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Casino Capitalism: Neoliberalism in Western countries

"When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done"

John Maynard Keynes

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Financialization is a process whereby financial markets, financial institutions, and financial elites gain greater influence over economic policy and economic outcomes. Financialization transforms the functioning of economic systems at both the macro and micro levels.

Its principal impacts are to (1) elevate the significance of the financial sector relative to the real sector, (2) transfer income from the real sector to the financial sector, and (3) increase income inequality and contribute to wage stagnation. Additionally, there are reasons to believe that financialization may put the economy at risk of debt deflation and prolonged recession.

Financialization operates through three different conduits: changes in the structure and operation of financial markets, changes in the behavior of nonfinancial corporations, and changes in economic policy.

Countering financialization calls for a multifaceted agenda that (1) restores policy control over financial markets, (2) challenges the neoliberal economic policy paradigm encouraged by financialization, (3) makes corporations responsive to interests of stakeholders other than just financial markets, and (4) reforms the political process so as to diminish the influence of corporations and wealthy elites.

Thomas Palley, See http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_525.pdf

Speculation and gambling were always a part of Wall Street but since the 1930’s they were just a side-show, now they are the show.

Comment to Matt Taibbi article Fannie, Freddie, and the New Red and Blue t


Introduction

“The sense of responsibility in the financial community
for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil.”

-- John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

The term Casino Capitalism as a specific phase of neoliberal transformation of capitalism. Politically it was slow motion corporate coup d'état, which started in 70th and is now accomplished in the USA and other Western countries which buries social-democratic (New Deal style) model of capitalism.  It hypertrophied police functions of state (in the form of national-security state)  while completely avoiding economic sphere in ways other then enforcement of laws (with a notable exclusion from this top 1% -- Masters of the Universe). In this sense it is the opposite of communism (i.e. an entirely state-planned economy) and presupposed a deregulated economy (in a sense of the "law of jungle" as a business environment) , but with extremely strong militarized state, suppressing all the attempts to challenge the new "nomenklatura" (much like was the case in the USSR).  It is also called economic liberalism or neoliberalism

“Liberalism” can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Right wing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate “liberals” — meaning the political type — have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.

In other words this is a variant of neoliberal model of corporatism used in wealthy Western countries during the period of "cheap hydrocarbons".  The period that is probably near the end and which by some estimate can last only another 50 years or so.  The major crisis of casino capitalism in 2008 was connected both with financial excesses (caused by moving to semi-criminal ways of extracting return on capital, typical for casino capitalism),  but also with the rise of the price of oil and decrease of  Energy returned on energy invested (EROEI)In this sense the current low oil price period that started in late 2014 can be viewed as the "last hurrah" of the casino capitalism.

In understanding neoliberal transformation of the society since early 80th it is important to understanding of the key role of financialization in this process. When major services are privatized (education, healthcare, pension plans) financial institution insert themselves as intermediaries in this arrangement and make it the main source of their profits.  Also contrary to neoliberal propaganda this process is aided and abetted by state. State is used by neoliberalism as a tool of enforcing market relations even where they are not useless or even harmful (education). All this talk about irresolvable controversy between market and state is for gullible fools. In reality, being Trotskyism for rich, neoliberalism uses power of the state to enforce market relations  by force on reluctant population even in areas where this can do no good. That make really it close to Soviet Communism. As Marx noted "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

A very good discussion of the role of Financialisation in entrenchment of neoliberalism in modern societies can be found in the book by Costas Lapavitsas. Some highlights are provided inhis Guardian article Finance's hold on our everyday life must be broken

This extraordinary public largesse towards private banks was matched by austerity and wage reductions for workers and households. As for restructuring finance, nothing fundamental has taken place. The behemoths that continue to dominate the global financial system operate in the knowledge that they enjoy an unspoken public guarantee. The unpalatable reality is that financialisation will persist, despite its costs for society.

Financialisation represents a historic and deep-seated transformation of mature capitalism. Big businesses have become "financialised" as they have ample profits to finance investment, rely less on banks for loans and play financial games with available funds. Big banks, in turn, have become more distant from big businesses, turning to profits from trading in open financial markets and from lending to households. Households have become "financialised" too, as public provision in housing, education, health, pensions and other vital areas has been partly replaced by private provision, access to which is mediated by the financial system. Not surprisingly, households have accumulated a tremendous volume of financial assets and liabilities over the past four decades.

The penetration of finance into the everyday life of households has not only created a range of dependencies on financial services, but also changed the outlook, mentality and even morality of daily life. Financial calculation evaluates everything in pennies and pounds, transforming the most basic goods – above all, housing – into "investments". Its logic has affected even the young, who have traditionally been idealistic and scornful of pecuniary calculation. Fertile ground has been created for neoliberal ideology to preach the putative merits of the market.

Financialisation has also created new forms of profit associated with financial markets and transactions. Financial profit can be made out of any income, or any sum of money that comes into contact with the financial sphere. Households, for example, generate profits for finance as debtors (mostly by paying interest on mortgages) but also as creditors (mostly by paying fees and charges on pension funds and insurance). Finance is not particular about how and where it makes its profits, and certainly does not limit itself to the sphere of production. It ranges far and wide, transforming every aspect of social life into a profit-making opportunity.

The traditional image of the person earning financial profits is the "rentier", the individual who invests funds in secure financial assets. In the contemporary financialised universe, however, those who earn vast returns are very different. They are often located within a financial institution, presumably work to provide financial services, and receive vast sums in the form of wages, or more often bonuses. Modern financial elites are prominent at the top of the income distribution, set trends in conspicuous consumption, shape the expensive end of the housing market, and transform the core of urban centres according to their own tastes.

Financialised capitalism is, thus, a deeply unequal system, prone to bubbles and crises – none greater than that of 2007-09. What can be done about it? The most important point in this respect is that financialisation does not represent an advance for humanity, and very little of it ought to be preserved. Financial markets are, for instance, able to mobilise advanced technology employing some of the best-trained physicists in the world to rebalance prices across the globe in milliseconds. This "progress" allows financiers to earn vast profits; but where is the commensurate benefit to society from committing such expensive resources to these tasks?

The term "casino capitalism" was coined by Susan Strange who used it as a title of her book Casino Capitalism published in 1986. She was one of the first who realized that

  1. "The roots of the world's economic disorder are monetary and financial";
  2. "The disorder has not come about by accident, but has in fact been nurtured and encouraged by a series of government decisions." (p. 60). In other words its was a counter-revolution of the part of ruling elite which lost its influence in 30th (dismantling New Deal from above in the USA (Reaganomics) or Thatcherism in the GB).

According to Susan Strange transformation of industrial capitalism into neoliberal capitalism ("casino capitalism") involved five trends. All of them increased the systemic instability of the system and the level of political corruption:

  1. Innovations in the way in which financial markets work due to introduction of computers;
  2. The sheer size of markets; (with the introduction of 401K the size of stock market multiplied, etc)
  3. Commercial banks turned into investment banks;
  4. The emergence of Asian nations as large players;
  5. The shift to self-regulation by banks (pp.9-10).

Now it is pretty much established fact that the conversion from "industrial capitalism" to neoliberal, completely financialialized "casino capitalism" is the natural logic of development of capitalism. In early and incomplete matter this trend was noticed at early 1990th by many thinkers. This is just the second iteration of the same trend which was interrupted by the Great Depression and subsequent WWII. So, in a way, replacement of industrial capitalism with financial capitalism in a natural tendency within the capitalism itself and corruption was contributing, but not decisive factor.  The same is true about globalization, especially about globalization of financial flows, typical for casino capitalism.

Also this conversion did not happen due to lack of oversight or as a folly. It was a couscous choice made by the US and GB elite, both of which faced deterioration of rates of return on capital. Also unlike "industrial capitalism" which was more-or-less stable system, able to outcompete the neo-theocratic system of the USSR, the financial capitalism is unstable in the same sense as radioactive elements are unstable.  And this instability tend to increase with time. So there is probably natural half-life period for neoliberalism as a social system. It might be already reached in 2008.  In we assume that global victory of neoliberalism happened in 1990. It is just 18 years.  If we think that it happened in late 60th, then it is closer to 50 years.

The global crisis of neoliberal capitalism which started from bursting the USA subprime housing bubble in 2008 undermined ideological legitimacy of its central claim that "free markets" lead to faster and more uniform economic development of all countries. While the peak of its "ideological" power might be over (much like the peak of attractiveness of "command socialism" was over after WWII), it will exist in a zombie state for a long time due to economic and military power of the USA and G7.  And as we know from Hollywood films, zombies can be especially bloodthirsty. It probably will remain the dominant force for at least the next two decades pursuing the same policy of "forceful" opening of energy rich  and resource countries for western multinationals intact using color revolutions and local wars.  But as Napoleon quipped "You can do anything with bayonets, you just can't sit on them".

Conversion to neoliberal capitalism was a reaction on stagnation of industrial production and as such it was nurtured and encouraged by a series of government decisions for the last 50 years. Stagnation of industrial production made expansion of financial sector of paramount importance for the ruling elite and by extension for Congress which represents this elite. House vote 377:4 for Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 is pretty telling in this respect.

There were also at least two important parallel developments.

Most respectable authors like Henry Giroux in his article in Counterpunch generally consider the term "casino capitalism" to be an equivalent to the term Neoliberalism. Here is a relevant quote from Henry Giroux's Authoritarian Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism :

There is more at work here than simply a ramped up version of social Darwinism with its savagely cruel ethic of “reward the rich, penalize the poor, [and] let everyone fend for themselves,” [ii] there is also a full scale attack on the social contract, the welfare state, economic equality, and any viable vestige of moral and social responsibility. The Romney-Ryan appropriation of Ayn Rand’s ode to selfishness and self-interest is of particular importance because it offers a glimpse of a ruthless form of extreme capitalism in which the poor are considered “moochers,” viewed with contempt, and singled out to be punished. But this theocratic economic fundamentalist ideology does more. It destroys any viable notion of the and civic virtue in which the social contract and common good provide the basis for creating meaningful social bonds and instilling in citizens a sense of social and civic responsibility. The idea of public service is viewed with disdain just as the work of individuals, social groups, and institutions that benefit the citizenry at large are held in contempt.

As George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith point out, casino capitalism creates a culture of cruelty: “its horrific effects on individuals-death, illness, suffering, greater poverty, and loss of opportunity, productive lives, and money.”[iii]

But it does more by crushing any viable notion of the common good and public life by destroying “the bonds that hold us together.”[iv] Under casino capitalism, the spaces, institutions, and values that constitute the public are now surrendered to powerful financial forces and viewed simply as another market to be commodified, privatized and surrendered to the demands of capital. With religious and market-driven zealots in charge, politics becomes an extension of war; greed and self-interest trump any concern for the well-being of others; reason is trumped by emotions rooted in absolutist certainty and militaristic aggression; and skepticism and dissent are viewed as the work of Satan.

If the Republican candidacy race of 2012 is any indication, then political discourse in the United States has not only moved to the right—it has been introducing totalitarian values and ideals into the mainstream of public life. Religious fanaticism, consumer culture, and the warfare state work in tandem with neoliberal economic forces to encourage privatization, corporate tax breaks, growing income and wealth inequality, and the further merging of the financial and military spheres in ways that diminish the authority and power of democratic governance.[v] Neoliberal interests in freeing markets from social constraints, fueling competitiveness, destroying education systems, producing atomized subjects, and loosening individuals from any sense of social responsibility prepare the populace for a slow embrace of social Darwinism, state terrorism, and the mentality of war — not least of all by destroying communal bonds, dehumanizing the other, and pitting individuals against the communities they inhabit.

Totalitarian temptations now saturate the media and larger culture in the language of austerity as political and economic orthodoxy. What we are witnessing in the United States is the normalization of a politics that exterminates not only the welfare state, and the truth, but all those others who bear the sins of the Enlightenment — that is, those who refuse a life free from doubt. Reason and freedom have become enemies not merely to be mocked, but to be destroyed. And this is a war whose totalitarian tendencies are evident in the assault on science, immigrants, women, the elderly, the poor, people of color, and youth.

What too often goes unsaid, particularly with the media’s focus on inflammatory rhetoric, is that those who dominate politics and policymaking, whether Democrats or Republicans, do so largely because of their disproportionate control of the nation’s income and wealth. Increasingly, it appears these political elite choose to act in ways that sustain their dominance through the systemic reproduction of an iniquitous social order. In other words, big money and corporate power rule while electoral politics are rigged. The secrecy of the voting booth becomes the ultimate expression of democracy, reducing politics to an individualized purchase—a crude form of economic action. Any form of politics willing to invest in such ritualistic pageantry only adds to the current dysfunctional nature of our social order, while reinforcing a profound failure of political imagination. The issue should no longer be how to work within the current electoral system, but how to dismantle it and construct a new political landscape that is capable of making a claim on equity, justice, and democracy for all of its inhabitants. Obama’s once inspiring call for hope has degenerated into a flight from responsibility.

The Obama administration has worked to extend the policies of the George W. Bush administration by legitimating a range of foreign and domestic policies that have shredded civil liberties, expanded the permanent warfare state, and increased the domestic reach of the punitive surveillance state. And if Romney and his ideological cohorts, now viewed as the most extremists faction of the Republican Party, come to power, surely the existing totalitarian and anti-democratic tendencies at work in the United States will be dangerously intensified.

History

Alternatively, we could have spent more time studying the work of Hyman Minsky. We could also have considered the possibility that, just as Keynes’s ideas were tested to destruction in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Milton Friedman’s ideas might suffer a similar fate in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. All gods fail, if one believes too much. Keynes said, of course, that "practical men … are usually the slaves of some defunct economist". So, of course, are economists, even if the defunct economists are sometimes still alive.

Martin Wolf

 


 

 

Casino capitalism  is a nickname for nailibelism. Probably more properly nickname would be  financial corporatism. While the key idea of corporatism: that political actors are not individual people, but some associations and first of all corporations (which are officially considered to be "persons" and have rights as well as trade unions and some other associations) remains intact, financial corporatism is different from classic corporatism in several major ways:

Historically corporatism in various modifications became dominant social system after WWII and defeated "command socialism" as was implemented in the USSR. Here is an instructive review of corporatism history (The Economic System of Corporatism):

In the last half of the 19th century people of the working class in Europe were beginning to show interest in the ideas of socialism and syndicalism. Some members of the intelligentsia, particularly the Catholic intelligentsia, decided to formulate an alternative to socialism which would emphasize social justice without the radical solution of the abolition of private property. The result was called Corporatism. The name had nothing to do with the notion of a business corporation except that both words are derived from the Latin word for body, corpus.

The basic idea of corporatism is that the society and economy of a country should be organized into major interest groups (sometimes called corporations) and representatives of those interest groups settle any problems through negotiation and joint agreement. In contrast to a market economy which operates through competition a corporate economic works through collective bargaining. The American president Lyndon Johnson had a favorite phrase that reflected the spirit of corporatism. He would gather the parties to some dispute and say, "Let us reason together."

Under corporatism the labor force and management in an industry belong to an industrial organization. The representatives of labor and management settle wage issues through collective negotiation. While this was the theory in practice the corporatist states were largely ruled according to the dictates of the supreme leader.

One early and important theorist of corporatism was Adam Müller, an advisor to Prince Metternich in what is now eastern Germany and Austria. Müller propounded his views as an antidote to the twin dangers of the egalitarianism of the French Revolution and the laissez faire economics of Adam Smith. In Germany and elsewhere there was a distinct aversion among rulers to allow markets to function without direction or control by the state. The general culture heritage of Europe from the medieval era was opposed to individual self-interest and the free operation of markets. Markets and private property were acceptable only as long as social regulation took precedence over such sinful motivations as greed.

Coupled with the anti-market sentiments of the medieval culture there was the notion that the rulers of the state had a vital role in promoting social justice. Thus corporatism was formulated as a system that emphasized the positive role of the state in guaranteeing social justice and suppressing the moral and social chaos of the population pursuing their own individual self-interests. And above all else, as a political economic philosophy corporatism was flexible. It could tolerate private enterprise within limits and justify major projects of the state. Corporatism has sometimes been labeled as a Third Way or a mixed economy, a synthesis of capitalism and socialism, but it is in fact a separate, distinctive political economic system.

Although rulers have probably operated according to the principles of corporatism from time immemorial it was only in the early twentieth century that regimes began to identify themselves as corporatist. The table below gives some of those explicitly corporatist regimes.

Corporatist Regimes of the Early Twentieth Century
System Name Country Period Leader
National Corporatism Italy 1922-1945 Benito Mussolini
Country, Religion, Monarchy Spain 1923-1930 Miguel Primo de Rivera
National Socialism Germany 1933-1945 Adolph Hitler
National Syndicalism Spain 1936-1973 Francisco Franco
New State Portugal 1932-1968 Antonio Salazar
New State Brazil 1933-1945 Getulio Vargas
New Deal United States 1933-1945 Franklin Roosevelt
Third Hellenic Civilization Greece 1936-1941 Ioannis Metaxas
Justice Party Argentina 1943-1955 Juan Peron

In the above table several of the regimes were brutal, totalitarian dictatorships, usually labeled fascist, but not all the regimes that had a corporatist foundation were fascist. In particular, the Roosevelt New Deal despite its many faults could not be described as fascist. But definitely the New Deal was corporatist. The architect for the initial New Deal program was General Hugh Johnson. Johnson had been the administrator of the military mobilization program for the U.S. under Woodrow Wilson during World War I. It was felt that he did a good job of managing the economy during that period and that is why he was given major responsibility for formulating an economic program to deal with the severe problems of the Depression. But between the end of World War I and 1933 Hugh Johnson had become an admirer of Mussolini's National Corporatist system in Italy and he drew upon the Italian experience in formulating the New Deal.

It should be noted that many elements of the early New Deal were later declared unconstitutional and abandoned, but some elements such as the National Labor Relations Act which promoted unionization of the American labor force are still in effect. One part of the New Deal was the development of the Tennessee River Valley under the public corporation called the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Some of the New Dealer saw TVA as more than a public power enterprise. They hoped to make TVA a model for the creation of regional political units which would replace state governments. Their goal was not realized. The model for TVA was the river development schemes carried out in Spain in the 1920's under the government of Miguel Primo de Rivera. Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera, was the founder of Franco's National Syndicalism.

Corporatist regime typically promote large governmental projects such as TVA on the basis that they are too large to be funded by private enterprise. In Brazil the Vargas regime created many public enterprises such as in iron and steel production which it felt were needed but private enterprise declined to create. It also created an organized labor movement that came to control those public enterprises and turned them into overstaffed, inefficient drains on the public budget.

Although the above locates the origin of corporatism in 19th century France it roots can be traced much further back in time. Sylvia Ann Hewlett in her book, The Cruel Dilemmas of Development: Twentieth Century Brazil, says,

Corporatism is based on a body of ideas that can be traced through Aristotle, Roman law, medieval social and legal structures, and into contemporary Catholic social philosophy. These ideas are based on the premise that man's nature can only be fulfilled within a political community.
..........
The central core of the corporatist vision is thus not the individual but the political community whose perfection allows the individual members to fulfill themselves and find happiness.
...............
The state in the corporatist tradition is thus clearly interventionist and powerful.

Corporatism is collectivist; it is a different version of collectivism than socialism but it is definitely collectivist. It places some importance on the fact that private property is not nationalized, but the control through regulation is just as real. It is de facto nationalization without being de jure nationalization.

Although Corporatism is not a familiar concept to the general public, most of the economies of the world are corporatist in nature. The categories of socialist and pure market economy are virtually empty. There are only corporatist economies of various flavors.

These flavors of corporatism include the social democratic regimes of Europe and the Americas, but also the East Asian and Islamic fundamentalist regimes such as Taiwan, Singapore and Iran. The Islamic socialist states such as Syria, Libya and Algeria are more corporatist than socialist, as was Iraq under Saddam Hussain. The formerly communist regimes such as Russia and China are now clearly corporatist in economic philosophy although not in name.

The concept of Quite Coup

Sine ira et studio

Tacitus, see Wikipedia

The term "Quiet coup" which means the hijacking of the political power in the USA by financial oligarchy was introduced by Simon H. Johnson, a British-American economist, who currently is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, he was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund. The term was introduced in his article in Atlantic magazine, published in May 2009(The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic). Which opens with a revealing paragraph:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government

The wealth of financial sector gave it unprecedented opportunities of simply buying the political power iether directly or indirectly (via revolving door mechanism):

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies — lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits — such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight — a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

He further researched this theme in his book 2010 book 13 Bankers The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown  (ISBN 978-0307379054), coauthored with James Kwak. They also founded and regularly contributes to the economics blog The Baseline Scenario. See also History of Casino Capitalism

The net effect of the ideological counter-revolution based on market fundamentalism ideology was that it restored the power of financial oligarchy typical for Gilded Age. As Simon Johnson argues that was partially done by subverting regulators and that oversize institutions always disproportionately influence public policy:

The second problem the U.S. faces—the power of the oligarchy—is just as important as the immediate crisis of lending. And the advice from the IMF on this front would again be simple: break the oligarchy.

Oversize institutions disproportionately influence public policy; the major banks we have today draw much of their power from being too big to fail. Nationalization and re-privatization would not change that; while the replacement of the bank executives who got us into this crisis would be just and sensible, ultimately, the swapping-out of one set of powerful managers for another would change only the names of the oligarchs.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation. Laws put in place more than 100years ago to combat industrial monopolies were not designed to address the problem we now face. The problem in the financial sector today is not that a given firm might have enough market share to influence prices; it is that one firm or a small set of interconnected firms, by failing, can bring down the economy. The Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus evokes FDR, but what we need to imitate here is Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting.

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. Wall Street’s main attraction—to the people who work there and to the government officials who were only too happy to bask in its reflected glory—has been the astounding amount of money that could be made. Limiting that money would reduce the allure of the financial sector and make it more like any other industry.

Still, outright pay caps are clumsy, especially in the long run. And most money is now made in largely unregulated private hedge funds and private-equity firms, so lowering pay would be complicated. Regulation and taxation should be part of the solution. Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine.

Two Paths

To paraphrase Joseph Schumpeter, the early-20th-century economist, everyone has elites; the important thing is to change them from time to time. If the U.S. were just another country, coming to the IMF with hat in hand, I might be fairly optimistic about its future. Most of the emerging-market crises that I’ve mentioned ended relatively quickly, and gave way, for the most part, to relatively strong recoveries. But this, alas, brings us to the limit of the analogy between the U.S. and emerging markets.

Emerging-market countries have only a precarious hold on wealth, and are weaklings globally. When they get into trouble, they quite literally run out of money—or at least out of foreign currency, without which they cannot survive. They must make difficult decisions; ultimately, aggressive action is baked into the cake. But the U.S., of course, is the world’s most powerful nation, rich beyond measure, and blessed with the exorbitant privilege of paying its foreign debts in its own currency, which it can print. As a result, it could very well stumble along for years—as Japan did during its lost decade—never summoning the courage to do what it needs to do, and never really recovering. A clean break with the past—involving the takeover and cleanup of major banks—hardly looks like a sure thing right now. Certainly no one at the IMF can force it.

In my view, the U.S. faces two plausible scenarios. The first involves complicated bank-by-bank deals and a continual drumbeat of (repeated) bailouts, like the ones we saw in February with Citigroup and AIG. The administration will try to muddle through, and confusion will reign.

Boris Fyodorov, the late finance minister of Russia, struggled for much of the past 20 years against oligarchs, corruption, and abuse of authority in all its forms. He liked to say that confusion and chaos were very much in the interests of the powerful—letting them take things, legally and illegally, with impunity. When inflation is high, who can say what a piece of property is really worth? When the credit system is supported by byzantine government arrangements and backroom deals, how do you know that you aren’t being fleeced?

Our future could be one in which continued tumult feeds the looting of the financial system, and we talk more and more about exactly how our oligarchs became bandits and how the economy just can’t seem to get into gear.

The second scenario begins more bleakly, and might end that way too. But it does provide at least some hope that we’ll be shaken out of our torpor. It goes like this: the global economy continues to deteriorate, the banking system in east-central Europe collapses, and—because eastern Europe’s banks are mostly owned by western European banks—justifiable fears of government insolvency spread throughout the Continent. Creditors take further hits and confidence falls further. The Asian economies that export manufactured goods are devastated, and the commodity producers in Latin America and Africa are not much better off. A dramatic worsening of the global environment forces the U.S. economy, already staggering, down onto both knees. The baseline growth rates used in the administration’s current budget are increasingly seen as unrealistic, and the rosy "stress scenario" that the U.S. Treasury is currently using to evaluate banks’ balance sheets becomes a source of great embarrassment.

Under this kind of pressure, and faced with the prospect of a national and global collapse, minds may become more concentrated.

The conventional wisdom among the elite is still that the current slump "cannot be as bad as the Great Depression." This view is wrong. What we face now could, in fact, be worse than the Great Depression—because the world is now so much more interconnected and because the banking sector is now so big. We face a synchronized downturn in almost all countries, a weakening of confidence among individuals and firms, and major problems for government finances. If our leadership wakes up to the potential consequences, we may yet see dramatic action on the banking system and a breaking of the old elite. Let us hope it is not then too late.

It is pretty interesting to see how financial oligarchy filters information provided to the population to fit their biases. For example, the key facts about repeal of Glass-Steagall law  (BTW Joe Biden voted for it) mostly hidden from the public: 

Commodity Futures Trading Commission — under the leadership of Mr. Gramm’s wife, Wendy — had approved rules in 1989 and 1993 exempting some swaps and derivatives from regulation. In December 2000, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act was passed as part of a larger bill by unanimous consent after Senator Gramm dominated the Senate debate...

"He was the architect, advocate and the most knowledgeable person in Congress on these topics," Mr. Donovan said. "To me, Phil Gramm is the single most important reason for the current financial crisis."

"The virtually unregulated over-the-counter market in credit-default swaps has played a significant role in the credit crisis, including the now $167 billion taxpayer rescue of A.I.G.," Christopher Cox, the chairman of the S.E.C. and a former congressman, said Friday.

But you will never find discussion of flaws and adverse consequences Phil Gram (or Greenspan for a change) initiatives in Heritage Foundation and other right-wing think tanks publications.

Stages of transformation

So what we are experiencing is a the completion of the transformation of one phase of capitalism to another. It happened in stages:

  1. Manufacturing stagnated and can't provide the "decent" rate of growth. Competition from re-built Europe and Asian markets severely stressed the US manufacturing. due to competition return of capital dropped and in several industries became negative.

  2. Computers brought innovations into financial markets. They make possible real time trading of induces like S&P500, complex financial instruments like derivatives, etc. Later they enables superfast trading (HFT). All those instruments dramatically increased the possibilities of extracting the rent by financial institutions from the society.

  3. Globalization kicked in due to new opportunities offered by high speed global communications (Internet). And that is not limited to outsourcing. Due to globalization the sheer size of the financial markets increased to the extent that they started to represent a different, new transnational phenomena allowing new types of redistribution of wealth to be practiced. Integration of Russian elite (oligarchs) is just one example of this process. In case of pro-western oligarchs (fifth column) West went to significant length to protect them and their racket (Mikhail Khodorkovsky - Wikipedia,)

  4. Commercial banks turned into investment banks to exploit this opportunity.

  5. Financial sector completely corrupted academic science converting most economists to pay prostitutes which serve their interests.

  6. Collapse of the USSR provided the financial sector major shoot in the arm and a golden, once in century opportunity to finance new half-billion consumers and stole for a penny on a dollar huge industrial assets and natural resources as well as put most of those countries in the debt (Latin-Americanization of xUSSR space). Harvard Mafia (with some support from London) did the bidding of western banks in xUSSR space. As more becomes known about the laundering of Russian money in Western banks, many in the United States will likely try to hide behind stories of faraway organized crime. But U.S. policy toward Russia has contributed to that country's sorry conditions--with the Harvard Institute for International Development's Russia project (HIID) playing a major role (Harvard's 'Best and Brightest' Aided Russia's Economic Ruin ). Professor Jeffery Sacks provided a bogus idea of "shock therapy" to achieve spectacular for Western banks result. As a result all xUSSR space became new Latin America with typical for Latin America problems like huge level of inequality, prostitution, child poverty, and prominent role of organized crime.

  7. Banks became dominant political force on western societies with no real counterbalance from other parts of the elite. The first president completely subservient to banking elite was elected in the USA in 1992. Bill Clinton regime lasted eight years and along with economic rape of xUSSR space in best colonial powers tradition, it removed what was left of financial regulations after the flurry of deregulation of the early 1980s. And they behaved as an occupying force not only in xUSSR space but in the USA as well. They deprived workers out of their jobs, they abolished the US pension system as it impede playing with population money and replaced in with widely inadequate 401K plans. They deprived municipalities out of their revenues and assets, while municipalities became just a den of bond traders looking for then next mark which give them the ability to put municipalities deeper in debt.

  8. Newly acquired political power of financial elite speeded the shift to bank "self-regulation" created huge shadow banking system which dwarf "official" under the smoke screen of "free-market" propaganda and PR from a coterie of corrupts academics (Chicago Scholl, Harvard Mafia, etc) . It engaged in pursuit of short term profits and self-enrichment of top brass which became new elite by-and-large displacing not only the old one, but also the newly minted IT elite of dot-com boom. Using newly acquired power financial elite remove all regulations that hamper their interests. Glass-Steagall was repealed at the last days of Clinton presidency, financial derivatives became unregulated.

  9. Deindustrialization kicked in. As financial speculation proved to be much more profitable to other activities deindustrialization kicked in the USA as the financial center of the world. Outsourcing which first was limited to manufacturing jobs now extent its reach on IT and decimate previously profitable sector and its export potential.

  10. Externalities can no longer be suppressed and economics became unstable. Growth of inequality, job insecurity, as well as frequency of financial crises were natural consequences of financialization of the economy. They create huge imbalances, like bubble in residential real estate which was blown with the help and full support of the USA government as a way to overcome dot-com crisis consequences.

  11. Debt crisis strikes. Growth of debt became unsustainable and produces the financial crisis of enormous proportions. By their reckless policies and greed financial sector caused huge financial crisis of 2008 and now they are forcing national governments to auction off their cultural heritage to the highest bidder. Everything must go in fire sales at prices rigged by twenty-something largest banks, the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known.

  12. Devastating "local" wars became "new normal". Due to financial crisis, the overconsumption in western economies came under threat. Debt expansion which led to overconsumption within the western economies affected (or infected) by financialization. To sustain the current standard of living financial expansion became the necessity. It took the form of a competition for spheres of influence in the area of energy supplies, which we see in post USSR space, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. And central banks play critical role in financing wars. After all Banks of England was created with this exact purpose.

I think by 2008 when the second major financial crisis hit the USA, the transformation on the USA economy into casino capitalism, which is essentially implementation of neoliberal doctrine (or more correctly the US brand of corporatism) was by-and-large complete.

In short we are living in a new politico-economic system in which financial capital won victory over both labor and industrial capital. We might not like what we got, but financial elite is now a new ruling class and this fact is difficult to dispute. As a result. instead of the robber barons of the early 20th century (some of whom actually created/consolidated new industries), we have the top executives from investment banks, insurers and mortgage industry who represent a new Rentier class, much like old aristocracy.

They are living off parasitic monopolization of access to any (physical, financial, intellectual, etc.) kind of property and gaining significant amount of profit without contribution to society (see Rentier capitalism which is a very fuzzy term for neoliberal model of capitalism).

Casino Capitalism as a result of stagnation of industrial manufacturing

Stagnation of industrial manufacturing droved up financial speculation as the method to compensate for falling rate on return on capital. This stagnation became prominent during Reagan administration (which started the major shift toward neoliberalism), although signs of it were present from early 60th.

For example Chicago which was a manufacturing center since 1969 lost approximately 400K manufacturing jobs which were replaced mainly by FIRE-related jobs, In 1995 over 22% of those employed by FIRE industries (66K people) were working in executive and managerial positions. Another 17% are in marketing, sales and processional specialty occupations (computer system analysts, PR specialists, writer and editors).

Those changes in the structure of employment had several consequences:

  1. The stagnation of the underlying economy meant that capitalists were increasingly dependent on the growth of finance to preserve and enlarge their money capital.
  2. The financial superstructure of the capitalist economy could not expand independently of its base -- underlying productive economy — hence the bursting of speculative bubbles became a recurrent and growing problem.
  3. Financialization could never overcome stagnation of industrial production. It is just an opium for rich, not a structural adjustment of the stagnation-prone economy. But like addition to narcotics does to human body it does tremendous damage to real economy.
  4. Rapid increase in inequality is necessary to sustain the appetites of the elite in the system with fixed size of the pie. Politico-economic conditions might became even more unfavorable for labor. Stagnation of industrial production mean shrinking pie, which necessitates redistribution of wealth in favor of a new, all-powerful financial Rentier class. This redistribution resulted in partial wipe-out of large swats of middle class. For the past three decades, America has steadily converted itself into a nation of haves (as Bush II quipped "This is an impressive crowd -- the haves and the have mores! Some people call you the elite -- I call you my base". ) and have-nots. The cost of a college education rises rapidly at a time when wages for skilled labor stagnate, so access to college became against discriminated in favor of upper class of the society. Repressive apparatus and ideological brainwashing are too strong to mount effective resistance.

The key to understanding of Casino Capitalism is that it was a series of government decisions (or rather non-decisions) that converted the state into neoliberal model. In other words casino capitalism has distinct "Government property" mark. It was the USA elite, which refused to act responsibly in the face of changing economic conditions resulting from its own actions, and instead chose to try to perpetuate, by whatever means it had at its disposal, the institutional advantages of dollar as a reserve currency which it had vis-à-vis its main economic rivals and grab as large part of the world economic pie as it can. And this power grab was supported first of all by the role of dollar as currency in which oil is traded.

There might be some geo-strategically motives as well as the US elite in late 80th perceived that competitiveness is slipping out of the USA and the danger of deindustrialization is real. Many accuse Reagan with the desire to ride dollar status as a world reserve currency (exorbitant privilege) until the horse is dead. That's what real cowboys do in Hollywood movies... But the collapse of the main rival, the USSR vindicated this strategy and give a strong short in the arm to financialization of the economy. Actually for the next ten years can be called a triumphal ascend of financialization in the USA.

Dominance of FIRE industries clustered up and in recent years reached in the USA quite dramatic proportions. The old Bolsheviks saying "When we say Lenin we mean the Party and when we say the Party we mean Lenin" now can be reworded: "Now it we say US banks, we mean the US government and vise versa if we say US government we mean US banks".

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the FIRE sector was and is the biggest contributor to federal candidates in Washington. Companies cannot give directly, so they leave it to bundlers to solicit maximum contributions from employees and families. They might have been brought down to earth this year, but they’ve given like Gods: Goldman Sachs, $4.8 million; Citigroup, $3.7 million; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., $3.6 million; Merrill Lynch, $2.3 million; Lehman Brothers, $2.1 million; Bank of America, $2.1 million. Some think the long-term effect of such contributions to individual candidates was clear in the roll-call votes for the bailout.

Take the controversial first House vote on bailout of major banks on Sept. 29, 2008. According to CRP, the "ayes" had received 53 percent more contributions from FIRE since 1989 than those who voted against the bill, which ultimately failed 228 to 205. The 140 House Democrats who voted for the bill got an average of $188,572 in this election cycle, while the 65 Republicans backing it got an average of $185,461 from FIRE—about 23 percent more than the bill’s opponents received. A tinkered bill was passed four days later, 263 to 171.

According to the article Fire Sale (The American Conservative) half of Obama’s top ten contributors, together giving him nearly $2.2 million, are FIREmen. The $13 million contributed by FIRE executives to Obama campaign is probably an undercount. Democratic committee leaders are also dependent of FIRE contributions. The list includes Sen. Dodd ( please look at Senator Dodd's top donors for 2007-8 on openSecrets.org ) and Sen. Chuck Schumer ($12 million from FIRE since 1989), Rep. Barney Frank ($2.5 million), and Rep. Charlie Rangel ($4 million, the top recipient in the House). All of them have been accused of taking truckloads of contributions while failing to act on the looming mortgage crisis. Dodd finally pushed mortgage reform last year but by then as his hometown paper, The Hartford Courant stated, "the damage was done."

Casino Capitalism and Financial Instability

At the same time rise of financial capital dramatically increased instability. An oversized financial sector produces instability due to multiple positive feedback loops. In this sense we can talk about Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy. The whole society became "House of cards", "Giant Enron" and "extension of Las Vegas". Reckless management, greed and out-right stupidity in playing derivatives games was natural consequence of the oversized financial sector, not just a human folly. In a way it was dramatic manifestation of the oversized financial sector negative influence of the economy. And in 2008 it did brought out economy to the brink of destruction. Peak oil added to suffocating effect on the economy of reckless gambling (and related debts) of financial sector producing the economic calamity that rivals Great Depression. Also, like Socialism, Casino Capitalism demands too much of its elite. And in reality, the financial elite much like Bolsheviks elite, is having its own interests above the interests of the society.

As Kevin Phillips noted "In the United States, political correctness, religious fundamentalism, and other inhibitions sometimes dumb down national debate". And the same statement is true for financial elite that became the center of power under the Casino Capitalism. Due to avalanche of greed the society became one giant Enron as money that are made from value addition in the form of manufacturing fade in significance to the volume of the money that is made from shuffling money around. In other was the Wall Street's locked USA in the situation from which there is no easy exit.

