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Alternatives to Neoliberalism

News  Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  Recommended Links Alternatives to Neo-liberalism by Alex Callinicos Casino Capitalism Secular Stagnation Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism Gangster Capitalism Anti-globalization movement Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Globalization of Corporatism Inverted Totalitarism  
Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions The Great Transformation Right to protect If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism America’s Financial Oligarchy   Disaster capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Harvard Mafia Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen The Decline of the Middle Class
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberalism Bookshelf John Kenneth Galbraith Globalization of Financial Flows Humor Etc

Neoliberalism leads to neofascism: Neoliberal globalization as a catalyst for the rise of ultra-nationalism and neo-fascism

Historically connection of neoliberalism and neo-fascism is extremely strong: one of first experiments in introduction of neoliberal ideology (Pinochet putsch in Chile) has definite neo-fascist colors.

The worst violence occurred in the first three months of the coup's aftermath, with the number of suspected leftists killed or "disappeared" (desaparecidos) soon reaching into the thousand.[6] In the days immediately following the coup, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs informed Henry Kissinger, that the National Stadium was being used to hold 5,000 prisoners, and as late as 1975, the CIA was still reporting that up to 3,811 prisoners were still being held in the Stadium.[7] Amnesty International, reported that as many as 7,000 political prisoners in the National Stadium had been counted on 22 September 1973.[8] Nevertheless, it is often quoted in the press, that some 40,000 prisoners were detained in the Stadium.[9] Some of the most famous cases of "desaparecidos" are Charles Horman, a U.S. citizen who was killed during the coup itself,[10] Chilean songwriter Víctor Jara, and the October 1973 Caravan of Death (Caravana de la Muerte) where at least 70 persons were killed.[11] Other operations include Operation Colombo during which hundreds of left-wing activists were murdered and Operation Condor, carried out with the security services of other Latin American dictatorships.
Memorial to victims of the Dirty war in Chile

Following Pinochet's defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the 1991 Rettig Commission, a multipartisan effort from the Aylwin administration to discover the truth about the human-rights violations, listed a number of torture and detention centers (such as Colonia Dignidad, the ship Esmeralda or Víctor Jara Stadium), and found that at least 3,200 people were killed or "disappeared" by the regime.

A later report, the Valech Report (published in November 2004), confirmed the figure of 3,200 deaths but dramatically reduced the alleged cases of disappearances. It tells of some 28,000 arrests in which the majority of those detained were incarcerated and in a great many cases tortured.[12] Some 30,000 Chileans were exiled and received abroad,[13][14][15] in particular in Argentina, as political refugees; however, they were followed in their exile by the DINA secret police, in the frame of Operation Condor which linked South-American dictatorships together against political opponents.[16] Some 20,000-40,000 Chilean exiles were holders of passports stamped with the letter "L" (which stood for lista nacional), identifying them as persona non grata and had to seek permission before entering the country.[17] Nevertheless, Chilean Human Rights groups maintain several hundred thousand were forced into exile.[14]

According to the Latin American Institute on Mental Health and Human Rights (ILAS), "situations of extreme trauma" affected about 200,000 persons; this figure includes individuals killed, tortured (following the UN definition of torture), or exiled and their immediate relatives.[citation needed] While more radical groups such as the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) were staunch advocates of a Marxist revolution, it is currently accepted that the junta deliberately targeted nonviolent political opponents as well

A court in Chile sentenced, on March 19, 2008, 24 former police officers in cases of kidnapping, torture and murder that happened just after a U.S.-backed coup overthrew President Salvador Allende, a Socialist, on September 11, 1973.[18]

Neo-fascist putsch in Chile got stamp of approval personally from Milton Friedman, who actually was instrumental in moving Chile into neoliberal orbit (Neoliberalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):  

In 1955, a select group of Chilean students (later known as the Chicago Boys) were invited to the University of Chicago to pursue postgraduate studies in economics. They worked directly under Friedman and his disciple Arnold Harberger, while also being exposed to Hayek.

When they returned to Chile in the 1960s, the Chicago Boys began a concerted effort to spread the philosophy and policy recommendations of the Chicago and Austrian schools, setting up think tanks and publishing in ideologically sympathetic media. Under the military dictatorship headed by Pinochet and severe social repression, the Chicago boys implemented radical economic reform. The latter half of the 1970s witnessed rapid and extensive privatization, deregulation, and reductions in trade barriers.

