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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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[Feb 13, 2019] Death of the Public University Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy

Notable quotes:
"... This assault on academic freedom by neoliberalism justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates used utter perversion of those terms. In the Neoliberal context, they mean "total surveillance" and "rampant rent-seeking. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.amazon.com

skeptic, February 11, 2019

The eyes opening, very important for any student or educator book

This book is the collection of more than dozen of essays of various authors, but even the Introduction (Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends, and Alternatives) is worth the price of the book

Trends in neo-liberalization of university education are not new. But recently they took a more dangerous turn. And they are not easy to decipher, despite the fact that they are greatly affect the life of each student or educator. In this sense this is really an eyes-opening book.

In Europe previously higher education as assessable for free or almost free, but for talented student only. Admission criteria were strict and checked via written and oral entrance exams on key subjects. Now the tend is to view university as business that get customers, charge them exorbitant fees and those customers get diploma as hamburgers in McDonalds at the end for their money. Whether those degree are worth money charged, or not and were suitable for the particular student of not (many are "fake" degrees with little or no chances for getting employment) is not university business. On the contrary, marketing is used to attract as many students as possible and many of those student now remain in debt for large part of their adult life.

In other words, the neoliberalization of the university in the USA creates new, now dominant trend -- the conversion of the university into for-profit diploma mills, which are essentially a new type of rent-seeking (and they even attract speculative financial capital and open scamsters, like was in case of "Trump University" ). Even old universities with more than a century history more and more resemble diploma mills.

This assault on academic freedom by neoliberalism justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates used utter perversion of those terms. In the Neoliberal context, they mean "total surveillance" and "rampant rent-seeking. "

Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity. As this is about your future earning potential, it is logical that for a chance to increase it you need to take a loan.

Significantly, in the same period per capita, spending on prisons increased by 126 percent (Newfield 2008: 266). Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a 400 percent increase in charges in tuition, room, and board in U.S. universities and tuition costs have grown at about ten times the rate of family income (ibid.). What these instances highlight is not just the state's retreat from direct funding of higher education but also a calculated initiative to enable private companies to capture and profit from tax-funded student loans.

The other tendency is also alarming. Funds now are allocated to those institutions that performed best in what has become a fetishistic quest for ever-higher ratings. That creates the 'rankings arms-race.' It has very little or nothing to do with the quality of teaching of students in a particular university. On the contrary, the curriculums were "streamlined" and "ideologically charged courses" such as neoclassical economics are now required for graduation even in STEM specialties.

In the neoliberal university professors are now under the iron heel of management and various metrics were invented to measure the "quality of teaching." Most of them are very perverted, or can be perverted as when a measurement becomes a target teachers start to focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' rather than on their wider competencies, professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume).

Administration bloat and academic decline is another prominent feature of the neoliberal university. University presidents now view themselves as CEO and want similar salaries. The same is true for the growing staff of university administrators. The recruitment of administrators has far outpaced the growth in the number of faculty – or even students. Meanwhile, universities claim to be struggling with budget crises that force to reduce permanent academic posts, and widely use underpaid and overworked adjunct staff – the 'precariat' paid just a couple of thousand dollars per course and often existing on the edge of poverty, or in real poverty.

Money now is the key objective and the mission changed from cultural to "for profit" business including vast expenses on advancement of the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself. Ability to get grants is now an important criteria of getting the tenure.

[Feb 12, 2019] The Neoliberal University

Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has transformed education from a social good into a production process where the final product is a reserve army of workers for the information economy. What David Harvey calls the "state-finance nexus" pushes universities to play the part by withholding state funds until they expand their enrollment and increase the number of college graduates entering the workforce.[13] In 2012, the Obama Administration identified increasing the number of undergraduate STEM degrees by one million over the next decade as a 'Cross-Agency Priority Goal' on the recommendation of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). ..."
"... The present relationship between the university and the state flows from the dynamics of financialization. As financialization transforms the role of the United States in the global economy, it appropriates higher education to suit the needs of finance capital. Compared to the ever-expanding administrative apparatus responsible for managing contracts and investments, programs outside of STEM and business fields are considered superfluous. Humanities programs are often downsized and tenure tracks closed to push professors into permanent part-time employment arrangements.[15] Meanwhile, schools like Northeastern and MIT are surrounded by high-tech and business firms that rely on students and research facilities for cheap labor and productive capital. ..."
"... The position of financial and credit institutions as the financiers of America's productive infrastructure has far-reaching consequences for social institutions like universities with the potential to absorb surplus capital in the form of credit or produce the 21st-century 'information' workforce. Students, and faculty at universities like Northeastern will struggle against market pressures on universities to attract outside investors while downsizing education for as long as the U.S. economy is dominated by finance. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.nupoliticalreview.com

Last month at Northeastern University, the adjunct union reached a tentative agreement with the university administration to avert a planned walkout after more than a year of unsuccessful negotiations. Those familiar with the adjunct campaign know that adjunct professors are contingent workers who comprise more than half of the teaching staff at Northeastern and are paid a couple thousand dollars for each class that they teach.[1] From a budgetary standpoint, contingent workers are economical because they are easily replaced and therefore can be paid less. Still, at a school like Northeastern University with an operating budget of more than $2.2 billion, it is hard to argue that more than half of all professors need to earn poverty wages for the school to remain profitable.[2]

In today's neoliberal landscape -- a term which refers to the coordinated effort by capital and financial interests after the 1980s to privatize public institutions and deregulate markets -- Northeastern is not unusual in its treatment of adjunct professors. The neoliberal university model of high tuitions, bloated administrative departments, and upscale student facilities -- along with assaults on the job security and pay of professors -- is the new norm. It is the image of a thoroughly financialized economy that has transformed the relationship between universities and the state.

From the 19th century through the 1970s, the relationship between universities and the state remained constant. There was an informal arrangement of mutual independence: Academics operated autonomously with state funding on the understanding that they were willing to pursue research in which the state had an interest, such as medicine or space exploration.[3] Underlying this arrangement was the assumption that as a social good, education should drive public research and development.

The story of how universities became neoliberalized begins with the economic crisis of the 1970s and the subsequent free-market discourse that invoked capitalism's insatiable need for economic growth in order to equate the interests of working people with the interests of financiers.

In the three decades after World War II, the U.S. established economic hegemony over the global capitalist world. The Fordist compromise between strong manufacturers and a strong, suburbanizing working class yielded unprecedented wage growth.[4] However, the Fordist model could not last forever. As a general rule, whenever compound economic growth falls below three percent, people begin to get scared . In order to sustain three percent compound growth, there must be no barriers to the continuous expansion and reinvestment of capital.

The suburbanization of postwar America did sustain high demand for American-made automobiles and home products, but reinvestment in manufacturing eventually became difficult for capital because a widely-unionized and militant working class created a labor shortage (i.e. near-full employment) which drove up wages and hurt profitability.[5][6] To the extent that productivity could be improved by technological innovations, organized labor insisted on "productivity agreements" that ensured that machines would not be used to undermine wages or benefits. To make matters worse for U.S. manufacturers, monopolies like the Big Three auto companies were broken by foreign imports from a newly rebuilt Europe and Japan.[7]

In The Grundrisse , Karl Marx remarked that "every limit [to capital accumulation] appears as a barrier to be overcome."[8] For Marx, sustained capital accumulation requires an "industrial reserve army" to keep the cost of labor (i.e. wages) from impeding profitability. To restore profits, American capital had to discipline labor by drawing from the global working population. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 addressed U.S. labor scarcity by abolishing immigration quotas based on nationality so that cheap labor would flood the market and drive down wages.[9] However, it proved more effective for manufacturing capital to simply relocate to countries with cheaper labor, and throughout the 1970s and 1980s capital did just that -- first to South Korea and Thailand, and then to China as wages in those countries became too high.[10]

"Globalization" entailed removing barriers to international capital relocation such as tariffs and quotas in order to construct a global market where liquid money capital could flow internationally to wherever it yielded the most profits. Of course, wage suppression eventually lowers consumer demand. The neoliberal solution was for financial institutions to sustain middle-class purchasing power through credit. In The Enigma of Capital , David Harvey writes that "the demand problem was temporarily bridged with respect to housing by debt-financing the developers as well as the buyers. The financial institutions collectively controlled both the supply of, and demand for, housing!"[11]

The point of this history though, is that the financialization of the American economy, through which financial markets came to dominate other forms of industrial and agricultural capital, served as the backdrop for the transformation of higher education into what it is today. Neoliberal ideology reframed the social value of higher education as a tool for building the next workforce to serve the new "information economy" -- a term that emerged in the midst of globalization to describe the role of U.S. suburban professionals in the global economy. Simultaneously, finance capital repurposed universities as points of capital accumulation and investment.

The discourse around the information economy sought to rationalize the offshoring of manufacturing from the U.S. The idea was that due to globalization, America has reached a stage of development where its participation in the global economy is as a white-collar work force, specializing in technology and the spread of information.[12] In this telling, there is nothing to critique about the deindustrialization of the American economy because it was inevitable. It was then simple to realign the social goals of universities with the economic goals of Wall Street because the state repression of radical civil rights movements on the Left and the emergent free-market discourse of the Right formed a widespread perception of the state as inherently problematic . State research and development at universities was easily dismissed as inefficient, which cleared space for a neoliberal redefinition of higher education.

Neoliberalism has transformed education from a social good into a production process where the final product is a reserve army of workers for the information economy. What David Harvey calls the "state-finance nexus" pushes universities to play the part by withholding state funds until they expand their enrollment and increase the number of college graduates entering the workforce.[13] In 2012, the Obama Administration identified increasing the number of undergraduate STEM degrees by one million over the next decade as a 'Cross-Agency Priority Goal' on the recommendation of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

At the same time that neoliberalism transforms education into a production process for high-tech workers, it transforms the university itself into a site for surplus capital absorption through the construction of new labs, facilities, and houses to draw wealthy students and faculty capable of attracting federal grants. In December 2015, Northeastern filed a letter of intent with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to propose building a residence hall for approximately 800 students. The Boston Globe reported that the project is currently under review by American Campus Communities, the largest developer of private student housing in the U.S. To an economizing university administrator, private developers are very appealing because they assume the debt generated by construction projects. The circular process whereby a large university endowment comprised of financial assets is used to contract a debt-financed independent developer reveals how neoliberalism integrates universities into the circulatory system of capital as circuits of accumulation and investment.[14]

The present relationship between the university and the state flows from the dynamics of financialization. As financialization transforms the role of the United States in the global economy, it appropriates higher education to suit the needs of finance capital. Compared to the ever-expanding administrative apparatus responsible for managing contracts and investments, programs outside of STEM and business fields are considered superfluous. Humanities programs are often downsized and tenure tracks closed to push professors into permanent part-time employment arrangements.[15] Meanwhile, schools like Northeastern and MIT are surrounded by high-tech and business firms that rely on students and research facilities for cheap labor and productive capital.

The position of financial and credit institutions as the financiers of America's productive infrastructure has far-reaching consequences for social institutions like universities with the potential to absorb surplus capital in the form of credit or produce the 21st-century 'information' workforce. Students, and faculty at universities like Northeastern will struggle against market pressures on universities to attract outside investors while downsizing education for as long as the U.S. economy is dominated by finance.

[Feb 12, 2019] Bill and Melinda Gates 2019 annual letter dedicated to Paul Allen - Business Insider

Feb 12, 2019 | www.businessinsider.com

8. Textbooks are becoming obsolete

Bill said that the thing killing off the textbook is very same invention which helped make his fortune: Software.

"When I told you about this type of software in previous letters, it was mostly speculative. But now I can report that these tools have been adopted in thousands of U.S. classrooms from kindergarten through high school. Zearn, i-Ready, and LearnZillion are examples of digital curricula used by students and teachers throughout the US," he writes.

[Feb 12, 2019] The neoliberal university is making us sick Who's to blame by Jodie-Lee Trembath

Feb 12, 2019 | thefamiliarstrange.com

June 14, 2018

Trigger warning: This post contains the discussion of depression and other mental health issues, and suicide. If you or anyone you know needs help or support for a mental health concern, please don't suffer in silence. Many countries have confidential phone helplines (in Australia you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, for example); this organisation provides worldwide support, while this website compiles a number of helpline sites from around the world.

I am writing today from a place of anger; from a rage that sits, simmering on the surface of a deep well of sadness. I didn't know Dr. Malcolm Anderson, the senior accountancy lecturer from Cardiff University whose death, after falling from the roof of his university building, was last week ruled a suicide . I obviously have no way to know the complexity of his feelings or what sequence of events led up to his decision to end his own life. However, according to the results of an inquest, we can know what Dr. Anderson wanted his university to understand about his death – that it was, at least in part, because of the pressures of his academic work.

The media reports that Dr. Anderson had recently been appointed to Deputy Head of his department, significantly increasing his administrative load. Nonetheless, he was still teaching 418 students and needed to mark their work within a 20-day turnaround. To meet that deadline, he would have needed to work approximately 9 hours a day without food or toilet breaks, for 20 days straight, and not do ANY other kind of work during that time (such as the admin that comes with being a Deputy Head). Practically impossible, given he was also a human being, with a home life, and physical needs like food, in addition to work responsibilities.

His wife, Diane, has been quoted saying that Dr. Anderson worked very long hours and often took marking to family events. She has said that although he was a passionate educator who won teaching awards every year, he had been showing signs of stress and had spoken to his managers about his difficulty meeting deadlines. A colleague told the inquest that he was given the same response each time he asked for help, and staffing cuts had continued.

A Marked Problem

... ... ...

And look, I get it. To someone outside the academy, I'm sure the perception remains that academics sit in leather armchairs, gazing out the gilded windows of our ivory towers, thinking all day.

That has not been my experience, nor that of anyone I know.

My colleagues and peers have, however , experienced levels of anxiety and depression that are six times higher than experienced in the general population (Evans et al. 2018). They report higher levels of workaholism , the kind that has a negative and unwanted effect on relationships with loved ones (Torp et al. 2018). The picture is often even bleaker for women , people of colour , and other non-White, non-middle-class, non-males. So whether you think academics are 'delicate woeful souls' or not, it's difficult to deny that there is a real problem to be tackled here.

Obviously, marking load is only one issue amongst many faced in universities the world over. But it's not bad as an illustration, partly because it's quantifiable . It's somewhat ironic that the neoliberal metrics that we rail against, the audit culture that causes these kinds of examples to happen, could also help us describe to others why they are a problem for us. So quantifiability brings us to neoliberalism. How did neoliberalism become so pervasive that it's almost impossible to imagine how the world could look different?

Neoliberalism, then and now

These last two weeks I've been working out of the Stockholm Centre for Organisational Research in Sweden, which, by coincidence, is where Professor Cris Shore , anthropologist of policy and the guest on our next podcast episode is currently based. I was chatting to him the other day about the interview we recorded last December, which centres around many of the ideas I'm discussing in this blog post. I had to admit, I hadn't realised until we did that interview how angry many people still feel towards the Thatcher government for introducing neoliberal ideologies and practices into the public sector. Despite doing a Ph.D. about modern university life, it hadn't fully registered for me that events of the past , specifically the histories of politics and economics in 'the West', were such active players in the theatre of higher education's present .

To understand today's neoliberal universities, let's explore a little history in the UK and the US, two of the biggest influencers in the global higher education sector today. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher rose to power on a platform of reviving the stagnant British economy by introducing market-style competition into the public sector. This way, she claimed, she was ensuring, that "the state's power [was] reduced and the power of the people, enhanced" (Edwards, 2017) . For universities, this meant increased "accountability" and quality assurance measures that would drag universities out of their complacency .

Meanwhile, in the US, Ronald Reagan was also arriving at neoliberalism via a different path. Americans historically don't trust central government (Roberts, 2007) , so in 1981, Reagan introduced tax cuts (especially for the rich) for the first time in American history, therefore "protecting" the American people from the rapacious spending habits of the state (Prasad, 2012) . In American universities, this manifested over the next 30 years in reduced public spending on higher education, transferring the costs for tuition to student-consumers, and encouraging partnerships with industry and endorsements from philanthropists (often with agendas) to cover research costs (Shumway, 2017) .

Then in the 90s, there was a moral panic about the public sector caused by scandals such as " the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995 , the failures of the medical profession revealed by investigations into the serial murders by Dr Harold Shipman , and the numerous cases of child abuse that have plagued the Catholic Church " (Shore, 2008) . Frankly, it seems pretty understandable that people were looking for greater transparency, a bit of accountability, and a whole lot less of, "leave it to the professionals, they seem like alright blokes, don't they?" from their public sector.

However, an ideology that had originally looked so promising to the public began, over time, to create a new set of problems. As Cris Shore points out in his seminal 2008 article, ' Audit culture and Illiberal governance: Universities and the politics of accountability ':

The official rationale for [neoliberal ideologies and actions] appears benign and incontestable: to improve efficiency and transparency and to make these institutions more accountable to the taxpayer and public (and no reasonable person could seriously challenge such commonsensical and progressive objectives). The problem, however, is that audit confuses 'accountability' with 'accountancy' so that 'being answerable to the public' is recast in terms of measures of productivity, 'economic efficiency' and delivering 'value for money' (VFM).

The trouble with neoliberalism and its offshoot, New Public Management , is that much like the Newspeak of Orwell's 1984 , the words that were used to sell it – quality, accountability, transparency etc. – in practice, mean the opposite of what they appear to mean. For example, as Chris Lorenz (2012) points out in an article that convincingly compares New Public Management in universities to the outcomes of a Communist regime , there has been no evidence, statistical or otherwise, that increasing 'quality control measures' in universities has actually improved quality in universities by any objective criteria – and often just the opposite.

What has "improved" in universities because of neoliberal practices is efficiency, often through measures like restructures and reviews. Again, taking steps to save money and time sounds like a positive. However, the problem with 'efficiency' is that, unlike its counterpart 'effectiveness' (the ability to bring about a specific effect), 'efficiency' has no end point – it is a goal unto itself. As Lorenz phrases it, "efficient, therefore, is never efficient enough," (2012, p. 607).

Bringing this back, then, to issues of mental health and increasing workloads on campus. Liz Morrish of Academic Irregularities pointed out last week that when tragedies such as the death of Malcolm Anderson occur in universities, the most common response is for said university to announce a review. As anticipated, two days after the results of Dr. Anderson's inquest were first reported in the media, Cardiff University announced that they would be reviewing the 'support, information, advice and specialist counselling' available to all staff, but also urged any academic "who has any concerns regarding workload, to raise them with their line manager, in the first instance, so all available advice and support can be offered."

This platitude has been taken by many online as exactly that – a platitude. Several commenters on Twitter have pointed out that providing more mental health support doesn't actually reduce workload, while others have noted that there has been no discussion by Cardiff U of attempting to fix the underlying cause. I agree with them, and it's part of the reason I'm so angry. Malcolm Anderson could easily be any one of us.

Yet, I have to admit, I'd also hate to be part of the executive team at Cardiff University right now. Can you imagine the anguish of knowing that someone had taken their life, and held you directly responsible? You'd have to feel so helpless, so powerless in the shadow of neoliberal forces that permeate every last aspect of the global higher education sector. I don't know, I haven't been a Vice Chancellor, maybe you wouldn't have to feel that way. But it's easy to imagine how one could.

The path to neoliberal hell is paved with good intentions

So, what's the answer? I wish I knew. What I do know is that anthropological thinking has a lot to offer in the exploration of big immutable mobiles 2 like neoliberalism. As Sherry Ortner asks in her 2016 article " Dark anthropology and its others: Theory since the eighties ", who better to question the power structures inherent in 'dark' topics such as neoliberalisation or colonialism than anthropologists? Yet, she urges an approach that also acknowledges the possibility of goodness in the world, quoting from the opening to Michael Lambek's Ordinary Ethics as rationale:

Ethnographers commonly find that the people they encounter are trying to do what they consider right or good, are being evaluated according to criteria of what is right and good, or are in some debate about what constitutes the human good. Yet anthropological theory tends to overlook all this in favor of analyses that emphasize structure, power, and interest. (Lambeck, 2010, p. 1)

And this is where I have to deviate from the majority of the neoliberal university critiques I've read. In these pieces, it's all too common to read criticisms of academic managers, or administrators, or university 'service providers' as if they are The Reason that neoliberal ideologies get enacted in university contexts. But usually, they're just human beings too, also subject to KPIs and managerial demands and neoliberal ideologies.

Having worked at different times as an educator, a researcher, and a communications manager in various universities for more than 10 years, and now having conducted fieldwork at a university for my PhD, I have had the chance to observe and conduct research on at least nine different university campuses, in at least five countries. Based on those experiences, I am in complete agreement with Lambek: the majority 3 of non-academics that I have encountered, in every type of department, and at every level of universities from Level 1 administrative officers to Presidents and Vice Chancellors, "are trying to do what they consider right or good" (2010, p. 1).

They demonstrate, both through words and their actions, their beliefs that education is valuable, and that students are important as human beings, not just as cash cows. They are often working long hours themselves, trying to keep up with the demands that neoliberal university life is placing on them. I just can't get on board with the idea that they are, universally, the villains of the neoliberal horror story.

It seems much more likely, to me, that neoliberal ideologies continue to get enacted and reinforced by academic managers because these practices have become the norm. Throughout and because of the historical growth pattern neoliberalism has experienced, these ideologies have put down roots, and these roots have become so entangled with other aspects of university life as to be inseparable. For many working-aged people, neoliberalism is the water we were born swimming in. Even presented with its inadequacies, it's difficult to imagine an alternative.

What I can agree with the critics about, however, is that non-academics often don't understand or appreciate – or perhaps remember (if they had worked in that capacity in the past) – the demands of being an academic, just like academics don't tend to understand or appreciate the demands that non-academics within the university are facing.

In their recently published book Death of the Public University (2017), Susan Wright and Cris Shore refer to the idea of 'Faculty Land' – a place synonymous with 'La La Land', where non-academic employees of universities think academics live. This really resonates with what I saw on fieldwork at an international university in Vietnam, but not only from administrators – academics too.

As I've said in a previous post , all the actors in universities are trying to abrogate responsibility sideways or upwards until they can only blame 'the neoliberal agenda', and once they get there, all they can see is a towering, monolithic idea , and it becomes like trying to have a fist fight with a cloud. Most people don't ever get to that point though, because the world feels more controllable if we believe that there is another human to blame .

The thing is though, blaming others almost never works . It doesn't make things better, it just creates a greater divide between groups, encourages isolationism and othering, and decreases the likelihood that either side will ever want to work together to fix the problem.

Dr Anderson's tragic death, and the similarly tragic statistics that tell us that the collective mental health of our academics is in crisis, should be a wake up call to all of us who work or study in universities, in any capacity. Whether it will be remains to be seen.

Again: If you or anyone you know needs help or support for a mental health concern, please don't suffer in silence . Sometimes talking about things with an objective outsider can help.

Yes, I know, this is a structural problem and we shouldn't have to take care of it as individuals (see Grace Krause's moving poem about this here ). But in the meantime, while we work on that, please seek help if you need it .