Self-reinforcing ‘positive’ feedback loops prevalent in Casino Capitalism trigger an accelerating creation of various debt instruments, interest of which at some point overwhelm the system carrying capacity. Ability to lend against good collateral is quickly exhausted. At some point apparently there is no good collateral against which lending freely was possible, even at high rates. This means that each new stage of financial innovation involves scam and fraud, on increasing scale. In other words Ponzi economy of "saving and loans" is replaced with Madoff economy.

Whether you shift the resulting huge private debt to public to increase confidence or not, the net result is of this development of events is a crisis and a huge debt that society needs to take. Actually the debt bubble in 2008 can only be compared to the debt bubble of 1933. The liquidation of Bear Sterns and Lehman was only a start of consolidation of finances and we need to find something that replace financial sector dominance in the national economy. It would be nice is some technological breakthrough happened which would lift the country out of this deep hole.

See Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy for more details.

Neoliberalism as the Ideology of Casino Capitalism

Like Bolshevism was marked by deification of teaching of Marx and Lenin, converting them into pseudo-religious doctrine, the Casino Capitalism has its own deified ideological doctrine. It is the ideology of Neoliberalism. The latter as an ideology and an agenda seeks to topple democratic capitalism and replace it with a de facto unaccountable autocratic government which serves as channel of a wealth transfer from the public to a rentier elite. In a way it is a spectacular example of a successful (in a very negative sense) pseudo-religious doctrine.

Addiction of the societies to disastrous politico-economical doctrines are similar to addictions to alcohol and drugs in individuals. It is not easy to recover and it takes a long, long time and a lot of misery. As dissolution of the USSR aptly demonstrated not all societies can make it. In this case the USSR elite (nomenklatura) simply shed the old ideology as it understood that it will be better off adopting ideology of neoliberal capitalism; so it was revolution from above.  this abrupt switch created chaos in economics (which was applauded by Washington which under Clinton administration adopted the stance the Carnage needs to be destroyed and facilitated the process), criminal privatization of major industries, and pushed into object poverty the 99% of population of those countries. For some period under "drunk Yeltsyn" Russia sees to exist as an independent country and became a vassal of Washington.

This also means that "society at large" did not had effective brakes to the assent of financial plutocracy (aka financial oligarchy).  I would add to this the computer revolution and internet that made many financial transaction qualitatively different and often dramatically cheaper that in previous history. Computers also enabled creation of new financial players like mutual funds (which created a shadow banking system with their bond funds) , hedge funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as well as high-frequency trading and derivatives.

From the historical view Reaganomics also can be considered to be the US flavor of Lysenkoism with economics instead of genetics as a target. Here is how Reaganomics is defined in Wikipedia

Reaganomics (a portmanteau of "Reagan" and "economics") refers to the economic policies promoted by United States President Ronald Reagan. The four pillars of Reagan's economic policy were to:[1]
  1. reduce the growth of government spending,
  2. reduce marginal tax rates on income from labor and capital,
  3. reduce government regulation of the economy,
  4. control the money supply to reduce inflation.

In attempting to cut back on domestic spending while lowering taxes, Reagan's approach was a departure from his immediate predecessors.

Reagan became president during a period of high inflation and unemployment (commonly referred to as stagflation), which had largely abated by the time he left office.

Please not that the Number 1 idea ("reduce government spending") was essentially a scam, a smoke screen designed to attract Rednecks as a powerful voting block. In a way this was a trick similar to one played by Bolsheviks in Russia with its "worker and peasants rule" smokescreen which covered brutal dictatorship. In reality all administrations which preached Reagonomics (including Clinton's) expanded the role of state and government spending. The number two was applied by-and-large to top 1%. The number three means deregulation in the interests of financial oligarchy and dismantling all social program that hamper profit of the latter (including privatizing of Social Security). The number fours is a scam, in the same sense as number one. As soon as financial institutions get in trouble, money are printed as if there is no tomorrow.

While the essence of Reagonomics was financial deregulation, the other important element was restoring the Gilded Age level of power of financial oligarchy which influence was diminished by FDR reforms. In this sense we can say that Reagan revolution was essentially a counter-revolution: an attempt to reverse the New Deal restrictions on financial sector and restore its dominance in the society.

Like it was the case in Bolshevism the ideology was developed and forced upon the society by a very small group of players. The key ideas of Casino Capitalism were formulated and implemented by Reagan administration with some contribution by Nixon (the role of rednecks aka "moral majority", "silent majority" as an important part of republican political base, which can be attracted to detrimental to its economic position policies by the smoke screen of false "moral" promises).

It was supported by each president after Reagan (paradoxically with Clinton having the most accomplished record -- he was the best Republican President in a very perverted way). Like in case of Lysenkoism opponents were purged and economic departments of the country were captured by principless careerists ready to tow the party line for personal enrichment. Like in case of Bolshevism, many of those special breed of careerists rotated from Republican Party into Fed and other government structures. A classic example of compulsive careerists that were used by finance sector to promote its interests was Alan Greenspan.

One of the key ideas of Reaganomics was the rejection of the sound approach that there should be a balance between too much government regulation and too little and that government role is important for smooth functioning of the market. In this area Reagan and its followers can be called Anarchists and their idea of 'free market" is a misnomer that masks the idea of "anarchic market" (corporate welfare to be exact -- as it was implemented). Emergence of corporate welfare Queens such as GS, Citi, AIG, are quite natural consequence of Reaganomics.

Reaganomics was a the US flavor of Lysenkoism with economics instead of generics as a target... It can and should be called Economic Lysenkoism.

The most interesting part of Reaganomics was that the power of this ideology made it possible to conditioned "working class" and middle class to act against their own economic interests. It helped to ensure the stagnation of wages during the whole 25 years period, which is close to what Soviets managed to achieve with working class of the USSR, but with much more resentment. This makes it in many ways very similar to Bolshevism as a whole, not just Lysenkoism (extremes meet or in less flattering way: "history repeats, first as a tragedy, then as farce).

Along with the term Reaganimics which implicitly stresses the deregulation, the other close term "market fundamentalism" is often used. Here is how market fundamentalism is defined (Longview Institute):

Market Fundamentalism is the exaggerated faith that when markets are left to operate on their own, they can solve all economic and social problems. Market Fundamentalism has dominated public policy debates in the United States since the 1980's, serving to justify huge Federal tax cuts, dramatic reductions in government regulatory activity, and continued efforts to downsize the government’s civilian programs.

Some level of government coercion (explicit or implicit ) is necessary for proper labeling of any pseudo-scientific theory with the term Lysenkoism. This holds true for both Market Fundamentalism (after all Reagan revolution was "revolution from above" by financial oligarchy and for financial oligarchy and hired guns from academia just do what powers that be expected) and, especially, Supply side economic. The political genius of those ideas is evident. Supply-side economics transformed Republicans from a minority party into a majority party. It allowed them to promise lower taxes, lower deficits and, in effect, unchanged spending. Why should people not like this combination? Who does not like a free lunch?

In this sense the Republican Party played the role very similar to the Communist Party of the USSR.

For example supply side economics was too bizarre and would never survive without explicit government support. This notion is supported by many influential observers. For example, in the following comment for Krugman article (Was the Great Depression a monetary phenomenon):

Market fundamentalism (neoclassical counter-revolution — to be more academic) was more of a political construct than based on sound economic theory. However, it would take a while before its toxic legacy is purged from the economics departments. Indeed, in some universities this might never happen.

Extreme deregulation and extreme regulation (Brezhnev socialism) logically meets and both represent a variant of extremely corrupt society that cannot be sustained for long (using bayonets as in the case of USSR or using reserve currency and increasing leverage as is the case of the USA). In both cases the societies were economically and ideologically bankrupt at the end.

Actually, elements of market fundamentalism looks more like religious doctrine than political philosophy — and that bonds its even closer to Lysenkoism. In both cases critics were silenced with the help of the state. It is interesting to note that Reaganomics was wiped into frenzy after the dissolution of the USSR, the country which gave birth to the term of Lysenkoism. In a way the last act of the USSR was to stick a knife in the back of the USA. As a side note I would like to stress that contrary to critics the USSR was more of a neo-feudal society with elements of slavery under Stalin. Gulag population were essentially state slaves; paradoxically a somewhat similar status is typical for illegal immigrants in industrialized countries. From this point of view this category of "state slaves" is generally more numerous that gulag inmates. Prison population also can be counted along those lines.

It look like either implicitly or explicitly Reagan's bet was on restoration of gilded Age with its dominance of financial oligarchy, an attempt to convert the USA into new Switzerland on the "exorbitant privilege" of dollar status as the global fiat currency.

Casino Capitalism is characterized by political dominance of FIRE industries (finance, insurance, and real estate) and diminished role of other and first of all manufacturing industries. It was also accompanied by the drastic growth of inequality (New Gilded Age). Its defining feature is "the triumph of the trader in assets over the long-term producer" in Martin Wolf's words.

Voodoo economic theories

Attempts of theoretical justification of Economic Lysenkoism fall into several major categories:

Those can be called pillars, cornerstones of Economic Lysenkoism. Each of the deserves as separate article (see links above).

Historically especially important was Chicago school of market fundamentalism promoted pseudo-scientific theories of Milton Freedman (Chicago School) as well as supply side economics.

Collapse of the USSR as ideological justification of Casino Capitalism superiority

The huge boost of Casino Capitalism was given by the collapse of the USSR in 1991. That gave a second life to Reagan era. Collapse of the USSR was used as a vindication of market fundamentalism. After it New Deal regulations were systematically destroyed. Dumped down variants of Nietzsche philosophy like bastardatized variant promoted by Russian emigrant became fashionable with an individual "creative" entrepreneur as a new Übermensch, which stands above morality.

"The word Übermensch [designates] a type of supreme achievement, as opposed to 'modern' men, 'good' men, Christians, and other nihilists ... When I whispered into the ears of some people that they were better off looking for a Cesare Borgia than a Parsifal, they did not believe their ears."[9] Safranski argues that the combination of ruthless warrior pride and artistic brilliance that defined the Italian Renaissance embodied the sense of the Übermensch for Nietzsche. According to Safranski, Nietzsche intended the ultra-aristocratic figure of the Übermensch to serve as a Machiavellian bogeyman of the modern Western middle class and its pseudo-Christian egalitarian value system.[10]

Brainwashing

The instability and volatility of active markets can devalue the economic base of real lives, or in more macro-scenarios can lead to the collapse of national and regional economies. In a very interesting and grotesque way it also incorporates the key element of Brezhnev Socialism in everyday life: huge manipulation of reality by mass media to the extend that Pravda and the USSR First TV Channel look pretty objective in comparison with Fox news and Fox controlled newspapers. Complete poisoning of public discourse and relying on the most ignorant part of the population as the political base (pretty much reminiscent of how Bolsheviks played "Working Class Dictatorship" anti-intellectualism card; it can be called "Rednecks Dictatorship").

The "heroes" or transformation of US economy to casino capitalism model

While transformation to casino capitalism was an objective development, there were specific individuals who were instrumental in killing New Deal regulations. We would single out the following twelve figures:

  1. Ronald Reagan (although first steps toward casino capitalism were made under Carter).
  2. Milton Friedman
  3. Alan Greenspan
  4. Phil Gramm
  5. Robert Rubin
  6. Larry Summers
  7. Helicopter Ben
  8. Bush II
  9. Bill Clinton
  10. Sandy Weill
  11. Jeffrey Sachs with his "shock therapy" racket
  12. Martin Feldstein

There is no question that Reagan and most of his followers (Greenspan, Rubin, Phil Gramm, etc) were rabid radicals blinded by ideology. But they were radicals of quite different color then FDR with disastrous consequences for society. Here again the analogy with Bolsheviks looms strong. In a way, they can be called financial terrorists inflicting huge damage on the nation and I wonder if RICO can be use to prosecute at least some of them.

In Bailout Nation (Chapter 19) Barry Ritholtz tried to rank major players that led country into the current abyss:

1. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
2. The Federal Reserve (in its role of setting monetary policy)
3. Senator Phil Gramm
4-6. Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings (rating agencies)
7. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
8-9. Mortgage originators and lending banks
10. Congress
11. The Federal Reserve again (in its role as bank regulator)
12. Borrowers and home buyers
13-17. The five biggest Wall Street firms (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch,Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs) and their CEOs
18. President George W. Bush
19. President Bill Clinton
20. President Ronald Reagan
21-22. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson
23-24. Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers
25. FOMC Chief Ben Bernanke
26. Mortgage brokers
27. Appraisers (the dishonest ones)
28. Collateralized debt obligation (CDO) managers (who produced the junk)
29. Institutional investors (pensions, insurance firms, banks, etc.) for
buying the junk
30-31. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); Office of Thrift
Supervision (OTS)
32. State regulatory agencies
33. Structured investment vehicles (SIVs)/hedge funds for buying the junk

Early Researchers of Casino Capitalism

Hyman Minsky

Hyman Minsky argued that a key mechanism that pushes an economy towards a crisis is the accumulation of debt and the fact the financial system represents a positive feedback loop that tend to destabilize the system, creating ossilations in the form of boom and bust cycles. . He identified 3 types of borrowers that contribute to the accumulation of insolvent debt: Hedge Borrowers; Speculative Borrowers; and Ponzi Borrowers. That corresponds to three stages of Casino Capitalism of increasing fragility:

Growth of debt and increased levarate at some point create predocition of the crash. The stage of business cycle at which those preconditions are met is called "Minsky moment":

A Minsky moment is the point in a credit cycle or business cycle when investors are starting to have cash flow problems due to spiraling debt they have incurred in order to finance speculative or Ponzy investments.

At this point, a major selloff begins due to the fact that no counterparty can be found to bid at the high asking prices previously quoted, leading to a sudden and precipitous collapse in market clearing asset prices and a sharp drop in market liquidity.[1]

After the collapse of the USSR there were a lot of chest thumping of the status of America as a hyper power (American exceptionalism) and the "end of history" where neoliberalism that displaced Brazhvev socialism (and wiped out the socialist camp) was supposed to reign supreme forever.

But this triumphal march of neoliberalism was short lived. The system proved to be self-destructive due to strong positive feedback look from the unregulated financial sector.

But in 2000 the first moment to pay the piper arrives. It was postponed by Iraq war and housing bubble, but reappeared in much more menacing form in 2008. In 2009 the USA experienced a classic Minsky moment with high unemployment rate and economy suppressed by (and taken hostage) by Ponzi finance institutions which threaten the very survival of the capitalist system and way of life. Huge injection freom the state halped to save the economy from disintration, but the price was very high. And  after 2009 the US economy entered the period prologed stagnation, called  the perios of "secular stagnation".

In events preceding 2008 the shift from speculative toward Ponzi finance was speed up by increased corruption of major players.  The drive to redistribute wealth up destroyed any remnants of the rule of the law in the USA. It became a neo-feudal two casts society with "Masters of the Universe" as the upper cast (top 1% ) and "despicables" (lower 80%) as the lower cast. With some comprador strata of professional in between (top 20% or so), who generally support the upper cast.

Loweer cast experienced deterioration of the standard of living, loss of well paying jobs to outsourcing and offshoring and in 2016 revolted electing Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton, who became a real symbol of the corruption of neoliberal system. 

"As Minsky observed, capitalism is inherently unstable. As each crisis is successfully contained, it encourages greater speculation and risk taking in borrowing and lending. Financial innovation makes it easier to finance various schemes. To a large extent, borrowers and lenders operate on the basis of trial and error. If a behavior is rewarded, it will be repeated. Thus stable periods naturally lead to optimism, to booms, and to increasing fragility.

A financial crisis can lead to asset price deflation and repudiation of debt. A debt deflation, once started, is very difficult to stop. It may not end until balance sheets are largely purged of bad debts, at great loss in financial wealth to the creditors as well as the economy at large."

For more information see

Susan Strange

For Strange the speed at which computerized financial markets work combined with their much larger size and  near-universal pervasiveness is an important qualitative change, that changes the social system into what he called "casino capitalism".  She actually popularized the term "Casino Capitalism" with her important book Casino Capitalism  published in 1997.

One of the side effects of this change is that volatility extends globally. Approximately $1.5 trillion dollars are invested daily as foreign transactions. It is estimated that 98% of these transactions are speculative. In comparison with this casino Las Vegas looks like a aborigine village in comparison with Manhattan.

Notes:

Susan Strange (June 9, 1923 - October 25, 1998) was a British academic who was influential in the field of international political economy. Her most important publications include

For a quarter of a century, Susan Strange was the most influential figure in British international studies. She held a number of key academic posts in Britain, Italy and Japan. From 1978 to 1988, she was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the first woman to hold this chair and a professorial position in international relations at the LSE. She was a major figure in the professional associations of both Britain and the US: she was an instrumental founding member and first Treasurer of the British International Studies Association (BISA) [1] and the first female President of the International Studies Association (ISA) in 1995.

It was predominantly as a creative scholar and a forceful personality that she exercised her influence. She was almost single-handedly responsible for creating ‘international political economy’ and turning it into one of the two or three central fields within international studies in Britain, and she defended her creation with such robustness, and made such strong claims on its behalf, that her influence was felt—albeit not always welcomed—in most other areas of the discipline. She was one of the earliest and most influential campaigners for the closer integration of the study of international politics and international economics in the English language scholarship.

In the later period of her career, alongside the financial analyses offered in Casino Capitalism (the analysis in which she felt was vindicated by the South-East Asian financial crisis) and Mad Money, Strange's contributions to the field include her characterisation of the four different areas (production, security, finance and knowledge) through which power might be exercised in International Relations. This understanding of what she termed "structural power", formed the basis of her argument against the theory of American Hegemonic Decline in the early eighties.

Her analysis particularly in States and Markets focused on what she called the ‘market-authority nexus’, the see-saw of power between the market and political authority. The overall argument of her work suggested that the global market had gained significant power relative to states since the 1970s.

This led her to dub the Westphalia system Westfailure. She argued that a ‘dangerous gap’ was emerging between territorially-bound nation states and weak or partial intergovernmental cooperation in which markets had a free hand which could be constructive or destructive.

John K. Galbraith

Among important early critiques of casino capitalism was John K. Galbraith. He promoted a pretty novel idea that the major economic function of Governments is to strengthen countervailing powers to achieve some kind of balance between capital and labor.

While unions are far from being perfect and tend to slide into corruption due to "iron law of oligarchy" when thier management stop representing interests of thwe worksers and start to reprreesnt interest of thier own narry strate of fat cats,  there were the only sizable countewailing power that made the New Seal possible.

His prediction proved to be wrong as government actually represent the capitalist class and is not that interested in creating this balance, which was convincingly demonstrated by Thatcher and Reagan.  Both Britain and the USA start sliding into a new form of corporations, called neoliberalism which actually does not allocate any space for uniot at the negotiation table and strive for their complete elimination and "atomization" of work force, when each invididual is up to himself to find employment and group solidarity is suppressed by instilling neoliberal ideology in schools and universitites as well as via MSM (which in the USA surprisingly never were allowed to use the work neoliberlaism, as if it represents some secret Masonic cult)

And it does not look like there is any renewed support of unions right  (including important right to organize) at the  post subprime/derivatives/shadow_banking crisis stage of neoliberalism, when neoliberal ideology became sufficiently discredited to allow rise of populist politicians such as Trump. 

Still John K. Galbraith critique of primitive market fundamentalism of Milton Freedman and the whole pseudoscience of neoclassical economics which like Marxist political economy is one of there pillars of neoliberalism (along with Randism as philosophy and Neoconservatism or "Trotskyism for the rich" in politics), still has its value today. As Joseph Stiglitz noted (CSMonitor, Dec 28, 2006):

...In many ways, Galbraith was a more critical observer of economic reality.

Driven to understand market realities

Galbraith's vivid depictions of the good, bad, and ugly of American capitalism remain a sorely needed reminder that all is not quite as perfect as the perfect market models – with their perfect competition, perfect information, and perfectly rational consumers – upon which so much of Friedman's analysis depended.

Galbraith, who cut his teeth studying agricultural economics, strove to understand the world as it was, with all the problems of unemployment and market power that simplistic models of competitive markets ignore. In those models, unemployment didn't exist. Galbraith knew that made them fatally flawed

... ... ...

In his early research, Galbraith attempted to explain what had brought on the Great Crash of 1929 – including the role of the stock market's speculative greed fed by (what would today be called) irrational exuberance. Friedman ignored speculation and the failure of the labor market as he focused on the failures of the Federal Reserve. To Friedman, government was the problem, not the solution.

What Galbraith understood, and what later researchers (including this author) have proved, is that Adam Smith's "invisible hand" – the notion that the individual pursuit of maximum profit guides capitalist markets to efficiency – is so invisible because, quite often, it's just not there. Unfettered markets often produce too much of some things, such as pollution, and too little of other things, such as basic research. As Bruce Greenwald and I have shown, whenever information is imperfect – that is, always – markets are inefficient; hence the need for government action.

Galbraith reminded us that what made the economy work so well was not an invisible hand but countervailing powers. He had the misfortune of articulating these ideas before the mathematical models of game theory were sufficiently developed to give them expression. The good news is that today, more attention is being devoted to developing models of these bargaining relationships, and to complex, dynamic models of economic fluctuations in which speculation may play a central role.

Government's role

While Friedman never really appreciated the limitations of the market, he was a forceful critic of government. Yet history shows that in every successful country, the government had played an important role. Yes, governments sometimes fail, but unfettered markets are a certain prescription for failure. Galbraith made this case better than most.

Galbraith knew, too, that people aren't just rational economic actors, but consumers, contending with advertising, political persuasion, and social pressures. It was because of his close touch with reality that he had such influence on economic policymaking, especially during the Kennedy-Johnson years.

Galbraith's penetrating insights into the nature of capitalism – as it is lived, not as it is theorized in simplistic models – has enhanced our understanding of the market economy. He has left an intellectual legacy for generations to come. And he has left a gap in our intellectual life: Who will stand up against the economics establishment to articulate an economic vision that is both in touch with reality and comprehensible to ordinary citizens?

Galbraith was vindicated in his belief that the only economics possible is political economics and that government is always an agent of dominant class. As such it always pursue poklitics favorable to this class, just making marginal efforts to prevent the open revolt of lower classes.

In 2008 neoliberal economist such as Krugman and (to a lesse extent) Stiglitz both have eaten humble pie, because according to neoclassical economics the crises should not have happened. Both should now reread Galbraith's The Great Crash: 1929 (see also extracts).  Krugman also need to shred his previous writings with this mathiness execises of using differential equations to justify the dominance of financial oligarchy,  and eat them with borsch ;-)

BTW it is interesting that in 1996 neoliberal stooge Paul Krugman criticized limitations of Galbright vision in the following way:

To be both a liberal and a good economist you must have a certain sense of the tragic--that is, you must understand that not all goals can be attained, that life is a matter of painful tradeoffs. You must want to help the poor, but understand that welfare can encourage dependency. You must want to protect those who lose their jobs, but admit that generous unemployment benefits can raise the long-term rate of unemployment. You must be willing to tax the affluent to help those in need, but accept that too high a rate of taxation can discourage investment and innovation.

To the free-market conservative, these are all arguments for government to do nothing, to accept whatever level of poverty and insecurity the market happens to produce. A serious liberal does not reply to such conservatives by denying that there are any trade-offs at all; he insists, rather, that some trade-offs are worth making, that helping the poor and protecting the unlucky may have costs but will ultimately make for a better society.

The revelation one gets from reading John Kenneth Galbraith's The Good Society is that Galbraith--who is one of the world's most celebrated intellectuals, and whom one would expect to have a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the human condition than a mere technical economist would -- lacks this tragic sense. Galbraith's vision of the economy is one without shadows, in which what is good for social justice always turns out to have no unfavorable side effects. If this vision is typical of liberal intellectuals, the ineffectuality of the tribe is not an accident: It stems from a deep-seated unwillingness to face up to uncomfortable reality.

Similar limited understanding of Galbright is demonstrated in London Times (cited from comment to Economist's View blog) :

Some motifs of Galbraith’s work have entered popular consciousness. Galbraith wrote of private opulence amid public squalor, illustrating it with a memorable metaphor of a family that travels by extravagant private car to picnic by a polluted river.

Yet while arguing for increased public expenditure on welfare, Galbraith gave scant attention to the limits of that approach. His writings perpetuate a debilitating weakness of modern liberalism: a reluctance to acknowledge that resources are scarce.

In Galbraith’s scheme, said Herbert Stein, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: “The American people were only asked whether they wanted cleaner air and water . . . The answers to such questions seemed obvious — but they were not the right questions.”

Soros contribution to the understanding of growth of financial sector as source of new, global economic instability

This idea of "casino capitalism" as a driver of financial instability was developed further in the book The Crisis of Global Capitalism by prominent financial speculator and staunch neoliberal George Soros (1998), who after Minsky highlights the potential for disequilibrium in the financial system, and the inability of non-market sectors to regulate markets.

the latter is a prominant feature of Casino Capitalism, which can be defined as economic system were financial barons run amok.

Although the insights of the Soros critique of global capitalism are scarcely new, they were articulated with such candor and accuracy that the book made a significant impact. The following is a sampling of Soros' insights.
  1. Unregulated financial markets are inherently unstable. There is nothing new in this statement. It is just a repetition of what Keynes and Minsky said much more eloquently. But Soros made in important observation about the source of constant disequilibrium of markets under neoliberalism, the observation which permitted for him to achieve spectacular success as a financial speculator.  Soros observes that, contrary to conventional economic theory, financial markets are not driven toward a relatively stable and rational price by the objective value assessment of such things as the soundness of a company's management, products, or record of profitability. Rather they are constantly driven away from equilibrium by the momentum of self-fulfilling expectations -- a rising stock price attracts buyers who further raise the price-to the point of collapse. The recent massive inflation and subsequent collapse in the price of the shares of unprofitable dot-com companies illustrates Soros' point.

    Bank lending also contributes to the instability, because the price of real and financial assets is set in part by their collateral value. The higher their market price rises the larger the loans banks are willing to make to their buyers to bid up prices. When the bubble bursts, the value of the assets plummets below the amount of the money borrowed against them. This forces banks to call their loans and cut back on the lending, which depresses asset prices and dries up the money supply. The economy then tanks-until credit worthiness is restored and a new boom phase begins.

  2. Financial markets are amoral by definition. Following Napoleon Bonaparte ("Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain. "), Soros stressed that there is no meaningful place for individual moral behavior of financial oligarchy in the context of financial markets, because such behavior has no consequences for them other than to reduce the financial return of  a more  ethical actor.  In other words modern finance is breeding ground for ruthless sociopath, which we really observed during 2008.

    When I bought shares in Lockheed and Northrop after the managements were indicted for bribery, I helped sustain the price of their stocks. When I sold sterling short in 1992, the Bank of England was on the other side of my transactions, and I was in effect taking money out of the pockets of British taxpayers. But if I had tried to take social consequences into account, it would have thrown off my risk-reward calculation, and my profits would have been reduced.

    Soros argues that if he had not bought Lockheed and Northrop, then somebody else would have, and Britain would have devalued sterling no matter what he did. "Bringing my social conscience into the decision-making process would make no difference in the real world; but it may adversely affect my own results." One can challenge the Soros claim that such behavior is amoral rather than immoral, but his basic argument is accurate. His understanding that it is futile to look to individual morality as the solution to the excesses of financial markets is all too accurate.

  3. Corporate employees are duty-bound to serve only corporate financial interests. As such financial institution are closely related to organized crime and top layers of managers are essentially institualized criminals. Soros writes:

    Publicly owned companies are single-purpose organizations-their purpose is to make money. The tougher the competition, the less they can afford to deviate. Those in charge may be well-intentioned and upright citizens, but their room for maneuver is strictly circumscribed by the position they occupy.

     They are duty-bound to uphold the interests of the company. If they think that cigarettes are unhealthy or that fostering civil war to obtain mining concessions is unconscionable, they ought to quit their jobs. Their place will be taken by people who are willing to carry on.

    Though not specifically mentioned by Soros, this is why corporations were in the past (at least partially) excluded from the political processes (although it was never complete and it is well known fact that Crusades and Siege of Constantinople (1204) were financed by Genoese bankers upset by lack of access to the Byzantium markets). But at least formally other parts of the society can define their goals and the rules of the marketplace and suppress excessive appetities of banker, if nessesary by brute force.  Financial oligarchy is incapable of distinguishing between private corporate interests and broader public interests. And that situation became even worse with the the global dominance of corporatism in the form of neoliberalism.

  4. Financial markets are oblivious to externalities and are infected by "short-termism". Specifically the fact that a strategy or policy produces economic returns in the short-term does not mean the long-term results will be beneficial. The focus of financial markets is on short-term individual gain to the exclusion of both social and longer-term consequences. The fact that particular policies and strategies are effective in producing short-term financial returns does not mean they are more generally beneficial or desirable. Soros offers the example that running up a budget or trade deficit "feels good while it lasts, but there can be hell to pay later."

  5. The relationship between the center and the periphery of the capitalist system is profoundly unequal. The powerful countries at the center of the capitalist system are both wealthier and more stable than countries at the periphery because control of the financial system and ownership of productive assets allows them to shape economic and political affairs to their benefit.

    "Foreign ownership of capital deprives peripheral countries of autonomy and often hinders the development of democratic institutions. The international flow of capital is subject to catastrophic interruptions."

    In times of uncertainty financial capital tends to return to its country of origin, thus depriving countries at the periphery of the financial liquidity necessary to the function of monetized economies. "The center's most important feature is that it controls its own economic policies and holds in its hands the economic destinies of periphery countries."

  6. In the capitalist system greed (aka "monetary values") tend to displace social values in sectors where this is destructive to important public interests. Soros writes:

    Monetary values [under neoliberalism] have usurped the role of intrinsic values, and markets have come to dominate spheres of existence where they do not properly belong.

    Law and medicine, politics, education, science, the arts, even personal relations-achievements or qualities that ought to be valued for their own sake are converted into monetary terms; they are judged by the money they fetch rather than their intrinsic value."

    Because financial "capital is free to go where most rewarded, countries vie to attract and retain capital, and if they are to succeed they must give precedence to the requirements of international capital over other social objectives.

Ha-Joon Chang

One notable later researcher of casino capitalism, especially "free market" fundamentalism propaganda Cambridge University researcher Ha-Joon Chang. In 2011 he published a fascinating book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism. Here is a Youtube lecture at LSE (23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism  ). We will reproduce  two Amazon reviews that shed some light at the key ideas of the book:

William Podmore

Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in the Political Economy of Development at Cambridge University, has written a fascinating book on capitalism's failings. He also wrote the brilliant Bad Samaritans. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times says he is `probably the world's most effective critic of globalization'.

Chang takes on the free-marketers' dogmas and proposes ideas like

He notes that the USA does not have the world's highest living standard. Norway, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and the USA, in that order, had the highest incomes per head. On income per hours worked, the USA comes eighth, after Luxemburg, Norway, France, Ireland, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands. Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Finland and Sweden have the highest industrial output per person.

Free-market politicians, economists and media have pushed policies of de-regulation and pursuit of short-term profits, causing less growth, more inequality, more job insecurity and more frequent crises. Britain's growth rate in income per person per year was 2.4 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.7 per cent 1990-2009. Rich countries grew by 3 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.4 per cent 1980-2009. Developing countries grew by 3 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 2.6 per cent 1980-2009. Latin America grew by 3.1 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.1 per cent 1980-2009, and Sub-Saharan Africa by 1.6 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 0.2 per cent 1990-2009. The world economy grew by 3.2 per cent in the 1960s-70s and 1.4 per cent 1990-2009.

So, across the world, countries did far better before Thatcher and Reagan's `free-market revolution'. Making the rich richer made the rest of us poorer, cutting economies' growth rates, and investment as a share of national output, in all the G7 countries.

Chang shows how free trade is not the way to grow and points out that the USA was the world's most protectionist country during its phase of ascendancy, from the 1830s to the 1940s, and that Britain was one of world's the most protectionist countries during its rise, from the 1720s to the 1850s.

He shows how immigration controls keep First World wages up; they determine wages more than any other factor. Weakening those controls, as the EU demands, lowers wages.

He challenges the conventional wisdom that we must cut spending to cut the deficit. Instead, we need controls capital, on mergers and acquisitions, and on financial products. We need the welfare state, industrial policy, and huge investment in industry, infrastructure, worker training and R&D.

As Chang points out, "Even though financial investments can drive growth for a while, such growth cannot be sustained, as those investments have to be ultimately backed up by viable long-term investments in real sector activities, as so vividly shown by the 2008 financial crisis."

This book is a commonsense, evidence-based approach to economic life, which we should urge all our friends and colleagues to read.

Loyd E. Eskildson

The 2008 'Great Recession' demands re-examination of prevailing economic thought - the dominant paradigm (post 1970's conservative free-market capitalism) not only failed to predict the crisis, but also said it couldn't occur in today's free markets, thanks to Adam Smith's 'invisible hand.' Ha-Joon Chang provides that re-examination in his "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism." Turns out that the reason Adam Smith's hand was not visible is that it wasn't there. Chang, economics professor at the University of Cambridge, is no enemy of capitalism, though he contends its current conservative version should be made better. Conventional wisdom tells us that left alone, markets produce the most efficient and just outcomes - 'efficient' because businesses and individuals know best how to utilize their resources, and 'just' because they are rewarded according to their productivity. Following this advice, countries have deregulated businesses, reduced taxes and welfare, and adopted free trade. The results, per Chang, has been the opposite of what was promised - slower growth and rising inequality, often masked by rising credit expansion and increased working hours. Alternatively, developing Asian countries that grew fast did so following a different version of capitalism, though to be fair China's version to-date has also produced much greater inequality. The following summarizes some of Chang's points:

  1. "There is no such thing as a free market" - we already have hygiene standards in restaurants, ban child labor, pollution, narcotics, bribery, and dangerous workplaces, require licenses for professions such as doctors, lawyers, and brokers, and limit immigration. In 2008, the U.S. used at least $700 billion of taxpayers' money to buy up toxic assets, justified by President Bush on the grounds that it was a necessary state intervention consistent with free-market capitalism. Chang's conclusion - free-marketers contending that a certain regulation should not be introduced because it would restrict market freedom are simply expressing political opinions, not economic facts or laws.
  2. "Companies should not be run in the interest of their owners." Shareholders are the most mobile of corporate stakeholders, often holding ownership for but a fraction of a second (high-frequency trading represents 70% of today's trading). Shareholders prefer corporate strategies that maximize short-term profits and dividends, usually at the cost of long-term investments. (This often also includes added leverage and risk, and reliance on socializing risk via 'too big to fail' status, and relying on 'the Greenspan put.') Chang adds that corporate limited liability, while a boon to capital accumulation and technological progress, when combined with professional managers instead of entrepreneurs owning a large chunk (e.g.. Ford, Edison, Carnegie) and public shares with smaller voting rights (typically limited to 10%), allows professional managers to maximize their own prestige via sales growth and prestige projects instead of maximizing profits. Another negative long-term outcome driven by shareholders is increased share buybacks (less than 5% of profits until the early 1980s, 90% in 2007, and 280% in 2008) - one economist estimates that had GM not spent $20.4 billion on buybacks between 1986 and 2002 it could have prevented its 2009 bankruptcy. Short-term stockholder perspectives have also brought large-scale layoffs from off-shoring. Governments of other countries encourage longer-term thinking by holding large shares in key enterprises (China Mobile, Renault, Volkswagen), providing greater worker representation (Germany's supervisory boards), and cross-shareholding among friendly companies (Japan's Toyota and its suppliers).
  3. "Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich." With a few exceptions, all of today's rich countries, including Britain and the U.S., reached that status through protectionism, subsidies, and other policies that they and their IMF, WTO, and World Bank now advise developing nations not to adopt. Free-market economists usually respond that the U.S. succeeded despite, not because of, protectionism. The problem with that explanation is the number of other nations paralleling the early growth strategy of the U.S. and Britain (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan), and the fact that apparent exceptions (Hong Kong, Switzerland, The Netherlands) did so by ignoring foreign patents (a free-market 'no-no'). Chang believes the 'official historians' of capitalism have been very successful re-writing its history, akin to someone trying to 'kick away the ladder' with which they had climbed to the top. He also points out that developing nations that stick to their Ricardian 'comparative advantage,' per the conservatives prescription, condemn themselves to their economic status quo.
  4. "We do not live in a post-industrial age." Most of the fall in manufacturing's share of total output is not due to a fall in the quantity of manufactured goods, but due to the fall in their prices relative to those for services, caused by their faster productivity growth. A small part of deindustrialization is due to outsourcing of some 'manufacturing' activities that used to be provided in-house - e.g.. catering and cleaning. Those advising the newly developing nations to skip manufacturing and go directly to providing services forget that many services mainly serve manufacturing firms (finance, R&D, design), and that since services are harder to export, such an approach will create balance-of-payment problems. (Chang's preceding points directly contradict David Ricardo's law of comparative advantage - a fundamental free market precept. Chang's example of how Korea built Pohang Steel into a strong economic producer, despite lacking experienced managers and natural resources, is another.)
  5. "The U.S. does not have the highest living standard in the world." True, the average U.S. citizen has greater command over goods and services than his counterpart in almost any other country, but this is due to higher immigration, poorer employment conditions, and working longer hours for many vs. their foreign counterparts. The U.S. also has poorer health indicators and worse crime statistics. We do have the world's second highest income per capita - Luxemburg's higher, but measured in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) the U.S. ranks eighth. (The U.S. doesn't have the fastest growing economy either - China is predicted to pass the U.S. in PPP this coming decade.) Chang's point here is that we should stop assuming the U.S. provides the best economic model. (This is already occurring - the World Bank's chief economist, Justin Lin, comes from China.)
  6. "Governments can pick winners." Chang cites examples of how the Korean government built world-class producers of steel (POSCO), shipbuilding (Hyundai), and electronics (LG), despite lacking raw materials or experience for those sectors. True, major government failures have occurred - Europe's Concorde, Indonesia's aircraft industry, Korea's promotion of aluminum smelting, and Japan's effort to have Nissan take over Honda; industry, however, has also failed - e.g.. the AOL-Time Warner merger, and the Daimler-Chrysler merger. Austria, China, Finland, France, Japan, Norway, Singapore (in numerous other areas), and Taiwan have also done quite well with government-picked winners. Another problem is that business and national interests sometimes clash - e.g.. American firms' massive outsourcing has undermined the national interest of maintaining full employment. (However, greater unbiased U.S. government involvement would be difficult due to the 10,000+ corporate lobbyists and billions in corporate campaign donations - $500 million alone from big oil in 2009-10.) Also interesting to Chang is how conservative free marketing bankers in the U.S. lined up for mammoth low-cost loans from the Federal Reserve at the beginning of the Great Recession. Government planning allows minimizing excess capacity, maximizing learning-curve economies and economies of scale and scope; operational performance is enhanced by also forcing government-owned or supported firms into international competition. Government intervention (loans, tariffs, subsidies, prohibiting exports of needed raw materials, building infrastructure) are necessary for emerging economies to move into more sophisticated sectors.
  7. "Making rich people richer doesn't make the rest of us richer." 'Trickle-down' economics is based on the belief that the poor maximize current consumption, while the rich, left to themselves, mostly invest. However, the years 1950-1973 saw the highest-ever growth rates in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, despite increased taxation of the rich. Before the 'Golden Age,' per capita income grew at 1-1.5%/year; during the Golden Age it grew at 2-3% in the U.S. Since then, tax cuts for the rich and financial deregulation have allowed greater paychecks for top managers and financiers, and between 1979 and 2006 the top 0.1% increased their share of national income from 3.5% to 11.6%. The result - investment as a ratio of national output has fallen in all rich economies and the pace at which the total economic pie grew decreased.
  8. "U.S. managers are over-priced." First, relative to their predecessors (about 10X those in the 1960s; now 300-400X the average worker), despite the latter having run companies more successfully, in relative terms. Second, compared to counterparts in other rich countries - up to 20X. (Third, compared to counterparts in developing nations - e.g.. JPMorgan Chase, world's 4th largest bank, paid its CEO $19.6 million in 2008, vs. the CEO of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world's largest, being paid $234,700. Read more ›

Willem Buiter and the idea of long term stagnation

Willem Buiter in his FT article After the Crisis Macro Imbalance, Credibility and Reserve-Currency suggested that after financial crisis of 2008 there might be very long a painful deleveraging period aka secular stagnation.  He was right.