In 1978 policies that would reduce the role of the state and infuse competition and individualism into areas such as labor relations, pensions, health, and education were introduced.[2] These policies resulted in widening inequality as they negatively impacted the wages, benefits and working conditions of Chile's working class.[49][50] According to Chilean economist Alejandro Foxley, by the end of Pinochet's reign around 44% of Chilean families were living below the poverty line.[51] In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein argues that by the late 1980s the economy had stabilized and was growing, but around 45% of the population had fallen into poverty while the wealthiest 10% saw their incomes rise by 83%.[52]

Two decades after it was first used by pro-market intellectuals in the 1960s, the meaning of neoliberalism changed. Those who regularly used the term neoliberalism in the 1980s typically applied it in its present-day, radical sense, denoting market fundamentalism.

In 1990 the military dictatorship ended. Hayek argued that increased economic freedom had put pressure on the dictatorship over time and increased political freedom. Many years earlier, in The Road to Serfdom (1944), Hayek had argued that "economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends."[53] The Chilean scholars Javier Martínez and Alvaro Díaz reject that argument pointing to the long tradition of democracy in Chile. The return of democracy had required the defeat of the Pinochet regime though it had been fundamental in saving capitalism. The essential contribution came from profound mass rebellions and finally old party elites using old institutional mechanisms to bring back democracy.[54]

The essence of neoliberalism is globalization of corporatism, which previously have distinct national boundaries and some forms of which were rabidly nationalistic (for example German national socialism). Just imagine a single global state with the capital in Washington with the typical for such a superstate flow of people to capital and you essentially catch the essence of the USA elite neoliberal dream -- Pax Americana.  There are also second class cities such as London, Berlin, Tokyo, etc which while not as attractive are much better then the "deep province", such as Prague, Warsaw or Sanct-Petersburg. to say nothing about impoverished "countryside" such as Kiev, Tallin, Riga, Vilnus, etc.

So the flow of people and commodities (and first of all oil) has distinct direction from the periphery to the center. To keep each country in the line and this flow of commodities uninterrupted, this "Capitalist International" relies on the part of national capitalist class and elite which is connected to international corporations serving the same role as Communist Parties or Communist International. Such as part is often called Compradors or Fifth Column of Globalization

And this "international elite" is even more responsive to pressure from Washington,  as its fortunes and often families reside if "first class cities" of G7. This way neoliberalism is able to suppress the other part of the elite of particular country which favors "national" development and typically resides inside the country. As a PR smokescreen neoliberalism pay lip service to national development, but in essence it is hostile to it and favor "underdevelopment" of nations outside G7. It's anti-social and has distinct schadenfreude attitude to weak nations: it derives pleasure from seeing the misfortunes of other nations and it try to exploit such moments ("disaster capitalism"). Vae victis as Romans used to say (Victor's justice).

And the winner in neoliberal revolutions is not the middle class and lower strata of population (although they might be sold on it and fight for it, being deceived by propaganda as is the case with the current generation of Americans), but international and local oligarchy represented via international corporations and banks. For bottom 90% population the hangover after the neoliberal revolution comes really quick. This affect was clearly visible after successful color revolution in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine.

In cases of Georgia and Ukraine the neoliberal leaders lost power after their term and there were efforts to put them in jail for abuse of power and corruption, which were not successful only due to USA pressure (only former Ukrainian Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko, the Joan of Arc of Orange revolution was jailed). In any case popularity of leaders of neoliberal revolutions drops to almost unheard levels with Victor Yushchenko commanding 2% approval rating in Ukraine before the end of his term.

Neoliberalism also has common with fascism "white man burden" syndrome (I cite Neoliberalism is fascism):

One last prefatory remark: I think it is important to recognize that fascism (forms of contemporary conservatism) is a result of neoliberal thought. It is not simply a supplement that aims to save neoliberalism from itself. So, even as forms of religious fundamentalism provide supplements to the extremes of neoliberalism, neoliberalism on its own has horribly conservative effects. The passage below comes from:

TCS Daily - House of Pain: Why Failure Is Important.

Every successful society has devised ways of separating incompetent or systematically unlucky people from the control of valuable resources. (That's why civilized nations provide children and legally incompetent individuals with guardians and trustees.) This is an essential process for all but the most wealthy of nations, e.g., those cursed by great oil wealth. (This windfall wealth situation is the national analogue of individuals winning the lottery; a harbinger of bad things that follow the lack of a need to husband resources.)

A society's economic success is increased if it has sure and quick ways to accomplish this separation, however painful to those who suffer losses. While there will be political pressures to buffer folks from the consequences of economic folly or bad luck, it is socially dangerous to do so. Reality checks should have force, so that those who fail to prudently manage resources will not keep control over them.

