social sciences also does not help, because it promotes the 'publish or perish' principle. But social sciences aren't like natural sciences, where X hours in a laboratory or experimenting yields surely X or X/2 publications.

And on the top of that Marxist thinkers and intelligentsia, cast away from all meaningful positions to universities in the 50's and 60's fearing a communist influence have completely overtaken the higher education in the Western Hemisphere. In the Eastern European countries they managed to keep their positions.

To sum it up while most of your criticism is valid, international relations e.g. has its merit, but are taught mostly by neoliberals and Marxists, with the known results.

smoothieX12 -> Pat Lang , 17 hours ago
They are from the social sciences like Political Science or International Relations which are empty of real content.

Fully concur. They throw in sometimes some "game theory" to give that an aura of "science", but most of it is BS. If, just in case, I am misconstrued as fighting humanities field--I am not fighting it. Literature, language, history are essential for a truly cultured human. When I speak about "humanities" I personally mean namely Political "Science".

Eric Newhill -> Pat Lang , 18 hours ago
Sir, I stand corrected on the humanities into govt assertion. I do tend to get humanities and social sciences jumbled in my numbers/cost/benefit based thinking. I am open to people telling me how to do tasks that they have more experience performing and that I might need to know about. And I have curiosities about people's experiences and perspectives on how the world of men works, but I'm not so concerned about the world of men that I lose my integrity or soul or generally get sucked into their reality over my own. Of course that's just me. Someone like Trump seeks approval and high rank amongst men. So, yes, I guess he is susceptible; though I still think somewhat less than others. This is evident in how he refuses to follow the conventions and expectations of what a president should look and act like. He is a defiant sort. I like that about him. Of course needing to be defiant is still a need and therefore a chink in his armor.
Pat Lang Mod -> Eric Newhill , 17 hours ago
He is in thrall to the Israelis, their allies, the neocons, political donors and the popular media. An easy mark for skilled operators.
Harlan Easley -> Pat Lang , 14 hours ago
I agree with you and I believe their influence has deepen over the two years. The only pro neocon policy he ran on was regime change in Iran. Terrible idea no doubt. The vote was either potential regime change in Iran or a dangerous escalation with Russia in Syria. I voted for more time. He seemed to have some sense on Syria and Russia at the time. Of course Clinton was promising Apocalypse Now. You've stated the Neocon's have insinuated themselves into both parties. R2P and such. They basically control the foreign policy of both parties due to control by donors, organizational control of DNC, RNC, the moronic narrative, think tanks, media, probably security services, etc.

Tucker Carlson is the only media individual left that is brave enough to state the truth. So by implication the United States has zero democracy when it comes to our foreign policy. As far as I can tell the United States policy toward Russia continues toward escalation. Two current examples being the absurd Mueller "investigation" into collusion and the Ukraine provocation in the Sea of Azov. Are we heading into the last war?

Richard Higginbotham -> Pat Lang , 18 hours ago
Engineer here, "worked" on myself and not even by very skilled people. Manipulative people are hard to counteract, if you're not manipulative yourself the thought process is not intuitive. If you spend most of your life solving problems, you think its everyone's goal. As I've gotten older I've only solidified my impression that as far as working and living outside of school, the best "education" to have would be history. Preferably far enough back or away to limit any cultural biases. I'm not sure that college classes would fill the gap though.

Any advice to help the "marks" out there?

Mark Logan -> Richard Higginbotham , 10 hours ago
I'll pitch in with a suggestion for those who are for whatever reason not fond of reading: An old history education series called The Western Tradition. Eugene Weber. A shrewd old guy who was interested in motivations which drove our history and culture. Will get your kids solid A's in history if nothing else, if you can get them hooked on it. Insightful narrative as opposed to dry facts helps retention. There are much worse starting points.

Moreover, the most of books which I believe constitute a canon of sorts are mentioned and points made in them brought to bear. Leviathan, The Prince, Erasmus, how they affected general thought, which makes the viewer want to read them.

Re-reading TE Lawrence at the moment. What to watch a "pro" work? Scary good, he was.

TTG -> Pat Lang , 10 hours ago
To this day, my favorite college course was "The Century of Darwin" taught by Dr. Brown in the history department of RPI in 1973. Dr. Brown was a bespectacled, white haired little man who looked like everyone's idea of a history professor. The course examined the history of scientific discovery, evolving and competing religious and scientific ideas leading up to the general acceptance of Darwin's works. It was a history of everything course, an intellectually exhilarating experience. I still have the textbooks. I heartedly recommend those books.

"Darwin's Century" by Loren Eiseley came out in 1958 and was reprinted in 2009 with a new forward by Stephan Bertman. "The Death of Adam" by John Green first came out in 1960 and was reprinted in 1981. "Genesis and Geology" by Charles C. Gillespie came out in 1951. My paperback edition was published in 1973 and cost $2.45 new.

English Outsider -> Pat Lang , an hour ago
Colonel - Boswell's life of Johnson. A giant of a man seen through the eyes of a clever and observant pygmy. And they both know it.

That makes it an odd book, that interplay between the two. It's also the ultimate in tourism. One is dumped in the middle of eighteenth century London and very soon it becomes a second home.

For a long time that's all I got out of the book. Johnson himself emerges only slowly. A true intellectual giant with a flawless acuity of perception, an elephantine memory, and the gift of turning out the perfect exposition, whether a long argument or one of his famous pithy comments, is the starting point only.

As a person he can easily be read as a slovenly bully, at one time even as an unapologetic hired gun turning out the propaganda of the day. He was subject to long fits of depression alternating with periods of great industry. As he got older the industry fell away and he spent much of his time in the coffee house. It was there, often, that Boswell gathered up the materials - a fragment here, a disquisition there - that allow us to see through to Johnson's outlook.

It was an outlook, or one could call it a philosophy of life, that could not be more needed at this time of frantic and one sided ideological war.

It was no tidily worked-up outlook. Intensely patriotic yet ever conscious of the failings of his country. Honorable yet accepting that he lived at a time of great corruption. Loyal yet always yearning after an older dispensation. Robust common sense but fully recognizing the Transcendent. Narrowly prejudiced yet open to other cultures, recognizing their equal validity and worth while remaining rooted in his own.

It's an outlook that today would be despised by many because, as far as I can tell, he had no ideology, no millenarian solution into which all problems can be jammed. Merely a broad and humane normality and a recognition that, ultimately, each pilgrim must find his own way.

[Nov 25, 2018] Trump and His Loyalists are "Animal Farm's" Pigs

Notable quotes:
"... Despite the animals' increasingly desperate circumstances on the farm, Squealer's barrage of untruths ultimately convince the lowly, overworked animals that "things were getting better." ..."
"... Anymore, whether it's in the company of dictators Trump keeps or among the multi-millionaires and billionaires that our purported Capitol Hill representatives mingle with at home and abroad, it's becoming increasingly harder to tell "which is which." ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Trump and His Loyalists are "Animal Farm's" Pigs by Kevin McKinney They are the Pigs in Animal Farm , preaching righteousness, peddling preposterousness and hoarding all the "milk and apples" for themselves.

If the demogagic President Donald Trump and his greedy loyalist Republican abettors had their way, the American citizenry would be consigned to a life of Farm -like drudgery.

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" becomes the leader pigs' contorted "Commandment" to the rest of the farm animals by the end of Animal Farm .

... ... ...

Orwell himself, indicated that his simplistic foreboding fairtale held "a wider application" about "power-hungry people."

"I meant the moral to be that revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert.." Orwell writes Politics magazine founder Dwight Macdonald in a 1946 letter.

"What I was trying to say was," Orwell continues, "'You can't have a revolution unless you make it for yourself; there is no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship.'"

Disillusioned Americans, who weren't so much "alert" as they were desperate, clearly were swindled by Trump's disingenous populous revolution of sorts.

Now, in the flotsam wake of the midterm election's Democratic blue wave -- demonstrating a new found citizen alertness that will flood the House in January -- the mistake of ever allowing a Trump Presidency, is coming into sharp, unsettling focus.

Oppression is oppression. Greed and abuse of power produce essentially the same result whatever the misanthropic ideology – Communism or Fascism or some other hybrid demagogic "ism" to which Trump and his loyalists aspire.

If Washington D.C's plutocratic pigs had their druthers, Americans would be so dumbed down by the con-in-chief's exhaustive lies and grating vitriol, endorsed by congressional majority party Republicans, that we would have about as much say in our Republic's affairs as Animal Farm 's befuddled barnyard animals had on the farm under the pigs.

"Napoleon is Always Right"

Trump is akin to Farm 's ruthless ruling pig, Napoleon, a Berkshire boar who, Orwell writes, has a knack for "getting his own way."

Napoleon counted on his propagandist pig, Squealer, who "could turn black into white" to brainwash the farm animals with lies about their tyrannical leader's supposed benevolence.

Even Clover the mare, who notices the changes the pigs sneakily make to Animalism's Commandments, eventually is lulled into a sense of complacency, convincing herself that she must have "remembered it wrong."

As the Farm animals work harder for less, the beloved, but dim-witted carthorse Boxer declares, "I will work harder" and routinely motivates himself by extolling the pigs' most controlling lie of all: "Napoleon is always right."

To advance his doubtless premeditated assault on truth and civility from the start of 2017, President Trump has employed his own tag team versions of Squealer – in imaginative mouthpieces Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders, White House press secretary, seems eternally lost in an alternate reality where if President Trump "says it, it must be true" – just as Farm's animals were programmed to parrot of Napoleon, no matter how absurd the lie.

... ... ...

And we Americans, like Farm 's flock of mindless sheep taught by Squealer to obediently bleat "Four legs good, two legs better ," are supposed to believe it all.

... ... ...

Pigs Hoarded Milk and Apples; Repubs, Tax Cuts For Rich

Just as Farm 's pigs reason early on that they need all of the farm's "milk and apples" to lead the rest of the animals, Trump and his complicit Republican chums insisted at the outset that billionaires' tax breaks are the key to economic revival for all.

Never mind that Reaganomics trickled down – and out, decades ago. Never mind that corporate profits are soaring, while workers' wages have stagnated.

And that now, in order to pay for corporate big wigs' tax cuts, Republicans contrive to carve up the people's Medicare and Medicaid, while sinisterly eyeing social security benefits.

Who is the real "enemy of the people"?

"The turning-point of the story was supposed to be when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves," Orwell writes in the 1946 letter to Macdonald, published in George Orwell: A Life In Letters , 2013.

"If the other animals had had the sense to put their foot down then," Orwell continues, "it would have been all right."

At the first sign of feebleness, Boxer, the farm's hardest worker -- instrumental in the farm's success from which the pigs alone capitalized -- is hauled off to the slaughterhouse.

Despite the animals' increasingly desperate circumstances on the farm, Squealer's barrage of untruths ultimately convince the lowly, overworked animals that "things were getting better."

Think of Trump's grandiose claims of new plant openings and soaring jobs numbers. When Fox News' asked him this past weekend how he would grade his job as President so far, Trump offered, "A plus."

And look no further than Trump's scripted, dictator-esque, brainwashing rallies, where gullible Reality TV "fans" pathetically worship a snake oil salesman, cheering on command and smiling idiotic smiles.

Which is Which?

In Farm' s last pages, the pigs have rewritten Animalism's "Seven Commandments" to suit them, embracing the ways of the animals' sworn enemy humans.

"Comrade Napoleon" and his fellow privileged porkers have moved into overthrown (Manor Farm) owner Mr. Jones' farm house, are dressed in his clothes and are walking upright on their two hind legs.

By then, the incoherent sheep under the absolute sway of Napoleon's propagandist pig Squealer, no longer are sounding off on command: "Four legs good, two legs bad," but rather, "Four legs good, two legs better ."

Animal Farm leaves us with the animals peering through the farm house dining room window as the pigs inside schmooze and toast mugs of beer with neighboring farmer, Mr. Pilkington and his associates.

The pigs and humans end up squabbling over a card game in which Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington each play an ace of spades.

Who is cheating?

In the novella's last line, the baffled animals at the window look from face to face, from the humans to the pigs, but: "It was impossible to say which was which."

Anymore, whether it's in the company of dictators Trump keeps or among the multi-millionaires and billionaires that our purported Capitol Hill representatives mingle with at home and abroad, it's becoming increasingly harder to tell "which is which."

... ... ...

[Nov 22, 2018] Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes) by Andrew M. Lobaczewski

I do not recommend the book, but the foreword looks interesting and educational with some very relevant quotes ... Some of her ideas are very questionable and it looks like she does not understand the nature of neoliberal rationality well and thus is trying to create alternative explanations, but still she writes well and covers a lot of ground on her foreword.
You just need to take it with a grain of salt
Notable quotes:
"... Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all. If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction.... ..."
"... Crazy and frightening - and real, in about 4 percent of the population. ..."
"... The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth. ..."
"... In the past several years, there are many more psychologists and psychiatrists and other mental health workers beginning to look at these issues in new ways in response to the questions about the state of our world and the possibility that there is some essential difference between such individuals as George W. Bush and many so-called Neocons, and the rest of us. ..."
"... Current day statistics tell us that there are more psychologically sick people than healthy ones. If you take a sampling of individuals in any given field, you are likely to find that a significant number of them display pathological symptoms to one extent or another. Politics is no exception, and, by its very nature, would tend to attract more of the pathological "dominator types" than other fields. ..."
"... If an individual with a highly contagious illness works in a job that puts them in contact with the public, an epidemic is the result. In the same way, if an individual in a position of political power is a psychopath, he or she can create an epidemic of psychopathology in people who are not, essentially, psychopathic. ..."
Nov 22, 2018 | www.amazon.com
Foreword to the book by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

... ... ...

Nowadays the word "psychopath" generally evokes images of the barely restrained - yet surprisingly urbane - mad-dog serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, of Silence of the Lambs fame. I will admit that this was the image that came to my mind whenever I heard the word; almost, that is. The big difference was that I never thought of a psychopath as possibly being so cultured or so capable of passing as "normal". But I was wrong, and I was to learn this lesson quite painfully by direct experience. The exact details are chronicled elsewhere; what is important is that this experience was probably one of the most painful and instructive episodes of my life, and it enabled me to overcome a block in my awareness of the world around me and those who inhabit it.

... ... ...

If there is a psychological theory that can explain vicious and harmful behavior, it helps very much for the victim of such acts to have this information so that they do not have to spend all their time feeling hurt or angry. And certainly, if there is a psychological theory that helps a person to find what kind of words or deeds can bridge the chasm between people, to heal misunderstandings, that is also a worthy goal. It was from such a perspective that we began our extensive work on the subjects of narcissism, which then led to the study of psychopathy.

Of course, we didn't start out with such any such "diagnosis" or label for what we were witnessing. We started out with observations and searched the literature for clues, for profiles, for anything that would help us to understand the inner world of a human being - actually a group of human beings - who seemed to be utterly depraved and unlike anything we had ever encountered before. We found that this kind of human is all too common, and that, according to some of the latest research, they cause more damage in human society than any other single so-called "mental illness". Martha Stout, who has worked extensively with victims of psychopaths, writes:

Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless. You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world. You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered. How will you live your life? What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)? The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people - whether they have a conscience or not - favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites.

... Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all. If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people's hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction....

Crazy and frightening - and real, in about 4 percent of the population.

... The prevalence rate for anorexic eating disorders is estimated a 3.43 percent, deemed to be nearly epidemic, and yet this figure is a fraction lower than the rate for antisocial personality. The high-profile disorders classed as schizophrenia occur in only about 1 percent of [the population] - a mere quarter of the rate of antisocial personality - and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the rate of colon cancer in the United States, considered "alarmingly high," is about 40 per 100,000 - one hundred times lower than the rate of antisocial personality....

The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth. Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy - murderers, serial killers, mass murderers - people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system. We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.

Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between concerting an ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one's boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking, when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish. Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person. Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.

The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender. What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron - or what makes the difference between an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer - is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity. What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions. [2]

We did not have the advantage of Dr. Stout's book at the beginning of our research project. We did, of course, have Robert Hare and Hervey Cleckley and Guggenbuhl-Craig and others. But they were only approaching the subject of the possibly large numbers of psychopaths that live among us who never get caught breaking laws, who don't murder - or if they do, they don't get caught - and who still do untold damage to the lives of family, acquaintances, and strangers.

Most mental health experts, for a very long time, have operated on the premise that psychopaths come from impoverished backgrounds and have experienced abuse of one sort or another in childhood, so it is easy to spot them, or at least, they certainly don't move in society except as interlopers. This idea seems to be coming under some serious revision lately. As Lobaczewski points out in this book, there is some confusion between Psychopathy and Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sociopathy. As Robert Hare points out, yes, there are many psychopaths who are also "anti-socials", but there seem to be far more of them that would never be classified as anti- social or sociopathic! In other words, they can be doctors, lawyers, judges, policemen, congressmen, presidents of corporations that rob from the poor t< give to the rich, and even presidents.

In a recent paper, it is suggested that psychopathy may exist in ordinary society in even greater numbers than anyone has thus far considered:

Psychopathy, as originally conceived by Cleckley (1941), is not limited to engagement in illegal activities, but rather encompasses such personality characteristics as manipulativeness, insincerity, egocentricity, and lack of guilt - characteristics clearly present in criminals but also in spouses, parents, bosses, attorneys, politicians, and CEOs, to name but a few (Bursten, 1973; Stewart, 1991). Our own examination of the prevalence of psychopathy within a university population suggested that perhaps 5% or more of this sample might be deemed psychopathic, although the vast majority of those will be male (more than 1/10 males versus approximately 1/100 females).

As such, psychopathy may be characterized ... as involving a tendency towards both dominance and coldness. Wiggins (1995) in summarizing numerous previous findings ... indicates that such individuals are prone to anger and irritation and are willing to exploit others. The)' are arrogant, manipulative, cynical, exhibitionistic, sensation-seeking, Machiavellian, vindictive, and out for their own gain. With respect to their patterns of social exchange (Foa & Foa, 1974), they attribute love and status to themselves, seeing themselves as highly worthy and important, but prescribe neither love nor status to others, seeing them as unworthy and insignificant. This characterization is clearly consistent with the essence of psychopathy as commonly described.

The present investigation sought to answer some basic questions regarding the construct of psychopathy in non forensic settings ... In so doing we have returned to Cleckley's (1941) original emphasis on psychopathy as a personality style not only among criminals, but also among successful individuals within the community.

What is clear from our findings is that (a) psychopathy measures have converged on a prototype of psychopathy that involves a combination of dominant and cold interpersonal characteristics; (b) psychopathy does occur in the community and at what might be a higher than expected rate; and (c) psychopathy appears to have little overlap with personality disorders aside from Antisocial Personality Disorder....

Clearly, where much more work is needed is in understanding what factors differentiate the abiding (although perhaps not moral-abiding) psychopath from the law-breaking psychopath; such research surely needs to make greater use of non forensic samples than has been customary in the past. [3]

Lobaczewski discusses the fact that there are different types of psychopaths. One type, in particular, is the most deadly of all: the Essential Psychopath. He doesn't give us a "checklist" but rather discusses what is inside the psychopath. His description meshes very well with items in the paper quoted above.

Martha Stout also discusses the fact that psychopaths, like anyone else, are born with different basic likes and dislikes and desires, which is why some of them are doctors and presidents and others are petty thieves or rapists. "Likeable", "Charming", "Intelligent", "Alert", "Impressive", "Confidence- inspiring," and "A great success with the ladies". This is how Hervey Cleckley described most of his subjects in The Mask of Sanity. It seems that, in spite of the fact that their actions prove them to be "irresponsible" and "self- destructive", psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The smooth self-assurance acts as an almost supernatural magnet to normal people who have to read self-help books or go to counseling to be able to interact with others in an untroubled way. The psychopath, on the contrary, never has any neuroses, no self-doubts, never experiences angst, and is what "normal" people seek to be. What's more, even if they aren't that attractive, they are "babe magnets".

Cleckley s seminal hypothesis is that the psychopath suffers from profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind. He is able to do whatever he wants, based on whatever whim strikes him, because consequences that would fill the ordinary man with shame, self-loathing, and embarrassment simply do not affect the psychopath at all. What to others would be a horror or a disaster is to him merely a fleeting inconvenience.

Cleckley posits that psychopathy is quite common in the community at large. His cases include examples of psychopaths who generally function normally in the community as businessmen, doctors, and even psychiatrists. Nowadays, some of the more astute researchers see criminal psychopathy - often referred to as anti-social personality disorder - as an extreme of a particular personality type. I think it is more helpful to characterize criminal psychopaths as "unsuccessful psychopaths".

One researcher, Alan Harrington, goes so far as to say that the psychopath is the new man being produced by the evolutionary pressures of modern life. Certainly, there have always been shysters and crooks, but past concern was focused on ferreting out incompetents rather than psychopaths. Unfortunately, all that has changed. We now need to fear the super- sophisticated modern crook who does know what he is doing - and does it so well that no one else knows. Yes, psychopaths love the business world.

"Uninvolved with others, he coolly saw into their fears and desires, and maneuvered them as he wished. Such a man might not, after all, be doomed to a life of scrapes and escapades ending ignominiously in the jailhouse. Instead of murdering others, he might become a corporate raider and murder companies, firing people instead of killing them, and chopping up their functions rather than their bodies." (Harrington)...

... [T]he consequences to the average citizen from business crimes are staggering. As criminologist Georgette Bennett says, "They account for nearly 30% of case filings in U.S. District Courts - more than any other category of crime. The combined burglar)7, mugging and other property7 losses induced by the country's street punks come to about $4 billion a year. However, the seemingly upstanding citizens in our corporate board rooms and the humble clerks in our retail stores bilk us out of between $40 and $200 billion a year."

Concern here is that the costume for the new masked sanity of a psychopath is just as likely to be a three-piece suit as a ski mask and a gun. As Harrington says, "We also have the psychopath in respectable circles, no longer assumed to be a loser." He quotes William Krasner as saying, "They - psychopath and part psychopath - do well in the more unscrupulous types of sales work, because they take such delight in 'putting it over on them', getting away with it - and have so little conscience about defrauding their customers." Our society is fast becoming more materialistic, and success at any cost is the credo of many businessmen. The typical psychopath thrives in this kind of environment and is seen as a business "hero". [4]

The study of "ambulatory" psychopaths - what we call "The Garden Variety Psychopath" - has, however, hardly begun. Very little is known about subcriminal psychopathy. Some researchers have begun to seriously consider the idea that it is important to study psychopathy not as a pathological category but as a general personality trait in the community at large. In other words, psychopathy is being recognized as a more or less different type of human.

Hervey Cleckley actually comes very close to suggesting that psychopaths are human in every respect - but that they lack a soul. This lack of "soul quality" makes them very efficient "machines". They can write scholarly works, imitate the words of emotion, but over time, it becomes clear that their words do not match their actions. They are the type of person who can claim that they are devastated by grief who then attend a party "to forget". The problem is: they really do forget.

Being very efficient machines, like a computer, they are able to execute very complex routines designed to elicit from others support for what they want. In this way, many psychopaths are able to reach very high positions in life. It is only over time that their associates become aware of the fact that their climb up the ladder of success is predicated on violating the rights of others. "Even when they are indifferent to the rights of their associates, they are often able to inspire feelings of trust and confidence."

The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change. Andrew Lobaczewski addresses the problem of the psychopath and their extremely significant contribution to our macrosocial evils, their ability to act as the eminence grise behind the very structure of our society. It is very important to keep in mind that this influence comes from a relatively small segment of humanity. The other 90-some percent of human beings are not psychopaths.

But that 90-some percent of normal people know that something is wrong! They just can't quite identify it; can't quite put their finger on it; and because they can't, they tend to think that there is nothing they can do about it, or maybe it is just God punishing people.

What is actually the case is that when that 90-some percent of human beings fall into a certain state, as Lobaczewski will describe, the psychopaths, like a virulent pathogen in a body, strike at the weaknesses, and the entire society is plunged into conditions that always and inevitably lead to horror and tragedy on a very large scale.

The movie, The Matrix, touched a deep chord in society because it exemplified this mechanistic trap in which so many people find their lives enmeshed, and from which they are unable to extricate themselves because they believe that everyone around them who "looks human" is, in fact, just like them - emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise.

Take an example of how psychopaths can directly affect society at large: the "legal argument" as explicated by Robert Canup in his work on the "socially adept psychopath". The legal argument seems to be at the foundation of our society. We believe that the legal argument is an advanced system of justice. This is a very cunning trick that has been foisted on normal people by psychopaths in order to have an advantage over them. Just think about it for a moment: the legal argument amounts to little more than the one who is the slickest at using the structure for convincing a group of people of something, is the one who is believed. Because this "legal argument" system has been slowly installed as part of our culture, when it invades our personal lives, we normally do not recognize it immediately. But here's how it works.

Human beings have been accustomed to assume that other human beings are - at the very least - trying to "do right" and "be good" and fair and honest. And so, very often, we do not take the time to use due diligence in order to determine if a person who has entered our life is, in fact, a "good person". When a conflict ensues, we automatically fall into the legal argument assumption that in any conflict, one side is partly right one way, and the other is partly right the other, and that we can form opinions about which side is mostly right or wrong. Because of our exposure to the "legal argument" norms, when any dispute arises, we automatically think that the truth will lie somewhere between two extremes. In this case, application of a little mathematical logic to the problem of the legal argument might be helpful.