[Feb 12, 2019] Death of the Public University Uncertain Futures for Higher Education in the Knowledge Economy (Higher Education

Notable quotes:
"... Series editors: ..."
"... CRIS SHORE AND SUSAN WRIGHT ..."
"... 1. State Disinvestment in Universities – or Risk-free Profits for Private Providers? ..."
"... 2. New Regimes for Promoting Competitiveness ..."
"... 3. Rise of Audit Culture: Performance and Output Measures ..."
"... When a measurement becomes a target, institutional environments are restructured so that they focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' to funders and governors rather than on their wider professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume). ..."
"... 4. Administrative Bloat, Academic Decline ..."
"... The Fall of the Faculty ..."
"... One of the weaknesses in these statistics is that they fail to distinguish between administrative staff who support the teaching and research and those who do not. ..."
"... From the perspective of many university managers and human resources (HR) departments, academics are increasingly portrayed as a reluctant, unruly and undisciplined workforce that needs to be incentivized or cajoled to meet management's targeted outputs and performance indicators. ..."
"... 5. Institutional Capture: the Power of the 'Administeriat' ..."
"... Whereas in the past the main cleavage in universities was between the arts and the sciences, or what C.P. Snow (1956) famously termed 'the two cultures', today the main division is between academics and managers. ..."
"... Professor of Critical Management Studies Rebecca Boden compares the way that university managers expand their increasingly onerous regulations to the way that 'cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and how the young cuckoos then evict the nest-builders' offspring' (cited in Havergal 2015). This cuckoo-in-the-nest metaphor might seem somewhat overblown, but it highlights the important fact that managers and administrators have usurped power in what were formerly more collegial, self-governing institutions ..."
"... Today, rather than being treated as core members of a professional community, academics are constantly being told by managers and senior administrators what 'the university' expects of them, as if they were somehow peripheral or subordinate to 'the university'. ..."
"... 6. New Income Streams and the Rise of the 'Entrepreneurial University' ..."
"... Equally important has been the raising of student tuition fees and the relentless drive to recruit more high-fee-paying international students ..."
"... The relentless pursuit of these new income streams has had a transformative effect on universities. Almost two decades ago Marginson and Considine (2000) coined the term the 'enterprise university' to describe the model in which: the economic and academic dimensions are both subordinated to something else. Money is a key objective, but it is also the means to a more fundamental mission: to advance the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself (ibid. 2000: 5). ..."
"... Times Higher Education ..."
"... 7. Higher Education as Private Investment Versus Public Good ..."
"... most students and their families can only afford to pay for the costs of their higher education through the kinds of debt-financing that governments across the world now condemn as reckless and inappropriate for themselves. ..."
"... Yet students and parents are encouraged to take out what is effectively a 'subprime loan', in the gamble that it will eventually pay off by enhancing their future job prospects and earning power: it is a 'hedge against their future security' (Vernon 2008). In other words, higher education is now being modelled on the same types of financial speculation that produced the 2010 global financial crisis. ..."
"... The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge ..."
"... The University in Ruins ..."
"... But on the other hand, universities and their staff have been subjected to an almost continuous process of reforms and restructurings designed both to recast higher education institutions as transnational business corporations and to open up the sector to more private-sector involvement. ..."
"... One of the greatest threats to the university today lies in the 'unbundling' of its various research, teaching and degree-awarding functions into separate, profit-making activities that can then be outsourced and privatized. ..."
"... Universities no longer hold a monopoly over knowledge production and distribution and face growing competition from the emergence of new universities and from 'entirely new models of university' that Pearson itself has been spearheading to exploit the new environment of globalization and the digital revolution (ibid. 2013: 9–21). ..."
"... London Metropolitan's near-bankruptcy opened the possibility of a second method of privatization; a 'fire sale' of a university and its prized degree-awarding powers, to one of the many U.S. for profit education providers that had been seeking entry into the market ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Higher Education in Critical Perspective: Practices and Policies

Series editors: Susan Wright, Aarhus University; Penny Welch, Wolverhampton University

INTRODUCTION Privatizing the Public University: Key Trends, Countertrends and Alternatives

CRIS SHORE AND SUSAN WRIGHT

Since the 1980s, public universities have undergone a seemingly unending series of reforms designed to make them more responsive both to markets and to government priorities. Initially, the aim behind these reforms was to render universities more economic, efficient and effective. However, by the 1990s, prompted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD 1998) and other international agencies, many national governments adopted the idea that the future lay in a 'global knowledge economy'. To these ends, they implemented policies to repurpose higher education as the engine for producing the knowledge, skills and graduates to generate the intellectual property and innovative products that would make their countries more globally competitive.

These reforms were premised on neoliberal ideas about turning universities into autonomous and entrepreneurial 'knowledge organizations' by promoting competition, opening them up to private investors, making educational services contribute to economic competitiveness, and enabling individuals to maximize their skills in global labour markets.

These policy narratives position universities as static entities within an all-encompassing market economy, but alternatively, the university can be seen as a dynamic and fluid set of relations within a wider 'ecology' of diverse interests and organizations (Hansen this volume; Wright 2016). The boundaries of the university are constantly being renegotiated as its core values and distinctive purpose rub up against those predatory market forces, or what Slaughter and Leslie (1997) term 'academic capitalism'. Under pressure to produce 'excellence', quality research and innovative teaching, improve world rankings, forge business links and attract elite, fee-paying students, many universities struggle to maintain their traditional mandate to be 'inclusive', foster social cohesion, improve social mobility and challenge received wisdom – let alone improve the poor records on gender, diversity and equality.

This book examines how public universities engage with these dilemmas and the implications for the future of the public university as an ideal and set of institutional practices. The book has arisen from a four-year programme of knowledge exchange between three research groups in Europe and the Asia Pacific, which focused on the future of public universities in contexts of globalization and regionalization. 1 The groups were based in the U.K. and Denmark, chosen as European countries whose public universities have quite different histories and current reform policies, and New Zealand, as a country at the forefront of developing 'entrepreneurial' public universities, and with networks to other university researchers in Australia and Asia. Through a series of six workshops, four conferences and over thirty individual exchange visits, the project developed an extended discussion between the three groups of researchers. This enabled us to generate a new approach and methodology for analysing the challenges facing public universities. As a result, this book asks:

Mapping the Major Trends

Nowhere are the above trends more evident than in the English-speaking universities, particularly in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. These countries have been a laboratory for testing out a new model of the neoliberal entrepreneurial university. At least seven key features characterize these reforms.

1. State Disinvestment in Universities – or Risk-free Profits for Private Providers?

The first feature is a progressive withdrawal of government support for higher education. In the U.K., for example, the Dearing Report (1997) showed that during the previous twenty years, a period of massive university expansion, state funding per student had declined by 40 percent. While Tony Blair's New Labour government of 1997 proclaimed 'education, education, education' as its key priority, it did so by introducing cost-sharing, in the form of student tuition fees, as a way to reduce the annual deficit in the funding of university teaching.

In 2010, the British Conservative–Liberal government under David Cameron went even further by removing all state funding for teaching except in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Instead, students were now to pay fees of £9,000 per annum (a three-fold increase) for which state-funded loans were made available. From the government's perspective, the genius of this shifting of state funding from teaching to loans was that private for-profit education providers could now access taxpayers' money – and this transfer of funds was further justified ideologically as providing competition and creating a 'level playing field' between public and private education providers.

Other countries have also decided to withdraw state funding for higher education. For example, in September 2015, Japan's education minister Hakobyan Shimomura wrote to all of the country's eighty-six national universities calling on them to 'take active steps to abolish [social science and humanities] organizations or to convert them to serve areas that better meet society's needs' (Grove 2015b).

These measures echo the wider global trend set by advocates of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School's brand of neoliberal economics. In the 1980s, the 'Chicago boys' carried out their most radical experiments in Chile, removing the state's direct grants to universities, funding teaching only through students' tuition fees, and making government loans available to students so that they could pay those fees (Bekhradnia 2015).

In the United States, the same policies have been adopted. For example, in California between 1984 and 2004, state spending per capita on higher education declined by 12 percent.

Significantly, in the same period per capita spending on prisons increased by 126 percent (Newfield 2008: 266). Between the 1970s and 1990s there was a 400 percent increase in charges in tuition, room and board in U.S. universities and tuition costs have grown at about ten times the rate of family income (ibid.). What these instances highlight is not just the state's retreat from direct

funding of higher education but also a calculated initiative to enable private companies to capture and profit from tax-funded student loans.

2. New Regimes for Promoting Competitiveness

A second major trend that has reshaped higher education has been the creation of funding and assessment regimes designed to increase productivity and competition between universities, both nationally and globally. What began in the 1980s as an exercise to assure the 'quality' of research in British universities had morphed, by the end of the 1990s, into ever-more invasive systems for ranking institutions, disciplines, departments, and even individuals.

The results were used to allocate funds to those institutions that performed best in what has become a fetishistic quest for ever-higher ratings and 'world class' status, or what Hazelkorn (2008: 209) has termed the 'rankings arms-race'.

Where some rankings are focused on research performance (such as the U.K.'s Research Excellence Framework, the Excellence in Research for Australia, and New Zealand's Performance Based Research Framework), others rank whole institutions (the Shanghai Jiao Tong Index, the QS and THE World University Rankings). Significantly, these ranking systems have especially negative impacts on minority groups and women (see Blackmore, Curtis, Grant and Lucas, this volume). This obsession with auditing and measuring performance also includes systems for evaluating teaching quality, surveying student satisfaction and measuring student engagement. 2

Even though vice chancellors and university managers ridicule ranking methodologies, they have learned to their cost to take them extremely seriously, as the financial viability of a university increasingly hinges on the reputational effects of these measures of performance (Sauder and Espeland 2009; Wright 2012).

3. Rise of Audit Culture: Performance and Output Measures

Third, running alongside the growth of these ranking systems has been the proliferation of performance and output measurements and indicators designed to foster transparency, efficiency and 'value for money'. This is part of a wider phenomenon called 'audit culture' and its growing presence throughout the public and private sectors, including higher education (Shore and Wright 2015; Strathern 2000). Driven by financial imperatives and the rhetoric of 'value for money' – and justified by a political discourse about the virtues of transparency and accountability – these technologies have been particularly instrumental

in promoting the logics of risk management, financialization and managerialism (see Dale, and Lewis and Shore, this volume). In Denmark, time has become a key metric and instrument for the efficient throughput of students and the accountability of institutions, but as Nielsen and Sarauw (this volume) show, these measures affect the very nature of education. Audits do not simply or passively measure performance; they actively reshape the institutions into which they are introduced (Power 1997; Shore and Wright 2015). When a measurement becomes a target, institutional environments are restructured so that they focus their resources and activities primarily on what 'counts' to funders and governors rather than on their wider professional ethics and societal goals (see Kohn and Shore, this volume).

4. Administrative Bloat, Academic Decline

The fourth key development during this period has been the extraordinary growth in the number and status of university managers and administrators. For the first time in history, as figures from the U.K.'s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show, support staff now outnumber academic staff at 71 percent of higher education institutions (Jump 2015). In Denmark, there has been an equally large increase in the number of administrators and the increased percentage of annual expenditure on administrators in just five years alone was equivalent to 746 new lectureships (Wright and Boden 2010). The figures from the U.S. are even more dramatic. Federal figures for the period 1987 to 2011/2012 show that the number of college and university administrators and professional employees has more than doubled in the last twenty-five years; an increase of 517,636 people – or an average of eight-seven new administrators every working day (Marcus 2014). The recruitment of administrators has far outpaced the growth in the number of faculty – or even students. Meanwhile, universities claim to be struggling with budget crises that force them to reduce permanent academic posts, and the temporarily employed teaching assistants – the 'precariat' – have undergone a massive increase in numbers.

This astonishing increase in management and administration is partly due to the pressures universities now face to produce data and statistics for harvesting by the ranking industries. Universities themselves often attribute the growth of their administrative and technical units to the enormous rise in government regulations. As the President of the American Association of University Administrators recently explained, 'there are "thousands" of regulations governing the distribution of

financial aid alone' and every university that is accredited probably has at least one person dedicated to that. However, the proliferation of administrators and managers has also been fuelled by the universities themselves, as they have taken on new functions and pursued new income streams. This is particularly evident in the U.S.:

Since 1987, universities have also started or expanded departments devoted to marketing, diversity, disability, sustainability, security, environmental health, recruiting, technology and fundraising, and added new majors and graduate and athletics programs, satellite campuses, and conference centers (Marcus 2014).

These trends are captured with exceptional clarity in Benjamin Ginsberg's book, The Fall of the Faculty (2011a). Ginsberg's thesis is that the new professional managers 'make administration their life's work', to the detriment of the universities' core functions. They have little or no faculty experience and promoting teaching and research is less important than expanding their own administrative domains: 'under their supervision, the means have become the end' (ibid.: 2). Every year, writes Ginsberg: hosts of administrators and staffers are added to college and university payrolls, even as schools claim to be battling budget crises that are forcing them to reduce the size of their full-time faculties. As a result, universities are filled with armies of functionaries -- vice presidents, associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, provosts, associate provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, deanlets, deanlings, each commanding staffers and assistants -- who, more and more, direct the operations of every school. Backed by their administrative legions, university presidents and other senior administrators have been able, at most schools, to dispense with faculty involvement in campus management and, thereby to reduce the faculty's influence in university affairs (Ginsberg 2011a: 2).

One of the weaknesses in these statistics is that they fail to distinguish between administrative staff who support the teaching and research and those who do not. Support staff are crucial to enabling academics to carry out effective research, teaching and scholarship – the traditional mission of the university. Likewise, universities need managers who support academics in fulfilling these key functions of the university, but the statistics are rarely sufficiently refined to make these distinctions. Interestingly, many universities have dropped the term 'support staff' in favour of terms like 'senior administrators' and

'professional staff'. This move reflects the way that many university managers now see their role – which is no longer to provide support for academics but, rather, to manage them as 'human capital' and a resource. From the perspective of many university managers and human resources (HR) departments, academics are increasingly portrayed as a reluctant, unruly and undisciplined workforce that needs to be incentivized or cajoled to meet management's targeted outputs and performance indicators.

5. Institutional Capture: the Power of the 'Administeriat'

The budgetary reallocation from academic to administrative salaries is linked to a fifth major trend: the rise of the 'administeriat' as a new governing class and the corresponding shift in power relations within the university. Whereas in the past the main cleavage in universities was between the arts and the sciences, or what C.P. Snow (1956) famously termed 'the two cultures', today the main division is between academics and managers.

Collini (2013) attributes this shift in power to the way all university activities are now reduced to a common managerial metric. As he puts it, the 'terms that suit [managers'] activities are the terms that have triumphed'. Scholars now spend increasing amounts of their working day accounting for their activities in the 'misleading' and 'alienating' language and categories of managers. This 'squeezing out' of the true use-value of scholarly labour accounts for the 'pervasive sense of malaise, stress and disenchantment within British universities' (Collini 2013).

Professor of Critical Management Studies Rebecca Boden compares the way that university managers expand their increasingly onerous regulations to the way that 'cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, and how the young cuckoos then evict the nest-builders' offspring' (cited in Havergal 2015). This cuckoo-in-the-nest metaphor might seem somewhat overblown, but it highlights the important fact that managers and administrators have usurped power in what were formerly more collegial, self-governing institutions . Yet many of these managers would not succeed as professionals in industry. Levin and Greenwood (2016) argue that, if universities were indeed business corporations, they would soon collapse, as their work organization currently violates nearly every one of the practices that characterize successful and dynamic high-tech areas and service industries. It is a short step from here to managers' appropriation of the identity of the university, with managers increasingly claiming not only to speak for the

university but to be the university (Ørberg 2007; Readings 1996; Shore and Taitz 2010). Today, rather than being treated as core members of a professional community, academics are constantly being told by managers and senior administrators what 'the university' expects of them, as if they were somehow peripheral or subordinate to 'the university'.

6. New Income Streams and the Rise of the 'Entrepreneurial University'

Faced with diminishing state funding and year-on-year cuts to national budgets for higher education, universities have been compelled to seek alternative income streams. This has entailed fostering more lucrative and entrepreneurial partnerships with industry; conducting commissioned research for businesses and government; partnering up with venture capitalists; commercializing the university's intellectual property through patents and licences; developing campus spin-out (and spin-in) companies; engaging proactively in city development programmes; and maximizing university assets including real estate, halls of residence, conference facilities and industrial parks. Equally important has been the raising of student tuition fees and the relentless drive to recruit more high-fee-paying international students . This project has given rise to the moniker 'export education', a sector of the economy and foreign-currency earner of growing importance to many countries. For example, in Canada, expenditures of international education students (tuition, accommodation, living costs and so on) infused $6.5 billion into the Canadian economy, surpassing exports of coniferous lumber (CAN$5.1 billion) and coal (CAN$6.1 billion) and gave employment to 83,00 Canadians (Roslyn Kunin and Associates, Inc 2009). Similarly, 'educational services' has become one of Australia's leading export industries such that, by 2008, it had become Australia's third-largest generator of export earnings with over AU$12.6 billion (Olds 2008). Along with Australia and Canada, the U.S.A., U.K. and New Zealand dominate the trade in international students (OECD 2011; chart 3.3) and the global demand for international student places is estimated to rise to 5.8 million by 2020 (Bohm et al. 2004).

The relentless pursuit of these new income streams has had a transformative effect on universities. Almost two decades ago Marginson and Considine (2000) coined the term the 'enterprise university' to describe the model in which: the economic and academic dimensions are both subordinated to something else. Money is a key objective, but it is also the means to a more fundamental mission: to advance the prestige and competitiveness of the university as an end in itself (ibid. 2000: 5).

However, it would be misleading to suggest that all these changes are simply a consequence of the pressures that governments have placed on universities to refashion themselves as pseudo-business corporations. Some of the more entrepreneurially hawkish university rectors, vice chancellors and presidents have enthusiastically welcomed these changes. Many have benefitted from the enormous executive salaries that have become the norm for university 'CEOs', and they undoubtedly enjoy their vaulted status and the opportunities this provides to mingle with world leaders at prestigious summits and receptions, airport VIP lounges and gala fundraising events. For example, the Times Higher Education annual review of vice chancellors' pay shows that average salary and benefits for university vice chancellors in the U.K. rose by between £8,397 and £240,794 in 2013–2014. This constituted a 3.6 percent rise, whereas in the same period, other university staff received an increase of only 1 per cent (Grove 2015a).

A study by economists Bachan and Reilly (2015), from Brighton Business School, found that in the past two decades, vice chancellors have seen their salaries soar by an eye-watering 59 percent (Henry 2015), but concluded that these increases could not be justified in terms of their university's performance criteria, such as widening participation or bringing in income such as grants for teaching and research and capital funding. Rather, the study found that the presence of other high-paid administrative staff was pushing up vice chancellors' pay. Both the U.K.'s House of Commons' Public Accounts Committee and the former Minister for Business and Employment, Vince Cable, have condemned this 'substantial upward drift' of salaries among vice chancellors. However, this annual ritual of chastisement has little perceivable impact.

7. Higher Education as Private Investment Versus Public Good

The seventh major trend is recasting university education as a private and positional investment rather than a public good. The idea that gained prominence in the post-war era was that higher education was a public investment that benefits the economy and society as well as contributing to personal growth and social mobility (Morgan this volume). In the 1990s, this idea – and the Keynesian model that sustained it – was displaced by the Chicago School's economic doctrine and the notion that individuals, not the state, should take responsibility

for repeatedly investing in their education and skills in order to sustain and improve their position in a fast-changing competitive and global labour market. This is what the OECD termed 'new human capital theory' (Henry et al. 2001), an idea that came to dominate government thinking about growth and investment. However, several recent studies challenge the premises upon which this model is based (Ashton, Lauder and Brown 2011; Wright and Ørberg this volume).

Arising from this new way of conceptualizing higher education as a private individual good and the reduction of government funding for the sector, has been the replacement of student grants with loans. This has been coupled with a massive hike in student fees – or what is euphemistically called 'cost-sharing' by ministers and World Bank experts. There are several bizarre paradoxes in this way of financing higher education. First, as McGettigan (2013) shows, government funding of student loans to pay fees is likely to cost the taxpayer more than the previous system of funding universities directly for their teaching. Second, as Vernon (2010) points out, most students and their families can only afford to pay for the costs of their higher education through the kinds of debt-financing that governments across the world now condemn as reckless and inappropriate for themselves. Third, whereas the scale of national debt in many countries has become so severe that it has required emergency austerity measures to combat, the level of household debt is even more perilously high, peaking to 110 percent of GDP in 2009 in the U.K. (Jones 2013).

This was before the government transferred even more of the costs of higher education to families and tripled university fees. These policies are justified on the grounds that degree-holders gain a lifetime premium in earning: hence the catchphrase 'learn to earn'. In New Zealand, however, which has the seventh-highest university fees among developed countries, the OECD survey found that the value of a university degree in terms of earning power is the lowest in the world. The net value of a New Zealand tertiary education for a man is just $63,000 over his working life (compared with $395,000 in the U.S.). For a woman, it is even lower: $38,000 over her working life (Edmunds 2012). As Brown and Hesketh (2004) also show for the U.S., graduates' imagined future incomes are largely illusory. Yet students and parents are encouraged to take out what is effectively a 'subprime loan', in the gamble that it will eventually pay off by enhancing their future job prospects and earning power: it is a 'hedge against their future security' (Vernon 2008). In other words, higher education is now being modelled on the same types of financial speculation that produced the 2010 global financial crisis.

The Death of the Public University?

Do the seven trends outlined above spell the end of the public university? From the earliest beginnings of these developments, there has been an extensive literature foretelling the demise of the university. According to historians Sheldon Rothblatt and Bjorn Wittrock (1993: 1), the university is the second-longest unbroken institution in Western civilization, after the Catholic Church. Today, however, the university – or what John Henry Newman termed the 'idea of a university' – does indeed look broken. Or is this an unduly pessimistic conclusion? Jean-Francoise Lyotard set the agenda with his provocative book The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge . Noting the collapse of the university's traditional authority in producing legitimate knowledge, he wrote:

The question (overt or implied) now asked by the professionalist student, the State, or institutions of higher education is no long 'Is it true?' but 'What use is it?' In the context of the mercantilization of knowledge, more often than not this question is equivalent to: 'Is it saleable?' And in the context of power-growth: 'Is it efficient?' (Lyotard 1994: 51).

Following this line of reasoning, Bill Readings' book The University in Ruins (1996), noted both the decline of the university as the cultural arm of nation building and the administrators' eclipse of the scholar-teacher as the central figure in the university story. As he gloomily argued, the grand narrative of the university 'centred on the production of a liberal reasoning subject is no longer readily available to us (1996: 9). If, for Readings, the university was in a state of 'ruin', for David Mills, writing in 2003, it is locked in a state of permanent 'scaffolding'; an ongoing and ambiguous project of both maintenance and repair, construction and demolition. Thus 'crumbling bastions of social and intellectual elitism' are combined 'with shiny new campuses espousing lifelong access to 24/7 education for all' (Mills 2003). These contradictory trends have both positive and negative dimensions for universities and the project of higher education. On the one hand, access to universities has been massively increased and technological innovations, including Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs), have allowed more distance learning. But on the other hand, universities and their staff have been subjected to an almost continuous process of reforms and restructurings designed both to recast higher education institutions as transnational business corporations and to open up the sector to more private-sector involvement.