Let's identify the problems with the passage. First, failure is a matter of incompetence or bad luck. Although bad luck is qualified with the term 'systemic,' the writer's flip attitude overlooks systemic forms of exclusion like race, sex, or citizenship. It occludes as well the impact of inherited wealth (a form of the systemic protection of the incompetent) and generational poverty. Second, incompetence and bad luck are equated with being civilized. To be unlucky, then, is to be childlike, immature, incompetence, and barbaric (attributes long associated with justifications for colonialism). I'm going to skip the section on oil wealth, although I would think that people with more knowledge of the Middle East and the ways that the Mid East figures in neoliberal rhetoric would have interesting things to add here.

In 2014 a lot of people here condemned excesses of Ukraine nationalism, especially the part of Galician nationalism the has clear neo-fascist flavor and that now attempts to colonize South and Eastern Ukraine in a kind of replay of Drang nach Osten.

But rise of nationalism is a pan-European phenomenon now. And it is observable in almost any county, including but not limited to France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and even UK.

Is not this is a (somewhat pervert) reaction to excesses of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization? In other words is not the key side effects of neoliberal globalization is the rise of ultra nationalist and neo-fascist movements all over the world?  Many researchers think that yes (Globalization, ethnic conflict and nationalism Daniele Conversi - Academia.edu):

The force of nationalism has spread well over the nineteenth century into the age of globalization. There are thus parallels between modernization and globalization as sti-mulating factors for nationalism and ethnic conflict. Although the reach of globalizationis historically unprecedented, some of its features accompanied the rise of modernity andthe advent of the modern nation state. In particular, both resulted in the demise of older boundaries and the construction of new ones. Whereas industrialization destroyed localand regional boundaries by superimposing national boundaries on them, globalizationdestroyed national boundaries by superimposing a plethora of supra-national and corpo-rate networks on them, including mafias, organized crime, and multi-national corpora-tions (MNCs), none of which are as easily identifiable on a political map as sovereign, countries still are. The adoption of planetary rules to comply with the standards set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank has unsurprisingly resulted in global disempowerment, at least according to the perception of influential NGOs activists (Korten 2001).

Has all this also led to a decline in national identities? Not at all. Partly because nationalcultures have been seriously damaged or reshaped by globalization, we have seen a global intensification of ethnic belligerence. Moreover, the formation of new elites and the spread of capitalist wealth have led to nationalist self-assertion, while cultural impoverishment spurred a generalized need for compensatory ethnic assertiveness.

... ... ...

If nationalism cannot be explained independently from the onset of modernity andmodern state-making, both are enmeshed in the expansion of warfare. Nationalism manifested itself in an era of inter-state competition, the collapse of boundaries, economic expansion, mass migration, general insecurity, political centralization, obsessivelaw-making, societal policing, and drastic militarization, finally leading to war. In them eanwhile, the Pax Britannica ensuing Waterloo provided the impetus for colonialexpansion while fomenting inter-imperial rivalries and competition (Conversi 2007).Thus, just as Europe was accumulating wealth, power, and armaments in anticipation of the unprecedented conflagration, its global economic reach affected broader and broader areas of the world. Economic competition and destructive warfare were just beingexported beyond European borders. Linda Colley notes:

the profit and the price of this hundred-year partial European peace was unprecedented Western, and especially British, freedom to concentrate on global empire. In 1800, the European powers, together with Russia and the United States, laid claim to some 35 percent of the globe’s total land area. By 1914 [their] proportion of the globe … had risen to 84 percent (Colley 2002:311).

By 1914, the West had also accumulated enough economic wealth and weapons of mass destruction to unleash the greatest manslaughter in human history. The totalitarian era following the First World War has been described as the culmination of a pattern of mass dislocation founded on modernity (Arendt 1958; Bauman 1989). As we shall see later, the emergence of totalitarianism in Europe coincided with the first wave of deep Americanization, including the triumph of Hollywood, cigarette consumption, the car culture, and other US products meant for mass distribution.

... ... ...

The expansion of nationalism throughout the globe is hence the spreading out of aWestern idea. In other words, nationalism is an essential component of Westernization.As I have argued, nationalism cannot be understood outside the devastating impact of modernity, particularly industrialization, with its demise of traditional lifestyles, skills,cultures, and communities (Gellner 2006). Such a devastation was suciently all-pervasiveto argue that the victory of nationalism represented the victory of a surrogate sense of community, which for some was a colossal
‘ fraud’ (Gellner 2006) or an invented tradition (Hobsbawm 1983). Thus, for Gellner the nationalists spoke in defence of a hypo-thetical Gemeinschaft, but actually practiced the construction of a novel Gesellschaft, the two being largely incompatible. For both Gellner and Hobsbawm nationalism was not much less than a form of cultural
brainwashing. For others, the whole process was not only counterfeit, it was based on the conspiracy of emerging rapacious economic and political elites, which used selected elements of popular tradition while invoking nationhood, just as populists often invoke the defence of the people. For instance, the role of secret societies like the Italian carbonari is a widely known and omni-present feature of nineteenth-century century mobilization. Secret paramilitary groups of patriots played a pivotal role in the spread of most nationalist movements. Karl Marx’s characterization of nationalism as a form of false consciousness manipulated by the bourgeoisie is a well-known example of this conspiracy approach. Traditionalist, anarchical, conservative, and even liberal approaches often share similar views of nationalism as a strategy of elites. The broader trend is often known as instrumentalism(Smith 1998),because it emphasizes the mere instrumentality of nationhood. Nations do no exist assuch; they are simply cultural tools in the hands of elites or proto-elites who seek to mobilize the masses on the basis of an emotional appeal to a common but fictitious nationality.