Let us assume that in a dispute, one side is innocent, honest, and tells the truth. It is obvious that lying does an innocent person no good; what lie can he tell? If he is innocent, the only lie he can tell is to falsely confess "I did it". But lying is nothing but good for the liar. He can declare that "I didn't do it", and accuse another of doing it, all the while the innocent person he has accused is saying "I didn't do it" and is actually telling the truth.

The truth, when twisted by good liars, can always make an innocent person look bad, especially if the innocent person is honest and admits his mistakes.

The basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth. Under most circumstances, this shift put together with the fact that the truth is going to also be twisted in such a way as to bring detriment to the innocent person, results in the advantage always resting in the hands of liars - psychopaths. Even the simple act of giving testimony under oath is a useless farce. If a person is a liar, swearing an oath means nothing to that person. However, swearing an oath acts strongly on a serious, strongly on a serious, truthful witness. Again, the advantage is placed on the side of the liar.

It has often been noted that psychopaths have a distinct advantage over human beings with conscience and feelings because the psychopath does not have conscience and feelings. What seems to be so is that conscience and feelings are related to the abstract concepts of "future" and "others". It is "spatio-temporal". We can feel fear, sympathy, empathy, sadness, and so on because we can imagine in an abstract way, the future based on our own experiences in the past, or even just "concepts of experiences" in myriad variations. We can "see ourselves" in them even though they are "out there" and this evokes feelings in us. We can't do something hurtful because we can imagine it being done to us and how it would feel. In other words, we can not only identify with others spatially - so to say - but also temporally - in time.

The psychopath does not seem to have this capacity.

They are unable to "imagine" in the sense of being able to really connect to images in a direct "self connecting to another self' sort of way.

Oh, indeed, they can imitate feelings, but the only real feelings they seem to have - the thing that drives them and causes them to act out different dramas for the effect - is a sort of "predatorial hunger" for what they want. That is to say, they "feel" need/want as love, and not having their needs/wants met is described by them as "not being loved". What is more, this "need/want" perspective posits that only the "hunger" of the psychopath is valid, and anything, and everything "out there", outside of the psychopath, is not real except insofar as it has the capability of being assimilated to the psychopath as a sort of "food". "Can it be used or can it provide something?" is the only issue about which the psychopath seems to be concerned. All else - all activity - is subsumed to this drive.

In short, the psychopath is a predator. If we think about the interactions of predators with their prey in the animal kingdom, we can come to some idea of what is behind the "mask of sanity" of the psychopath. Just as an animal predator will adopt all kinds of stealthy functions in order to stalk their prey, cut them out of the herd, get close to them, and reduce their resistance, so does the psychopath construct all kinds of elaborate camouflage composed of words and appearances - lies and manipulations - in order to "assimilate" their prey.

This leads us to an important question: what does the psychopath really get from their victims? It's easy to see what they are after when they lie and manipulate for money or material goods or power. But in many instances, such as love relationships or faked friendships, it is not so easy to see what the psychopath is after. Without wandering too far afield into spiritual speculations - a problem Cleckley also faced - we can only say that it seems to be that the psychopath enjoys making others suffer. Just as normal humans enjoy seeing other people happy, or doing things that make other people smile, the psychopath enjoys the exact opposite.

Anyone who has ever observed a cat playing with a mouse before killing and eating it has probably explained to themselves that the cat is just "entertained" by the antics of the mouse and is unable to conceive of the terror and pain being experienced by the mouse. The cat, therefore, is innocent of any evil intent. The mouse dies, the cat is fed, and that is nature. Psychopaths don't generally eat their victims.

Yes, in extreme cases of psychopathy, the entire cat and mouse dynamic is carried out. Cannibalism has a long history wherein it was assumed that certain powers of the victim could be assimilated by eating some particular part of them. But in ordinary life, psychopaths don't normally go all the way, so to say. This causes us to look at the cat and mouse scenario again with different eyes. Now we ask: is it too simplistic to think that the innocent cat is merely entertained by the mouse running about and frantically trying to escape? Is there something more to this dynamic than meets the eye? Is there something more than being "entertained" by the antics of the mouse trying to flee? After all, in terms of evolution, why would such behavior be hard-wired into the cat? Is the mouse tastier because of the chemicals of fear that flood his little body? Is a mouse frozen with terror more of a "gourmet" meal?

This suggests that we ought to revisit our ideas about psychopaths with a slightly different perspective. One thing we do know is this: many people who experience interactions with psychopaths and narcissists report feeling "drained" and confused and often subsequently experience deteriorating health. Does this mean that part of the dynamic, part of the explanation for why psychopaths will pursue "love relationships" and "friendships" that ostensibly can result in no observable material gain, is because there is an actual energy consumption?

This suggests that we ought to revisit our ideas about psychopaths with a slightly different perspective. One thing we do know is this: many people who experience interactions with psychopaths and narcissists report feeling "drained" and confused and often subsequently experience deteriorating health. Does this mean that part of the dynamic, part of the explanation for why psychopaths will pursue "love relationships" and "friendships" that ostensibly can result in no observable material gain, is because there is an actual energy consumption?

We do not know the answer to this question. We observe, we theorize, we speculate and hypothesize. But in the end, only the individual victim can determine what they have lost in the dynamic - and it is often far more than material goods. In a certain sense, it seems that psychopaths are soul eaters or "Psychophagic".

In the past several years, there are many more psychologists and psychiatrists and other mental health workers beginning to look at these issues in new ways in response to the questions about the state of our world and the possibility that there is some essential difference between such individuals as George W. Bush and many so-called Neocons, and the rest of us.

Dr. Stout's book has one of the longest explanations as to why none of her examples resemble any actual persons that I have ever read. And then, in a very early chapter, she describes a "composite" case where the subject spent his childhood blowing up frogs with fire-crackers. It is widely known that George W. Bush did this. The subject is also described as graduating college with a С average - which Bush did at Yale - so one naturally wonders ...

In any event, even without Dr. Stout's work, at the time we were studying the matter, we realized that what we were learning was very important to everyone because as the data was assembled, we saw that the clues, the profiles, revealed that the issues we were facing were faced by everyone at one time or another, to one extent or another. We also began to realize that the profiles that emerged also describe rather accurately many individuals who seek positions of power in fields of authority, most particularly politics and commerce. That's really not so surprising an idea, but it honestly hadn't occurred to us until we saw the patterns and recognized them in the behaviors of numerous historical figures and, lately, including George W. Bush and members of his administration.

Current day statistics tell us that there are more psychologically sick people than healthy ones. If you take a sampling of individuals in any given field, you are likely to find that a significant number of them display pathological symptoms to one extent or another. Politics is no exception, and, by its very nature, would tend to attract more of the pathological "dominator types" than other fields. That is only logical, and we began to realize that it was not only logical, it was horrifyingly accurate; horrifying because pathology among people in power can have disastrous effects on all of the people under the control of such pathological individuals. And so, we decided to write about this subject and publish it on the Internet.

As the material went up, letters from our readers began to come in thanking us for putting a name to what was happening to them in their personal lives as well as helping them to understand what was happening in a world that seems to have gone completely mad. We began to think that it was an epidemic, and, in a certain sense, we were right. If an individual with a highly contagious illness works in a job that puts them in contact with the public, an epidemic is the result. In the same way, if an individual in a position of political power is a psychopath, he or she can create an epidemic of psychopathology in people who are not, essentially, psychopathic. Our ideas along this line were soon to receive confirmation from an unexpected source: Andrew Lobaczewski, the author of the book you are about to read.

I received an email as follows:

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen.

I have got your Special Research Project on psychopathy by my computer. You are doing a most important and valuable work for the future of nations ...

I am a very aged clinical psychologist. Forty years ago I took part in a secret investigation of the real nature and psychopathology of the macro-social phenomenon called "Communism". The other researchers were the scientists of the previous generation who are now passed away.

The profound study of the nature of psychopathy, which played the essential and inspirational part in this macro- social psychopathologic phenomenon, and distinguishing it from other mental anomalies, appeared to be the necessary preparation for understanding the entire nature of the phenomenon. The profound study of the nature of psychopathy, which played the essential and inspirational part in this macro- social psychopathologic phenomenon, and distinguishing it from other mental anomalies, appeared to be the necessary preparation for understanding the entire nature of the phenomenon.

The large part of the work, you are doing now, was done in those times ... I am able to provide you with a most valuable scientific document, useful for your purposes. It is my book "Political Ponerology - A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes". You may also find copy of this book in the Library of Congress and in some university and public libraries in the USA.

Be so kind and contact me so that I may mail a copy to you.

Very truly yours!

Andrew M. Lobaczewski

I promptly wrote a reply saying yes, I would very much like to read his book. A couple of weeks later the manuscript arrived in the mail.

As I read, I realized that what I was holding in my hand was essentially a chronicle of a descent into hell, transformation, and triumphant return to the world with knowledge of that hell that was priceless for the rest of us, particularly in this day and time when it seems evident that a similar hell is enveloping the planet. The risks that were taken by the group of scientists that did the research on which this book is based are beyond the comprehension of most of us.

As I read, I realized that what I was holding in my hand was essentially a chronicle of a descent into hell, transformation, and triumphant return to the world with knowledge of that hell that was priceless for the rest of us, particularly in this day and time when it seems evident that a similar hell is enveloping the planet. The risks that were taken by the group of scientists that did the research on which this book is based are beyond the comprehension of most of us. Many of them were young, just starting in their careers when the Nazis began to stride in their hundred league jackboots across Europe. These researchers lived through that, and then when the Nazis were driven out and replaced by the Communists under the heel of Stalin, they faced years of oppression the likes of which those of us today who are choosing to take a stand against the Bush Reich cannot even imagine. But, based on the syndrome that describes the onset of the disease, it seems that the United States, in particular, and perhaps the entire world, will soon enter into "bad times" of such horror and despair that the Holocaust of World War II will seem like just a practice run.

And so, since they were there, and they lived through it and brought back information to the rest of us, it may well save our lives to have a map to guide us in the falling darkness.

Laura Knight-Jadczyk

[Nov 19, 2018] Student loans. Now there's a naked fleecing scam by the moneychangers. High interest, zero risk, no forgiveness. A great racket if you can get it, like Medical Insurance, profiteering guaranteed by Obamacare.

Notable quotes:
"... Student loans. Now there's a naked fleecing scam by the moneychangers. High interest, zero risk, no forgiveness. A great racket if you can get it, like Medical Insurance, profiteering guaranteed by Obamacare. ..."
Nov 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Doug Hillman , , November 16, 2018 at 10:58 am

Wonder the same about bankruptcy. IIRC, think the moneychangers' bankruptcy "reform" under the Bush II regime turned it into a virtual debtors' prison, excluding several kinds of debt from discharge, including student loans.

Student loans. Now there's a naked fleecing scam by the moneychangers. High interest, zero risk, no forgiveness. A great racket if you can get it, like Medical Insurance, profiteering guaranteed by Obamacare.

Hudson perceives things that should be but aren't obvious -- about money, power, and freedom. The love of money may be the root of all evil, but it's ultimately a weapon wielded in an insatiable lust for power, absolute, utterly corrupt power, the ownership and enslavement of others. Inequality is not a flaw of rigged-market cannibalism; it's a feature, a feature those at the top of the food chain have no intention of "fixing". The US empire, imo, is the nadir of this evil, a kleptocracy dependent on perpetual mass-murder. The paradox is, they may be more enslaved to their narcotic than anyone.

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose." Janis Joplin

[Nov 17, 2018] Ann Rand vs Aldous Huxley

Nov 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

Che Guava , says: November 15, 2018 at 5:15 pm GMT

@Durruti Excuse me Durutti,

I will give my own impressions of Rosenbaum. Have only read 'Atlas Shrugged', hovers between boring and evil.

The only things that are really interesting about it are

the retro-future details,

and the realrstic portrayal of Hank's wife.

Then again, the latter, if compared with Rosenbdum (Ayn Randy) IRL, much the same.

judging which is worse is difficult.

Personaly? I prefer Homer.

[Nov 17, 2018] Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?

Nov 17, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Joseph A. Domino

4.0 out of 5 stars America's Last Sprint: Race to the Bottom August 4, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase It's interesting how polarizing this book is, the negative comments of people decrying the author as anti-American. It seems he is simply describing the collapse of one society and what America might learn from it. In America, this end or collapse is not near; it's in progress. The middle class is being systematically dismantled. Orlov writes, "It is not allowable to refer to America as a chronically depressed country, an increasingly lower-class and impoverished country that fails to take care of its citizens and often abuses them."

Even with rudimentary understanding of history, we know that a democracy cannot be sustained without a strong, vibrant middle class. To those who deny this is a problem, you lived through 2008. You should have learned enough that it could happen again and on a much greater scale.

Orlov provides an insightful perspective, including an insider's view as having spent time there, on Russia and the comparisons are instructive and often verge into gallows humor: boondoggles are good. Americans are actually smart in their voter apathy (an original idea I've not heard expressed before, but in a twisted way makes sense). "Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?" According to Orlov, In Russia, during the Soviet era, smart people did their best to ignore the Communists, either through praise or criticism.

In the latter sections, Orlov almost cheerily outlines possible means of surviving the collapse based on skills and opportunities.

Also recommended in this genre: Morris Berman's trilogy, "The Twilight of American Culture," "Dark Ages America," and "Why America Failed."

This is all for the open-minded and not those desperately clinging to the myth of American Exceptionalism. If the Russians were resilient and adept at dealing with shortages and bureaucracy, we soft overstuffed consumers, besotted with junk food and i-pads and bottomless debt might do well to listen.

[Nov 16, 2018] Oil, Power, and War A Dark History by Matthieu Auzanneau

Notable quotes:
"... Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it. ..."
Nov 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Similarly, the real story of oil is of fortunes lost, betrayal, war, espionage, and intrigue. In the end, inevitably, the story of oil is a story of depletion. Petroleum is a nonrenewable resource, a precious substance that took tens of millions of years to form and that is gone in a comparative instant as we extract and burn it. For many decades, oil-hungry explorers, using ever-improving technology', have been searching for ever-deteriorating prospects as the low- hanging fin its of planet Earth's primordial oil bounty gradually dwindle. Oil wells have been shut in, oil fields exhausted, and oil companies bankrupted by the simple, inexorable reality of depletion.

It is impossible to understand the political and economic history of the past 150 years without taking account of a central character in the drama -- oil, the magical wealth-generating substance, a product of ancient sunlight and tens of millions of years of slow geological processes, whose tragic fate is to be dug up and combusted once and for all. leaving renewed poverty in its wake. With Oil, Power, and War, Matthieu Auzanneau has produced what I believe is the new definitive work on oil and its historic significance, supplanting even Daniel Yergin's renowned The Prize, for reasons I'll describe below.

The importance of oil's role in shaping the modern world cannot be overstated. Prior to the advent of fossil fuels, firewood was humanity's main fuel. But forests could be cut to the last tree (many were), and wood was bulky. Coal offered some economic advantages over wood. But it was oil -- liquid and therefore easier to transport; more energy-dense; and simpler to store -- that turbocharged the modern industrial age following the development of the first commercial wells around the year 1860.

John D. Rockefeller's cutthroat, monopolist business model shaped the early industry, which was devoted mostly to the production of kerosene for lamp oil (gasoline was then considered a waste product and often discarded into streams or rivers). But roughly forty years later, when Henry Ford developed the automobile assembly line, demand for black gold was suddenly as explosive as gasoline itself.

Speaking of explosions, the role of petroleum in the two World Wars and the armament industry' in general deserves not just a footnote in history books but serious and detailed treatment such as it receives in this worthy volume. Herein we learn how Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany literally ran out of gas while the Allies rode to victory in planes, ships, and tanks burning refined US crude. Berlin could be cut off from supplies in Baku or North Africa, and Tokyo's tanker route from Borneo could be blockaded -- but no one could interrupt the American war machine's access to Texas tea.

In the pages that follow, we learn about the origin of the decades-long US alliance with Saudi Arabia, the development of OPEC, the triumph of the petrodollar, and the reasons for both the Algerian independence movement and the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Auzanneau traces the postwar growth of the global economy and the development of consumerism, globalization, and car culture. He recounts how the population explosion and the Green Revolution in agriculture reshaped demographics and politics globally -- and explains why both depended on petroleum. We learn why Nixon cut the US dollar's tether to the gold standard just a year after US oil production started to decline, and how the American economy began to rely increasingly on debt. The story of oil takes ever more fascinating turns -- with the fall of the Soviet Union after its oil production hit a snag; with soaring petroleum prices in 2008 coinciding with the onset of the global financial crisis; and with wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen erupting as global conventional oil output flatlined.

As I alluded to above, comparisons will inevitably be drawn between Oil, Power, and War and Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer-winning "The Prize", published in 1990. It may be helpful therefore to point out four of the most significant ways this work differs from Yergin's celebrated tour de force.

The most obvious difference between the two books is simply one of time frame. The Prize's narrative stops in the 1980s, while Oil, Power, and War also covers the following critical decades, which encompass the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, 9/11, the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the global financial crisis of 2008. and major shifts within the petroleum industry as it relies ever less on conventional crude and ever more on unconventional resources such as bitumen (Canada's oil sands), tight oil (also called shale oil), and deepwater oil.

Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it.

Taken together, these distinctions indeed make Oil, Power, and War the definitive work on the history of oil -- no small achievement, but a judgment well earned.

Over the past decade, worrisome signs of global oil depletion have been obscured by the unabashed enthusiasm of energy analysts regarding growing production in the United States from low-porosity source rocks. Termed "light tight oil," this new resource has been unleashed through application of the technologies of hydrofracturing (tracking) and horizontal drilling.

US liquid fuels production has now surpassed its previous peak in 1970, and well-regarded agencies such as the Energy Information Administration are forecasting continued tight oil abundance through mid-century.

Auzanneau titles his discussion of this phenomenon (in chapter 30), "Nonconventional Petroleum to the Rescue?" -- and frames it as a question for good reason: Skeptics of tight oil hyperoptimism point out that most production so far has been unprofitable. The industry has managed to stay in the game only due to low interest rates (most companies are heavily in debt) and investor hype. Since source rocks lack permeability, individual oil wells deplete very quickly -- with production in each well declining on the order of 70 percent to 90 percent in the first three years. That means that relentless, expensive drilling is needed in order to release the oil that's there. Thus the tight oil industry can be profitable only if oil prices are very high -- high enough, perhaps, to hobble the economy -- and if drilling is concentrated in the small core areas within each of the productive regions. But these "sweet spots" are being exhausted rapidly. Further, with tight oil the energy returned on the energy invested in drilling and completion is far less than was the case with American petroleum in its heyday.

It takes energy to fell a tree, drill an oil well, or manufacture a solar panel. We depend on the energy payback from those activities to run society. In the miraculous years of the late twentieth century, oil delivered an averaged 50:1 energy payback. It was this, more than anything else, that made rapid economic growth possible, especially for the nations that were home to the world's largest oil reserves and extraction companies. As the world relies ever less on conventional oil and ever more on tight oil, bitumen, and deepwater oil, the overall energy payback of the oil industry is declining rapidly. And this erosion of energy return is reflected in higher overall levels of debt in the oil industry and lower overall financial profitability.

Meanwhile the industry is spending ever less on exploration -- for two reasons. First, there is less money available for that purpose, due to declining financial profitability; second, there seems comparatively little oil left to be found: Recent years have seen new oil discoveries dwindle to the lowest level since the 1940s. The world is not about to run out of oil. But the industry that drove society in the twentieth century to the heights of human economic and technological progress is failing in the twenty-first century.

Today some analysts speak of "peak oil demand." The assumption behind the phrase is that electric cars will soon reduce our need for oil, even as abundance of supply is assured by fracking. But the world is still highly dependent on crude oil. We have installed increasing numbers of solar panels and wind turbines, but the transition to renewable is going far too slowly either to avert catastrophic climate change or to fully replace petroleum before depletion forces an economic crisis. While we may soon see more electric cars on the road, trucking, shipping, and aviation will be much harder to electrify. We haven't really learned yet how to make the industrial world work without oil. The simple reality is that the best days of the oil business, and the oil-fueled industrial way of life, are behind us. And we are not ready for what comes next.

[Nov 15, 2018] Russians as a new collective Emmanuel Goldshein in the USA neoliberal propaganda

"Emmanuel Goldstein is a fictional character in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the principal enemy of the state according to the Party of the totalitarian Oceania. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious (and possibly fictitious) dissident organization called "The Brotherhood" and as having written the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. He is only seen and heard on telescreen, and he may be a fabrication of the Ministry of Truth, the State's propaganda department." (from Wikipedia)
Nov 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

Crawfurdmuir , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:12 am GMT

Yet Orwell wrote the following words in The Road to Wigan Pier :

"there is the horrible -- the really disquieting -- prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."

And:

"The ordinary man may not flinch from a dictatorship of the proletariat, if you offer it tactfully; offer him a dictatorship of the prigs, and he gets ready to fight."

In the first of these excerpts, we see a perfect delineation of today's "Cultural Marxism," and in the second, a perfect explanation of the support for Donald Trump. The "deplorables" are those who resent and fight the dictatorship of the prigs. I'm somewhat surprised that no one has written a history of the rise and advance of political correctness in American public life and entitled it "The Dictatorship of the Prigs." I hope someone does.

advancedatheist , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:45 am GMT
Brave New World has had a funny way of growing more interesting with age. Lenina Crowne, the vacuous Future Woman, has leaped out of the pages of Huxley's novel and into our real lives. Just give Lenina some tattoos and piercings, dye her hair an unnatural color and put a smart phone on her fashionable Malthusian belt, and she would fit right into our world.
animalogic , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:16 am GMT
I think the author a little unfair to Huxley when he criticises him for no sense of social "Class". The issue here is that class, in BNW, has been hard wired into each grouping (ie deltas etc). Genetic engineering has predetermined all class AND individual desires & interests. The sophistications of language, mind control etc in Orwell are thus unnecessary & superseded.
SporadicMyrmidon , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
Straight-up prolefeed:

https://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2018/10/blind-items-revealed-5_22.html

The distinction between the inner party, outer party and proles does seem to be absolutely crucial to Orwell (at least in 1984) and is often neglected by people debating Orwell vs Huxley. Still, I tend to agree with those dissidents who have observed that there really is no inner party. It is outer party buffoons all the way up.

RW , says: November 15, 2018 at 10:06 am GMT
George Orwell also beat his coolies "in moments of rage" as he put it in his autobiography. He had first-hand experience as a repressive British colonial police officer in Burma, 1922-1927. He knew the autocratic mindset well, because he had lived it.
Ronald Thomas West , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 11:31 am GMT
" Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny"

That was good for a laugh. What's the difference between governed from the top by liberal slime career opportunist and governed from the top by the moron womanizer opportunist comparable to the governor played by Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles? The difference is top down slime versus top down idiocy.

There is a misapprehension at the core of this article; Huxley wrote from a liberal 'anything goes' perspective of morality, comparable to today's 'it's all about me' MTV generation. A deeper understanding of Huxley's profound distaste and preoccupation with this is afforded in his novel 'Point, Counter Point.' Orwell, on the other hand, aptly projects a future social conservatism that is better compared to the extremes of a cloistered and tightly policed ultra religious right.

It's not a matter of who was more 'right.' They are describing separate trajectories of human social phenomena we see playing out today. The two were peering down different avenues into the future.

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2014/10/09/liberals/

^ 'the apes will rise'

Anonymous [295] Disclaimer , says: November 15, 2018 at 12:12 pm GMT

But, despite this, this debate exists not only on the Dissident Right but further afield. Believe it or not, even Left-wingers and Liberals debate this question, as if they too are under the heel of the oppressor's jackboot.

Some left-wingers are. Think of poor Julian Assange!

'All of a sudden, as many commentators have pointed out, there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president's repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway's explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, "alternative facts."'

The counter to this is that Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny.

Exactly. In 1984, 'Big Brother' actually controlled the media; Trump clearly doesn't, so he is not Big Brother. He is Emmanuel Goldstein: a leader of the resistance but alas, probably not real.

Idahoan , says: November 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm GMT
Oh dear no, big mistake -- it's Two Minutes Hate, not three as stated here. Orwell is superior by far, since he was serious and more humane in his understanding of the effects of totalitarianism on human psychology. But as a Morrissey song puts it, "I know you love one person, so why can't you love two?"
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 2:11 pm GMT
@George F. Held Goldstein isn't Orwell's hero. There is nothing in the book to show that Goldstein even exists. All he could be is a propaganda construct (as I believe ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is in real life). And Goldstein's Jewishness, apart from his name, is non-existent. When I read 1984 for the first time (in 1986, as it happens), I didn't realise that he was even meant to be a Jew.

Lots of Jews are against the racist apartheid colonial settler zionazi pseudostate in Occupied Palestine and its financial backers in New York, but we wouldn't want to disturb you with facts, would we now.