The complaint often voiced by academics is that universities – like hospitals, libraries and other local community services – are undergoing a process of 'death by a thousand cuts'. But chronic underfunding of public institutions also reflects a wider and arguably more purposeful political agenda that aims to fundamentally transform the public sector. One of the greatest threats to the university today lies in the 'unbundling' of its various research, teaching and degree-awarding functions into separate, profit-making activities that can then be outsourced and privatized.

This agenda is articulated clearly in the recent report entitled 'An Avalanche is Coming: Higher Education and the Revolution Ahead' (Barber et al. 2013), published by the London-based think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research. Its principal authors are Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor for Pearson PLC (a British-owned multinational education provider and publisher) and two of Pearson's executive directors. The report's central argument, captured in its 'avalanche' metaphor, is that the current system of higher education is untenable and will be swept away unless bold and radical steps are taken:

The next 50 years could see a golden age for higher education, but only if all the players in the system, from students to governments, seize the initiative and act ambitiously. If not, an avalanche of change will sweep the system away. Deep, radical and urgent transformation is required in higher education. The biggest risk is that as a result of complacency, caution or anxiety the pace of change is too slow and the nature of change is too incremental. The models of higher education that marched triumphantly across the globe in the second half of the 20th century are broken (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi 2013: 5).

A series of forces that lie 'under the surface' threatens to transform the landscape of higher education. These include: a changing world economy in which the centre of gravity is shifting towards the Asia-Pacific region; a global economy still struggling to recover from the trauma of the global financial crash of 2007–2008; and the escalating costs of higher education, which are vastly outstripping inflation and household income. These are coupled with the declining value of a degree and a technological shift that makes information ubiquitous. Universities no longer hold a monopoly over knowledge production and distribution and face growing competition from the emergence of new universities and from 'entirely new models of university' that Pearson itself has been spearheading to exploit the new environment of globalization and the digital revolution (ibid. 2013: 9–21).

The Barber report is part of a growing literature which seeks to 'remake the university' as an altogether different kind of institution (see Bokor 2012). Epochal and prophetic in tone and often claiming to be diagnostic and neutral, this literature proposes solutions that are anything but impartial or disinterested. Pearson, for example, makes no secret of its ambition to acquire a larger share of the higher education market and the rents that can be captured from its various activities. In 2015, Pearson sold off its major publishing interests to restructure the company around for-profit educational provision both in England and worldwide. Pearson also has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Writing in the preface to the Barber reports, former president of Harvard University Lawrence Summers underscores its central ambition when he writes that in this new 'phase of competitive intensity', all of the university's core functions can be 'unbundled and increasingly supplied, perhaps better, by providers that are not universities at all' (Barber 2013: 1). As John Morgan (this volume) shows, higher education has long been – and continues to be – a site of ideological struggle between competing interests and their vision of society.

Towards the Privatization of English Universities

In England, these processes have been taken to an extreme. Events since the Conservative–Liberal coalition took office in 2010 suggest a tipping point may have been reached in the transformation of the public university. Research by the legal firm Eversheds (2009) revealed that no legislation was needed for public universities to be transferred to the private for-profit sector, either by a management buyout or by outside interests buying-in (Wright 2015). London Metropolitan University was an early contender. It advertised a tender worth £74 million over five years for a partner who would create a for-profit 'special services vehicle' to deliver all the university's functions and services – everything except academic teaching and the Vice Chancellor's powers. Such 'special services vehicles' are a way for private investors to buy into the university's activities. This plan was only stymied because civil servants found major administrative failings, and the resulting fines and repayments pushed the university close to bankruptcy. But this 'special services vehicle' model has been implemented by other universities, including Falmouth and Exeter, where a private company runs not only catering, estate maintenance and services on the two campuses, but also its entire academic support services (libraries, IT, academic skills and disability support services) (University and College Union 2013).

London Metropolitan's near-bankruptcy opened the possibility of a second method of privatization; a 'fire sale' of a university and its prized degree-awarding powers, to one of the many U.S. for profit education providers that had been seeking entry into the market (Wright 2015). Privatization was only avoided thanks to the successful actions of its new Vice Chancellor. However, one university with a charter and degree-awarding powers has been transferred to the for-profit sector. In 2006, the Department of Business, Innovation and Science rushed through approval to give the College of Law in London degree-awarding powers and university status. This was just in time for its sale to finance company Montagu Private Equity. To maintain that university's charitable (tax-favourable) status and provide bursaries for students, the institution divided itself into a for-profit company with all the education and training activities, and an educational foundation. Montagu Private Equity made a leveraged buyout of the university: £177 million of the £200 million purchase price was borrowed and then put on the university's balance sheet, making it responsible for paying the debt and interest from its cash flow. A few years later, Montagu announced it was selling the university's buildings, in what was a clear case of asset stripping. The legal firm Eversheds recommended that other public universities follow this model and either sell stakes in their institution or be sold outright to financiers. As the University of Law example shows, such investors' prime interest is the short-term extraction of profit and liquidization of assets, rather the long-term future of higher education. Indeed, in June 2015, Montagu sold the University of Law to Aaron Etingen, founder and chief executive officer of Global University Systems (GUS), which owns a network of for-profit colleges worldwide (Morgan 2015).

[Feb 11, 2019] The current diploma mills> are the result of the consecutive waves of university reforms since the 1990s to ground knowledge production on market principles. If university employees behave like ruthless rent-seekers, it is because they are forced to do so by the incentive structures that have been imposed on them by Johan Söderberg

Highly recommended!
IMHO there is no economics, only "political economy" and mathiness and "cult of measurement" especially with all those some fuzzy metrics currently in use, are just a part of the ideological smokescreen over "naked neoliberalism." Like shaman dances around the fire. Impressive and useless simultaneously.
In other words, many current practitioners of neoliberal economic theories (including but not limited to neoclassical economics) are practicing pseudoscience and are, directly or indirectly, bought and paid by financial oligarchy. That does not exclude possibility of some, occasional, useful insight.
Notable quotes:
"... The counterargument that I will elaborate here, is that neoliberalism and social democracy should be treated as two distinct and internally consistent thought and value systems. The integrity of the two ideologies must neither be reduced to practices/policies, which occasionally may overlap, nor to individual representatives, who, over the course of a lifetime, can move from one pole to the other. ..."
"... Robbins Report ..."
"... Underpinning this analysis is a bleak diagnosis of what purpose the university system and its employees serve. It is a diagnosis that Fuller, by his own admission, has gleaned from the Virginia-style neoliberal Gordon Tullock. ..."
"... The task assigned to the university, i.e. to certify bodies of trustworthy knowledge, is not called for by any intrinsic property of that knowledge (it being true, safe etc.), but is rather a form of rent-seeking. The rent is extracted from the university's state-induced monopoly over the access rights to future employment opportunities. Rent-seeking is the raison-d'être of the university's claim to be the royal road to knowledge. ..."
"... Granted, the cynical reading of the university system as a rent-seeking diploma-mill has a ring of truth to it when we, for instance, think of how students are asked to pay higher and higher tuition fees, while the curriculum is successively being hollowed-out. ..."
"... this is the result of the consecutive waves of university reforms since the 1990s to ground knowledge production on market principles. If university employees behave like self-interested rent-seekers, it is because they are forced to do so by the incentive structures that have been imposed on them. ..."
"... Thirty years of neoliberal politics have created the conditions under which categories such as "human capital" and "rent-seeking" start to make good sense... ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | lse.ac.uk

From: A response to Steve Fuller The differences between social democracy and neoliberalism by Johan Söderberg

... ... ...

The counterargument that I will elaborate here, is that neoliberalism and social democracy should be treated as two distinct and internally consistent thought and value systems. The integrity of the two ideologies must neither be reduced to practices/policies, which occasionally may overlap, nor to individual representatives, who, over the course of a lifetime, can move from one pole to the other.

Neoliberalism and the university system

Fuller's argument pivots on the mixed legacy of Lionel Robbins. On the one hand, Robbins' credentials as a neoliberal are firmly established by his decision to recruit Friedrich Hayek to the LSE. On the other hand, Robbins authored the government report whereby many regional universities in the UK were founded, in keeping with a classic social democratic agenda of enrolling more students from the working class. This encourages Fuller to draw an arc from the 1963 Robbins Report to university reforms of a more recent date (and with a more distinct, neoliberal flavour).

The common denominator of all the reforms, Fuller says, is the ambition to enhance human capital. Alas, the enhancement of human capital is blocked on all sides by incumbent traditions and rent-seeking monopolies. From this problem description – which Fuller attributes to the neoliberals, but which is also his own – follows the solution: to increase the competition between knowledge providers. Just as the monopoly that Oxbridge held over higher education was offset by the creation of regional universities in the 1960s, so is the current university system's monopoly over knowledge acquisition sidelined by reforms to multiply and diversify the paths to learning.

Underpinning this analysis is a bleak diagnosis of what purpose the university system and its employees serve. It is a diagnosis that Fuller, by his own admission, has gleaned from the Virginia-style neoliberal Gordon Tullock.

The task assigned to the university, i.e. to certify bodies of trustworthy knowledge, is not called for by any intrinsic property of that knowledge (it being true, safe etc.), but is rather a form of rent-seeking. The rent is extracted from the university's state-induced monopoly over the access rights to future employment opportunities. Rent-seeking is the raison-d'être of the university's claim to be the royal road to knowledge.

In this acid bath of cynicism, the notions of truth and falsehood are dissolved into the basic element that Tullock's world is made up of – self-interest. This reasoning lines up with a 19 th century, free market epistemology, according to which the evolutionary process will sift out the propositions that swim from those that sink. With a theory of knowledge like that, university-certified experts have no rationale for being. Their knowledge claims are just so many excuses for lifting a salary on the taxpayers' expense. It bears to stress that this argument can easily be given a leftist spin, by emphasising the pluralism of this epistemology. This resonates with statements that Steve Fuller has made elsewhere , concerning the claimants of alternative facts.

Granted, the cynical reading of the university system as a rent-seeking diploma-mill has a ring of truth to it when we, for instance, think of how students are asked to pay higher and higher tuition fees, while the curriculum is successively being hollowed-out. However, as was pointed out to Fuller by many in the audience in Lancaster, this is the result of the consecutive waves of university reforms since the 1990s to ground knowledge production on market principles. If university employees behave like self-interested rent-seekers, it is because they are forced to do so by the incentive structures that have been imposed on them.

Thirty years of neoliberal politics have created the conditions under which categories such as "human capital" and "rent-seeking" start to make good sense...

... ... ...

The author would like to thank Adam Netzén, Karolina Enquist Källgren and Eric Deibel for feedback given on early drafts of this blog post, and especially Steve Fuller, for having invited a response to his argument.

[Feb 11, 2019] Universities in the neoliberal age by Rafael Winkler

Notable quotes:
"... Higher education was being made to conform to the norms of efficiency, value for money, customer service, audit and performance targets. One of the consequences of this was the substitution of the authority of the academic, which is based on his or her professional knowledge of the discipline, for the authority of the line manager. ..."
"... I don't think that there has been a more sinister assault on academic freedom than this colonisation of higher education by neoliberalism. It justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates with a perverted sense of these words (since what it really means is "discipline and surveillance" and "value for money"). ..."
"... Let me explain. One of the central aspects of neoliberalism is the disappearance of the distinction between the worker and the capitalist. In the neoliberal setting, the worker is not a partner of exchange with the capitalist. She does not sell her labour-power for a wage. ..."
"... The labourer's ability to work, her skill, is an income stream. It is an investment on which she receives a return in the form of wages. The worker is capital for herself. She is a source of future earnings. In the neoliberal market, as Michel Foucault remarks, everyone is a capitalist. ..."
"... Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity. ..."
Sep 14, 2018 | mg.co.za
Many of the students I have taught in Britain and South Africa see higher education as a place where they "invest" in themselves in the financial sense of the word. "Going to university," one student said, was a way of "increasing" his "value" or employability in the labour market.

This perception of the university has not arisen by chance.

Capitalism entered a new phase with the Thatcher and Reagan governments in Britain and the United States during the 1980s. The managerial practices used to run businesses were applied to the public sector, in particular to education and healthcare.

This reform of the public sector (called "new public management") introduced a new way of thinking about the university.

Higher education was being made to conform to the norms of efficiency, value for money, customer service, audit and performance targets. One of the consequences of this was the substitution of the authority of the academic, which is based on his or her professional knowledge of the discipline, for the authority of the line manager.

Since then, everything has come to depend on audits and metric standards of so-called quality assessment (student satisfaction, pass rates, league tables, et cetera). Academics have little, if any, say on whether departments should continue to exist, what degrees and courses should be on offer and even what kind of assessment methods should be used.

I don't think that there has been a more sinister assault on academic freedom than this colonisation of higher education by neoliberalism. It justifies itself by calling for "transparency" and "accountability" to the taxpayer and the public. But it operates with a perverted sense of these words (since what it really means is "discipline and surveillance" and "value for money").

Its effect, if not its aim, has been to commodify higher education and produce a new kind of social identity. This is the identity of the self as entrepreneur.

Let me explain. One of the central aspects of neoliberalism is the disappearance of the distinction between the worker and the capitalist. In the neoliberal setting, the worker is not a partner of exchange with the capitalist. She does not sell her labour-power for a wage.

The labourer's ability to work, her skill, is an income stream. It is an investment on which she receives a return in the form of wages. The worker is capital for herself. She is a source of future earnings. In the neoliberal market, as Michel Foucault remarks, everyone is a capitalist.

Neoliberalism has converted education from a public good to a personal investment in the future, a future conceived in terms of earning capacity.

How did we get to this situation?

The modern university came into existence at the start of the 19th century as an extension of the state. The aim of the state during the colonial and imperial age was to constitute the identity of the national subject. As a public institution, the university was designed to teach students to see their life in a specific way. They would learn to see that it is only as members of a national community and culture that their individual life has a meaning and worth. This was the aim of the educational programme that German philosophers such as Wilhelm von Humboldt and Johann Gottlieb Fichte envisaged for the University of Berlin. For them, science was in the service of the moral and intellectual education of the nation.

Established in 1810, the University of Berlin was the first modern university. It was founded on the principles of academic freedom, the unity of research and teaching, and the primacy of research over vocational training. It functioned as the prototype for universities in both the United States and Europe during the second half of the 19th century.

Once transnational corporations started to control more capital than nation-states in the 1980s, the university ceased to be one of its principal organs. It lost its ideological mission and entered the market as a corporation. It started to encourage students to think of themselves as customers rather than as members of a nation. This history shows that the university is today the site of two competing social identities.

Nationalism was an emancipatory political project during the anti-colonial struggles of the second half of the 20th century. It was not tribalist or communalist.

According to Eric Hobsbawm in Nations and Nationalism since 1780, its aim was to extend the size of the social, cultural and political group. It was not to restrict it or to separate it from others. Nationalism was a political programme divorced from ethnicity.

Is this political nationalism a viable way of resisting neoliberalism today? Can it gainsay the primacy of economic rationality and the culture of narcissist consumerism, and restore meaning to the political question concerning the common good? Or has nationalism irreversibly become an ethnic, separatist project? It is not easy to say. So far, we have witnessed one kind of response to the social insecurities generated by the global spread of neoliberalism. This is a return to ethnicity and religion as havens of safety and security.

When society fails us owing to job insecurity, and, concomitantly, with regard to housing and healthcare, one tends to fall back on one's ethnicity or religious identity as an ultimate guarantee.

Moreover, nationalism as a political programme depends on the idea of the state. It holds that a group defined as a "nation" has the right to form a territorial state and exercise sovereign power over it. But given the decline of the state, there are reasons to think that political nationalism has withdrawn as a real possibility.

By the "decline of the state" I do not mean that it no longer exists. The state has never been more present in the private life of individuals. It regulates the relations between men and women. It regulates their birth and death, the rearing of children, the health of individuals and so forth. The state is, today, ubiquitous.

What some people mean by the "decline of the state" is that, with the existence of transnational corporations, it is no longer the most important site of the reproduction of capital. The state has become managerial. Its function is to manage obstacles to liberalisation and free trade.

Perhaps that is one of the challenges of the 21st century. How is a "nation" possible, a "national community" that is not defined by ethnicity, on the one hand, and, on the other, that forsakes the desire to exercise sovereign power in general and, in particular, over a territorial state?

The university is perhaps the place where such a community can begin to be thought.

Rafael Winkler is an associate professor in the philosophy department at the University of Johannesburg

[Feb 08, 2019] War, Peace, and the Social Order (review) by Morten G. Ender

Notable quotes:
"... nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | muse.jhu.edu

Project MUSE Morten G. Ender

From: Social Forces
Volume 80, Number 1, September 2001
pp. 358-359 | 10.1353/sof.2001.0064

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: PEACE AND JUSTICE - Fogarty - 2009 - Peace & Change - Wiley Online Library

Social Forces 80.1 (2001) 358-359

Book Review
War, Peace, and the Social Order

War, Peace, and the Social Order. By Brian E. Fogarty. Westview Press, 2000. 236 pp. Cloth, $65.00; paper, $23.00.

A tank could be driven through the cleft of resources available for teaching about the intersection of peace, war, and military instructions from a sociological perspective. Filling this pedagogical gap is especially important in the so-called post-Cold War era where lines between war and peace have become increasingly blurred.

War, Peace, and Social Order (WPSO) begins to fill the gap. WPSO contains a list of acronyms, two hemispheric maps of the world, six tables, 11 figures, an index, and eight chapters. Each chapter concludes with a brief chapter summary, a list of questions for review, and references for further reading.

WPSO begins by making the sociological link between war and peace with emphasis on how war and peace are created. Chapter 2 provides depth on the social definition of war contrasting it with violence. Further, peace is defined not as the absence of war, but more as intersubjective -- a social process that occurs at multiple levels of society. The next chapter explains war from numerous social and political approaches. This chapter anchors war in Functional, Marxian, Feminist, International Relations, and Internal-Control theories as well as more inductive and "human-nature" approaches. Chapter 4 discusses militarism at the intersection of social institutions including education, popular culture, mass media, sports, and economics. The relationship between the family and the military is not addressed despite the knowledge of military families providing a disproportionate number of young people for careers in military service. (Morris Janowitz [1960/71] The Professional Soldier: A Social and Political Portrait . Free Press.)

Chapter 5, "The Military Industrial Complex," is the longest and most dense chapter. Here Fogarty's six years working as an army civilian aircraft buyer and cost analyst shine through. He deftly navigates the reader through the complex maze of defense spending and acquisition. He provides simple figures and charts, focuses on the process as wasteful, exploits five complementary explanations to elucidate defense waste spending, and guides the reader home by connecting the analysis to both functional and conflict theory.

The next three chapters focus more on the peace process and include a chapter on avoiding war, promoting peace, and empowering people to make peace. Of special note in the first of these is the discussion of nonsovereign forms of steering clear of war such as nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and civilian-based defense ineterventions , for example Peace Brigades International. The chapter on promoting peace is unique for couching Ghandi's nonviolent action in sociological terms and noting that a number of social movements have since used this technique successfully, including Martin Luther King Jr. Fogarty could have promoted the little-known fact that a very young King earned a B.A. in Sociology at Morehouse College in 1948. The final chapter inspires the reader with ways of becoming active through both education and experiences.

The strengths of WPSO for students are many. Foremost, he substantively links the study of war and peace. Second, the book is well organized, with tight chapters, numerous headings and subheadings, and a summary concluding each chapter. In addition, but beginning with chapter 3, key terms ( N = 37) are italicized in each of the summary sections.

Some chapters are denser than others. Fogarty also is less attentive to referencing chapters related to war than in chapters related to peace. For example, other than noting a film and novel, there are no references in the section on the social psychology of combat despite a rich research tradition dating back to and including WWII on the social psychology of war. Finally, the focus may be too American in orientation for some sociologists.

WPSO is oriented toward upper-level undergraduate students and newcomers to the peace and war literature. It is an excellent supplemental or primary reader for Peace Studies. It could make a refreshing contribution to Military Sociology courses that have traditionally focused on peacekeeping/peace enforcing from a military institution perspective (including my own). The book could be stretched to use in Organization Studies courses and...

[Feb 05, 2019] Logitech G300s Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse 9 Programmable Buttons, Onboard Memory Computers Accessories

Feb 05, 2019 | www.amazon.com

skeptic

Mouse for lefties that allows to program macros in Lua. Look and feel is "cheap", thouth February 3, 2019 Verified Purchase

My G600 (which I used for the left hand although it is not ambidextrous) died (right button became "flaky" after three years of daily use; and that's typical for G600 -- it just does not last that long) and I bought this one saving ,say, $15.

But there is no free lunch and one important defect of this mouse is that the wheel does not have "clicks" for left and right tilt ) like say all expensive mice from Logitech, and thus you can't assign macros to tilts. For those who do not use them it's OO, but for m this is a big shortcoming. I deducted one star for this.

Please be aware that this mouse looks cheap in comparison wit, say $36 Logitech mice like G602 , but it does work and is more conviniet to use with the left hand.

But you simply can't compare "look and feel" quality to G600 of G602 to this "student" model. You can still use 6 macros with it and Logitech Gaming Software which allows you to program macros in Lua, which are individualized for each application you use (not just games, but any application)

As such this mouse is not only for gamers. It is perfectly suitable, for example, for Unix sysadmins as it allows execute complex macros in Windows Terminal emulator such as Teraterm.

Also helps for people with RSI who need to change hands in order give affected with RSI hand time to recover.

I wish the industry would produce more models of ambidextrous mouse, as RSI is a real epidemic among heavy computer users and professionals, but we have what we have.

[Feb 04, 2019] Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rubicon 727 , says: February 4, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT

@Bill Instead of looking at this issue using a microscope, reading history about how Empires fall lends wisdom and insight. Arrighi's book, (I believe) is called "The Long Twentieth Century." He details how empires and huge trading giants rise and fall.

He details the rise of Italy's banking system during the Middle Ages as well as Spain's Empire, the Dutch trading hegemonies and most enlightening how the British Empire rose and fell.

We are seeing tell-tale symptoms of a US that's in trouble with a slow erosion of the US $$ hegemony. The financial growth of China has begun degrading the US market with hi-tech and other products. Thusly, you see Tim Cook of Apple apoplectic over China's Huwaii (sp?) flooding the European market with less expensive computers, cellulars, notebooks, etc.

We see the practical nature of Exxon Mobile that views the short geographic distance between the US (its military) to Venezuela's oil and mineral-rich soil. An easy pick, rather than becoming further embroiled in the Middle East.

Targeting Venezuela suggests a geopolitical shift away from the Middle East (and Israel) to countries that are less expensive to plunder yet with vast resources to be stolen. A telling sign in the slow deteriorating US Hegemony.

[Feb 04, 2019] Amazon.com Z83-W Fanless Mini PC, Intel Cherry Trail x5-Z8350 (up to 1.92 GHz), 2GB-32GB- 4K- 1000M LAN- 2.4+5.8GHz WiFi-BT 4.

Feb 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Support Auto Power On After Power Failure:

Restore Factory Settings:

Package Includes:

P orts & Button:

Performance

mark ganter 5.0 out of 5 stars Good Value for sub-$200 box (Ubuntu/Linux DOES WORK) December 8, 2017 Size: ... Verified Purchase

The AP34 device is an N3450 SOC system. I had some troubles with the AP34 because the video is only 1080p (and thus some older monitors and older TV's can't sync the video). I also had issues with getting Ubuntu/Linux running or installed.