As we shall see, in its current shape cultural globalization is often understood as a one-way importation of standardized cultural items and icons from a single country, the United States of America, to the rest of the world regardless of the fact that most of theitems are actually made in China. For many, globalization is synonymous with Westernization (la Branche 2003, 2005, Latouche 1996) or, more accurately, Americanization.The international consequence of Americanization is a widespread sense of cultural insecurity vis-à-vis an unfathomable force that nobody seems capable of containing(Amin 2004). Because this perception has been so far unable to produce organized, rational and universal responses, it tends to express itself through visceral, rudimentary,and unpredictable forms of anti-Americanism (Barber 1995).

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright showed insights about the US full-spectrum dominance cultural policy when she said that Cultural factors play a pivotalrole in many of the international challenges we face
our cultural programs are central -- and I underline that —  central to the success of American foreign policy
(Albright2000). Once out of office, she adopted a more cautious position, considering the risks and damages infl
icted by extreme forms of Americanization. For Bacevich (2002), the economic openness implicit in neoliberalism produces a form of globalization that is inevitably synonymous with Americanization, since it is predicated on a national security approach founded on global dominance.


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[Sep 18, 2017] Looks like Trump initially has a four point platform that was anti-neoliberal in its essence: non-interventionism, no to neoliberal globalization, no to outsourcing of jobs, and no to multiculturism. All were betrayed very soon

Highly recommended!
Jun 02, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

It looks like Trump initially has a four point platform that was anti-neoliberal in its essence:

  1. Non-interventionism. End the wars for the expansion of American neoliberal empire. Détente was Russia. Abolishing NATO and saving money on this. Let European defend themselves. Etc.
  2. No to neoliberal globalization. Abolishing of transnational treaties that favor large multinationals such as TPP, NAFTA, etc. Tariffs and other means of punishing corporations who move production overseas. Repatriation of foreign profits to the USA and closing of tax holes which allow to keep profits in tax heavens without paying a dime to the US government.
  3. No to neoliberal "transnational job market" -- free movement of labor. Criminal prosecution and deportation of illegal immigrants. Cutting intake of refugees. Curtailing legal immigration, especially fake and abused programs like H1B. Making it more difficult for people from countries with substantial terrorist risk to enter the USA including temporary prohibition of issuing visas from certain (pretty populous) Muslim countries.
  4. No to the multiculturalism. Stress on "Christian past" and "white heritage" of American society and the role of whites in building the country. Rejection of advertising "special rights" of minorities such as black population, LGBT, etc. Promotion them as "identity wedges" in elections was the trick so dear to DemoRats and, especially Hillary and Obama.

That means that Trump election platform on an intuitive level has caught several important problem that were created in the US society by dismantling of the "New Deal" and rampant neoliberalism practiced since Reagan ("Greed is good" mantra).

Of cause, after election he decided to practice the same "bait and switch" maneuver as Obama. Generally he folded in less then 100 days. Not without help from DemoRats (Neoliberal Democrats) which created a witch hunt over "Russian ties" with their dreams of the second Watergate.

But in any case, this platform still provides a path to election victory in any forthcoming election, as problems listed are real , are not solved, and are extremely important for lower 90% of Americans. Tulsi Gabbard so far is that only democratic politician that IMHO qualifies. Sanders is way too old and somewhat inconsistent on No.1.

Frank was the first to note this "revolutionary" part of Tramp platform:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/07/donald-trump-why-americans-support

Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.

Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame.