Durruti , says: November 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm GMT
Yes:

Orwell, who finished his 1984 shortly after the liquidation of Palestine in 1947, [1st printing was 1950], never saw the Elephant (Zionist Elephant). No one is perfect. Orwell, who during WW II, was an employee for Churchill's Government, and labored in Churchill's Propaganda Department (different official title), loyally reflected (most of) that propaganda.

Few visionaries in 1947, understood or opposed the imperialist Oligarchs (financial banking power), who supported the establishment of a so-called Jewish Nation – in someone else's Nation. (The Balfour Declaration was issued during WW I and the liquidation of one of the Peoples of the Middle East was in the planning stages). The Palestinians became the – final victims of World War II.

The Palestinian General Strike (for independence) of 1936 , followed by an insurrection was brutally suppressed by King George (the British Empire Oligarchs – who had long (at least since 1815), become the Minions of the Zionist Bankers.

After WW II, Orwell, chose to ignore the crimes against the Palestinians, and possibly, to get his books published/circulated. Who controls Hollywood-and the Mainstream Media?

For this anarchist, Orwell remains a visionary, a courageous soldier who served in army of the POUM (Partido Obrero Unida Marxista -Trotskyist), and was wounded while defending the same Spanish Republic as Durruti's Anarchists. Orwell's wife served as a Nurse in Spain.
Recommend Orwell's fine book, His HISTORY, " Homage to Catalonia ."

Orwell had courage.
We American Citizen Patriots must display the same courage – as we Restore Our Republic.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Homage-to-Catalonia

jilles dykstra , says: November 15, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT
@Justsaying " In fact, control by proxy seems to have generated a two-tiered control phenomenon where the leaders are the puppets of puppeteers of a Zionist entity. "
Indeed my idea: Morgenthau Wilson, Baruch FDR, Bilderberg conferences, Soros Brussels, Merkel, with whom exactly I do know, but it does not matter, Macron Rothschild, Tony Blair Murdoch.
The catholic countries resist: Poland, Hungary, etc., maybe S Germany and Austria in this respect also can be seen as catholic.
Trump, put your money where your mouth is, Soros, the Koch brothers, they did, but money seeems to have failed in the last USA elections.
Must have been a shock, Solsjenytsyn writes that each jewish community in tsarist Russia always had money for bribes.
jilles dykstra , says: November 15, 2018 at 3:14 pm GMT
@Durruti Palestine and the Balfour declaration was a bit more complicated, the British saw an opportunity to keep France, that had Syria and Lebanon, away from Egypt.
Mandate of course was just a fig leaf for colonialism.
jilles dykstra , says: November 15, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Ronald Thomas West " What's the difference between governed from the top "
Possibly what is the theory of prof Laslo Maracs, UVA univrsity Amsterdam, that eight years Obama have driven China and Russia so together that Khazakstan now is the economic centre of the world, and that the present USA president understand this.
Khazakstan has the land port for trains to and from St Petersburg Peking.
Four days travel.
Do not hope this railway will have the same effect as the Berlin Bagdad: WWI.
Bard of Bumperstickers , says: November 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist This isn't a top-ten contest. The reality we find ourselves in seems to consist largely of billion-shades-of-grey continuums, not black-and-white absolutes. Full-frontal assault (Orwell's state brutality) generally stimulates defensive action. Tangential, obtuse assault (Huxley's anaesthetising hedonia) doesn't alert the defensive posture, the immune response. Tipping points, inflection points, exist, but stealthy wolves in sheeps' clothing, are more effective. The Venus fly trap, the carrion flower, convince prey to approach trustingly. Brave New World's disguised depredation – the nanny/welfare state, etc. – paves the way for Orwell's naked totalitarianism. It's the friendly inmate offering the scared, lonely new prisoner a Snicker's bar and a smoke.
AnonFromTN , says: November 15, 2018 at 4:44 pm GMT
Why limit Orwell to "1984"? His "Animal Farm" is a great work, too. Although much shorter, it captured the essence of all totalitarian societies even better. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" expresses the "democratic" rule of the 1% better than anything.
Truth , says: November 15, 2018 at 4:49 pm GMT
Sail-Dog's favorite movie, Idiocracy is pretty good prescient too; especially the part about president Camacho, who, by the way, and rather incredibly, most of you voted for two years ago.
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: November 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
Orwell is new and improved Huxley that's all folks.
George F. Held , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist Consider these excerpts:
1.All the rest had by that time been exposed as traitors and counter-revolutionaries. Goldstein had fled and was hiding no one knew where, and of the others, a few had simply disappeared, while the majority had been executed after spectacular public trials at which they made confession of their crimes. Among the last survivors were three men named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford. It must have been in 1965 that these three had been arrested.

2. 'It is called wine,' said O'Brien with a faint smile. 'You will have read about it in books, no doubt. Not much of it gets to the Outer Party, I am afraid.' His face grew solemn again, and he raised his glass: 'I think it is fitting that we should begin by drinking a health. To our Leader: To Emmanuel Goldstein.'
Winston took up his glass with a certain eagerness. Wine was a thing he had read and dreamed about. . . . The truth was that after years of gin-drinking he could barely taste it. He set down the empty glass.
'Then there is such a person as Goldstein?' he said.
'Yes, there is such a person, and he is alive. Where, I do not know.'
'And the conspiracy -- the organization? Is it real? It is not simply an invention of the Thought Police?'
'No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it. You will never learn much more about the Brotherhood than that it exists and that you belong to it. I will come back to that presently.'

Whether Goldstein exists is an issue raised in the novel itself, but that he (obviously Jewish like another member of the Brotherhood, Aaronson) is presented sympathetically as a libertarian enemy of the oppressive government is certain. Orwell's novel presents Jews sympathetically as liberators of themselves and others.
And that presentation is historically false: Jews throughout history are the oppressors, not the oppressed.

Che Guava , says: November 15, 2018 at 5:31 pm GMT
Truly, for movies, the remake of 1984 and Terry Gilliam's Brazil were near-contemporary.

The lattter, except for the boring American woman truck driver, is vastly superior.

anarchyst , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:08 pm GMT
It is interesting to note that today's voice activated computer interfaces (Alexa, etc.) are equivalent to Orwell's "telescreens" that monitor all activity within a household. Add to that, the present push to implement "chipping"–the implantation of microchips into humans, ostensibly for "convenience" and identification that cannot be lost–the "mark of the beast" in biblical parlance.
The sad part is that much of the population is openly embracing these technologies instead of being wary (and aware) that these are monitoring technologies which will lead to no good.
ia , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Che Guava The woman truck driver was the protagonist's love object and inspired what little plot exists. He was supposed to save her, or so he thought. Everything else was window-dressing (albeit quite imaginative), possibly the product of his growing insanity
Rev. Spooner , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm GMT
"One of the frequent comparisons that comes up in the Dissident Right is who was more correct or prescient, Orwell or Huxley".
This is the first lie by this author trying to co-opt both these writers for his agenda.
Orwell was an anti-imperialist and thats evident if you read 'Down and out in Paris or London' or the 'Road to Wigan Pier'.
Burgess' politics and views can readily be known by reading 'Clockwork Orange' or 'The brave New World'.
The world today is topsy turvy and what was the left then is now the right but both were anti fascists.
If the comment posted is wrong , it's because the first paragraph was blatantly misleading and stopped me from going any further.
Anne , says: November 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm GMT
One thing that most people in America leave out of consideration is the reality and power of secret societies. Recently Freemasonry celebrated its 300th anniversary with a big bash in England. In Europe, the Catholics are aware of its power and effectiveness. Democracy is a total illusion anyway; oligarchs always rule.
ia , says: November 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm GMT
Another good one was Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. It also has Alexa-type screens that allow the viewer to participate, feel like a "star" and acquire instant fame. Firemen start fires instead of putting them out. Books (good books anyway) cause people to discover and share another more meaningful world. Ergo, old books must be rooted out and destroyed. The war on whiteness and patriarchy in today's parlance.
JLK , says: November 15, 2018 at 7:50 pm GMT
Nineteen Eighty-Four should be required reading in high schools. One of the most creative and prophetic novels of all time. EN LEAVES, etc. But because of its socio-political themes, BNW became part of high school canon. In contrast, 1984 maybe Orwell's greatest work. It's like Anthony Burgess often said A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is the least of his works, but it's his most famous novel because it was made into a classic movie and dealt with relevant social themes of crime and psychology.

Still, even though 1984 has stuff about control of the populace through drugs and pornography, the vision of BNW is closer to our world in this sense. We live in a world of plenty than scarcity. So, whereas vice is allowed by the state in 1984 as an outlet for a bored and tired public, vice is at the center of life in BNW. The world of 1984 allows some kind of vice but is nevertheless essentially a puritanical, spartan, and moralistic state. Also, vice, even if legal and state-sanctioned, is to be enjoyed behind closed doors. In contrast, the world of BNW has vice of sex and drugs all over the place. Indeed, it is so pervasive that it's not even regarded as vice but the New Virtue. And in this, our world is like BNW. Gambling was once a vice but now a virtue. We are told it is fun, it offers reparations to Indians, and creates jobs. And Las Vegas is like Disneyland for the entire family. Disney Corp has turned into a Brothel, but it's still promoted as Family Entertainment. Trashy celebs who indulge in hedonism and market excessive behavior are held up as role models. Whether it's Hillary with Miley Cyrus or Trump with Kanye, it seems Vice is the new Virtue. (I finally heard a Kanye album on youtube, and it began with a song along the lines of 'suck my dic*'.)

Orwell was insightful about the power of language, but he thought that the totalitarian state would simplify language to create conformity of mind. Such as 'doubleplusgood'. It would be increasingly anti-intellectual and anti-poetic. But the PC manipulation of language works the other way. It keeps on creating fancy, pseudo-intellectual, or faux-sophisticated terms for what is total rot. So many people are fooled because they go to college and are fed fancy jargon as substitute for thought.

Btw, as the 84 in 1984 was the reverse of 48, the year in which the book was written, many literary critics have said the book was not about the future but the present, esp. Stalinist Russia(though some elements were taken from Nazi Germany and even UK). As such, it was a testament and a warning than a prophecy. Besides, Orwell had pretty much laid out the logic of totalitarianism in ANIMAL FARM. Perhaps, the most distressing thing about 1984 is that the hero embodies the very logic that led to the Repressive System in the first place. When asked if he would commit any act of terror and violence to destroy the System, Winston Smith answers yes. It's an indication that the System was long ago created by people just like him, idealists who felt they were so right that they could do ANYTHING to create a just order. But the result was totalitarianism.

One area where the current order is like 1984. The hysterical screaming mobs and their endless minutes of hate. It's like Rule by PMS.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm GMT
@Anne One thing that most people in America leave out of consideration is the reality and power of secret societies.

One reason why BNW and 1984 fail as future-visions is they assume that the West will remain white. Both are about white tyranny, white systems, white everything. So, the tyranny is ideological, systemic, philosophical, and etc. It's about the rulers and the ruled. It's about systems and its minions. Same with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. As ugly as its future vision is, at least UK is still white in the novel and movie. But look at London today. It's turning Third World. And white droogs and gangs are getting their ass whupped by black thugs.

Something happened in the West after WWII. Jews gained supreme power and eventually aided homos to be their main allies. And Negroes gained supreme status as idols of song, sports, and sex. This has complicated matters. The group-personalities of Jews and whites are different. Jews are more aware and anxious; whites are more earnest and trusting. There is a huge difference between Chinese elites manipulating Chinese masses AND Jewish elites manipulating non-Jewish masses. Chinese elites think in terms of power. Jewish elites think in terms of power over the Other. There is bound to be far less trust in the latter case, therefore more need to twist logic in so many ways.
As for Negroes, their attitudes are very different from that of whites. In some ways, blacks are the single most destructive force against order and civilization. Look at Detroit and Baltimore. Haiti and Africa. And yet, the rulers of the Current Order elevate blackness as the holiest icon of spiritual magic and coolest idol of mass thrills. This lead to the madonna-ization of white women. Whore-ship as worship. It leads to cucky-wuckeriness among white men. But if whites submit to blackness, their civilization will fall.
But because Jewish power needs to suppress white pride and power with 'white guilt'(over what was done to Negro slaves) and white thrill(for blacks in sports, song, and dance), it promotes blackness. So, on the one hand, Jewish Power is invested in maintaining the Order in which they have so much. But in order for Jews to remain on top, whites must be instilled with guilt and robbed of pride. And blackness is the most potent weapon in this. But in promoting blackness, the West will be junglized. The future of France looks dire with all those blacks coming to kick white male butt and hump white women. And when it all falls apart, Jews will lose out too, at least in Europe. US might be spared from total black destruction with brown-ization. Browns may not have stellar talent but they not crazy like the Negroes.

1984 and BNW are about people lording over others. There isn't much in the way of minority power. But today's world is about Minority Rule, especially that of Jews and Homos. And it's about minorities of blacks in the West taking the mantle of Manhood and Pride from white guys who are cucky-wucked.

Now, the thing about BNW is that its vision has been fulfilled yet. While one can argue that Stalinism pretty much achieved the full extent of Orwellianism, humanity has yet to see the rise of clones and bio-engineering. So, to fully appreciate Huxley, it might take a 100 to 200 yrs. Maybe women will stop giving birth. Maybe the idea of 'mother' will seem funny. Maybe future beings will be cloned. And maybe different castes will be produced to do different jobs. That way, there will be happiness. Today, people are still born naturally, and each person wants to be 'equal'. But what if certain people are bio-engineered to be submissive and happy to do menial work?

Also, mass cloning may be the only way a nation like Japan can sustain itself as they are not breeding anymore.

ploni almoni , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:23 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra To be feared is better than to be popular.
Tyrion 2 , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner

The world today is topsy turvy and what was the left then is now the right but both were anti fascists.

Orwell doesn't seem anything at all like the anti-fascists we see today I'd say my politics hover around where Orwell's were but I get called a Nazi not infrequently.

Truly "war is (now) peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength."

Tyrion 2 , says: November 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner If he has read Rand, he should know what these mean. They are Philosophy 101 words and wrote all about them.
nsa , says: November 15, 2018 at 9:09 pm GMT
Most forget that the three great rats (snitches) of the 20th century were Eric Blair aka Orwell (his famous list of Stalinist media simps), Ron Reagan (Commie Hollywoodites) , and Tim Leary (Weathmen who broke him out of jail). Blair never imagined 99% of the population would willingly invite a telescreen into their homes, and even pay a monthly fee to be dumbed down and manipulated. He visualized the screen correctly to be just an advanced means of propaganda and enslavement. Maybe it is time for an updated version of 1984. Call it 2024. Big Jew (giant orange bloated comb over head on screen) could replace Big Brother, and say Spencer UnzSailer could replace the mythical Goldstein. Dershowitz could replace O'Brien and torment the hapless Winston Anglin and his tatted blowup doll, Julia.
c matt , says: November 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist [re Palestine] Lots of Jews are against it, and lots of Jews are for it.

Lesson: It is a Jewish question which we need not bother ourselves about, one way or the other. Therefore, no rules for or against BDS, no influence from AIPAC, no aid to Israel or Palestine, etc. etc. In other words, let's learn from our Jewish friends for once, and play a game of "let's you and him fight."

c matt , says: November 15, 2018 at 9:30 pm GMT
If prognostication is the goal, Camp of the Saints has them both beat.
Johnny Walker Read , says: November 15, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
@JLK It used to be. It was required reading in my sophomore English Lit. class. I have re-read it 2 times since and it rings truer every time.
Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 10:22 pm GMT
@ia Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

1984 for juniors.

Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 10:25 pm GMT
@George F. Held The problem with Orwell is that he makes Jews the oppressed, not the oppressors.

Well, Stalin did win over Trotsky.

ChuckOrloski , says: November 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova Ilyana Rozumova wisely said: 'Orwell is new and improved Huxley that's all folks."

Agreed, Ilyana!

Plus George Orwell's "1984″ arrived on-the-dark scene without carrying the dark Aleister Crowley "baggage."

Anon [425] Disclaimer , says: Website November 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 Orwell doesn't seem anything at all like the anti-fascists we see today I'd say my politics hover around where Orwell's were but I get called a Nazi not infrequently.

Oddly enough, what we have in the West is actually repression by sacro-ethno-corporatism.

Jews are disproportionately immensely powerful. So, there is an ethnic angle to the current power.
But if Jews were merely rich and powerful, they could be critiqued and challenged like Wasps still are. But they are untouchable because of the sacro-element. As the Children of Shoah, opposition to Jewish Power is 'antisemitic' or 'nazi'.

Also, Globo-Shlomo-Homo Power owes to capitalism, not socialism or communism. Now, corporate tyranny can't be as total as statist tyranny. Even with all the deplatforming and etc, the current power can't do to dissidents what Stalin, Mao, and Hitler did. Still, considering that a handful corporations dominate so much and that so many Americans are either apathetic or rabid-with-PC, the current tyranny is formidable. After all, one doesn't need to control EVERYTHING to keep the power. One only needs control of elite institutions, flow of information, main narratives & icons/idols, and majority support(as US has a winner-takes-all political system). As all such are concentrated in few institutions and industries, the elites own pretty much everything.
With their power of media and academia, Jews have persuaded enough whites that it's virtuous to be anti-white. And with mass-immigration-invasion, the combined votes of white cucks and non-white hordes tip the majority toward the Globo-Shlomo-Homo Party. Unless there is total collapse, this system can go on for a long long time.

Also, corporate power pretty much determines state power since most politicians are whores of donors. And most people who serve in the Deep State were raised from cradle to idolize certain figures and symbols as sacrosanct. As toadies and servants of the Power, they've absorbed these lessons uncritically, and they are afraid to raise their kids with truly critical mindset because asking Big Questions will derail their chance of entering the corridors of privilege. Those in the Deep State bureaucracies are not necessarily corrupt. They may be hardworking and committed to their service to the state, but they are essentially flunkies since they never questioned the central shibboleths that govern today's PC. I don't think people like James Comey are corrupt in the conventional sense. They probably sincerely believe they are committed to the proper functioning of the state. But lacking in imagination and audacity to question beyond the Dominant Narrative and Dogma, they can only be lackeys no matter how smart or credentialed they are.

US and Israel are both essentially fascist states, but the differences is Israel is an organic-fascist state whereas the US is an gangster-fascist state. If not for Israel's Occupation of West Bank and bad behavior to its neighbors, its form of fascist-democratic nationalism would be sound. It is a majority Jewish nation where the Jewish elites have an organic bond with the majority of the people. Also, Jews have a ancestral and spiritual bond with the territory, the Holy Land. Also, there is a balance of capitalism and socialism, and the main theme is the preservation and defense of the homeland for Jews. So, identity/inheritance is served by ideology, not the other way around. As such, Israel is a pretty good model for other nations(though it could treat Palestinians somewhat better; but then, Arabs IN Israel have it pretty good.) Israel need not be a gangster-fascist state because there is natural, historical, and cultural bond between the rulers and the ruled.

But in the US, there is no such bond between the Jewish elites and the masses of goyim. That being the case, it is most unnatural for the US to be Jewish-dominated. It's one thing for Jews to be successful and disproportionately represented in US institutions and industries due to higher IQ and achievement. But the idea of the Jewish elites serving as the Dominant Ruling Elites in a nation where they are only 2% is ridiculous. It's like Turkey has successful minority communities of Greeks, Armenians, and some Jews, but clearly the Turks are in control. But in the US, Jews have the top power, and furthermore, Jews want to keep the power and make all Americans suck up to Jewish power. But this can only work via gangster-fascism since there is no organic bond between Jews and non-Jews. If Jewish elites in Israel think and act in terms of "What can we do to empower all of us Jews as one united people?", Jewish elites in the think in terms of "What can we do to bribe, browbeat, threaten, silence, blacklist, and/or brainwash the goy masses to make them do our bidding?" One if borne of love and trust, the other of contempt and fear.
Whatever problems exist in Israel, I'm guessing there is genuine love between Jewish elites and Jewish masses. But there is a lot of hatred, fear, and anxiety among Jewish elites when it comes to the goyim. The result is outrageous policy like hoodwinking white Christian soldiers to smash 'terrorist muzzie' nations and then bringing over Muslims and embracing them as 'refugees' against 'white supremacist bigots'.

Another problem with globo-shlomo-homo(and-afro) world order is that it's leading to Mono-everything. It's leading to mono-financial rule by Wall Street. As Wall Street is so dominant, it is effectively taking over all financial markets. And as the US military is so dominant, the world is ending up with Mono-Militarism. The US continues to encircle China, Russia, and Iran. And it's leading to Mono-Manhood. Prior to mass-migration-invasion, Europe was all white. So, even though white men tend to lose to blacks in world competition, every white nation had its white local-national hero. Its manhood was defined and represented by its own men. The world had poly-manhood, or plurality of manhood. Even if white men lost to blacks in world competition, they were the dominant men in their own nations. But with Negroes entering every white nation, the result is Mono-Manhood(that of the Negro) in every white nation. This is now spreading to Japan as well, as Japanese women now travel around the world to fill up their wombs with black babies. And of there is Mono-Media. The world communicates through English, but most English media are dominated by Jews. European nations may censor American Media, but it's never the mainstream media. It's always alternative media, and these censorship is done at the pressure of globalist Jewish groups. Jewish globalists pressure Europe to allow ONLY mainstream US media while banning much of alternative media that dares speak truth to power about Jewish power and race-ism(aka race realism).

S , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:12 pm GMT
Why does the one have to be 'superior' to the other as they both make a lot of sense?

Why not a combination of both?

How about a society that controls people with a velvet glove by allowing for and promoting every Brave New Worldish (often fatuous) personal pleasure while simultaneously, should a person get out of line from the state's dictates, maintaining in the background the iron fist of a full blown Orwellian police state?

The present society, though not there yet, is not that far away from that now.

Regarding 1984 I've always thought the Michael Radford film version starring Richard Burton, John Hurt, and the luscious Suzanna Hamilton, filmed in an around London from April – June, 1984, the exact time and setting of Orwell's novel, to have been outstanding.

Agent76 , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT
9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony

Tom Charles Huston testified before the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, commonly known as the Church Committee, on the 43-page plan he presented to the President Nixon and others on ways to collect information about anti-war and "radical" groups, including burglary, electronic surveillance, and opening of mail.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

Documentary: On Company Business [1980] FULL

Rare award winning CIA documentary, On Company Business painfully restored from VHS.

S , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:33 pm GMT
@JLK

Nineteen Eighty-Four should be required reading in high schools.

It has been in many high schools, though I could see how in the future it might be banned as 'hate literature' as it strikes too close to home.

Kirt , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:41 pm GMT
In my estimation, That Hideous Strength, the final novel of the science fiction trilogy of C. S. Lewis, is the best and most prescient dystopian novel written – largely because it is so much more than just a dystopian novel. It combines great characters, imaginative fantasy from modern to medieval, and is a truly creepy horror story as well – with a hilarious happy ending which illustrates God's very own sense of humor.
Agent76 , says: November 15, 2018 at 11:55 pm GMT
Jun 7, 2013 George Orwell 1984 Newspeak

"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words "

[Nov 15, 2018] Why Orwell is Superior to Huxley by Colin Liddell

Notable quotes:
"... Huxley's main insight, namely that control can be maintained more effectively through "entertainment, distraction, and superficial pleasure rather than through overt modes of policing and strict control over food supplies" is not actually absent in 1984 . ..."
"... In fact, exactly these kind of methods are used to control the Proles, on whom pornography is pushed and prostitution allowed. In fact porn is such an important means of social control that the IngSoc authorities even have a pornography section called "PornSec," which mass produces porn for the Proles. ..."
"... One of the LOL moments in Michael Radford's film version is when Mr. Charrington, the agent of the thought police who poses as a kindly pawnbroker to rent a room to Winston and Julia for their sexual trysts, informs them on their arrest that their surveillance film will be 'repurposed' as porn. ..."
"... But while 1984 includes almost everything that Brave New World contains in terms of controlling people through sex, drugs, and distractions, it also includes much, much more, especially regarding how censorship and language are used to control people and how tyranny is internalised. The chapter from which the above quote comes, shows how Winston, a formerly autonomous agent, has come to accept the power of the system so much that he no longer needs policing. ..."
"... But most brilliant of all is Orwell's prescient description of how language is changed through banning certain words and the expression of certain ideas or observations deemed "thought crime," to say nothing of the constant rewriting of history. The activities of Big Tech and their deplatforming of all who use words, phrases, and ideas not in the latest edition of their "Newspeak" dictionary, have radically changed the way that people communicate and what they talk about in a comparatively short period of time. ..."
"... Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated into a tool of control shows his much deeper understanding of human psychology than that evident in Huxley's novel. The same can be said about Orwell's treatment of emotions, which is another aspect of his novel that rings particularly true today. ..."
"... Colin Liddell is one of the founders of the Alt-Right, which he now disavows, and currently blogs at Affirmative Right . He recently published a book "Interviews and Obituaries," available on Amazon . ..."
Nov 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

One of the frequent comparisons that comes up in the Dissident Right is who was more correct or prescient, Orwell or Huxley.