The seller provided an email with instructions that helped.

BUT there is a guy who wants to run linux on every smart device (search for Ian MORRISON (Linuxium)).

Ian has Linux repacked distros that boot, work and install.

I am now running Ubuntu 17.10 with Cinnamon! It is beautiful. The AP34 hardware is a great fit for Linux. I have added an M.2 drive based on instructions found on the Kodlix website. Overall, this is a good buy for the sub $200 market.

If you are willing to spend 10-20% more, you might look at a N4200 mini-pc.

[Feb 04, 2019] Hyundai Thinnote 14 Ultrabook - 14 Full HD 1920 x 1080 Display, Intel Pentium N4200 Quad-core 1.1 GHz, 4 GB RAM 32

Cheap and as such good for personal Knowledgebase...
Feb 04, 2019 | www.amazon.com

[Feb 03, 2019] Logitech G300s Optical Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse 9 Programmable Buttons

Feb 03, 2019 | www.amazon.com

S.B September 6, 2018 Verified Purchase

For lefties, this is about as good as it gets

I'm a left handed gamer and as all us lefties know, there are no gaming mice made for us. The best available are "ambidextrous" mice. Which drives me nuts since there is no reason for an ambidextrous mouse. An ambidextrous person could use either a right or left handed mouse. An ambidextrous mouse is just a poor compromise between the two, so why not just make a real left handed mouse?

I tied many and while this mouse leaves much to be desired, its probably the best that can be hoped for. At least all the buttons are accessible, if not entirely comfortable. It lacks any thumb buttons, which means all nine buttons are most easily pressed with the index and middle fingers. Some are really quite well placed and comfortable, other not so much. However, it is much faster and easier than using key binds on the keyboard, and that is what's important.

Otherwise the mouse is really nice. The software installs easily and is intuitive. The LED color on the side can be changed. Its light, moves smoothy. All buttons feel solid and have a positive response. It works great for gaming as well as les intense internet surfing and word processing.

[Feb 02, 2019] In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.
Notable quotes:
"... His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women." ..."
"... The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington. ..."
"... Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece . But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left. ..."
"... Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way. ..."
"... Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor." ..."
"... Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff." ..."
"... In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night. ..."
"... It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush. ..."
"... The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy. ..."
"... "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment." ..."
"... "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government ..."
"... "What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. ..."
Jul 11, 2015 | msn.com

ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay - His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the "dung of the devil." He does not simply argue that systemic "greed for money" is a bad thing. He calls it a "subtle dictatorship" that "condemns and enslaves men and women."

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism - even as he called for a global movement against a "new colonialism" rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution. "This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop," said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II's anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor - a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis' increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed - yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Left-wing populism is surging in countries immersed in economic turmoil, such as Spain, and, most notably, Greece. But even in the United States, where the economy has rebounded, widespread concern about inequality and corporate power are propelling the rise of liberals like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who, in turn, have pushed the Democratic Party presidential front-runner, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the left.

Even some free-market champions are now reassessing the shortcomings of unfettered capitalism. George Soros, who made billions in the markets, and then spent a good part of it promoting the spread of free markets in Eastern Europe, now argues that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

"I think the pope is singing to the music that's already in the air," said Robert A. Johnson, executive director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which was financed with $50 million from Mr. Soros. "And that's a good thing. That's what artists do, and I think the pope is sensitive to the lack of legitimacy of the system."

Many Catholic scholars would argue that Francis is merely continuing a line of Catholic social teaching that has existed for more than a century and was embraced even by his two conservative predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Leo XIII first called for economic justice on behalf of workers in 1891, with his encyclical "Rerum Novarum" - or, "On Condition of Labor."

Mr. Schneck, of Catholic University, said it was as if Francis were saying, "We've been talking about these things for more than one hundred years, and nobody is listening."

Francis has such a strong sense of urgency "because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas," Mr. Schneck said. "That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff."

Francis made his speech on Wednesday night, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, before nearly 2,000 social advocates, farmers, trash workers and neighborhood activists. Even as he meets regularly with heads of state, Francis has often said that change must come from the grass roots, whether from poor people or the community organizers who work with them. To Francis, the poor have earned knowledge that is useful and redeeming, even as a "throwaway culture" tosses them aside. He sees them as being at the front edge of economic and environmental crises around the world.

In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. "How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!" he said on Wednesday night.

It is this Old Testament-like rhetoric that some finding jarring, perhaps especially so in the United States, where Francis will visit in September. His environmental encyclical, "Laudato Si'," released last month, drew loud criticism from some American conservatives and from others who found his language deeply pessimistic. His right-leaning critics also argued that he was overreaching and straying dangerously beyond religion - while condemning capitalism with too broad a brush.

"I wish Francis would focus on positives, on how a free-market economy guided by an ethical framework, and the rule of law, can be a part of the solution for the poor - rather than just jumping from the reality of people's misery to the analysis that a market economy is the problem," said the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which advocates free-market economics.

Francis' sharpest critics have accused him of being a Marxist or a Latin American Communist, even as he opposed communism during his time in Argentina. His tour last week of Latin America began in Ecuador and Bolivia, two countries with far-left governments. President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who wore a Che Guevara patch on his jacket during Francis' speech, claimed the pope as a kindred spirit - even as Francis seemed startled and caught off guard when Mr. Morales gave him a wooden crucifix shaped like a hammer and sickle as a gift.

Francis' primary agenda last week was to begin renewing Catholicism in Latin America and reposition it as the church of the poor. His apology for the church's complicity in the colonialist era received an immediate roar from the crowd. In various parts of Latin America, the association between the church and economic power elites remains intact. In Chile, a socially conservative country, some members of the country's corporate elite are also members of Opus Dei, the traditionalist Catholic organization founded in Spain in 1928.

Inevitably, Francis' critique can be read as a broadside against Pax Americana, the period of capitalism regulated by global institutions created largely by the United States. But even pillars of that system are shifting. The World Bank, which long promoted economic growth as an end in itself, is now increasingly focused on the distribution of gains, after the Arab Spring revolts in some countries that the bank had held up as models. The latest generation of international trade agreements includes efforts to increase protections for workers and the environment.

The French economist Thomas Piketty argued last year in a surprising best-seller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that rising wealth inequality was a natural result of free-market policies, a direct challenge to the conventional view that economic inequalities shrink over time. The controversial implication drawn by Mr. Piketty is that governments should raise taxes on the wealthy.

Mr. Piketty roiled the debate among mainstream economists, yet Francis' critique is more unnerving to some because he is not reframing inequality and poverty around a new economic theory but instead defining it in moral terms. "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy," he said on Wednesday. "It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: It is a commandment."

Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist, said that he saw Francis as making a nuanced point about capitalism, embodied by his coinage of a "social mortgage" on accumulated wealth - a debt to the society that made its accumulation possible. Mr. Hanauer said that economic elites should embrace the need for reforms both for moral and pragmatic reasons. "I'm a believer in capitalism but it comes in as many flavors as pie, and we have a choice about the kind of capitalist system that we have," said Mr. Hanauer, now an outspoken proponent of redistributive government policies like a higher minimum wage.

Yet what remains unclear is whether Francis has a clear vision for a systemic alternative to the status quo that he and others criticize. "All these critiques point toward the incoherence of the simple idea of free market economics, but they don't prescribe a remedy," said Mr. Johnson, of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Francis acknowledged as much, conceding on Wednesday that he had no new "recipe" to quickly change the world. Instead, he spoke about a "process of change" undertaken at the grass-roots level.

"What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with the hearts full of hopes and dreams but without any real solution for my problems?" he asked. "A lot! They can do a lot. "You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands."

[Feb 01, 2019] THE NEOLIBERAL MARKETIZED ECONOMY AND POLITICS

Jan 07, 2019 | cup.columbia.edu

The Origins of Neoliberalism - Modeling the Economy from Jesus to Foucault - Columbia University Press

The process of the marketization of the economy from Mill to Becker described earlier is concluded in Becker's notions of "Human Capital" and "Economics of Crime and Punishment."

Becker reformulates the ethical modes by which one governs one's self by theorizing the economic self as human capital that generates labor in return for income. Such self-government is conducted by economizing one's earning power, the form of power that one commands over one's labor. Theorizing self-government as a form of command over one's own labor, Becker inserts the power relations of the market, which Smith identified as purchasing power over other people's labor, into the ethical sphere of the relationship between a person andherself.

Becker's theory of self-government also entails a transformation of the technologies of the self into an askesis of economizing the scarce means of the marketized self that have alternative uses for the purpose ofmaximizing the earning and purchasing power one commands in the mar- ketized economy.

The marketization of the self that turned zoon oikonomikon into a power-craving homo economicus also makes him governable by the political monarch, as demonstrated in the Economic analysis of Crime and Punishment. Economic man is governed through the legal framework of the mar- ket economy. Human action is controlled by tweaking a matrix of punishments and incentives that make the governed subject, as a prudent creature who craves to maximize his economic power, freely choose the desired course of action that will ensure economic growth. At the same time that Becker's technologies of the conduct of the marketized self establish a neoliberal self-mastery, they also enable the governmental technology of conducting one self conduct in the all-encompassing and ever growing marketized economy. Although Becker seems to reverse the ageold ethical question, that is, how can a human, as a governed subject, become free in the economy, into the technological one of how one can make a free human governable, the end result is pretty much the same, as the economy is reconstituted as a sphere in which the subject is seen as free and governed.

A neoliberal interpretation of Hobbes's economic power is found in Tullock and Buchanan's use of economic theory to "deal with traditional problems of political science," that is, to trace the works of Smithian economic power that have by now been transposed onto the political sphere: Incorporat(ing) political activity as a particular form of exchange; and, as in the market relation, mutual gains to all parties are ideally expected to result from the collective relation. In a very real sense, therefore, political action is viewed essentially as a means through which the "power" of all participants may be increased, if we define "power" as the ability to command things that are desired by men. To be justified by the criteria employed here, collective action must be advantageous to all parties. (Tullock and Buchanan 1962:23)

[Jan 29, 2019] Parkinson s Law

Notable quotes:
"... The title of the book is from Parkinson's statement that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." He explains that "an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis." In contrast if all you have is five minutes to write a postcard, it takes just five minutes to write the postcard. ..."
Feb 22, 2007 | www.amazon.com

Henry Cate III 5.0 out of 5 stars February 22, 2007

Some great insights to human behavior

Parkinson's Law, written by C. Northcote Parkinson, is a wonderful book which explores the realities of human behavior within a bureaucracy. The author doesn't pay attention to theories or the idealized world, but instead writes about how people really function in organizations.

The title of the book is from Parkinson's statement that "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." He explains that "an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis." In contrast if all you have is five minutes to write a postcard, it takes just five minutes to write the postcard.

At a higher level this idea applies to many situations. For example people's stuff expands to fill their house and use up their income. Or in the computer world: Data expands to fill the space available for storage

Parkinson writes that it takes great discipline to fight the tendency to use up all the time available to do some job. And likewise it takes great discipline to save some of your income, or to avoid buying stuff just because you have room for it.

Parkinson has a number of other interesting observations. For example in his Law of Triviality he explains how a group of managers might spend hours on selecting a coffeepot and minutes on deciding matters of much greater importance.

I also appreciated his explanation on the effective size of a governing group. He says that the right number of people to lead an organization, like a business or a country, is about five. As the group gets larger, it takes longer and longer to get together and to agree on matters.

There are many other insightful comments on a variety of topics related to organizations. This is a great book to have teenagers read, and then to be reread every couple years. Just over a hundred pages it is a quick read, as well as being enjoyable.

If you haven't read Parkinson's Law before, I encourage you to read it this week.

not4prophet 4.0 out of 5 stars July 25, 2007

Parkinson's Law: funny, bitter, largely accurate

I first received a copy of "Parkinson's Law" from a retired three-star general. Since that time, I've seen copies on the shelves of almost every powerful person I know, from professors and deans to lawyers and businesspeople. Based on this wide-spread popularity, I can safely conclude that C. Northcote Parkinson has written something that transcends his time and profession to become a true classic. He has written, in short, the definitive work on bureaucracy.

Chapter one contains the titular law, which is frequently misquoted. The actual law gives a mathematical formula for how fast an office will grow, simply by observing that every bureaucrat will demand two subordinates at certain times. Parkinson backs this up with analysis of various British government bodies. The Colonial Office, for instance, more than doubled in size even as the number of colonies was shrinking. This is a rock-solid rule, as far as I can tell, and particularly relevant to an America where we somehow spend $728 billion despite having fewer actual soldiers than at any time in the past sixty years.

Chapter three famously looks at budget meetings. The conclusion is that up to a certain point, committees will spend more time on items that cost less. Some trivially small item, such as coffee, is easily understood, so every committee member has an opinion about it. On the other hand, nobody really understands expensive items such as reactors, so nobody has much to say about them. This is a phenomenon which I've seen arising in real life time and time again.

Chapter four is perhaps the most fascinating and devastatingly accurate one in the book. The hypothesis is that whenever an organization builds a fancy new headquarters, its time is up. Parkinson offers mainly British examples, but we can see the truth of this in America. The Sears Tower went up at precisely the moment when the Sears Corporation went down. When construction began on the AOL Time Warner Center in 2000, that should have been our indication that the dot-com boom was on its last legs.

There are ten chapters in all, but I'll let you discover the delights of the later ones on your own. For sure, some chapters aren't quite so hard-hitting. Chapter two on the French Parliament may strike some as no longer relevant, while chapter nine on crime and economics in China contains some cringe-inducing racism. But on the whole, "Parkinson's Law" is a delightful little book (150 pages) that will explain while it amuses you. "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and "Who Moved My Cheese" may rule the bestseller lists, but C. Northcote Parkinson has the real answers for the business world.

mirasreviews HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars June 12, 2009

50-Year-Old Satire of Business and Public Administration Still Sharp and Hilarious

Cyril Northcote Parkinson was a naval historian and writer with experience in the British Civil Service in 1955, when he wrote a humorous article for the "Economist" on the idiosyncrasies of administration. Parkinson was Raffles Professor of History at the University of Malaya in Singapore during this time, and, two years later, he expanded on that essay with the publication of "Parkinson's Law and Other Studies in Administration". "Heaven forbid that students should cease to read books on the science of public or business administration -provided that these works are classified as fiction," he says. Parkinson's own satirical take on the subject provides, "for those interested, a glimpse of reality."

There are 10 short chapters, each dedicated to a different quirk of business or public administration, beginning with the one we all know: Parkinson's Law: "Work expands so as to fill the time available for completion." -which the author reduces to a mathematical formula. Parkinson claims, tongue in cheek, to omit the statistical proof of his laws and observations out of consideration for space, but he often provides examples from the British military and civil service that do, indeed, seem to support his analysis. That's why this book has been popular for 50 years. Like all great satire, it distills the truth rather than creating a fiction.

Some other subjects that Parkinson addresses are: the function of British Parliament dictated by the seating arrangements, the Law of Triviality ("the time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum involved"), a committee's power diminishes as its numbers grow, a well-designed building is a sure sign of the institution's demise, "injelititis" (organizational paralysis due to "induced inferiority"), and how to force older workers to retire in time for their successors to have a career. Some of this stuff is peculiar to the time and place it was written. For example, I have no idea if comments on how wealthy Chinese vs British evade taxes had any truth to them. But most aspects of administration haven't changed in 50 years, and Parkinson's take is still laugh-out-loud funny.

J. Fristrom 4.0 out of 5 stars May 24, 2003

Parkinson Isn't The Enemy After All

I've always considered Parkinson's Law to be the chief weapon of inept managers who "schedule aggressively" in an attempt to squeeze blood from stones, and thus compromise their project's effeciency, morale, and the like. After reading this book I've discovered that Parkinson's Law is *not* the often misquoted "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion" but (paraphrasing:) "the number of administrators in an organization will grow at a steady rate irrespective of the amount of work that organization needs to do." Not only does Parkinson never suggest that we should "schedule aggressively" (he never suggests that work can contract indefinitely no matter how little time is made available), he ridiculues nice offices, large meetings, top-heavy management, insecure leadership, penny-wiseness and pound-foolishness, typical hiring practices, and more.

While reading most of this book I had a wry grin on my face, and I laughed loud belly laughs at a couple of points. My only complaints stem from the last two chapters, which indulged in both racism and ageism, respectively. I only skimmed those. Still, an enjoyable and motivational read, and useful knowledge when confronted by a manager who thinks of themself as Parkinsonian but hasn't actually read (or understood) Parkinson.

Harold Hill 5.0 out of 5 stars June 11, 2009

dated but timeless

Parkinson's Law is a classic work concerning the dynamics of large administrative organizations. The vernacular of the book often felt dated to this reader, based it is on the inner workings of the British Empire, but that in no way took away from its overall impact and timeless message. This is a marvelously honest and insightful, also delightfully sardonic, look at how human nature and institutional politics really work on a grand scale.

The book starts with the most well-known of Parkinson's laws, which is, "work expands to fill the time allotted to it." But there are several other chapters in this very short book with other wonderful information as well. There's a whole chapter devoted to how to phrase a help wanted ad in order to get only one perfect candidate for the job. One chapter explains why bureaucracies grow at a standard rate of 5% a year regardless of workload. There are also wonderfully complex formulas concerning how to calculate the correct age of retirement, which has a lot to do with the age of the person who is hoping to edge you out and take your place as soon as possible. The mathematical analysis of at what time the truly powerful people arrive and leave a cocktail party was also a lot of fun.

While most books about management talk in highly idealistic utopian terms, this is one of those rare books that tells it like it is and makes you laugh at the same time. Its closest relatives are Machiavelli's Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius , Bertrand Russell's Unpopular Essays , and Justin Locke's Principles of Applied Stupidity (How to Get and Do More by Thinking and Knowing Less) .

While this is a fairly short book, my version was only 101 pages, I found I could not read it straight through because each chapter was so enlightening, I had to take a break in between. But that is hardly a complaint.

It's not so much the specific information that makes this book what it is. What makes the book is its honest appraisal of human nature. A wonderful thing to be reminded of as you go to that next meeting. A now somewhat forgotten classic, highly recommended.

Amazon Customer 3.0 out of 5 starsNovember 21, 2001

Glittering Generalities and Subtle Humor

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Another way of saying "people spend what they can afford". That statement makes certain simplifying assumptions in describing the action. Parkinson claims that Administrator A will, when overworked, call for subordinates C and D. And each of these, when overworked, call for two subordinates. Perhaps only a third subordinate E is more likely to be hired? Unless its a monopoly running on a "cost plus" economy.

The increase in Admiralty officials may be due to political decisions that reflect the feudal system and its pride in larger numbers. This increase from 1914 to 1928 may reflect the rise needed for The Great War, and a reluctance to cut back afterwards.

The author notes the growth in the Colonial Office from 1935 to 1954, while the size of the Empire decreased. But it assumes there was no longer any involvement in the colonies, and no new work assigned to them. Perhaps a need for political appointees?

In Chapter Four the author discusses the optimal number of members in a committee: somewhere between 3 and 21. Assume a committee meets to do work, not to make work. There is a limited number of hours in a day; if each member speaks for 15 minutes, then 12 will take up half a work day. Time constraints will limit the number who will speak; those who only listen can be given a printed report. Somebody must control the topics and meeting.

Chapter Five answers the question: why are students of the "Liberal Arts" generally considered for top positions? The answer is the adoption of the Chinese system for competitive examinations. Those with a Classics background were perceived as fittest to rule; those with a scientific background were perceived as followers. The author does not discuss the class differences usually covered by this distinction. His comments on advertising positions is interesting, but ignores the fact that an acceptable candidate may chose another firm. His final advice on choosing a Prime Minister is not always followed.

Chapter Six claims the health of an institution can be gauged by its buildings, and cites St. Peter's in Rome. A more modern edition might cite the former AT&T and IBM buildings in midtown Manhattan, instead of the Palace of Nations in Geneva. But office buildings are recyclable commodities. A monumental edifice can be the mausoleum of an organization. Does this apply to the Department of Agriculture building in Washington?

Chapter Seven shows his wit and powers of observation by summarizing the cocktail parties that he attended. Chapter Eight discusses the question of why organizations decline. One way to judge an organization is by the quality of their cafeteria. Chapter Ten claims the compulsory retirement age is set at 3 years past the age when people begin to decline. More simplifying assumptions and playing with numbers? If not, what objective facts were used to arrive at this conclusion?
The value of this book is its observations on the common activities that are not often studied.

Judah 2.0 out of 5 stars November 17, 2007

Outdated

Basically, this book may be distilled down into a few statements (below). The examples used are from the late 1950's, and not in touch with the culture of 2007.

**The work expands to fill the time available.
**People will attempt to hire more subordinates regardless of workload.
**Large committees will spend more time arguing over small line item expenses they understand, as opposed to huge expenditures they don't.
**Have two issue supporters sit next to and kibitz an undecided yahoo -- this will sway the yahoo into voting their way.
**Approximately five - eight people are the ideal number to run a huge endeavor.
**The best want-ad will only be answered by one (qualified) person.
**Rich men avoid taxes.
**Younger people force older conservatives to retire.

If you are interested in Parkinson's Law, I'd suggest buying a later edition with examples more in tune with modern computerized business. This older edition is for collector's and has limited business value. 6 people found this helpful

Acute Observer 4.0 out of 5 stars March 19, 2011

Analyzing Administrative Behavior

This was a popular book in the late 1950s. It is a collection of essays with a humorous look at common events. Parkinson criticizes the writers of text books who have an idealistic view about management (`Preface'). [Doesn't this fault still go on?] Chapter 1 claims "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". This is stated without supporting facts, so it just anecdotes. Does a growing number of civil servants reflect more work being done? Not if jobs are created for friends or relatives. No mention of a budget or bottom line here. Who approved this? ["Charlie Wilson's War" provides one example.] Those Admiralty Statistics suggest that some Officers in the R.N. were redeployed as Dockyard or Admiralty officials (p.8). The increase in the Colonial Office could represent more redeployment (p.11). [Statistics can't be trusted unless you understand the facts that were used or avoided.] Seating representatives in a half-circle is the rational rule used in most countries (Chapter 2). It allows better hearing, as in a theatre.

Chapter 3 discusses proposals before a Committee. The big ticket items are approved [the fix is in], the small items do not have as much support (p.29). Chapter 4 discusses the size of a Cabinet as it relates to its power; more members dilute its power. Chapter 5 discusses the best way to select candidates for a job. Parkinson recommends an advertisement phrased so only a few apply. But what if an important qualification can't be measured on paper (p.58)? There is a way to measure the status of an institution (Chapter 6). But this perfect layout is a sign of impending collapse (p.60). [Think of those Wall Street firms in 2008.] That big Department of Agriculture building in Washington DC marked the decline of family farms. One reason for this may be a perfected building no longer has the operational flexibility to expand (or contract) for current needs.