He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies' CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

[Jun 09, 2017] Return to the New Deal capitalism is impossible but neoliberalsm have no solution to the current economic problems iether

Notable quotes:
"... No I want the return on New Deal Capitalism. But this is impossible as managerial class changed it allegiance and the political block that made the New Deal possible no longer exists. ..."
"... I do not see the alternative to neoliberalism right now. Soviet style "state capitalism" (which some call socialism) is definitely worse. Over centralization proved to be really deadly for large states. ..."
"... Left is not panacea for solving economic problems. Neither is the US style neoliberalism. There is probably "golden level" in redistributive policies like in tennis: if you hold the racket too tightly you can't play well; if you hold it too lose (deregulation) you can't play well either. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
mulp, June 09, 2017 at 11:47 AM
So, you want Chavez style government with all the wealth redistributed to the masses and the central bank printing money like crazy so everyone is able to consume far more than is produced?

Or do you blame Obama for US oil production doubling while oil demand was cut by efficiency and alternatives thus destroying half the wealth in Venezuela, the half Chavez hadn't yet redistributed?

I can't figure out which is worse, the free lunch right-wing or the free lunch leftist.

TANSTAAFL.

libezkova said in reply to mulp..., June 09, 2017 at 01:10 PM
"So, you want Chavez style government with all the wealth redistributed to the masses and the central bank printing money like crazy so everyone is able to consume far more than is produced?"

No I want the return on New Deal Capitalism. But this is impossible as managerial class changed it allegiance and the political block that made the New Deal possible no longer exists.

I do not see the alternative to neoliberalism right now. Soviet style "state capitalism" (which some call socialism) is definitely worse. Over centralization proved to be really deadly for large states.

As for Venezuela we simply do not know what part of their problems were created externally (being of the same continent with Uncle Sam and not to dance to his neoliberal tune is a dangerous undertaking, if you ask me). Please note the Argentina and Brazil already folded and neoliberal governments are in power again, and not without help from Uncle Sam.

And what part are internal and rooted in mismanagement of the economy due to corruption within the left government and or unrealistic redistribution policies.

Left is not panacea for solving economic problems. Neither is the US style neoliberalism. There is probably "golden level" in redistributive policies like in tennis: if you hold the racket too tightly you can't play well; if you hold it too lose (deregulation) you can't play well either.

[May 03, 2017] How Norway Shows the Limits of Civilized Capitalism and Social Organization by manic greed and cocaine fever and are looking for the big quick payoff, which is why they do so much damage.

May 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Joey , May 3, 2017 at 7:53 am

Excellent post. Especially the subtle notation that states and corporations are in same power strata.

icancho , May 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Readers might like to know that Davis Sloan Wilson is a fervent champion of the importance of group selection in evolution, a possible mechanism (differential survival among groups, distinct in genetically-based socially-mediated characters) often deployed as an 'explanation' for altruistic behaviours. He also sees an understanding of group selection as crucial to the solution of myriad human social ills: "Evolutionary science," Wilson argues, "will eventually prove so useful on a daily basis that we will wonder how we survived without it. I'm here to make that day come sooner rather than later, starting with my own city of Binghamton [NY]."

After decades of effort, he has so far failed to make many converts, and the prevailing view is that, while group selection is indeed a mechanism that might possibly operate in some circumstances, those circumstances are generally very limited in most organisms, and, moreover, the strength of group selection will almost always be much lower than that operating among individuals. As Jerry Coyne put it in a commentary on Wilson's "Neighbourhood Project" in the NYT: "Group selection isn't widely accepted by evolutionists for several reasons. First, it's not an efficient way to select for traits, like altruistic behavior, that are supposed to be detrimental to the individual but good for the group. Groups divide to form other groups much less often than organisms reproduce to form other organisms, so group selection for altruism would be unlikely to override the tendency of each group to quickly lose its altruists through natural selection favoring cheaters. Further, little evidence exists that selection on groups has promoted the evolution of any trait. Finally, other, more plausible evolutionary forces, like direct selection on individuals for reciprocal support, could have made humans prosocial." see http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/books/review/the-neighborhood-project-by-david-sloan-wilson-book-review.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

[Apr 12, 2017] soaring inequality

Apr 12, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
almost all the increment in incomes has been harvested by the top 1%. As values, principles and moral purpose are lost, the promise of growth is all that's left.

You can see the effects in a leaked memo from the UK's Foreign Office: "Trade and growth are now priorities for all posts work like climate change and illegal wildlife trade will be scaled down." All that counts is the rate at which we turn natural wealth into cash. If this destroys our prosperity and the wonders that surround us, who cares?

We cannot hope to address our predicament without a new worldview. We cannot use the models that caused our crises to solve them. We need to reframe the problem. This is what the most inspiring book published so far this year has done.

In Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist , Kate Raworth of Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute reminds us that economic growth was not, at first, intended to signify wellbeing. Simon Kuznets , who standardised the measurement of growth, warned: "The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income." Economic growth, he pointed out, measured only annual flow, rather than stocks of wealth and their distribution.