In short each financial crisis make recovery longer and longer. That's why the US will most likely face a long period of stagnation: the digestion of huge excessive debt of the private sector might well take a decade:

Since the excess of debt is relative to income and GDP, the lower the rate of growth, the longer the required period of digestion. This explains for the paradox of trying to stimulate consumption when the economy faces a monumental crisis provoked exactly by excessive debt and excessive consumption. A cartoon line best captured the spirit of it: "country addicted to speculative bubbles desperately searches a new bubble to invest in. "

... ... ...

The roots of the crisis are major international macroeconomic imbalances. Despite the fact that the excesses of the financial system were instrumental to lead these imbalances further than otherwise possible, insufficient regulation should not be viewed as the main factor behind the crisis. The expenditure of central countries, spinned by all sort of financial innovations created by a globalized financial system, was the engine of world growth. When debt became clearly excessive in central countries and the debt-financed expenditure cycle came to an end, the ensuing crisis paralyzed the world economy. With the lesson of 1929 well assimilated, American monetary policy became aggressively expansionist. The Fed inundated the economy with money and credit, in the attempt to avoid a deep depression. Even if successful, the economies of the US and the other central countries, given the burden of excessive debt, are likely to remain stagnant under the threat of deflation for the coming years. The assumption of troubled assets by the public sector, in order to avoid the collapse of the financial system, might succeed, but at the cost of a major increase in public debt. Fiscal policy is not efficient to restart the economy when the private sector remains paralyzed by excessive debt. Even if a coordinated effort to increase public expenditure is successful, the central economies will remain stagnant for as long as the excessive indebtedness of the private sector persists. The period of digestion of excess debt will be longer than the usual recessive cycle. Since imports represent a drain in the effort to reanimate domestic demand through public expenditure, while exports, on the contrary, contribute to the recovery of internal demand, the temptation to central economies to also adopt a protectionist stance will be strong.

Willem Buiter also defined ‘cognitive regulatory capture’ which existed during the Greenspan years and when the Fed were just an arm of Wall Street.

This regulatory capture has resulted in an excess sensitivity of the Fed to financial market and financial sector concerns and fears and in an overestimation of the strength of the link between financial market turmoil and financial sector deleveraging and capital losses on the one hand, and the stability and prosperity of the wider economy on the other hand. The paper gives five examples of recent behavior by the Fed that are most readily rationalized with the assumption of regulatory capture. The abstract of the paper follows next. The latest version of the entire enchilada can be found here. Future revisions will also be found there.

Joseph Stiglitz on 5 steps to Casino Capitalism

Stiglitz is very unene and early Striglist was actually defender of neoliberalism (aka casino capitalism). Later he became a critic. In his 2008 Vanity Fair article Capitalist Fools Stiglitz identifies five key steps in transformation of American capitalism to Casino Capitalism (moments of failure as he called them):

No. 1: Reagan Fires Fed Chairman Volcker and Replaces Him With Greenspan in 1987:

Volcker also understood that financial markets need to be regulated. Reagan wanted someone who did not believe any such thing, and he found him in a devotee of the objectivist philosopher and free-market zealot Ayn Rand.

snip

If you appoint an anti-regulator as your enforcer, you know what kind of enforcement you’ll get. A flood of liquidity combined with the failed levees of regulation proved disastrous.

Greenspan presided over not one but two financial bubbles.

  1. Congress repealed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 under Bill Clinton (Glass-Steagall was a depression-era reform that separated commercial and investment banks)

I had opposed repeal of Glass-Steagall. The proponents said, in effect, Trust us: we will create Chinese walls to make sure that the problems of the past do not recur. As an economist, I certainly possessed a healthy degree of trust, trust in the power of economic incentives to bend human behavior toward self-interest—toward short-term self-interest, at any rate, rather than Tocqueville’s "self interest rightly understood."

Stiglitz also refers to a 2004 decision by the SEC "to allow big investment banks to increase their debt-to-capital ratio (from 12:1 to 30:1, or higher) so that they could buy more mortgage-backed securities, inflating the housing bubble in the process."

Once more, it was deregulation run amuck, and few even noticed.

  1. The Bush tax cuts, both on income and capital gains

The Bush administration was providing an open invitation to excessive borrowing and lending—not that American consumers needed any more encouragement.

  1. Faking the Numbers

Here he refers to bad accounting, the failure to address problems with stock options, and the incentive structures of ratings agencies like Moodys that led them to give high ratings to toxic assets.

  1. Paulson and the Flawed Bailout

Valuable time was wasted as Paulson pushed his own plan, "cash for trash," buying up the bad assets and putting the risk onto American taxpayers. When he finally abandoned it, providing banks with money they needed, he did it in a way that not only cheated America’s taxpayers but failed to ensure that the banks would use the money to re-start lending. He even allowed the banks to pour out money to their shareholders as taxpayers were pouring money into the banks.

Stiglitz concludes:

The truth is most of the individual mistakes boil down to just one: a belief that markets are self-adjusting and that the role of government should be minimal. Looking back at that belief during hearings this fall on Capitol Hill, Alan Greenspan said out loud, "I have found a flaw." Congressman Henry Waxman pushed him, responding, "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right; it was not working." "Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan said. The embrace by America—and much of the rest of the world—of this flawed economic philosophy made it inevitable that we would eventually arrive at the place we are today.

The flawed economic philosophy brought by Reagan, and embraced by so many, brought us to this day. Ideas have consequences, especially when we stop empirically testing them. Republican economics have created great pain to America and harmed our national interest.

The flaw that Greenspan found was always there: self-regulation does not work. As Stiglitz said:

As an economist, I certainly possessed a healthy degree of trust, trust in the power of economic incentives to bend human behavior toward self-interest — toward short-term self-interest

Yes, for all their claims to science, the premise conflicts with tendencies of people.

This is the real legacy of Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan:

The whole scheme was kick-started under Ronald Reagan. Between his tax cuts for the rich and the Greenspan Commission’s orchestrated Social Security heist, working Americans lost out in a generational wealth transfer shift now exceeding $1 trillion annually from 90 million working class households to for-profit corporations and the richest 1% of the population. It created an unprecedented wealth disparity that continues to grow, shames the nation and is destroying the bedrock middle class without which democracy can’t survive.

Greenspan helped orchestrate it with economist Ravi Batra calling his economics "Greenomics" in his 2005 book "Greenspan’s Fraud." It "turns out to be Greedomics" advocating anti-trust laws, regulations and social services be ended so "nothing....interfere(s) with business greed and the pursuit of profits."

 Conclusions: From Animal Farm To Animal House

Instead of conclusion I will reproduce the post from Sudden Debt (March 17, 2008):

In Orwell's Animal Farm all animals are equal - except that some are more equal than others. All in the spirit of law, order and the proper functioning of society, of course. Fittingly, the animals that have chosen this role by themselves and for themselves, are the pigs.

Cut to US financial markets today. After years of swinish behavior more reminiscent of Animal House than anything else, the pigs are threatening to destroy the entire farm. As if it wasn't enough that they devoured all the "free market" food available and inundated the world with their excreta, they now wish to be put on the public trough. Truly, some businessmen believe they are more equal than others.

But do not blame the pigs; they are expected to act as swine nature dictates. The fault lies entirely with the farmers, those authorities entrusted by the people to oversee the farm because they supposedly knew better. While the pigs were rampaging and tearing the place apart, they were assuring us all that farms function best when animals are free to do as they please, guided solely by invisible hooves. No regulation, no oversight, no common sense. Oh yes, and pigs fly..

So what is to be done now? Two things:

In other words, the focus from now on should be on adding value by means of work and savings (capital formation), instead of inflating assets and borrowing.

Furthermore, we should realize that in a world already inhabited by close to 7 billion people and beset by resource depletion and environmental degradation, defending growth for growth's sake is a losing proposition. The wheels are already wobbling on the Permagrowth model; pumping harder on the accelerator is not going to make it go any faster and will likely result in a fatal crash.

Debt, and finance in general, should be left to re-size downwards to a level that better reflects the carrying capacity of our world. The Fed's current actions are shortsighted and "conservative" in the worst interpretation of the words: they are designed to artificially maintain debt at levels that myopically projects growth as far as the eye can see.

What level of resizing may be necessary? I hope not as much as at Bear Stearns, which got itself bought by Morgan at buzz-saw prices: $2 per share represents a 98% discount from its $84 book value. What scares me, though, is the statement by Morgan's CFO, who said the price reflected the risk the firm was taking, even though he was comfortable with the valuation of assets in Bear's books. It "...gives us the flexibility and margin of error that's appropriate given the speed at which the transaction came together", he said.

If it takes a 98% discount and the explicit guarantee of the Fed for a large portion of assets to buy one of the largest investment banks in the world, where should all other financial firms be trading at? ....Hello? Anyone? Is that a great big silence I hear, or the sound of credit imploding into a vacuum?


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[May 20, 2018] Here Comes Tesla's Next Big "Ask" from Taxpayers

May 20, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Economic analysis often uses the term ceteris paribus -- all other things being equal -- but all other things are not equal. The worker Tesla employed might have found employment elsewhere; it may have even been more stable, safer employment that did not entail payment in Tesla equity, that is subject to some uncertainty as to its ultimate value.

To highlight this point, it may be helpful to consider the economic activity generated by Tesla's competitors in California. These competitors' operations are being impaired by Tesla's sale of deeply subsidized cars in the state. While Tesla's competitors do not manufacture cars in the state, they account for

On a more minor point, the IHS Markit report assumes that the $2.1 billion in "wages" paid to Tesla workers is spent in the California economy. As discussed above, the report includes in these "wages" Tesla equity granted to employees without quantifying what percentage of wages this equity represented. We are skeptical as to how many employees spent their Tesla stock to boost local economic activity.

snblitz Sat, 05/19/2018 - 22:20 Permalink

But Elon's Teslas consume twice the fossil fuel per mile driven and produce more pollution than light duty diesels.

https://www.finitespaces.com/2018/02/14/electric-cars-use-twice-as-much-oil-as-diesel-vehicles/

Why would anyone give Tesla a break? Sure the fossil fuel industry is happy to double their income, but why would anyone else?

[May 20, 2018] Neoliberal economists as modern Mafiosi

I am starting wondering what was the role of intelligence agencies, especially CIA is creation of the neoliberal myths and spreading of the ideology... What connections to CIA has such figured and Milton Friedman and Hayek? Harvard mafia definitely has such connections.
Neoliberalism is the refinement of this basic human tendency for domination. It is a camouflaged form of oppression that is revealed through its ultimate effect, not what it does at the moment. A neoliberal is a disguised raider or conquerer.
Notable quotes:
"... It got to be a running joke how these gang bosses and members were always denying that the mafia was an actual thing. ..."
"... Could it be that the neoliberals took a page out of their book and adopted the same tactic of denying the existence of neoliberalism while actively pushing it at every opportunity? ..."
"... To extend your analogy, much like the mafia, there's a handful of shadowy law breakers who benefit from neoliberalism and a whole lot of people that suffer violence so that those benefits can flow up to that few. ..."
"... Like the concurrent and related "Conservative revolution"(1973-), they stole the Cell Structure from the Comintern, and bought out the competition. ..."
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , May 17, 2018 at 10:39 am

Hey, I just remembered something. When I was a kid growing up everybody knew all about the mafia but all those in the know denied that there was any such thing when questioned in a court of law. It got to be a running joke how these gang bosses and members were always denying that the mafia was an actual thing.

Could it be that the neoliberals took a page out of their book and adopted the same tactic of denying the existence of neoliberalism while actively pushing it at every opportunity?

johnnygl , May 17, 2018 at 11:20 am

And like the line from 'fight club', the first rule of neoliberalism is that you don't talk about it.

To extend your analogy, much like the mafia, there's a handful of shadowy law breakers who benefit from neoliberalism and a whole lot of people that suffer violence so that those benefits can flow up to that few.

Amfortas the Hippie , May 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

this is why I keep Mario Puzo next to Adam and Karl on the econ shelf in my library. It's not so much Omerta, as gobbdeygook and wafer thin platitudes.

Like the concurrent and related "Conservative revolution"(1973-), they stole the Cell Structure from the Comintern, and bought out the competition.

I am inclined to believe that the Libertarian Party was a vehicle for this counterrevolution, too. And finally, with the DLC, they were able to buy the "opposition party" outright and here we are.

[May 20, 2018] Brussels Rises in Revolt Against Washington a Turning Point in the US-European Relationship

May 20, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Sandra Oudkirk, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, has just threatened to sanction the Europeans if they continue with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to bring gas in from Russia across the Baltic Sea. That country is also seen by the US as an adversary and its approach is by and large the same – to issue orders for Europe to adopt a confrontational policy, doing as it is told without asking too many questions.

Iran and Nord Stream 2 unite Moscow and Brussels in their opposition to this diktat. On May 17, Iran signed a provisional free-trade-zone agreement with a Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) that seeks to increase the current levels of trade valued at $2.7 billion. The deal lowers or abolishes customs duties. It also establishes a three-year process for reaching a permanent trade agreement. If Iran becomes a member of the group, it would expand its economic horizons beyond the Middle Eastern region. So, Europe and Russia are in the same boat, both holding talks with Iran on economic cooperation.

[May 20, 2018] Yes, Neoliberalism Is a Thing. Don't Let Economists Tell You Otherwise naked capitalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Christine Berry. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... The really fascinating battles in intellectual history tend to occur when some group or movement goes on the offensive and asserts that Something Big really doesn't actually exist." ..."
"... "a new ideology must give high priority to real and efficient limitation of the state's ability to, in detail, intervene in the activities of the individual. At the same time, it is absolutely clear that there are positive functions allotted to the state. The doctrine that, one and off, has been called neoliberalism and that has developed, more or less simultaneously in many parts of the world is precisely such a doctrine But instead of the 19 th century understanding that laissez-faire is the means to achieve this goal, neoliberalism proposes that competition will lead the way". ..."
"... Wealth of Nations ..."
"... Neoliberalism is like a Caddis Fly larvae, that sticks random objects outside its cocoon to blend in. ..."
"... Neoliberalism did not just adopt neoclassical economics, nor did it simply infest political parties of the right. Neoliberalism re-invented neoclassical economics in ways that defined not just the "right" of academic economics, but also defined the "left". Keynesian economics was absorbed and transmogrified by first one neoclassical synthesis and then a second, leaving a New Keynesian macroeconomics to occupy the position of a nominal left within mainstream economics. If you are waiting for a Krugman or even a Stiglitz to oppose neoliberalism, you will be waiting a very long time, because they are effectively locked into the neoliberal dialectic. ..."
"... If neoliberalism can be broken down to "Because markets" perhaps it could also be referred to as "Market Darwinism". ..."
"... A fundamental difference between neoliberalism and classic economists like Ricardo & Smith is the latter's adamant opposition to rent seeking and insistence on fighting it by taxation. Neoliberalism on the other hand not only accepts rent-seeking, but actively encourages it. Thus we see not only the ascendancy of of the FIRE sector, but the effective destruction of markets as mechanisms of price discovery. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is just another damn thing that externalizes and socializes costs. It is a very costly thing. ..."
"... Much as I regard your past comments, I must disagree with your assertion "Neoliberalism is just another damn thing that externalizes and socializes costs". Neoliberalism does indeed externalize and socialize costs but it is more than just another damn thing. Just the scale and scope of the think tank network assembled and well funded to promote the concepts of the Neoliberal thought collective should be adequate to convince you that it is much more than "just another damn thing". ..."
"... Consider just the visible portion of the think tanks which are part of the Neoliberal thought collective. "Today, Atlas Network connects more than 450 think tanks in nearly 100 countries. Each is writing its own story of how principled work to affect public opinion, on behalf of the ideas of a free society, can better individuals' lives." ..."
"... Next consider the state of the economics profession. Neoliberalism has taken over many major schools of economics and a large number of the economics journals. In a publish or perish world there are few alternatives to an adherence to some flavor of Neoliberal ideology. This is not "just another damn thing." Consider how many national politicians are spouting things like there is 'no such thing as society'. This is not "just another damn thing" -- it is something much much more scary. ..."
"... "I am not well qualified to criticize those theories, because as a market participant, I considered them so unrealistic that I never bothered to study them" ..."
"... "Those, like Ed Conway, who persist in claiming neoliberalism doesn't even exist, may soon find themselves left behind by history." ..."
"... "One of the great achievements of neoliberalism has been to induce such a level of collective amnesia that it's now once again possible to claim that these tenets are simply "fundamental economic rules" handed down directly from Adam Smith on tablets of stone, unchallenged and unchallengeable in the history of economic thought." ..."
"... "The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers." ..."
"... "The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens." ..."
"... "The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it." ..."
"... "All for ourselves, and nothing for other people seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind." ..."
"... "But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin." ..."
"... A reading of Smith's 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' written before, but revised after, WoN is also worthwhile. As is, as ever, Karl Polyani's opening salvo against Smith's take on 'human market nature' (my term). Everyone should read 'The Great Transformation' at least once. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is the refinement of this basic human tendency for domination. It is a camouflaged form of oppression that is revealed through its ultimate effect, not what it does at the moment. A neoliberal is a disguised raider or conquerer. ..."
"... Neoliberals prefer a strong state that promotes their ends, not one that opposes them, or has the ability to oppose the means and methods of private capital . That leaves the playing field with a single team. ..."
"... Homo economicus ..."
"... Neoliberals argue that since members of H. economicus ..."
"... "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." ..."
"... "Doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result" ..."
"... "[ ] Well, this one at least is half-true. Like literally every concept that has ever mattered, the concept of 'neoliberalism' is messy, it's deeply contested [ ]" ..."
"... Although it serves the purposes of the rich-and-powerful rather well, I think "neoliberalism" as a rhetorical engine and set of ideas is the ideology of the 9.9%, the chattering classes of professionals and bureaucrats who need a cover story for their own participation in running the world for the benefit of the 0.1% These are the people who need to rationalize what they do and cooperate and coordinate among themselves and that's a challenge because of their sheer numbers. ..."
"... Neoliberalism says it aims at freedom and social welfare and innovation and other good things. If neoliberalism said it aimed to make the richest 0.1% richer at the expense of everyone else, it would provoke political opposition from the 99% for obvious reasons. Including opposition from the 9.9% whom they need to run things, to run the state, run the corporations. ..."
"... The genius of neoliberalism is such that it is able to achieve a high degree of coordination in detail across large numbers of people, institutions, even countries while still professing [fake] aims and values to which few object. A high degree of coordination on implementing a political policy agenda that is variously parasitical or predatory on the 90%. ..."
"... You can say this is just hypocrisy of a type the rich have always engaged in, and that would be true. The predatory rich have always had to disguise their predatory or parasitical activity, and have often done so by embracing, for example, shows of piety or philanthropy. So, neoliberalism falls into a familiar albeit broad category. ..."
"... What distinguishes neoliberalism is how good it is at coordinating the activities of the 9.9% in delivering the goods for the 0.1%. For a post-industrial economy, neoliberalism is better for the mega-rich than Catholicism was for the feudalism of the High Middle Ages. I do not think most practicing neoliberals among the 9.9% even think of themselves as hypocrites. ..."
"... "Free markets" has been the key move, the fulcrum where anodyne aims and values to which no one can object meet the actual detailed policy implementation by the state. Creating a "market" removes power and authority from the state and transfers it to private actors able to apply financial wealth to managing things, and then, because an actual market cannot really do the job that's been assigned, a state bureaucracy has to be created to manage the administrative details and financial flows -- work for the 9.9% ..."
"... As a special bonus, the insistence on treating a political economy organized in fact by large public and private bureaucracies as if it is organized by and around "markets" introduces a high degree of economic agnatology into the conventional political rhetoric. ..."
"... Pierre Bourdieu, the great French sociologist, would say neoliberalism, like the devil, is one of those things that makes a priority of pretending it does not exist. (Bourdieu cited many others.) It makes it much harder for those whose interests it does not serve to fight it, like forcing someone to eat Jello with a single chopstick. ..."
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Christine Berry. Originally published at openDemocracy

The really fascinating battles in intellectual history tend to occur when some group or movement goes on the offensive and asserts that Something Big really doesn't actually exist."

So says Philip Morowski in his book 'Never Let a Serious Crisis Go To Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown' . As Mirowski argues, neoliberalism is a particularly fascinating case in point. Just as Thatcher asserted there was 'no such thing as society', it's common to find economics commentators asserting that there is 'no such thing as neoliberalism' – that it's simply a meaningless insult bandied about by the left, devoid of analytical content.

But on the list of 'ten tell-tale signs you're a neoliberal', insisting that Neoliberalism Is Not A Thing must surely be number one. The latest commentator to add his voice to the chorus is Sky Economics Editor Ed Conway . On the Sky blog, he gives four reasons why Neoliberalism Is Not A Thing. Let's look at each of them in turn:

1. It's only used by its detractors, not by its supporters

This one is pretty easy to deal with, because it's flat-out not true. As Mirowski documents, "the people associated with the doctrine did call themselves 'neo-liberals' for a brief period lasting from the 1930s to the early 1950s, but then they abruptly stopped the practice" – deciding it would serve their political project better if they claimed to be the heirs of Adam Smith than if they consciously distanced themselves from classical liberalism. Here's just one example, from Milton Friedman in 1951:

"a new ideology must give high priority to real and efficient limitation of the state's ability to, in detail, intervene in the activities of the individual. At the same time, it is absolutely clear that there are positive functions allotted to the state. The doctrine that, one and off, has been called neoliberalism and that has developed, more or less simultaneously in many parts of the world is precisely such a doctrine But instead of the 19 th century understanding that laissez-faire is the means to achieve this goal, neoliberalism proposes that competition will lead the way".

You might notice that as well as the word 'neoliberalism', this also includes the word 'ideology'. Remember that one for later.

It's true that the word 'neoliberalism' did go underground for a long time, with its proponents preferring to position their politics simply as sound economics than to admit it was a radical ideological programme. But that didn't stop them from knowing what they stood for, or from acting collectively – through a well-funded network of think tanks and research institutes – to spread those ideas.

It's worth noting that one of those think tanks, the Adam Smith Institute, has in the last couple of years consciously reclaimed the mantle . Affiliated intellectuals like Madsen Pirie and Sam Bowman have explicitly sought to define and defend neoliberalism. It's no accident that this happened around the time that neoliberalism began to be seriously challenged in the UK, with the rise of Corbyn and the shock of the Brexit vote, after a post-crisis period where the status quo seemed untouchable.

2. Nobody can agree on what it means

Well, this one at least is half-true. Like literally every concept that has ever mattered, the concept of 'neoliberalism' is messy, it's deeply contested, it has evolved over time and it differs in theory and practice. From the start, there has been debate within the neoliberal movement itself about how it should define itself and what its programme should be. And, yes, it's often used lazily on the left as a generic term for anything vaguely establishment. None of this means that it is Not A Thing. This is something sociologists and historians instinctively understand, but which many economists seem to have trouble with.

Having said this, it is possible to define some generally accepted core features of neoliberalism. Essentially, it privileges markets as the best way to organise the economy and society, but unlike classical liberalism, it sees a strong role for the state in creating and maintaining these markets. Outside of this role, the state should do as little as possible, and above all it must not interfere with the 'natural' operation of the market. But it has always been part of the neoliberal project to take over the state and transform it for its own ends, rather than to dismantle or disable it.

Of course, there's clearly a tension between neoliberals' professed ideals of freedom and their need for a strong state to push through policies that often don't have democratic consent. We see this in the actions of the Bretton Woods institutions in the era of 'structural adjustment', or the Troika's behaviour towards Greece during the Eurozone crisis. We see it most starkly in Pinochet's Chile, the original neoliberal experiment. This perhaps helps to explain the fact that neoliberalism is sometimes equated with libertarianism and the 'small state', while others reject this characterisation. I'll say it again: none of this means that neoliberalism doesn't exist.

3. Neoliberalism is just good economics

Neoliberalism may not exist, says Conway, but what do exist are "conventional economic models – the ones established by Adam Smith all those centuries ago", and the principles they entail. That they may have been "overzealously implemented and sometimes misapplied" since the end of the Cold War is "unfortunate", but "hardly equals an ideology". I'm sure he'll hate me for saying this, but Ed – this is the oldest neoliberal trick in the book.

The way Conway defines these principles (fiscal conservatism, property rights and leaving businesses to make their own decisions) is hardly a model of analytical rigour, but we'll let that slide. Instead, let's note that the entire reason neoliberal ideology developed was that the older classical "economic models" manifestly failed during the Great Depression of the 1930s, leading them to be replaced by Keynesian demand-management models as the dominant framework for understanding the economy.

Neoliberals had to update these models in order to restore their credibility: this is why they poured so much effort into the development of neoclassical economics and the capture of academic economics by the Chicago School. One of the great achievements of neoliberalism has been to induce such a level of collective amnesia that it's now once again possible to claim that these tenets are simply "fundamental economic rules" handed down directly from Adam Smith on tablets of stone, unchallenged and unchallengeable in the history of economic thought.

In any case, even some people that ascribe to neoclassical economics – like Joseph Stiglitz – are well enough able to distinguish this intellectual framework from the political application of it by neoliberals. It is perfectly possible to agree with the former but not the latter.

4. Yes, 'neoliberal' policies have been implemented in recent decades, but this has been largely a matter of accident rather than design

Privatisation, bank deregulation, the dismantling of capital and currency controls: according to Conway, these are all developments that came about by happenstance. "Anyone who has studied economic history" will tell you they are "hardly the result of a guiding ideology." This will no doubt be news to the large number of eminent economic historians who have documented the shift from Keynesianism to neoliberalism, from Mirowski and Daniel Stedman-Jones to Robert Skidelsky and Robert Van Horn (for a good reading list, see this bibliographic review by Will Davies .)

It would also be news to Margaret Thatcher, the woman who reportedly slammed down Hayek's 'Constitution of Liberty' on the table at one of her first cabinet meetings and declared "Gentlemen, this is our programme"; and who famously said "Economics is the method; the object is to change the soul". And it would be news to those around her who strategized for a Conservative government with carefully laid-out battleplans for dismantling the key institutions of the post-war settlement, such as the Ridley Report on privatising state-run entities.

What Conway appears to be denying here is the whole idea that policymaking takes place within a shared set of assumptions (or paradigm), that dominant paradigms tend to shift over time, and that these shifts are usually accompanied by political crises and resulting transfers of political power – making them at least partly a matter of ideology rather than simply facts.

Whether it's even meaningful to claim that ideology-free facts exist on matters so inherently political as how to run the economy is a whole debate in the sociology of knowledge which we don't have time to go into here, and which Ed Conway doesn't seem to have much awareness of.

But he shows his hand when he says that utilities were privatised because "governments realised they were mostly a bit rubbish at running them". This is a strong – and highly contentious – political claim disguised as a statement of fact – again, a classic neoliberal gambit. It's a particularly bizarre one for an economist to make at a time when 70% of UK rail routes are owned by foreign states who won the franchises through competitive tender. Just this week, we learned that the East Coast main line is to be temporarily renationalised because Virgin and Stagecoach turned out to be, erm, a bit rubbish at running it.

* * *

It may be a terrible cliché, but the old adage "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" seems appropriate here. Neoliberalism successfully hid in plain sight for decades, with highly ideological agendas being implemented amidst claims we lived in a post-ideological world. Now that it is coming under ideological challenge, it is all of a sudden stood naked in the middle of the room, having to explain why it's there (to borrow a phrase from a very brilliant colleague).

There are a number of strategies neoliberals can adopt in response to this. The Adam Smith Institute response is to go on the offensive and defend it. The Theresa May response is to pay lip service to the need for systemic change whilst quietly continuing with the same old policies. Those, like Ed Conway, who persist in claiming neoliberalism doesn't even exist, may soon find themselves left behind by history. 95 comments


diptherio , May 17, 2018 at 10:23 am

Neoliberalism may not exist, says Conway, but what do exist are "conventional economic models – the ones established by Adam Smith all those centuries ago",

Um please name one "conventional economic model" established by Adam Smith. I mean, really, who would actually write such nonsense?

bruce wilder , May 17, 2018 at 1:20 pm

In fairness, I expect Conway is referring to the "invisible hand" of market competition, wherein the competitive market qua an institution supposedly transforms the private pursuit of self-interest into a public benefit. From the OP, Milton Friedman saying, "instead of . . . laissez-faire . . . neoliberalism proposes . . . competition".

A pedant can rightly claim that the actual Adam Smith had a more nuanced and realistic view, but that does not help to understand, let alone defeat, the intellectual smoke and mirrors of neoliberalism. And, in spirit, the neoliberals are more right than wrong in claiming Adam Smith: on the economics, he was a champion of market competition against the then degenerate corporate state and an advocate of a modified laissez faire against mercantilism, not to mention feudalism.

My personal view is that you have lost the argument if you agree to the key element of neoclassical economics: that the economy is organized around and by (metaphoric) markets and policy is justified (sic!) by remedying market failure. If you concede "the market economy" even as a mere convention of political speech, you are lost, because you have entered into the Alice-in-Wonderland neoliberal model, and you can no longer base your arguments on socially-constructed references to the real, institutional world.

Adam Smith was systematically interpreting his observed world, he kept himself honest by being descriptively accurate. It was Ricardo who re-invented classical economics as an abstract theory deductible from first principles and still later thinkers, who re-invented that abstract, deductive theory as a neoclassical economics in open defiance of observed reality. And, still later thinkers, many of them critics (Hayek being a prime example) of neoclassical economics as it existed circa 1930, who founded neoliberalism as we know it. We really should not blame Adam Smith.

Jeremy Grimm , May 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

You comment is confusing to me -- not quite sure what you are arguing. You close asserting "We really should not blame Adam Smith." Was he blamed in this post?

JBird , May 17, 2018 at 8:05 pm

I think it's the very selective reading, and quoting, of Adam Smith's writings to give neoliberal economics more legitimacy; the parts where he mentions the supremacy of the common good and the need to prevent too much accumulation of money in too few hands is ignored. Restated, the free market with its invisible hand is best so long as the whole community benefits. However, wealth and the power it brings tends to become monopolized into a very few hands. That needs to be prevented and if needed by government.

I think I need to go back over the Wealth of Nations to be sure I am not being too selective myself. That said, what the neoliberals are doing is like some people's very selective reading of the New Testament to support their interests. (Like the vile Prosperity Gospel)

Liberal AND Proud , May 18, 2018 at 9:40 am

Exactly. Bravo.

There is so much claptrap in this article, on all sides of what is supposedly being debated. Yet, the one underlying historical fact that is being completely overlooked is pure Keynesian demand driven economics.

An economics that not only has a basis in fact, but also has an actual history of success.

Keynesian economics did not fail. It was undermined by a movement back toward neo-liberal Adam Smith "invisible hand of the free market" nonsense that has done nothing throughout history except proven itself to be greed disguised as an economic theory to give the powerful an opportunity to fleece the poor and the government treasury.

Yves Smith Post author , May 18, 2018 at 2:51 am

"Free markets" is incoherent, yet it is a very well accepted and unquestioned notion, to the degree it is regularly depicted as virtuous and achieving it, a worthy policy goal.

DanB , May 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

I have written about how the East Germans were absorbed by Germany as neoliberalism was ascendant in 1990, with such shibboleths as TINA and The End of History taken as cosmological verities by the West German government. Now I'm doing research on Detroit, where neoliberalism remains powerful and the source of a meretricious "renaissance" taking place there even as it is increasingly found to be a generator of and rationalization for all manner of class-based exploitation. Mirowski's checklist of the attributes of neoliberalism is on display in state and local government there as they serve corporations, such as the city "selling" the Little Ceasar's empire 39 acres of downtown land for $1 upon which was built the new hockey arena. Detroit is a bellwether city, and despite the depredations of corporations and government there is much organized opposition to neoliberal rule in the city.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , May 17, 2018 at 11:48 am

I believe there was an article here recently by Mirowski – The something or other that dare not speak it's name ? I have spent quite a few hours in the past listening to his podcasts & videos, which tend to repeat themselves, although something new slips in from time to time, especially from Q & A's.

His assertion that economics is merely one part of a whole in the Neoliberal assault woke me up, & indeed then appeared very obvious.

I believe I have seen an example of the Detroit devastation used as film sets in two films: " Only Lovers Left alive " & " Don't Breathe ", which suit the darkness of them very well.

Good to know that there is resistance & I wish you the very best outcome for your & or their endeavours.

Jeremy Grimm , May 17, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I too have watched many hours of Phillip Mirowski's videos, several of them more than once. I have a little trouble with your assertion they "tend to repeat themselves, although something new slips in from time to time". He does repeatedly emphasize points which are hard to believe on first hearing but grow evident upon further reflection. For example his emphasis on the concept of the Market as the Neoliberal epistemology -- an ultimate tool for discovering Truth. A little recall of some recent and surprisingly commonplace constructs like a "market of ideas", or various ways of suggesting we are each a commodity we need to package, promote, and sell as exemplified by Facebook "likes" and "networking" as a way to get ahead. Looking at the whole of the videos, and excluding obvious repetitions like multiple versions of book promotion interviews at different venues I think the range of ideas Mirowski explores is remarkable -- from the Neoliberal thought collective to climate change to the Market applied to direct the truth science can discover.

[Where do you find podcasts of Mirowski? I recall collecting a few but most of what I find are videos. He has numerous of his papers posted at academia.edu which can be downloaded for free by signing up for the website.]

Kevin Carhart , May 18, 2018 at 3:06 am

There are just a few. You may already have heard some of these: Search for Symptomatic Redness, and search for This Is Hell. Search for [PPE Polanyi Hayek]. He talked to Doug Henwood. He talked to Will Davies and that is audio only I believe. There's the Science Mart talk that he gave in Australia. If you look in archive.org and soundcloud as well as youtube and vimeo, you will find most of them. I think all four of those sites have a few recordings that are exclusive from the others. Archive.org has a couple of his appearances on community radio. A few are also linked from the media page for a given book on the publishers' sites, like go to the links on the book page for Science Mart, for an appearance on I think Boston radio.