In fact, as the only truly oppressed intellectual group, the Dissident Right are the only ones in a position to offer a valid opinion on this, as no other group of intellectuals suffers deplatforming, doxxing, and dismissal from jobs as much as we do. In the present day, it is only the Dissident Right that exists in the 'tyrannical space' explored in those two dystopian classics.

But, despite this, this debate exists not only on the Dissident Right but further afield. Believe it or not, even Left-wingers and Liberals debate this question, as if they too are under the heel of the oppressor's jackboot. In fact, they feel so oppressed that some of them are even driven to discuss it in the pages of the New York Times at the despotically high rate of pay which that no doubt involves.

In both the Left and the Dissident Right, the consensus is that Huxley is far superior to Orwell, although, according to the New York Times article just alluded to, Orwell has caught up a lot since the election of Donald Trump. Have a look at this laughable, "I'm literally shaking" prose from New York Times writer Charles McGrath :

And yet [Huxley's] novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell's more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea. Or it did until Donald Trump was inaugurated.

All of a sudden, as many commentators have pointed out, there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president's repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway's explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, "alternative facts." As any reader of "1984" knows, this is exactly Big Brother's standard of truth: The facts are whatever the leader says they are.

those endless wars in "1984," during which the enemy keeps changing -- now Eurasia, now Eastasia -- no longer seem as far-fetched as they once did, and neither do the book's organized hate rallies, in which the citizenry works itself into a frenzy against nameless foreigners.

The counter to this is that Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny.

But to return to the notion that Huxley is superior to Orwell, both on the Left and the Dissident Right, this is based on a common view that Huxley presents a much more subtle, nuanced, and sophisticated view of soft tyranny more in keeping with the appearance of our own age. Here's McGrath summarizing this viewpoint, which could just as easily have come out of the mouth of an Alt-Righter, Alt-Liter, or Affirmative Righter:

Orwell didn't really have much feel for the future, which to his mind was just another version of the present. His imagined London is merely a drabber, more joyless version of the city, still recovering from the Blitz, where he was living in the mid-1940s, just before beginning the novel. The main technological advancement there is the two-way telescreen, essentially an electronic peephole.

Huxley, on the other hand, writing almost two decades earlier than Orwell (his former Eton pupil, as it happened), foresaw a world that included space travel; private helicopters; genetically engineered test tube babies; enhanced birth control; an immensely popular drug that appears to combine the best features of Valium and Ecstasy; hormone-laced chewing gum that seems to work the way Viagra does; a full sensory entertainment system that outdoes IMAX; and maybe even breast implants. (The book is a little unclear on this point, but in "Brave New World" the highest compliment you can pay a woman is to call her "pneumatic.")

Huxley was not entirely serious about this. He began "Brave New World" as a parody of H.G. Wells, whose writing he detested, and it remained a book that means to be as playful as it is prophetic. And yet his novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell's more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea.

It is easy to see why some might see Huxley as more relevant to the reality around us than Orwell, because basically "Big Brother," in the guise of the Soviet Union, lost the Cold War, or so it seems.

But while initially convincing, the case for Huxley's superiority can be dismantled.

Most importantly, Huxley's main insight, namely that control can be maintained more effectively through "entertainment, distraction, and superficial pleasure rather than through overt modes of policing and strict control over food supplies" is not actually absent in 1984 .

In fact, exactly these kind of methods are used to control the Proles, on whom pornography is pushed and prostitution allowed. In fact porn is such an important means of social control that the IngSoc authorities even have a pornography section called "PornSec," which mass produces porn for the Proles.

One of the LOL moments in Michael Radford's film version is when Mr. Charrington, the agent of the thought police who poses as a kindly pawnbroker to rent a room to Winston and Julia for their sexual trysts, informs them on their arrest that their surveillance film will be 'repurposed' as porn.

In fact, Orwell's view of sex as a means of control is much more dialectical and sophisticated than Huxley's, as the latter was, as mentioned above, essentially writing a parody of the naive "free love" notions of H.G.Wells.

While sex is used as a means to weaken the Proles, 'anti-Sex' is used to strengthen the hive-mind of Party members. Indeed, we see today how the most hysterical elements of the Left -- and to a certain degree the Dissident Right -- are the most undersexed.

Also addictive substances are not absent from Orwell's dystopian vision. While Brave New World only has soma, 1984 has Victory Gin, Victory Wine, Victory Beer, Victory Coffee, and Victory Tobacco -- all highly addictive substances that affect people's moods and reconcile them to unpleasant realities. Winston himself is something of a cigarette junkie and gin fiend, as we see in this quote from the final chapter:

The Chestnut Tree was almost empty. A ray of sunlight slanting through a window fell on dusty table-tops. It was the lonely hour of fifteen. A tinny music trickled from the telescreens.

Winston sat in his usual corner, gazing into an empty glass. Now and again he glanced up at a vast face which eyed him from the opposite wall. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said. Unbidden, a waiter came and filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few drops from another bottle with a quill through the cork. It was saccharine flavoured with cloves, the speciality of the cafe

In these days he could never fix his mind on any one subject for more than a few moments at a time. He picked up his glass and drained it at a gulp.

But while 1984 includes almost everything that Brave New World contains in terms of controlling people through sex, drugs, and distractions, it also includes much, much more, especially regarding how censorship and language are used to control people and how tyranny is internalised. The chapter from which the above quote comes, shows how Winston, a formerly autonomous agent, has come to accept the power of the system so much that he no longer needs policing.

But most brilliant of all is Orwell's prescient description of how language is changed through banning certain words and the expression of certain ideas or observations deemed "thought crime," to say nothing of the constant rewriting of history. The activities of Big Tech and their deplatforming of all who use words, phrases, and ideas not in the latest edition of their "Newspeak" dictionary, have radically changed the way that people communicate and what they talk about in a comparatively short period of time.

Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated into a tool of control shows his much deeper understanding of human psychology than that evident in Huxley's novel. The same can be said about Orwell's treatment of emotions, which is another aspect of his novel that rings particularly true today.

In 1984 hate figures, like Emmanuel Goldstein, and fake enemies, like Eastasia and Eurasia, are used to unite, mobilise, and control certain groups. Orwell was well aware of the group-psychological dynamics of the tribe projected to the largest scale of a totalitarian empire. The concept of "three minutes hate" has so much resonance with our own age, where triggered Twitter-borne hordes of SJWs and others slosh around the news cycle like emotional zombies, railing against Trump or George Soros.

In Huxley's book, there are different classes but this is not a source of conflict. Indeed they are so clearly defined -- in fact biologically so -- that there is no conflict between them, as each class carries out its predetermined role like harmonious orbit of Aristotlean spheres.

In short, Brave New World sees man as he likes to see himself -- a rational actor, controlling his world and taking his pleasures. It is essentially the vision of a well-heeled member of the British upper classes.

Orwell's book, by contrast, sees man as the tribal primitive, forced to live on a scale of social organisation far beyond his natural capacity, and thereby distorted into a mad and cruel creature. It is essentially the vision of a not-so-well-heeled member of the British middle classes in daily contact with the working class. But is all the richer and more profound for it.

Colin Liddell is one of the founders of the Alt-Right, which he now disavows, and currently blogs at Affirmative Right . He recently published a book "Interviews and Obituaries," available on Amazon .

[Nov 14, 2018] Is Orwell overrated and Huxley undertated?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Orwell grew up in a time of increasing scale, Managerialism, and atomization. His thinking narrates the moral discourse shaped by that anti-social environment and its effects (mass wars) but dresses it up in an emancipatory narrative. One is immediately struck by his lack of foresight in predicting how power would operate as the 20th century wore on (Foucault and and Huxley are a lot closer the truth), and his inability to grapple with the essence of power and its moral and conceptual implications as a whole. ..."
"... Orwell proceeds to demand by implication we view the ancestral efforts which secured our position in the present day as illegitimate, since they conformed to emergent anthropological patterns of conflict and conquest instead of categorical laws plucked out of thin air by self-styled 'enlightened' big-brains during the 18th century. ..."
"... Had we actually lived by these 'standards', those of us left would be a marginalized set of tribes pushed to the far north of Europe, regularly getting shafted by whatever Magian civilization moved in. As a matter of fact, that's happening right now as these self-critical ideas have installed themselves within our cultural substrate. ..."
"... But if you have a decline and you have a desire to assert yourself to arrest the decline, and you have to apologize to yourself about even having the idea of assertion to arrest decline, you're not going to get anywhere, are you? ..."
Nov 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Lord Lemur , 7 hours ago

Orwell's intellect is overrated, and his aphorisms have become thought-ending cliches. Look at the string of assumptions in quote above. Do individuals really 'choose' to 'sink' their consciousness into a greater body? What makes far more sense is that at the 'core' of I there is a 'we', which is conditioned by prior forms of particularity - religion, ethnicity, language, race, and culture. This is the basis of a harmonious common good, and a meaningful lifeworld.

Orwell grew up in a time of increasing scale, Managerialism, and atomization. His thinking narrates the moral discourse shaped by that anti-social environment and its effects (mass wars) but dresses it up in an emancipatory narrative. One is immediately struck by his lack of foresight in predicting how power would operate as the 20th century wore on (Foucault and and Huxley are a lot closer the truth), and his inability to grapple with the essence of power and its moral and conceptual implications as a whole.

In reality, power is a moral imperative, and its acquisition and application the inaugural raison d'ętre of the state and the concomitant society. Hence, the cogito subject at the heart of Orwell's evaluative presuppositions is itself a product of prior systems of power, upstream from personal judgment and value sets.

Orwell proceeds to demand by implication we view the ancestral efforts which secured our position in the present day as illegitimate, since they conformed to emergent anthropological patterns of conflict and conquest instead of categorical laws plucked out of thin air by self-styled 'enlightened' big-brains during the 18th century.

Had we actually lived by these 'standards', those of us left would be a marginalized set of tribes pushed to the far north of Europe, regularly getting shafted by whatever Magian civilization moved in. As a matter of fact, that's happening right now as these self-critical ideas have installed themselves within our cultural substrate.

These pious set of mere assertions are deployed by the ruling globalist cabal to justify the replacement of Western founding stocks. Yet they are so ingrained among our senior cohort, when their *own people actually under attack* seek to affirm themselves without contradiction in *response*, they are viewed as the root menace. But if you have a decline and you have a desire to assert yourself to arrest the decline, and you have to apologize to yourself about even having the idea of assertion to arrest decline, you're not going to get anywhere, are you?

Those who feel uncomfortable about this should have worked harder to prevent the erosion of the historic American nation, and if there is nothing they could have done against the DC Behemoth, abstain from opposing the instinctive response of the cultural immune system.

Pat Lang Mod -> Lord Lemur , 7 hours ago

I beg you pardon, O neocon scion of the WASP elite. and what did you ever do for the "historic America?"
Lord Lemur -> Pat Lang , 7 hours ago
I'm not American, but i'm 5th generation in an Anglo-setter nation. The implication here is that i'm an ungrateful you whipper-snapper who just doesn't grasp the sacrifices and horrors of the 20th century. Exactly when does my generation get the moral cachet entitling us to input directions into the civilizational compass? Arguments predicated on commitment to a cause haven no inherent validity. I'm certainly not disparaging or denying here, but you're putting us in a position where our ambit of choice is circumscribed by the ideology that justified post-War US hegemony (for which people from my community were still dying until very recently in Afghanistan).
Pat Lang Mod -> Lord Lemur , 6 hours ago
I have long thought that NATO should have been abolished after the fall of the USSR. Go your own way. I am not concerned with you foreigners in Europe or anywhere else. I am concerned with the state of mind of my own people who should wise up and forget about Europe except as a trading partner and a tourist destination.
Lord Lemur -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Well, I would love to do that Col., but unfortunately Western civilization as a whole goes the way of Washington, New York, Brussels, and maybe Paris and Moscow. What happens to weaker power centres without the strong ones? What has happened Tibet, that's what.

Thinking in terms of elites tied to specific nations is no longer a good model to conceive of politics. Formal institutions like NATO are an expression of that. We have to address transnational networks of soft power that bind together and enculturate the ruling class. I have more in common with a Trump voter from flyover country and he with me than either of us with our respective 'national' elites.

Pat Lang Mod -> Lord Lemur , 5 hours ago
Blah Blah. At least you did not tell me about your hero grandpa.
JJackson , 13 hours ago
An important distinction, thank you for forcing us to consider the difference.

The two are not always easy to distinguish and a 'My country right or wrong' mindset seems to be dangerously on the rise. I was considering the use of the national flag on homes in the US and UK. It surprised me how common it seemed in the States and assumed it was a show of Patriotic fervor when I see it in the UK it sends a shiver down my spine as (with the exception of major international sporting events) I interpret it as extreme Nationalism often associated with racist or Neo-Nazi sympathies. Conflation of the two seems much the same as that of Anti-Israeli, Anti-Zionist and Anti-Semitic again three very distinct mindsets.

Degringolade , 13 hours ago
... Look, mostly this whole patriotism/nationalism word game is just sadly funny. You are a patriot if you think like me. You are a nationalist if you don't. Patriotism is good, nationalism is bad. If I am a patriot, I am good, if you are a nationalist, you must be bad.

I think that the wisdom of Humpty Dumpty when speaking to Alice fits here:

"When I use a word..it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is which is to be master -- that's all."

[Nov 07, 2018] The Populist Moment A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America by Lawrence Goodwyn

Nov 07, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 5.0 out of 5 stars Why the poor still lose March 13, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Populism. The word is used a lot today by political journalists in reference to both President Trump supporters and the Brexit movement. And, historically speaking, it is generally used inaccurately, a fact that I, too, was unaware of until I read another reader's review of a separate title. That reviewer recommended this book, written by Duke professor of history, Lawrence Goodwyn, and published in 1979.

While the title refers to the book as 'short', it is a very thorough review of the populist political movement that rose out of the National Farmers Alliance, which went under a series of different names and platforms that ultimately had everything to do with the coinage of silver and relatively little to do with the original populist reforms.

What is most fascinating to me is not the acquisition of historical accuracy regarding the populist label as it is the revelation of the degree to which the 1896 presidential election, between Republican William McKinley and Democrat (and presumed populist) William Jennings Bryant, ultimately cast the shape of American economics and politics that survives yet today. While that election appeared to turn on gold (McKinley) versus silver (Bryant), the outcome would ultimately define no less than what it means to be an American in the 21st Century.

It all began with the American Civil War, not surprisingly. And, more specifically, who was going to pay the enormous debt incurred to fight it. And that, ultimately, came down to the question of currency. The creation of a hard currency, which is ultimately the position that won out, protected the bankers and other owners of corporate capital, but at the expense of laborers and farmers.

The hard currency ultimately exaggerated the worst abuses of the crop lien system then prevalent in the South, forcing farmers (land-owners and tenants alike) into a cycle of increasing debt and falling commodity prices that they could not escape. It is, in many ways, the same inescapable cycle that entraps the urban and rural poor today.

But that's where the populist analogy ends, as the populist agrarian movement pursued a political agenda that would be the antithesis of Trump's MAGA agenda of today. It was, in fact, the antitheses of both the modern conservative and progressive agendas, both of which only appear to offer a real distinction and choice.

Both agendas presume the economic supremacy of capital and the political supremacy of the corporate and banking classes that control it. Among other things, it is the supremacy of capital that has fueled the rapid and unbridled consolidation of both industry and agriculture in the US, permanently planting the corporation at the top of the political food chain. (In 1870, the average US factory had only 8 workers.)

Before the Civil War, about 80% of all free white men owned property. By 1890, however, the richest 9% of all Americans (still white men) owned three-fourths of all wealth and within a decade one in eight Americans were living in abject poverty. With the exception of a historically brief period following World War II, in which unions managed to give laborers a political voice, now lost, it is a trend that continues to this day.

What was most amazing to me, in reading this book, was how little things have really changed. Our political parties are built on regional alliances far more than differences of ideological substance. Both accept the supremacy of corporate consolidation and the benefit of economies of scale, even though there is little actual evidence to support the premise. Consolidation has done nothing quite so effectively as it has promoted political, social, and financial inequality. (Republicans and Democrats both blamed the farmers themselves for their economic plight in the 1890s, much as politicians frequently blame the poor themselves for their plight today.)

The solutions proposed by the populists of the National Agrarian Federation were decidedly collective in nature and built from the success of the cooperative movement that had provided some relief from corporate anarchy. It called for the abolition of private banks, a new dynamic currency, the nationalization of the railroads, and the formation of government cooperatives to handle crop financing, insurance, and post-harvest handling and storage. It was, in other words, quite the ideological opposite of Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-regulatory, pro-corporate agenda.

The author makes two other important contributions to the current political dialogue. The first is to refute the illusion promoted by both political parties that American history is a timeline of uninterrupted progress and advancement. It is, more than we care to admit, a history of exploitation and the dominance of minority interests under the guise of personal and economic freedom that, for most, does not exist.

And because it is a myth that is almost universally accepted, the author notes, real political reform in the US is virtually impossible to achieve, in short because we refuse to see the world the way it really is. We have, as a result, neither the confidence nor the persistence to force the owners of capital, which control the political agenda, to give up the advantages they have enshrined into American politics and business.

In short, this is a fascinating book that everyone should have the courage to read. You may not agree with the author's conclusions, and there will surely be other historians who will take exception with his interpretation. Each of us, however, should have a commitment to defend that which we believe in the face of inconvenient facts, including those presented in this book.

Martin S. Harris Jr. 5.0 out of 5 stars required reading for understanding of today's "Populism" October 4, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Most likely (amateur historian opinion) the single best account of the Populist phenomenon I have ever read. If I have to find fault somewhere, It would be the absence of much coverage of earlier Populist themes in American politics, particularly as seen in the Jeffersonian sovereign-yeoman theme and in the Jacksonian anti-big-banking theme.

SK Figler 5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Big Banks and Corporations---the beginning in America April 28, 2012 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Usually histories of economics put me to sleep. But Lawrence Goodwyn's "The Populist Movement" is an enthralling gem that will give you numerous "Aha!" moments as it shows how and why populist movements, particularly that of the post-Civil War era (with its inception in Texas), began, grew, and failed in competing with big banks and business. There are many surprises to someone like me, who is not an economist but has been led (or pushed) to care about it from what has happened in and to America these past 30 years. Goodwyn shows clearly why the small farmers of southern and Plains America were driven to do something about the crushing control of big banks, growing commercial interests, and Wall Street. Ultimately, they failed because all power and control was in the hands of men like Gould and Morgan and the other Robber Barons. There is, however, a lesson to be taken from "The Populist Movement," that knowing and anticipating what massive blockages stand in the way of economic and political change can help people work around them. No one who reads Goodwyn's book can claim, "Well, I just didn't know."

[Nov 06, 2018] US-British Threats Against Russia Have a Long History by T.J. Coles – Matthew Alford

Notable quotes:
"... Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy ..."
"... There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale? ..."
"... What about military threats? ..."
"... So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply. ..."
"... Brexit White Paper ..."
"... T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books. ..."
"... Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is ..."
"... The Rise and Fall of the British Empire ..."
"... Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition ..."
"... Power without Responsibility ..."
"... Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot ..."
"... Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community ..."
"... Vision for 2020 ..."
"... Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future ..."
"... The New Atlanticist ..."
"... The United Kingdom's relations with Russia ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

In their new book Union Jackboot: What Your Media and Professors Don't Tell You About British Foreign Policy (Até Books), doctors T.J. Coles and Matthew Alford debate the rationale of Anglo-American policy towards Russia.

Alford: There seems to be a consensus that we need a strong military because Russia is on the rise. What do you think about that rationale?

Coles: There's no consensus, except among European and American elites. Europe and America are not the world.

There are a lot of issues to consider with regards to Russia. Is it a threat? If so to whom? What kind of threat is Russia? So let's consider these questions carefully. As far as the British establishment is concerned, Russia is an ideological threat because it is a major power with a substantial population. It's also self-reliant where oil and gas is concerned, unlike Britain. So there's lots of potential for Russian political ideology to undermine Britain's status. In fact, there are European Council on Foreign Relations papers saying that Putin's Russia presents an "ideological alternative" to the EU. [i] And that's dangerous.

Britain, or more accurately its policymaking elites, have considered Russia a significant enemy for over a century. Under the Tsar, the so-called Great Game was a battle for strategic resources, trading routes, and so on. The historian Lawrence James calls this period the first Cold War, which went "hot" with the Crimean War (1853-56). [ii] Britain had a mixed relationship with the Tsars because, on the one hand, theirs' were repressive regimes and Britain tended to favour repressive regimes, hence their brief alliance with Russia's enemy, the Ottomans. On the other hand, Russia was a strategic threat to Britain's imperial interests, and thus the Crimean War (1853-56).

When the Bolsheviks took over Russia, beginning 1917, the relationship became much less ambiguous – Russians, and especially Bolsheviks, were clearly the enemy. Their ideology posed a threat internally. So Winston Churchill, who began as a Liberal and became a Conservative, considered the Labour Party, which was formed in 1900, as basically a front for Bolsheviks. [iii] That shows the level of paranoia among elites. The Labour Party, at least at the beginning, was a genuine, working man's political organisation – women couldn't vote then, remember. So by associating this progressive, grassroots party representing the working classes as an ideological ally or even puppet of the brutal Bolshevik regime, the Tories had an excuse to undermine the power of organised, working people. So you had the Zinoviev letter in 1924, which we now know was a literal conspiracy between the secret services and elements of the Tory party to fabricate a link between Labour and Moscow. And it famously cost Labour the general election, since the right-wing, privately-owned media ran with the story as though it was real. It's an early example of fake news. [iv]

That's the ideological threat that Russia has posed, historically. But where there's a threat, there's an opportunity. The British elites exploited the "threat" then and as they do today by associating organised labour with evil Bolshevism and, in doing so, alienate the lower classes from their own political interests. Suddenly, we've all got to be scared of Russia, just like in 1917. And let's not forget that Britain used chemical weapons – M-Devices, which induced vomiting – against the Bolsheviks. Chemical weapons were "the right medicine for the Bolshevist," in Churchill's words. This was in 1919, as part of the Allied invasion of Russia in support of the White Army. [v]

So if we're talking about the historical balance of forces and cause and effect, Britain not Russia initiated the use of chemical weapons against others. But this history is typically inverted to say that Russia poses a threat to the West, hence all the talk about Novichok, the Skripals, and Dawn Sturgess, the civilian who supposedly came into contact with Novichok and died in hospital a few days later.

The next question: What sort of threat is Russia? According to the US Army War College, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and since pro-US, pro-"free market" President Boris Yeltsin resigned in 1999, Russia has pursued so-called economic nationalism. And the US doesn't like this because markets suddenly get closed and taxes are raised against US corporations. [vi] That's the real threat. But you can't tell the public that: that we hate Russia because they aren't doing what we say. If you look through the military documents, you can find almost nothing about security threats against the US in terms of Russian expansion, except in the sense that "security" means operational freedom. You can find references to Russia's nuclear weapons, though, which are described as defensive, designed "to counter US forces and weapons systems." [vii] Try finding that on the BBC. I should mention that even "defensive" nukes can be launched accidentally.

The real goal with regards to Russia is maintaining US economic hegemony and the culture of open "free markets" that goes with it, while at the same time being protectionist in real life. (US protectionism didn't start under Trump, by the way.) Liberal media like the New York Times run sarcastic articles about Russian state oil and gas being a front for Putin and his cronies. And yes, that may be true. But what threat is Russia to the US if it has a corrupt government? The threat is closing its markets to the US. The US is committed to what its military calls Full Spectrum Dominance. So the world needs to be run in a US-led neoliberal order, in the words of the US military, "to protect US interests and investment." [viii] But this cannot be done if you have "economic nationalism," like China had until the "reforms" of the '70s and '80s, and still has today to some extent. Russia and China aren't military threats. The global population on the whole knows this, even though the domestic US and British media say the opposite.

Alford: What about military threats?

Coles: The best sources you can get are the US military records. Straight from the horse's mouth. The military plans for war and defence. They have contingencies for when political situations change. So they know what they're talking about. There's a massive divide between reality, as understood from the military records, and media and political rhetoric. Assessments by the US Army War College, for instance, said years ago that any moves by NATO to support a Western-backed government in Ukraine would provoke Russia into annexing Crimea. They don't talk about Russia spontaneously invading Ukraine and annexing it, which is the image we get from the media. The documents talk about Russia reacting to NATO provocation. [ix]

If you look at a map, you see Russia surrounded by hostile NATO forces. The media don't discuss this dangerous and provocative situation, except the occasional mention of, say, US-British-Polish war-gaming on the border with Russia. When they do mention it, they say it's for "containment," the containment of Russia. But to contain something, the given thing has to be expanding. But the US military – like the annual threat assessments to Congress – say that Russia's not expanding, except when provoked. So at the moment as part of its NATO mission, the UK is training Polish and Ukrainian armed forces, has deployed troops in Poland and Estonia, and is conducting military exercises with them. [x]

Imagine if Scotland ceded from the UK and the Russians were on our border conducting military exercises, supposedly to deter a British invasion of Scotland. That's what we're doing in Ukraine. Britain's moves are extremely dangerous. In the 1980s, the UK as part of NATO conducted the exercise, Operation Able Archer, which envisaged troop build-ups between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Now-declassified records show that the Russians briefly mistook this exercise for a real-world scenario. That could have escalated into nuclear war. This is very serious. [xi]

But the biggest player is the USA. It's using the threat of force and a global architecture of hi-tech militarism to shape a neoliberal order. Britain is slavishly following its lead. I doubt that Britain would position forces near Russia were it not for the USA. Successive US administrations have or are building a missile system in Europe and Turkey. They say it's to deter Iran from firing Scud missiles at Europe. But it's pointed at Russia. It's a radar system based in Romania and Turkey, with a battery of Patriot missiles based in Poland. The stationing of missiles there provoked Russia into moving its mobile nuclear weapons up to the border in its Kaliningrad exclave, as it warned it would do in 2008. [xii] Try to find any coverage of that in the media, except for a few articles in the print media here or there. If Western media were interested in survival, there would be regular headlines: "NATO provoking Russia."