Raworth points out that economics in the 20th century "lost the desire to articulate its goals". It aspired to be a science of human behaviour: a science based on a deeply flawed portrait of humanity. The dominant model – "rational economic man", self-interested, isolated, calculating – says more about the nature of economists than it does about other humans. The loss of an explicit objective allowed the discipline to be captured by a proxy goal: endless growth.

The aim of economic activity, she argues, should be "meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet". Instead of economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, we need economies that "make us thrive, whether or not they grow". This means changing our picture of what the economy is and how it works.

The central image in mainstream economics is the circular flow diagram. It depicts a closed flow of income cycling between households, businesses, banks, government and trade, operating in a social and ecological vacuum. Energy, materials, the natural world, human society, power, the wealth we hold in common all are missing from the model. The unpaid work of carers – principally women – is ignored, though no economy could function without them. Like rational economic man, this representation of economic activity bears little relationship to reality.

So Raworth begins by redrawing the economy. She embeds it in the Earth's systems and in society, showing how it depends on the flow of materials and energy, and reminding us that we are more than just workers, consumers and owners of capital.

--> , Joshua Chen , 12 Apr 2017 19:06
If people can:
1. understand the nature of money which is in fact energy
2. bypass fiat currencies and therefore Immune to all the misery from these fake money (such as unfair wealth distribution...etc)
3. have some elementary-math understanding about energy constraint by https://1drv.ms/o/s!AlY9OXkn9NHujFuH2HElKWc3WgeJ

then we are all done

, Deenmat , 12 Apr 2017 18:59
A proper land tax, progressive taxation and a utter ruthless pursuit of those that don't pay their share. Oh and, here's a thought, corporation tax not set at a pissy ridiculous level. But then the great British public always vote for the opposite of all these things. Well done! Reply Share
, GimmeHendrix , 12 Apr 2017 18:48
Let down in the last few sentences. Idealised models are all well and good but the crucial issue is the current wealth distribution and the unequal power that stems from it. We now live in an era of nationalist autocracies, a necessary carapace for post capitalism but definitely not a prerequisite for the kind of model you describe. Reply Share
, brovis , 12 Apr 2017 18:39
Zeitgeist not looking so crazy these days eh? Reply Share
, aarthoor , 12 Apr 2017 18:35
Hmmm, donut..... Reply Share
, jackrousseau , 12 Apr 2017 18:33
Constant economic growth also necessitates a pyramid scheme of constant population growth to supply labor.

In Western countries with low birth rates and high salaries, this translates into our oligarchs adopting the neoliberal model of immigration, globalization, and free trade.

From a certain perspective, all the recent political upheaval in the West (Brexit, Trump, Etc.) can be described as the working classes realizing what "constant growth" and resulting neoliberalism means for them and their children personally.

, Snowshovel , 12 Apr 2017 18:27
Why is it circular? Reply Share
, RadLadd , 12 Apr 2017 18:27
Nice looking diagrams. What do they mean? Reply Share
, Laurens Rademakers , 12 Apr 2017 18:23
*"general economics" Reply Share
, RadLadd Laurens Rademakers , 12 Apr 2017 18:37
I took it as "funeral". Reply Share
, Laurens Rademakers , 12 Apr 2017 18:20
Another interesting model is that of the Gift-economy, the system that dominated the world during millenia (and persists somewhat today). In its extreme form - the potlatch - an entire society's drive is based on how much wealth it can give away, not take. Georges Bataille described this as "feneral economics" whereas academic economists' mumblings he called "restricted economics", a purely useless attempt to erase life. Time to read him and the anthropologists (Mauss, Bloch, Mead, Levi-Strauss) who described this, again.
, spareusthelies , 12 Apr 2017 18:15

State-owned banks would invest in projects that transform our relationship with the living world,

State owned banks? As in a nationalised banking alternative....in Britain?

Mention the word "nationalisation" in London and the Home Counties and everyone, from the middle-classes upwards, immediately assumes this must mean a return to Miners strikes, a three day week, power cuts, flared trousers, beer and sandwiches, formica kitchen workops, the lot!

, TerryMcBurney spareusthelies , 12 Apr 2017 18:22
State-owned banks is what we got after the 2008 banking crisis. But if your suggestion is that politicians can make better investment decisions than commercial banks and with access to all the money printing power of the economy then that would be truly scary. Reply Share
, Gegenbeispiel spareusthelies , 12 Apr 2017 19:04
Nothing wrong with flared trousers or miners' strikes ot Formica. And even power cuts would be tolerable if they meant absence of HIV, 3-day weeks and a thoroughly humiliated, depressed Establishment - my idea of heaven :) Reply Share
, vulgarius , 12 Apr 2017 18:08
This looks like an extension to John Elkington's triple bottom line model published in 1997, updated to embrace the advance of social enterprise and to acknowledge the ever greater impact of global warming.