I'm a nerd. Heh. But if you've come this far and listened to the videos (the one with Homer's brain and markomata, the Boundary2 conference talk, the Leukana one, Prof Nik-Khah at the Whitlam center, Sam Seder, the one on climate, talking about Cowles in Brazil), you will enjoy the others. Hope these notes help you find a few.

Jeremy Grimm , May 18, 2018 at 11:24 am

Thanks! You mentioned several videos I haven't watched yet. [I've watched the one on climate several times.]

Dune Navigator , May 19, 2018 at 1:33 am

I have found this book to be a masterpiece – A brief history of neoliberalism by David Harvey -- > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkWWMOzNNrQ

I have gifted copies of it to my mother- and father-in-law (who survived Operation Condor – the Argentine Dirty Wars) and my parents, among others.

Ray Phenicie , May 17, 2018 at 4:37 pm

I wrote a web page back in April of 2016 about the neoliberal forces in Detroit. Let me know at my twitter page what you think. Feel free to use whatever you find helpful
I found then that the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan had been hornswaggled by private enterprises nesting their own feathers.

Robert G. Valiant , May 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

Utilitarianism, expressed as the greatest aggregate well-being to humanity (economic production and growth) and preference for economic efficiency (monopolies, duopolies, cartels, etc.) over market competition, are two additional hallmarks of neoliberalism.

Recognizing these two important values helps explain the growing economic and social inequality we're witnessing around the western world.

This is the best scholarly book I've read on neoliberalism: The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition

HotFlash , May 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

Thank you, Mr. Valiant,

I will checkout your recommendation and I hope that it will discuss, for instance, the assumption that *economic* production and growth and preference for economic efficiency is and should be the proper goal of human life.

Robert G. Valiant , May 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

The book is descriptive and critical, but not particularly prescriptive. But yes, one of the real strengths of Davies' work is his documentation of the many economic, social, and political assumptions that provide the foundations of neoliberal thought. I was impressed by the many logical inconsistencies that advocates of neoliberalism are comfortable in accepting. I don't believe that the bulk of neoliberal ideas could exist for long outside the philosophical context of postmodernism as the cognitive dissonance they (should) generate would find them quickly abandoned.

The intersection of postmodernism, neoliberalism , and neoconservatism defines our current Western civilization, and I wish somebody would come up with a name for it. Whatever we have now is the successor to Modernism, in its broadest sense.

PKMKII , May 17, 2018 at 3:12 pm

I saw one of those political compass memes recently that had at the "center", "Everything is rent seeking, except for literal rent seeking, which is okay."

vlade , May 17, 2018 at 10:33 am

Well, there is at least some labeling issue, as one of the first people to use term "neoliberalism" (for his proposed policy) was Germany's Alexander Rustow, who hardlty anyone knows about these days, so they don't know either that Rustow would likely sign off most of Corbyn's proposed policies

https://www.cis.org.au/app/uploads/2015/07/op114.pdf

Grebo , May 17, 2018 at 10:22 pm

IIRC Rustow was one of the more 'moderate' founder members of the Mont Pelerin Society. His views did not prevail, though they initially adopted his term for their project. I wonder if, when he saw which way the wind was blowing, he demanded it back.

The term was sometimes applied to the New Deal but didn't really catch on.

It was also used in the early '80s for a movement trying to resurrect the New Deal in the face of Reagan but that didn't catch on either.

vlade , May 18, 2018 at 3:09 am

I didn't know about the New Deal connection, thanks!

Goes to show that he who controls the language controls the communications. .

The Rev Kev , May 17, 2018 at 10:39 am

Hey, I just remembered something. When I was a kid growing up everybody knew all about the mafia but all those in the know denied that there was any such thing when questioned in a court of law. It got to be a running joke how these gang bosses and members were always denying that the mafia was an actual thing. Could it be that the neoliberals took a page out of their book and adopted the same tactic of denying the existence of neoliberalism while actively pushing it at every opportunity?

johnnygl , May 17, 2018 at 11:20 am

And like the line from 'fight club', the first rule of neoliberalism is that you don't talk about it.

To extend your analogy, much like the mafia, there's a handful of shadowy law breakers who benefit from neoliberalism and a whole lot of people that suffer violence so that those benefits can flow up to that few.

Amfortas the Hippie , May 17, 2018 at 3:35 pm

this is why I keep Mario Puzo next to Adam and Karl on the econ shelf in my library.
It's not so much Omerta, as gobbdeygook and wafer thin platitudes.
Like the concurrent and related "Conservative revolution"(1973-), they stole the Cell Structure from the Comintern, and bought out the competition.
I am inclined to believe that the Libertarian Party was a vehicle for this counterrevolution, too.
and finally, with the DLC, they were able to buy the "opposition party" outright and here we are.

Di Modica's Dumb Steer , May 17, 2018 at 11:30 am

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! He's only here to direct you to a very robust curtain marketplace to suit all your needs, including our newest offering for consumers without a desire to invest in (or a steady home for) full curtain infrastructure: Curtains-as-a-Service! Ultimate mobility! Low(ish) monthly payments forever!"

TG , May 17, 2018 at 11:38 am

Well said!

"Neoliberalism" is indeed a thing, but it is not in any way an economic model. "Neoliberalism" is simply the ethos of Sit Back and Let the Big Dog Eat, and it wraps itself in whatever words or models is most effective at distracting and camouflaging its rotten core. Neoliberalism is like a Caddis Fly larvae, that sticks random objects outside its cocoon to blend in.

So the Neoliberals talk about free markets when it suits them – and when their wealthy patrons want to be bailed out with public funds, they talk about government responsibility. They harp about freedom – but demand that large corporations get to use de-jure slave labor to peel shrimp. They talk about how wonderful free trade is – and demand that private citizens not be able to import legal pharmaceuticals because this would destroy the freedom of big pharma to maximize profits by restricting trade and without this new drug development would stop and anyone who believes in free trade wants a free lunch. I could go on. It's pointless to try and refute them, because there is nothing to refute, and they have no shame. Only brute power, but this they have in abundance.

So of course they reject the label, because co-opting and corrupting and hiding behind legitimate philosophies is part of their modus operandi. Using the terminology of the enemy is always a mistake. Long may the vile practitioners of 'neoliberalism' be forced to be referred to by an accurate label!

HotFlash , May 17, 2018 at 11:58 am

Neoliberalism is like a Caddis Fly larvae, that sticks random objects outside its cocoon to blend in.

Lovely metaphor, TG, thank you, and I am stealing it forthwith.

Carey , May 17, 2018 at 10:25 pm

That middle paragraph is simply outstanding. Thank you.

Hunter , May 18, 2018 at 4:09 am

It is. I wish he had gone on. Might we build on it? I think such examples clarify brilliantly exactly of whom we speak:

"Neoliberals want minimal government regulation because such regulation makes the market inefficient. Except when making dubious student loans; then they want the government to guarantee those loans and serve as their muscle in collecting."

animalogic , May 18, 2018 at 12:56 am

Excellent comment. "It's pointless to try and refute them, because there is nothing to refute, and they have no shame. Only brute power, but this they have in abundance."

Absolutely.

Neoliberalism: an old fashioned expression of the seemingly eternal "all for me, none for thee". A million tonnes of economic speciousness, the thickness of a piece of plastic wrap, covering the bloated & putrifying zombie body of a small "elite".

Summer , May 17, 2018 at 11:45 am

"Now that it is coming under ideological challenge, it is all of a sudden stood naked in the middle of the room, having to explain why it's there (to borrow a phrase from a very brilliant colleague)."

Perfect description and funny too!

bruce wilder , May 17, 2018 at 11:46 am

One gambit in denying neoliberalism is to pretend it must be a specific doctrine and then dispute about which that doctrine that is. Or that neoliberalism must be a specific programme and dispute whether that programme has been consistent thru time. But, the intellectual cum ideological history cum policy history here is that neoliberalism has been a dialectic. There's Thatcher and then there's Blair.

It is the back-and-forth of that dialectic that has locked in "the shared set of assumptions" and paradigm of policy inventiveness that has given neoliberalism its remarkable ability to survive its own manifest policy-induced crises.

Neoliberalism did not just adopt neoclassical economics, nor did it simply infest political parties of the right. Neoliberalism re-invented neoclassical economics in ways that defined not just the "right" of academic economics, but also defined the "left". Keynesian economics was absorbed and transmogrified by first one neoclassical synthesis and then a second, leaving a New Keynesian macroeconomics to occupy the position of a nominal left within mainstream economics. If you are waiting for a Krugman or even a Stiglitz to oppose neoliberalism, you will be waiting a very long time, because they are effectively locked into the neoliberal dialectic.

Something almost analogous happened with the political parties of the centre-left, as in the iconic cases of Blair vs Thatcher or Clinton vs Reagan (and then, of course, Obama vs Reagan/Bush II). In western Europe, grand coalitions figured in the process of eliminating the ability of centre-left parties to think outside the neoliberal policy frames or to represent their electoral bases rather than their donor bases.

HotFlash , May 17, 2018 at 12:02 pm

Sitting here nodding my head. All the same criticisms could be made of, oh, say, Christianity. Wars have been fought, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been persecuted by other Christians, over the definition, but that certainly does not make it Not A Thing.

Jeremy Grimm , May 17, 2018 at 6:30 pm

Neoliberal thought is very deliberately projected as a many-headed Hydra. The Neoliberal thought collective presents manifold statements and refinements of its principles. The value of agnotology is a belief of held in sufficient regard to be deemed a principle of belief. Just try dealing with an opponent that shifts and evaporates but never loses substance in working toward its goals.

shinola , May 17, 2018 at 12:06 pm

If neoliberalism can be broken down to "Because markets" perhaps it could also be referred to as "Market Darwinism".

John Steinbach , May 17, 2018 at 12:44 pm

A fundamental difference between neoliberalism and classic economists like Ricardo & Smith is the latter's adamant opposition to rent seeking and insistence on fighting it by taxation. Neoliberalism on the other hand not only accepts rent-seeking, but actively encourages it. Thus we see not only the ascendancy of of the FIRE sector, but the effective destruction of markets as mechanisms of price discovery.

animalogic , May 18, 2018 at 1:42 am

This is a key point. Michael Hudson has demonstrated this in the greatest depth & contrast.

Di Modica's Dumb Steer , May 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Also, Yves, thanks a million for these enlightening neoliberalism articles. I've had quite a bit of trouble in the past putting my political beliefs in the appropriate context; a general feeling of malaise and overall mistrust of free-trade agreements and big corporations without anything to really back it up is usually a one-way ticket to losing an argument and being labelled an old crank. Being able to put a name on something you know doesn't smell right, and finding a framework that allows others to spot it, is a hell of a leg up.

It always reminds me of the index (or aside, or supplementary reading, whatever it was) that accompanied my copy of 1984. It basically said that controlling the common language and not allowing for terminology to define certain things (in this case, pulling the 'first two rules of Fight Club' thing – thanks, johnnygl!) was key to keeping those things essentially invisible, and those afflicted by the maladies off-balance and unable to organize against them. That bit of Orwell made sense then, but it has really been hitting home after reading some of these articles.

For anyone who missed it, this one was also particularly great.

Susan the other , May 17, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Neoliberalism is just another damn thing that externalizes and socializes costs. It is a very costly thing. But I'm more inclined to think that no isms exist anywhere in the real world in any constructive way – they are all just mental reflexes useful for rationalizing irresponsibility and procrastination. And self interest. We might as well just say economicism.

Interesting comment by the author about the sociology of knowledge. No doubt there is a sensible mantra somewhere chanting: Do what works. Because if evolution had been evolutionism we'd all be extinct. The only thing sticking in my dottering old head these days is Ann Pettifor's last question: Please, please can you just tell us how the economy actually works?

Jeremy Grimm , May 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Much as I regard your past comments, I must disagree with your assertion "Neoliberalism is just another damn thing that externalizes and socializes costs". Neoliberalism does indeed externalize and socialize costs but it is more than just another damn thing. Just the scale and scope of the think tank network assembled and well funded to promote the concepts of the Neoliberal thought collective should be adequate to convince you that it is much more than "just another damn thing".

Consider just the visible portion of the think tanks which are part of the Neoliberal thought collective. "Today, Atlas Network connects more than 450 think tanks in nearly 100 countries. Each is writing its own story of how principled work to affect public opinion, on behalf of the ideas of a free society, can better individuals' lives."

Members of the network include: AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE, AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL (ALEC), AYN RAND INSTITUTE, CATO INSTITUTE, GOLDWATER INSTITUTE, HEARTLAND INSTITUTE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION selected members from the 177 think tanks in the U.S. which are a part of the 475 partners in 92 countries around the globe. [https://www.atlasnetwork.org/partners/global-directory]. This is not "just another damn thing."

Next consider the state of the economics profession. Neoliberalism has taken over many major schools of economics and a large number of the economics journals. In a publish or perish world there are few alternatives to an adherence to some flavor of Neoliberal ideology. This is not "just another damn thing." Consider how many national politicians are spouting things like there is 'no such thing as society'. This is not "just another damn thing" -- it is something much much more scary.

Carey , May 17, 2018 at 10:57 pm

Thank you for this post. It is the methodical destruction of any possible alternatives to this totalizing and dehumanizing system that is most frightening to me.

Altandmain , May 17, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Basically the rich dismantled the New Deal and desperately are trying to hide it. The issue is that the decline in living standards for the middle class are so big that they can no longer hide what they are. This was linked in NC a while ago:

https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2018/02/neoliberalism-movement-dare-not-speak-name/

They are essentially trying to keep the looting of society under wraps, but it is beck ming impossible so they deny it exists.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Neoliberalism is quite fuzzy and difficult to attack. Neoliberalism intellectual framework comes from the underlying neoclassical economics that can easily be attacked. Here's George Soros. George Soros realised the economics was wrong due to his experience with the markets. What the neoclassical economists said about markets and his experience just didn't compare, and he knew it was so wrong he never even bothered to look into what the economics said.

George Soros "I am not well qualified to criticize those theories, because as a market participant, I considered them so unrealistic that I never bothered to study them"

Here is George Soros on the bad economics we have used for globalisation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etP0t7WlK_4

He had been complaining for years and at last in 2008 the bankruptcy of the economics proved itself. With more widespread support, he set up INET (The Institute for New Economic Thinking) to try and put things right. Globalisation's technocrats, trained in bad economics, never stood a chance.

John D. , May 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm

"Those, like Ed Conway, who persist in claiming neoliberalism doesn't even exist, may soon find themselves left behind by history."

During the last election, when leftist types were criticizing Hillary Clinton for her neoliberal tendencies, the Ed Conway approach was favored by the online Dem Party shills as the go-to response at mainstream liberal websites. In the comments sections of these places, I read quite a lot of out-and-out bullsh*t about neoliberalism not being real, and how charges of it had as much substance as similarly empty schoolyard taunts. If you said someone was a neoliberal, it had no more meaning than if you'd called them "poopy pants" or 'booger breath." And all this delivered with the usual blistering abuse thrown at anyone not willing to get down on all fours & kiss St. Hillary's blessed pants suit. It got to the point where I finally had to stop visiting places like Lawyers, Guns and Money altogether. They had become unbelievably nasty and unpleasant to progressives.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 17, 2018 at 1:11 pm

"One of the great achievements of neoliberalism has been to induce such a level of collective amnesia that it's now once again possible to claim that these tenets are simply "fundamental economic rules" handed down directly from Adam Smith on tablets of stone, unchallenged and unchallengeable in the history of economic thought."

To prove this wrong read Adam Smith. Adam Smith observed the reality of small state, unregulated capitalism in the world around him. Adam Smith on rent seeking:

"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

So, landlords, usurers and taxes all raise the cost of living and minimum wage. They suck purchasing power out of the real economy. Western housing booms have raised the cost of living and priced Western labour out of international markets leading to the rise of the populists. Trickledown, no it trickles up.

Adam Smith on price gouging:

"The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens."

So this is why hedge funds look for monopoly suppliers of drugs. Big is not beautiful in capitalism, it needs competition and lots of it. The interests of business and the public are not aligned.

Adam Smith on lobbyists:

"The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

Not surprising TTIP and TPP didn't go down well with the public.

The interests of business and the public are not aligned.

Adam Smith on the 1%:

"All for ourselves, and nothing for other people seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind."

2017 – Richest 8 people as wealthy as half of world's population
They haven't changed a bit.

Adam Smith on Profit:

"But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin."

Exactly the opposite of today's thinking, what does he mean?

When rates of profit are high, capitalism is cannibalising itself by:
1) Not engaging in long term investment for the future
2) Paying insufficient wages to maintain demand for its products and services

Today's problems with growth and demand.

Amazon didn't suck its profits out as dividends and look how big it's grown (not so good on the wages).

ChrisPacific , May 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

The problem with Adam Smith is the same as for Keynes: people quote what they imagine he said, or what they want him to have said, rather than what he actually did say.

Adam Smith at least wrote more clearly than Keynes did, which makes claims like that easier to refute.

skippy , May 18, 2018 at 5:27 am

Yet the problem with Smith is contextualizing the time and space he wrote of vs. that of Keynes. Keynes was not addressing a burgeoning industrialist – agrarian economy that had yet to employ oil to its potential with huge amounts of untapped natural resources still waiting in the wings and nary any counter prevailing force to this periods philosophical views.

Even if the whole anglophone experience had a touch of the Council of Nicea tinge to it e.g. making nice between troublesome tribes within the fold.

Keynes at least looked at the data and attempted to reflect what he discern "at the time" against the prevailing winds of doctrinaires contrary to all the sycophants.

This is was the lesson he attempted to forward, howls from the sycophants is a tell.

Paul O , May 18, 2018 at 5:34 am

A reading of Smith's 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' written before, but revised after, WoN is also worthwhile. As is, as ever, Karl Polyani's opening salvo against Smith's take on 'human market nature' (my term). Everyone should read 'The Great Transformation' at least once.

The 18th century was an interesting time. My take, only partially thought out, is that Smith's later work was part of that move away from grand theorizing towards practical improvement of the human condition seen in so many thinkers of the mid-century period. (With the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 acting as something of a catalyst)

WheresOurTeddy , May 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

It is impossible to get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

Ignacio , May 17, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Mr. Conway must be a fan of Mr. Fukuyama and his exercises for brain stunting. IMO, Fukuyama's success depended very much on neoliberalism becoming dominant.

Norb , May 18, 2018 at 9:33 am

In a way, this comment sums up the modern condition very well. Life is always about the struggle between the have and the have nots. "Civilization" is the human attempt to curb, or put a respectable face on the raw power struggle between the weak and the powerful. It is something worth fighting for if justice, equality under the law, and relief from human suffering is the goal. If greed and self-interest is the only goal, one can be considered a barbarian and resisted. In such a case, might makes right and the world is full of darkness and destruction.

Short form- The elite are failing in their duty to humanity- and the rest of life on this planet. As a scapegoat, they call out anyone not with their agenda deplorables and double down on their barbarous ways. Greed, exploitation, and subjugation.

Neoliberalism is the refinement of this basic human tendency for domination. It is a camouflaged form of oppression that is revealed through its ultimate effect, not what it does at the moment. A neoliberal is a disguised raider or conquerer.

PKMKII , May 17, 2018 at 3:01 pm

This is an amateur take, but as I see it classical liberalism was pretty much wrecked by the combination of WWI, great depression, and WWII. The "everything laissez faire" ideology had simply taken too much damage from the reality of political economy. So it evolved, as it were, into three new ideologies: libertarianism, which faulted classical liberalism for not going far enough in reducing the state, which goes a long ways towards explaining why it's not very popular; the liberal-left/FDR liberalism/SocDem position, which faulted classical liberalism for ignoring the social element, where there's a heavy welfare state, enterprises are highly regulated, labor protections, but still private ownership and a capitalist class; and neoliberalism, which faulted classical liberalism for being ideologically unwilling to engage in the technocratic tinkering to right the ship, but still sees TIHOTFM as the center of the economy. The first is the religious orthodoxy response, the second is to put the market in the sandbox, and the third puts the state in the sandbox.

Grebo , May 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm

My take, influenced by Polanyi, is that classical Liberalism collapsed with WWI. In Europe it was replaced with Socialism (of a sort), Social Democracy or Fascism. Sometimes switching around and taking a while to settle. In the US classical Liberalism had a glorious swansong in the 1920s but it finally died in 1929, giving way to Social Democracy in the New Deal. The Neoliberal project did not properly start until after WWII and did not take over until around 1980.

EoH , May 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Nicely written and argued.

Neoliberals prefer a strong state that promotes their ends, not one that opposes them, or has the ability to oppose the means and methods of private capital . That leaves the playing field with a single team.

Neoliberals would have the state oppose the goals of others in society. To nurture that environment, neoliberals seek to redefine society and citizenship as consumerism. Woman's only role is as one of the species Homo economicus . Neoliberals argue that since members of H. economicus exist in isolation, they have no need for the extensive mutual aid and support networks that neoliberals rely on to survive and prosper. Again, that leaves a single team on the playing field.

Code Name D , May 17, 2018 at 3:41 pm

I would add tha neoliberalism is inherently about classism. That the wealthy, because of their education, know more than poor people because of the lack of education. So when voters complain about the lack of jobs or the poor state of healthcare, the Clintionites wave it away because, well what do those poor people know anyway?

One of the topics that pops up regulary, is the question "why can't poor people tell how great the economy is doing?" -face palm- A question that took on fresh important when Clintion lost the election.

Ironically, the conversation is now, why can't poor people tell how shitty the economy is with Trump in charge. -dabble face palm-.

JBird , May 18, 2018 at 2:37 am

You only have to walk around San Francisco or Los Angeles to see that something is wrong with the current economic environment. This in the wealthy parts of California. There can be plenty of disagreement over the what, the why, and the solutions, but to demand that I ignore my lying eyes and believe their words' truthiness is either insulting or insanity and maybe both.

Jill , May 18, 2018 at 12:14 am

Mirowski addressed this very issue in this paper –

"The Political Movement that Dared not Speak its own Name: The Neoliberal Thought Collective Under Erasure" – In this paper I examine the disinclination to treat the Neoliberal political project as a serious intellectual project motivating a series of successes in the public sphere. Economists seem especially remiss in this regard.

https://www.ineteconomics.org/research/research-papers/the-political-movement-that-dared-not-speak-its-own-name-the-neoliberal-thought-collective-under-erasure

everydayjoe , May 18, 2018 at 4:44 am

I disagree that neoliberalism is a thing. There are still only the conservative and liberal view points. My interpretation of them is as follows:

-Conservative ideology stems from maintaining status quo, tradition, hierarchy and individual growth ( even at the cost of society). Religion dovetails this ideology as it is something passed on through generations.

-Liberal ideology stems from growing the society( even at the cost of individual), challenging the status quo and breaking away from tradition.

Neoliberalism to me is just a part of conservatism Here is the dictionary definition of conservatism; " the holding of political views that favour free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas." A crude example would be to say that Libertarians are closet Republicans.

Expat , May 18, 2018 at 6:10 am

If I understand neoliberalism correctly it boils down to this: Whoever has money and power gets to make the rules within certain limits which are defined by:

Success of the model is defined as success of the richest, most powerful actors. Anyone who does not succeed is labeled as having been inadequate, lazy, or socialist/communist/etc. Have I missed anything?

eg , May 18, 2018 at 7:56 am

The claim that neoliberalism does not exist reminds me of Baudelaire's "la plus belle des ruses du Diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas!" ("the cleverest ruse of the Devil is to persuade you he does not exist!")

We frogs have been in the pot for so long now we've forgotten that there ever was a pond

Sound of the Suburbs , May 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Irving Fisher 1929.

The markets have a way of destroying everyone's faith in the markets. I think they've forgotten now, let's have another go.

Einstein's definition of madness "Doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result"

brumel , May 18, 2018 at 10:16 am

Neoliberalism is basically just liberalism in its contemporary form. The denial of its existence only confirms that.

beachcomber , May 18, 2018 at 12:08 pm

A priori, what motivated Hayek's, Mises' and their associates' programme from its conception in the '30's was that it was a *reaction* against the threat to freedom (as they defined it) which they considered to be posed by the onward march of what they termed "collectivism", embodied not only by avowedly socialist governments (as in Austria) but also in that ostensible bulwark of capitalism the USA (whence Mises had emigrated), in the shape of the New Deal.

Given that genesis, it baffles me that any historian can seriously question what was the true nature of the project which (led by Hayek) was conceived in response, which later became known as neoliberalism. It was conceived as a counter-offensive to what they identified as an insidious mortal threat to all the values they subscribed to – as in Hayek's phrase "the road to serfdom". How could any such counter-offensive be implemented other than through devising and putting into effect a plan of action? How could it ever *not* have been "a thing" (ie not possess objective reality) yet still achieve its specified objective – namely to defeat the chosen enemy? To assert that it was not is to fly in the face of logic and common sense.

Doesn't any serious historian need to deploy both of those faculties in good measure?

EoH , May 18, 2018 at 12:43 pm

I agree that Hayek and others were engaged in a political movement that promoted intense opposition to social democratic experiments sweeping the West after WWII.

Their chosen enemy seems to have been collective responses generally – governmental and social – except those that they approved of. Coincidentally, those seem to be approved of by their wealthy patrons. I don't recall their vocal opposition to the trade associations, for example, that cooperated to promote the interests of the companies their patrons controlled.

Hayek and others seem to have overreacted in their opposition to collective action, even while making exceptions for the social networking and persistent patron funding that promoted their own endeavours.

The Prescription Was Clear , May 18, 2018 at 12:29 pm

From the article:

"[ ] Well, this one at least is half-true. Like literally every concept that has ever mattered, the concept of 'neoliberalism' is messy, it's deeply contested [ ]"

Way I see it, it happens to be extremely simple:

Neo-liberalism is extremely old and the only exceptions to this "new" development were the so called "totalitarian" states (feared, by neo-libs, most of all things), which mainly disciplined the elites, with great success, I might add.

Galatea55 , May 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

David Harvey's "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," anyone?

EoH , May 18, 2018 at 7:31 pm

Or Mirowski and Bourdieu.

bruce wilder , May 18, 2018 at 4:45 pm

In reply to several commenters, who have questioned why "neoliberalism" is not simply another name for the political expression/ambitions of the greed of the rich-and-powerful, aka conservatism.

Although it serves the purposes of the rich-and-powerful rather well, I think "neoliberalism" as a rhetorical engine and set of ideas is the ideology of the 9.9%, the chattering classes of professionals and bureaucrats who need a cover story for their own participation in running the world for the benefit of the 0.1% These are the people who need to rationalize what they do and cooperate and coordinate among themselves and that's a challenge because of their sheer numbers.

If you try to examine neoliberalism as a set of aims or values or interests, I think you miss the great accomplishment of neoliberalism as a mechanism of social cooperation. Neoliberalism says it aims at freedom and social welfare and innovation and other good things. If neoliberalism said it aimed to make the richest 0.1% richer at the expense of everyone else, it would provoke political opposition from the 99% for obvious reasons. Including opposition from the 9.9% whom they need to run things, to run the state, run the corporations.

Not being clear on what your true objectives are tends to be an obstacle to organizing large groups to accomplish those objectives. Being clear on the mission objective is a prerequisite for organizational effectiveness in most circumstances. The genius of neoliberalism is such that it is able to achieve a high degree of coordination in detail across large numbers of people, institutions, even countries while still professing [fake] aims and values to which few object. A high degree of coordination on implementing a political policy agenda that is variously parasitical or predatory on the 90%.

You can say this is just hypocrisy of a type the rich have always engaged in, and that would be true. The predatory rich have always had to disguise their predatory or parasitical activity, and have often done so by embracing, for example, shows of piety or philanthropy. So, neoliberalism falls into a familiar albeit broad category.

What distinguishes neoliberalism is how good it is at coordinating the activities of the 9.9% in delivering the goods for the 0.1%. For a post-industrial economy, neoliberalism is better for the mega-rich than Catholicism was for the feudalism of the High Middle Ages. I do not think most practicing neoliberals among the 9.9% even think of themselves as hypocrites.

"Free markets" has been the key move, the fulcrum where anodyne aims and values to which no one can object meet the actual detailed policy implementation by the state. Creating a "market" removes power and authority from the state and transfers it to private actors able to apply financial wealth to managing things, and then, because an actual market cannot really do the job that's been assigned, a state bureaucracy has to be created to manage the administrative details and financial flows -- work for the 9.9%

As a special bonus, the insistence on treating a political economy organized in fact by large public and private bureaucracies as if it is organized by and around "markets" introduces a high degree of economic agnatology into the conventional political rhetoric.

[This comment sounded much clearer when I conceived of it in the shower this morning. I am sorry if the actual comment is too abstract or tone deaf. I will probably have to try again at a later date.]

Carey , May 19, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Your last three paragraphs in particular were helpful to my understanding. Thank you.

EoH , May 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Pierre Bourdieu, the great French sociologist, would say neoliberalism, like the devil, is one of those things that makes a priority of pretending it does not exist. (Bourdieu cited many others.) It makes it much harder for those whose interests it does not serve to fight it, like forcing someone to eat Jello with a single chopstick.

[May 20, 2018] The Populism Backlash An Economically Driven Backlash

Notable quotes:
"... message is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity. ..."
"... The surge of populism in Europe and the US has often put at the centre stage three ideological actors of society: the people, the elite, and the 'other' (foreigners, immigrants) to whom, in the populist narrative, the elite has sold the people out. ..."
"... The cultural backlash against globalisation, traditional politics and institutions, immigration, and automation cannot be an exogenous occurrence, it is driven by economic woes. In fact, as we show, in regions where globalisation was present but have benefited economically there is no such cultural backlash at all and the populist message has retreated. The policy implication and take-home message that stems from our results is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... The cultural backlash against globalisation, traditional politics and institutions, immigration, and automation cannot be an exogenous occurrence, it is driven by economic woes. In fact, as we show, in regions where globalisation was present but have benefited economically there is no such cultural backlash at all and the populist message has retreated. The policy implication and take-home message that stems from our results is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity. ..."
"... if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity. ..."
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

message is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.

The surge of populism in Europe and the US has often put at the centre stage three ideological actors of society: the people, the elite, and the 'other' (foreigners, immigrants) to whom, in the populist narrative, the elite has sold the people out.

Populist policies have often picked convenient scapegoats for economic grievances, while hiding real policy trade-offs. They have mastered the art of 'follow-ship' as opposed to leadership, where everything has become more short-term and responsive to instant polls. National short-term concerns have become paramount and states, rather than seeing common good for the long run, have become 'inward-focused' both in terms of time and space.

What has caused the rise of populist parties in continental Europe? Are the roots of the success of populist platforms cultural, as some researchers advocate, or are they mainly economic as others – us among them – have pointed out?

Rodrik (2018) distinguishes between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism, which differ with respect to the societal cleavages that populist politicians highlight, and argues that these different reactions are related to the relative salience of different types of globalisation shocks. Colantone and Stanig (2018) analyse the impact Chinese import shock and show that this triggered an increase in support for nationalist and radical right parties in Western Europe.

In a recent paper, we show how different exposure to economic shocks and different ability to react to them in different regions of Europe sheds light on these questions (Guiso et al. 2018). We study how the populist vote share 1 across European regions responded to two major economic shocks: the globalisation shock (i.e. the 'China Effect') and the European financial crisis of 2008-2013. Both shocks, in principle, caused economic distress and insecurity, but not equally everywhere. The China Effect – the increased economic insecurity following the globalisation shocks – is known to have boosted populist support in Europe as much as in the US, but we provide two novel and perhaps unexpected findings.

First, the populist-boosting effect is only present in regions of Western Europe, whereas in the industrial regions of Eastern Europe most exposed to globalisation, the globalisation shock has instead a negative (dampening) effect on populist support and vote shares. In fact, in Eastern Europe globalisation was good news, since it brought job opportunities thanks to the relocation of firms from Western Europe. This strongly suggests that economic winners and losers of globalisation are behind the ups and downs of populist voting.

Second, the globalisation shock has a substantially larger effect on populist support in euro area countries than in other comparable Western countries. This finding may be puzzling as all Western European countries were similarly exposed to China import competition. However, euro area countries were not equally capable of reacting to this shock. Indeed, euro area countries were constrained in their policies by what we call a 'policy strait jacket': constraints imposed by the single currency which prevented adopting the 'best' domestic policies to counteract the shock, for instance through a devaluation of the currency. We estimate that the policy strait jacket effect explains three-quarters of the greater consensus to populist parties in the euro area compared to Western non-euro area European countries. The role of the policy strait jacket in fuelling populist consensus emerges most clearly during the financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis. The financial crisis created populist consensus across the board, but its effects were most dramatic in the euro area and particularly in those countries, like Italy, where the strait jacket was particularly tight. This policy strait jacket amplified the effects of the shock, or at least created the perception that it was in part to blame for the lack of recovery. This, in turn, sparked frustration among voters and disappointment towards the domestic and European elites opening the ground to populist proposals.

Consistent with this interpretation, confidence in European institutions and in the ECB has dropped dramatically in the euro area countries and only mildly in non-euro area countries (see Figure 1). Interestingly, among the former countries the voter frustration was greater precisely where the policy strait jacket was tighter, as Figure 2 neatly documents.

Figure 1 The populist strait jacket and trust

a) in the European Parliament

b) in the ECB

Figure 2 Trust in

a) the ECB

b) the European Commission

The above results underline the fact that the deep cause of populism cannot be culture, it is economics. This view is confirmed in our complementary study using individual survey data instead based on the European Social Survey (ESS), which maps the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviour patterns of European citizens taking place every two years since September 2002, by means of face-to-face interviews (Guiso et al. 2017). The ESS, besides reporting on voter's attitudes towards immigration and traditional politics, also asks people whether they voted in the last parliamentary election in their country and which party they voted for. Therefore, it is possible to identify whether a populist party was voted for. A pseudo-panel analysis allows to study changes in individual economic insecurity and changes in attitudes such as distrust in political parties and anti-immigration sentiments, which are often taken as measures of cultural traits.

Figure 3 Economic insecurity and

a) trust in political parties

b) sentiments towards immigrants

Notes : The figure shows the binned scatterplot (20 equal-sized bins) and linear regressions of the change in economic insecurity (x-axis) and the change in trust in political parties (y-axis, left figure, 3,134 observations) and attitudes against immigrants (y-axis, right figure, 3,666 observations) in the synthetic cohorts panel.

We show that the populist drive comes from the 'barely coping', who have developed a disgust with the political establishment prompting them to abstain from voting, and a disgust with immigrants that has prompted them to vote populist. However, behind this deterioration in these attitudes is the worsening of economic insecurity: voters who suffer from economic misfortune lose faith in institutions and develop anti-immigrant sentiments (Figure 3). Hence, economic insecurity drives up the populist vote both directly but also indirectly by affecting two key sentiments: anti-immigration and distrust for traditional politics. The directimpact of economic insecurity on the populist vote share and the indirect impact through distrust trust in politics is just through voter apathy: economic insecurity has driven mistrust in traditional politics which, in turn, drove down turnout for traditional parties, indirectly increasing the vote share of populist parties. The indirectimpact, on the other hand, through anti-immigrant sentiments is explicitly though an increase of the populist vote. Economic insecurity has driven the anti-immigrant sentiment among the barely coping, which in turn successfully drove up turnout for populist parties.

In sum the populist strategy of scapegoating immigrants was very successful – the immigration card has proven to be a powerful grievance that could be awakened by economic downturns. Moreover, countries where a populist party is present have much more anti-immigrant sentiments, which suggests that the populist rhetoric affects greatly these sentiments.

The cultural backlash against globalisation, traditional politics and institutions, immigration, and automation cannot be an exogenous occurrence, it is driven by economic woes. In fact, as we show, in regions where globalisation was present but have benefited economically there is no such cultural backlash at all and the populist message has retreated. The policy implication and take-home message that stems from our results is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.

Can consensus towards populist forces persist even after economic insecurity has been reabsorbed? This is the key question today. While the documented culture backlash cannot be the root cause of populist success as it is itself borne out of economic insecurity, it may play a crucial role looking forward. If the new identity politics succeeds in reshaping peoples' beliefs and attitudes, sentiments can acquire an autonomous role and may continue to exert an effect even when their economic cause is gone.

See original post for references


Eustache De Saint Pierre , May 19, 2018 at 5:41 am

I don't understand why this is simply not obvious to everyone as there are historical examples aplenty – Weimar at the end of the twenties being the most obvious & the simple fact that when resources become scarce, it rarely brings out the best in us. My suspicion is that policy makers who tend to be true believers looking down from their ivory towers, would rather not be faced with the truth of the consequences of their actions, or really do not give a damn anyway.

My eighty two year old Mother voted for Brexit & her reasons for doing so, were because she had over the years been witness to a steady decline in her local environment, from what was once a thriving community built around the workplace – my occasional visits over the years only confirm this. You will have to take my word for it, but she has not got a racist bone in her body, but her concerns over immigration were founded on a chat to a local headmistress while picking up her Grandson, who related to her the problems they were having teaching twelve languages, while at the same time having their funding constantly cut – Pakistani taxi drivers using the gable end of her flat as a urinal has also not helped matters.

She also told me that in her opinion the young do not know what has been lost, as they have no experience of how it once was & the now for them is their everyday normal.