Parkinson explains how a cocktail party can reveal the real importance of the guests. The people who matter circulate with the general movement (Chapter 7), and arrive 30 minutes late. They cluster around an area at the far right, then leave. Chapter 8 discusses the "palsied paralysis" of organizations. The man at the top seeks to eliminate any possible rivals or successors. The result after about 20 years is failures when the leader grows senile or dies (p.81). That is why there are takeovers, or company subsidiaries are sold off. Can you judge an institution by its cafeteria (p.850? [If the managers have a separate dining room, beware.] Parkinson's advice on taking over an institution seems unrealistic (p.90). Corporations do buy up other businesses and integrate their buildings and personnel. This may be to eliminate competition.

Chapter 9 imagines the anthropological study of the rich. [Those who study primitive people are likely investigating mineral wealth.] He suggests a solution for lower taxes, but its only a theory. Chapter 10 discusses the mandatory retirement age. Parkinson claims that a person starts to decline three years before this age. [No proofs are given.] He suggests a method to force a retirement: nearly constant travel to foreign lands, and filling in forms like customs declaration. [This may tell you more about Parkinson than as a general statement.] This must be the least entertaining of these humorous essays.

These articles provide humor, they are not a scientific or practical guide. They should not be used for any college course. This same type of humor was found in "Freakonomics", whose essays are based on the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" logical fallacy (after this therefore because of this). They are not a reliable guide to knowledge.

TH 3.0 out of 5 stars September 13, 2004

Overly simplistic, Fun, but...

This book attempts to decrypt the enigma of hierarchies in a far too simplistic manner. One sentence to describe the whole book would be 'we keep getting promoted at work because we know how to do the job we are assigned, and stop getting promoted when we don't know how to'. The book is elaborate with supporting arguments.

One concept this book seem to assume is, all of us have a set of competencies and it is fixed. That is why we stop growing. But, in reality our skills continue to improve throughout our life time. Hence, accepting Peter Principle as a fact may be detrimental to our career, thus fulfilling his prophecy. I choose to accept his principle as a fact, only if I stop expanding my competencies (probably by freezing my brain). If I keep expanding my competencies, there is nothing but endless growth for everyone.

[Jan 29, 2019] The Language of Neoliberal Education by Henry Giroux

Highly recommended!
Interview by MITJA SARDOČ
Notable quotes:
"... This interview with Henry Giroux was conducted by Mitja Sardoč, of the Educational Research Institute, in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. ..."
"... Not only does it define itself as a political and economic system whose aim was to consolidate power in the hands of a corporate and financial elite, it also wages a war over ideas. In this instance, it has defined itself as a form of commonsense and functions as a mode of public pedagogy that produces a template for structuring not just markets but all of social life. ..."
"... In this sense, it has and continues to function not only through public and higher education to produce and distribute market-based values, identities, and modes of agency, but also in wider cultural apparatuses and platforms to privatize, deregulate, economize, and subject all of the commanding institutions and relations of everyday life to the dictates of privatization, efficiency, deregulation, and commodification. ..."
"... Since the 1970s as more and more of the commanding institutions of society come under the control of neoliberal ideology, its notions of common sense – an unchecked individualism, harsh competition, an aggressive attack on the welfare state, the evisceration of public goods, and its attack on all models of sociality at odds with market values – have become the reigning hegemony of capitalist societies. ..."
"... What many on the left have failed to realize is that neoliberalism is about more than economic structures, it is also is a powerful pedagogical force – especially in the era of social media – that engages in full-spectrum dominance at every level of civil society. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's promotion of effectiveness and efficiency gives credence to its ability to willingness and success in making education central to politics ..."
"... The Crisis of Democracy, ..."
"... At the core of the neoliberal investment in education is a desire to undermine the university's commitment to the truth, critical thinking, and its obligation to stand for justice ..."
"... Neoliberalism considers such a space to be dangerous and they have done everything possible to eliminate higher education as a space where students can realize themselves as critical citizens ..."
"... It is waging a war over not just the relationship between economic structures but over memory, words, meaning, and politics. Neoliberalism takes words like freedom and limits it to the freedom to consume, spew out hate, and celebrate notions of self-interest and a rabid individualism as the new common sense. ..."
"... Equality of opportunity means engaging in ruthless forms of competition, a war of all against all ethos, and a survival of the fittest mode of behavior. ..."
"... First, higher education needs to reassert its mission as a public good in order to reclaim its egalitarian and democratic impulses. Educators need to initiate and expand a national conversation in which higher education can be defended as a democratic public sphere and the classroom as a site of deliberative inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking, a site that makes a claim on the radical imagination and a sense of civic courage. ..."
"... The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making. ..."
"... It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing. ..."
"... First, too little is said about how neoliberalism functions not simply as an economic model for finance capital but as a public pedagogy that operates through a diverse number of sites and platforms. ..."
"... I define neoliberal fascism as both a project and a movement, which functions as an enabling force that weakens, if not destroys, the commanding institutions of a democracy while undermining its most valuable principles ..."
"... As a movement, it produces and legitimates massive economic inequality and suffering, privatizes public goods, dismantles essential government agencies, and individualizes all social problems. In addition, it transforms the political state into the corporate state, and uses the tools of surveillance, militarization, and law and order to discredit the critical press and media, undermine civil liberties while ridiculing and censoring critics. ..."
Dec 25, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

This interview with Henry Giroux was conducted by Mitja Sardoč, of the Educational Research Institute, in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Mitja Sardoč: For several decades now, neoliberalism has been at the forefront of discussions not only in the economy and finance but has infiltrated our vocabulary in a number of areas as diverse as governance studies, criminology, health care, jurisprudence, education etc. What has triggered the use and application ofthis'economistic'ideologyassociatedwith the promotion of effectiveness and efficiency?

Henry Giroux: Neoliberalism has become the dominant ideology of the times and has established itself as a central feature of politics. Not only does it define itself as a political and economic system whose aim was to consolidate power in the hands of a corporate and financial elite, it also wages a war over ideas. In this instance, it has defined itself as a form of commonsense and functions as a mode of public pedagogy that produces a template for structuring not just markets but all of social life.

In this sense, it has and continues to function not only through public and higher education to produce and distribute market-based values, identities, and modes of agency, but also in wider cultural apparatuses and platforms to privatize, deregulate, economize, and subject all of the commanding institutions and relations of everyday life to the dictates of privatization, efficiency, deregulation, and commodification.

Since the 1970s as more and more of the commanding institutions of society come under the control of neoliberal ideology, its notions of common sense – an unchecked individualism, harsh competition, an aggressive attack on the welfare state, the evisceration of public goods, and its attack on all models of sociality at odds with market values – have become the reigning hegemony of capitalist societies.

What many on the left have failed to realize is that neoliberalism is about more than economic structures, it is also is a powerful pedagogical force – especially in the era of social media – that engages in full-spectrum dominance at every level of civil society. Its reach extends not only into education but also among an array of digital platforms as well as in the broader sphere of popular culture. Under neoliberal modes of governance, regardless of the institution, every social relation is reduced to an act of commerce.

Neoliberalism's promotion of effectiveness and efficiency gives credence to its ability to willingness and success in making education central to politics. It also offers a warning to progressives, as Pierre Bourdieu has insisted that the left has underestimated the symbolic and pedagogical dimensions of struggle and have not always forged appropriate weapons to fight on this front."

Mitja Sardoč: According to the advocates of neoliberalism, education represents one of the main indicators of future economic growth and individual well-being.How – and why – education became one of the central elements of the 'neoliberal revolution'?

Henry Giroux: Advocates of neoliberalism have always recognized that education is a site of struggle over which there are very high stakes regarding how young people are educated, who is to be educated, and what vision of the present and future should be most valued and privileged. Higher education in the sixties went through a revolutionary period in the United States and many other countries as students sought to both redefine education as a democratic public sphere and to open it up to a variety of groups that up to that up to that point had been excluded. Conservatives were extremely frightened over this shift and did everything they could to counter it. Evidence of this is clear in the production of the Powell Memo published in 1971 and later in The Trilateral Commission's book-length report, namely, The Crisis of Democracy, published in 1975. From the 1960s on the, conservatives, especially the neoliberal right, has waged a war on education in order to rid it of its potential role as a democratic public sphere. At the same time, they sought aggressively to restructure its modes of governance, undercut the power of faculty, privilege knowledge that was instrumental to the market, define students mainly as clients and consumers, and reduce the function of higher education largely to training students for the global workforce.

At the core of the neoliberal investment in education is a desire to undermine the university's commitment to the truth, critical thinking, and its obligation to stand for justice and assume responsibility for safeguarding the interests of young as they enter a world marked massive inequalities, exclusion, and violence at home and abroad. Higher education may be one of the few institutions left in neoliberal societies that offers a protective space to question, challenge, and think against the grain.

Neoliberalism considers such a space to be dangerous and they have done everything possible to eliminate higher education as a space where students can realize themselves as critical citizens, faculty can participate in the governing structure, and education can be define itself as a right rather than as a privilege.

Mitja Sardoč: Almost by definition, reforms and other initiatives aimed to improve educational practice have been one of the pivotal mechanisms to infiltrate the neoliberal agenda of effectiveness and efficiency. What aspect of neoliberalism and its educational agenda you find most problematic? Why?

Henry Giroux: Increasingly aligned with market forces, higher education is mostly primed for teaching business principles and corporate values, while university administrators are prized as CEOs or bureaucrats in a neoliberal-based audit culture. Many colleges and universities have been McDonalds-ized as knowledge is increasingly viewed as a commodity resulting in curricula that resemble a fast-food menu. In addition, faculty are subjected increasingly to a Wal-Mart model of labor relations designed as Noam Chomsky points out "to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility". In the age of precarity and flexibility, the majority of faculty have been reduced to part-time positions, subjected to low wages, lost control over the conditions of their labor, suffered reduced benefits, and frightened about addressing social issues critically in their classrooms for fear of losing their jobs.

The latter may be the central issue curbing free speech and academic freedom in the academy. Moreover, many of these faculty are barely able to make ends meet because of their impoverished salaries, and some are on food stamps. If faculty are treated like service workers, students fare no better and are now relegated to the status of customers and clients.

Moreover, they are not only inundated with the competitive, privatized, and market-driven values of neoliberalism, they are also punished by those values in the form of exorbitant tuition rates, astronomical debts owed to banks and other financial institutions, and in too many cases a lack of meaningful employment. As a project and movement, neoliberalism undermines the ability of educators and others to create the conditions that give students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and the civic courage necessary to make desolation and cynicism unconvincing and hope practical.

As an ideology, neoliberalism is at odds with any viable notion of democracy which it sees as the enemy of the market. Yet, Democracy cannot work if citizens are not autonomous, self-judging, curious, reflective, and independent – qualities that are indispensable for students if they are going to make vital judgments and choices about participating in and shaping decisions that affect everyday life, institutional reform, and governmental policy.

Mitja Sardoč: Why large-scale assessments and quantitative data in general are a central part of the 'neo-liberal toolkit' in educational research?

Henry Giroux: These are the tools of accountants and have nothing to do with larger visions or questions about what matters as part of a university education. The overreliance on metrics and measurement has become a tool used to remove questions of responsibility, morality, and justice from the language and policies of education. I believe the neoliberal toolkit as you put it is part of the discourse of civic illiteracy that now runs rampant in higher educational research, a kind of mind-numbing investment in a metric-based culture that kills the imagination and wages an assault on what it means to be critical, thoughtful, daring, and willing to take risks. Metrics in the service of an audit culture has become the new face of a culture of positivism, a kind of empirical-based panopticon that turns ideas into numbers and the creative impulse into ashes. Large scale assessments and quantitative data are the driving mechanisms in which everything is absorbed into the culture of business.

The distinction between information and knowledge has become irrelevant in this model and anything that cannot be captured by numbers is treated with disdain. In this new audit panopticon, the only knowledge that matters is that which can be measured. What is missed here, of course, is that measurable utility is a curse as a universal principle because it ignores any form of knowledge based on the assumption that individuals need to know more than how things work or what their practical utility might be.

This is a language that cannot answer the question of what the responsibility of the university and educators might be in a time of tyranny, in the face of the unspeakable, and the current widespread attack on immigrants, Muslims, and others considered disposable. This is a language that is both afraid and unwilling to imagine what alternative worlds inspired by the search for equality and justice might be possible in an age beset by the increasing dark forces of authoritarianism.

Mitja Sardoč: While the analysis of the neoliberal agenda in education is well documented, the analysis of the language of neoliberal education is at the fringes of scholarly interest. In particular, the expansion of the neoliberal vocabulary with egalitarian ideas such as fairness, justice, equality of opportunity, well-being etc. has received [at best]only limited attention. What factors have contributed to this shift of emphasis?

Henry Giroux: Neoliberalism has upended how language is used in both education and the wider society. It works to appropriate discourses associated with liberal democracy that have become normalized in order to both limit their meanings and use them to mean the opposite of what they have meant traditionally, especially with respect to human rights, justice, informed judgment, critical agency, and democracy itself. It is waging a war over not just the relationship between economic structures but over memory, words, meaning, and politics. Neoliberalism takes words like freedom and limits it to the freedom to consume, spew out hate, and celebrate notions of self-interest and a rabid individualism as the new common sense.

Equality of opportunity means engaging in ruthless forms of competition, a war of all against all ethos, and a survival of the fittest mode of behavior.

The vocabulary of neoliberalism operates in the service of violence in that it reduces the capacity for human fulfillment in the collective sense, diminishes a broad understanding of freedom as fundamental to expanding the capacity for human agency, and diminishes the ethical imagination by reducing it to the interest of the market and the accumulation of capital. Words, memory, language and meaning are weaponized under neoliberalism.

Certainly, neither the media nor progressives have given enough attention to how neoliberalism colonizes language because neither group has given enough attention to viewing the crisis of neoliberalism as not only an economic crisis but also a crisis of ideas. Education is not viewed as a force central to politics and as such the intersection of language, power, and politics in the neoliberal paradigm has been largely ignored. Moreover, at a time when civic culture is being eradicated, public spheres are vanishing, and notions of shared citizenship appear obsolete, words that speak to the truth, reveal injustices and provide informed critical analysis also begin to disappear.

This makes it all the more difficult to engage critically the use of neoliberalism's colonization of language. In the United States, Trump prodigious tweets signify not only a time in which governments engage in the pathology of endless fabrications, but also how they function to reinforce a pedagogy of infantilism designed to animate his base in a glut of shock while reinforcing a culture of war, fear, divisiveness, and greed in ways that disempower his critics.

Mitja Sardoč: You have written extensively on neoliberalism's exclusively instrumental view of education, its reductionist understanding of effectiveness and its distorted image of fairness. In what way should radical pedagogy fight back neoliberalism and its educational agenda?

Henry Giroux: First, higher education needs to reassert its mission as a public good in order to reclaim its egalitarian and democratic impulses. Educators need to initiate and expand a national conversation in which higher education can be defended as a democratic public sphere and the classroom as a site of deliberative inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking, a site that makes a claim on the radical imagination and a sense of civic courage. At the same time, the discourse on defining higher education as a democratic public sphere can provide the platform for a more expressive commitment in developing a social movement in defense of public goods and against neoliberalism as a threat to democracy. This also means rethinking how education can be funded as a public good and what it might mean to fight for policies that both stop the defunding of education and fight to relocate funds from the death dealing military and incarceration budgets to those supporting education at all levels of society. The challenge here is for higher education not to abandon its commitment to democracy and to recognize that neoliberalism operates in the service of the forces of economic domination and ideological repression.

Second, educators need to acknowledge and make good on the claim that a critically literate citizen is indispensable to a democracy, especially at a time when higher education is being privatized and subject to neoliberal restructuring efforts. This suggests placing ethics, civic literacy, social responsibility, and compassion at the forefront of learning so as to combine knowledge, teaching, and research with the rudiments of what might be called the grammar of an ethical and social imagination. This would imply taking seriously those values, traditions, histories, and pedagogies that would promote a sense of dignity, self-reflection, and compassion at the heart of a real democracy. Third, higher education needs to be viewed as a right, as it is in many countries such as Germany, France, Norway, Finland, and Brazil, rather than a privilege for a limited few, as it is in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Fourth, in a world driven by data, metrics, and the replacement of knowledge by the overabundance of information, educators need to enable students to engage in multiple literacies extending from print and visual culture to digital culture. They need to become border crossers who can think dialectically, and learn not only how to consume culture but also to produce it. Fifth, faculty must reclaim their right to control over the nature of their labor, shape policies of governance, and be given tenure track lines with the guarantee of secure employment and protection for academic freedom and free speech.

Mitja Sardoč: Why is it important to analyze the relationship between neoliberalism and civic literacy particularly as an educational project?

Henry Giroux: The ascendancy of neoliberalism in American politics has made visible a plague of deep-seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making.

It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship. As market mentalities and moralities tighten their grip on all aspects of society, democratic institutions and public spheres are being downsized, if not altogether disappearing.

As these institutions vanish – from public schools and alternative media to health care centers– there is also a serious erosion of the discourse of community, justice, equality, public values, and the common good. At the same time reason and truth are not simply contested, or the subject of informed arguments as they should be, but wrongly vilified – banished to Trump's poisonous world of fake news. For instance, under the Trump administration, language has been pillaged, truth and reason disparaged, and words and phrases emptied of any substance or turned into their opposite, all via the endless production of Trump's Twitter storms and the ongoing clown spectacle of Fox News. This grim reality points to a failure in the power of the civic imagination, political will, and open democracy. It is also part of a politics that strips the social of any democratic ideals and undermines any understanding of education as a public good. What we are witnessing under neoliberalism is not simply a political project to consolidate power in the hands of the corporate and financial elite but also a reworking of the very meaning of literacy and education as crucial to what it means to create an informed citizenry and democratic society. In an age when literacy and thinking become dangerous to the anti-democratic forces governing all the commanding economic and cultural institutions of the United States, truth is viewed as a liability, ignorance becomes a virtue, and informed judgments and critical thinking demeaned and turned into rubble and ashes. Under the reign of this normalized architecture of alleged common sense, literacy is regarded with disdain, words are reduced to data and science is confused with pseudo-science. Traces of critical thought appear more and more at the margins of the culture as ignorance becomes the primary organizing principle of American society.

Under the forty-year reign of neoliberalism, language has been militarized, handed over to advertisers, game show idiocy, and a political and culturally embarrassing anti-intellectualism sanctioned by the White House. Couple this with a celebrity culture that produces an ecosystem of babble, shock, and tawdry entertainment. Add on the cruel and clownish anti-public intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson who defend inequality, infantile forms of masculinity, and define ignorance and a warrior mentality as part of the natural order, all the while dethroning any viable sense of agency and the political.

The culture of manufactured illiteracy is also reproduced through a media apparatus that trades in illusions and the spectacle of violence. Under these circumstances, illiteracy becomes the norm and education becomes central to a version of neoliberal zombie politics that functions largely to remove democratic values, social relations, and compassion from the ideology, policies and commanding institutions that now control American society. In the age of manufactured illiteracy, there is more at work than simply an absence of learning, ideas or knowledge. Nor can the reign of manufactured illiteracy be solely attributed to the rise of the new social media, a culture of immediacy, and a society that thrives on instant gratification. On the contrary, manufactured illiteracy is political and educational project central to a right-wing corporatist ideology and set of policies that work aggressively to depoliticize people and make them complicitous with the neoliberal and racist political and economic forces that impose misery and suffering upon their lives. There is more at work here than what Ariel Dorfman calls a "felonious stupidity," there is also the workings of a deeply malicious form of 21 st century neoliberal fascism and a culture of cruelty in which language is forced into the service of violence while waging a relentless attack on the ethical imagination and the notion of the common good. In the current historical moment illiteracy and ignorance offer the pretense of a community in doing so has undermined the importance of civic literacy both in higher education and the larger society.

Mitja Sardoč: Is there any shortcoming in the analysis of such a complex (and controversial) social phenomenon as neoliberalism and its educational agenda? Put differently: is there any aspect of the neoliberal educational agenda that its critics have failed to address?

Henry Giroux: Any analysis of an ideology such as neoliberalism will always be incomplete. And the literature on neoliberalism in its different forms and diverse contexts is quite abundant. What is often underplayed in my mind are three things.

First, too little is said about how neoliberalism functions not simply as an economic model for finance capital but as a public pedagogy that operates through a diverse number of sites and platforms.

Second, not enough has been written about its war on a democratic notion of sociality and the concept of the social.

Third, at a time in which echoes of a past fascism are on the rise not enough is being said about the relationship between neoliberalism and fascism, or what I call neoliberal fascism, especially the relationship between the widespread suffering and misery caused by neoliberalism and the rise of white supremacy.

I define neoliberal fascism as both a project and a movement, which functions as an enabling force that weakens, if not destroys, the commanding institutions of a democracy while undermining its most valuable principles.

Consequently, it provides a fertile ground for the unleashing of the ideological architecture, poisonous values, and racist social relations sanctioned and produced under fascism. Neoliberalism and fascism conjoin and advance in a comfortable and mutually compatible project and movement that connects the worse excesses of capitalism with fascist ideals – the veneration of war, a hatred of reason and truth; a populist celebration of ultra-nationalism and racial purity; the suppression of freedom and dissent; a culture which promotes lies, spectacles, a demonization of the other, a discourse of decline, brutal violence, and ultimately state violence in heterogeneous forms. As a project, it destroys all the commanding institutions of democracy and consolidates power in the hands of a financial elite.

As a movement, it produces and legitimates massive economic inequality and suffering, privatizes public goods, dismantles essential government agencies, and individualizes all social problems. In addition, it transforms the political state into the corporate state, and uses the tools of surveillance, militarization, and law and order to discredit the critical press and media, undermine civil liberties while ridiculing and censoring critics.

What critics need to address is that neoliberalism is the face of a new fascism and as such it speaks to the need to repudiate the notion that capitalism and democracy are the same thing, renew faith in the promises of a democratic socialism, create new political formations around an alliance of diverse social movements, and take seriously the need to make education central to politics itself.

[Jan 22, 2019] War with Russia From Putin Ukraine to Trump Russiagate

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

P. Philips 5.0 out of 5 stars December 6, 2018

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act"

"In a Time of Universal Deceit -- Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" is a well known quotation (but probably not of George Orwell). And in telling the truth about Russia and that the current "war of nerves" is not in the interests of either the American People or national security, Professor Cohen in this book has in fact done a revolutionary act.

Like a denizen of Plato's cave, or being in the film the Matrix, most people have no idea what the truth is. And the questions raised by Professor Cohen are a great service in the cause of the truth. As Professor Cohen writes in his introduction To His Readers:

"My scholarly work -- my biography of Nikolai Bukharin and essays collected in Rethinking the Soviet Experience and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives, for example -- has always been controversial because it has been what scholars term "revisionist" -- reconsiderations, based on new research and perspectives, of prevailing interpretations of Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. But the "controversy" surrounding me since 2014, mostly in reaction to the contents of this book, has been different -- inspired by usually vacuous, defamatory assaults on me as "Putin's No. 1 American Apologist," "Best Friend," and the like. I never respond specifically to these slurs because they offer no truly substantive criticism of my arguments, only ad hominem attacks. Instead, I argue, as readers will see in the first section, that I am a patriot of American national security, that the orthodox policies my assailants promote are gravely endangering our security, and that therefore we -- I and others they assail -- are patriotic heretics. Here too readers can judge."