But the situation in Ukraine is really the tipping point. Consider the equivalent. Imagine if Russia was conducting military exercises with Canada or Mexico, and building bases there. How would the US react? It would be considered an extreme threat, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits threats against sovereign states.

Alford: So we've extended NATO to pretty much the Russian border? But there's a hard border there. Everyone knows we're never going to attack Russia, both for reasons of morality and self-preservation. So maybe this situation is safer than you imply.

Coles: There's no morality involved. States are abstract, amorphous entities comprised of dominant minorities and subjugated majorities who are conditioned to believe that they are relatively free and prosperous. The elites of those states act both in their self-interests – career, peer-pressure, kickbacks, and so on – and in the interests of their class, which is of course tied to international relations because their class thrives on profiting from resource exploitation. So you can't talk about morality in this context. Only individuals can behave morally. The state is made up of individuals, of course, but they're acting against the interests of the majority. As we speak, they are acting immorally – or at least amorally – but creating the geopolitical conditions that imperil each and every one of us.

As for invasion, we're not going to invade Russia. This isn't 1918. Russia has nuclear weapons and can deter an invasion. But that's not the point. Do we want to de-escalate an already tense geopolitical situation or make it worse to the point where an accident happens? So while it's not about invading Russia directly, the issue is about attacking what are called Russia's "national interests." Russia's "national interests" are the same as the elites' of the UK. National interest doesn't mean the interests of the public. It means the interests of the policymaking establishment and the corporations. For example, the Theresa May government sacrificed its own credibility to ensure that its Brexit White Paper (2018) appeased both the interests of the food and manufacturing industries that want a soft Brexit – easy trade with the EU – and the financial services sector which wants a hard Brexit – freedom from EU regulation. Everyone else be damned. That's the "national interest."

So for its real "national interest," Russia wants to keep Ukraine in its sphere of influence because its oil and gas to Europe pass through Ukraine. About 80% of Russia's export economy is in the oil and gas sector. It's already had serious political tensions with Ukraine, which on several occasions hasn't paid its energy bills, so Russia has cut supplies. If Europe can bump Ukraine into its own sphere of influence it has more leverage over Russia. This is practically admitted in Parliamentary discussions by Foreign Office ministers, and so forth. [xiii] Again, omitted by the media. Also, remember that plenty of ethnic Russians live in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia has a naval base in Crimea. That's not to excuse its illegal action in annexing Ukraine, it's to highlight the realpolitik missing in the media's coverage of the situation.

T. J. Coles is a postdoctoral researcher at Plymouth University's Cognition Institute and the author of several books.

Matthew Alford teaches at Bath University in the UK and has also written several books. Their latest is Union Jackboot (Até Books).

SOURCES

[i] Mark Leonard and Nicu Popescu (2007) 'A Power Audit of EU-Russia Relations' European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Paper, p. 1 http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR-02_A_POWER_AUDIT_OF_EU-RUSSIA_RELATIONS.pdf .

[ii] 'Anglo-Russian relations were severely strained; what was in effect a cold war lasted from the late 1820s to the beginning of the next century'. The Crimean War seems to have set a precedent for today. James writes:

[It] was an imperial war, the only one fought by Britain against a European power during the nineteenth century, although some would have regarded Russia as essentially an Asiatic power. No territory was at stake; the war was undertaken solely to guarantee British naval supremacy in the Mediterranean and, indirectly, to forestall any threat to India which might have followed Russia replacing Britain as the dominant power in the Middle East.

Lawrence James (1997) The Rise and Fall of the British Empire London: Abacus, pp. 180-82.

[iii] Churchill said in 1920:

All these strikes and rumours of strikes and threats of strikes and loss and suffering caused by them; all this talk of revolution and "direct action" have deeply offended most of the British people. There is a growing feeling that a considerable section of organized Labour is trying to tyrannize over the whole public and to bully them into submission, not by argument, not by recognized political measures, but by brute force

But if we can do little for Russia [under the Bolsheviks], we can do much for Britain. We do not want any of these experiments here

Whether it is the Irish murder gang or the Egyptian vengeance society, or the seditious extremists in India, or the arch-traitors we have at home, they will feel the weight of the British arm.

Winston Churchill (1920) Bolshevism and Imperial Sedition . Speech to United Wards Club. London: The International Churchill Society https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1915-1929-nadir-and-recovery/bolshevism-and-imperial-sedition/ .

[iv] The fake letter says:

A settlement of relations between the two countries [UK and Russia] will assist in the revolutionising of the international and British proletariat, [and] make it possible for us to extend and develop the propaganda and ideas of Leninism in England and the colonies.

It also says that 'British workmen' have 'inclinations to compromise' and that rapprochement will eventually lead to domestic '[a]rmed warfare'. It was leaked by the services to the Conservative party and then to the media. Richard Norton-Taylor (1999) 'Zinoviev letter was dirty trick by MI6' Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/politics/1999/feb/04/uk.politicalnews6 and Louise Jury (1999) 'Official Zinoviev letter was forged' Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/official-zinoviev-letter-was-forged-1068600.html . For media coverage at the time, see James Curran and Jean Seaton (1997) Power without Responsibility London: Routledge, p. 52.

[v] Paul F. Walker (2017) 'A Century of Chemical Warfare: Building a World Free of Chemical Weapons' Conference: One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences pp. 379-400 and Giles Milton (2013) Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot London: Hodder, eBook.

[vi] 'The Russian Federation has shown repeatedly that common values play almost no role in its consideration of its trading partners', meaning the US and EU. 'It often builds relationships with countries that most openly thwart Western values of free markets and democracy', notably Iran and Venezuela. 'In this regard, the Russian Federation behaves like "Russia Incorporated." It uses its re-nationalized industries to further its wealth and influence, the latter often at the expense of the EU and the U.S.'. Colonel Richard J. Anderson (2008) 'A History of President Putin's Campaign to Re-Nationalize Industry and the Implications for Russian Reform and Foreign Policy' Senior Service College, US Army War College, Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 52.

[vii] Daniel R. Coats (2017) Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, DC: Office of the Director of

National Intelligence, pp. 18-19 https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testimonies/SSCI%20Unclassified%20SFR%20-%20Final.pdf .

[viii] US Space Command (1997) Vision for 2020 Colorado: Peterson Air Force Base https://ia802705.us.archive.org/10/items/pdfy-j6U3MFw1cGmC-yob/U.S.%20Space%20Command%20Vision%20For%202020.pdf .

[ix] The document also says: 'a replay of the West-sponsored coup against pro-Russian elites could result in a split, or indeed multiple splits, of the failed Ukraine, which would open a door for NATO intervention'.Pavel K. Baev (2011) 'Russia's security relations with the United States: Futures planned and unplanned' in Stephen J. Blank (ed.) Russian Nuclear Weapons: Past, Present, and Future Strategic Studies Institute Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, p. 170, www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB1087.pdf.

[x] Forces Network (2016) 'British troops to deploy to Poland' https://www.forces.net/news/tri-service/british-troops-deploy-poland .

[xi] For example, Nate Jones, Thomas Blanton and Christian F. Ostermann (2016) 'Able Archer 83: The Secret History' Nuclear Proliferation International History Project Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/able-archer-83-the-secret-history .

[xii] It was reported in the ultra-right, neo-con press at the time that:

[Russian] President Dmitri Medvedev announced in his first state-of-the-nation address plans to deploy the short-range SS-26 ("Iskander") missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad if the U.S. goes ahead with its European Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Medvedev told parliament that the deployment would "neutralize" U.S. plans for a missile defense shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic [now in Romania), which the U.S. claims as vital in defending against missile attacks from 'rogue states' such as Iran.

Neil Leslie (2008) 'The Kaliningrad Missile Crisis' The New Atlanticist , available at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/the-kaliningrad-missile-crisis.

[xiii] For example, a Parliamentary inquiry into British-Russian relations says of the newly-imposed US-British ally in Ukraine:

President Poroshenko's Government is more openly committed to economic reform and anti-corruption than any previous Ukrainian Administration. The reform agenda has made considerable progress and has enjoyed some successes including police reform, liberalisation of the energy market and the launch of an online platform for government procurement

The annexation of Crimea also resulted in a ban on importing products from Crimea, on investing in or providing services linked to tourism and on exporting certain goods for use in the transport, telecoms and energy sectors.

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (2017) The United Kingdom's relations with Russia Seventh report of session 2016-17, HC 120 London: Stationary Office, pp. 28, 31 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmfaff/120/120.pdf

[Nov 05, 2018] Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

By both its supporters and detractors, neoliberalism is usually considered an economic policy agenda. Neoliberalism's Demons argues that it is much more than that: a complete worldview, neoliberalism presents the competitive marketplace as the model for true human flourishing. And it has enjoyed great success: from the struggle for "global competitiveness" on the world stage down to our individual practices of self-branding and social networking, neoliberalism has transformed every aspect of our shared social life. The book explores the sources of neoliberalism's remarkable success and the roots of its current decline. Neoliberalism's appeal is its promise of freedom in the form of unfettered free choice. But that freedom is a trap: we have just enough freedom to be accountable for our failings, but not enough to create genuine change. If we choose rightly, we ratify our own exploitation. And if we choose wrongly, we are consigned to the outer darkness -- and then demonized as the cause of social ills. By tracing the political and theological roots of the neoliberal concept of freedom, Adam Kotsko offers a fresh perspective, one that emphasizes the dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality. More than that, he accounts for the rise of right-wing populism, arguing that, far from breaking with the neoliberal model, it actually doubles down on neoliberalism's most destructive features.

skeptic

This book tried to integrate the results of previous research of neoliberalism by such scholars as David Harvey, Philip Mirowski, and Wendy Brown into a more coherent framework. He has some brilliant insights about neoliberalism as secular religion scattered within the book. For example "I have claimed that the political-theological root of neoliberalism is freedom and have characterized its vision of freedom as hollow." His theological notion of "neoliberalism demons" ( the dark forces unleashed by neoliberalism) also represents a very valuable insight as neoliberalism explicitly violates Christian morality postulates ("greed is good").

"Liberal democracy under neoliberalism represents a forced choice between two fundamentally similar options, betraying its promise to provide a mechanism for rational and self-reflective human agency. The market similarly mobilizes free choice only to subdue and subvert it, "responsibilizing" every individual for the outcomes of the system while radically foreclosing any form of collective responsibility for the shape of society. And any attempt to exercise human judgment and free choice over social institutions and outcomes is rejected as a step down the slippery' slope to totalitarianism. To choose in any strong sense is always necessarily to choose wrongly, to fall into sin."
In the introduction, he correctly states that the academic workforce is now deeply affected by neoliberalization.
Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must, therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

The author explains his use of the term "theology" instead of "ideology in such a way: " theology' has always been about much more than God. Even the simplest theological systems have a lot to say about the world we live in, how it came to be the way it is, and how it should be. Those ideals are neither true nor false in an empirical sense, nor is it fair to say that believers accept them blindly. "

He justifies the use of this term in the following way:

Here the term theology is likely to present the primary difficulty, as it seems to presuppose some reference to God. Familiarity with political theology as it has conventionally been practiced would reinforce that association. Schmitt's Political Theology and Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies both focused on the parallels between God and the earthly ruler,3 and much subsequent work in the field has concentrated on the theological roots of political concepts of state sovereignty'. Hence the reader may justly ask whether I am claiming that neoliberalism presupposes a concept of God.

The short answer is no. I am not arguing, for example, that neoliberalism "worships" the invisible hand, the market, money, wealthy entrepreneurs, or any other supposed "false idol," nor indeed that it is somehow secretly "religious" in the sense of being fanatical and unreasoning. Such claims presuppose a strong distinction between the religious and the secular, a distinction that proved foundational for the self-legitimation of the modern secular order but that has now devolved into a stale cliché. As I will discuss in the chapters that follow, one of the things that most appeals to me about political theology as a discipline is the way that it rejects the religious/secular binary.

The author correctly point s out that "Neoliberalism likes to hide", Like Philip Mirowski he views neoliberalism as a reaction on the USSR socialism which in my view integrates much of Trotskyism. Replacing the slogan "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", with the slogan "financial elites of all countries unite."

While most authors consider that neoliberalism became the dominant political force with the election of Reagan, the author argues that it happened under Nixon: " Nixon's decision in 1971 to go off the gold standard, which broke with the Bretton Woods settlement that had governed international finance throughout the postwar era and inadvertently cleared the space for the fluctuating exchange rates that proved so central to the rise of contemporary finance capitalism. "

He contrasts approaches of Harvey, Mirowski and Brown pointing out that real origin of neoliberalism and Trotskyism style "thought collective" – intellectual vanguard that drives everybody else, often using deception to final victory of neoliberalism.

It is this group that Mirowski highlights with his notion of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. One could walk away from Harvey's account viewing the major figures of neoliberalism as dispensable figureheads for impersonal political and economic forces. By contrast, the most compact possible summary of Mirowski s book would be: "It's people! Neoliberalism is made out of people!" In this reading, there was nothing inevitable about neoliberalism's rise, which depended on the vision and organization of particular nameable individuals.

Brown portrays neoliberalism as an attempt to extinguish the political -- here represented by the liberal democratic tradition of popular sovereignty and self-rule -- and consign humanity to a purely economic existence. In the end Brown calls us to take up a strange kind of metapolitical struggle against the economic enemy, in defense of politics as such. Meanwhile, Jodi Dean, who agrees that neoliberalism has a depoliticizing tendency, argues that this depoliticization actually depends on the notion of democracy and that appeals to democracy against neoliberalism arc therefore doomed in advance.9

He also points out neoliberalism tendency to create markets using the power of the state:

"Obamacare effectively created a market in individual health insurance plans, an area where the market was previously so dysfunctional as to be essentially nonexistent. The example of Obamacare also highlights the peculiar nature of neoliberal freedom. One of its most controversial provisions was a mandate that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. From a purely libertarian perspective, this is an impermissible infringement on economic freedom -- surely if i am free to make my own economic decisions, I am also free to choose not to purchase health insurance. Yet the mandate fits perfectly with the overall ethos of neoliberalism.

Overall, then, in neoliberalism an account of human nature where economic competition is the highest value leads to a political theory where the prime duty of the state is to enable, and indeed mandate, such competition, and the result is a world wherein individuals, firms, and states are all continually constrained to express themselves via economic competition. This means that neoliberalism tends to create a world in which neoliberalism is "true." A more coherent and self-reinforcing political theology can scarcely be imagined -- but that, I will argue, is precisely what any attempt to create an alternative to neoliberalism must do.

He points out on weaknesses of Marxist analysts and by Harvey's own "recognition of the fact that classes have been profoundly changed during the process of neo-liberalization" -- meaning that the beneficiaries cannot have planned the neoliberal push in any straightforward way. More than that, an economic-reductionist account ignores the decisive role of the state in the development of the neoliberal order: "To believe that 'financial markets' one fine day eluded the grasp of politics is nothing but a fairy tale. It was states, and global economic organizations, in close collusion with private actors, that fashioned rules conducive to the expansion of market finance."'' In other words, neoliberalism is an example where, contrary to Marxism, political forces directly transform economic structures.

He also points out that Polanyi views on the subject supports this thesis:

Polanyi famously characterized the interplay between market forces and society as a "double movement": when market relations threaten to undermine the basic foundations of social reproduction, society (most often represented by state institutions) intervenes to prevent or at least delay the trend set in motion by the market. Compared with Aristotle's distribution of categories between the political and economic realms, Polanyi's account is itself a "great transformation" on the conceptual level. Where Aristotle distinguished state and household and placed both legitimate economic management and unrestrained accumulation in the latter, Polanyi's "society" combines the household and the state, leaving only out-of-control acquisition in the purely economic realm. And in this schema, the society represents the spontaneous and natural, while the economic force of the market is what is constructed and deliberate.

The legacy of Polanyi should already be familiar to us in the many analyses of neoliberalism that see the state, nationalism, and other similar forces as extrinsic "leftovers" that precede or exceed neoliberal logic. Normally such interpretations first point out the supposed irony or hypocrisy that neoliberalism comes to require these exogenous elements for its functioning while claiming that those same "leftover" institutions can be sites of resistance. Hence, for instance, one often hears that the left needs to restore confidence in state power over against the market, that socialism can only be viable if a given country isolates itself from the forces of the global market, or in Wendy Brown's more abstract terms, that the left must reclaim the political to combat the hegemony of the economic.

He makes an important point that "neoliberalism does not simply destroy some preexisting entity known as "the family," but creates its own version of the family, one that fits its political-economic agenda, just as Fordism created the white suburban nuclear family that underwrote its political-economic goals."

Following Wendy Brown he views victimization of poor as an immanent feature of neoliberalism:

"The psychic life of neoliberalism, as so memorably characterized by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism, is shot through with anxiety and shame. We have to be in a constant state of high alert, always "hustling" for opportunities and connections, always planning for every contingency (including the inherently unpredictable vagaries of health and longevity). This dynamic of "responsibilization," as Wendy Brown calls it, requires us to fritter away our life with worry and paperwork and supplication, "pitching"ourselves over and over again, building our "personal brand" -- all for ever-lowering wages or a smattering of piece-work, which barely covers increasingly exorbitant rent, much less student loan payments."

He also points out that under neoliberalism "Under normative neoliberalism "neoclassical economics becomes a soft constitution for government or 'governance' in its devolved forms" the point that Philip Mirowski completely misses.

While correctly pointing out that neoliberalism is in decline and its ideology collapsed after 2008 (" Neoliberalism has lost its aura of inevitability"), it is unclear which forces will dismantle neoliberalism. And when it will be sent to the dustbin of the history. The chapter of the book devoted to "After Neoliberalism" theme is much weaker than the chapters devoted to its analysis.

For example, the author thinks that Trump election signifies a new stage of neoliberalism which he calls "punitive neoliberalism." I would call Trumpism instead "national neoliberalism" with all associated historical allusions.

[Nov 05, 2018] A superb new book on the duty of resistance

Notable quotes:
"... A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
"... The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

by Chris Bertram on October 31, 2018 Candice Delmas, A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Political obligation has always been a somewhat unsatisfactory topic in political philosophy, as has, relatedly, civil disobedience. The "standard view" of civil disobedience, to be found in Rawls, presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur and conceives of civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens. To demonstrate their fidelity to law, civil disobedients are willing to accept the consequences of their actions and to take their punishment. When Rawls first wrote about civil disobedience, in 1964, parts of the US were openly and flagrantly engaged in the violent subordination of their black population, so it was quite a stretch for him to think of that society as "nearly just". But perhaps its injustice impinged less obviously on a white professor at an elite university in Massachusetts than it did on poor blacks in the deep South.

The problems with the standard account hardly stop there. Civil disobedience thus conceived is awfully narrow. In truth, the range of actions which amount to resistance to the state and to unjust societies is extremely broad, running from ordinary political opposition, through civil disobedience to disobedience that is rather uncivil, through sabotage, hacktivism, leaking, whistle-blowing, carrying out Samaritan assistance in defiance of laws that prohibit it, striking, occupation, violent resistance, violent revolution, and, ultimately, terrorism. For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory, one which tells us whether Black Lives Matter activists are justified or whether antifa can punch Richard Spencer. Moreover, we need a theory that tells us not only what we may do but also what we are obliged to do: when is standing by in the face of injustice simply not morally permissible.

Step forward Candice Delmas with her superb and challenging book The Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil (Oxford University Press). Delmas points out the manifold shortcomings of the standard account and how it is often derived from taking the particular tactics of the civil rights movement and turning pragmatic choices into moral principles. Lots of acts of resistance against unjust societies, in order to be effective, far from being communicative, need to be covert. Non-violence may be an effective strategy, but sometimes those resisting state injustice have a right to defend themselves. [click to continue ]


Hidari 10.31.18 at 3:41 pm (no link)

Strangely enough, the link I was looking at immediately before I clicked on the OP, was this:

https://www.thecanary.co/opinion/2018/10/30/our-time-is-up-weve-got-nothing-left-but-rebellion/

It would be interesting to see a philosopher's view on whether or not civil disobedience was necessary, and to what extent, to prevent actions that will lead to the end of our species.

Ebenezer Scrooge 10.31.18 at 4:52 pm (no link)
Two points:
As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.
I have no idea who Candice Delmas is, but "Delmas" is a French name. The French have a very different attitude toward civil disobedience than we do.
Moz of Yarramulla 10.31.18 at 11:23 pm (no link)

civil disobedience as a deliberate act of public lawbreaking, nonviolent in character, which aims to communicate a sense of grave wrong to our fellow citizens.

I think that's a pretty narrow view of civil disobedience even if you just count the actions of the protesters. Often NVDA is aimed at or merely accepts that a violent response is inevitable. The resistance at Parihaka, for example, was in no doubt that the response would be military and probably lethal. And Animal Liberation are often classified as terrorists by the US and UK governments while murderers against abortion are not.

Which is to say that the definition of "nonviolent" is itself an area of conflict, with some taking the Buddhist extremist position that any harm or even inconvenience to any living thing makes an action violent, and others saying that anything short of genocide can be nonviolent (and then there are the "intention is all" clowns). Likewise terrorism, most obviously of late the Afghani mujahideen when they transitioned from being revolutionaries to terrorists when the invader changed.

In Australia we have the actual government taking the view that any action taken by a worker or protester that inconveniences a company is a criminal act and the criminal must both compensate the company (including consequential damages) as well as facing jail time. tasmania and NSW and of course the anti-union laws . The penalties suggest they're considered crimes of violence, as does the rhetoric.

Moz of Yarramulla 11.01.18 at 12:13 am (no link)
Jeff@11

one should never legitimize any means toward social change that you would not object to seeing used by your mortal enemies.

Are you using an unusual definition of "mortal enemy" here? Viz, other than "enemy that wants to kill you"? Even US law has theoretical prohibitions on expressing that intention.

It's especially odd since we're right now in the middle of a great deal of bad-faith use of protest techniques by mortal enemies. "free speech" used to protect Nazi rallies, "academic freedom" to defend anti-science activists, "non-violent protest" used to describe violent attacks, "freedom of religion" used to excuse terrorism, the list goes on.

In Australia we have a 'proud boys' leader coming to Australia who has somehow managed to pass the character test imposed by our government. He's the leader of a gang that requires an arrest for violence as a condition of membership and regularly says his goal is to incite others to commit murder. It seems odd that our immigration minister has found those things to be not disqualifying while deporting someone for merely associating with a vaguely similar gang , but we live in weird times.

J-D 11.01.18 at 12:50 am ( 18 )
Ebenezer Scrooge

As far as the Nazi-punching goes, it is important to remember that we hung Julius Streicher for nothing but speech acts.

I do remember that*, but it's not clear to me why you think it's important to remember it in this context. If somebody who had fatally punched a Nazi speaker were prosecuted for murder, I doubt that 'he was a Nazi speaker' would be accepted as a defence on the basis of the Streicher precedent.

*Strictly speaking, I don't remember it as something that 'we' did: I wasn't born at the time, and it's not clear to me who you mean by 'we'. (Streicher himself probably would have said that it was the Jews, or possibly the Jews and the Bolsheviks, who were hanging him, but I don't suppose that would be your view.) However, I'm aware of the events you're referring to, which is the real point.

engels 11.01.18 at 12:51 am ( 19 )
Rawls presupposes that we live in a nearly just society in which some serious violations of the basic liberties yet occur For the non-ideal world in which we actually live and where we are nowhere close to a "nearly just" society, we need a better theory
Brandon Watson 11.01.18 at 12:02 pm (no link)
People need to stop spreading this misinterpretation about Rawls on civil disobedience, which I've seen several places in the past few years. Rawls focuses on the case of a nearly just society not because he thinks it's the only case in which you can engage in civil disobedience but because he thinks it's the only case in which there are difficulties with justifying it. He states this very clearly in A Theory of Justice : in cases where the society is not nearly just, there are no difficulties in justifying civil disobedience or even sometimes armed resistance. His natural duty account is not put forward as a general theory of civil disobedience but to argue that civil disobedience can admit of justification even in the case in which it is hardest to justify.

I'm not a fan of Rawls myself, but I don't know how he could possibly have been more clear on this, since he makes all these points explicitly.