J Sterling , May 19, 2018 at 10:43 am

The article was an exercise in Bulverism. It started with the assumption that the people the author disagreed with were fools, and quickly moved on to an explanation of why the fools might be fools.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , May 19, 2018 at 12:59 pm

I suppose that my Mother could live to regret her vote, which came mainly from frustration as she had not bothered to vote otherwise for a few years, as she is correctly of the opinion that the Labour stronghold she lives in has not done anything for those who it purports to support. She lives in a once thriving market town that now only the word dead could be used to describe it adequately. Meanwhile the local Labour politicians have built themselves a plush new HQ in the post modern European style, while leaving perfectly adequate premises to presumably rot.

Unless they come up with something pretty quick I don't see any likelihood of a change in the fortunes of the many & I am I believe correct that he does not see any need to question immigration policy, but suggest that Identity Politics might save the day. Perhaps for the young, but from my experience it is presently causing resentment, as with the aftermath of the Rotherham sex scandal when basically nothing had been done as the authorities were in fear of being labelled racist – i share my Mother's position of people can be good or bad whatever shade they happen to come in.

I believe that those who are pushing the IP agenda by urging people to come out & dumping extra labour into already stressed areas, are risking an eventual backlash which of course will not fall on them – something which would lead to the instigators of IP shedding crocodile tears, while feeling free to insult & rage against the remaining group of people whose identity apparently now counts for nothing.

Vox Populi , May 19, 2018 at 6:54 am

Politicians are taking clearly side, not for the people who voted them in the office in the first place, but for banks, globalist foundations, cultural marxists, media and big corporations.

Another world is betrayal.

But it is for all to see that in the Western world, "foundations" are poisoning the population en-masse and setting up kids against parents, pupil against teachers, black against white, poor against rich and woman against man.

The aim is chaos and uncertainty for a prolonged period so that at the end the population will, instigated by the media, ask for a strong (paid-off) leader.

Not sure if you watched the documentary "The Century of Self": you can enslave the population, throw them in jail, tax them 100%, beat them to pulp, etc. All fine.
But touch their culture, and you are dead. Just a matter of time.

digi_owl , May 19, 2018 at 11:06 am

Cultural marxists?! Seriously?!

Massinissa , May 19, 2018 at 4:30 pm

'Cultural Marxism' is not a real thing.

jsn , May 19, 2018 at 7:47 pm

"Cultural Marxism" is a right wing talking point designed to keep the left hopelessly stitched to the feckless liberalism of the Democrat party.

RepubAnon , May 19, 2018 at 9:22 pm

As Hagbard Celine would observe, Marxism is the new fnord (for Illuminatus! Trilogy fans).

In other words, everyone on the right knows that Marxism is bad – so characterizing ideas that they don't like as "Cultural Marxism" helps tag these ideas as evil encarnate in the minds of their followers and shuts down debate.

For Democrats, the equivalent would be "Trumpian Culture."

TedHunter , May 19, 2018 at 8:07 am

Well done. Unlike the economic argument, the more facile cultural argument seems to be more popular, even if wrong. But:

Can consensus towards populist forces persist even after economic insecurity has been reabsorbed? This is the key question today.

Eh, no. The key question is if, how and when economic insecurity will decline, if at all. And how the hell can you "reabsorb" economic insecurity?

Carolinian , May 19, 2018 at 9:25 am

Perhaps "culture" versus "economic" is an artificial distinction and the lowers recognize that cultural differences are just an outward manifestation of class exploitation–a kind of uniform or badge. In Pygmalion G.B.Shaw joked that you could give a flower girl a posh accent and she could become an aristocrat too. That works in reverse as well and I suspect one reason Hillary lost was that she so obviously lacked the "common touch." Boasting about how smart you think you are is not necessarily good politics.

ObjectiveFunction , May 19, 2018 at 10:06 am

"Boasting about how smart you think you are is not necessarily good politics."

+3M. Copying the OTT rhetoric of the Stable Genius is a recipe for ruin, especially for the tone deaf smug set.

TRUMP 2020: THE PIG LIKES IT

RepubAnon , May 19, 2018 at 9:28 pm

When times are good, people don't look for scapegoats. It's only when times are bad, and resources are becoming increasingly scarce, that blaming their culture's favorite scapegoats for the problems gets popular.

I recall a friend of mine who adamantly denied being racist – but would routinely tell racial stereotypic jokes. People know racism isn't socially acceptable in corporate circles these days, so they deny that they're racist even as they talk in terms of racist stereotypes.

Watt4Bob , May 19, 2018 at 8:19 am

The policy implication and take-home message that stems from our results is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.

Two quibbles;

1. This guy is Captain Obvious.

2. How about we decide to 'cure' the cause instead of 'defeat' the symptoms.

IMO, curing our economic ills naturally calms the populist impulse. This wouldn't be an important quibble if it wasn't for the singularly American tendency to frame our problems as requiring some sort of violent solution. The argument could be made that Americans see every problem as requiring some sort of war, whether starkly 'real', involving the military, or metaphorical.

I would say that the government's coordinated take-down of the Occupy movement was a perfect example of results of this mindset, and so are the inevitable mobs of 'security' personel clad in black, and $10K worth of body armor and weapons deployed to counter the populist impulse.

Last night's local news included a piece touting bullet-proof glass as a solution to school shootings, complete with window samples, still embedded with bullets, and six or eight proud, smiling business executives who clearly see school shootings as an opportunity to make some money.

Need I mention the bat-sh*t crazy 'War on Drugs'?

I think we need to start thinking about fixing our problems rather than 'defeating' them.

tegnost , May 19, 2018 at 9:31 am

to point 1 yes that was a bit of a hurdle, luckily it's not too long and does go somewhere in the end

marku52 , May 19, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I was commenting over at Drums site, and a guy there was "astonished" to learn that areas hurt by globalization was a determinant in voting for Trump.

Honest, it had never occurred to him.

So, obvious to us. Not obvious to hard core DNCers. In fact I'm pretty sure they are innoculated not to accept it, as it means their happy little neoliberal policies have helped create Trump.

No, Can't admit that.

tegnost , May 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

a little of an aside, but this para ISTM describes the party of the democrats perfectly

The cultural backlash against globalisation, traditional politics and institutions, immigration, and automation cannot be an exogenous occurrence, it is driven by economic woes. In fact, as we show, in regions where globalisation was present but have benefited economically there is no such cultural backlash at all and the populist message has retreated. The policy implication and take-home message that stems from our results is clear: if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.

Also, in the microcosm of the PNW the people who can still afford to live in seattle, not the precariites but the upper crust, mostly hillarites, have no problem with globalisation, while if you get out a little among the downtrodden globalisation is yet another unavoidable tragicomedy so seems to support the authors of the posts point

anon48 , May 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

I agree that economics can have a major effect on populist tendencies but I think to paint economics as the SOLE driver of populist direction is a little too broad a brushstroke. Which is what the article seemed to say to me.

I think if you went back to the US in the late sixties and early seventies, many of the participants in the anti-war movement , given a definition of populism, would have viewed themselves as participating in a populist cause. A cause that was driven more by a philosophy of nonviolence than by economics albeit there was anger among some that the sons of the elites could buy their way out of the draft. But from my perspective that was more a secondary reason to eliminate the draft rather than being the primary driving force behind the movement.

Further, it seems you could make the same case about the civil rights movement. While again I believe economic standing played a significant part, the driving force behind that movement was more about equality. Just look at the nature of the watershed moments that triggered that movement those moments weren't about money but inequality.Granted, a case can also be made that the civil rights movement will continue on until economic equality is achieved. But that's not what carried it forward in the early years, which is what the article would have implied.

Cat Burglar , May 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm

TIME magazine used the term populism in 1972 when covering the McGovern candidacy -- I remember because as a kid then, and I had to go look up the term. Maybe it had some accuracy because McGovern did represent a state from the historic center of turn-of-the-20th century agrarian populism, and because "the People" was often used to specify the political subject at the heart of the New Left.

The function of the term is to allow public discussion of the political management problem posed by things like massive militant anti-war movements in the streets, powerful presidential candidates that have escaped elite funding trammels and vetting, or social groups that die too young. The great piece of ideological legerdemain that "populism" performs is that it allows discourse over controlling it without once mentioning the policies proposed by the movements, and so delegitimizes them. It also works for actors that are so socially cut off from the sources of social misery that they are truly ignorant -- after all, none of their old college classmates are in trouble, so what is going on?

Populism is a tipoff that if the cat is misbehaving, the owner needs to think about declawing her, kicking him, putting a shock collar on her, or locking him in a closet, but not letting her out, scooping his pan, or feeding them -- that is what I take to be the moral content of the term.

Amfortas the Hippie , May 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Cat:" it allows discourse over controlling it without once mentioning the policies proposed by the movements, and so delegitimizes them."
aye. it's a deflection a red herring.
anything to avoid that damned mirror.
and, as someone said above: Captain Obvious wrote this,lol.
It has been personally painful and disillusioning to watch run of the mill "Democrats" fall into "well they're all racist, so lets ignore them until they deservedly die".
The anti "white", anti Male, anti rural,and anti-anyone who thinks Economics Matters nonsense makes me not want to play any more.
Rather than "Divide and Conquer" it's "Divide, and Divide again, and prevent an Unassailable Majority"(with support beyond little old me, Bernie would have won in my blood red county.)

marku52 , May 19, 2018 at 5:34 pm

This. Anything but admit that their economic policies have benefited to top 10% by mashing the family blog out of everyone below.

JBird , May 19, 2018 at 11:31 pm

Yeah, what you said. Which is why water is not wet.

It's also painful for me to see sites that I have been reading for years change into hate sites. If I say that maybe, just possibly that Clinton lost and Trump won because of something other than just sexism, racism, or stupidity, I become One of Those People. Socialism is a bad. Neoliberalism is a nonsense label.

Whatever.

Brooklin Bridge , May 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

if one wants to defeat populism, one must defeat first economic insecurity.

And if one wants to encourage populism,

Just a hunch mind you, but I suspect our current masters have figured this out.

Synoia , May 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

Yes, I do wonder at the content at Davos over the years.

John Wright , May 19, 2018 at 11:59 am

One can be cynical and suspect the elites are pricing the cost of rising populism into their cost of doing business.

If populism leads to more funding for the police or military, that may be a feature, not a bug, as increasing those expenditures tend to be US elite goals.

So let populism rise, in a "let them eat cake" manner and dampen its effects by political contributions, increased police/military funding or more surveillance.

If the cost of causing populism to occur as a result of elite policies DOES hit elite lifestyle/pocketbooks, then the USA might see some changes.

We've watched Trump play the populist and the Clinton Democratic party squash the populist interloper Sanders.

Remember Reagan's 1980 debate with Carter?

He asked this question:

"Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment than there was four years ago?"

One could argue this is a populist leaning question, but used by Reagan, a long-term servant of the elite, to get elected.

And he was.

precariat , May 19, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Reagan or Trump using populism to get elected is the problem. It is seen as tool by the elites to manipulate and control. And when the populace is so silly as to use it for economic justice the marchers come out with their tiki-torches –calling up the symbolism of the nazis. To smear and divide and conquer. Elites may use it, but you may not take it seriously and effect change. "For me not for thee."

Thuto , May 19, 2018 at 10:09 am

" to defeat populism one must first defeat economic insecurity". Yeah, except defeating populism through a reduction in economic insecurity would require more wealth trickling down to the "insecure" masses from the high tables of the elites and less being funneled into offshore tax havens.

Therein lies the bind, domesticated, paid-for politicians (establishment politicians that is) would also have to do with a little less in bribes, campaign contributions etc coming their way if they dared to tip, through policy choices, the scales of wealth distribution towards eliminating economic insecurity. I haven't heard of an establishment politician willing to bite the very hand that feeds them so the prospects look dim unless there's an uprooting of the very system that creates said economic insecurity in the first place.

The upswell of discontent driving populism will continue until rampaging mobs tired of the unfairness and exploitation of the system demand "give us economic liberty or give us death" or rather "give us economic liberty or we'll give YOU death" from the elites. Nothing will change until the elites themselves feel threatened, in a very real way, by the state of affairs, not the current situation where they're actively benefiting from it.

As for populist politicians, it's their charisma and the mastery of their rhetoric that let's them exploit the gullibility and despondency of the "barely coping", but as recent examples (e.g. Trump) demonstrate, give them the keys to the top office and they quickly turn establishment.

Thuto , May 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

They turn establishment with regards to making policy choices that perpetuate, rather than eliminate, economic insecurity. Their rhetoric may still be fiercely populist, but their policy choices betray their true allegiance and where it lies

digi_owl , May 19, 2018 at 11:03 am

Been saying it again and again, but the "feminists" don't want to hear it, that it was impressively tone death to try to run for first female US president on a gender platform in the middle of an extended recession.

Never mind doubling down on said platform upon losing

Synoia , May 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

Especially that specific female.

WheresOurTeddy , May 19, 2018 at 2:15 pm

with Haspel breaking (the will) of the glass ceiling at CIA, it appears only the worst of the worst will be allowed to fly among the carrion birds of the empire.

Next up, Kamala "I Love Private Prisons" Harris, who I will be assured is very progressive when the time comes.

precariat , May 19, 2018 at 3:03 pm

" impressively tone death to try to run for first female US president on a gender platform in the middle of an extended recession."

The real problem -- again obfuscated by 'identity politics' -- is that the Democrats did not think they were in the middle of an "extended recession."
The million-dollar consultants on Clinton's camapign were not in a recession. It is the rest of us who were and are. Those who like Rove think they make reality will keep getting a rude awakening.

Jim Haygood , May 19, 2018 at 11:26 am

From a John Mauldin email this morning:

The chart below from Philippa Dunne of The Liscio Report shows the ratio of workers covered by unemployment insurance is at its lowest level in 45 years. What happens when millions of freelancers lose their incomes?

https://ibb.co/jUaGy8

The likely outcome is a populist backlash that installs a Democratic Congress and president. They will then raise taxes on the "rich" and roll back some of the corporate tax cuts and increase regulatory burdens.

From 70% of workers having unemployment benefits when the chart begins in 1970, the ratio has now been halved to under 35% in today's gig economy.

What it means is that so-called automatic stabilizers such as unemployment benefits, intended to keep household spending going in a recession, have been hollowed out to near irrelevance.

Mauldin thinks Democrats will retake Congress, and then the presidency from One-term Trump. So do I. Flake-o-nomics don't pay.

flora , May 19, 2018 at 11:47 am

The likely outcome is a populist backlash that installs a Democratic Congress and president. They will then raise taxes on the "rich" and roll back some of the corporate tax cuts and increase regulatory burdens.

Like Obama did? Like Hillary probably would have done, given her financial backers' interests? Mauldin's hopes for the Dem estab seem antiquated; this is not his father's Dem party The current Dem estab works for the same wealth centers the GOP estab works for.

An aside: Two local esteemed academics just published a report claiming Trump populism is cultural and not economic. Good liberal academics know how to sing for their supper.

flora , May 19, 2018 at 11:55 am

adding: wrt job coverage of unemployment benefits dropping from 70% to 35% since 1970 – the Pres and Congress have been held by both parties by roughly same amount of times since 1970. For this drop to happen, one party clearly hasn't been pulling its weight.

precariat , May 19, 2018 at 2:47 pm

As someone I knew once observed, "Two racehorses, same owner."

Inode_buddha , May 19, 2018 at 9:32 pm

Regardless of who wins the Superbowel, both teams get their paychecks from the NFL .

David , May 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

IMO, the last two graphs are misleading. The vertical scales are not the same, so it is difficult to compare the two lines. In Figure 3a, the slope appears to be more negative than -2. In Figure 3b, the slope appears to be less than 1. There appear to be more significant factors contributing to the loss of trust in political parties than immigration.

--

In 2013, there were 15.9M people with a migrant background in Germany. The AfD (Alternative for Germany political party) received 810,915 votes (1.9% of total) in the 2013 Bundestag election.

In 2016, there were 18.6M (+17%) people with a migrant background in Germany. The AfD, in the 2017 Bundestag elections, received 5.8M votes (12.6% of total).

The source for this data is Wikipedia (for the election results) and the German Federal Statistics Office.

--

Finally, one of the papers referenced in the paper above (see the link in the article) contains charts showing anti-EU sentiment in individual EU countries between 1999 and 2014. The charts show that, for most EU countries, anti-EU sentiment has been increasing since 2004, long before the current immigrant / refugee issues.

precariat , May 19, 2018 at 2:34 pm

"If the new identity politics succeeds in reshaping peoples' beliefs and attitudes, sentiments can acquire an autonomous role and may continue to exert an effect even when their economic cause is gone."

Truly, does anyone need reminding of the spectre of Germany in 20s and 30s? Where is the recognition that the effects of economic insecurity discussed above, anti-immigration and anti-'other' sentiments, are deliberately *designed and encouraged.* Seems like pieces like this serve to solidify the framing of 'populism' as threat to the elites but, really it is a tried-and-true tool.

Those who are really hurt by the anti-immigrant scapegoating, other than the scapegoated groups, are those in society who focus on the real causes and remedies for economic predation. As designed -- divide and conquer.

JBird , May 19, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Those who are really hurt by the anti-immigrant scapegoating, other than the scapegoated groups, are those in society who focus on the real causes and remedies for economic predation. As designed -- divide and conquer.

Wasn't the German Socialist Party that got deliberately crushed by the Nazis and German Communist Party? I think that a large number of Germans prefers the Socialists over the other Parties so it had to go away. The Socialist Party newspaper was destroyed on the first day of the Nazis political victory as it had been very good at exposing them.

Altandmain , May 19, 2018 at 5:35 pm

The elite know the real reasons why this is happening.

It's not that they don't know how to cure it. They don't "want" to cure it. They don't want to give up the wealth they stole from the common citizenry. That is why we have this current crisis. The causes are no mystery. They can see their wealth growing while ours is shrinking as well as anyone.

I suppose a case could be made for the people who are just willfully ignorant. I think a lot of people in the top 10% fall into this category. They don't realize or don't want to realize how badly they have failed the bottom 90%.

[May 20, 2018] "Free markets" as a smoke screen for parasitizing riches to implement their agenda via, paradoxically, state intervention

Highly recommended!
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

bruce wilder , May 18, 2018 at 4:45 pm

In reply to several commenters, who have questioned why "neoliberalism" is not simply another name for the political expression/ambitions of the greed of the rich-and-powerful, aka conservatism.

Although it serves the purposes of the rich-and-powerful rather well, I think "neoliberalism" as a rhetorical engine and set of ideas is the ideology of the 9.9%, the chattering classes of professionals and bureaucrats who need a cover story for their own participation in running the world for the benefit of the 0.1% These are the people who need to rationalize what they do and cooperate and coordinate among themselves and that's a challenge because of their sheer numbers.

If you try to examine neoliberalism as a set of aims or values or interests, I think you miss the great accomplishment of neoliberalism as a mechanism of social cooperation. Neoliberalism says it aims at freedom and social welfare and innovation and other good things. If neoliberalism said it aimed to make the richest 0.1% richer at the expense of everyone else, it would provoke political opposition from the 99% for obvious reasons. Including opposition from the 9.9% whom they need to run things, to run the state, run the corporations.

Not being clear on what your true objectives are tends to be an obstacle to organizing large groups to accomplish those objectives. Being clear on the mission objective is a prerequisite for organizational effectiveness in most circumstances. The genius of neoliberalism is such that it is able to achieve a high degree of coordination in detail across large numbers of people, institutions, even countries while still professing aims and values to which few object. A high degree of coordination on implementing a political policy agenda that is variously parasitical or predatory on the 90%.

You can say this is just hypocrisy of a type the rich have always engaged in, and that would be true. The predatory rich have always had to disguise their predatory or parasitical activity, and have often done so by embracing, for example, shows of piety or philanthropy. So, neoliberalism falls into a familiar albeit broad category.

What distinguishes neoliberalism is how good it is at coordinating the activities of the 9.9% in delivering the goods for the 0.1%. For a post-industrial economy, neoliberalism is better for the mega-rich than Catholicism was for the feudalism of the High Middle Ages. I do not think most practicing neoliberals among the 9.9% even think of themselves as hypocrites.

"Free markets" has been the key move, the fulcrum where anodyne aims and values to which no one can object meet the actual detailed policy implementation by the state. Creating a "market" removes power and authority from the state and transfers it to private actors able to apply financial wealth to managing things, and then, because an actual market cannot really do the job that's been assigned, a state bureaucracy has to be created to manage the administrative details and financial flows -- work for the 9.9%

As a special bonus, the insistence on treating a political economy organized in fact by large public and private bureaucracies as if it is organized by and around "markets" introduces a high degree of economic agnatology into the conventional political rhetoric.

[This comment sounded much clearer when I conceived of it in the shower this morning. I am sorry if the actual comment is too abstract or tone deaf. I will probably have to try again at a later date.]

[May 20, 2018] What is cultural Marxism

Notable quotes:
"... History And Class Consciousness ..."
"... One-Dimensional Man ..."
May 20, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

anon y'mouse , , May 17, 2018 at 10:27 am

On the other side of the bedsheet, I have long been wondering what this so-called "cultural marxism" is that we on the lefties side is constantly being accused of, and whether it exists as well.

My suspicion is that it doesn't.

Bugs Bunny , , May 17, 2018 at 1:35 pm

I think it refers to Identity Politics. The Marxist interpretation of race/gender relations that came out of American adoption of Continental Philosophy (i.e. postmodernism) as the predominant philosophy in academia.

Massinissa , , May 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm

It doesnt. Its a right wing conspiracy theory relating to Frankfurt School marxism (which hasn't even been popular among Marxists since the 70s ) that far predates modern discussion of Identity Politics.

The idea of the conspiracy theory is that theres some kind of cabal of marxists trying to destroy western culture by supporting everything from feminists and homosexuals to radical islamists. Anything and everything that might threaten western civilization, apparently.

PKMKII , , May 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Actual, proper cultural Marxism is the study of how corporate messaging replace natural, organic cultural works. Think, fast food jingle becoming a #1 hit on the charts instead of songs written to be songs.

As reactionaries use it, it's just a way of saying they don't like diversity and multiculturalism, but realize they can't actually say that without looking like bigots so they construct this boogieman of marxists using diversity as a trojan horse for gulags.

jrs , , May 17, 2018 at 2:25 pm

cultural Marxism is what, a Marxist analysis of culture? Oh that stuff is great.

Really I think at one point it was used (as a smear even then) against the Frankfurt school, but at this point is used by people who haven't the vaguest idea.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/19/cultural-marxism-a-uniting-theory-for-rightwingers-who-love-to-play-the-victim

animalogic , , May 17, 2018 at 11:43 pm

"Cultural Marxism" is a favorite of the "alt right" (sic). They find its use both "sexy" & clever. Often applied to every academic in existence, it can also be (unbelievably) applied to those on the reactionary right (ie even the vaguest support for immigration or homosexuality are sufficient)
Its users can be spotted by their staggering ignorance of Marxism and culture.
The "Unz Review" is a fertile habitat for the "cult' Marx" moles & ostriches.

Plenue , , May 17, 2018 at 2:29 pm

It doesn't exist. It's literally a revived and expanded Nazi propaganda term: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Bolshevism

The people who use it imagine there's something called 'post-modernism', that has infected all levels of academia and is the source of anything they don't like, such as feminism and social acceptance of gays.

This is entirely separate from actually valid critiques of identity politics, which as far as I can see come entirely from the (real) left.

Code Name D , , May 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

That's a risky argument, given the root artical is about confrunting the "non-existence" of neoliberalism. Even more extrodinary that we are talking about definitions here.

1. Is the definition coherent?
2. Dose the definition refer to plausable phinomina?
3. Can said phinomina be observed in the real world.

If those three conditions are met, then it exists. But a great deal dose depend on one's definition. Distroy the definition, and you go a long way in concealing the phinomina at work.

That is why one of the first things to happen with any ideoligy is to distroy lanquage.

And the first step to figting back -- is to restore the power of lanquage in dialog.

Massinissa , , May 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm

There is no coherent meaning of 'cultural marxism' when used by Rightists, though. It literally means whatever they want it to mean the moment they use it.

Paul O , , May 18, 2018 at 10:18 am

The serious application of the nonsensical term continues to amaze me. I have to work hard to stop it invalidating any other ideas in pieces where it is used.

More a term of propaganda than a useful referent.

Amfortas the Hippie , , May 17, 2018 at 3:25 pm

aye. that came out of the sort of illegitimate hedgerow children of the John Birch Society. Trying to make the Frankfurt School(Horkheimer, Adorno, W. Benjamin, Marcuse and Habermas, et al) into some nefarious conspiracy of European intellectuals to put salt in our sugar, make everybody gay, and mandate atheism and group marriage.
"I only drink rainwater and grain alcohol"

as an "American Liberal"(yes, problematic,lol. "democratic socialist with strong jeffersonian tendencies"?), I find that I rather like the Frankfurt School, and wonder what all the fuss is about.

ape , , May 17, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Herbert Marcuse and such. They exist, just not in the paranoid, fever delusions form that the right has nightmares of, but as a critical analysis school, mostly driven by the sociology/philosophy from the Frankfurt school. Some good parts, some bad parts, like most intellectual schools.

Cat Burglar , , May 17, 2018 at 4:09 pm

When I've read it recently, "cultural marxism" has usually been used by alt-right analysts as a kind of ideological label for any left thinking that justifies any social and economic equality. I remember a video talk by right-winger William Lind attacking the Civil Rights Act and equal opportunity policies as forms of expropriation advanced by "cultural marxism" -- not a lot of analytic power in the idea. I've read some essays that are a little more careful.

But the label had academic cred on the left back in the 70s for a group of usually european marxist thinkers that were always anti-stalinist, usually anti-marxist-leninist, often on the revolutionary left, sometimes just supporters of representative government. Lukacs's History And Class Consciousness was the mothership text; Marcuse's One-Dimensional Man is another.

They were hated by both Leninists and liberals, to say nothing of the cold warriors, and by having the right enemies, they were very attractive to the New Left of the 60s. They weren't economists; most of their work was about how attitudes toward society and popular revolutionary action were diverted by the propagation of fatalism (often by very sophisticated pseudoscience; hint, hint), and the use of bureaucracy and policy to cover over the tendency of capitalism to produce social crisis. They tended to support direct action by workers organized in federated small councils to take over society and manage it themselves. You can see why some of these ideas might still have enemies.

Jeremy Grimm , , May 17, 2018 at 5:37 pm

"On the other side of the bedsheet " A blip like "cultural marxism" hardly seems like the other side of the bedsheet. I might agree that it amounts to a stain in the corner of the bedsheet. The left has neither organization, nor ideology, nor funding to match the other side of the bedsheet. And the way "cultural marxism" is used in conjunction with Identity Politics, I have more than a little heartburn classing "cultural marxism" as a leftist thrust. Identity Politics may have started in a corner of leftist thought but its realization as a political device seems far removed from leftist goals.

Joao Bispo , , May 18, 2018 at 3:57 am

It's a conspiracy theory.

You can find a lot of material debunking it:

https://youtu.be/qlrpSpwxgWw

[May 19, 2018] FBI Spy-Op Exposed, Trump Campaign Infiltrated By Longtime CIA And MI6 Assete

May 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

Thanks to Friday's carefully crafted deep-state disclosures by WaPo and the Times , along with actual reporting by the Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross, we now know it wasn't a mole at all - but 73-year-old University of Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, a US citizen, political veteran and longtime US Intelligence asset enlisted by the FBI to befriend and spy on three members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election .


Billy the Poet -> Keffus Sat, 05/19/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

the "American academic who teaches in Britain" described by The Times,

Seems like Carter Page knew what he was talking about in this May 11 tweet.

Carter Page, Ph.D. @carterwpage

No @JackPosobiec, not me. But if what I'm hearing alleged is correct, it's a guy I know who splits most his time between inside the Beltway and in one of the other Five Eyes countries.

And if so, it'd be typical: swamp creatures putting themselves first.
4:17 AM - May 11, 2018

Mycroft Holmes IV -> unrulian Sat, 05/19/2018 - 10:17 Permalink

I think Rudy's flipped seeking redemption for his role in 911.

The deep state is not going down quietly or without a fight and they are in full attack mode. Multiple questionable instances yesterday to change news cycle, plus a week worths of leaks by major media mouthpieces justifying their crimes.

What's great is they are so caught up in their nest of lies, each new lie just contradicts previous ones and exposes more of the truth.

Now the question is: How do you bring these people to justice without starting a violent backlash / Civil War?

The cognitive dissonance is very strong on the left and they've fallen victim to hive mentality, simply regurgitating talking points they hear through pop culture and media. We are so afraid of not fitting in (as a society) that we will willingly accept completely contradicting "facts", defend them, and deride those who disagree. Further, there is no room for disagreement, for they are the party of tolerance, and if you disagree with them, you are intolerant, which cannot be tolerated in an open and free society (see how that works?).

The real hope is people are able to break the spell and think for themselves again. But I worry it's too late. A generation of children assaulted with excessive vaccination are now adults and it shows...

Dickweed Wang -> brianshell Sat, 05/19/2018 - 15:34 Permalink

People in the USA better get a grip real fast and realize that it's not Russia, China or Iran that is the real enemy of Americans, it's the British . . . the money gnomes in London and the "Queens men". They've caused more problems for the USA in the last 100+ years than the other three combined many times over.

mccvilb -> Americano Sat, 05/19/2018 - 18:41 Permalink

Let's see. Money was exchanged, foreign govt agents and contractors hired. The FBI knew about Hillary's criminal enterprises and illegal dissemination of classified documents and apparently has been complicit in helping or protecting her. The NYT and WaPo along with the network media regurgitated much of the anti-Trump rhetoric together in sync with the tsunami of fake news, either in creating it or knowingly participating in it. No wonder the news media in a sudden shift have been trying to paint themselves as now being on the other side of this Russkie Fubar after they promoted it 24/7 for two years without let-up. What's the penalty for trying to overthrow the President of the United States? Lots of folks here are sitting on potential indictments for treason. Enough talk. With all they got from the Congressional hearings, and now this, it's time!!!... for Trump to start draining.

T-NUTZ -> DingleBarryObummer Sat, 05/19/2018 - 10:12 Permalink

Why do dual citizens get to "serve" in our high positions of government??

44magnum -> T-NUTZ Sat, 05/19/2018 - 11:32 Permalink

Because that is what (((they))) want. Do a little research on how that came about in the US you will find that the same ole (((culprits))) got the law changed to their benefit of course.

[May 18, 2018] Was it Trump political inexperience or yet another shrwed Obama-style bait and switch operation ?

Lemmings get what they deserve. Almost always as the iron law of oligarchy implies. Period of revolution and social upheaval are probably the only exceptions.
In 2018 there is no doubt that Trump is an agent of Deep State, and probably the most militant part of neocons. What he the agent from the beginning or not is not so important. He managed to fool electorate with false promises like Obama before him and get elected.
May 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

bowie28 -> The First Rule Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:18 Permalink

" Of course it was setup. Rod Rosenstein & Co. have been in on this from the beginning. "

Rosenstein was appointed by Trump. If he is involved in a setup it's more likely it is a setup organized by Trump. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Rosenstein

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on February 1, 2017. [25] [26] He was one of the 46 United States Attorneys ordered on March 10, 2017, to resign by Attorney General Jeff Sessions ; Trump declined his resignation. [ 27] Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 2017, by a vote of 94–6

In May 2017, he authored a memo which President Trump said was the basis of his decision to dismiss FBI Director James Comey . [5] Later that month, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and related matters.

Ask yourself why Sessions ordered Rosenstein to resign and Trump declined his resignation? Likely because Sessions was recused from Russia investigation and could not be told Rosenstein was working for Trump from day 1.

(Mueller also met with Trump the day before Rosenstein appointed him SC.)

Also relevant, Rosenstein is Republican and in 2007/8 was blocked from getting a seat on appeals court by Dems. Doesn't seem he would be loyal to the Obama crowd and trying to take down Trump with a phony investigation.

In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit . Rosenstein was a Maryland resident at the time. Barbara Mikulski and new Democratic Maryland senator, Ben Cardin , blocked Rosenstein's confirmation, stating that he did not have strong enough Maryland legal ties, [24] and due to this Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy did not schedule a hearing on Rosenstein during the 110th Congress and the nomination lapsed. Later, Andre M. Davis was renominated to the same seat by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

Kayman -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Rosenstein slithered in via Sessions.

Withdrawn Sanction -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 18:16 Permalink

"...a cabal of ruthless and dishonest people..."

You better believe it. What's happened to the NYC detectives who viewed the "insurance policy" on Weiner's laptop? The kiddie stuff is the real hot potato here. The power "elite" are pure unadulterated filth.

rosiescenario -> WarPony Fri, 05/18/2018 - 15:55 Permalink

Yes....when you start to add up various facts coming from this investigation it is easy to argue that the prime beneficiary has been Trump. Why would Trump even consider firing this guy? The more Mueller digs the more crap surfaces about the Dems, and they are in full support of it without any seeming awareness of the results. They are so blinded by their hatred they cannot see reality.

The info from Weiner's computer is really going to make for major popcorn sales. All Hitlery's "lost" emails are in there. All the names in his address book will also make for some interesting reading. Just a guess but there are a lot of very nervous NYC elected officials and pedos making sure their passports are up to date. The Lolita Express to Gitmo....

GoingBig -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:22 Permalink

You guys see everything through Trump colored glasses. Trump is dirty and just because the evidence hasn't been shown to you doesn't mean it isn't there. Mueller has the dirt on Trump. It will show. Does everyone here forget that Watergate took 2 1/2 years to play out?

Kayman -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:04 Permalink

Watergate was about a burglary and missing tapes.

It wasn't about the Department of Justice and the FBI being rotten to the core.

Emergency Ward -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

Being in the business he is in, there is little doubt that Trump has paid out millions of dollars over the years in bribes and payoffs to greedy politicians, regulators, and zoning commissioners given to filthy lucre in return for building permits, zoning variances, and law changes.

I know he is but what are they? This could be one reason the politicians, regulators, and zoning commissioners hate him so much. He knows what they know.

Trump is no dirtier than other politicians and much less than some. He is just dirty in a way (he was usually the payer, they were the payees) that bothers the other ones.

Honest Sam -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

All politicians and most of humanity 'is dirty'.

There is no man or woman who has or ever will run for office that is not dirty.

As Dershowitz so acutely pointed out, every one of them with an opposition Special Counsel on his case, can find at least 3 crimes they committed.

The only reason theBamster wasn't probed at all is because no one dared go after the only black man to ever run and win for POTUS. HE instead, was protected from any probes.

You're an idiot that doesn't know anything about what this is really all about. Or pretending to. Or a troll. Fuck you for being any of them.

jmack -> One of We Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:13 Permalink

Obama has a history of taking out his opponents in their personal life, so that he doesnt have to meet them in the political arena, just look at his state campaigns, and then his senate campaign. Look at how he used the bureaucracy during his admin to preempt opposition, not allowing opposition groups to get tax exempt status and sending osha/fbi/treasury etc to harrass people that were more than marginally effective.

With that context set I would like to know the following.

1. Did the brennan/comey/clapper cabal have investigations running on all the gop primary front runners?

2. Did they promote Trump to win the GOP primary, to eliminate those rivals from consideration, just to attempt to destroy him in the general with the russian collusion narrative and his own words.

3. Was Comey's failure to ensure Hillary's victory due to incompetence or arrogance? I say arrogance, because his little late day announcement of the new emails was obviously ass covering so that he could pass whatever senate hearing that would be required for his new post in the hillary administration.

NoDebt Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:04 Permalink

Having to learn how to deal with mobbed-up lawyers and unions in NYC turns out the be pretty damned good preparation to be President Of The United States. I love watching this guy work.

DingleBarryObummer Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

The illegitimate liberal MSM is sucking all the oxygen out of the room for legitimate criticism of Trump. This Russian Collusion stormy daniels stuff is a bunch of bologna, and it's making a smokescreen for Trump to carry out his zio-bankster agenda.

Hegelian dialectic, Divide and conquer, kabuki theater

A real left would be covering this===>

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-15/no-one-watched-trump-pardoned
As No One Watched, Trump Pardoned 5 Megabanks For Corruption Charges

Buy they won't because there is no left or right. It's one big uniparty club, and they work together to rob us and lie to us.

Picturing The March Of Tyranny | Zero Hedge

DingleBarryObummer -> brain_glitch Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:11 Permalink

In the second half of peter schiff's most recent podcast he goes on a good rant/lecture about this topic.

I know Peter Schiff is a controversial figure, and I don't agree with a lot of what he does or says, but sometimes he nails it.

Rex Titter -> DingleBarryObummer Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:45 Permalink

For the most part I like Peter Schiff. I don't think he talks enough about the criminal manipulation of commodities by the banksters and the seemingly endless reluctance by our glorious leaders to prosecute them.

On this topic: The lawlessness of the 17 agencies is beyond the pale. They have set themselves apart and for this they will have to pay eventually. I have no doubt that in the minds of the Bureau principals there was motive and there was opportunity. I don't believe anything that comes out of their mouths. Robert Mueller is a three letter word for a donkey. He is a criminal and a totally owned puppet of the deep and dark state. Last I heard, the FBI planted a mole in the Trump campaign. Iff true, that speaks volumes...