Cohen, Stephen F.. War with Russia (Kindle Locations 131-139). Hot Books. Kindle Edition.

Professor Cohen is indeed a patriot of the highest order. The American and "Globalists" elites, particularly the dysfunctional United Kingdom, are engaging in a war of nerves with Russia. This war, which could turn nuclear for reasons discussed in this important book, is of no benefit to any person or nation.

Indeed, with the hysteria on "climate change" isn't it odd that other than Professor Cohen's voice, there are no prominent figures warning of the devastation that nuclear war would bring?

If you are a viewer of one of the legacy media outlets, be it Cable Television networks, with the exception of Tucker Carlson on Fox who has Professor Cohen as a frequent guest, or newspapers such as The New York Times, you have been exposed to falsehoods by remarkably ignorant individuals; ignorant of history, of the true nature of Russia (which defeated the Nazis in Europe at a loss of millions of lives) and most important, of actual military experience. America is neither an invincible or exceptional nation. And for those familiar with terminology of ancient history, it appears the so-called elites are suffering from hubris.

I cannot recommend Professor Cohen's work with sufficient superlatives; his arguments are erudite, clearly stated, supported by the facts and ultimately irrefutable. If enough people find Professor Cohen's work and raise their voices to their oblivious politicians and profiteers from war to stop further confrontation between Russia and America, then this book has served a noble purpose.

If nothing else, educate yourself by reading this work to discover what the *truth* is. And the truth is something sacred.

America and the world owe Professor Cohen a great debt. "Blessed are the peace makers..."

jn 5.0 out of 5 stars January 18, 2019

This book examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin

This is a compelling book that documents and examines the senseless and dangerous demonizing of Russia and Putin. Unfortunately, the elites in Washington and mass media are not likely to read this book. Their minds are closed. I read this book because I was hoping for an explanation about the cause of the new cold war with Russia. Although the root cause of the new cold war is beyond the scope of this book, the book documents baseless accusations that grew in frequency and intensity until all opposition was silenced. The book documents the dangerous triumph of group think.

skeptic

"On my planet, the evidence linking Putin to the assassination of Litvinecko, Nemtsov, and Politkovskaya and the attempt on the Skripals is strong and consistent with spending his formative years in the KGB. The naive view from Cohen's planet is presented on p 6 and 170."

Ukrainian history. That's evident to any attentive reader. I just want to state that Ukrainian EuroMaydan was a color revolution which exploited the anger of population against the corrupt neoliberal government of Yanukovich (with Biden as the best friend, and Paul Manafort as the election advisor) to install even more neoliberal and more corrupt government of Poroshenko and cut Ukraine from Russia. The process that was probably inevitable in the long run (so called Baltic path), but that was forcefully accelerated. Everything was taken from the Gene Sharp textbook. And Ukrainians suffered greatly as a result, with the standard of living dropping to around $2 a day level -- essentially Central Africa level.

The fact is that the EU acted as a predator trying to get into Ukraine markets and displace Russia. While the USA neocons (Nuland and Co) staged the coup using Ukrainian nationalists as a ram, ignoring the fact that Yanukovich would be voted out in six months anyway (his popularity was in single digits, like popularity of Poroshenko those days ;-). The fact that Obama administration desperately wanted to weaken Russia at the expense of Ukrainians eludes you. I would blame Nuland for the loss of Crimea and the civil war in Donbass.

Poor Ukrainians again became the victim of geopolitical games by big powers. No that they are completely blameless, but still...

It looks like you inhabit a very cold populated exclusively with neocons planet called "Russiagate." So Professor Cohen really lives on another planet. And probably you should drink less American exceptionalism Kool-Aid.

[Jan 22, 2019] The Corrosion of Conservatism Why I Left the Right

Notable quotes:
"... Max Boot saw the light when it was too late. As an advocate for America's reckless wars after 9/11, he bears moral responsibility for the degrading of conservatism into a hate-filled cult. ..."
"... Boot, and others like him, need to spend a few more years in purgatory for the mess that he put us in. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | www.amazon.com

2N2Make4 2.0 out of 5 stars November 29, 2018

Max's long overdue awakening

I wanted to like this book and Max Boot but couldn't. I'm an 'old white guy' who grew up in an Eisenhower Republican family but switched allegiance to the Democrats during the civil rights battles in the 60s. I was hoping to read about someone who went through a similar transformation but Max's journey falls short.

The book is part autobiographical: Max was born in Russia into a Jewish family in 1969. His family was allowed to leave the USSR and immigrate to the US in 1976 after pressure was placed on the Communist government by the United States. Max states that the Boots survived here in part on payments from Social Security for which Max says "Thank you, America" but ignores that this support was from a program that was developed by liberals and that has been regularly attacked by conservative Republicans.
His mother was employed by the University of California, a state university, and Max received his undergraduate education at UC Berkeley. While he notes that it "cost next to nothing" at the time, he doesn't point out that his tuition was low thanks to subsidies that were paid by the taxes of the citizens of the State of California. The UC system is also a product of progressive thinking and is partly responsible for the economic growth in California. It's paid for itself many times over by developing a highly educated work force that supports the many high paying, high skilled jobs in the state.

Max began his conversion to right wing politics at age 13 when he received a subscription to the New Republic magazine. I suppose you can't expect much critical thinking from an adolescent, but you would think that it would have taken less than 36 years to realize that conservative Republican values and policies weren't conducive to helping people who have needs similar to those of his family. Especially since Max seems certain that he is among the most intelligent people to walk among us.

He states that he now sees that the messages of conservative Republicans were often "coded racial appeals – those dog whistles" and that liberals have recognized this for decades. He just didn't believe the liberals or bother to honestly evaluate their warnings.
Max can't refrain from making the ad hominem attacks so prevalent among right wing pundits. Most of these are directed at Donald Trump, whom he describes as a "liar, an ignoramus, and a moral abomination". He also includes a chapter about the "Trump Toadies".

Max "loved the attention and notoriety" his conservative views generated in his youth. He now recognizes that he has been a part of a movement that has been "morally and intellectually bankrupt".

He also states that he no longer receives any pay from any conservative organization. Is this the reason that he is looking for another group to hook up with? Or is he worried that since he was not born in the United States his citizenship might be revoked and he might be sent back to Russia if the anti-Semitic members of the right wing get their way?

So Max comes across as quite shallow even while showing off his extravagant vocabulary. While he was quite willing to accept the offerings of a liberal society, he's been unwilling to consider any responsibility to provide similar benefits to those who came after him.

The book is well written and is a quick read. Ultimately it's one man's awakening to the awful realities of what conservative Republicanism has become. It doesn't really break any new ground for those who have been following politics for any length of time.

In the epilogue Max lists his current beliefs and many of them are liberal. He states he is pro-LGBTQ rights, pro-environment, pro-gun control, pro-immigration including offering a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and he is also in favor of free speech. He and I might disagree on the details about how to reach some of these goals but in these areas we would be pointing at similar directions.

But then Max attacks other progressive programs. For example, he states that single payer medical insurance – Medicare for all – would cost too much and cause insurance companies to go bankrupt or "find a new business model". Frankly if a company that makes its money by increasing the cost of our health care has to "find a new business model", I believe that would be a good thing for the health of our economy and of our people. As to the insurance company employees, since claims would still have to be processed I suspect that the people processing claims for the insurance companies would be able to make the switch to work for a government agency processing claims easily, so they should be ok.

I hope that Max's rejection of conservative Republicanism is actually a genuine realization that ALL people are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" including getting affordable medical care. If that's the case, I would be happy to welcome him to join those of us who vote for politicians who truly represent these values.

But I am not convinced by this book that he has truly escaped the "corrosion of conservatism". Let's see if time will prove me wrong.

skeptic

Thank you for your review. Much appreciated...

I would add that it is important to understand that Max Boot is not an intellectual, he is essentially a well-paid MIC lobbyist who pretends to be an intellectual. He does not have convictions per se, only the burning desire to belong to the winning and/or better paid party.

The fact that he realized from which side the bread is buttered at early age just confirms what he always valued money more then ideas.

Mark bennett 1.0 out of 5 stars October 25, 2018

A Lyndon Johnson Democrat goes home

The politics of the cold war created many political anomalies in the United States. One of the biggest was the migration of the cold war hawks after 1968 from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. For many of them, it was less about a broad vision of politics than narrow concerns over Vietnam and the Soviet Union. The alliance functioned up until the end of the cold war and the establishment of republican control in the Senate and House. Then it broke down completely during the Presidential Term of George W. Bush.

After a decade out of power and as a hanger-on in three failed presidential campaigns, Max Boot has written this book which is sort of a combination of angry farewell letter and maoist self-criticism covering his entire political career to 2016 or so.

The problems start at the beginning of the book. He defines "conservative" to mean to him "incremental policy making based on empirical study". His conservative beliefs, in contrast to what he considers "European" beliefs, rejects the nation-state and the idea of an American identity. The only limit to the "social safety net" in his mind is when that safety net begins to impact "individual initiative". He makes a special point of saying that what has united the country since the beginning is not belief in a nation, but rather belief in ideas or "self evident truths".

The problem with all that is that his ideas of conservatism are in fact liberalism. Incremental government policy to incrementally perfect society is not a remotely conservative concept. Further, when you conclude as he does that American Soil has no meaning and American Blood shed has no value, you have to really wonder about how exactly he justifies his belief in foreign wars. Are Americans who have served in the military just suckers? or slaves in Pharaoh's army? Where is patriotism in his vision of what "conservative" means? Did people in wars die for "self evident truths" rather than the flag?

He drifts further into liberal thought with his idea that there is more to the constitution than what is in the constitution. Rather than just the text and intent, Boot finds unwritten "norms" hidden within the constitution which he holds American Citizens should respect equally with the constitution. This is not a new idea. Its the old idea of the "living" constitution which only elite oracles can present to us its true hidden meaning.

Then, like many people, he claims that his ideas are those of Barry Goldwater in 1960. But they are absolutely not. The ideas that Max Boot stands for are the ideas of Lyndon Johnson. The ideas of using the power of government for social engineering. The idea of fighting crusades for ideas overseas in places like Vietnam. A general rejection of any sort of morality or patriotism in politics. Worst of all, the tendency to see the United States of America as an intellectual crusade for justice in the world rather than as a country.

A large portion of the book is given over to complaints about Trump. But the problem is that Max Boot's ideas and his idea of what a conservative is go far beyond just being for or against Trump. In a very real sense, he represents the discredited politics of George W. Bush who have no support among any party and only tend to have followers in places like the pages of "The Atlantic". The question isn't really what happened to the republican party, but more how someone with the outright liberal political worldview of someone like Max Boot ever thought that those ideas are what conservative meant. He tries to attach himself to men of the past like Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan. But he fails to realize that he would not fit in with the politics of any of those man. Perhaps he would have best fit with the old Rockefeller Republicans but to me even that is far from certain.

Max Boot has in the past been critical of Ronald Reagan's decision not to fight a war in Lebanon in the 1980s associating it with American "weakness" that led to 9/11. He blamed Eisenhower's decision not to support the British/French invasion of Egypt in 1956 as starting a "pattern of weakness" in America's dealing with the middle east which was not corrected until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Its equally doubtful that Max Boot would have supported the ideas of Barry Goldwater over those of Lyndon Johnson.

The bulk of the book him talking about his favorite topic: himself. He proves once again that he isn't any sort of intellectual or man of ideas. He complains about trump. He complains about various republicans who he clearly expected to follow him out of the republican party but did not.

There are some incredible claims in the book such as claiming that the welfare state is what ensures the success of free market. He just loves Black Lives Matter and suddenly after a long career, race is suddenly something he cars about while the police are now the bad guys. He also discovered after the election of Trump that sexism is a problem in America. He can't really explain why he didn't care about these issues for decades before Trump and now cares about deeply after Trump. I don't think he really cares about much of anything other than boots on the ground in the middle east or preparing for war with China.

He ends the book with a conclusion titled "the vital center". The title is of course a shout-out to old school liberal (and kennedy henchmen) Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.. In it, he tells us that he is "socially liberal", He believes in fiscal responsibility but not if it involves cutting the welfare state & along those lines supports "Simpson Bowles" which called for fixing the deficit with higher taxes and a "public option" for health insurance. He supports the welfare state because to him its the basis for the free market. He supports gun control. He wants more immigration to deal with our "labor shortage". He sees China and Russia as defense threats along with a list of other countries.

He concludes with a "moderate" (ironic of course) call for everyone to vote every single republican out of office until Trump is out of office or removed as president. And while he makes it (finally) clear at the end that he just loved Hillary Clinton and her brand of politics, he could never become a democrat because of the threat of bernie sanders. His vision is a party of what he calls "centerists" which would seemingly favor a policy of expanding the welfare state while fighting wars overseas to save the world. But Max Boot's politics don't represent the center of anything. Whatever the bad of Trump, Max Boot represents something just as bad or worse.

David L. Parnell 1.0 out of 5 stars November 17, 2018

Max Boot's recognition of racism in the GOP is late...decades late...

Corrosion is a slow process but early in the 1960's the GOP sucked almost all of the racists out of the Democratic Party right into the Republican Party just to elect Richard Nixon with the GOP "Southern Strategy." Men like the followers of Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms in the rural south rushed to vote for the "Sanitary Republican Party."

Sanitary was old Jim Crow code for "whites only." If any business identified itself with "sanitary" in its name, that was a warning for "whites only."

Strom Thurmond had earlier literally executed the longest filibuster in Congressional history to oppose a vote on a civil rights legislation promoted by Democrats.

Then Ronald Reagan and the George Bush used Lee Atwater and Richard Quinn (a South Carolina leader of the neo-Confederacy movement) to craft overt racist strategies, narratives, and TV advertisements. The Southern Partisan was a publication aimed at legitimating racism and opposition to civil rights for blacks. This block of GOP consultants used the Southern Partisan publication to create a core database of neo-Confederacy racists which was so reliably Republican that both John McCain and George W. Bush used Richard Quinn's backing in their election efforts.

Around 1981 Clemson University founded the "Strom Thurmond Institute" to co-opt this public university to historically immortalize the papers and sentiments of Strom Thurmond in a revisionist manner.

Another product of Richard Quinn was young Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who grew up working in his parent's business in Central South Carolina, the "Sanitary Cafe," a bar, grill, and pool hall establishment. Lindsey Graham was mentored into South Carolina politics by Richard Quinn who supplied Graham with a heroic hard knocks narrative which never mentioned the neo-Confederacy roots of both men. Now if you review the Congressional Record you see Lindsey Graham's voting record follows a Republican Southern Strategy which Nixon, Reagan, George Bush, Strom Thurmond, and Jesse Helms would have been proud of. These racist political narratives can be mapped to every Republican strategist and their GOP candidate product. Max Boot ignores this historical behavior infused into the Republican Party since before 1963.

Donald Trump is only different in that he has Tweeted these sentiments ad nauseam and publicly voiced them expressly in his political appearances and news conferences. If you are honest, the "N" word has been "whispered" (Jim DeMint) as an "IN" word in secret congregations of Republicans for decades. Lindsey Graham has created a consistent attempt at humor where he frequently quips "white man" jokes while supporting voter suppression and gerrymandering by his party.

Max Boot is correct that this racism has moved from the backrooms under the cover of Donald Trump, but, to deny that this these sentiments have not been part of the Republican infrastructure for decades is rude hypocrisy. As you read this book, to load this burden on Donald Trump alone is to deny history and the public record. Donald Trump merely harnessed this latent DNA of the Republican party while masterfully marketing himself as a new Republican unbound by swamp politics (a political breed which does not exist in the Republican Party.) Look at Ben Sasse, he writes as a centrist yet votes as a Trump man. Look at Lindsey Graham's descriptions of Trump in 2016 and now listen to his praise of Trump today. Yet, Max Boot sees this as a recent development in the Republican Party when it has been part of the GOP DNA which has produced a racist voting record as each generation of Republicans is sworn in.

Joseph Hawkins 1.0 out of 5 stars October 25, 2018

Disingenuous

Max Boot saw the light when it was too late. As an advocate for America's reckless wars after 9/11, he bears moral responsibility for the degrading of conservatism into a hate-filled cult.

A month after 9/11, he called for the invasion of Iraq. Did he not think that almost two decades of continuous war fighting would not radicalize the American populace? He's making amends by writing a book, for which he probably received a hefty advance and will make money off of from royalties. Should donate the proceeds to charity.

Amazon Customer 1.0 out of 5 stars Marx, Lenin and Gramsci come Alive! November 7, 2018

Max Boot is another smug, arrogant, self righteous, Gramscian, ruling class communist, that's trying convince the "Base" that he knows what's best for them; all while devowing the little bit of wealth they might have left to live on. Why?

Because the "Base" are the slaves of the "Superstructure" ruling class. Remember, as Stalin put it, "the middle class is the enemy" to the socialist. America is on slow-drip to Totalitarianism. And Max Boot is just one more in the camp on the transition.

BB876 1.0 out of 5 stars October 26, 2018

Nothing New

I didn't feel this book offered anything new that nearly every other pundit on TV talks about 24/7 regarding "leaving the right"

txtxyeha 2.0 out of 5 stars November 11, 2018

Please give me a check to cash

My translation of this book, free of charge.

"Hi, I'm a bonafide conservative and here are the ways Trump has embarrassed The Cause as defined by Ronald Reagan. Since I refuse to kiss Trump's ring, I still gotta eat so I'm going to grandly announce that I have left the Republican Party in the form of this book and hope you will give me a check to cash. Thank you."

I know that's a harsh assessment of a book that I agree with 98% of what's written, Mr. Boot offers no insight. Not once did I think, "Ah, good point. I didn't think of that."

It's simply a rehashing of Mr. Trump's ridiculous gaffs (hell, I could have done that, there are sooo many to choose from) and at the very end a very lame path out of this quagmire (spoiler alert: we just need someone else as charismatic as Trump that's not [insert negative adjectives here] because the Republicans have proven they will follow ANYBODY over a cliff).

I finished this book (though skipped many chapters because it was simply rehashing Trump's train wrecks) and said, "That's all you got? [sigh of resignation]"

Jensen Cross Integrated Solutions 1.0 out of 5 stars December 22, 2018

Conflicted words by a mockingbird media asset

I never searched this book on Amazon, however, I did write a tweet about Max Boot, so I guess Twitter shares with Amazon. To the review, however -- this is written by a person who writes that Trump has failed us by leaving troops in war, and just 6 months later, writes an article that totally contradicts the earlier statement, stating that Trump can never do anything right because he is pulling troops out of war. Which is it? I would not line a birdcage with this garbage.

Strike Me Down Now! 1.0 out of 5 stars December 16, 2018

Boot helped break it and now he wants to blame Trump

Trump is just a symptom; an easy scapegoat because he's a twit. Boot helped create and perpetuate the monster that the GOP became. Boot, and others like him, need to spend a few more years in purgatory for the mess that he put us in.

james c. 2.0 out of 5 stars October 9, 2018

Self serving title

Unfortunately the author is venting his personal dislike of the current administration without addressing the previous administrations attempt to divide the country by any means possibly and subsequently putting the American people into a politically charged environment that the author is trying to capitalize on.

[Jan 21, 2019] America and the Imperialism of Ignorance How America Won the War and Lost the Peace - US Foreign Policy Since 1945 by Andrew Alexander

Very interesting and important book. Andrew Alexander was a senior journalist for the Daily Mail. He died in 2015.
"Well-written, an easy read and formidably-argued. I think it is an important subject, not just as 20th-century history, but as commentary on the modern US mindset." Matthew Parris
Notable quotes:
"... However, this orthodox view is based on the premise that the Soviet threat at the end of the Second World War was a real one. But, as one of Britain's leading military commentators, Sir Michael Howard, observed during the last days of the Soviet Union: 'No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe.' ..."
"... In allotting blame for the start of the Cold War, Churchill certainly has to bear some share. But predominantly, as the evidence shows, it was the Americans who must shoulder the main responsibility. ..."
"... Washington, under the influence of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, ignored overtures from Moscow after the death of Stalin in 1953 ..."
"... On the US side, the reign of John Foster Dulles at the State Department (1953-1959) was to see a foreign policy designed to scare the Soviet Union into submission. The death of Stalin and gestures of detente by the new leadership opened up new prospects which were promptly rebuffed. The British and French governments tried to redress the balance but, as decidedly junior partners in the alliance were unable to do so. There was also an inclination in Washington to listen to military hotheads in formulating policy. ..."
Jan 21, 2019 | www.amazon.com

American incomprehension of the outside world, combined with a determination to lead it, has been the principal problem in international affairs since the end of the Second World War. The stubbornly orthodox view remains that despite 'aberrations' ranging from Vietnam to Iraq, the balance sheet remains in the USA's favour, given the triumph of the Cold War, the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism. America thus deserves the West's gratitude for leading it to victory after forty-five years of confrontation with an aggressive Russia. It adds some logic to the view that it is essential for the Western alliance to hold firm behind Washington as it faces the newer menace of Islamic terrorism.

However, this orthodox view is based on the premise that the Soviet threat at the end of the Second World War was a real one. But, as one of Britain's leading military commentators, Sir Michael Howard, observed during the last days of the Soviet Union: 'No serious historian any longer argues that Stalin ever had any intention of moving his forces outside the area he occupied in Eastern Europe.'

Yet many historians, perhaps not serious but widely read, still argue that the Soviet leader had such aggressive ambitions. A proper military analysis of the situation in 1945 would have shown that the prospect of Russian armies invading Western Europe was a fantasy, like Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction ready for launch in forty-five minutes. Also like the domino theory' reigning in Washington during the Vietnam conflict that if the North won, the whole of South East Asia would go Communist.

The opening up of the Soviet archives underlines the fantasy of the old view of the Russian 'threat'. The USA's allies today maybe anxious to believe that such manifest follies as Vietnam and Iraq were uncharacteristic of a nation dedicated to peace. But both demonstrate an unmistakable continuity of a fiercely assertive foreign policy, flourishing under presidencies or both parties, the unwinnabie war m Vietnam started under President Kennedy, was stepped up by President Johnson and finally lost by President Nixon despite ferocious bombings of Laos and Cambodia, plus raids on Hanoi itself, in an effort to force North Vietnam to negotiate.

The first Gulf War, launched by President George H. Bush to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, achieved its UN-legitimised end. But the subsequent programme of militarily- supported sanctions produced appalling hardship and death for the ordinary people of Iraq, whom Washington was claiming to rescue. As the death toll mounted, the sanctions were notoriously dubbed 'worthwhile' during the Clinton regime. The second Gulf War launched by President George W. Bush is only defended by those hemmed in by their former enthusiasm. Its cost since 2003 has been prodigious for Iraq, supposedly being rescued from tyranny while the Middle East and the world was simultaneously saved from Saddam's WMDs.

The prolonged and unwinnabie war in Afghanistan appeared to follow the decision by the second Bush to extend the original punitive expedition launched after the 9/11 atrocity in New' York. But it transpired that an attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was already being planned in Washington to settle old scores with al Qaeda for previous terrorist assaults. The subsequent 'war on terror' became a general campaign against Islamic militants, extending into Pakistan and Yemen. In the case of Afghanistan it was accompanied by a high-minded claim that a Western-style democratic state w7as being created which w'ould be a barrier to Jihadists. By the time Bush left office, the conflict had lasted seven years - longer than the Second World War - and the position was deteriorating. The succeeding Obama administration's policy on Afghanistan, despite pledges of a swift removal of American forces, was to leave US policy little changed. He agreed to send more troops in the hope that - reminiscent of Vietnam - they might inflict sufficient damage on the insurgents to ease the early US withdrawal he called for during his election campaign.