I'd will have to read the full book to understand this new model better. It would be interesting to see how any government, in power or in waiting, could articulate real objectives associated with this model to give a sense that we were on a better economic journey than present.

, tjt77 , 12 Apr 2017 18:06
Thoughtful and well presented article.. BUT...Until money and the worship of power it creates is relieved of its God like status..the 'opening' towards a more sustainable values system continues to be a very tough sell...in essence, the door remains closed.. Reply Share
, RadLadd tjt77 , 12 Apr 2017 18:39

.Until money and the worship of power it creates is relieved of its God like status

What does that mean? Reply Share

, ConflictedTaoist , 12 Apr 2017 18:04
... Reply Share
, TerryMcBurney , 12 Apr 2017 17:56
An economic model is supposed to describe way the economy actually works, not the way you would like it to work. To judge that I suppose I will have to read the book and perhaps some critical reviews, since you can't get and sense of that from Monbiot's article. Does it provide a better forecast about the effect of Brexit for example? would it have predicted the financial crash of 2008? If it can't do these things then it isn't an economic model but it might be a philosophy or belief system like Zen Buddhism and should be treated with the same level of detachment we would apply to such faiths, including that of Monbiot.
, alfredolouro TerryMcBurney , 12 Apr 2017 18:14
What model did you have in mind that predicted the 2008 financial crash? Reply Share
, TerryMcBurney alfredolouro , 12 Apr 2017 18:26
That's my point, if the new 'model' is no improvement then it is useless as a model Reply Share
, KatieL alfredolouro , 12 Apr 2017 18:34
One where people were incentivised to mis-price assets and not de-incentivised from doing so.

Because one of the rules of an economic model is that people respond to incentives.

People declaim that "economics" is dead as proved by 2008, whereas what the crash actually proves is that ignoring some of the incentives means you don't understand what people are doing.

"Economics" is not the model, it's the modelling process. Climatology, to pick another modelling discipline, has produced some astoundingly wrong results in the past -- the 1970s cooling hypothesis, for example -- but we don't declare it dead, we let it have more goes in the hope of getting outputs which help us understand the world.

, Delkhasteh , 12 Apr 2017 17:55
Also, I suggest to look at this article, which introduces a new economic model:

What Is the Economy of Tawhid?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mahmood-delkhasteh/economy-of-tawhid_b_4301192.html Reply Share

, TheSpiritofCanuck61 Delkhasteh , 12 Apr 2017 18:35
I mistakenly gave you a thumbs up before I realized that "tawhid" refers to the monotheistic belief that muslims adopted from the older Jewish religion (islam and christianity both being Jewish religions). Just religious propaganda on your part, in other words. Religion is a load of crap so I take back my thumbs up. Fuck "God". Fuck religion.

Your earlier post about the interview with Banisadr looks more interesting.

, mrjonno , 12 Apr 2017 17:54
We are converging on a realisation that we have things catastrophically wrong and continue to do so. George understands, Kate clearly understands and Peter Joseph more than understands to create a movement. I've hopefully tried to connect Peter and Kate through Twitter, Kate has responded favourably.

Currently reading ' The New Human Rights Movement' and have 'Doughnut Economics' on order. We have solutions but will we overcome resistance in culture due to ignorance and religion? I hope so but have little 'faith' in the way that humanity is conducting itself with regard to itself and the planet.

Tell it how it is Peter and Kate. We need a new direction toward happiness, sustainability and understanding. Our current power structures are crumbling and rightly so...

, mrsdoom mrjonno , 12 Apr 2017 18:42
Sadly it will probably take a catastrophic collapse before any new model is implemented. It was only in the wake of WW2 that social welfare systems and health services were set up in western countries. I am fearful of what we might have to endure before a political consensus emerges that a new economic model is needed. Reply Share
, Gegenbeispiel mrsdoom , 12 Apr 2017 19:16
>"It was only in the wake of WW2 that social welfare systems and health services were set up in western countries."

Grossly untrue. Such systems, albeit primitive compared to the NHS but not the state pension, were pioneered by Bismarck (a conservative!) in Germany around 1870. The German healthcare system still suffers from a "first adopter" syndrome.