Pollygotacracker Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

It is amazing that President Trump is still standing on his feet and still out there swinging. The man is no coward. I'm glad I voted for him, although I am disappointed in some of his failings.

Son of Captain Nemo -> Pollygotacracker Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

"although I am disappointed in some of his failings."...

Yeah I know just what ya mean...

The treason of war crimes he's committed exceeding all of his predecessor(s) in his short assed existence as President and threatening war on two nuclear superpowers that could easily wipe his office and 4 thousand square miles of CONUS " off the map "!...

Endorsing a torturer murder to head the CIA condoning her efforts in public "thumbing his nose" at Article 3 Geneva the U.S. Constitution and for his military to tacitly continue disobeying the UCMJ as a response to that "selection"!...

Telling the parasitic partner that owns him through blackmail that Jerusalem is the Capital of IsraHell as over 200 Palestinians are murdered and 3 thousand others injured in joyous celebration of that violation of international law which is the equivalent of pouring "gasoline" on a building that has already been reduced to "ash"...

And speaking of "buildings" and "ash"... The pledge he ignored before being "anointed" that he said he would investigate but of course DID NOT ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/14/trump-im-reopening-911-inve )

... ... ...

ioniancat21 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

They didn't really think things through when they plotted against Trump and figured Hillary would win and they could sweep this under the rug and then she lost. Funnier is that many expected her to lose as she never won an election in her life despite her being "The Most Qualified" candidate as her parrots in the media lovingly called her. Now Trump and his team will stomp them all into the ground. My guess is that he'll pinch others in her gang who have big egos so that they'll talk and drop a dime which they will. The libtards are turning on themselves in every area now. Look at Hollywood and the sexual harassment cases in the pipeline.

It's just so pleasurable watching your enemy fall on their sword while you sit back and enjoy life and smile....

Chief Joesph Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:21 Permalink

Was the Trump campaign "Set-up"? It's just another way the oligarchy is deflecting what the real problem is. Americans are fed up with the political status quo in this country, and wanted a change. Neither political party offers any change for the better. It is also why Bernie Sanders had a huge following, but no one is calling his campaign a "set-up", and he would have been the more likely choice the Russians would have helped.

It really doesn't make any sense why the Russians would have selected Trump, but it makes a lot of sense why the oligarchy would want to discredit Trump any means availble to them. And since they have always hated Russia so much, that is the big tip-off of who comes up with these stupid stories about Russians meddling in our elections.

GRDguy Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:15 Permalink

We voted against the powers that be. With Truman, we got a decent man that was manipulated by the Deep State. With Trump, we got a not-so-decent man, but still manipulated by the Deep State. Sigh.

hooligan2009 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

there needs to be a schedule drawn up of charges against individuals. it's all very well talking and talking anf talking around the water cooler, but until the charges are drawn up and a grand jury empowered, it is all pissing into the wind.

the individuals range from obama through clinton, through the loathsome slimebags in the alphabet soup, through foundations, through DNC leaders/politicians, through Weiner, Abedin, Rice and the witches cabal (Wasserstein Schulz etc), UK intel agencies, awan brothers, pakistan intel supplying Iran with classified documents and so on.

there are charges (of treason, sedition, wilful mishandling of classifed documents, bribery, corruption, murder, child trafficking, election rigging, spying for/collusion with foreign powers, funding terrorism, child abuse, election rigging/tampering, misappropriation of federal funds, theft etc as well as general malfeasance, failure to perform duties and so on) that are not being brought that are so obvious, only a snowflake would miss them.

what charges can be brought against the MSM for propaganda, misdirection, lying, fabrication and attempting to ovetthrow a legitimately elected president using these techniques to further their own ends? there is no freedom of the press to lie and further civil unrest.

a list of charges against individuals in the DNC/alphabet soup is what is needed. if the DoJ is so incompetent or corrupt that it is unable to do its job, private law suits need to be brought to get all the facts out in the open.

someone needs to write the book and make it butt hole shaped to shove up all those that try to make a living out of making up gossip in the NYT, WaPo, CNN, BBC, Economist, Madcow, SNL, Oliver and so on.

these people are guilty of being assholes and need their assholes (mouths) plugged with a very think fifteen inch book.

Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

Divide and conquer playing out in front of your faces. Trump, Hitlary, Obama, DiGenova, Giuliani, etc. etc...all "deep state".

Mission accomplished.

Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:01 Permalink

It's amazing that you fools still believe in your hearts that Trump is not a deep stater. LOL

insanelysane -> Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:04 Permalink

Trump might become a deep stater but he definitely wasn't one of them. Google "offer to pay trump to drop out of election" and see how many stories there were. Here is one of them.

http://fortune.com/2017/12/05/donald-trump-2016-race-mike-pence-preside

RedDwarf Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:45 Permalink

"At some point, the Russia investigation became political. How early was it?"

I am going to go out on the shortest limb in history and say it was political from the beginning.

insanelysane Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:13 Permalink

I hope someone writes a book on this with all of the timing and all of the "little" things that happened on the way to the coronation of Hillary. Comey "interviews" Hillary on 4th of July weekend. Wraps up case by 9am Tuesday after 4th of July. By noon, Hillary and Obama are on Air Force 1 to begin campaign. Within a few weeks Seth Rich is dead and DWS avoids being "killed in an armed robbery gone bad" when she steps down as head of DNC. Above article forgets to mention that GPS also hired the wife of someone in the government as part of the "fact gathering" team.

[May 18, 2018] IG Horowitz Finds FBI, DOJ Broke Law In Clinton Probe, Refers To Prosecutor For Criminal Charges

Notable quotes:
"... On July 27, 2017 the House Judiciary Committee called on the DOJ to appoint a Special Counsel, detailing their concerns in 14 questions pertaining to "actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." ..."
"... On September 26, 2017 , The House Judiciary Committee repeated their call to the DOJ for a special counsel, pointing out that former FBI Director James Comey lied to Congress when he said that he decided not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton until after she was interviewed, when in fact Comey had drafted her exoneration before said interview. ..."
"... And now, the OIG report can tie all of this together - as it will solidify requests by Congressional committees, while also satisfying a legal requirement for the Department of Justice to impartially appoint a Special Counsel. ..."
"... Who cares how many task forces, special prosecutors, grand juries, commissions, or other crap they throw at this black hole of corruption? We all know the score. The best we can hope for is that the liberals and neo-cons are embarrassed enough to crawl under a rock for awhile, and it slows down implementation of their Orwellian agenda for a few years. ..."
May 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

As we reported on Thursday , a long-awaited report by the Department of Justice's internal watchdog into the Hillary Clinton email investigation has moved into its final phase, as the DOJ notified multiple subjects mentioned in the document that they can privately review it by week's end, and will have a "few days" to craft any response to criticism contained within the report, according to the Wall Street Journal .

Those invited to review the report were told they would have to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to read it , people familiar with the matter said. They are expected to have a few days to craft a response to any criticism in the report, which will then be incorporated in the final version to be released in coming weeks . - WSJ

Now, journalist Paul Sperry reports that " IG Horowitz has found "reasonable grounds" for believing there has been a violation of federal criminal law in the FBI/DOJ's handling of the Clinton investigation/s and has referred his findings of potential criminal misconduct to Huber for possible criminal prosecution ."

Who is Huber?

As we reported in March , Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor, to be paired with IG Horowitz to investigate the multitude of accusations of FBI misconduct surrounding the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The announcement came one day after Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed that he will also be investigating allegations of FBI FISA abuse .

While Huber's appointment fell short of the second special counsel demanded by Congressional investigators and concerned citizens alike, his appointment and subsequent pairing with Horowitz is notable - as many have pointed out that the Inspector General is significantly limited in his abilities to investigate. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) noted in March " the IG's office does not have authority to compel witness interviews, including from past employees, so its investigation will be limited in scope in comparison to a Special Counsel investigation ,"

Sessions' pairing of Horowitz with Huber keeps the investigation under the DOJ's roof and out of the hands of an independent investigator .

***

Who is Horowitz?

In January, we profiled Michael Horowitz based on thorough research assembled by independent investigators. For those who think the upcoming OIG report is just going to be "all part of the show" - take pause; there's a good chance this is an actual happening, so you may want to read up on the man whose year-long investigation may lead to criminal charges against those involved.

In short - Horowitz went to war with the Obama Administration to restore the OIG's powers - and didn't get them back until Trump took office.

Horowitz was appointed head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in April, 2012 - after the Obama administration hobbled the OIG's investigative powers in 2011 during the "Fast and Furious" scandal. The changes forced the various Inspectors General for all government agencies to request information while conducting investigations, as opposed to the authority to demand it. This allowed Holder (and other agency heads) to bog down OIG requests in bureaucratic red tape, and in some cases, deny them outright.

What did Horowitz do? As one twitter commentators puts it, he went to war ...

In March of 2015, Horowitz's office prepared a report for Congress titled Open and Unimplemented IG Recommendations . It laid the Obama Admin bare before Congress - illustrating among other things how the administration was wasting tens-of-billions of dollars by ignoring the recommendations made by the OIG.

After several attempts by congress to restore the OIG's investigative powers, Rep. Jason Chaffetz successfully introduced H.R.6450 - the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016 - signed by a defeated lame duck President Obama into law on December 16th, 2016 , cementing an alliance between Horrowitz and both houses of Congress .

1) Due to the Inspector General Empowerment Act of 2016, the OIG has access to all of the information that the target agency possesses. This not only includes their internal documentation and data, but also that which the agency externally collected and documented.

TrumpSoldier (@DaveNYviii) January 3, 2018

See here for a complete overview of the OIG's new and restored powers. And while the public won't get to see classified details of the OIG report, Mr. Horowitz is also big on public disclosure:

Horowitz's efforts to roll back Eric Holder's restrictions on the OIG sealed the working relationship between Congress and the Inspector General's ofice, and they most certainly appear to be on the same page. Moreover, FBI Director Christopher Wray seems to be on the same page

Here's a preview:

https://twitter.com/DaveNYviii/status/939074607352614912

Which brings us back to the OIG report expected by Congress a week from Monday.

On January 12 of last year, Inspector Horowitz announced an OIG investigation based on " requests from numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations (such as Judicial Watch?), and members of the public ."

The initial focus ranged from the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation, to whether or not Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe should have been recused from the investigation (ostensibly over $700,000 his wife's campaign took from Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe around the time of the email investigation), to potential collusion with the Clinton campaign and the timing of various FOIA releases. Which brings us back to the OIG report expected by Congress a week from Monday.

On July 27, 2017 the House Judiciary Committee called on the DOJ to appoint a Special Counsel, detailing their concerns in 14 questions pertaining to "actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."

The questions range from Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation, Secretary Clinton's mishandling of classified information and the (mis)handling of her email investigation by the FBI, the DOJ's failure to empanel a grand jury to investigate Clinton, and questions about the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, and whether the FBI relied on the "Trump-Russia" dossier created by Fusion GPS.

On September 26, 2017 , The House Judiciary Committee repeated their call to the DOJ for a special counsel, pointing out that former FBI Director James Comey lied to Congress when he said that he decided not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton until after she was interviewed, when in fact Comey had drafted her exoneration before said interview.

And now, the OIG report can tie all of this together - as it will solidify requests by Congressional committees, while also satisfying a legal requirement for the Department of Justice to impartially appoint a Special Counsel.

As illustrated below by TrumpSoldier , the report will go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and is expected within weeks .

Once congress has reviewed the OIG report, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will use it to supplement their investigations , which will result in hearings with the end goal of requesting or demanding a Special Counsel investigation. The DOJ can appoint a Special Counsel at any point, or wait for Congress to demand one. If a request for a Special Counsel is ignored, Congress can pass legislation to force an the appointment.

And while the DOJ could act on the OIG report and investigate / prosecute themselves without a Special Counsel, it is highly unlikely that Congress would stand for that given the subjects of the investigation.

After the report's completion, the DOJ will weigh in on it. Their comments are key. As TrumpSoldier points out in his analysis, the DOJ can take various actions regarding " Policy, personnel, procedures, and re-opening of investigations. In short, just about everything (Immunity agreements can also be rescinded). "

Meanwhile, recent events appear to correspond with bullet points in both the original OIG investigation letter and the 7/27/2017 letter forwarded to the Inspector General:

... ... ...

With the wheels set in motion last week seemingly align with Congressional requests and the OIG mandate, and the upcoming OIG report likely to serve as a foundational opinion, the DOJ will finally be empowered to move forward with an impartially appointed Special Counsel.


IntercoursetheEU -> Shitonya Serfs Thu, 05/17/2018 - 14:41 Permalink

"To save his presidency, Trump must expose a host of criminally cunning Deep State political operatives as enemies to the Constitution, including John Brennan, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, James Comey and Robert Mueller - as well as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton."

Killing the Deep State , Dr Jerome Corsi, PhD., p xi

nmewn -> putaipan Thu, 05/17/2018 - 19:21 Permalink

I've been more than upfront about my philosophy. I have said on more than one occasion that progs will rue the day they drove a New Yorker like Trump even further to the right.

Now you see it in his actions from the judiciary to bureaucracy destruction to (pick any) and...as I often cite... some old dead white guy once said ..."First they came for the ___ and I did not speak out. Then they came for..."

Now I advocate for progs to swim in their own deadly juices, without a moment's hesitation on my part, without any furtive look back, without remorse or any compassion whatsover.

Forward! ...I think is what they said, welcome to the Death Star ;-)

nmewn -> IridiumRebel Fri, 05/18/2018 - 06:19 Permalink

Absolutely.

There have been (and are) plenty on "our side"...Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Romney and the thinly disguised "social democrat" Bill Kristol just to name several off the top of my head but the thing is, they always have to hide what they really are from us until rooted out.

That's what I try to point out to "our friends" on the left all the time, for example, there was never any doubt that Chris Dodd, Bwaney Fwank and Chuck Schumer were (and are) in Wall Streets back pocket. But for any prog to openly admit that is to sign some sort of personal death warrant, to be ostracized, blacklisted and harassed out of "the liberal community" so, they bite their tongue & say nothing...knowing what the truth really is.

Hell, they even named a "financial reform bill" after Dodd & Frank...LMAO!!!

It's just the dripping hypocrisy that gets me.

For another example, they knew what was going on with Weinstein, Lauer, Spacey, Rose etal but as long as the cash flowed and they towed-the-prog-BS-line outwardly, they gladly looked the other way and in the end...The Oprah...gives a speech in front of them (as they bark & clap like trained seals) about...Jim Crow?

Jim Crow?!...lol...one has nothing to do with the other Oprah! The perps & enablers are sitting right there in front of you!

It's just friggin surreal sometimes.

G-R-U-N-T -> Newspeaktogo Thu, 05/17/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

"After the report's completion, the DOJ will weigh in on it. Their comments are key. As TrumpSoldier points out in his analysis, the DOJ can take various actions regarding " Policy, personnel, procedures, and re-opening of investigations. In short, just about everything (Immunity agreements can also be rescinded). "

Rescind Immunity, absolutely damn right, put them ALL under oath and on the stand! This is huge! Indeed this goes all the way to the top, would like to see Obama and the 'career criminal' testify under oath explaining how their tribe conspired to frame Trump and the American people.

Hell, put them on trial in a military court for Treason, what's the punishment for Treason these days???

Also would like to see Kerry get fried under the 'Logan Act'!

Gardentoolnumber5 -> BigSwingingJohnson Thu, 05/17/2018 - 18:50 Permalink

As are half of their fellow travelers in the GOP. Neocon liars. Talk small constitutional govt then vote for war. Those two are direct opposites, war and small govt. The liars must be exposed and removed. The Never Trumpers have outed themselves but many are hiding in plain sight proclaiming they support the President. It appears they have manipulated Trump into an aggressive stance against Russia with their anti Russia hysteria. Time will tell. The bank and armament industries must be removed from any kind of influence within our govt. Most of these are run by big govt collectivists aka communists/globalists.

jin187 -> IridiumRebel Fri, 05/18/2018 - 05:33 Permalink

NO ONE IS GOING TO JAIL OVER THIS.

Who cares how many task forces, special prosecutors, grand juries, commissions, or other crap they throw at this black hole of corruption? We all know the score. The best we can hope for is that the liberals and neo-cons are embarrassed enough to crawl under a rock for awhile, and it slows down implementation of their Orwellian agenda for a few years.

[May 18, 2018] MAGA = Mueller Ain't Going Away

This cat fight between two factions of the US elite is not even that funny anymore...
May 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Insurrector -> yaright Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:27 Permalink

MAGA = Mueller Ain't Going Away

[May 18, 2018] For Economic Truth Turn To Michael Hudson by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... Another defect of neoliberal economics is the doctrine's denial that resources are finite and their exhaustion a heavy cost not born by those who exploit the resources. Many local and regional civilizations have collapsed from exhaustion of the surrounding resources. Entire books have been written about this, but it is not part of neoliberal economics. Supplement study of Hudson with study of ecological economists such as Herman Daly. ..."
May 09, 2018 | www.paulcraigroberts.org

Readers ask me how they can learn economics, what books to read, what university economics departments to trust. I receive so many requests that it is impossible to reply individually. Here is my answer.

There is only one way to learn economics, and that is to read Michael Hudson's books. It is not an easy task. You will need a glossary of terms. In some of Hudson's books, if memory serves, he provides a glossary, and his recent book "J Is for Junk Economics" defines the classical economic terms that he uses. You will also need patience, because Hudson sometimes forgets in his explanations that the rest of us don't know what he knows.

The economics taught today is known as neoliberal. This economics differs fundamentally from classical economics that Hudson represents. For example, classical economics stresses taxing economic rent instead of labor and real investment, while neo-liberal economics does the opposite.

An economic rent is unearned income that accrues to an owner from an increase in value that he did nothing to produce. For example, a new road is built at public expense that opens land to development and raises its value, or a transportation system is constructed in a city that raises the value of nearby properties. These increases in values are economic rents. Classical economists would tax away the increase in values in order to pay for the road or transportation system.

Neoliberal economists redefined all income as earned. This enables the financial system to capitalize economic rents into mortgages that pay interest. The higher property values created by the road or transportation system boost the mortgage value of the properties. The financialization of the economy is the process of drawing income away from the purchases of goods and services into interest and fees to financial entities such as banks. Indebtedness and debt accumulate, drawing more income into their service until there is no purchasing power left to drive the economy.

For example, formerly in the US lenders would provide a home mortgage whose service required up to 25% of the family's monthly income. That left 75% of the family's income for other purchases. Today lenders will provide mortgages that eat up half of the monthly income in mortgage service, leaving only 50% of family income for other purchases. In other words, a financialized economy is one that diverts purchasing power away from productive enterprise into debt service.

Hudson shows that international trade and foreign debt also comprise a financialization process, only this time a country's entire resources are capitalized into a mortgage. The West sells a country a development plan and a loan to pay for it. When the debt cannot be serviced, the country is forced to impose austerity on the population by cutbacks in education, health care, public support systems, and government employment and also to privatize public assets such as mineral rights, land, water systems and ports in order to raise the capital with which to pay off the loan. Effectively, the country passes into foreign ownership. This now happens even to European Community members such as Greece and Portugal.

Another defect of neoliberal economics is the doctrine's denial that resources are finite and their exhaustion a heavy cost not born by those who exploit the resources. Many local and regional civilizations have collapsed from exhaustion of the surrounding resources. Entire books have been written about this, but it is not part of neoliberal economics. Supplement study of Hudson with study of ecological economists such as Herman Daly.

The neglect of external costs is a crippling failure of neoliberal economics. An external cost is a cost imposed on a party that does not share in the income from the activity that creates the cost. I recently wrote about the external costs of real estate speculators. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/04/26/capitalism-works-capitalists/ Fracking, mining, oil and gas exploration, pipelines, industries, manufacturing, waste disposal, and so on have heavy external costs associated with the activities.

Neoliberal economists treat external costs as a non-problem, because they theorize that the costs can be compensated, but they seldom are. Oil spills result in companies having to pay cleanup costs and compensation to those who suffered economically from the oil spill, but most external costs go unaddressed. If external costs had to be compensated, in many cases the costs would exceed the value of the projects. How, for example, do you compensate for a polluted river? If you think that is hard, how would the short-sighted destroyers of the Amazon rain forest go about compensating the rest of the world for the destruction of species and for the destructive climate changes that they are setting in motion? Herman Daly has pointed out that as Gross Domestic Product accounting does not take account of external costs and resource exhaustion, we have no idea if the value of output is greater than all of the costs associated with its production. The Soviet economy collapsed, because the value of outputs was less than the value of inputs.

Supply-side economics, with which I am associated, is not an alternative theory to neoliberal economics. Supply-side economics is a successful correction to neoliberal macroeconomic management. Keynesian demand management resulted in stagflation and worsening Phillips Curve trade-offs between employment and inflation. Supply-side economics cured stagflation by reversing the economic policy mix. I have told this story many times. You can find a concise explanation in my short book, "The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalsim." This book also offers insights into other failures of neoliberal economics and for that reason would serve as a background introduction to Hudson's books.

I can make some suggestions, but the order in which you read Michael Hudson is up to you. "J is for Junk Economics" is a way to get information in short passages that will make you familiar with the terms of classical economic analysis. "Killing the Host" and "The Bubble and Beyond" will explain how an economy run to maximize debt is an economy that is self-destructing. "Super Imperialism" and "Trade, Development and Foreign Debt" will show you how dominant countries concentrate world economic power in their hands. "Debt and Economic Renewal in the Ancient Near East" is the story of how ancient economies dying from excessive debt renewed their lease on life via debt forgiveness.

Once you learn Hudson, you will know real economics, not the junk economics marketed by Nobel prize winners in economics, university economic departments, and Wall Street economists. Neoliberal economics is a shield for financialization, resource exhaustion, external costs, and capitalist exploitation.

Neoliberal economics is the world's reigning economics. Russia is suffering much more from neoliberal economics than from Washington's economic sanctions. China herself is overrun with US trained neoliberal economists whose policy advice is almost certain to put China on the same path to failure as all other neoliberal economies.

It is probably impossible to change anything for two main reasons. One is that so many greed-driven private economic activities are protected by neoliberal economics. So many exploitative institutions and laws are in place that to overturn them would require a more thorough revolution than Lenin's. The other is that economists have their entire human capital invested in neoliberal economics. There is scant chance that they are going to start over with study of the classical economists.

Neoliberal economics is an essential part of The Matrix, the false reality in which Americans and Europeans live. Neoliberal economics permits an endless number of economic lies. For example, the US is said to be in a long economic recovery that began in June 2009, but the labor force participation rate has fallen continuously throughout the period of alleged recovery. In previous recoveries the participation rate has risen as people enter the work force to take advantage of the new jobs.

In April the unemployment rate is claimed to have fallen to 3.9 percent, but the participation rate fell also. Neoliberal economists explain away the contradiction by claiming that the falling participation rate is due to the retirement of the baby boom generation, but BLS jobs statistics indicate that those 55 and older account for a large percentage of the new jobs during the alleged recovery. This is the age class of people forced into the part time jobs available by the absence of interest income on their retirement savings. What is really happening is that the unemployment rate does not include discouraged workers, who have given up searching for jobs as there are none to be found. The true measure of the unemployment rate is the decline in the labor force participation rate, not a 3.9 percent rate concocted by not counting those millions of Americans who cannot find jobs. If the unemployment rate really was 3.9 percent, there would be labor shortages and rising wages, but wages are stagnant. These anomalies pass without comment from neoliberal economists.

The long expansion since June 2009 might simply be a statistical artifact due to the under-measurement of inflation, which inflates the GDP figure. Inflation is under-estimated, because goods and services that rise in price are taken out of the index and less costly substitutes are put in their place and because price increases are explained away as quality improvements. In other words, statistical manipulation produces the favorable picture required by The Matrix.

Since the financial collapse caused by the repeal of Glass-Steagall and by financial deregulation, the Federal Reserve has robbed tens of millions of American savers by driving real interest rates down to zero for the sole purpose of saving the "banks too big to fail" that financial deregulation created. A handful of banks has been provided with free money -- in addition to the money that the Federal Reserve created in order to take the banks' bad derivative investments off their hands -- to put on deposit with the Fed from which to collect interest payments and with which to speculate and to drive up stock prices.

In other words, for a decade the economic policy of the United States has been run for the benefit of a few highly concentrated financial interests at the expense of the American people. The economic policy of the United States has been used to create economic rents for the mega-rich.

Neoliberal economists point out that during the 1950s the labor force participation rate was much lower than today and, thereby, they imply that the higher rates prior to the current "recovery" are an anomaly. Neoliberal economists have no historical knowledge as the past is of no interest to them. They do not even know the history of economic thought. Whether from ignorance or intentional deception, neoliberal economists ignore that the lower labor force participation rates of the 1950s reflect a time when married women were at home, not in the work force. In those halcyon days, one earner was all it took to sustain a family. I remember the days when the function of a married woman was to provide household services for the family.

But capitalists were not content to exploit only one member of a family. They wanted more, and by using economic policy to suppress pay while fomenting inflation, they drove married women into the work force, imposing huge external costs on the family, child-raising, relations between spouses, and on the children themselves. The divorce rate has exploded to 50 percent and single-parent households are common in America.

In effect, unleashed Capitalism has destroyed America. Privatization is now eating away Europe. Russia is on the same track as a result of its neoliberal brainwashing by American economists. China's love of success and money could doom this rising Asian giant as well if the government opens China to foreign finance capital and privatizes public assets that end up in foreign hands.

[May 16, 2018] How university economic theories are failing us all RT -- Renegade Inc.

Notable quotes:
"... "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" ..."
May 14, 2018 | www.rt.com

The economist John Maynard Keynes said "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" But many students continue to be deceived by their professors who, even after the great financial crisis, refuse to change their mind and continue to actively peddle theories that are plain wrong. So on the show we ask if the academics are failing us, how do we begin to reverse such a heavily entrenched education system? Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by Professor Steve Keen and the author and economist Steven Payson.

[May 15, 2018] Oil Prices The Long-Term Debt Cycle by Art Berman

Art presentation raises numerous points that are worth mulling over and at least considering.
According to Art: Eagle Ford production growth is unlikely and that reserves should be exhausted at current production rates in ~7 years. While Permian production growth is likely, reserves will be exhausted in ~4 years.
May 15, 2018 | www.artberman.com

Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc. artberman.com

... ... ...

SLIDE 4: Oil Prices & The Long-Term Debt Cycle

SLIDE 5: Low Interest Rates Created A Capital Bubble For Tight Oil & The Permian Basin

SLIDE 6: The False Premise that Tight Oil Plays Are the New Swing Producer

SLIDE 7: Shale Cost Reductions 90% Industry Bust, 10% Innovation and Efficiency

SLIDE 8: Two of the Largest Tight Oil Plays are in Texas: Eagle Ford & Permian

[May 15, 2018] Oil Retreats from 3-Year High - Prices - Oil Price Community

When fear is gone, greed takes its place. Reason NEVER prevails!
May 15, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

William Edwards

(edited) Report post

On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 6:05 PM, Carlsbad said: So I guess the question is, then, how do we see the oil market, fundamentally, in that timeframe? Doesn't look great to me, nor does it look disastrous. Prices are too high right now, but demand is still strong and will be for some time to come. U.S. shale doesn't always follow fundamentals, though. They seem to binge and purge, depending on their level of maturity.

Although it appears that we are basically on the same page, I sense one significant difference in our understanding of the fundamentals, Carl. When I apply sound logic to my review of past history, I conclude that the price of oil is not a function of supply/demand levels. In other words, high demand does not cause high prices and plentiful supply does not cause low prices. Oversupply and undersupply are actually impossible situations. Consumption draws out whatever supplies that it needs at whatever price is in vogue at that moment. Supply always matches consumption at every price level. If you question this assessment, I can show you historical data that refute whichever side of the supposed supply/demand-caused price moves that you suggest.

Moving on, I agree with your assessment that prices are too high now for a smoothly sustainable industry. But the time for the system to reach equilibrium, once the price is established, is much longer than it takes for the system to make a price change. Therefore demand is forever trying to match the price level, as is supply, but the price changes too rapidly for either to catch up. Distressing but true.

Turning to shale oil, Mike Shellman has spoken for years about the underlying problem of the shale industry. He astutely points out the disconnect between the industry's willingness to borrow and drill, concomitant with no thought of the consequences of their combined output, allowing the industry to suffer the consequences of desperation marketing. So the roller coaster price/production profile will likely continue. Binge and purge it shall be!

William Edwards

On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 7:42 PM, Tom Kirkman said: Related to your question, here is a link to Art Berman's recent presentation.

While I don't expect others to agree with Art's conclusions (he is directly flying in the face of mainstream opinion), his presentation raises numerous points that are worth mulling over and at least considering .

The pdf is 15 MB:

http://www.artberman.com/wp-content/uploads/TEC-Presentation-May-2018.pdf

Thanks, Tom. I went through Art's presentation, rather quickly I must admit, and I find agreement with most of his presentation. He was over my head on some of it so my comments exclude that info.

I should emphasize my strong agreement with his assessment regarding the swing producer. His views match mine and we both can vigorously defend the validity of that assessment. The US reserves are much too small for us to ever be considered in the swing producer role. On an instantaneous basis we can force pricing actions that are basically unsound for the industry, but we cannot sustain the supply impact that would be necessary to play that game very long.

His presentation is well worth the time required to understand his points.

Mike Shellman

Thank you once again, William. I have a long standing "debate" with an analyst who is very into modeling shale oil growth. His driving factor is price. Our arguments stem around the fact that the US shale oil phenomena is based entirely on the availability of low interest capital and has little to do with product price. We more or less already have proof of that, yes? A portion of the total HZ rig count in America is controlled by loan covenants and lenders; a much smaller portion driven by "free" cash flow due to higher prices. If the price falls, rather when it falls, we'll see less growth but there will still be growth; really its the FED that's has control of the US LTO industry, not OPEC.

Having said that, I do believe OPEC, Russia and Non-OPEC producers know exactly how shale oil growth is funded in America, what it costs, how unprofitable it is, and understand rising GOR, decline and depletion very well. They are not stupid about oil and gas production, in spite of what folks might think in Midland. There is a price level that is good for the US shale oil industry (this may be it!) that will drive it plum off the cliff in 3-5 years and that is precisely the plan. We're always in a big damn hurry in America...in this case to deplete our remaining hydrocarbon resources. The buzzards are circling.

A last word about Art's presentation in Dallas; he has been getting hammered for his comments by the shale industry and by the MSM because most, in their rush to attack the messenger, did not even read the message. The PDP, PUD reserves he quoted that might leave the Permian HZ play with only about 7-8 more years of life were proven reserves estimated by shale oil companies themselves and reported to the SEC. He did not make that data up; they did.

Why do folks hate Art Berman's message so much?

Fear.

Mike Shellman

Eric, with respect to my friend, Art Berman, and Yahoo finance, the possibility that 27% of shale oil companies in America made money in 2017 is a stretch to me. In my opinion, there was a lot of non-GAPP, funky accounting that created this illusion based on asset sales and enormous, one time tax charges. We have to rely on SEC data, of course, but personally I don't think anybody made money in 2017, in spite of lower costs, higher productivity, and production cuts from OPEC. More importantly, at least to me, they did not make enough money to put a dent in debt (Devon reduced debt, EOG added debt).

The shale oil industry, even the mighty Permian, is sustainable only as long as the money holds out. Or until they saturate core, sweet spots and have to start drilling the really lousy rock, then things will go from bad to worse. In the mean time the shale industry is facing some hefty debt maturities coming up in a few years, with interest rates going up.

Here is a statistic that will knock your socks off, about 75% of all unconventional HZ wells drilled in the Permian, since the beginning, now make less than 40 BOPD (IHS, shaleprofile.com); the answer to your question might lie there.

But pat yourself on the back; you are on the right track. Question everything. Dig out the facts. Do your own math. This might be interesting to you also: https://www.scribd.com/document/370742449/Shale-Reality-Check-Drilling-into-The-U-S-Government-s-Rosy-Projections-for-Shale-Gas-Tight-Oil-Production-Through-2050#fullscreen&from_embed

[May 14, 2018] Skeptical Geologist Warns Permian's Best Years Are Behind Us

May 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

Geologist Arthur Berman, who has been skeptical about the shale boom, warned on Thursday that the Permian's best years are gone and that the most productive U.S. shale play has just seven years of proven oil reserves left.

"The best years are behind us," Bloomberg quoted Berman as saying at the Texas Energy Council's annual gathering in Dallas.

The Eagle Ford is not looking good, either, according to Berman, who is now working as an industry consultant, and whose pessimistic outlook is based on analyses of data about reserves and production from more than a dozen prominent U.S. shale companies.

"The growth is done," he said at the gathering.

Those who think that the U.S. shale production could add significant crude oil supply to the global market are in for a disappointment, according to Berman.

"The reserves are respectable but they ain't great and ain't going to save the world," Bloomberg quoted Berman as saying.

Yet, Berman has not sold the EOG Resources stock that he has inherited from his father "because they're a pretty good company."

The short-term drilling productivity outlook by the EIA estimates that the Permian's oil production hit 3.110 million bpd in April, and will rise by 73,000 bpd to 3.183 million bpd in May.

Earlier this week, the EIA raised its forecast for total U.S. production this year and next. In the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the EIA said that it expects U.S. crude oil production to average 10.7 million bpd in 2018, up from 9.4 million bpd in 2017, and to average 11.9 million bpd in 2019, which is 400,000 bpd higher than forecast in the April STEO. In the current outlook, the EIA forecasts U.S. crude oil production will end 2019 at more than 12 million bpd.

Yet, production is starting to outpace takeaway capacity in the Permian, creating bottlenecks that could slow down the growth pace.

Drillers may soon start to test the Permian region's geological limits, Wood Mackenzie has warned. And if E&P companies can't overcome the geological constraints with tech breakthroughs, WoodMac has warned that Permian production could peak in 2021 , putting more than 1.5 million bpd of future production in question, and potentially significantly influencing oil prices.

The takeaway bottlenecks have hit WTI crude oil priced in Midland, Texas, which declined sharply compared with Brent in April, the EIA said in the May STEO.

" As production grows beyond the capacity of existing pipeline infrastructure, producers must use more expensive forms of transportation, including rail and trucks. As a result, WTI Midland price spreads widened to the largest discount to Brent since 2014. The WTI Midland differential to Brent settled at -$17.69/b on May 3, which represents a widening of $9.76/b since April 2," the EIA said.

[May 14, 2018] In an ongoing operation, the US imperialist hawks seek to wipe out the last Leftist govements in LA

May 14, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

In an ongoing operation, the US imperialist hawks seek to wipe out the last Leftist governments in Latin America Ten years ago, most of Latin America was governed by Center-Left progressive or even Leftist governments. For example, Cristina Fernandez in Argentina, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, and Lula da Silva in Brazil, just as an example. And Hugo Chavez, of course, in Venezuela. Since then, the so-called 'pink tide' has receded quite dramatically. Of these 10 governments that were Left of Center, only four remain. Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Morales in Bolivia, Vazquez in Uruguay, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. What happened? Some would argue that the US played an important role in at least some of these changes.

globinfo freexchange

Speaking to Greg Wilpert and the RealNews , Mark Weisbrot explains the impact of the Leftist or Center-Left governments on Latin America, as well as the US efforts to overthrow these governments and replace them by Rright-Wing puppet regimes. This is a struggle that has become common in a region that heavily suffers for decades by the US dirty interventions as it is considered the backyard of the US empire and the primary colonial field for the big US corporations:

If you look at the region as a whole, the poverty rate dropped from 44 to 28 percent. That was from around 2003-2013. And that was after the two decades prior where poverty had actually increased, there was no progress at all. So that was a huge change, and it was accomplished in different countries, in different ways.

There were large increases in public investment in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Brazil you had also some increase in public investment, big increases in the minimum wage. Every country did different things to help bring healthcare, and increase, in some countries, access to education. And there were a whole lot of reforms, changes in macroeconomic policy, getting rid of the IMF.

So there were a lot of different things that these governments did that prior governments were either unable, or unwilling to do to improve people's living standards during a period of higher economic growth, which they also contributed to.

When Right-Wing governments took over most of the continent you have different things that have changed.

One is, of course, they're implementing, as you would expect, Right-Wing reforms. Trying to cut pension system, the pension in Brazil. Passing a constitutional amendment which, even most economists in the world wouldn't support in Brazil, which prohibits the government from increasing spending beyond the rate of inflation. You have huge increases in utility prices in Argentina, laying off thousands of public sector workers. So, everywhere where the Right has come back, you do have some regressive changes.

The US has been involved in most of these countries in various ways. Obviously in Venezuela they've been involved since the coup in 2002, and they tried to overthrow the government and tried to help people topple the government on several occasions there.

In Brazil, they supported the coup against Dilma, the parliamentary coup. So, they didn't do that strongly, but they sent enough signals, for example, as the House was voting to impeach Dilma without actually presenting a crime that she committed. The head of the Foreign Relations Committee from the Senate came and met with the No3 official from the US State Department, Tom Shannon. And then, in August of that year, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, went down there and had a press conference with the Acting Foreign Minister, Jose Serra. And they talked about how great relations with the US were going to be before Dilma was actually removed from office. So these were ways of endorsing the coup.