LFC 11.02.18 at 12:45 am (no link)
J-D @18

The Nuremberg tribunal was set up and staffed by the U.S., Britain, USSR, and France; so whether Ebenezer's "we" was intended to refer to the four countries collectively or just to the U.S., it's clear who hanged Streicher et al., and the tone of your comment on this point is rather odd.

anon 11.02.18 at 4:23 pm (no link)
Resisting by protesting is OK.

However, here in the USA, actual legislation creating laws is done by our elected representatives.

So if you're an Amaerican and really want Social Change and aren't just posturing or 'virtue signaling' make sure you vote in the upcoming election.

I'm afraid too many will think that their individual vote won't 'matter' or the polls show it isn't needed or some other excuse to justify not voting. Please do not be that person.

Don Berinati 11.02.18 at 5:06 pm (no link)
Recently re-reading '1968' by Kurlansky and he repeatedly made this point about protests – that to be effective they had to get on television (major networks, not like our youtube, I think, so it would be seen by the masses in order to sway them) and to do that the acts had to be outlandish because they were competing for network time. This increasingly led to violent acts, which almost always worked in getting on the news, but flew in the face of King's and others peaceful methods.
So, maybe punching out a Nazi is the way to change people's minds or at least get them to think about stuff.

[Nov 05, 2018] The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One eBook by David Both

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Elegance is one of those things that can be difficult to define. I know it when I see it, but putting what I see into a terse definition is a challenge. Using the Linux diet
command, Wordnet provides one definition of elegance as, "a quality of neatness and ingenious simplicity in the solution of a problem (especially in science or mathematics); 'the simplicity and elegance of his invention.'"

In the context of this book, I think that elegance is a state of beauty and simplicity in the design and working of both hardware and software. When a design is elegant,
software and hardware work better and are more efficient. The user is aided by simple, efficient, and understandable tools.

Creating elegance in a technological environment is hard. It is also necessary. Elegant solutions produce elegant results and are easy to maintain and fix. Elegance does not happen by accident; you must work for it.

The quality of simplicity is a large part of technical elegance. So large, in fact that it deserves a chapter of its own, Chapter 18, "Find the Simplicity," but we do not ignore it here. This chapter discusses what it means for hardware and software to be elegant.

Hardware Elegance

Yes, hardware can be elegant -- even beautiful, pleasing to the eye. Hardware that is well designed is more reliable as well. Elegant hardware solutions improve reliability'.

[Nov 05, 2018] Understanding the Past

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

I find it both fun and informative to learn about the history' of Unix and Linux. Earlier in this book, I have referred to two books in particular that I have found helpful in my understating of Linux and its philosophy'.

Linux and the Unix Philosophy 1 by' Mike Ganearz has been particularly' interesting in terms of the philosophy'. The second book, The Art of Unix Programming - by' Eric S. Raymond, provides fascinating insider historical perspective on Unix and Linux programming and history'. This second book is also available in its entirety' at no charge on the Internet. 3

I recommend reading both of these books if you have not already. They' provide a historical and philosophical basis for much of what I have written in this book.

The SysAdmin Context

Context is important and this tenet, "Always use shell scripts," should be considered in the context of our jobs as SysAdmins.

The SysAdmin's job differs significantly from those of developers and testers. In addition to resolving both hardware and software problems, we manage the day-to-day operation of the systems under our care. We monitor those systems for potential problems and make all possible efforts to prevent those problems before they impact our users. We install updates and perform full release level upgrades to the operating system. We resolve problems caused by our users.

SysAdmins develop code to do all of those tilings and more; then we test that code; and then we support that code in a production environment.

Many of us also manage and maintain the networks to which our systems are connected. In other cases we tell the network guys where the problems are located and how to fix them because we find and diagnose them first.

We SysAdmins have been devops far longer than that term has been around. In fact, the SysAdmin job is more like dev-test-ops-net than just devops. Our knowledge and daily task lists cover all of those areas of expertise.

In this context the requirements for creating shell scripts are complex, interrelated, and many times contradictory'. Let's look at some of the typical factors SysAdmins must consider when writing shell scripts.

[Nov 05, 2018] How neoliberals destroyed University education and then a large part of the US middle class and the US postwar social order by Edward Qualtrough

Notable quotes:
"... Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day. ..."
"... Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital. ..."
Aug 24, 2016 | www.amazon.com

From: Amazon.com Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital (9781503607125) Adam Kotsko Books

Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

... ... ...

On a more personal level it reflects my upbringing in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan, a city that has been utterly devastated by the transition to neoliberalism. As I lived through the slow-motion disaster of the gradual withdrawal of the auto industry, I often heard Henry Ford s dictum that a company could make more money if the workers were paid enough to be customers as well, a principle that the major US automakers were inexplicably abandoning. Hence I find it [Fordism -- NNB] to be an elegant way of capturing the postwar model's promise of creating broadly shared prosperity by retooling capitalism to produce a consumer society characterized by a growing middle class -- and of emphasizing the fact that that promise was ultimately broken.

By the mid-1970s, the postwar Fordist order had begun to breakdown to varying degrees in the major Western countries. While many powerful groups advocated a response to the crisis that would strengthen the welfare state, the agenda that wound up carrying the day was neoliberalism, which was most forcefully implemented in the United Kingdom by Margaret Thatcher and in the United States by Ronald Reagan. And although this transformation was begun by the conservative part)', in both countries the left-of-centcr or (in American usage) "liberal"party wound up embracing neoliberal tenets under Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, ostensibly for the purpose of directing them toward progressive ends.

With the context of current debates within the US Democratic Party, this means that Clinton acolytes are correct to claim that "neoliberalism" just is liberalism but only to the extent that, in the contemporary United States, the term liberalism is little more than a word for whatever the policy agenda of the Democratic Party happens to be at any given time. Though politicians of all stripes at times used libertarian rhetoric to sell their policies, the most clear-eyed advocates of neoliberalism realized that there could be no simple question of a "return" to the laissez-faire model.

Rather than simply getting the state "out of the way," they both deployed and transformed state power, including the institutions of the welfare state, to reshape society in accordance with market models. In some cases creating markets where none had previously existed, as in the privatization of education and other public services. In others it took the form of a more general spread of a competitive market ethos into ever more areas of life -- so that we are encouraged to think of our reputation as a "brand," for instance, or our social contacts as fodder for "networking." Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital.

[Nov 05, 2018] The Limits of Neoliberalism (Theory, Culture Society) by William Davies

Notable quotes:
"... In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'.

What this intends to capture is that, while neoliberal states have extended and liberated markets in certain areas (for instance, via privatisation and anti-union legislation), the neoliberal era has been marked just as much by the reform of non-market institutions, so as to render them market-like or business-like. Consider how competition is deliberately injected into socialised healthcare systems or universities. Alternatively, how protection of the environment is pursued by calculating a proxy price for natural public goods, in the expectation that businesses will then value them appropriately (Fourcade, 2011). It is economic calculation that spreads into all walks of life under neoliberalism, and not markets as such. This in turn provides the pithier version: neoliberalism is 'the disenchantment of politics by economics'.

The crisis of neoliberalism has reversed this ordering. 2008 was an implosion of technical capabilities on the part of banks and financial regulators, which was largely unaccompanied by any major political or civic eruption, at least until the consequences were felt in terms of public sector cuts that accelerated after 2010, especially in Southern Europe. The economic crisis was spookily isolated from any accompanying political crisis, at least in the beginning. The eruptions of 2016 therefore represented the long-awaited politicization and publicisation of a crisis that, until then, had been largely dealt with by the same cadre of experts whose errors had caused it in the first place.

Faced with these largely unexpected events and the threat of more, politicians and media pundits have declared that we now need to listen to those people 'left behind by globalization'. Following the Brexit referendum, in her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May made a vow to the less prosperous members of society, 'we will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.' This awakening to the demands and voices of marginalized demographics may represent a new recognition that economic policy cannot be wholly geared around the pursuit of 'national competitiveness' in the 'global race', a pursuit that in practice meant seeking to prioritise the interests of financial services and mobile capital. It signals mainstream political acceptance that inequality cannot keep rising forever. But it is still rooted in a somewhat economistic vision of politics, as if those people 'left behind by globalisation' simply want more material wealth and opportunity', plus fewer immigrants competing for jobs. What this doesn't do is engage with the distinctive political and cultural sociology of events such as Brexit and Trump, which are fuelled by a spirit of rage, punishment and self-punishment, and not simply by a desire to get a slightly larger slice of the pie.

This is where, 1 think, we need to pay close attention to a key dimension of neoliberalism, which 1 focus on at length in this book, namely competition. One of my central arguments here is that neoliberalism is not simply reducible to 'market fundamentalism', even if there are areas (such as financial markets) where markets have manifestly attained greater reach and power since the mid1970s. Instead, the neoliberal state takes the principle of competition and the ethos of competitiveness (which historically have been found in and around markets), and seeks to reorganise society around them. Quite how competition and competitiveness are defined and politically instituted is a matter for historical and theoretical exploration, which is partly what The Limits of Neoliberalism seeks to do. But at the bare minimum, organising social relations in terms of 'competition' means that individuals, organisations, cities, regions and nations are to be tested in terms of their capacity to out-do each other. Not only that, but the tests must be considered fair in some way, if the resulting inequalities are to be recognised as legitimate. When applied to individuals, this ideology is often known as 'meritocracy''.

The appeal of this as a political template for society is that, according to its advocates, it involves the discovery of brilliant ideas, more efficient business models, naturally talented individuals, new urban visions, successful national strategies, potent entrepreneurs and so on. Even if this is correct (and the work of Thomas Piketty on how wealth begets wealth is enough to cast considerable doubt on it) there is a major defect: it consigns the majority of people, places, businesses and institutions to the status of'losers'. The normative and existential conventions of a neoliberal society stipulate that success and prowess are things that are earned through desire, effort and innate ability, so long as social and economic institutions are designed in such a way as to facilitate this. But the corollary of this is that failure and weakness are also earned: when individuals and communities fail to succeed, this is a reflection of inadequate talent or energy on their part.

This has been critically noted in how 'dependency' and 'welfare' have become matters of shame since the conservative political ascendency of the 1980s. But this is just one example of how a culture of obligatory competitiveness exerts a damaging moral psychology, not only in how people look down on others, but in how they look down on themselves. A culture which valorises 'winning' and 'competitiveness' above all else provides few sources of security or comfort, even to those doing reasonably well. Everyone could be doing better, and if they're not, they have themselves to blame. The vision of society as a competitive game also suggests that anyone could very quickly be doing worse.

Under these neoliberal conditions, remorse becomes directed inwards, producing the depressive psychological effect (or what Freud termed 'melancholia') whereby people search inside themselves for the source of their own unhappiness and imperfect lives (Davies, 2015). Viewed from within the cultural logic of neoliberalism, uncompetitive regions, individuals or communities are not just 'left behind by globalisation', but are discovered to be inferior in comparison to their rivals, just like the contestants ejected from a talent show. Rising household indebtedness compounds this process for those living in financial precarity, by forcing individuals to pay for their own past errors, illness or sheer bad luck (Davies, Montgomerie & Wallin, 2015).

In order to understand political upheavals such as Brexit, we need to perform some sociological interpretation. We need to consider that our socio-economic pathologies do not simply consist in the fact that opportunity and wealth are hoarded by certain industries (such as finance) or locales (such as London) or individuals (such as the children of the wealthy), although all of these things are true. We need also to reflect on the cultural and psychological implications of how this hoarding has been represented and justified over the past four decades, namely that it reflects something about the underlying moral worth of different populations and individuals.

One psychological effect of this is authoritarian attitudes towards social deviance: Brexit and Trump supporters both have an above-average tendency to support the death penalty, combined with a belief that political authorities are too weak to enforce justice (Kaufman, 2016). However, it is also clear that psychological and physical pain have become far more widespread in neoliberal societies than has been noticed by most people. Statistical studies have shown how societies such as Britain and the United States have become afflicted by often inexplicable rising mortality rates amongst the white working class, connected partly to rising suicide rates, alcohol and drug abuse (Dorling, 2016). The Washington Post identified close geographic correlations between this trend and support for Donald Trump (Guo, 2016). In sum, a moral-economic system aimed at identifying and empowering the most competitive people, institutions and places has become targeted, rationally or otherwise, by the vast number of people, institutions and places that have suffered not only the pain of defeat but the punishment of defeat for far too long.

NEOLIBERALISM: DEAD OR ALIVE?

The question inevitably arises, is thus thing called 'neoliberalism' now over? And if not, when might it be and how would we know? In the UK, the prospect of Brexit combined with the political priority of reducing immigration means that the efficient movement of capital (together with that of labour) is being consciously impeded in a way that would have been unthinkable during the 1990s and early 2000s. 1'he re-emergence of national borders as obstacles to the flow of goods, finance, services and above all people, represents at least an interruption in the vision of globalisation that accompanied the heyday of neoliberal policy making between 1989-2008. If events such as Brexit signal the first step towards greater national mercantilism and protectionism, then we may be witnessing far more profound transformations in our model of political economy, the consequences of which could become very ugly.

Before we reach that point, it is already possible to identify a reorientation of national economic policy making away from some core tenets of neoliberal doctrine. One of the main case studies of this book is antitrust law and policy, which has been a preoccupation for neoliberal intellectuals, reformers and lawyers ever since the 1930s. The rise of the Chicago School view of competition (which effectively granted far greater legal rights to monopolists, while also being tougher on cartels) in the American legal establishment from the 1970s onwards, later repeated in the European Commission, meant that market commitments to neoliberal policy goals is still less than likely. Free trade areas such as NAETA, policies designed to attract and please mobile capital, the search for global hegemony surrounding international markets (as opposed to naked, mercantilist self-interest) may then continue for a few more years. But the collapse of legitimacy or popularity of these agendas will not be reversed.

Meanwhile, the inability of the Republican Party to defend these policies any longer signals the ultimate divorce between the political and economic wings of neoliberalism: the conservative coalition that came into being as Keynesianism declined post-1968, and which got Ronald Reagan to power, no longer functions in its role of rationalising and de-politicising economic policy making. If neoliberalism is the 'disenchantment of politics by economics', then economics is no longer performing its role in rationalising public life. Politics is being re-enchanted, by images of nationhood, of cultural tradition, of'friends' against enemies, ot race ana religion, une ot me many political miscalculations mat lea to Brexit was to under-estimate how many UK citizens would vote for the first time in their lives, enthralled by the sudden sovereign power that they had been granted in the polling booth, which was entirely unlike the ritual of representative democracy with a first-past-the-post voting system that renders most votes irrelevant. The intoxication of popular power and of demagoguery is being experienced in visceral ways for the first time since 1968, or possibly longer. Wendy Brown argues that neoliberalism is a 'political rationality'' that was born in direct response to Fascism during the 1930s and '40s (Brown, 2015). While it would be an exaggeration to say that the end of neoliberalism represents the re-birth of Fascism, clearly there were a number of existential dimensions of'the political' that the neoliberals were right to fear, and which we should now fear once more.

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that 2016 is a historic turning point indeed as I've argued here, possibly the second 'book-mark' in the crisis of neoliberalism we need also to recognise how the seeds of this recent political rupture were sown over time. Indeed, we can learn a lot about policy paradigms from the way they' go into decline, for they always contain, tolerate and even celebrate the very activities that later overwhelm or undermine them. Clearly, the 2008 financial crisis was triggered by activities in the banking sector that were not fundamentally different from those which had been viewed as laudable for the previous 20 years. Equally, as we witness the return of mercantilism, protectionism, nationalism and charismatic populism, we need to remember the extent to which neoliberalism accommodated some of this, up to a point.

The second major case study in this book, in addition to anti-trust policy, is of strategies for 'national competitiveness'. The executive branch of government has traditionally been viewed as a problem from the perspective of economic liberalism, seeing as powerful politicians will instinctively seek to privilege their own territories vis-a-vis others. This is the threat of mercantilism, which can spin into resolutely anti-liberal policies such as trade tariffs and the subsidisation of indigenous industries and 'national champions'. These forms of mercantilism may now be returning, however, the logic of neoliberalism was never quite as antipathetic to them as orthodox market liberals might have been. Instead, I suggest in Chapter 4, rather than simply seek to thwart or transcend nationalist politics, neoliberalism seizes and reimagines the nation as one competitive actor amongst many, in a global contest for 'competitiveness', as evaluated by business gurus such as Michael Porter and think tanks such as the World Economic Eorum. To be sure, these gurus and think tanks have never been anything but hostile to protectionism; but nevertheless, they have encouraged a form of mild nationalism as the basis for strategic thinking in economic policy. As David Harvey has argued, 'the neoliberal state needs nationalism of a certain sort to survive': it draws on aspects of executive power and nationalist sentiment, in order to steer economic activity towards certain types of competitive strategies, culture and behaviours and away from others (Harvey, 2005: 85).

There is therefore a deep-lying tension within the politics of neoliberalism between a 'liberal' logic, which seeks to transcend geography, culture and political difference, and a more contingent, 'violent' logic that seeks to draw on the energies of nationhood and combat, in the hope of diverting them towards competitive, entrepreneurial production. These two logics are in conflict with each other, but the story I tell in this book is of how the latter gradually won out over the long history of neoliberal thought and policy making. Where the neoliberal intellectuals of the 1930s had a deep commitment to liberal ideals, which they believed the market could protect, the rise of the post-war Chicago School of economics and the co-option of neoliberal ideas by business lobbies and conservatives, meant that (what 1 term) the 'liberal spirit' was gradually lost. There is thus a continuity at work here, in the way that the crisis of neoliberalism has played out.

Written in 2012-13, the book suggests that neoliberalism has now entered a 'contingent' state, in which various failures of economic rationality are dealt with through incorporating an ever broader range of cultural and political resources. The rise of behavioural economics, for example, represents an attempt to preserve a form of market rationality in the face of crisis, by incorporating expertise provided by psychologists and neuroscientists. A form of 'neo-communitarianism' emerges, which takes seriously the role of relationships, environmental conditioning and empathy in the construction of independent, responsible subjects. This remains an economistic logic, inasmuch as it prepares people to live efficient, productive, competitive lives. But by bringing culture, community and contingency within the bounds of neoliberal rationality, one might see things like behavioural economics or 'social neuroscience' and so on as early symptoms of a genuinely post-liberal politics. Once governments (and publics) no longer view economics as the best test of optimal policies, then opportunities for post-liberal experimentation expand rapidly, with unpredictable and potentially frightening consequences. It was telling that, when the British Home Secretary, Amber Kudd, suggested in October 2016 that companies be compelled to publicly list their foreign workers, she defended this policy as a 'nudge'.

The Limits of Neoliberalism is a piece of interpretive sociology. It starts from the recognition that neoliberalism rests on claims to legitimacy, which it is possible to imagine as valid, even for critics of this system. Inspired by Luc Boltanski, the book assumes that political-economic systems typically need to offer certain limited forms of hope, excitement and fairness in order to survive, and cannot operate via domination and exploitation alone. For similar reasons, we might soon find that we miss some of the normative and political dimensions of neoliberalism, for example the internationalism that the IiU was founded to promote and the cosmopolitanism that competitive markets sometimes inculcate. There may be some elements of neoliberalism that critics and activists need to grasp, refashion and defend, rather than to simply denounce: this book's Afterword offers some ideas of what this might mean. But if the book is to be read in a truly post-neoliberal world, 1 hope that in its Interpretive aspirations, it helps to explain what was internally and normalively coherent about the political economy known as 'neoliberalism', but also why the system really had no account of its own preconditions or how to preserve them adequately. The attempt to reduce all of human life to economic calculation runs up against limits. A political rationality that fails to recognise politics as a distinctive sphere of human existence was always going to be dumbfounded, once that sphere took on its own extra-economic life. As Bob Dylan sang to Mr Jones, so one might now say to neoliberal intellectuals or technocrats: 'something is happening here, but you don't know what it is'.

... ... ...

Most analyses of neoliberalism have focused on its commitment to 'free markets, deregulation and trade. I shan't discuss the validity of these portrayals here, although some have undoubtedly exaggerated the similarities between 'classical' nineteenth-century liberalism and twentieth-century neoliberalism. The topic addressed here is a different one the character of neoliberal authority, on what basis does the neoliberal state demand the right to be obeyed, if not on substantive political grounds? To a large extent, it is on the basis of particular economic claims and rationalities, constructed and propagated by economic experts. The state does not necessarily (or at least, not always) cede power to markets, but comes to justify its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms (Davies, 2013: 37). The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of economics (and economists) to dictate legitimate courses of action. Understanding that authority and its present crisis requires us to look at economics, economic policy experts and advisors as critical components of state institutions.

Since the banking crisis of 2007-09, public denunciations of 'inequality' have increased markedly. These draw on a diverse range of moral, critical, theoretical, methodological and empirical resources. Marxist analyses have highlighted growing inequalities as a symptom of class conflict, which neoliberal policies have greatly exacerbated (Harvey, 2011; Therborn, 2012). Statistical analyses have highlighted correlations between different spheres of inequality', demonstrating how economic inequality influences social and psychological wellbeing (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009). Data showing extreme concentrations of wealth have led political scientists to examine the US political system, as a tool through which inequality is actively increased (Hacker & Pierson, 2010). Emergent social movements, such as Occupy, draw a political dividing line between the '99%' and the '1%' who exploit them. Political leaders and public intellectuals have adopted the language of'fairness' in their efforts to justify and criticize the various policy interventions which influence the distribution of economic goods (e.g. Hutton, 2010).

It is important to recognize that these critiques have two quite separate targets, although the distinction is often blurred. Firstly, there is inequality that exists within reasonably delineated and separate spheres of society. This means that there are multiple inequalities, with multiple, potentially incommensurable measures. The inequality that occurs within the market sphere is separate from the inequality that occurs within the cultural sphere, which is separate from the inequality' that occurs within the political sphere, and so on. Each sphere can either unwelcome politically, or impractical (Davies, 2013). Hayek's support for the welfare state, Simons' commitment to the nationalization of key industries, the ordo-liberal enthusiasm for the 'social market' demonstrate that the early neoliberals were offering a justification for what Walzer terms 'monopoly' (separate inequalities in separate spheres) and not 'dominance' (the power of one sphere over all others).

As the next chapter explores, it was Coasian economics (in tandem with the Chicago School) that altered this profoundly. The objective perspective of the economist implicitly working for a university or state regulator would provide the common standard against which activity could be judged. Of course economics does not replace the price system, indeed economics is very often entangled with the price system (Callon, 1998; Caliskan, 2010), but the a priori equality of competitors becomes presumed, as a matter of economic methodology, which stipulates that all agents are endowed with equal psychological capacities of calculation. It is because this assumption is maintained when evaluating all institutions and actions that it massively broadens the terrain of legitimate competition, and opens up vast, new possibilities for legitimate inequality and legitimate restraint. Walzerian dominance is sanctioned, and not simply monopoly. The Coasian vision of fair competition rests on an entirely unrealistic premise, namely that individuals share a common capacity' to calculate and negotiate, rendering intervention by public authorities typically unnecessary: the social reality of lawyers' fees is alone enough to undermine this fantasy. Yet in one sense, this is a mode of economic critique that is imbued with the 'liberal spirit' described earlier. It seeks to evaluate the efficiency of activities, on the basis of the assumed equal rationality of all, and the neutrality of the empirical observer.