Correspondingly, Washington's almost unquestioning support for Israel in its collisions with its Arab neighbours seemed to underline a US instinct for the solution of problems by force, or the support of force by a surrogate. Washington was the vital provider of military, economic and political aid. It bore a key responsibility for Israel's prolonged assault on insurgents in the Lebanon in the late 1970s, in the brief repeat of this exercise in 2006 and similarly in Gaza in 2008 - all expeditions which aroused widespread condemnation. US policy in Latin America, regularly in assistance with notoriously brutal regimes, also demonstrated the continuity of outlook in Washington, regardless of party.

Criticism of these unfortunate chapters in American foreign policy is now commonplace. However, a readiness to recognise the folly of the Cold War and how the US began it is much harder to find, despite the high quality of 'revisionist' histories by American historians in particular. There are obviously other reasons for a reluctance to face this. It rebels against sense to accept that the world came close to nuclear Armageddon on half a dozen occasions and expended so much blood and treasure for forty' years against a threat that was never real. To accept this raises serious doubt about the integrity and basic intelligence of a whole succession of Western governments and the political institutions for which they make such high claims. In mitigation of the European powers' readiness to follow' the American lead, two points might be made. The hrst is, ironically, that the launch ot the Cold War by the USA did m due course bring into existence the very danger which had been imagined. It made frantic defence measures seem sensible. Threatened by President Truman, Russia responded by a vigorous programme of rearmament and an even tighter clampdown on Eastern Europe. With the refusal of the USA to respond to peace initiatives launched by the Soviet leadership on the death of Stalin in 1953, the Kremlin fought back under the new and more assertive leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. American and Western power in general was challenged wherever it could be found. It became rational to talk of a Communist threat and of the danger of a Soviet Union with a nuclear armoury. What was inaccurate was the assumption that a new military threat had come into being when the wartime allies finally came face to face in Germany.

A second excuse may be pleaded for Western governments following American policy: the sheer power of the dollar. What Washington decreed was little challenged by its European allies. There were dangers in objecting to the foreign policy of the USA. It was like criticising the bank manager wrhen loans were desperately needed. Accepting the American view helped by the expenditure involved in US bases in Europe was the easiest route. The normal-give- and-take between allies declined into a subservient attitude. Britain was trying to rebuild a shattered economy with the assistance of an American loan. In 1948 it became further dependent on US aid under the Marshall Plan for European reconstruction. Britain was particularly reliant on US support for sterling, foolishly on a fixed exchange rate which was regularly in crisis. Ironically the instability in sterling owred much to Britain's attempts to maintain its own military' bases around the world, a policy warmly supported by the Americans. Inis economic dependence had an inevitable ettect on British policy trom the start. Clement Attlee, newly elected as Labour Prime Minister in 1945, was not by instinct a hardliner when it came to the Soviet Union, though his ebullient Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin was. His outlook was coloured by his experience of Communist manoeuvrings as a trade union leader. There were strong doubts about the American attitude in the mind of Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary during Churchill's wartime leadership and a veteran of dealings with the Kremlin. He regarded the Soviet position after the end of the war as driven by natural motives of defence. Churchill himself with his long history of hostility to everything Soviet shared none of his deputy's reservations. But hardliners and doubters had one view in common. To defy US policy w7as financially perilous. The Suez crisis was to demonstrate this dramatically a decade later.

Tire consequences of prolonged and unquestioning support for the USA have been disastrous. It has led to friends of America being dragged into the front line of a 'war on terror' which served as a recruiting sergeant for Jihadists from all parts of Islam. The world is a much more dangerous place as a result of America's determination to save it.

A wider look at history show's that a strongly interventionist US foreign policy is nothing new7 - though the current pow'er to intervene globally is. A century ago, an American incomprehension of the outside w'orld was exemplified by President Woodrow' Wilson, so determined to remake countries in the American image after the First World War. His mixture of benevolence and ruthlessness may be summed up in a dispute with Mexico in 1913, w'hen he announced 'I will teach the Latin-Americans to elect good men' followed by bombarding the town of Vera Cruz. His gunboat diplomacy intensified such feelings of nationalism and anti-Americanism that Germany hoped to make Mexico an ally in an attack on the USA in 1917 - famously exposed in the Zimmermann telegram, decoded by London. In 1945, the USA dedicated itself in Wilsonian language to bringing 'democracy and freedom' to the countries occupied by the Soviets at the end of the Second World War. The goal was high-minded. But there was a puzzling refusal to acknowledge the Soviet claim that two invasions by Germany in twenty-seven years made the firm control of Eastern Europe essential to Russian security. Truman insisted on seeing the Soviets as the determinedly expansionist enemy of the free world almost from the day he assumed office. They were, he said, 'planning world conquest'.2

Tire United States over which he presided had emerged from the Second World War with a military and economic supremacy unparalleled in history. Of the three powers which defeated the Axis alliance, the USA was unique in ending the war wealthier than when it began. By contrast, Britain's income was down by a third with much of its overseas assets sold to buy armaments from the USA. In the case of Russia, which had been responsible for destroying the vast bulk of Hitler's forces, the loss of income was immeasurable. Soviet statistics, always dubious, have never provided a wholly reliable picture of national income. But the scale of the devastation, involving at least twenty-two million and possibly7 twenty-seven million military7 and Chilian deaths, speaks for itself.

There was in fact no evidence in 1945 that the Soviet Union had a sinister plan to conquer the West. The threat perceived by Truman and others was imaginary7 - though no less powerful for that - stoked up by y7ears of fearing the deadly spread of Communism. We can gain a genuine insight into the Kremlin mood from opened Soviet archives. As the end of the war came in sight in 1944, the analyses of Moscow's senior diplomats anticipated a period of post-war East-West cooperation, if with reservations about possible future developments in American internal political rivalries. Nor did the Kremlin intend, as some feared, to mount a Communist takeover of Italy7 and France. Moscow wanted to see strong Communist parties in both countries able to influence policies in a way which would be advantageous to Russia. But having Communist governments in either country7 would have been contrary7 to the policy7 which Stalin always maintained: keeping Moscow as the absolute centre of the Communist world and thus something he alone could control. In any case, maintaining Communist governments in either country7 would have demanded the presence of Soviet troops which would have embroiled Moscow in the war which the Kremlin had every7 reason to avoid. Stalin's attitude to the so-called world proletarian revolution is essential to understanding his personal and political motivation. He was, like the despot throughout the ages, principally7 concerned with his own survival rather than with ideological issues. He abandoned the grand global ambition of the world proletarian revolution in 1924 when he proclaimed that, henceforth, the aim was to be 'socialism in one country7'. To believe that he remained at all times a devout ideologue is to misread his character.

Milovan Djilas, at one time Vice President of Yugoslavia, observed in Conversations with Stalins that it was not altogether true, as some Communists complained, that Stalin was wholly against revolutions abroad. He was only7 in favour of those which he could control. He lost control of Yugoslavia. He was later to lose it in China - insofar as he ever had it.4 Stalin's attitude to Communist parties abroad was really very7 simple. They were not there to win elections, only7 to act as his underlings, aiding Soviet foreign policy in all its shifts and changes, sometimes assisting one party7 or country7, sometimes another. The overall aim was simply to promote weakness among nations which might be rivals or opponents or otherwise unhelpful to Russia. This was dramatically7 illustrated in the role allotted to the German Communist Party7 in the early71930s. In combination with the left-wing Socialist Party7 it could have been enough to stop Hitler's rise to power.

But a Communist Party with real power in a German government, ruling an infinitely more advanced nation, was too much of a risk. The centre of gravity of Communism would shift away from Moscow, thus threatening Stalin's power and personal status. The German Communists were ordered not just to stay out of any coalition with the Socialists, but to attack them as 'social fascists'. George Kennan, who had been the State Department's leading Russian expert, wrote in 1962 (abandoning his famous analysis of a dire Soviet threat in 1946), 'From the bourgeois world as from his political entourage in the world of communism, Stalin only wanted one thing: weakness. This was not at all identified with revolution.'5 In the case of China, Stalin called on Mao to join with the Nationalists, not fight them. As the Communist forces swept south and came within sight of victory, Stalin pleaded with Mao to negotiate, not fight. The determination of the West to see every Soviet move as explicable in terms of the pursuit of the world proletarian revolution provides one of history's great ironies: the West took Communist doctrine more seriously than Stalin.

Truman claimed in his memoirs that it was at Potsdam that he finally concluded that the Soviet Union aimed at world conquest. Yet nothing that was said or done there could conceivably justify such a conclusion. The Russians were proving difficult and obstinate on certain issues but not aggressive. It was the issue of the internationalisation of waterways - a Truman obsession - which brought the President to his historically epic conclusion. The fate of the world in Truman's mind seemed to turn on, of all things, the Danube delta. If Russia was in a demanding mood at Potsdam, it was not surprising. The Red Army had borne the brunt of the war. Of all the Germans killed, nearly nine out of ten perished on the Russia front. The Wehrmacht had thrown nearly ten times as many divisions at the Red Army as it did against Britain and the USA. And while Britain had been impoverished by the war, much of Russia had been laid waste. The USA - without a single bomb dropped on its mainland - had enjoyed a remarkable prosperity.

On the east European issue, it should have been evident enough at the time how Russia was driven by a desire to seek security in depth after the two devastating German invasions in twenty-seven years.6 Moscow wanted a buffer between Russia and Germany and control over these territories. Stalin himself predicted to Djilas that the Germans would be back on their feet in twelve to fifteen years.7 Though this seemed a daring prophecy at the time, given the wretched condition of Germany in 1945, he was to be proved too cautious. The German Federal Republic was not just back on its feet by the early 1950s, it was soon being asked to join NATO, precisely the sort of development which the Kremlin feared. Given the German invasions, it would not have mattered whether the government in Moscow had been Communist, Tsarist or Social Democrat. It would still have insisted on firm control of these countries through which invasion had come; and bound to regard with deep suspicion any attempts to prevent it. In any case, Moscow could never forget that it was British and French policy in the interwar years to make Eastern Europe a barrier against the Soviet Union, even to consider - crucially - allowing Hitler a free hand against Russia. Colonel, later President, de Gaulle noted that even after the start of the Second World War: Certain circles saw the enemy in Stalin rather than Hitler. They busied themselves with finding means of striking Russia, either by aiding Finland or bombarding Baku or landing at Istanbul, much more than in coming to grips with Hitler.8

Nor could the Soviets overlook the fact that, among its new satellites, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria had fought on the Axis side. Moreover, Poland could be blamed for the Russo-Polish war in 1920 which followed the creation of the Soviet Union.

Only someone who had already made up his mind about Soviet intentions could have claimed that the aim was 'world conquest'. The suspicions which seemed to lurk constantly in Russian minds about the West were widely viewed as paranoid, given that the world was Only someone who had already made up his mind about Soviet intentions could have claimed that the aim was 'world conquest'. The suspicions which seemed to lurk constantly in Russian minds about the West were widely viewed as paranoid, given that the world was hungry for peace and cooperation. But it could be argued that the Kremlin had much to be paranoid about, given the history of the interwar years. British and French policy seemed so ready to solve the problem of Hitler by turning him eastwards. It is impossible to understand the Kremlin's fears without recounting those extraordinary manoeuvres, culminating in serious proposals in Britain and France that the two countries should be prepared to go to war against Russia - just after the war with Germany had broken out - in defence of Finland, then under attack from the Red Army. The country held a strategic key for Russia against Germany.

Tire wartime alliance of Britain, Russia and the USA certainly showed that East-West cooperation was possible. Friendly gestures by President Roosevelt made an impression on both the Kremlin and opinion at home. A friendly post-war settlement was seen as possible not just in the West but also in the extensive analyses made in the Soviet Foreign ministry by its senior diplomats. But that was while Roosevelt was alive. Once Truman took over on the President's death in 1945, it quickly became apparent that old ferocious suspicions of expanding Communism, dating back to the Bolshevik revolution, had made their return, this time with the USA indisputably the most powerful nation on earth. This made conditions all too well suited for a collision of mammoth proportions.

Yet it must be said that the great bulk of Americans, when peace broke out in 1945, were full of good intentions - though intertwined with a belief that what was good for the USA must be good for mankind, particularly where open markets and free trade were concerned. The new- found strength of the USA provided a chance to mould the post-war world, to propagate democracy, plus liberal capitalism, which, in American minds, would constitute a safeguard against future wars. This faith in democracy conveniently overlooked, among other things, the fact that Hitler had advanced to power in 1933 through a democratic vote.

The real problem at this point was not the generally benevolent intentions of the USA but its naivety about the outside world's complexities, its varied cultures, its long-standing nationalistic rivalries and in particular often strong feelings of insecurity. These were feelings hard to comprehend in a nation which could not remember any invasion and which had not suffered a single bullet or bomb fall on its mainland during the Second World War. However, it was not just the USA which insisted on misreading the post-war conditions. Some of Europe's statesmen with long histories of fearing the Communist virus also believed that the battered Soviet Union was ready to fight the West. This should have been seen as absurd. It requires no technical knowledge of military matters to appreciate the point.

Suppose, even ignoring the deterrent of the A-bomb, that the Red Army had attacked the West soon after the end of the war. It would have encountered strong resistance from the British, the Americans and hastily rearmed elements of the Wehrmacht. It would have been a hard fight but let us suppose that the Russian forces reached the Channel ports. What then? Tire invasion of Britain would have been virtually impossible. The Soviets had neither the air nor sea power to make the crossing and huge numbers of troops would have been needed as occupying forces throughout Europe. Meanwhile American troops, aircraft and war supplies would have been pouring into Britain. However, let us suppose, again for the sake of argument, and against all conceivable odds, that the Russians had succeeded in occupying Britain as well as all of Western Europe. What then? The Soviet Union would have been left facing the Americans across three thousand miles of ocean. It would be the ultimate unwinnable war, a military planners' ultimate nightmare.

In short, the threat was a hallucination. The USA's Central Intelligence Agency carried out a study in 1946 which concluded that the shattered Soviet Union would not even be in a position to wage a war for fifteen years. Yet the fear of a Russian onslaught persisted. The sheer size of the Red Army, only slowly being demobilised, was regularly advanced as evidence of malign intentions. But the desire to retain large forces against the possibility of another German revival plus the need - as Moscow saw it - to maintain a grip on Eastern Europe was logical.

We have to wonder why the West was consumed by fears of Russia when the war ended. To a considerable extent, it was inspired by a seductively simple belief that Stalin was another Hitler. The USA and Britain were emerging from a war which it was generally accepted started because Hitler had been appeased. The parallel with Stalin seemed irresistible. He was no less of a dictator than Hitler and just as brutal, certainly more whimsical in his ruthlessness. Moreover Marxist doctrine in its purer and original form proclaimed the inevitability of a Communist world. Hitler had finally revealed the full scale of the Nazi menace when he seized Czechoslovakia. Now Stalin, after the war, was refusing to give up control of Eastern Europe. The parallel seemed easy enough. In fact this was another of those historical examples of 'over-learning' the apparent lessons of the day.

This simplistic view of 1945 took no account of the differences between the two episodes. Hitler had no need of Czechoslovakia, except to continue his surge eastwards. Stalin saw control of Poland as essential to Russian security against Germany. Tire occupation of that country' and the imposition of a Communist government in Warsaw was a very' sore issue for Britain which had gone to war ostensibly to save Poland. It was seen as a mark of failure and a breach of honour that the country' should be left occupied by another dictator. The USA, for its part, had been dragged into the war but was eager to convince itself that it was embarking on a high-minded crusade to save democracy and all the values associated with it. Less high- mindedly, as President Roosevelt reminded Stalin at the Yalta conference, there were some six to seven million Polish-American voters in the USA to say nothing of others with links to the occupied east European countries - the so-called hyphenate vote (capable, he was warned, of turning a presidential election). Both Britain and the USA insisted on seeing Poland as the acid test of Moscow's goodwill and peaceful intentions. Minds refused to meet. Where Truman stood on Eastern Europe was never in much doubt. His Navy Day speech in October 1945, with its declarations about firm American resistance to tyrannies and its assistance to those opposing them, sent a plain enough message to Moscow. The fact that its belligerent tone had a limited impact in the US at that moment must be attributed to the fact that the war had finally ended only weeks before. Assertions about American righteousness were only to be expected.

There was also the history' of the Russian civil war which helped to stoke up the deep and at times apparently neurotic suspicions of the Soviet Union tow'ards the West, an instinct which was also very' Russian and existed well before the revolution. In the first three years after the 1917 revolution the new Bolshevik government faced military' help provided by the west European powers to its internal rivals in efforts to destroy the Soviet state. This wish seemed to persist even after Stalin soft-pedalled the notion of the world proletarian revolution.9 In the 1930s, the Russians had good reason to fear that at least part of British and French policy tow'ards Hitler was inspired by a desire to turn him eastwards. Both Britain and the USA, but more particularly Britain, had managed to convince themselves in the interwar years that the Red Menace remained serious. Any protestations of peaceful intentions from Moscow were seen as just a disguise for the underlying purposes of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. Besides and perhaps even more important, playing up the Communist threat was proving a serious vote winner for the British Conservatives - as indeed it was to prove a vote winner for American politicians from the late 1940s onwards.

As a consequence, the wartime alliance of Russia and the West was a brittle affair 011 both sides. Any sign that Britain and the USA were reluctant to throw everything they had at Germany' - there were unfulfilled promises of a Second Front in 1942 and then in 1943 - fuelled Soviet suspicion. The Allies, Moscow claimed, were not seriously' drawing off German As a consequence, the wartime alliance of Russia and the West was a brittle affair on both sides. Any sign that Britain and the USA were reluctant to throw everything they had at Germany - there were unfulfilled promises of a Second Front in 1942 and then in 1943 - fuelled Soviet suspicion. The Allies, Moscow claimed, were not seriously drawing off German divisions but were leaving Russia to do the hard fighting.

There was also the problem of Churchill's own attitude to Russia. In December 1918 he had called unavailingly for an anti-Communist crusade, to include the defeated Germans, to march on Moscow. It is true that he was one of the few7 Western politicians in the late 1930s calling for an alliance with Russia to contain Hitler. But as early as 1943 his old hostility resurfaced and he was saying that it might be wrong to disarm the Germans too far since they might be needed against the Russians. He repeated it in 1944. The Kremlin knew7 of this. Russian fears that the West might sign a separate peace with Germany - at times reciprocated in the West by a fear that Russia might do the same - were regular. Churchill was also to write in a memorandum in 1944 that if the issues of Poland and, oddly, Soviet reparations from Germany were not settled, it would be hard to avoid a third world war. Churchill's argument over Poland was at least an obvious one. But treating the reparations issue as a potential casus belli wras eccentric. After victory in 1918, Lloyd George had promised to 'squeeze Germany until the pips squeak'. The reparations forced on Berlin after the First World War then were a mistake which Churchill in particular recognised. He argued that a weakened Germany7 would hinder the economic recovery of Europe as well as leave a bitter legacy7. The Russian demands for reparations from Germany after the Second World War, thought unreasonable by the USA and Britain, were no more than an echo of Lloyrd George. Russia wanted revenge for the devastation caused by the Germans.

Churchill has long been associated with the start of the Cold War because of his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 at Fulton, Missouri. But his active role in the early7 y7ears of the Cold War should not be exaggerated; he w7as only the Leader of the Opposition in the Commons. In mid-1945 he was voted out of office and replaced by7 Clement Attlee, halfway Churchill has long been associated with the start of the Cold War because of his famous Iron Curtain speech in 1946 at Fulton, Missouri. But his active role in the early years of the Cold War should not be exaggerated; he was only the Leader of the Opposition in the Commons. In mid-1945 he was voted out of office and replaced by Clement Attlee, halfway through the vital Potsdam conference. The new Prime Minister was far less inclined to see a great Soviet threat in the making. Churchill's prestige, 011 the other hand, even out of office, was enormous and global. He was one of history's truly great men. He had saved Britain, if not civilization, from Nazi Germany. For many his Fulton speech - though the Labour government contemplated openly disowning it - was proof to many that the West was now faced with a new version of Hitler.

In allotting blame for the start of the Cold War, Churchill certainly has to bear some share. But predominantly, as the evidence shows, it was the Americans who must shoulder the main responsibility. They were to blame too for the continuation of the struggle when detente was on the cards. Washington, under the influence of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, ignored overtures from Moscow after the death of Stalin in 1953 .

Churchill, back in power by then, was by contrast eager to follow up these offers but was firmly warned off by Dulles. Russia played a role, but a small one, in stimulating the onset of the Cold War. Soviet tactics in negotiations on matters large and small could be extremely tiresome, at times suggesting little desire for serious cooperation. And the ruthlessness which Stalin's forces displayed in the occupied and reoccupied territories as they swept westwards was bound to outrage Western feelings. But it did not in itself presage any intentions to occupy areas outside the sphere seen as essential to strategic defense.

Despots, though always repugnant, are not necessarily dangerous outside their own borders. The fact that Stalin was evil did not necessarily mean that his foreign policy was evil. And in the later stages of the Cold War, the USA itself was to back decidedly repressive and brutal regimes. These were vital tactics for defence, ran the argument. The Kremlin would not have argued with that general principle, though it was always ready during the Cold War to brutal regimes. These were vital tactics for defence, ran the argument. The Kremlin would not have argued with that general principle, though it was always ready during the Cold War to exploit the embarrassment that backing dictators was to cause within the USA.

Tire level of mutual suspicion which came to exist within months of the end of the Second World War was graphically illustrated by the two secret long telegrams of 1946 which travelled between Moscow7 and Washington as each nation's ambassador warned his government to beware of the other side's imperialist ambitions.

.... .... ...

The Americans also had their own ideas about inevitability: the eventual global triumph of democracy and liberal capitalism. Like the Soviets, they too were convinced that time and example was on their side. The immediate need was safety from another war and a world in which American prosperity could continue. That meant a world where American business could flourish on the international stage, untrammeled by the tariff wars and economic chauvinism which had impoverished everyone in the interwar years. This point was recognized in the second telegram, Novikov emphasizing American ambitions to open up markets throughout the world for the access of trade and capital. The fact that the war had left the USA with military bases all round the world which it showed no sign of vacating underlined the American desire in Novikov's analysis to encircle the Soviet Union. 12

Of the two views, Novikov's was backed up by a greater proportion of facts rather than surmise. The USA, he correctly said, was worried that the end of the war might bring a severe recession to its factories and the repetition of the trade wars of the 1930s. Fears were indeed being voiced in the administration that the impoverished post-war world might be unable to buy American goods. The need for free trade in goods and capital throughout the world was to prove a constant theme of the US government from the earliest stages of the Cold War. Whether the Americans as a whole were quite as politically and economically ambitious in 1946 as Novikov maintained is questionable. The need for action to advance American economic interests was not questioned. An active global policy for political domination and involvement on the other hand had little popular appeal at that time. But it was to grow over the next decades to the point where the affairs of any nation came to be seen as the legitimate political (and moral) interest of the USA. Seen from the standpoint of the 21st century, Novikov had the best of the argument.