The FBI, the Department of Justice contributed to the investigation that was instrumental in imprisoning Lula. What they did in that investigation we don't know exactly, but we do know enough about it to know that it wasn't a neutral investigation. That is, the investigation did end up decapitating the Workers' Party for now. First helping get rid of Dilma, but more importantly, or more substantially, in terms of its contribution, they helped put Lula in prison and prevent him from running for office.

In Paraguay, the US helped in the consolidation of that parliamentary coup by organizing within the Organization of American States.

In Haiti, in 2004, they took the president and put him on a rendition plane, and flew him out of the country. That was in broad daylight.

In Honduras, is probably the biggest role that the US has played, both in consolidating the military coup in 2009. Hillary Clinton acknowledged her role in making sure that President Zelaya, the democratically elected president, would not return to office, and then more recently, in November, they helped consolidate the results of an election which pretty much all observers regarded as stolen.

In Argentina, other branches of government were involved as well as the executive, but the executive cut off lending from multilateral development banks such as the Inter-American Development Bank, and tried to block loans at the World Bank, as well. And they restored everything as soon as the Right-Wing government was elected. And then, there was Judge Griesa in New York, who took over 90 percent of Argentina's creditors hostage in order to squeeze them so that the government would pay off the vulture funds. And this was very political, because he also lifted the injunction as soon as you had the Right-Wing government.

This is very important, because obviously it's not necessarily a conspiracy of all these branches of government. The legislative branch was involved in this as well, in the United States. But they all have the same mindset, and they're all trying to get rid of these Left governments, and they had a massive contribution. In Argentina, that did contribute to the downfall of Cristina Kirchner. It contributed to balance of payments problems that they had there. So this was important, and it's totally ignored in the United States.

You have intervention in Mexico, for example. US officials have already said how worried they are that AMLO, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is the frontrunner in the upcoming election in July. And he's probably going to win, but they're already trying to undermine him, lobbying accusations of Russia involvement, which is the new trend. Of course, completely unsubstantiated.

In Venezuela they're doing something probably never done in the last 50 years, openly calling for a military coup, and actually a financial embargo they've put in place, and threatening even a worse embargo if they don't get rid of the current government. So that's a more aggressive form of intervention than you had even under the prior administrations.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/nhNNi-kXE_4


As has been mentioned previously:

A wave of neoliberal onslaught shakes currently Latin America. While in Argentina, Mauricio Macri allegedly took the power normally, the constitutional coup against Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, as well as, the usual actions of the Right opposition in Venezuela against Nicolás Maduro with the help of the US finger, are far more obvious.

The special weight of these three countries in Latin America is extremely important for the US imperialism to regain ground in the global geopolitical arena. Especially the last ten to fifteen years, each of them developed increasingly autonomous policies away from the US close custody, under Leftist governments, and this was something that alarmed the US imperialism components.

Brazil appears to be the most important among the three, not only due to its size, but also as a member of the BRICS, the team of fast growing economies who threaten the US and generally the Western global dominance. The constitutional coup against Rousseff was rather a sloppy action and reveals the anxiety of the US establishment to regain control through puppet regimes. This is a well-known situation from the past through which the establishment attempts to secure absolute dominance in the US backyard.

The importance of Venezuela due to its oil reserves is also significant. When Maduro tried to approach Russia in order to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, he must had set the alarm for the neocons in the US. Venezuela could find an alternative in Russia and BRICS, in order to breathe from the multiple economic war that was set off by the US. It is characteristic that the economic war against Russia by the US and the Saudis, by keeping the oil prices in historically low levels, had significant impact on the Venezuelan economy too. It is also known that the US organizations are funding the opposition since Chávez era, in order to proceed in provocative operations that could overthrow the Leftist governments.
The case of Venezuela is really interesting. The US imperialists were fiercely trying to overthrow the Leftist governments since Chávez administration. They found now a weaker president, Nicolás Maduro - who certainly does not have the strength and personality of Hugo Chávez - to achieve their goal.

The Western media mouthpieces are doing their job, which is propaganda as usual. The recipe is known. You present the half truth, with a big overdose of exaggeration. The establishment parrots are demonizing Socialism , but they won't ever tell you about the money that the US is spending, feeding the Right-Wing groups and opposition to proceed in provocative operations, in order to create instability. They won't tell you about the financial war conducted through the oil prices, manipulated by the Saudis, the close US ally.

Regarding Argentina, former president, Cristina Kirchner, had also made some important moves towards the stronger cooperation with Russia, which was something unacceptable for Washington's hawks. Not only for geopolitical reasons, but also because Argentina could escape from the vulture funds that sucking its blood since its default. This would give the country an alternative to the neoliberal monopoly of destruction. The US big banks and corporations would never accept such a perspective because the debt-enslaved Argentina is a golden opportunity for a new round of huge profits. It's happening right now in debt colony, Greece.

[May 13, 2018] Neoliberal Defenestration and the Overton Window by Stephen Martin

Notable quotes:
"... 'It is difficult to get Artificial Intelligence to understand something, when the Research and Development funding it depends upon its not understanding it' ..."
"... dēfenestrātiō, ..."
"... 'If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists of treating another human being as a thing ..."
"... 'The Shockwave Rider ..."
"... This small article a polemic against neoliberal hegemony; in particular the emerging issue of 'surplus population' as related to technological displacement in context of a free market, an issue purposive to such hegemony which as an 'elephant growing in the panopticon' i.e. not to be mentioned? ..."
"... – 'One dimensionality in, one dimensionality out' ..."
"... 'Farewell to the Working Class' ..."
"... It is a relatively small step from ' the death of thought' to 'the death of Life' ..."
"... Under neoliberal orthodoxy the political utility of the 'Proles' and in particular the 'Lumpenproletariat', alas, is as to but fear as a 'stick'; a basis of control and manipulation same sense as Upton Sinclair explicated 'carrot' contingent by way of synonym seen: to wit; accept control and manipulation as 'rewarded' or be 'expelled' ..."
May 11, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

'It is difficult to get Artificial Intelligence to understand something, when the Research and Development funding it depends upon its not understanding it'

Paraphrase of Upton Sinclair .

defenestration (diːˌfɛnɪˈstreɪʃən)

n

the act of throwing a person or thing out of a window

[C17: from New Latin dēfenestrātiō, from Latin de- + fenestra window

The freedictionary.com

'If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil, it consists of treating another human being as a thing '

John Brunner 'The Shockwave Rider '

This small article a polemic against neoliberal hegemony; in particular the emerging issue of 'surplus population' as related to technological displacement in context of a free market, an issue purposive to such hegemony which as an 'elephant growing in the panopticon' i.e. not to be mentioned?

The central premise is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Robotics comprise a nefarious as formulaic temptation to the elite of the 'Technetronic era' as Zbigniew Brzezinski put it: this consistent with a determinism as stems ontologically from 'Empiricism' form of a 'One Dimensionality' as Marcuse phrased it over five Decades ago; and which thru being but mere simulacra, AI and Robotics represent an ontological imperative potentially expropriated under pathology to denial of Kant's concept of 'categorical imperative'? (That Kant did not subscribe to determinism is acknowledged). The neoliberal concepts of 'Corporatism' and 'free market' are powerful examples of this 'one dimensionality' which is clearly pathological, a topic notably explored by Joel Bakan concerning the pursuit of profit within a Corporatist framework.

– 'One dimensionality in, one dimensionality out' – so it goes ontologically as to some paraphrase of GIGO as trending alas way of 'technological determinism' towards an 'Epitaph for Biodiversity' as would be – way of 'Garbage' or 'Junk' un apperceived as much as 'retrospection' non occurrent indeed -and where 'Farewell to the Working Class' as André Gorz conceived to assume an entirely new meaning: -this to some denouement of 'Dystopian Nightmare' as opposed to 'Utopian Dream', alas; such the 'Age of Leisure' as 'beckoning' to be not for the majority or ' Demos', but rather for the 'technetronic elite' and their 'AI' and Robotics – such 'leisure' being as to a 'freedom' pathological and facilitated by the absence of conscience as much as morality; such the 'farewell'; such the defenestration of 'surplus' , such the 'Age' we 'live' within as to 'expropriation' and 'arrogation' to amount to 'Death by Panopticon' such the 'apotheosis'?

It is being so cheerful which keeps these small quarters going.

But digression.

It is a relatively small step from ' the death of thought' to 'the death of Life' under Neoliberal Orthodoxy as proving to be the most toxic ideology ever known – such the hegemony as a deliberative, shift of the ' Overton Window' currently occurring as to trend deterministic; such the mere necrotrophy as a 'defenestration' – and the 'one percent' but a deadly collective of parasitic orifice? For what is 'Empiricism' when implemented thru AI and Robotic Technology in a Corporatist economy as but a 'selective investment' as to Research and Development by elite 'private interests', which to a determinism so evidently entailing a whole raft of 'consequence' ; such the means, such the production, such the 'phenomenology' as 'owned' indeed? Under pathology, selectivity is impaired to point of 'militarization'?

But foremost amongst said 'raft' of consequence – the concept of 'classification' as incorporates methodological reduction of the particular to a composite of generalities so typical of 'Science' as expropriated; the fruition thereof replicated not least thru 'Consumerism' – and 'Lifestyle' – as much as 'Life' reduced as much as abrogated to but correlation way of 'possession' of 'things': this as said replication expressed as much 'thru' Linnaeus as Marx concerning 'class'- and as results in concepts' Incorporated' such as the 'Overton Window' – as will be explored by way of 'extrapolation' below? The debasing of identity as a correlate of possessions as a necessary 'abrogation' by way of engineered 'bio hack' is only furthered, such the loss of dimensionality as a potential, by such as social media ? An excellent multimedia illustration of such loss is found here.

It to be noted that for Empiricism the concept of 'good' and 'evil' entails an extra dimensionality as 'metaphysical' – and that 'Politics' so deconstructed despite abuse under orthodoxy as to 'mitigation' remains as 'Moral Economics' – this despite the mitigative contention of neoliberal orthodoxy that there no morality in the 'synonymy'; to a pragmatic as 'Utilitarian' point of a 'Killing the Host' prevailing at paradigmatic as much as Geopolitical level as but explicative of a 'necrotrophy'; as much as the 'defenestration' as euphemism herein proposed this small article would explicate?

Kudos to Michael Hudson for exposing, and continuing to expose, the 'death of thought' which Neoliberalism as an orthodoxy as but a mere 'racket' of 'transfer of resources' represents.

... ... ...

Under neoliberal orthodoxy the political utility of the 'Proles' and in particular the 'Lumpenproletariat', alas, is as to but fear as a 'stick'; a basis of control and manipulation same sense as Upton Sinclair explicated 'carrot' contingent by way of synonym seen: to wit; accept control and manipulation as 'rewarded' or be 'expelled' ; be but as a 'Prole' subsisting and awaiting death, such the economic incarceration as 'CAFO' epitomises the cheapening of life under a hegemony as has corollary of alienation, marginalization and impoverishment wielded under Dystopian imperative; this to a 'transfer of resources' from ' Eros ' to ' Thanatos ' reinforced thru contingency of profit such the 'ponerology' of 'Biodiversity' reduced by way of paradigm Geopolitical?

... ... ...

More articles by: Stephen Martin

Stephen Martin can be reached at: stephenmarti@yahoo.com

[May 13, 2018] Fighting unending wars across thousands of miles of the planet for almost 17 years without end, while making the president into a global assassin, is the necessary course of action under neoliberalism as the goal is to preserve and expande global, led by the USA neoliberal empire using power of bayonets

This is actually Neo-Trotskyism in action: permanent neoliberal revolution with neoliberalism brought to some countries on the tips of US bayonets.
Notable quotes:
"... 'who are the terrorists, those who, at 17 km height push buttons in B-52′s, or those who give their lives on the ground ?' ..."
May 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

redmudhooch , May 9, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
All of these events are CIA/Mossad/MI6. All of them. From 9/11 to mass shootings, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, white supremecists and even Antifa, all funded, trained by the state, with our tax dollars.

Conspiracy FACT. Prove me wrong.

Precious , May 9, 2018 at 10:57 pm GMT
Fighting wars: The United States has been fighting wars nonstop since its military invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. That's almost 17 years of invasions, occupations, air campaigns, drone strikes, special operations raids, naval air and missile attacks, and so much else, from the Philippines to Pakistan, Afghanistan to Syria, Libya to Niger isn't fighting unending wars across thousands of miles of the planet for almost 17 years without end, while making the president into a global assassin, just a tad extreme?

Of course it is. But despite the title of the article, I can't help but notice that most of it concentrates on the 16 of those 17 years that happen to have occurred before the Trump "caliphate". But why should Tom Englehardt be expected to get such trivial details correct? After all, Tom turned out to be wrong when he ominously warned us about the dangers of Trump getting us into another Korean war.

Tom's own words from July 9th, 2017 haven't aged well

If hostilities broke out and spiraled out of control, as they might, countless people could die, nuclear weapons could indeed be used for the first time since 1945, and parts of Asia could be ravaged (including possibly areas of Japan). What a second Korean War might mean, in other words, is almost beyond imagining.

Saxon , May 10, 2018 at 1:14 am GMT

the officials he appointed went to work to transform the very refugees we had such a hand in creating into terrifying bogeymen, potentially the most dangerous and extreme people on the planet, and then turned to the task of ensuring that none of them would ever arrive in this country. Doesn't that seem like an extreme set of acts and responses?

No, Tom. It seems like normal behavior from people who aren't ethnomasochists. I'm not some kind of -phobic with an irrational fear if I want my descendants to not live in a wartorn country they may eventually end up suffering a total genocide at the hands of these "widows and orphans" (read: military-aged males who think European lands are up for grabs and will be theirs in the future).

You see, the normal person who voted for Trump wanted what his surface-level politics during the campaign trail were about. Not the stuff he's actually been doing which no one voted for (yes, democracy is a bad system with no accountability,) but the stuff he talked about. The end to this neoliberal insanity which you support most of. If you really cared so much about the environment, you wouldn't be for mass migration. If you really cared about minimizing conflict, you wouldn't be for mass migration since migration is the same as war in its effects and eventual outcome.

It is not some arbitrary preference that I want a territory maintained for my kind and not invaded by unending migration of alien peoples whom we are poked, prodded, pressured, coerced and forced to miscegenate ourselves out of existence with by social engineers bent on a European genocide, which they are beginning to get louder and louder with their intent on with each passing year and the constant gloating that they think "in the future, there won't BE any white people! and that's a good thing!"

The reason we care more about these terrorist attacks on our soil is that we expect them to do as they do in their own countries, but the glaring fact is the people doing this in our countries aren't us, and never will be us. They are interlopers we didn't invite in; they were invited in from the top down with no consent.

Speaking of which, people own weapons in the US because they can and because they don't trust their government. Given what that government has done for the last 50+ years, why should they? People in other countries would do the same were they not such totalitarian nightmare states crushing down on their native population, like in Britain. Speaking of bogeymen by the way, you want to pin this all on Trump when the material conditions for much of what you wring your hands about existed well before he even announced his run. Criticize the fact that he isn't doing what he was elected to do. Don't try to concoct some lame duck grand narrative that he caused all of these problems, because he didn't.

The reason America is becoming "extreme" is because it's no longer a real, solvent country. No longer a nation–a coherent people with real, concrete commonalities. It is many people vying for power and handouts and patronage, many of whom share nothing in common at all. I share no peoplehood with Africans, Arabs, Mestizos and a host of others who've been flooded in over the last several decades and have transformed the country into something it manifestly as per the census data was not just decades back.

Biff , May 12, 2018 at 4:42 am GMT
@Saxon

I share no peoplehood with Africans, Arabs, Mestizos and a host of others who've been flooded in over the last several decades and have transformed the country into something it manifestly as per the census data was not just decades back.

I'm willing to bet you share a lot more personhood with those people you listed than the people who "own" your country. BTW, the people who "own" your country most likely hate your guts, and consider you expendable if you ever get in their way.

jilles dykstra , May 12, 2018 at 5:48 am GMT
" This subject came to my mind recently thanks to a story I noticed about another extreme wedding slaughter "

Better late than never. How long it is ago that a Malaysian president spoke to mainly western diplomats, and asked the question 'who are the terrorists, those who, at 17 km height push buttons in B-52′s, or those who give their lives on the ground ?', I do not remember. The diplomats left during the speech.

UN expert on human rights De Zaya's wanted, suppose he does not live any more, Great Britain and the USA persecuted for bombing German cities in WWII, just killing women, children and old men. Dresden is the best known example, alas it is not known that even small towns as Anklam were bombed. And then, when began all this ?

Churchill saw the genocide in what is N Afghanistan as a necessary act. And of course the Muslim religion was to blame.

The last book also describes this genocide, but one of the most bloody massacres described is against the Sikh army.

jilles dykstra , May 12, 2018 at 5:51 am GMT
@Saxon

" Fighting wars: The United States has been fighting wars nonstop since its military invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. "

Should be
Fighting wars: The United States has been fighting wars nonstop since Roosevelt began escorting convoys in the Atlantic in mid 1940.

Robert Dunn , Website May 12, 2018 at 7:09 am GMT
I'd like to thank Unz for this brief comic relief on their site. Sometimes the affairs in the world seem too much and a good laugh every now and then is necessary. For example Bashir Al-Assad killing his own people on a regular basis was hysterical!! Imagine him getting Sarin gas from ISIS depots paid for by Israel and the United States just so he could get the same United States to bomb him! That's like saying Obama was a weak president for NOT attacking Syria when he was merely informed as to who was REALLY not killing Syrian civilians because, as Putin proved, Assad didn't have those weapons. What was really funny was that America does not have extremists in charge so when we kill civilians it must be an accident!
Tom Welsh , May 12, 2018 at 7:33 am GMT
"Its national security budget is larger than those of the next eight countries combined "

My favourite statistic is to compare the increase in the formal US "defence" budget ($80 billion) for this year with the total Russian defence budget ($46 billion).

Dante , May 12, 2018 at 7:34 am GMT
@Saxon

I couldn't agree more, Your comment sums up how a lot of people are feeling. No wonder Nationalist or Nationalist inspired parties and leaders are emerging all over the European world, We are waking up and beginning to take our own side

Tom Welsh , May 12, 2018 at 7:34 am GMT
@Authenticjazzman

"First of all the question of who would hold a wedding event in the middle of the desert is completely legitimate".

Only to those who do not know that many people live in deserts.

Tom Welsh , May 12, 2018 at 7:37 am GMT
@Precious

I just cannot believe that you Americans descend to squabbling about who is more virtuous – Nero or Caligula.

Mr Putin showed that he understands the system perfectly. First he said that he sees no point in talking to European leaders, since they all take their orders from Washington. Then he further explained that presidents come and presidents go, but the policies remain exactly the same.

It's a shame that so few Americans understand their own political system as well as Mr Putin does.

Tom Welsh , May 12, 2018 at 7:56 am GMT
"However, one thing is, almost by definition, obvious. We are not a nation of extreme acts or extreme killers. Quite the opposite".

The USA is admirably positioned for security: it controls most of a large isolated continent, with only Canada and Mexico as immediate neighbours and vast oceans to the sides. As Jules Jusserand, French Ambassador to the US, remarked in 1910:

"The United States was blessed among nations. On the north, she had a weak neighbour; on the south, another weak neighbour; on the east, fish; and on the west, fish".

Long before that, Abraham Lincoln said more or less the same thing:

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide".

- Abraham Lincoln; The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, "Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum,of Springfield, Illinois (January 27, 1838), p. 109.

So it is surprising to find out that the USA has been at war for 93% of its existence. That means Americans have experienced peace during only 21 years out of 239.

https://www.infowars.com/america-has-been-at-war-93-of-the-time-222-out-of-239-years-since-1776/

That's rather odd, isn't it, for a country with impregnable natural borders whom no one has even tried to attack?

"Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, we sometimes kill. Yes, we sometimes even kill the innocent, however mistakenly".

A very rough estimate suggests that, since 1950, the US government through its armed forces has killed at the very least 10 million Asians alone. Three million in Korea, the same in Vietnam and its neighbours, and the same in Iraq. That's without even considering the dozens of other nations the USA has attacked (and with which, legally, it is still at war since no peace treaties were ever concluded).

Some "mistakes"!

Realist , May 12, 2018 at 8:01 am GMT
@redmudhooch

Conspiracy FACT. Prove me wrong.

That's not how it works .you have to prove yourself correct.

quasi_verbatim , May 12, 2018 at 8:37 am GMT
US garrisons in Europe are preparing for roll out You never know where these pesky rebels will pop up next.
IanHyde , May 12, 2018 at 8:56 am GMT
I recently discovered UNZ.COM and was delighted to have found a site with good intelligently written articles, then I read this utter crap and now I'm wondering
Greg Bacon , Website May 12, 2018 at 9:43 am GMT
I stopped reading when I saw this worn-out lies

We here in the United States are, of course, eternally shocked by their extremism, their willingness to kill the innocent without compunction, particularly in the case of Islamist groups, from the 9/11 attacks to ISIS's more recent slaughters.

Tom appears to be another lackey for Zionism, ready to keep telling lies about those evil Moozies that supposedly attacked the USA on 9/11, when anyone who still has brain cells left knows that 9/11 was an Israeli masterminded False Flag with help from traitors in the WH, the Pentagon, CIA, FBI and NSA. With generous assistance from the Lying MSM.

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it

Take your CIA pres releases elsewhere Mr. Tom, we no longer wish to hear your lies in support of endless wars for the glory of Apartheid Israel realizing its YINON plan to stretch Israel from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates and from Turkey to Arabia.

Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties"

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/The%20Zionist%20Plan%20for%20the%20Middle%20East.pdf

Alfred , May 12, 2018 at 10:12 am GMT
@redmudhooch

Absolutely correct.

The nonsense that Assad's army deliberately poisons its own people with chemical weapons is a well-known false-flag. How could he control his Syrian army if that went on? It is absolutely ridiculous.

As for 9/11, it was an inside job – with many Israeli "students" laying the explosives in the THREE buildings at night over a period of months. The fact that no one lived in them and that a Bush company was responsible for security is all you need to know. Naturally, there were no Israeli victims – a statistical impossibility if they were not forewarned.

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it

jacques sheete , May 12, 2018 at 10:31 am GMT

The Caliphate of Trump

Bravo! The author is the winner of the Sheete Prize for Inane and Asinine Titles. This has to be the dumbest title for anything I've ever seen.

Even calling it the Rabbinate of Trump would be somewhat more accurate.

What kind of ass is the author to insult caliphs by associating Trump with their positions?

jacques sheete , May 12, 2018 at 10:35 am GMT

However, one thing is, almost by definition, obvious. We are not a nation of extreme acts or extreme killers.

This has to be satire. I'll never know though because it made me too nauseated to continue.

Another scribbler to ignore.

PS: You are horrible at writing satire, if that's what it's supposed to be. If not, then you are unhinged to a shocking degree.

Jake , May 12, 2018 at 11:33 am GMT
The most thoroughly amoral, vicious ruling group in the region is the House of Saud. And the US and the Israelis are both deep into bed with the Saudis.
Authenticjazzman , May 12, 2018 at 12:58 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh

"Only to those who do not know that many people live in deserts"

People do not "live in deserts" rather they live in settlements which are located in the desert.

They do not just go out into the blazing sand and throw down blankets and buckets, and then start "Living in the desert".

And they do not hold bonafide "wedding parties" out in the desert, under the relentless burning sun, rather they hold their wedding parties in settlements which are located in thte desert with a modicum of human comforts.

Look friend myself being world traveler, I have been to north africa on more than one occasion, and I know wtf I am talking about.

AJM "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US army vet, and pro jazz artisit.

[May 13, 2018] And interesting admission of the stress the neoliberlaism is under from Michael Hayden

Notable quotes:
"... Ex-NSA chief says Americans have been conned by Russia and Trump and should look to intel community for salvation. ..."
"... The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies, Michael Hayden, Penguin Press, 304 pages ..."
"... He warns that "the structures we rely on to prevent civil war and societal collapse are under stress." ..."
"... Simply put, Hayden's book is blowing 10 dog whistles at once. Arise ye patriots [of neoliberalism] of Langley and Fort Meade! ..."
"... The IC lost all trust after the Iraqi WMD lie. They'll never get it back. That doesn't mean Trump isn't a liar too. But it's not either/or. ..."
May 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Originally from: Can Michael Hayden Be This Blinded By Hate By Peter Van Buren

Ex-NSA chief says Americans have been conned by Russia and Trump and should look to intel community for salvation.

Former Director of the National Security Agency Michael Hayden. Gage Skidmore/Shutterstock The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies, Michael Hayden, Penguin Press, 304 pages

Former NSA and CIA head Michael Hayden's new book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies wants to be the manifesto behind an intelligence community coup. It ends up reading like outtakes from Dr. Strangelove .

Trump cannot discern truth from falsehood, Hayden says, and is the product of too much fact-free thinking, especially on social media ("computational propaganda" where people can "publish without credentials") where lies are deployed by the Russians to destroy the United States. Instead Hayden calls for artificial intelligence and a media truth-rating system to "purify our discourse" and help "defend it against inauthentic stimulation."

Hayden believes in the "fragility of civilization" as clearly as he believes there is a "FOX/Trump/RT" alliance in place to exploit it. Under Trump, "post-truth is pre-fascism, and to abandon facts is to abandon freedom." Hayden claims Trump has a "glandular aversion" to even thinking about how "Russia has been actively seeking to damage the fabric of American democracy."

Salvation, it would seem, depends on the intelligence community. Hayden makes clear, ominously quoting conversations with anonymous IC officers, that no one else is protecting America from these online threats to our precious bodily fluids . He warns that "the structures we rely on to prevent civil war and societal collapse are under stress." The IC on the other hand "pursues Enlightenment values [and] is essential not just to American safety but to American liberty."

Hayden recalls how he reminded a lad fresh to the IC to "protect yourself. And above all protect the institution. American still needs it." He has a bit of advice about the CIA: "We are accustomed to relying on their truth to protect us from foreign enemies. Now we may need their truth to save us from ourselves." The relationship between Trump and the IC, Hayden threatens, is "contentious, divisive, and unpredictable" in these "uncharted waters for the Republic."

Simply put, Hayden's book is blowing 10 dog whistles at once. Arise ye patriots [of neoliberalism] of Langley and Fort Meade!

Yet for all his emphasis on truth, Hayden is curiously lax in presenting actual evidence of the apocalypse. You are left to believe because Hayden says you must: paternalism at its best. Plus, to disbelieve is to side with Putin. The best we get are executive summary-like statements along the lines of "There is clear evidence of what I would call convergence, the convergence of a mutually reinforcing swirl of Presidential tweets and statements, Russian influenced social media, alt right websites and talk radio, Russian 'white' press like RT and even mainstream U.S. media like Fox News."

With that established, Hayden informs us that when the IC tried to warn Trump of the Russian plot, he "rejected a fact-based intel assessment because it was inconsistent with a preexisting world view or because it was politically inconvenient, the stuff of ideological authoritarianism not pragmatic democracy." Comrade, er, Candidate Trump, says Hayden matter-of-factly, "did sound a lot like Vladimir Putin." The two men, he declaims, are "Russian soulmates."

Hayden figures that if you've read this far into his polemic, he might as well just splurge the rest of his notes on you. Trump is "uninformed, lazy, dishonest, off the charts, rejects the premise objective reality even existed." He's fueled by Russian money (no evidence of this is presented in the book, Hayden says, because it's hidden in the tax returns, as if Line 42 on Trump's 1040 would read "Putin Black Funds $5 mil," and the IRS, which does have the returns, overlooked that).

Trump is an "unwitting agent" of Putin, which Hayden tells us in Russian is polezni durak , so you can see he knows his Cold War lingo. We hear how Wikileaks worked with the Russkies, how Trump Jr. worked with the Russkies, how the Russkies wormed their way into Tower so they could see the Big Board, how the whole brouhaha over #TakeAKnee was Russian meddling, and how Jill Stein existed to "bleed off votes from Clinton" -- every Mueller fan-fiction trope tumbling from the pages like crumbs left over from an earlier reader.

That's why The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies reads like as a polemic. But it also fails as a book.

There are pages of filler, jumbled blog post-like chapters about substate actors and global tectonics. Hayden writes in a recognizable style that might be called Bad Military, where everything must eventually be tied to some Big Idea, preferably with classical references Googled-up to add gravitas.

So it is not enough for Hayden to state Trump is a liar. He has to blame Trump for usurping the entire body of Western thought: "We are in a post-truth world, a world in which decisions are far more based upon emotion and preference. And that's an overturning of the Western way of thought since the Enlightenment." Bad things are Hobbesian; good things Jeffersonian, Madisonian, or Hamiltonian. People Hayden agrees with get adjectival modifiers before their names: the perceptive scholar ____, the iconic journalist ____, the legendary case officer ____. It makes for tiresome reading, like it's Sunday night edging 4 a.m. and you still have nine undergrad papers on the causes of the Civil War to grade.

Hayden is openly contemptuous of the American people, seeing them as brutes who need to be led around, either by the Russians, as he sees it now, or by the IC, as he wishes it to be. Proof of how dumb we are? Hayden cites a poll showing 83 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats don't believe the IC analysis that Russia meddled in the 2016 election when they damn well should. Further proof? Russian bots at work on Twitter influencing conservative minds by using the hashtags #God and #Benghazi.

In our odd times, Hayden is a Hero of the Resistance. Seemingly forgotten is that, as head of the NSA, he implemented blanket surveillance of American citizens in a rape of the Fourth Amendment, itself a product of the Enlightenment, justifying his unconstitutional actions with a mishmash of post-truth platitudes and still-secret legal findings. Hayden also supported torture during the War on Terror, but whatever.

This book-length swipe right for the IC leaves out the slam dunk work those agencies did on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Any concern about political motives inside the IC is swept away as "baseless." Gina Haspel , who oversaw the torture program, is an "inspired choice" to head CIA. Hayden writes for the rubes, proclaiming that the IC produces facts when in reality even good intel can only be assessments and ambiguous conclusions.

That people so readily overlook Hayden's sins simply because he rolls off snark against Trump speaks to our naiveté. That men like Hayden retain their security clearances while serving as authors and paid commentators to outlets like CNN speaks to how deep the roots of the Deep State reach. That some troubled Jack D. Ripper squirreled inside the IC might take this pablum seriously is frightening.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell .


Jack May 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm

The "assault on intelligence" indeed.
Kent , says: May 10, 2018 at 6:39 am
The IC lost all trust after the Iraqi WMD lie. They'll never get it back. That doesn't mean Trump isn't a liar too. But it's not either/or.
Robert Hume , says: May 10, 2018 at 8:57 am
He's not blinded by hate. If you actually read the book, he describes his issues with Obama, Clinton and everyone else. The fact remains he outlined the truth: Trump is a bumbling fool who cannot distinguish truth fro fiction and is the most corrupt president ever to inhabit the oval office, and has no idea what he's doing.
Stephen J, , says: May 10, 2018 at 9:06 am
This interesting article states: Gina Haspel, who oversaw the torture program, is an 'inspired choice' to head CIA. Really, torture is used by gangsters and other underworld villains. Therefore, I ask based on the evidence against governments. "Are We Seeing Government by Gangsters"? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.html
C. L. H. Daniels , says: May 10, 2018 at 10:00 am
The guy sounds like a certain Senator from Wisconsin:

"The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because the enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer – the finest homes, the finest college educations, and the finest jobs in Government we can give."

balconesfault , says: May 10, 2018 at 10:40 am
I've never been a fan of Hayden, and his current salvos against Trump aren't going to change that.

But "Trump cannot discern truth from falsehood, Hayden says, and is the product of too much fact-free thinking, especially on social media "

There's a serious rebuttal to this?

Kurt Gayle , says: May 10, 2018 at 10:43 am
Peter Van Buren reminds us all: "Seemingly forgotten is that, as head of the NSA, he implemented blanket surveillance of American citizens in a rape of the Fourth Amendment "

The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

[May 11, 2018] In a way IMF is perverted way of central planning for the benefits of G7. There s nothing wrong with central planning if your planners are competent and honest, but this is not the case here. This is a form of neocolonial racket

Notable quotes:
"... All these venues are more or less "central planning". The difference is mainly by whom. ..."
May 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

m___ , May 9, 2018 at 8:33 am GMT

@Godfree Roberts

Today, still under central planning (if the US Government's recent statements are to be believed), it is overtaking the USA in almost every metric, too.

We agree,

There is a "thousand" ways into relative(as compared to distinct entities) riches. For nations, for corporations (decidedly authoritarian), for systems (Western public sector steerage of currency). All these venues are more or less "central planning". The difference is mainly by whom.

There is no such venue-way into wealth for all(including the to be generations, understood as sustainability) spanning the globe yet. The explanatory ambition of the art-y graphics of Rosling are equally primitive. Why? Pick any entity, Global corporations as in the West, interacting public entities such as the World Bank, the EU "central planning economies", economic theories. Not a single one includes the variables of population, resources, toxicity, a long-term vision. Neither is there any hint to a clear goal such as quality of life. The funny suggestion, pushed as of lately to convert the globe's population into eating as vegetarians. Eating as a vegetarian to obsolete cattle, has the serious drawback of now humanoids producing the same amount of Co2 per calorie as a cow. The examples of running against the wall for not expanding the context of theory to reality are endless.

Back to Rosling myopia: how on earth can he suggest, without questioning the basic feasibility for physical limits of resources and toxicity a "middle class" status (a relative concept by the way), for all? This is just a single example. Rosling is a statistics clown, proof of how numbers can lie better then words. His prowess lies in being a clown, he made as one of the first ones, graphics, statistics sexy for the crowds.

[May 09, 2018] Trotskyist Delusions, by Diana Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There could be no eye witnesses to such sadism, and the very extremism sounds very much like war propaganda – Germans carving up Belgian babies. ..."
"... The notion that Assad himself infected the rebellion with Islamic fanaticism is at best a hypothesis concerning not facts but intentions, which are invisible. But it is presented as unchallengeable evidence of Assad's perverse wickedness. ..."
"... a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund ..."
"... In reality, a much more pertinent "framing" of Western intervention, taboo in the mainstream and even in Moscow, is that Western support for armed rebels in Syria was being carried out to help Israel destroy its regional enemies. ..."
"... The Middle East nations attacked by the West – Iraq, Libya and Syria – all just happen to be, or to have been, the last strongholds of secular Arab nationalism and support for Palestinian rights. ..."
"... There are a few alternative hypotheses as to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamic extremism in order to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks. ..."
"... No other mention of Israel, which occupies Syrian territory (the Golan Heights) and bombs Syria whenever it wants to. ..."
"... The Trotskyists keep yearning for a new revolution, just like the Bolshevik revolution. Yes, but the Bolshevik revolution ended in Stalinism. Doesn't that tell them something? Isn't it quite possible that their much-desired "revolution" might turn out just as badly in Syria, if not much worse? ..."
"... In our era, the most successful revolutions have been in Third World countries, where national liberation from Western powers was a powerful emotional engine. Successful revolutions have a program that unifies people and leaders who personify the aspirations of broad sectors of the population. Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and "modernization" – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. ..."
"... "In the context of a global neoliberalism, where governments across the board were enacting the most pronounced forms of deregulation and overseeing the carving up of state industries by private capital, the Assad government responded to the heightening contradictions in the Syrian economy by following suit -- by showing the ability to march to the tempo of foreign investment while evincing a willingness to cut subsidies for workers and farmers." The neoliberal turn impoverished people in the countryside, therefore creating a situation that justified "revolution". ..."
"... This is rather amazing, if one thinks about it. Without the alternative Soviet bloc, virtually the whole world has been obliged to conform to anti-social neoliberal policies. Syria included. Does this make Bashar al Assad so much more a villain than every other leader conforming to U.S.-led globalization? ..."
"... One could turn that around. Shouldn't such a Marxist revolutionary be saying: "if we can't defeat the oligarchs in the West, who are responsible for the neoliberal policies imposed on the rest of the world, how can we possibly begin to provide class-struggle leadership in Syria?" ..."
"... The trouble with Trotskyists is that they are always "supporting" other people's more or less imaginary revolutions. They are always telling others what to do. They know it all. The practical result of this verbal agitation is simply to align this brand of Trotskyism with U.S imperialism. The obsession with permanent revolution ends up providing an ideological alibi for permanent war. ..."
May 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

I first encountered Trotskyists in Minnesota half a century ago during the movement against the Vietnam War. I appreciated their skill in organizing anti-war demonstrations and their courage in daring to call themselves "communists" in the United States of America – a profession of faith that did not groom them for the successful careers enjoyed by their intellectual counterparts in France. So I started my political activism with sympathy toward the movement. In those days it was in clear opposition to U.S. imperialism, but that has changed.

The first thing one learns about Trotskyism is that it is split into rival tendencies. Some remain consistent critics of imperialist war, notably those who write for the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS).

Others, however, have translated the Trotskyist slogan of "permanent revolution" into the hope that every minority uprising in the world must be a sign of the long awaited world revolution – especially those that catch the approving eye of mainstream media. More often than deploring U.S. intervention, they join in reproaching Washington for not intervening sooner on behalf of the alleged revolution.

A recent article in the International Socialist Review (issue #108, March 1, 2018) entitled "Revolution and counterrevolution in Syria" indicates so thoroughly how Trotskyism goes wrong that it is worthy of a critique. Since the author, Tony McKenna, writes well and with evident conviction, this is a strong not a weak example of the Trotskyist mindset.