Like Coase, Schumpeter facilitates a great expansion of the space and time in which the competitive process takes place. Various 'social' and 'cultural' resources become drawn into the domain of competition, with the goal being to define the rules that all others must play by. Monopoly is undoubtedly the goal of competitiveness. But unlike Coase's economics, Schumpeter's makes no methodological assumption regarding the common rationality' of all actors. Instead, it makes a romantic assumption regarding the inventive power of some actors (entrepreneurs), and the restrictive routines of most others. Any objective judgements regarding valid or invalid actions will be rooted in static methodologies or rules. Entrepreneurs have no rules, and respect no restraint. They seek no authority or validation for what they do, but are driven by a pure desire to dominate. In this sense their own immanent authority comes with a 'violent threat', which is endorsed by the neoliberal state as Chapter 4 discusses.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

The contingent neoliberalism that we currently live with is in a literal sense unjustified. It is propagated without the forms of justification (be they moral or empirical) that either the early neoliberals or the technical practitioners of neoliberal policy had employed, in order to produce a reality that 'holds together', as pragmatist sociologists like to say. The economized social and political reality now only just about 'holds together', because it is constantly propped up, bailed out, nudged, monitored, adjusted, data-mincd, and altered by those responsible for rescuing it. It does not survive as a consensual reality: economic judgements regarding 'what is going on' are no longer 'objective' or 'neutral', to the extent that they once were. The justice of inequality can no longer be explained with reference to a competition or to competitiveness, let alone to a market. Thus, power may be exercised along the very same tramlines that it was during the golden neoliberal years of the 1990s and early millennium, and the same experts, policies and agencies may continue to speak to the same public audiences. But the sudden reappearance of those two unruly uneconomic actors, the Hobbesian sovereign state and the psychological unconscious, suggests that that the project of disenchanting politics by economics has reached its limit. And yet crisis and critique have been strategically deferred or accommodated. What resources are there available for this to change, and to what extent are these distinguishable from neoliberalism's own critical capacities?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, as this book has sought to demonstrate, is replete with its own internal modes of criticism, judgement, measurement and evaluation, which enable actors to reach agreements about what is going on. These are especially provided by certain traditions of economics and business strategy, which privilege competitive processes, on the basis that those processes are uniquely able to preserve an element of uncertainty in social and economic life. The role of the expert be it in the state, the think tank or university within this programme is to produce quantitative facts about the current state of competitive reality, such that actors, firms or whole nations can be judged, compared and ranked. For Hayek and many of the early neoliberals, markets would do this job instead of expert authorities, with prices the only facts that were entirely necessary. But increasingly, under the influence of the later Chicago School and business strategists, the 'winners' and the 'losers' were to be judged through the evaluations of economics (and associated techniques and measures), rather than of markets as such. Certain forms of authority are therefore necessary for this game' to be playable. Economized law is used to test the validity of certain forms of competitive conduct; audits derived from business strategy are used to test and enthuse the entrepreneurial energies of rival communities. But the neoliberal programme initially operated such that these forms of authority could be exercised in a primarily technical sense, without metaphysical appeals to the common good, individual autonomy or the sovereignty of the state that employed them. As the previous chapter argued, various crises (primarily, but not exclusively, the 2007-09 financial crisis) have exposed neoliberalism's tacit dependence on both executive sovereignty and on certain moral-psychological equipment on the part of individuals. A close reading of neoliberal texts and policies would have exposed this anyway. In which case, the recent 'discovery' that neoliberalism depends on and justifies power inequalities, and not markets as such, may be superficial in nature. Witnessing the exceptional measures that states have taken to rescue the status quo simply confirms the state-centric nature of neolibcralism, as an anti-political mode of politics. As Zizek argued in relation to the Wikileaks' exposures of 2011, 'the real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don't know what everyone knows we know' (Zizek, 2011b). Most dramatically, neoliberalism now appears naked and shorn of any pretence to liberalism, that is, it no longer operates with manifest a priori principles of equivalence, against which all contestants should be judged. Chapter 2 identified the 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism with a Rawlsian assumption that contestants are formally equal before they enter the economic 'game'. Within the Kantian or 'deontological' tradition of liberalism, this is the critical issue, and it played a part in internal debates within the early neoliberal movement. For those such as the ordoliberals, who feared the rationalizing potential of capitalist monopoly, the task was to build an economy around such an a priori liberal logic. Ensuring some equality of access to the economic game', via the active regulation of large firms and 'equality of opportunity' for individuals, is how neoliberalism's liberalism has most commonly been presented politically. As Chapter 3 discussed, the American tradition of neoliberalism as manifest in Chicago Law and Economics abandoned this sort of normative liberalism, in favour of a Benthamite utilitarianism, in which efficiency claims trumped formal arguments. The philosophical and normative elements of neoliberalism have, in truth, been in decline since the 1950s.

The 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism was kept faintly alive by the authority that was bestowed upon methodologies, audits and measures of efficiency analysis. The liberal a priori just about survived in the purported neutrality of economic method (of various forms), to judge all contestants equally, even while the empirical results of these judgements have increasingly benefited alreadydominant competitors. This notion relied on a fundamental epistemological inconsistency of neoliberalism, between the Hayekian argument that there can be no stable or objective scientific perspective on economic activity, and the more positivist argument that economics offers a final and definitive judgement. American neoliberalism broadens the 'arena' in which competition is understood to take place, beyond definable markets, and beyond the sphere of the 'economy', enabling cultural, social and political resources to be legitimately dragged into the economic 'game', and a clustering of various forms of advantage in the same hands. Monopoly, in Walter's terms, becomes translated into dominance.

The loss of neoliberalisms pretence to liberalism transforms the type of authority that can be claimed by and on behalf of power, be it business, financial or state power. It means the abandonment of the globalizing, universalizing, transcendental branch of neoliberalism, in which certain economic techniques and measures (including, but not only, prices) would provide a common framework through which all human difference could be mediated and represented. Instead, cultural and national difference potentially leading to conflict now animates neoliberalism, but without a commonly recognized principle against which to convert this into competitive inequality. What I have characterized as the 'violent threat' of neoliberalism has come to the fore, whereby authority in economic decision making is increasingly predicated upon the claim that 'we' must beat 'them'. This fracturing of universalism, in favour of political and cultural particularism, may be a symptom of how capitalist crises often play out (Gamble, 2009). One reason why neoliberalism has survived as well as it has since 2007 is that it has always managed to operate within two rhetorical registers simultaneously, satisfying both the demand for liberal universalism and that for political particularism, so when the former falls apart, a neoliberal discourse of competitive nationalism and the authority of executive decision is already present and available.

One lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for political movements which seek to challenge it, is that both individual agency and collective institutions need to be criticized and invented simultaneously. Political reform does not have to build on any 'natural' account of human beings, but can also invent new visions of individual agency. The design and transformation of institutions, such as markets, regulators and firms, do not need to take place separately from this project, but in tandem and in dialogue with it. A productive focus of critical economic enquiry would be those institutions which neolibcral thought has tended to be entirely silent on. These are the institutions and mechanisms of capitalism which coerce and coordinate individuals, thereby removing choices from economic situations. The era of applied neoliberal policy making has recently started to appear as one of rampant 'financialisation' (Krippner, 2012). So it is therefore peculiar how little attention is paid within neoliberal discourse to institutions of credit and equity, other than that they should be priced and distributed via markets. Likewise, the rising power of corporations has been sanctioned by theories that actually say very little about firms, management, work or organization, but focus all their attention on the incentives and choices confronting a few 'agents' and 'leaders' at the very top. Despite having permeated our cultural lives with visions of competition, and also permeated political institutions with certain economic rationalities, the dominant discourse of neoliberalism actually contains very little which represents the day-to-day lives and experiences of those who live with it. This represents a major empirical and analytical shortcoming of the economic theories that are at work in governing us, and ultimately a serious vulnerability.

A further lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for the purposes of a critique of neoliberalism, is that restrictive economic practices need to be strategically and inventively targeted and replaced. In the 1930s and 1940s, 'restrictive economic practices' would have implied planning, labour organization and socialism. Today our economic freedoms are restricted in very different ways, which strike at the individual in an intimate way, rather than at individuals collectively. In the twenty-first century, the experience of being an employee or a consumer or a debtor is often one of being ensnared, not one of exercising any choice or strategy. Amidst all of the uncertainty of dynamic capitalism, this sense of being trapped into certain relations seems eminently certain. Releasing individuals from these constraints is a constructive project, as much as a critical one: this is what the example of the early neoliberals demonstrates.

Lawyers willing to rewrite the rules of exchange, employment and finance (as, for instance the ordo-liberals redrafted the rules of the market) could be one of the great forces for social progress, if they were ever to mobilize in a concerted w'ay. A form of collective entrepreneurship, which like individual entrepreneurs saw' economic nonnativity as fluid and changeable, could produce new forms of political economy, with alternative valuation systems.

The reorganization of state, society, institutions and individuals in terms of competitive dynamics and rules, succeeded to the extent that it did because it offered both a vision of the collective and a vision of individual agency simultaneously. It can appear impermeable to critique or political transformation, if only challenged on one of these terms. For instance, if a different vision of collective organization is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this must involve abandoning individual 'choice' or freedom. Or if a different vision of the individual is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this is unrealistic given the competitive global context. Dispensing with competition, as the template for all politics and political metaphysics, is therefore only possible if theory proceeds anew, with a political-economic idea of individual agency and collective organization, at the same time. What this might allow is a different basis from which to speak of human beings as paradoxically the same yet different. The problem of politics is that individuals are both private, isolated actors, with tastes and choices, and part of a collectivity, with rules and authorities. An alternative answer to this riddle needs to be identified, other than simply more competition and more competitiveness, in which isolated actors take no responsibility for the collective, and the collective is immune to the protestations of those isolated actors.

[Nov 05, 2018] Globalists The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chosen by Pankaj Mishra as one of the Best Books of the Summer

Neoliberals hate the state. Or do they? In the first intellectual history of neoliberal globalism, Quinn Slobodian follows a group of thinkers from the ashes of the Habsburg Empire to the creation of the World Trade Organization to show that neoliberalism emerged less to shrink government and abolish regulations than to redeploy them at a global level.

Slobodian begins in Austria in the 1920s. Empires were dissolving and nationalism, socialism, and democratic self-determination threatened the stability of the global capitalist system. In response, Austrian intellectuals called for a new way of organizing the world. But they and their successors in academia and government, from such famous economists as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises to influential but lesser-known figures such as Wilhelm Röpke and Michael Heilperin, did not propose a regime of laissez-faire. Rather they used states and global institutions―the League of Nations, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, and international investment law―to insulate the markets against sovereign states, political change, and turbulent democratic demands for greater equality and social justice.

Far from discarding the regulatory state, neoliberals wanted to harness it to their grand project of protecting capitalism on a global scale. It was a project, Slobodian shows, that changed the world, but that was also undermined time and again by the inequality, relentless change, and social injustice that accompanied it.

One half of a decent book May 14, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This is a rather interesting look at the political and economic ideas of a circle of important economists, including Hayek and von Mises, over the course of the last century. He shows rather convincingly that conventional narratives concerning their idea are wrong. That they didn't believe in a weak state, didn't believe in the laissez-faire capitalism or believe in the power of the market. That they saw mass democracy as a threat to vested economic interests.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm giving it three stars for the first 150 pages which was decent work. The second half rates zero stars.

Though it could have been far better if he had written his history of neoliberalism in the context of the counter-narrative of Keynesian economics and its decline. It would have been better yet if the author had the courage to talk about the transformation of the parties of the left and their complicity in the rise of neoliberalism. The author also tends to waste lots of pages repeating himself or worse telling you what he is going to say next. One would have expected a better standard of editing by the Harvard Press.

[Nov 05, 2018] Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital by Adam Kotsko Books

Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Skeptic:

This book tried to integrate the results of previous research of neoliberalism by such scholars as David Harvey, Philip Mirowski, and Wendy Brown into a more coherent framework. He has some brilliant insights about neoliberalism scattered within the book. For example "I have claimed that the political-theological root of neoliberalism is freedom and have characterized its vision of freedom as hollow." His notion of "neoliberalism demons"(dark forces unleashed by neoliberalism) is also very valuable insight:

"Liberal democracy under neoliberalism represents a forced choice between two fundamentally similar options, betraying its promise to provide a mechanism for rational and self-reflective human agency. The market similarly mobilizes free choice only to subdue and subvert it, "responsibilizing" every individual for the outcomes of the system while radically foreclosing any form of collective responsibility for the shape of society. And any attempt to exercise human judgment and free choice over social institutions and outcomes is rejected as a step down the slippery' slope to totalitarianism. To choose in any strong sense is always necessarily to choose wrongly, to fall into sin."
In the introduction, he correctly states that the academic workforce is now deeply affected by neoliberalization.
Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must, therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.
The author explains his use of the term "theology" instead of "ideology in such a way: " theology' has always been about much more than God. Even the simplest theological systems have a lot to say about the world we live in, how it came to be the way it is, and how it should be. Those ideals are neither true nor false in an empirical sense, nor is it fair to say that believers accept them blindly. "

He justifies the use of this term in the following way:

Here the term theology is likely to present the primary difficulty, as it seems to presuppose some reference to God. Familiarity with political theology as it has conventionally been practiced would reinforce that association. Schmitt's Political Theology and Kantorowicz's The King's Two Bodies both focused on the parallels between God and the earthly ruler,3 and much subsequent work in the field has concentrated on the theological roots of political concepts of state sovereignty'. Hence the reader may justly ask whether I am claiming that neoliberalism presupposes a concept of God.

The short answer is no. I am not arguing, for example, that neoliberalism "worships" the invisible hand, the market, money, wealthy entrepreneurs, or any other supposed "false idol," nor indeed that it is somehow secretly "religious" in the sense of being fanatical and unreasoning. Such claims presuppose a strong distinction between the religious and the secular, a distinction that proved foundational for the self-legitimation of the modern secular order but that has now devolved into a stale cliché. As I will discuss in the chapters that follow, one of the things that most appeals to me about political theology as a discipline is the way that it rejects the religious/secular binary.

The author correctly point s out that "Neoliberalism likes to hide." Like Philip Mirowski he views neoliberalism as a reaction on the USSR socialism which in my view integrates much of Trotskyism. Replacing the slogan "Proletarians of all countries, unite!", with the slogan "financial elites of all countries unite."

While most authors consider that neoliberalism became the dominant political force with the election of Reagan, the author argues that it happened under Nixon: " Nixon's decision in 1971 to go off the gold standard, which broke with the Bretton Woods settlement that had governed international finance throughout the postwar era and inadvertently cleared the space for the fluctuating exchange rates that proved so central to the rise of contemporary finance capitalism. "

He contrasts approaches of Harvey, Mirovsky and Brown pointing out that real origin of neoliberalism and Trotskyism style "thought collective" – intellectual vanguard that drives everybody else, often using deception to final victory of neoliberalism.

It is this group that Mirowski highlights with his notion of the Neoliberal Thought Collective. One could walk away from Harvey's account viewing the major figures of neoliberalism as dispensable figureheads for impersonal political and economic forces. By contrast, the most compact possible summary of Mirowski s book would be: "It's people! Neoliberalism is made out of people!" In this reading, there was nothing inevitable about neoliberalism's rise, which depended on the vision and organization of particular nameable individuals.

Brown portrays neoliberalism as an attempt to extinguish the political -- here represented by the liberal democratic tradition of popular sovereignty and self-rule -- and consign humanity to a purely economic existence. In the end Brown calls us to take up a strange kind of metapolitical struggle against the economic enemy, in defense of politics as such. Meanwhile, Jodi Dean, who agrees that neoliberalism has a depoliticizing tendency, argues that this depoliticization actually depends on the notion of democracy and that appeals to democracy against neoliberalism arc therefore doomed in advance.9


He also points out neoliberalism tendency to create markets using the power of the state:
"Obamacare effectively created a market in individual health insurance plans, an area where the market was previously so dysfunctional as to be essentially nonexistent. The example of Obamacare also highlights the peculiar nature of neoliberal freedom. One of its most controversial provisions was a mandate that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. From a purely libertarian perspective, this is an impermissible infringement on economic freedom -- surely if i am free to make my own economic decisions, I am also free to choose not to purchase health insurance. Yet the mandate fits perfectly with the overall ethos of neoliberalism.

Overall, then, in neoliberalism an account of human nature where economic competition is the highest value leads to a political theory where the prime duty of the state is to enable, and indeed mandate, such competition, and the result is a world wherein individuals, firms, and states are all continually constrained to express themselves via economic competition. This means that neoliberalism tends to create a world in which neoliberalism is "true." A more coherent and self-reinforcing political theology can scarcely be imagined -- but that, I will argue, is precisely what any attempt to create an alternative to neoliberalism must do.

He points out on weaknesses of Marxist analysts and by Harvey's own "recognition of the fact that classes have been profoundly changed during the process of neo-liberalization" -- meaning that the beneficiaries cannot have planned the neoliberal push in any straightforward way. More than that, an economic-reductionist account ignores the decisive role of the state in the development of the neoliberal order: "To believe that 'financial markets' one fine day eluded the grasp of politics is nothing but a fairy tale. It was states, and global economic organizations, in close collusion with private actors, that fashioned rules conducive to the expansion of market finance."'' In other words, neoliberalism is an example where, contrary to Marxism, political forces directly transform economic structures.

He also points out that Polanyi views on the subject supports this thesis.

Polanyi famously characterized the interplay between market forces and society as a "double movement": when market relations threaten to undermine the basic foundations of social reproduction, society (most often represented by state institutions) intervenes to prevent or at least delay the trend set in motion by the market. Compared with Aristotle's distribution of categories between the political and economic realms, Polanyi's account is itself a "great transformation" on the conceptual level. Where Aristotle distinguished state and household and placed both legitimate economic management and unrestrained accumulation in the latter, Polanyi's "society" combines the household and the state, leaving only out-of-control acquisition in the purely economic realm. And in this schema, the society represents the spontaneous and natural, while the economic force of the market is what is constructed and deliberate.

The legacy of Polanyi should already be familiar to us in the many analyses of neoliberalism that see the state, nationalism, and other similar forces as extrinsic "leftovers" that precede or exceed neoliberal logic. Normally such interpretations first point out the supposed irony or hypocrisy that neoliberalism comes to require these exogenous elements for its functioning while claiming that those same "leftover" institutions can be sites of resistance. Hence, for instance, one often hears that the left needs to restore confidence in state power over against the market, that socialism can only be viable if a given country isolates itself from the forces of the global market, or in Wendy Brown's more abstract terms, that the left must reclaim the political to combat the hegemony of the economic.

He makes an important point that "neoliberalism does not simply destroy some preexisting entity known as "the family," but creates its own version of the family, one that fits its political-economic agenda, just as Fordism created the white suburban nuclear family that underwrote its political-economic goals."

Following Wendy Brown he views victimization of poor as an immanent feature of neoliberalism:

"The psychic life of neoliberalism, as so memorably characterized by Mark Fisher in Capitalist Realism, is shot through with anxiety and shame. We have to be in a constant state of high alert, always "hustling" for opportunities and connections, always planning for every contingency (including the inherently unpredictable vagaries of health and longevity). This dynamic of "responsibilization," as Wendy Brown calls it, requires us to fritter away our life with worry and paperwork and supplication, "pitching"ourselves over and over again, building our "personal brand" -- all for ever-lowering wages or a smattering of piece-work, which barely covers increasingly exorbitant rent, much less student loan payments."
He also points out that under neoliberalism "Under normative neoliberalism "neoclassical economics becomes a soft constitution for government or 'governance' in its devolved forms" the point that Philip Mirovski completely misses.

While correctly pointing out that neoliberalism is in decline (" Neoliberalism has lost its aura of inevitability"), and will eventually be sent to the dustbin of the history the part of the book devoted to "After Neoliberalism" theme is much weaker than the part devoted to its analysis.

He thinks that Trump election signifies a new stage of neoliberalism which he calls "punitive neoliberalism." I would call Trumpism instead "national neoliberalism" with all associated historical allusions.

[Nov 03, 2018] The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One David Both 9781484237298 Amazon.com Books

See also his Working with data streams on the Linux command line Opensource.com
Nov 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com

kievite, November 2, 2018 4.0 out of 5 stars

Some valuble tips. Can serve as fuel for your own thoughts.

This book is most interesting probably for people who can definitely do well without it – seasoned sysadmins and educators.

Please ignore the word "philosophy" in the title. Most sysadmins do not want to deal with "philosophy";-). And this book does not rise to the level of philosophy in any case. It is just collection of valuable (and not so valuable) tips from the author career as a sysadmin of a small lab, thinly dispersed in 500 pages. Each chapter can serve as a fuel for your own thoughts. The author instincts on sysadmin related issues are mostly right: he is suspicious about systemd and another perversion in modern Linuxes, he argues for simplicity in software, and he warns us about PHBs problem in IT departments. In some cases, I disagreed with the author, or view his treatment of the topic as somewhat superficial, but still, his points created the kind of "virtual discussion" that has a value of its own. And maybe it is the set of topics that the author discusses is the main value of the book.

I would classify this book as "tips" book when the author shares his approach to this or that problem (sometimes IMHO wrong, but still interesting ;-), distinct from the more numerous and often boring, but much better-selling class of "how to" books. The latter explains in gory details how to deal with a particular complex Unix/Linux subsystem, or a particular role (for example system administrator of Linux servers). But in many cases, the right solution is to avoid those subsystems or software packages like the plague and use something simpler. Recently, avoiding Linux flavors with systemd also can qualify as a solution ;-)

This book is different. It is mostly about how to approach some typical system tasks, which arise on the level of a small lab (that the lab is small is clear from the coverage of backups). The author advances an important idea of experimentation as a way of solving the problem and optimizing your existing setup and work habits. As well a very overview of good practices of using some essential sysadmin tools such as screen and sudo. In the last chapter, the author even briefly mentions (just mentions) a very important social problem -- the problem micromanagers. The latter is real cancer in Unix departments of large corporations (and not only in Unix departments)

All chapters contain "webliography" at the end adding to the value of the book. While Kindle version of the book is badly formatted (and I subtracted one star for that), the references in Kindle version are clickable, and I would recommend reading some them along with reading the book, including the author articles at opensource.com For example, among others, the author references a rare and underappreciated, but a very important book "Putt's Law and the Successful Technocrat: How to Win in the Information Age by Archibald Putt (2006-04-28)". From which famous Putt's Law "Technology is dominated by two types of people, those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand," and Putt's Corollary: "Every technical hierarchy, in time, develop a competence inversion" were originated. This reference alone is probably worth half-price of the book for sysadmins, who never heard about Putt's Law.

Seasoned sysadmins can probably just skim Part I-III (IMHO those chapters are somewhat simplistic. ) For example, you can skip Introduction to author's Linux philosophy, his views on contribution to open source, and similar chapters that contain trivial information ). I would start reading the book from Part IV (Becoming Zen ), which consist of almost a dozen interesting topics. Each of them is covered very briefly (which is a drawback). But they can serve as starters for your own thought process and own research. The selection of topics is very good and IMHO constitutes the main value of the book.

For example, the author raises a very important issue in his chapter 20: Document Everything, but unfortunately, this chapter is too brief, and he does not address the most important thing: sysadmin should work on some way to organize your personal knowledge. For example as a private website. Maintenances of such a private knowledgebase is a crucial instrument of any Linux sysadmin worth his/her salary and part of daily tasks worth probably 10% of sysadmin time. The quote "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it" has a very menacing meaning in sysadmin world.

Linux (as of monstrous RHEL 7 with systemd, network manager and other perversions, which raised the complexity of the OS at least twice) became a way to complex for a human brain. It is impossible to remember all the important details and lessons learned from Internet browsing, your SNAFU and important tickets. Unless converted into documentation, most of such valuable knowledge disappears say in six months or so. And the idea of using corporate helpdesk as a knowledge database is in most cases a joke.

The negative part of the book is that the author spreads himself too thin and try to cover too much ground. That means that treatment of most topics became superficial. Also provided examples of shell scripts is more of a classic shell style, not Bash 4.x type of code. That helps portability (if you need it) but does not allow to understand new features of bash 4.x. Bash is available now on most Unixes, such as Solaris and HP-UX and that solves portability issues in a different, and more productive, way. Portability was killed by systemd anyway unless you want to write wrappers for systemctl related functions ;-)

For an example of author writing, please search for his recent (Oct 30, 2018) article "Working with data streams on the Linux command line" That might give you a better idea of what to expect.

In my view, the book contains enough wisdom to pay $32 for it (Kindle edition price), especially if you can do it at company expense. The books is also valuable for educators. Again, the most interesting part is part IV:

Part IV: Becoming Zen 325

Chapter 17: Strive for Elegance 327

  • Hardware Elegance 327
  • ThePC8 328
  • Motherboards 328
  • Computers 329
  • Data Centers 329
  • Power and Grounding 330
  • Software Elegance 331
  • Fixing My Web Site 336
  • Removing Crutt 338
  • Old or Unused Programs 338
  • Old Code In Scripts 342
  • Old Files 343
  • A Final Word 350

Chapter 18: Find the Simplicity 353

  • Complexity in Numbers 353
  • Simplicity In Basics 355
  • The Never-Ending Process of Simplification 356
  • Simple Programs Do One Thing 356
  • Simple Programs Are Small 359
  • Simplicity and the Philosophy 361
  • Simplifying My Own Programs 361
  • Simplifying Others' Programs 362
  • Uncommented Code 362
  • Hardware 367
  • Linux and Hardware 368
  • The Quandary. 369
  • The Last Word

... ... ...

Chapter 20: Document Everything 381

  • The Red Baron 382
  • My Documentation Philosophy 383
  • The Help Option 383
  • Comment Code Liberally 384
  • My Code Documentation Process 387
  • Man Pages 388
  • Systems Documentation 388
  • System Documentation Template 389
  • Document Existing Code 392
  • Keep Docs Updated 393
  • File Compatibility 393
  • A Few Thoughts 394

Chapter 21: Back Up Everything - Frequently 395

  • Data Loss 395
  • Backups to the Rescue 397
  • The Problem 397
  • Recovery 404
  • Doing It My Way 405
  • Backup Options 405
  • Off-Site Backups 413
  • Disaster Recovery Services 414
  • Other Options 415
  • What About the "Frequently" Part? 415
  • Summary 415

... ... ...