Both the Kennan documents, the Long Telegram and X Article, provided authority for views which had been taking root in most parts of the administration. Yet Kennan himself was later to say that he looked back on the Long Telegram 'with a sort of horrified amusement'. It might have been written, he said in his memoirs, for the (fiercely conservative) Daughters of the American Revolution. He was to go on in the 1950s to preach the virtues of detente with the Soviets.

He also complained that his call for Russia to be 'contained' had been taken to mean militarily. He had wanted, he said, to stress 'political containment'. It was not a very convincing argument since it was hard to see, particularly for a man of his intellectual background, how an idea or an ideology could be 'contained'. The reality was that he changed his mind when he returned from Moscow to the State Department and saw at first hand the belligerent attitudes which were coming to dominate US policy. Following the lines of the two telegrams each side was to attribute aggressive motives to the other. This had inevitable consequences. Every move by either side was seen as part of a plan to weaken the other - politically, economically or strategically. The USA's diplomacy was not subtle. It was often conducted in the glare of publicity which is habitual in American politics and was in many instances driven by the urge to score points for electoral purposes. If it was not for the Presidential elections, it was for the intervening Congressional elections. The so-called hyphenate vote (Polish-Americans, Italian-Americans, etc.) was strongly anti-Soviet and could swing a national result.

The Russians had no such electoral or publicity problems. But, suspicious by nature, they were among the most tiresome of negotiators, sometimes seeming like the Red Army itself, determined to wear down the other side by sheer stamina. Tire personality of the granite- faced Molotov as Soviet Foreign Minister played a part in this process. There was also the problem during the Cold War that no Soviet official, if he valued his position - or even his skin - would dare to take an initiative on his own. The rigidity of the system meant that clearance at the top was always necessary7 for any gesture which smacked of friendliness. Niet was always the easiest answer.

Nikita Khrushchev, who rose to the Soviet leadership in the mid-1950s, was to describe Molotov's character as showing on occasions 'unbelievable stubbornness, bordering on stupidity'. 13 Yet various issues remaining from the war were in fact eventually resolved with him through foreign ministers' conferences, such as the peace treaties with Germany's former allies. But the process was wearisome and there were rarely any displays of goodwill or friendship. The Russians, questions of defense apart, thought the USA remarkably insensitive about the huge sacrifices in men, material and infrastructure they had suffered in destroying the Wehrmacht.

The Americans found it genuinely hard to understand how Russian propaganda could ascribe imperialist ambitions to them. Had not the USA been a champion of freedom and democracy and an outspoken enemy of colonialism? The Russians, still mired in Marxism, could not understand how the USA could attribute imperialism to the Soviet Union. Was not the point of Marxism-Leninism that it liberated the proletariat? The two powers used the same word but refused to share its meaning.

The Soviets in 1945 were also convinced that they brought liberation (of another kind) to the territories they took. The governments of Poland, Hungary and Romania between the wars were hardly model democracies. The new forms of government allowed in Hungary and Romania had, at first, some elements of democracy; and Czechoslovakia returned to its fuller pre-war pattern. But after 1948 all elements of democracy were removed. The full Communist pattern was imposed which - the Soviets liked to believe - would also bring clear economic progress.

KENNAN MK II

The belief that Kennan Mk I was calling for military containment was readily accepted in Washington. Indeed that seemed to be understood by him at that time. He observed the sharp rise in the defence budget and the warlike pronouncements of the administration without immediately seeking to correct the impression that containment had to be essentially military7. He should not have been surprised either that the logic of his warning led to a high degree of interference by the USA in the affairs of countries close to the Soviet bloc. If the Russians had to be contained militarily, the effective frontiers against them had to be manned. He was remarkably slow to correct this impression. His doubts about his own 'X' article became evident when he pleaded later that it had only7 been written originally for the 'private edification' of James Forrestal, the Defense Secretary7 (later to commit suicide after a bout of persecution mania).

Tire fact that the article helped to stimulate policies of rearmament went down particularly7 well with what President Eisenhower later dubbed 'the industrial-military complex' in his departing address to the nation. Left so abruptly with redundant military plant when the war ended, the defence industries were delighted at the prospect of new orders and the military with rising budgets.

The policy of containment was taken up with enthusiasm by Clark Clifford, a White House adviser to President Truman. In September 1946, he wrote a memorandum declaring that coexistence was impossible and advocating a worldwide strategy7 based on the A-bomb to 'restrain the Soviet Union and to confine Soviet influence to its present area'.14 The language was violent. The stage seemed to be set for a military confrontation with the Soviets, despite the CIA study suggesting it would remain militarily ineffective for some years. An updated version of the memorandum, with no dilution of its extreme views, was to become NSC-68 (National Security Council) in 1950.

Kennan's disillusionment about the effect of his earlier analyses started during his brief tenure as Ambassador to Moscow from 1952-53. He wrote in his memoirs: A particularly violent jolt was received one day when one of the service attaches showed me a message he had received from Washington concerning a certain step of a military nature that the Pentagon proposed to take for the purpose of strengthening our military posture in a region not far from the Soviet frontier. I paled when I read it. It was at once apparent to me that had I been a Soviet leader and had I learned that such a step was being taken I would have concluded that the Americans were shaping their preparations towards a target of a war within six months. 15

In 1952 Kennan was to send another telegram to Washington attempting to undo the hardline attitudes he had reinforced. He called for moderation in relations with the Soviet Union. He described this later telegram at the time as: '... The strongest statement I ever made of my views on this general subject of our responsibility for the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in the late 194OS.T6

He went on to write that the USA was determined to:

Teach itself and the NATO associates never to refer to the most menacing element of our military potential otherwise than as the nuclear deterrent' - the unmistakable implication being that the Russians, longing for inauguration of World War III, would at once attack if not deterred by the agency of retribution. Year after year nothing would be omitted to move American air bases and missile sites as close as possible to Soviet frontiers. Year after year, American naval vessels would be sent on useless demonstration expeditions into the Black Sea - thus, by implication, imputing to the Russians a degree of patience which our own public and congressional opinion would be most unlikely to master had the shoe been on the other foot.

Time after time, as in Pakistan and Okinawa, the maintenance and development of military or air bases would be stubbornly pursued with no evidence of any effort to balance this against the obvious political costs. Political interests would similarly be sacrificed or put in jeopardy by the avid and greedy pursuit of military intelligence.!'' One hardliner who would not repent was Dean Acheson, Secretary7 of State from 1949 to 1953. While Under Secretary during the Truman period, he propounded his version of what was later called the domino theory, which was so effective in entangling the USA in the Vietnam war. Acheson argued that a victory7 for Communism in Greece, Turkey or Iran or any of the other countries of the Near East or the Mediterranean region would lead rapidly to the collapse of pro-Western governments throughout Europe.

Tire seeds of the Cold War which had been sown in warlike warnings to Russia by Truman were to grow thick and fast in the wake of the Long Telegram. Tire influential Senator Arthur Vandenberg spoke in the Senate of the need to stop 'appeasement' of the Soviet Union. James Byrnes, the Secretary of State, delivered a warning that no country had the right to station troops in the territories of other sovereign nations 'without their consent'. That of course sounded fine and even-handed. But the point was that other countries which agreed to American bases were so much in need of US economic assistance that they could rarely resist Washington's military planners.

Byrnes also criticized the Soviets for taking, or looting, Japanese industrial equipment in Manchuria before any formal agreement had been reached on reparations. But such an agreement, as the Russians knew, would be hard to achieve with the Americans. In any case it was easy for the USA to take this high-minded attitude on reparations. It had emerged from the war with a surplus of industrial plant.

It was also time, Washington decided, to deter suspected Russian ambitions in Turkey7 and - as they supposed - in Greece, even though the aid for rebels there came from Yugoslavia against Stalin's specific wishes. He told Djilas:

The uprising in Greece will have to fold up. Do you think that Great Britain and the USA - the USA the most powerful nation in the world - will permit you to break the line of communication in the Mediterranean? And we have no navy. The uprising in Greece must be stopped as quickly as possible. 18 But Washington's view persisted that the menace in Greece was from the Soviets. Truman agreed to a proposal from Forrestal that a task force including an aircraft carrier should be earmarked for a display7 of American power in the eastern Mediterranean. 'The Truman Doctrine' was being created.

THE CHARACTER OF AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

Given the gap between the two powers as demonstrated by the two telegrams, it would have needed the most skilful diplomacy to bring either side to an understanding of the other's position. Sadly, the quality of diplomacy during the early years of the Cold War was lamentable - and it was to get no better with the passage of time. On the US side, the reign of John Foster Dulles at the State Department (1953-1959) was to see a foreign policy designed to scare the Soviet Union into submission. The death of Stalin and gestures of detente by the new leadership opened up new prospects which were promptly rebuffed. The British and French governments tried to redress the balance but, as decidedly junior partners in the alliance were unable to do so. There was also an inclination in Washington to listen to military hotheads in formulating policy.

On the Soviet side, the interregnum of Georgiy Malenkov, Stalin's immediate successor, was followed by the reign of Nikita Khrushchev whose volatile and emotional behaviour made East -West negotiations difficult. His erratic behaviour was to upset not just Western leaders but also his colleagues - and be a key factor in his ultimate downfall

Tire problems of American diplomacy arose from certain national psychological characteristics which lent an aggressive edge to the country's foreign policy. The USA has always been a fiercely competitive society in fields ranging from business to sport and many other fields. It has long been characterized by the unmatched flow of 'how to succeed' books. It is an important cause of the country's success as a leader in those and so many other fields.

[Jan 20, 2019] Note on students debt peonage

Jan 20, 2019 | www.truthdig.com

RW: Well at this point I think it really depends on what indexes you're looking at. The biggest thing that's kept this economy going in the last few years should make everybody tremble. It's called debt, let me give you just a couple of examples. Ten years ago, at the height of the crash, the total debt carried by students in the United States was in the neighborhood of $700 billion, an enormous sum. What is it today? Over twice that, one-and-a-half trillion dollars. The reason part of our economy hasn't collapsed is that students have taken up an enormous amount of debt that they cannot afford, in order to get degrees which will let them get jobs whose incomes will not allow them to pay back the debts. And forget about getting married, forget about having a family.

We have paid an enormous price in hobbling the generation of people who would have otherwise lifted this economy and made us more productive. It is a disastrous mistake historically, and if you face that, and if you add to it the increased debt of our businesses, and the increased debt of our government, you see an economy that is held up by a monstrous increase in debt, not in underlying productivity, not in more jobs that really produce anything, but in debt.

That should frighten us because it was the debt bubble that burst in 2008 and brought us the crash. It is as if we cannot learn in our system to do other than we've always done and that's taking us into another crash coming now.

LC: Yeah. This is the land of the free, but it seems like most of us are chained down by debt peonage.

[Jan 20, 2019] Degeneration of the US neoliberal elite can be partially attributed to the conversion of neoliberal universities into indoctrination mechanism, rather then institutions for fostering critical thinking

Notable quotes:
"... An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated. ..."
"... As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Paul Reidinger, January 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated.

As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. The new dark age is no longer imminent. It is here, and it is them. I see no way to rectify the damage. When minds are ruined young, they remain ruined.

[Jan 17, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is demanding that Wells Fargo be kicked off college campuses, a market the bank has said is among its fastest-growing

Notable quotes:
"... The inquiry follows a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report said that Wells Fargo charged students the highest fees of 573 banks examined. ..."
"... "When granted the privilege of providing financial services to students through colleges, Wells Fargo used this access to charge struggling college students exorbitant fees," Warren said in a statement. "These high fees, which are an outlier within the industry, demonstrate conclusively that Wells Fargo does not belong on college campuses." ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Elizabeth Warren is demanding that Wells Fargo & Co. be kicked off college campuses, a market the bank has said is among its fastest-growing.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts and likely presidential candidate said Thursday that she requested more information from Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan and from 31 colleges where the bank does business. The inquiry follows a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report said that Wells Fargo charged students the highest fees of 573 banks examined.

"When granted the privilege of providing financial services to students through colleges, Wells Fargo used this access to charge struggling college students exorbitant fees," Warren said in a statement. "These high fees, which are an outlier within the industry, demonstrate conclusively that Wells Fargo does not belong on college campuses."

Warren has been a vocal critic of Wells Fargo -- including repeatedly calling for Sloan's ouster -- since a series of consumer issues at the company erupted more than two years ago with a phony-accounts scandal.

Wells Fargo is "continually working to improve how we serve our customers," a bank spokesman said in an emailed statement Thursday. "Before and since the CFPB's review on this topic, we have been pursuing customer-friendly actions that support students," including waiving service fees on some checking accounts offered to them.

A reputation for overcharging students could further harm Wells Fargo's consumer-banking strategy. The San Francisco-based bank has identified college-age consumers as a growth opportunity, and John Rasmussen, head of personal lending, said last year that Wells Fargo may expand into the refinancing of federal student loans.

[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
====

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 by Paul M. Elliott

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
"... 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 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) ..."
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 crowd

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] Robert Mueller and George HW Bush

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Mueller is mentioned where he covered up an investigation tying important government people to the BCCI bank while Poppy Bush was president. ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.amazon.com

George HW Bush was a competent spymaster. He "got it" according to the French counterpart. April 6, 2018 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase This book covers a lot of ground. It's detail is exhaustive. It covers everything in detail from Watergate to Harken Energy. I didn't understand all the financial shenanigans but there's lots of weird transactions going on. Seems the Bushes are associated with a lot of bank failures.

Robert Mueller is mentioned where he covered up an investigation tying important government people to the BCCI bank while Poppy Bush was president.

Also thoroughly covered is W's National Guard service and his early suspicious departure.

[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 28, 2018] Colonel Lang on importance of taking elective courses in Humanities (using Trump as a counterexample)

Studying history is very important for your formation as a personality...
Notable quotes:
"... He evidently learned about balance sheets at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and wishes to apply the principle of the bottom line to everything. I will guess that he resisted taking elective courses in the Humanities as much as he could believing them to be useless. That is unfortunate since such courses tend to provide context for present day decisions. ..."
"... I have known several very rich businessmen of similar type who sent their children to business school with exactly that instruction with regard to literature, history, philosophy, etc. From an espionage case officer's perspective he is an easy mark. If you are regular contact with him all that is needed to recruit him is to convince him that you believe in the "genius" manifested in his mighty ego and swaggering bluster and then slowly feed him what you want him to "know." ..."
"... The number of folks who will pay the price for this are legion in comparison. His accomplices and "advisers" as you intone, will be deemed worthy of a Nuremburg of sorts when viewed in posterity. "Character must under grid talent or talent will cave in." His gut stove pipes him as a leader. I love and respect my dog. He follows his gut, because that is his end-state. It's honest. I will mourn the passing of one and and already rue the day the other was born. ..."
"... He survived as a New York City Boss. He has the same problem as Ronald Reagan. He believes the con. In reality, since the restoration of classical economics, sovereign states are secondary to corporate plutocrats. Yes, he is saluted. He has his finger on the red button. But, he is told what they want them to hear. There are no realists within a 1000 yards of him. The one sure thing is there will be a future disaster be it climate change, economic collapse or a world war. He is not prepared for it. ..."
"... There are other forces that are effective in addition to plutocrats and they are mostly bad. ..."
"... Falling under the sway of those who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing is an unenviable estate. The concentrated wisdom discoverable through a clear-eyed study of the humanities can serve as a corrective, and if one is lucky, as a prophylaxis against thinking of this type. ..."
"... A lot of people come out of humanities programs and into govt with all kinds of dopey notions; like R2P, globalism, open borders, etc. ..."
"... He is in thrall to the Israelis, their allies, the neocons, political donors and the popular media. An easy mark for skilled operators. ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... Read widely. start with something encyclopedic like Will and Ariel Durant's "The Story of Civilization." ..."
"... How about William H. McNeill's Rise of the West. ..."
"... Unlike your brother a good recruiting case officer would never ignore you except maybe at the beginning as a tease. That also works with women that you want personally. ..."
Nov 28, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Yes. Trump says that is how he "rolls." The indicators that this is true are everywhere. He does not believe what the "swampies" tell him. He listens to the State Department, the CIA, DoD, etc. and then acts on ill informed instinct and information provided by; lobbies, political donors, foreign embassies, and his personal impressions of people who have every reason to want to deceive him. As I wrote earlier he sees the world through an entrepreneurial hustler's lens.

He crudely assigns absolute dollar values to policy outcomes and actions which rarely have little to do with the actual world even if they might have related opposed to the arena of contract negotiations.

He evidently learned about balance sheets at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and wishes to apply the principle of the bottom line to everything. I will guess that he resisted taking elective courses in the Humanities as much as he could believing them to be useless. That is unfortunate since such courses tend to provide context for present day decisions.

I have known several very rich businessmen of similar type who sent their children to business school with exactly that instruction with regard to literature, history, philosophy, etc. From an espionage case officer's perspective he is an easy mark. If you are regular contact with him all that is needed to recruit him is to convince him that you believe in the "genius" manifested in his mighty ego and swaggering bluster and then slowly feed him what you want him to "know."

That does not mean that he has been recruited by someone or something but the vulnerability is evident. IMO the mistake he has made in surrounding himself with neocons and other special pleaders, people like Pompeo and Bolton is evidence that he is very controllable by the clever and subtle. pl

Harlan Easley , 2 hours ago

Col. Lang, I appreciate your insight on his personality which you have written about often and dead on for awhile.
The Cage , 3 hours ago
I have an aged wire haired Jack Russel Terrier. He is well past his time. He is almost blind, and is surely deaf. In his earlier days he was a force of nature. He still is now, but only in the context of food. He is still obsessed with it at every turn. Food is now his reality and he will not be sidetracked or otherwise distracted by any other stimuli beyond relieving himself when and where he sees fit. He lives by his gut feeling and damn everything else. There is no reason, no other calculus for him. Trump's trusting his "gut" is just about as simplistic and equally myopic. My dog is not a tragedy, he shoulders no burden for others and when he gets to the point of soiling himself or is in pain, he will be held in my arms and wept over for the gift he has been when the needle pierces his hide. Trump, well, he is a tragedy. He does shoulder a responsibility to millions and millions and for those to follow after he is long dead and gone. His willful ignorance in the face of reason and science reminds me of the lieutenant colonel of 2/7 Cav. you spoke of at LZ Buttons.

The number of folks who will pay the price for this are legion in comparison. His accomplices and "advisers" as you intone, will be deemed worthy of a Nuremburg of sorts when viewed in posterity. "Character must under grid talent or talent will cave in." His gut stove pipes him as a leader. I love and respect my dog. He follows his gut, because that is his end-state. It's honest. I will mourn the passing of one and and already rue the day the other was born.

Pat Lang Mod -> The Cage , 2 hours ago
Were you at LZ Buttons?
exSpec4Chuck , 4 hours ago
Just after I looked at this post I went to Twitter and this came up. I don't know how long it's been since Jeremy Young was in grad school but a 35% decline drop in History dissertations is shocking even if it's over a span of 3-4 decades. View Hide
Pat Lang Mod -> exSpec4Chuck , 4 hours ago
Yes. It's either STEM or Social Sciences these days and that is almost as bad as Journalism or Communications Arts. Most media people are Journalism dummies.
VietnamVet , 4 hours ago
Colonel,

Donald Trump is a Salesman. He stands out in the Supreme Court photo: https://www.washingtonpost....

He survived as a New York City Boss. He has the same problem as Ronald Reagan. He believes the con. In reality, since the restoration of classical economics, sovereign states are secondary to corporate plutocrats. Yes, he is saluted. He has his finger on the red button. But, he is told what they want them to hear. There are no realists within a 1000 yards of him. The one sure thing is there will be a future disaster be it climate change, economic collapse or a world war. He is not prepared for it.

Pat Lang Mod -> VietnamVet , 4 hours ago
You are a one trick pony. There are other forces that are effective in addition to plutocrats and they are mostly bad.
JerseyJeffersonian , 5 hours ago
Falling under the sway of those who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing is an unenviable estate. The concentrated wisdom discoverable through a clear-eyed study of the humanities can serve as a corrective, and if one is lucky, as a prophylaxis against thinking of this type.

I am commending study of the humanities as historically understood, not the "humanities" of contemporary academia, which is little better than atheistic materialism of the Marxist variety, out of which any place for the genuinely spiritual has been systematically extirpated in favor of the imposition of some sort of sentimentalism as an ersatz substitute.

Eric Newhill , 6 hours ago
My response to flattery, even if subtle, is, "Yeah? Gee thanks. Now please just tell me what you're really after". I'd think any experienced man should have arrived at the same reaction at least by the time he's 35. Ditto trusting anyone in an atmosphere where power and money are there for the taking by the ambitious and clever. As for a balance sheet approach, IMO, there is a real need for that kind of thinking in govt. Perhaps a happy mix of it + a humanities based perspective.

A lot of people come out of humanities programs and into govt with all kinds of dopey notions; like R2P, globalism, open borders, etc.

Pat Lang Mod -> Eric Newhill , 6 hours ago
That is what the smart guys all say before really skilled people work on them. Eventually they ask you to tell them what is real. The Humanities thing stung? I remember the engineer students mocking me at VMI over this.
smoothieX12 -> Pat Lang , 4 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".

Grazhdanochka -> smoothieX12 , 2 hours ago
As I wrote earlier the Issue in those Courses is they are actually pure and concentrated Fields...... Political Science, International Relations are ambigious enough that a candidate can appeal to many Sectors and it is accepted, expected they will be competent.... Whether that be Governance/Diplomacy, Business, Travel etc...

Thus if you have no Idea what you want - those Fields are good to study, learning relatively little.....

If you know what you want - you have a Path.... You can study more concentrated Fields, but you damn well have to hope there is a Job at the end of the Rainbow (Known at least a couple People who studied only to be told almost immediately - you will not find Jobs domestically)

Pat Lang Mod -> Grazhdanochka , an hour ago
No. PS and the other SS are artificial constructs in our universities that posit views of mankind that are false.
Pat Lang Mod -> smoothieX12 , 3 hours ago
"Political Science" as we understand it here is not among the Humanities. It is pseudo science invented in the 19th Century.
Pat Lang Mod -> Pat Lang , 3 hours ago
The Humanities as they have been known. https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...
Eric Newhill -> Pat Lang , 5 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 , 3 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.
Richard Higginbotham -> Pat Lang , 5 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?
Pat Lang Mod -> Richard Higginbotham , 3 hours ago
Read widely. start with something encyclopedic like Will and Ariel Durant's "The Story of Civilization."
David Solomon -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
How about William H. McNeill's Rise of the West.
Pat Lang Mod -> David Solomon , 2 hours ago
Yup. More suggestions please you all.
dilbertdogbert , 5 hours ago
I started developing my BS filter when I recognized that when my older brother was being nice, he wanted something. His normal approach was to ignore me.
Pat Lang Mod -> dilbertdogbert , 5 hours ago
Unlike your brother a good recruiting case officer would never ignore you except maybe at the beginning as a tease. That also works with women that you want personally.

[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 recomme