McKenna starts out with a passionate denunciation of the regime of Bashar al Assad, which, he says, responded to a group of children who simply wrote some graffiti on a wall by "beating them, burning them, pulling their fingernails out". The source of this grisly information is not given. There could be no eye witnesses to such sadism, and the very extremism sounds very much like war propaganda – Germans carving up Belgian babies.

But this raises the issue of sources. It is certain that there are many sources of accusations against the Assad regime, on which McKenna liberally draws, indicating that he is writing not from personal observation, any more than I am. Clearly, he is strongly disposed to believe the worst, and even to embroider it somewhat. He accepts and develops without the shadow of a doubt the theory that Assad himself is responsible for spoiling the good revolution by releasing Islamic prisoners who went on to poison it with their extremism. The notion that Assad himself infected the rebellion with Islamic fanaticism is at best a hypothesis concerning not facts but intentions, which are invisible. But it is presented as unchallengeable evidence of Assad's perverse wickedness.

This interpretation of events happens to dovetail neatly with the current Western doctrine on Syria, so that it is impossible to tell them apart. In both versions, the West is no more than a passive onlooker, whereas Assad enjoys the backing of Iran and Russia.

"Much has been made of Western imperial support for the rebels in the early years of the revolution. This has, in fact, been an ideological lynchpin of first the Iranian and then the Russian military interventions as they took the side of the Assad government. Such interventions were framed in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric in which Iran and Russia purported to come to the aid of a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund ", according to McKenna.

Whose "ideological lynchpin"? Not that of Russia, certainly, whose line in the early stages of its intervention was not to denounce Western imperialism but to appeal to the West and especially to the United States to join in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Neither Russia nor Iran "framed their interventions in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric" but in terms of the fight against Islamic extremism with Wahhabi roots.

In reality, a much more pertinent "framing" of Western intervention, taboo in the mainstream and even in Moscow, is that Western support for armed rebels in Syria was being carried out to help Israel destroy its regional enemies.

The Middle East nations attacked by the West – Iraq, Libya and Syria – all just happen to be, or to have been, the last strongholds of secular Arab nationalism and support for Palestinian rights.

There are a few alternative hypotheses as to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamic extremism in order to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks.

It is remarkable that McKenna's long article (some 12 thousand words) about the war in Syria mentions Israel only once (aside from a footnote citing Israeli national news as a source). And this mention actually equates Israelis and Palestinians as co-victims of Assad propaganda: the Syrian government "used the mass media to slander the protestors, to present the revolution as the chaos orchestrated by subversive international interests (the Israelis and the Palestinians were both implicated in the role of foreign infiltrators)."

No other mention of Israel, which occupies Syrian territory (the Golan Heights) and bombs Syria whenever it wants to.

Only one, innocuous mention of Israel! But this article by a Trotskyist mentions Stalin, Stalinists, Stalinism no less than twenty-two times !

And what about Saudi Arabia, Israel's de facto ally in the effort to destroy Syria in order to weaken Iran? Two mentions, both implicitly denying that notorious fact. The only negative mention is blaming the Saudi family enterprise for investing billions in the Syrian economy in its neoliberal phase. But far from blaming Saudi Arabia for supporting Islamic groups, McKenna portrays the House of Saud as a victim of ISIS hostility.

Clearly, the Trotskyist delusion is to see the Russian Revolution everywhere, forever being repressed by a new Stalin. Assad is likened to Stalin several times.

This article is more about the Trotskyist case against Stalin than it is about Syria.

This repetitive obsession does not lead to a clear grasp of events which are not the Russian revolution. And even on this pet subject, something is wrong.

The Trotskyists keep yearning for a new revolution, just like the Bolshevik revolution. Yes, but the Bolshevik revolution ended in Stalinism. Doesn't that tell them something? Isn't it quite possible that their much-desired "revolution" might turn out just as badly in Syria, if not much worse?

Throughout history, revolts, uprisings, rebellions happen all the time, and usually end in repression. Revolution is very rare. It is more a myth than a reality, especially as Trotskyists tend to imagine it: the people all rising up in one great general strike, chasing their oppressors from power and instituting people's democracy. Has this ever happened?

For the Trotskyists, this seem to be the natural way things should happen and is stopped only by bad guys who spoil it out of meanness.

In our era, the most successful revolutions have been in Third World countries, where national liberation from Western powers was a powerful emotional engine. Successful revolutions have a program that unifies people and leaders who personify the aspirations of broad sectors of the population. Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and "modernization" – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. If the Bolshevik revolution turned Stalinist, maybe it was in part because a strong repressive leader was the only way to save "the revolution" from its internal and external enemies. There is no evidence that, had he defeated Stalin, Trotsky would have been more tender-hearted.

Countries that are deeply divided ideologically and ethnically, such as Syria, are not likely to be "modernized" without a strong rule.

McKenna acknowledges that the beginning of the Assad regime somewhat redeemed its repressive nature by modernization and social reforms. This modernization benefited from Russian aid and trade, which was lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. Yes, there was a Soviet bloc which despite its failure to carry out world revolution as Trotsky advocated, did support the progressive development of newly independent countries.

If Bashar's father Hafez al Assad had some revolutionary legitimacy in McKenna's eyes, there is no excuse for Bashar.

"In the context of a global neoliberalism, where governments across the board were enacting the most pronounced forms of deregulation and overseeing the carving up of state industries by private capital, the Assad government responded to the heightening contradictions in the Syrian economy by following suit -- by showing the ability to march to the tempo of foreign investment while evincing a willingness to cut subsidies for workers and farmers." The neoliberal turn impoverished people in the countryside, therefore creating a situation that justified "revolution".

This is rather amazing, if one thinks about it. Without the alternative Soviet bloc, virtually the whole world has been obliged to conform to anti-social neoliberal policies. Syria included. Does this make Bashar al Assad so much more a villain than every other leader conforming to U.S.-led globalization?

McKenna concludes by quoting Louis Proyect: "If we line up on the wrong side of the barricades in a struggle between the rural poor and oligarchs in Syria, how can we possibly begin to provide a class-struggle leadership in the USA, Britain, or any other advanced capitalist country?"

One could turn that around. Shouldn't such a Marxist revolutionary be saying: "if we can't defeat the oligarchs in the West, who are responsible for the neoliberal policies imposed on the rest of the world, how can we possibly begin to provide class-struggle leadership in Syria?"

The trouble with Trotskyists is that they are always "supporting" other people's more or less imaginary revolutions. They are always telling others what to do. They know it all. The practical result of this verbal agitation is simply to align this brand of Trotskyism with U.S imperialism. The obsession with permanent revolution ends up providing an ideological alibi for permanent war.

For the sake of world peace and progress, both the United States and its inadvertent Trotskyist apologists should go home and mind their own business.

[May 04, 2018] Attention Hookers: Special Counsel urgently needs your stories. We pay top dollar.

May 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

XXX -> IntercoursetheEU Fri, 05/04/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

Attention Hookers : Special Counsel urgently needs your stories. We pay top dollar. Big tits, role-play, and lying required. Television experience preferred. No drug screening. No background check. Transportation included.

Call 1-800-George-Soros or contact the Law Offices of Wray, Mueller, and Rosenstein, LLC.

[May 04, 2018] Atlantic Council Explains Why We Need To Be Propagandized For Our Own Good Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website , so you'll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , checking out my podcast , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , or buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . ..."
"... People are not turning to the MSM, they are heading straight to: MoA, ZH, PCR, RT... this is where people now turn to find the truth! The two most frequent, each appearing in six out of seven datasets? ZeroHedge and RT. ..."
"... I have never been a Trump supporter, but IMO the one positive I saw back in the elections is that his character would bring about exactly this loss of trust. Not "He's bad and we can't trust him," so much as the fact that he's polarizing, and will fight everyone, and has inadvertently caused a lot of bad people to expose themselves. ..."
May 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Atlantic Council Explains Why We Need To Be Propagandized For Our Own Good

by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:05 9 SHARES Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

I sometimes try to get establishment loyalists to explain to me exactly why we're all meant to be terrified of this "Russian propaganda" thing they keep carrying on about. What is the threat, specifically? That it makes the public less willing to go to war with Russia and its allies? That it makes us less trusting of lying, torturing, coup-staging intelligence agencies? Does accidentally catching a glimpse of that green RT logo turn you to stone like Medusa, or melt your face like in Raiders of the Lost Ark ?

"Well, it makes us lose trust in our institutions," is the most common reply.

Okay. So? Where's the threat there? We know for a fact that we've been lied to by those institutions. Iraq isn't just something we imagined . We should be skeptical of claims made by western governments, intelligence agencies and mass media. How specifically is that skepticism dangerous?

me title=

Trying to get answers to such questions from rank-and-file empire loyalists is like pulling teeth, and they are equally lacking in the mass media who are constantly sounding the alarm about Russian propaganda. All I see are stories about Russia funding environmentalists (the horror!), giving a voice to civil rights activists (oh noes!), and retweeting articles supportive of Jeremy Corbyn (think of the children!). At its very most dramatic, this horrifying, dangerous epidemic of Russian propaganda is telling westerners to be skeptical of what they're being told about the Skripal poisoning and the alleged Douma gas attack , both of which do happen to have some very significant causes for skepticism .

When you try to get down to the brass tacks of the actual argument being made and demand specific details about the specific threats we're meant to be worried about, there aren't any to be found. Nobody's been able to tell me what specifically is so dangerous about westerners being exposed to the Russian side of international debates, or of Russians giving a platform to one or both sides of an American domestic debate. Even if every single one of the allegations about Russian bots and disinformation are true ( and they aren't ), where is the actual clear and present danger? No one can say.

No one, that is, except the Atlantic Council.

me title=

In an absolutely jaw-dropping article that you should definitely read in its entirety , Elizabeth Braw took it upon herself to finally answer the question of why Russian propaganda is so dangerous, using the following hypothetical scenario :

What if Russia suddenly announced that its Baltic Fleet had dispatched an armada towards Britain? Would most people greet the news with steely resolve in the knowledge that their governments would know what to do, or would constant Kremlin-influenced reports about the incompetence of British institutions make them conclude that any resistance was pointless?

I mean, wow. Wow! Just wow. Where to even begin with this?

Before I continue, I should note that Braw is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, the shady NATO-aligned think tank with ties to powerful oligarchs whose name comes up when you look into many of the mainstream anti-Russia narratives, from the DNC hack to the discredited war propaganda firm Bellingcat to Russian trolls to the notorious PropOrNot blacklist publicized by the Washington Post . Her article , published by Defense One , is titled "We Need a NATO for Infowar", and it argues that westerners need to be propagandized by an alliance of western governments for our own good.

Back to the aforementioned excerpt. Braw claims that if Russian propaganda isn't shut down or counteracted, Russia could send a fleet of war ships to attack Britain, and the British people would react unenthusiastically? Wouldn't cheer loudly enough as the British Navy fought the Russians? Would have a defeatist emotional demeanor? What exactly is the argument here?

That's seriously her only attempt to directly address the question of where the actual danger is. Even in the most cartoonishly dramatic hypothetical scenario this Atlantic Council member can possibly imagine, there's still no tangible threat of any kind. Even if Russia was directly attacking the United Kingdom at home, and Russian propaganda had somehow magically dominated all British airwaves and been believed by the entire country, that still wouldn't have any impact on the British military's ability to fight a naval battle. There's literally no extent to which you can inflate this "Russian propaganda" hysteria to turn it into a possible threat to actual people in real life.

me title=

It gets better. Check out this excerpt:

Such responses to disinformation are like swatting flies: time-consuming and ineffective. But not addressing disinformation is ineffective, too. "Western media still have this thing where they try to be completely balanced, so they'll say, 'the Russians say this, but on the other hand the Americans say this is not true,' They end up giving a lie and the truth the same value," noted Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former president of Estonia.

I just have so many questions. Like, how desperate does a writer have to be for an expert who can lend credibility to their argument that they have to reach all the way over to a former president of Estonia? And on what planet are these people living where Russian narratives are given the same weight as western narratives by western mainstream media? How can I get to this fantastical parallel dimension where western media "try to be completely balanced" and give equal coverage to all perspectives?

Braw argues that, because Russian propaganda is so dangerous (what with the threat of British people having insufficient emotional exuberance during a possible naval battle and all), what is required is a "NATO of infowar", an alliance of western state media that is tasked with combatting Russian counter-narratives. Because, in the strange Dungeons & Dragons fantasy fairy world in which Braw penned her article, this isn't already happening.

And of course, here in the real world, it is already happening. As I wrote recently , mainstream media outlets have been going out of their minds churning out attack editorials on anyone who questions the establishment narrative about what happened in Douma. A BBC reporter recently admonished a retired British naval officer for voicing skepticism of what we're being told about Syria on the grounds that it might "muddy the waters" of the "information war" that is being fought against Russia. All day, every day, western mass media are pummeling the public with stories about how awful and scary Russians are and how everything they say is a lie.

This is because western mass media outlets are owned by western plutocrats, and those plutocrats have built their empires upon a status quo that they have a vested interest in preserving, often to the point where they will form alliances with defense and intelligence agencies to do so. They hire executives and editors who subscribe to a pro-establishment worldview, who in turn hire journalists who subscribe to a pro-establishment worldview, and in that way they ensure that all plutocrat-owned media outlets are advancing pro-plutocrat agendas.

me title=

The western empire is ruled by a loose transnational alliance of plutocrats and secretive government agencies. That loose alliance is your real government, and that government has the largest state media network in the history of civilization. The mass media propaganda machine of the western empire makes RT look like your grandmother's Facebook wall.

In that way, we are being propagandized constantly by the people who really rule us. All this panic about Russian propaganda doesn't exist because our dear leaders have a problem with propaganda, it exists because they believe only they should be allowed to propagandize us.

And, unlike Russian propaganda, western establishment propaganda actually does pose a direct threat to us. By using mass media to manipulate the ways we think and vote, our true rulers can persuade us to consent to crushing austerity measures and political impotence while the oligarchs grow richer and medicine money is spent on bombs. When we should all be revolting against an oppressive Orwellian oligarchy, we are instead lulled to sleep by those same oligarchs and their hired talking heads lying to us about freedom and democracy.

Russian propaganda is not dangerous. Having access to other ways of looking at global geopolitics is not dangerous. What absolutely is dangerous is a vast empire concerning itself with the information and ideas that its citizenry have access to. Get your rapey, manipulative fingers out of our minds, please.

If our dear leaders are so worried about our losing faith in our institutions, they shouldn't be concerning themselves with manipulating us into trusting them, they should be making those institutions more trustworthy.

Don't manipulate better, be better. The fact that an influential think tank is now openly advocating the former over the latter should concern us all.

* * *

Internet censorship is getting pretty bad, so best way to keep seeing my daily articles is to get on the mailing list for my website , so you'll get an email notification for everything I publish. My articles and podcasts are entirely reader and listener-funded, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , checking out my podcast , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , or buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2


EuroPox -> Bitchface-KILLAH Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:17 Permalink

BBC, CNN, etc. - they have already lost!

This is a great chart - it shows websites linked from 'false flag' tweets:

https://twitter.com/conspirator0/status/987147903453073409

People are not turning to the MSM, they are heading straight to: MoA, ZH, PCR, RT... this is where people now turn to find the truth! The two most frequent, each appearing in six out of seven datasets? ZeroHedge and RT.

Well done ZH!

techpriest -> Bitchface-KILLAH Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:19 Permalink

"Well, it makes us lose trust in our institutions," is the most common reply.

I have never been a Trump supporter, but IMO the one positive I saw back in the elections is that his character would bring about exactly this loss of trust. Not "He's bad and we can't trust him," so much as the fact that he's polarizing, and will fight everyone, and has inadvertently caused a lot of bad people to expose themselves.

Why should you trust people who think they have the right to take whatever amount of your money they want, use it for any purpose they want, and also who believe they have the right to harass, torture, stalk, or kill whoever they want, on any pretext they feel like thinking up?

navy62802 Fri, 05/04/2018 - 19:17 Permalink

The Atlantic Council is just another tentacle of the Soros Squid. The man should have been dealt with as a Nazi collaborator in the aftermath of World War 2. Unfortunately for humanity, he evaded accountability for his crimes against humanity during the war.

[May 04, 2018] Judge Mulls Dismissal Of Manafort Charges, Sharply Questioned Mueller Overreach Zero Hedge

May 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Judge Mulls Dismissal Of Manafort Charges, "Sharply Questioned" Mueller Overreach

by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/04/2018 - 11:39 4.1K SHARES

Like most motions to dismiss, Paul Manafort's was initially viewed as a long-shot bid to win the political operative his freedom and get out from under the thumb of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

But after today's hearing on a motion to dismiss filed by Manafort's lawyers, it's looking increasingly likely that Manafort could escape his charges - and be free of his ankle bracelets - because in a surprising rebuke of Mueller's "overreach", Eastern District of Virginia Judge T.S. Ellis, a Reagan appointee, said Mueller shouldn't have "unfettered power" to prosecute over charges that have nothing to do with collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Ellis said he's concerned Mueller is only pursuing charges against Manafort (and presumably other individuals) to pressure them into turning on Trump. The Judge added that the charges brought against Manafort didn't appear to stem from Mueller's collusion probe. Instead, they appeared to be the work of an older investigation into Manafort that was eventually dropped.

"I don't see how this indictment has anything to do with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate," Ellis said at a hearing in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, concerning a motion by Manafort to dismiss the case.

It got better: Ellis also slammed prosecutors saying it appeared they were using the indictment of Manafort to pressure him to cooperate against Trump. Manafort, 69, has pleaded not guilty and disputes Mueller's assertion that he violated U.S. laws when he worked for a decade as a political consultant for pro-Russian groups in Ukraine.

"You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud," Ellis said. "You really care about what information he might give you about Mr. Trump and what might lead to his impeachment or prosecution. "

According to Bloomberg, Ellis is overseeing one of two indictments against Manafort. Manafort is also charged in Washington with money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent of Ukraine.

* * *

Manafort's lawyers had asked the judge in the Virginia case to dismiss an indictment filed against him in what was their third effort to beat back criminal charges by attacking Mueller's authority. The judge also questioned why Manafort's case there could not be handled by the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia, rather than the special counsel's office, as it is not Russia-related . A question many others have asked, as well.

Ellis has given prosecutors two weeks to show what evidence they have that Manafort was complicit in colluding with the Russians. If they can't come up with any, he may, presumably, dismiss the case. Ellis also asked the special counsel's office to share privately with him a copy of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein's August 2017 memo elaborating on the scope of Mueller's Russia probe. He said the current version he has been heavily redacted.

At that point, should nothing change materially, Manafort may be a free man; needless to say, a dismissal would set precedent and be nothing short of groundbreaking by potentially making it much harder for Mueller to turn other witnesses against the president.

[May 04, 2018] In their March 15 letter, 39 US senators called on the Treasury and State Departments to utilize all the sanction tools at their disposal to fight the Nord Stream 2 project to bring cheap Russian gas to Europe.

May 04, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

In their March 15 letter , 39 US senators called on the Treasury and State Departments to utilize all the sanction tools at their disposal to fight the Nord Stream 2 project to bring cheap Russian gas to Europe. On March 29, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told Russia's RBK TV that he cannot rule out the possibility that Russian assets in America could be seized over the Skripal case. If Washington goes that far, it will be pure highway robbery. And the response will not be long in coming. That interview took place right after the British parliament had announced an investigation into some money-laundering schemes allegedly associated with Russia. The UK government has unveiled its "Fusion Doctrine" to counter what it's calling Russian propaganda.

The US policy of making Europeans bow to pressure has been largely successful. The leading European powers -- the UK, Germany and France – -- are pushing to force the EU to impose new sanctions on Iran, in order to persuade the US not to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last-minute attempt to keep the agreement in effect, as it is widely expected that President Trump will not certify it in May. Europeans may bow to American pressure in a bid to appease Washington, but Russia is also a party to the agreement, which cannot be scuttled without Moscow's consent. Adding additional conditions will violate the terms of the deal. It won't be supported internationally. If new Iran sanctions are introduced unilaterally by the West, the issue will become a bone of contention that will further worsen relations with Moscow.

[May 03, 2018] How Oil Hedging Could Cost Companies $7 Billion by Tsvetana Paraskova

May 03, 2018 | oilprice.com

... hedging contracts could result in US$7 billion in losses if WTI prices were to stabilize at $68 a barrel this year, Wood Mackenzie analyst Andrew McConn told Bloomberg in an interview.

[May 03, 2018] Can $80 Oil Be Justified by Tsvetana Paraskova

May 03, 2018 | oilprice.com

Some analysts do expect oil to reach $80 in the coming months.

Francisco Blanch, head of global commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas that he sees oil hitting that level in this quarter, due to some bottlenecks emerging in the Permian that could slow down the growth pace.

Goldman Sachs, for its part, sees oil prices at $80 by the fourth quarter of this year due to expectations that global oil demand growth will stay high this year, and that China's demand growth may be even higher than currently estimated.

[May 03, 2018] A sovereign that HAS NO DEBT IN A FOREIGN CURRENCY has zero risk of insolvency

May 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | May 2, 2018 5:28:28 PM | 175

WJ @172--

Just when during WW1 the British determined they were going to be backstabbed by their American cousins is unknown to me, but hopefully my unfinished research into that era will provide an answer. Clearly, Keynes knew what would occur as he observed the proceedings at Versailles, which prompted him to go to Marseilles to write Consequences. I greatly disagree with most of Wikipedia's discussion of Consequences except for this bit in the intro:

"In his book, he argued for a much more generous peace, not out of a desire for justice or fairness – these are aspects of the peace that Keynes does not deal with – but for the sake of the economic well-being of all of Europe, including the Allied Powers, which the Treaty of Versailles and its associated treaties would prevent. [My Emphasis]

Thanks to Wilson's stroke, we'll never know how he really felt about the last months of his administration; his wife becoming the first de facto female president of the USA. One of the better indicators about the nascent Deep States's feeling about Versailles is their behavior during the 1920s as it laid the ground work for the Great Depression's onslaught with Dollar Diplomacy and Teapot Dome exemplifying its moral compass. Prohibition's gangsters and coppers provided the required distraction of the masses until the money vanished. Then came radio, the beginnings of mass media and onset of media conglomeration.

paulmeli , May 2, 2018 6:07:44 PM | 176

james @ 166
i think what is missing in your analysis "how governments that print their own currency such as US, UK and China can print as much as they want and use it as they like" is the key acknowledgement that the us$ has been used as world currency.

and Canada.

The US $ is the World Currency because the US is the only country in the World that exports it's currency more than $0.5 Trillion/year. Like a virus really. It's that simple if the US didn't export $ it wouldn't be the reserve currency.

The other part about sovereigns being able to "print all they want" is a falsehood without context.

First of all, when people refer to "printing" it usually means "spending" although I'm not sure they think of it in those terms. The actual printing of physical currency/coins moves money from checking accounts in the banking system to petty cash accounts. No new money is created by that kind of "printing". About 2% of US $ is coins or currency, the rest exists only on balance sheets.

Secondly, a sovereign is able to buy anything for sale in it's own currency as long as the resource being bought exists and is for sale. You can't buy something that doesn't exist. The constraint on money creation is resources not arithmetic, which is the most widely misunderstood characteristic of fiat currencies.

Further, a sovereign that HAS NO DEBT IN A FOREIGN CURRENCY has zero risk of insolvency there is no liability (in it's own currency) a sovereign cannot satisfy. The US holds no foreign debt. Nor does Canada, Australia, Japan, UK, etc. as far as I know. Every member in the Eurozone is a de-facto holder of foreign debt (the Euro member countries cannot freely create Euro's. They are more like private borrowers).

gov'ts were in a position to print their own money and not have to pay interest thru the private banking sector for it.

James, this is another myth unless you are talking about the Eurozone. The US Federal government does not pay interest to the banking sector, it pays interest to holders of Treasury securities. To do so was a CHOICE not a requirement. Paying interest on previously created monies was voluntary. Congress created the banking system (for the US) through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which created and governs the banking system, and chose to pay interest later after WWI I believe (probably as a give-away to bankers who didn't think they made enough money off of WWi). MRW knows a lot more about this history if he's around.

Interest paid on the "debt" (all money is debt, interest or not by definition) is a net transfer of funds to the private sector (those who hold Treasury securities). Those funds increase the money supply. Anyone can hold Treasury securities, not just banks. They are a risk-free investment vehicle (the only one).

Further, it is the Fed that sets interest rates, not the bond-holders ("bond vigilantes") as they are referred to. 10 years of zero-interest rates post 2008 should be proof enough of that.

Treasury securities (bonds) move $ from a checking account at the Fed to a savings account at the FED. They are $ that earn interest. This is all explained in the Mosler pdf I linked to.

In double-entry accounting a National Debt™ for the government is NATIONAL SAVINGS for the citizens, as are the interest payments. All this worry about sovereign debt is silliness. Without sovereign debt the currency of issue wouldn't exist. Sovereign debt is our money (although the elites won't let us acquire much of it).

ashley albanese , May 2, 2018 6:40:23 PM | 177
May2 172

Of course the Marxist critique of and challenge to Capitalism was central in all this ! The West was competing with the East ( simplifying)and when this situation changed with Anglo Hegemony 1990 , these balances that had seen overall development towards the 'welfare state ' disintegrated .

Once the U S got its opportunistic run at this situation, crudely grasping for further power we rapidly reached the present situation , with its repeat of World War scenarios , as competing economic / militarised blocs do exactly that !

paulmeli , May 2, 2018 6:49:08 PM | 178
@ SteveK9 @ 160

Yes, Mosler not being an economist is a feature, not a bug. I agree, economists are idiots, but I suspect they're paid idiots. What's the Upton Sinclair quote ?

From where I sit MMT savvy economists are not idiots. They are however outcasts. If your not an insider you're an outsider, and outsiders don't get to make the big money, if they don't starve.

Here's a video excerpt regarding our pre-eminent economist Paul Krugman lest you think he isn't in on the con:

"Never Touch the Money System"

james , May 2, 2018 7:51:46 PM | 179
@176 paulmeli.. thanks.. i had to read your comment a few times, and it still isn't sinking in fully.. i am getting some of it, but maybe it is my conspiracy run brain that wants to know how we've been screwed over by the banks.. that is what i believe has happened...MRW.. haven't seen him in a good while.. every time he would come all my negative stereo types about the private banking sector were put on hold, as i recall!

i think a lot of this has to do with exporting / importing between countries... especially the part about holding foreign debt.. how does another country pay for something? this is why we read today of how russia, china and iran are getting into financial arrangements whereby they don't have to go thru the us$.. wasn't this a good part of the reason the usa went to war in iraq, or libya? iraq and libya wanted to trade in euros, as opposed to us$.. well - hopefully MRW can come and bring me back to reality! it seems the world financial markets are one big ponzi scheme... think of the derivative markets.. one is not trading in some actual commodity.. it is increasingly opaque and shrouded in speculation, while run on computers...

i am sorry paul, but i can only go so far in my understanding here.. as i understand it, something is very wrong in the financial system at present.. it is also the reason these financial sanction games are typically a lead up to war... one group has undue power and influence over the worlds finances - the usa - and they exercise this clout via sanctions, and if that doesn't work - war / regime change - etc. etc... obviously i am missing something here, but i will be damned if i buy the official hokum from an economist! thanks for trying to educate me.. n

Josh , May 2, 2018 7:56:05 PM | 180
I despise Netanyahu but please change the headline from Netanyahoo as Yahoo was used as an antisemtic slur in the past. I'm sure the author was not aware of this outdated meaning but it does the cause harm. Thank you.
paulmeli , May 2, 2018 8:07:23 PM | 181
james @ 179
something is very wrong in the financial system at present..

I think it's always been this way but now the corruption is so out in the open it seems like it's worse. I'm not sure it is.

The way finance corrupts is that obscene riches are offered to state leaders to sell out their own citizens for pennies on the dollar. And they do it, because if they don't regime change will follow. It's similar to the way corporate raiders take over businesses, sell off the assets and load the business up with debt, then sell what's left. With all of that debt said business has no chance of success. A handful of financial guys (parasites of the worse kind) walk away with the cash.

Corporate strip-mining - the business plan is simple and it's always the same - no matter if it's a business or a country.

david hogg , May 2, 2018 8:23:36 PM | 182
Something to keep in mind about all of this Iran business is that Trump can now move full speed ahead with Bolton and Pompeo in place. I find it oddly comforting that, generally speaking, Trump and his administration make no attempt to cloak their psychopathy in coded language. I thought these remarks from Pompeo yesterday as he addressed the lackeys at Foggy Bottom yesterday particularly illuminating in this regard:

"I talked at my hearing about the fact that this nation is so exceptional, and so incredibly blessed and the facts that derive from that are that it also creates a responsibility, a duty for America all across the world. And I know for certain that America can't execute that duty, can't achieve its objectives absent you all. Absent executing America's foreign policy in every corner of the world with incredible vigor and incredible energy. And I look forward to helping you all advance that."

spudski , May 2, 2018 8:44:26 PM | 183
paulmeli @ 181

Excellent précis of corporate/country asset stripping.

Pft , May 2, 2018 9:16:21 PM | 184
@paulmeli 176

Money supply increases with debt creation and decreases with debt payment. Wipe out all debt and money supply is zero. Taking out a loan is an example of money creation. The money does not exist in the system till its deposited into your account. Paying off the mortgage depletes the money supply.

Its true that the government does not pay interest on money the Fed loans them. Thats why so little is loaned directly to the government until the last crash. Money is not created by interest. That money does not exist without new debt. The government borrows the money to pay the interest.

A key reason the US is the reserve currency is OPEC. OPEC serves Big Oil interests which is interlocked with Big Banking and requires purchases of Oil to be in USD. Hence the name Petro Dollar. OPEC may produce the oil but its The Big Oil (4 sisters) that transports most of it to market, refines much of it and provides the equipment for OPEC members to get the oil out of the ground.

We also export a tremendous amount of food that requires payment in USD, and US manufacturing is now in China and consumer debt allows us to purchase a great amount of goods from China in USD. Manufacturers in China need to pay expenses in RMB so sell USD to Chinese banks. Chinas Central Bank Prints up RMB at no interest to buy the USD and then loans it to the US at interest.

Its a perfect system and is basically why the USD will never fail unless those in control want it to.

[May 02, 2018] Sanctimonious liar James Comey s Forgotten Rescue Of Bush-Era Torture

While Mueller claim to fame was his handing of 9/11 investigation, Comey made his mark in approval of torture...
May 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Bovard via The Mises Institute,

" Here I stand, I can do no other," James Comey told President George W. Bush in 2004 when Bush pressured Comey - who was then Deputy Attorney General - to approve an unlawful antiterrorist policy.

Comey, who was FBI chief from 2013 to 2017, was quoting a line reputedly uttered by Martin Luther in 1521, when he told Holy Roman Emperor Charles V that he would not recan t his sweeping criticisms of the Catholic Church. Comey's quotation of himself quoting the father of the Reformation is par for the self-reverence of his new memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership .

MSNBC host Chris Matthews recently declared, "James Comey made his bones by standing up against torture. He was a made man before Trump came along." Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria , in a column declaring that Americans should be "deeply grateful" to lawyers like Comey, declared, "The Bush administration wanted to claim that its 'enhanced interrogation techniques' were lawful. Comey believed they were not... So Comey pushed back as much as he could."

Martin Luther risked death to fight against what he considered the heresies of his time. Comey, a top Bush administration policymaker, found a safer way to oppose the worldwide secret U.S. torture regime widely considered a heresy against American values. Comey approved brutal practices and then wrote some memos and emails fretting about the optics.

Comey became Deputy Attorney General in late 2003 and " had oversight of the legal justification used to authorize " key Bush programs in the war on terror. At that time, the Bush White House was pushing the Justice Department to again sign off on an array of extreme practices that had begun shortly after the 9/11 attacks. A 2002 Justice Department memo had leaked out that declared that the president was entitled to ignore federal law in approving extreme interrogation techniques. Photos had also leaked from Abu Ghraib prison showing the stacking of naked prisoners with bags over their heads, mock electrocution via a wire connected to a man's penis, guard dogs on the verge of ripping into naked men, and grinning U.S. male and female soldiers celebrating the bloody degradation. A confidential CIA Inspector General report had just warned that post-9/11 CIA interrogation methods may violate the international Convention Against Torture .

Rather than ending the abuses, Comey repudiated the memo. Speaking to the media in a not-for-attribution session on June 22, 2004, Comey declared that the 2002 memo was "overbroad," "abstract academic theory," and "legally unnecessary ." Comey helped oversee crafting a new memo with different legal footing to justify the same interrogation methods.

Comey twice gave explicit approval for waterboardin g, which sought to break detainees with near-drowning.

This practice had been recognized as a war crime by the U.S. government since the Spanish American War .

Comey wrote in his memoir that he was losing sleep over concern about Bush administration torture polices. But losing sleep was not an option for detainees because Comey approved sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique . Detainees could be forcibly kept awake for up to 180 hours until they confessed their sins. How did this work? At Abu Ghraib, the notorious Iraqi prison, one FBI agent reported seeing a detainee " handcuffed to a railing with a nylon sack on his head and a shower curtain draped around him, being slapped by a soldier to keep him awake ."

Comey also approved " wall slamming" -- which, as law professor David Cole wrote, meant that detainees could be thrown against a wall up to 30 times . Comey also signed off on the CIA using "interrogation" methods such as facial slaps, locking detainees in small boxes for 18 hours, and forced nudity. When the secret Comey memo approving those methods finally became public in 2009 , many Americans were aghast - and relieved that the Obama administration had repudiated Bush policies .

When it came to opposing torture, Comey's version of "Here I stand" had more loopholes than a reverse mortgage contract. Though Comey in 2005 approved each of 13 controversial extreme interrogation methods , he objected to combining multiple methods on one detainee. It was as if Martin Luther grudgingly approved of the Catholic Church selling indulgences to individually expunge sins for adultery, robbery, lying, and gluttony but vehemently objected if all the sins were expunged in one lump sum payment.

In 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee finally released a massive report, Americans learned grisly details of the CIA torture regime that Comey helped legally sanctify - including death via hypothermia, rape-like rectal feeding of detainees, compelling detainees to stand long periods on broken legs, and dozens of cases of innocent people pointlessly brutalized. Psychologists aided the torture regime, offering hints on how to destroy the will and resistance of prisoners. The only CIA official to go to prison for the torture scandal was courageous whistleblower John Kiriakou.

If Comey had resigned in 2004 or 2005 to protest the torture techniques he now claims to abhor, he would deserve some of the praise he is now receiving. Instead, he remained in the Bush administration but wrote an email summarizing his objections, declaring that "it was my job to protect the department and the A.G. [Attorney General] and that I could not agree to this because it was wrong." A 2009 New York Times analysis noted that Comey and two colleagues "have largely escaped criticism [for approving torture] because they raised questions about interrogation and the law." In Washington, writing emails is "close enough for government work" to convey sainthood.

When Comey finally exited the Justice Department in August 2005 to become a lavishly-paid senior vice president for Lockheed Martin , he proclaimed in a farewell speech that protecting the Justice Department's "reservoir" of "trust and credibility" requires "vigilance" and "an unerring commitment to truth ." But Comey perpetuated policies that shattered the moral credibility of both the Justice Department and the U.S. government.

Comey failed to heed another Martin Luther admonition: " You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say ."

Vote up! 7 Vote down! 0

enough of this Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:05 Permalink

The guy is a sanctimonious liar.

beepbop -> enough of this Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:20 Permalink

Torture is just a symptom of a BIGGER problem, and Paying lip service to Christianity is their way of hiding what they're really doing:

US Politicians have set aside the country's Christian roots and

fully embraced Satanic-Talmudic ways to please Israhell,

the Scourge of Empires .

???ö? -> beepbop Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:32 Permalink

I was against Comey, then I was for Comey, and now I'm against Comey again.

ˎ.l..

MillionDollarButter -> ???ö? Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:35 Permalink

"We all voted for Hillary." -The Bushes

P.S. Don't trust the plan, the plan is Greater Israel.

gigadeath Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:06 Permalink

A saint with a capital s. /S

WTFUD Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:09 Permalink

Lockheed, heard that name before, can't quite place it, it'll come back to me, every day in my nightmares.

DiggingInTheDirt Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:49 Permalink

Fl*ck Comey. OMG. I've been wanting to puke into a wastebasket over all of Comey's crap lately. Actually, wanting to puke is one of my best bullshit barometers. He's a lying sack of shit, strutting his sanctimonious arrogance all over the tee-vee. Meanwhile back home his family of women wear pink hats to protest Trump. Wonder if James the Great told his family members he approved torture?

Neochrome Tue, 05/01/2018 - 23:58 Permalink

Keeping his back to the wall and stabbing others from behind...

And it worked until it didn't work anymore.

Aireannpure Wed, 05/02/2018 - 00:17 Permalink

Bush was torture. Bowf of dem.

[May 02, 2018] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Highly recommended!
Money quote: " neoliberalism is the fight of finance to subdue society at large, and to make the bankers and creditors today in the position that the landlords were under feudalism."
Notable quotes:
"... ... if you take the Bible literally, it's the fight in almost all of the early books of the Old Testament, the Jewish Bible, all about the fight over inde