Chapter 26: Reality Bytes 485

  • People 485
  • The Micromanager 486
  • More Is Less 487
  • Tech Support Terror 488
  • You Should Do It My Way 489
  • It's OK to Say No 490
  • The Scientific Method 490
  • Understanding the Past 491
  • Final Thoughts 492

[Nov 03, 2018] Crashed How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World Adam Tooze 9780670024933 Amazon.com Books

Nov 03, 2018 | www.amazon.com

"An intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it...One of the great strengths of Tooze's book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems." -- The New York Times Book Review

wsmrer 5.0 out of 5 stars 2008 Neoliberalism crashes the state rushes back-- just in time August 10, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

"Whereas since the 1970s the incessant mantra of the spokespeople of the financial industry had been free markets and light touch regulation, what they were now demanding was the mobilization of all of the resources of the state to save society's financial infrastructure from a threat of systemic implosion, a threat they likened to a military emergency." (Loc. 3172-3174)

Adam Tooze takes the well know Financial Crisis of 2007-08 through its full history of international ramifications and brings it up to the present with the question of whether the large organizations, structures and processes on the one hand; decision, debate, argument and action on the other that managed to fall into place in that crisis period in this and many other countries will develop if needed again. "The political in "political economy" demands to be taken seriously." (Loc. 11694). That he does.

Tooze is an Economic Historian and Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World is a wonderfully rich enquiry into causes and effects of the Financial Crisis and how the failing of poorly managed greed motivated practices of a few financial institutions, and their subprime mortgagees, tumbled economies in the developed and developing world, causing events that matched the Great Depression's dislocation and could have matched its duration, springing from world wide money markets "interlocking matrix" of corporate balance sheets -- bank to bank."

A warning he is not kind to existing political beings, the Republican Party in particular " to judge by the record of the last ten years, it is incapable of legislating or cooperating effectively in government." (Loc.11704)
His criticism is, in fairness, based on technical management grounds, and he does find fault as well with the inner core of the Obama advisors and their primary concerns for the financial sectors well being, rather than nationwide happenings where homes and incomes disappeared.

This reviewer's favorite (not mentioned by Tooze) is the early 2009 comment of Larry Sumners when Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers and leading authority on the Great Depression saw a need for $1.8 trillion stimulus package, "What have you been smoking?"
Sumners, Geithner, and Orszag, who favored transferring $700 billion to the banks to offset possible bank failures and such -- became policy. Tooze mentions that by 2012 Sumners was concerned by the slowness of the U.S. economy's recovery taking, as it did, 8 years to reach 2008 levels of employment.

Can an Economic History be an exciting read? Tooze gives us over 700 pages of just that, but much will be familiar as reported news and may be skimmed, and some of the Fed's expanded international roles very dense in content. His strength is the knowledge of what could have happened, had solutions not been found, and how agreements were reached out of public sight.
" the world economy is not run by medium-sized entrepreneurs but by a few thousand massive corporations, with interlocking shareholdings controlled by a tiny group of asset managers. (Loc.418-419).
Add wily politicians and hard driven bankers EU Ukraine and China you have an adventure.

Corporate control is not new -- rich descriptions of its inner connections are.
Adam Tooze does this well a reference work for years to come.
5 stars

David Shulman 5.0 out of 5 stars The World in Crisis August 22, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Columbia history professor Adam Tooze, an authority on the inter-war years, has offered up an authoritative history of the financial crises and their aftermath that have beset the world since 2008. He integrates economics, the plumbing of the interbank financial system and the politics of the major players in how and why the financial crisis of 2008 developed and the course of the very uneven recovery that followed. I must note that Tooze has some very clear biases in that he views the history through a social democratic prism and is very critical of the congressional Republican caucus and the go slow policies of the European Central Bank under Trichet. To him the banks got bailed out while millions of people suffered as collateral damage from a crisis that was largely made by the financial system. His view may very well be correct, but many readers might differ. Simply put, to save the economy policy makers had to stop the bleeding.

He starts off with the hot topic of 2005; the need for fiscal consolidation in the United States. Aside from a few dissidents, most economists saw the need for the U.S. to close its fiscal deficit and did not see the structural crisis that was developing underneath them. Although he does mention Hyman Minsky a few times in the book, he leaves out Minsky's most important insight that "stability leads to instability" as market participants are lulled into a false sense of security. It therefore was against the backdrop of the "great moderation" that the crisis began. And it was the seemingly calm environment that lulled all too many regulators to sleep.

The underbelly of the financial system was and still is in many respects is the wholesale funding system where too many banks are largely funded in repo and commercial paper markets. This mismatch was exacerbated by the use of asset-backed commercial paper to fund long term mortgage securities. It was problems in that market that triggered the crisis in August 2007.

The crisis explodes when Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy in September 2008. In Tooze's view the decision to let Lehman fail was political, not economic. After that the gates of hell are opened causing the Bush Administration and the Federal Reserve to ask for $750 billion dollar TARP bailout of the major banks. It was in the Congressional fight over this appropriation where Tooze believes the split in the Republican Party between the business conservative and social populist wing hardens. We are living with that through this day. The TARP program passes with Democratic votes. Tooze also notes that there was great continuity between the Bush and early Obama policies with respect to the banks and auto bailout. Recall that in late 2008 and early 2009 nationalization of the banks was on the table. Tooze also correctly notes that the major beneficiary of the TARP program was Citicorp, the most exposed U.S. bank to the wholesale funding system.

Concurrent with TARP the Bernanke Fed embarks on its first quantitative easing program where it buys up not only treasuries, but mortgage backed securities as well. It was with the latter Europe's banks were bailed out. Half of the first QE went to bail out Europe's troubled banks. When combined the dollar swap lines with QE, Europe's central banks essentially became branches of the Fed. Now here is a problem. Where in the Federal Reserve Act does it say that the Fed is the central bank to the world? To some it maybe a stretch.

Tooze applauds Obama's stimulus policy but rightly says it was too small. There should have been more infrastructure in it. To my view there could have been more infrastructure if only Obama was willing to deal with the Republicans by offering to waive environmental reviews and prevailing wage rules. He never tried for fear of offending his labor and environmental constituencies. Tooze also gives great credit to China with it all out monetary and fiscal policies. That triggered a revival in the energy and natural resource economies of Australia and Brazil thereby helping global recovery.

He then turns to the slow responses in Europe and the political wrangling over the tragedy that was to befall Greece. It came down to the power of Angela Merkel and her unwillingness to have the frugal German taxpayer subsidize the profligate Greeks. As they say "all politics is local". The logjam in Europe doesn't really break until Mario Draghi makes an off-the-cuff remark at a London speech in July 2012 by saying the ECB will do "whatever it takes" to engender European recovery.

As a byproduct of bailing out the banks and failing to directly help the average citizen a rash of populism, mostly of the rightwing variety, breaks out all over leading to Brexit, Orban in Hungary, a stronger rightwing in Germany and, of course, Donald Trump. But to me it wasn't only banking policy that created this. The huge surge in immigration into Europe has a lot more to do with it. Tooze under-rates this factor. He also under-rates the risk of having a monetary policy that is too easy and too long. The same type of Minsky risk discussed earlier is now present in the global economy: witness Turkey, for example. Thus it is too early to tell whether or not the all-out monetary policy of the past decade will be judged a success from the vantage point of 2030.

Adam Tooze has written an important book and I view it as must read for a serious lay reader to get a better understanding of the economic and political policies of the past decade.

[Nov 02, 2018] The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One David Both 9781484237298 Amazon.com Books

See also his Working with data streams on the Linux command line Opensource.com
Nov 02, 2018 | www.amazon.com

This book is most interesting probably for people who can definitely do well without it – seasoned sysadmins and educators.

Please ignore the word "philosophy" in the title. Most sysadmins do not want to deal with "philosophy";-). And this book does not rise to the level of philosophy in any case. It is just collection of valuable (and not so valuable) tips from the author career as a sysadmin of a small lab, thinly dispersed in 500 pages. Each chapter can serve as a fuel for your own thoughts. In many cases, I disagreed with the author, but still, his points created the kind of "virtual discussion" that has a value of its own.

I would classify this book as "tips" book when the author shares his approach to this or that problem (often IMHO wrong, but still interesting;-), distinct from the more numerous and often boring, but much better-selling class of "how to" books. The latter explains in gory details how to deal with a particular Unix/Linux subsystem or a particular role (for example system administrator of Linux servers). But in many cases, the right solution is to avoid those subsystems or software packages like plague, and use something simpler ;-)

This book is different. It is mostly about tips on how to approach this or that typical system task, which arises of the level of a small research lab (that is clear from his coverage of backups). As well a very brief overview of good practices of using some tools. In the last chapter, the author even briefly mentions (just mentions) a very important social problem -- the problem micromanagers. The latter is real cancer in Unix departments of large corporations (and not only in Unix departments ;-)

All chapters contain "webliography" at the end adding to the value of the book. While Kindle version of the book is formatted (and I subtracted one start for that), they are clickable.

The books provide authors views (not always right, but still interesting) on why this or that particular feature should be used and how it can be combined with other. Seasoned sysadmins can probably skip Part I-III (IMHO those chapters are simplistic ( for example you can skip Introduction to the Linux philosophy, contribution to open source, and similar weak chapters ) and start with Part IV ( Becoming Zen ) , which consist of almost a dozen interesting topics. They are covered very briefly, just to serve as a starter for your own thought process. But the selection of topics is very good.

He raises a very important issue in his chapter 20: Document Everything, but unfortunately, this chapter is too brief and does not address the way to organize your personal "knowledgebase" which now should be a crucial instrument of any Linux sysadmin worth his/her salary. Linux (as of monstrous RHEL 7 with systemd and other perversions, which raised the complexity of the OS at least twice) became a way to complex for your brain to remember all the important details and lessons learned from Internet browsing, your SNAFU and important tickets.

The negative part of the book is that the author spreads himself too thin and try to cover too much ground. That means that treatment of some topics became superficial. Also provided examples of shell scripts is more of a classic shell style, not Bash 4.x type of code. That helps portability (if you need it) but does not allow to understand new features of bash 4.x. Bash is available now on most Unixes, such as Solaris and HP-UX and that solves portability issues in a different, and more productive, way. Portability was killed by systemd anyway unless you want to write wrappers for systemctl related functions ;-)

For an example of author writing, please search for his recent (Oct 30, 2018) article "Working with data streams on the Linux command line" That might give you a better idea of what to expect.

In my view, the book contains enough wisdom to pay $32 for it (Kindle edition price). Especially for educators.

Full contst is at The Linux Philosophy for SysAdmins And Everyone Who Wants To Be One

Again, the most interesting part is part IV:

Part IV: Becoming Zen 325

Chapter 17: Strive for Elegance 327

Chapter 18: Find the Simplicity 353

... ... ...

Chapter 20: Document Everything 381

Chapter 21: Back Up Everything - Frequently 395

... ... ...

Chapter 26: Reality Bytes 485

[Nov 01, 2018] The 2018 Globie Crashed by Joseph Joyce

Notable quotes:
"... Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World ..."
"... Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History ..."
"... Global Inequality ..."
"... Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry ..."
"... The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned–and Have Still to Learn–from the Financial Crisis ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Each year I choose a book to be the Globalization Book of the Year, i.e., the "Globie". The prize is strictly honorific and does not come with a check. But I do like to single out books that are particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization. Previous winners are listed at the bottom.

This year's choice is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze of Yale University . Tooze, an historian, traces the events leading up to the crisis and the subsequent ten years. He points out in the introduction that this account is different from one he may have written several years ago. At that time Barak Obama had won re-election in 2012 on the basis of a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Europe was further behind, but the emerging markets were growing rapidly, due to the demand for their commodities from a steadily-growing China as well as capital inflows searching for higher returns than those available in the advanced economies.

But the economic recovery has brought new challenges, which have swept aside established politicians and parties. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who promised to restore America to some form of past greatness. His policy agenda includes trade disputes with a broad range of countries, and he is particularly eager to impose trade tariffs on China. The current meltdown in stock prices follows a rise in interest rates normal at this stage of the business cycle but also is based on fears of the consequences of the trade measures.

Europe has its own discontents. In the United Kingdom, voters have approved leaving the European Union. The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of the Italian government's fiscal plans. Several east European governments have voiced opposition to the governance norms of the West European nations. Angela Merkel's decision to step down as head of her party leaves Europe without its most respected leader.

All these events are outcomes of the crisis, which Tooze emphasizes was a trans-Atlantic event. European banks had purchased held large amounts of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that they financed with borrowed dollars. When liquidity in the markets disappeared, the European banks faced the challenge of financing their obligations. Tooze explains how the Federal Reserve supported the European banks using swap lines with the European Central Bank and other central banks, as well as including the domestic subsidiaries of the foreign banks in their liquidity support operations in the U.S. As a result, Tooze claims:

"What happened in the fall of 2008 was not the relativization of the dollar, but the reverse, a dramatic reassertion of the pivotal role of America's central bank. Far from withering away, the Fed's response gave an entirely new dimension to the global dollar" (Tooze, p. 219)

The focused policies of U.S. policymakers stood in sharp contrast to those of their European counterparts. Ireland and Spain had to deal with their own banking crises following the collapse of their housing bubbles, and Portugal suffered from anemic growth. But Greece's sovereign debt posed the largest challenge, and exposed the fault line in the Eurozone between those who believed that such crises required a national response and those who looked for a broader European resolution. As a result, Greece lurched from one lending program to another. The IMF was treated as a junior partner by the European governments that sought to evade facing the consequences of Greek insolvency, and the Fund's reputation suffered new blows due to its involvement with the various rescue operations.The ECB only demonstrated a firm commitment to its stabilizing role in July 2012, when its President Mario Draghi announced that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

China followed another route. The government there engaged in a surge of stimulus spending combined with expansionary monetary policies. The result was continued growth that allowed the Chinese government to demonstrate its leadership capabilities at a time when the U.S. was abandoning its obligations. But the ensuing credit boom was accompanied by a rise in private (mainly corporate) lending that has left China with a total debt to GDP ratio of over 250%, a level usually followed by some form of financial collapse. Chinese officials are well aware of the domestic challenge they face at the same time as their dispute with the U.S. intensifies.

Tooze demonstrates that the crisis has let loose a range of responses that continue to play out. He ends the book by pointing to a similarity of recent events and those of 1914. He raises several questions: "How does a great moderation end? How do huge risks build up that are little understood and barely controllable? How do great tectonic shifts in the global world order unload in sudden earthquakes?" Ten years after a truly global crisis, we are still seeking answers to these questions.

Previous Globie Winners:

[Oct 31, 2018] Over 50% Of College Students Afraid To Disagree With Peers, Professors

Social pressure to conform is natural in any organization. And universities are not exception. Various people positioned differently on confiormism-independent_thinking spectrum, so we should not generalize that social pressure makes any students a conformist, who is afraid to voice his/her opinion. Some small percentage of student can withstand significant social pressure. But the fact that around 50% can't withstand significant social pressure sounds right.
Oct 31, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
As more and more college professors express their social and political views in classrooms, students across the country are feeling increasingly afraid to disagree according to a survey of 800 full-time undergraduate college students, reported by the Wall Street Journal ' s James Freeman.

When students were asked if they've had "any professors or course instructors that have used class time to express their own social or political beliefs that are completely unrelated to the subject of the course," 52% of respondents said that this occurs "often," while 47% responded, "not often."

A majority -- 53% -- also reported that they often "felt intimidated" in sharing their ideas, opinions or beliefs in class because they were different from those of the professors. - WSJ

What's more, 54% of students say they are intimidated expressing themselves when their views conflict with those of their classmates.

The survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates on behalf of Yale's William F. Buckley, Jr. Program (which counts Freeman among its directors), was undertaken between October 8th and 18th, and included students at both public and private four-year universities across the country.

This is a problem, suggests Freeman - as unbiased teachers who formerly filled universities have been replaced by activists who "unfortunately appear to be just as political and overbearing as one would expect," and that " perhaps the actual parents who write checks can someday find some way to encourage more responsible behavior. "

Read the rest below via the Wall Street Journal :

***

As for the students, there's at least a mixed message in the latest survey results. On the downside, the fact that so many students are afraid of disagreeing with their peers does not suggest a healthy intellectual atmosphere even outside the classroom. There's more disappointing news in the answers to other survey questions. For example, 59% of respondents agreed with this statement:

My college or university should forbid people from speaking on campus who have a history of engaging in hate speech.

This column does not favor hatred, nor the subjective definition of "hate speech" by college administrators seeking to regulate it. In perhaps the most disturbing finding in the poll results, 33% of U.S. college students participating in the survey agreed with this statement:

If someone is using hate speech or making racially charged comments, physical violence can be justified to prevent this person from espousing their hateful views.

An optimist desperately searching for a silver lining would perhaps note that 60% of respondents did not agree that physical violence is justified to silence people speaking what someone has defined as "hate speech" or "racially charged" comments. But the fact that a third of college students at least theoretically endorse violence as a response to offensive speech underlines the threat to free expression on American campuses.

Perhaps more encouraging are the responses to this question:

Generally speaking, do you think the First Amendment, which deals with freedom of speech, is an outdated amendment that can no longer be applied in today's society and should be changed or an important amendment that still needs to be followed and respected in today's society?

A full 79% of respondents opted for respecting the First Amendment, while 17% backed a rewrite.

On a more specific question, free speech isn't winning by the same landslide. When asked if they would favor or oppose their schools having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty, 54% of U.S. college kids opposed such codes while 38% were in favor.

The free exchange of ideas is in danger on American campuses. And given the unprofessional behavior of American faculty suggested by this survey, education reformers should perhaps focus on encouraging free-speech advocates within the student body while adopting a campus slogan from an earlier era: Don't trust anyone over 30.


keep the bastards honest , 26 minutes ago link

this tyranny applies not only to politics and weirdo social world view, it runs thru everything. Group think is powerful and those not following get excluded, defunded of resources and ridicule and other punishment.

... ... ...

PGR88 , 39 minutes ago link

The education-industrial complex is a massive spending and debt-fed bubble, that has created a massive political organizing force and teflon monoculture. They are parasites feeding off government and the debt of students

... ... ...

keep the bastards honest , 55 minutes ago link

It's always been like this, at school as a 5 year old ....my little kid was sent to the headmaster for objecting to making a key ring thing in craft as not one kid had a key. He spoke a well reasoned argument and of course is at the Supreme Court now. But gained no respect or nurturing from that school. I also copped it, made career decision to be a scientist because of the stupidity of an english teacher not knowing same issues prevailed there. Was thrown out of english honours course so did the exam on my own knowledge and got first class honours in the state.

At University we all know you feed back what they want if you want to pass. Some want intelligence and best true understanding others want their crippled stuff. This also applies if you are a science, physiology researcher. Cutting edge work if not mainstream does not get published, you have to be part of a recognised institution to be published so no independent researcher,

There are set ideas and marketing there of eg antioxidants fallacies, need for estrogen, and until recently How stupid was Lamarck because he espoused the passing down of response to environment to subsequent generations...Darwin thought this too but idea was suppressed. Then epigenetics got the new hot thing for grants. Fck them all.

My child and I discussed a version with the principal when he was doing the bacceaulureate, as from 5 onwards teachers rejected correct answers and wanted their answers. The excellent advice was to view it all like a driving exam, learn the road rules and give them back.

students always know the tyranny of the teacher and evaluator. At 6 my kid was sat with the slow learners and forced to give 30answers a day ' correct' . Ie lies and untruths.

Infinity as answer to how many corners has a cylinder was not only mad bad but ridiculed.

Charlie_Martel , 2 hours ago link

Because its an indoctrination not an education.

Duc888 , 2 hours ago link

It's impossible to actually debate someone who has NO FACTS on either side of the argument....

it winds up like this....

"not even WRONG"

The phrase " not even wrong " describes an argument or explanation that purports to be scientific but is based on invalid reasoning or speculative premises that can neither be proven correct nor falsified .

Hence, it refers to statements that cannot be discussed in a rigorous, scientific sense . [1] For a meaningful discussion on whether a certain statement is true or false, the statement must satisfy the criterion called "falsifiability" -- the inherent possibility for the statement to be tested and found false. In this sense, the phrase "not even wrong" is synonymous to "nonfalsifiable". [1]

The phrase is generally attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli , who was known for his colorful objections to incorrect or careless thinking. [2] [3] Rudolf Peierls documents an instance in which "a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli's views. Pauli remarked sadly, 'It is not even wrong' ." [4] This is also often quoted as "That is not only not right; it is not even wrong", or in Pauli's native German , " Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig; es ist nicht einmal falsch!". Peierls remarks that quite a few apocryphal stories of this kind have been circulated and mentions that he listed only the ones personally vouched for by him. He also quotes another example when Pauli replied to Lev Landau , "What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not. " [4]

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

JimmyJones , 2 hours ago link

Chemical engineering, engineering structural (optional), basic electrical engineering and C++ programing and he can make any machine to automatically preform any chemical process out of his garage. You could probably watch a butt ton of YouTube and a library card and also learn those skills.

LetThemEatRand , 2 hours ago link

The homogenized culture of colleges today is very similar to what I imagine it was like in the 1950's, but with a different set of "values" obviously. The 1950's led to the 1960's, and a complete rejection by many young people of establishment mono-culture. Maybe the young people eventually will figure out that what they see as SJW counter-culture is actually new establishment culture, and they will rebel against it in a few years. Probably not, though.

TeethVillage88s , 2 hours ago link

Thanks. I'm older than others probably think. But I generalizae or estimate more than others my age due to the life I chose or led.

culture of colleges today is very similar to what I imagine it was like in the 1950's,

TeethVillage88s , 2 hours ago link

Thanks. I'm older than others probably think. But I generalizae or estimate more than others my age due to the life I chose or led.

culture of colleges today is very similar to what I imagine it was like in the 1950's,

dcmbuffy , 2 hours ago link

and going into debt for their prison term. bunch of punk bullies!!!

DuckDog , 2 hours ago link

When I was in the army and got sentence to 2 years less a day in Military prison in Edmonton, I paid $1.70 a day, which the military were so kind to ring up a tab for me, when I got released from prison they handed me my bill and made me work it off before I got my dishonorable discharge

Sort of like college today

[Oct 28, 2018] America The Farewell Tour Chris Hedges

The sad and shocking obituary for American Neoliberalism. Might not be slightly excaggerated account. Qnd neoliberalism will probably stay with the USA for long time, at least a the next decade or two until real end of "cheap oil",
Oct 28, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chris Hedges's profound and provocative examination of America in crisis is "an exceedingly provocative book, certain to arouse controversy, but offering a point of view that needs to be heard" ( Booklist ), about how bitter hopelessness and malaise have resulted in a culture of sadism and hate.

America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair, and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis; the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress; the pornification of culture; the rise of magical thinking; the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.

Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In his "forceful and direct" ( Publishers Weekly ) America: The Farewell Tour , Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d'état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. "With a trademark blend of sharply observed detail, Hedges writes a requiem for the American dream" ( Kirkus Reviews ) and seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time.

September 5, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Washington is fiddling but it is the capitalist collective that is setting the fires

Throughout history, all great civilizations have ultimately decayed. And America will not be an exception, according to former journalist and war correspondent, Chris Hedges. And while Hedges doesn't offer a date, he maintains we are in the final throes of implosion -- and it won't be pretty.

The book is thoroughly researched and the author knows his history. And despite some of the reviews it is not so much a political treatise as it is an exploration of the American underbelly -- drugs, suicide, sadism, hate, gambling, etc. And it's pretty dark; although he supports the picture he paints with ample statistics and first person accounts.

There is politics, but the politics provides the context for the decay. And it's not as one-dimensional as other reviewers seemed to perceive. Yes, he is no fan of Trump or the Republican leadership. But he is no fan of the Democratic shift to identity politics, or antifa, either.

One reviewer thought he was undermining Christianity but I didn't get that. He does not support "prosperity gospel" theology, but I didn't see any attempt to undermine fundamental religious doctrine. He is, after all, a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

He puts the bulk of the blame for the current state of decay, in fact, where few other writers do -- squarely on the back of capitalist America and the super-companies who now dominate nearly every industry. The social and political division we are now witnessing, in other words, has been orchestrated by the capital class; the class of investors, banks, and hedge fund managers who don't create value so much as they transfer it to themselves from others with less power. And I think he's spot on right.

We have seen a complete merger of corporate and political America. Politicians on both sides of the aisle serve at the pleasure of the capitalist elite because they need their money to stay in power. Corporations enjoy all the rights of citizenship save voting, but who needs to actually cast a ballot when you can buy the election.

And what the corpocracy, as I call it, is doing with all that power is continuing to reshuffle the deck of economic opportunity to insure that wealth and income continue to polarize. It's a process they undertake in the name of tax cuts for the middle class (which aren't), deregulation (which hurts society as a whole), and the outright transfer of wealth and property (including millions of acres of taxpayer-owned land) from taxpayers to shareholders (the 1%).

I know because I was part of it. As a former CEO and member of four corporate boards I had a front row seat from the 1970s on. The simplest analogy is that the gamblers rose up and took control of the casinos and the government had their backs in a kind of quid pro quo, all having to do with money.

They made it stick because they turned corporate management into the ultimate capitalists. The people who used to manage companies and employees are now laser focused on managing the companies' stock price and enhancing their own wealth. Corporate executives, in a word, became capitalists, not businessmen and women, giving the foxes unfettered control of the hen house.

They got to that position through a combination of greed -- both corporate management's and that of shareholder activists -- but were enabled and empowered by Washington. Beginning in the 1970s the Justice Department antitrust division, the Labor Department, the EPA, and other institutions assigned the responsibility to avoid the concentration of power that Adam Smith warned us about, and to protect labor and the environment, were all gutted and stripped of pow