, PATRICKNEWMAN , 12 Apr 2017 17:54
"then demand that those who wield power start working towards its objectives:" - I am very willing. Do you think an email will do the trick? Reply Share
, spotthelemon , 12 Apr 2017 17:52
I think this probably counts as an interesting economic description but I don't see it as a great leap forward of understanding at the practical level.
The advice for how an economy should be run as opposed to the current approach doesn't change. Forget deficits and surpluses, forget growth and don't obsess about inflation, in a well run economy, these things will look after themselves. A well run economy is one which maximises its main potential, which is its workforce by trying to ensure they're in gainful employment (less than 2% unemployment) . Gainful employment means not massaging the numbers by making delivery drivers self-employed or using zero hours contracts but having people do useful work for proper wages and if the private sector can't always supply it then the public sector should - that is real work not just New-Labour bean counting (measuring what other people do). Do that and you will always (by definition) have enough growth and whilst at times you will (if you bother to check) run big public deficits, you are also likely to find yourself running occasional public surpluses.
Beyond that you want to encourage work which utilises renewables &/or recycling and discourage plundering natural resources - including foreign resources, the tax system can help with that, make the polluters & plunderers subsidise the recyclers, as well as other , currently seen as a sin, government interference in markets.

A new progressive agenda?

, globular546973 spotthelemon , 12 Apr 2017 18:18
Sounds nice but...what about about automation destroying lots of the lovely jobs you're talking about? It seems to me that a crucial question for our times is whether in the face of the latest wave of automation, AI and machine learning, the lump of labour fallacy will still hold true. If it doesn't, I forecast a lot of violence and death in addition to the violence and death that climate change and antibiotic resistance are already causing and which I respectfully suggest is going to grow exponentially.
, KatieL spotthelemon , 12 Apr 2017 18:38
"not massaging the numbers "

Unemployment isn't measured by what the government says it is. It's measured by phoning people up and asking them if they think they're in work. In order to get the figures down, you'd have to get a bunch of unemployed people to say they were in work in order for them to help out a government they presumably don't think much of.

, Gegenbeispiel KatieL , 12 Apr 2017 19:18
I don't think that's true at all, but will look up the ONS and OECD methodologies. Reply Share
, Delkhasteh , 12 Apr 2017 17:49
I think my interview with Iran's former president, Banisadr who lives in exile, can enrich the argument. Especially the part, which talks about the structural problems with capitalism and the way to overcome it:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/mahmoud-delkhasteh/populism-terrorism-and-crisis-in-western-democracies-interview-with-iran-s-former

, Frances56 , 12 Apr 2017 17:46
The donut diagram looks like a political centrifuge. Reply Share
, logos , 12 Apr 2017 17:44
We also need a society which meets our psychological needs as well as our material and environmental needs on a sustainable basis. Thankfully the fairly new field of positive psychology is now showing us how to do this and there have recently been prestigious conferences in London and Dubai involving the OECD and government personnel around the world centred on adapting policies to meet these needs. This is the missing ingredient that can help us create a better world. But it will require a mass movement focussing on these three elements to galvanise opinion formers and the political community into taking the necessary action.
, logos logos , 12 Apr 2017 18:01
Here's a link to the London conference http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/research/wellbeing / Reply Share
, Ignore logos , 12 Apr 2017 18:22
Positive psychology, while admirable in it's goals, has suffered from a lack of empirical data to support it's theories. For ages it was focused on theories and half assed science (admittedly it's been a while since I visited it). They have had the positive influence in that people are researching topics in parallel with positive psychology. Though many researchers still try to distance themselves from that field due to the lack of empiricism* that was rife.

It has potential though, I'll say that, and it's aims are admirable.

*I don't know if that's still the case!! It just used to be one of it's many criticisms. I heard a research proposal recently investigating resilience using fMRI, and many of the proposal's themes resonated with positive psychology. When I brought that up, there were a few raised eyebrows and a sigh of relief when I pointed out that it was simply a comment on the parallelism...

, Ignore logos , 12 Apr 2017 18:37
It basically drifts far too close to pseudo-psychology to be taken serious. If it could rain that in and pull itself towards a more empirical approach then people within the scientific community would be more willing to engage. Otherwise you might as well get tips on how to fold your arms (and what that conveys) from Cosmopolitan, or engage in 'power stance' to feel more 'confident'... both perfect examples of pseudo-psychology.

Again, these are general (and fair) criticisms of positive psychology. It does have aspects I like, for example they try to develop techniques for improving mental health (or well-being as they would maybe refer to it as) that don't require a physician or a psychologist. Ones that you can do on your phone and what have you. Which would be great if there was sufficient evidence that their techniques work.

, DCarter , 12 Apr 2017 17:43
Everybody knows that a real doughnut has jam in the middle, not a hole. How does that fit with this theory. Reply Share
, KatieL DCarter , 12 Apr 2017 18:39
There will be jam in the middle, but only for Party members. Reply Share
, richard213 , 12 Apr 2017 17:42
I'm bemused by Mr Monbiots arguments. He seems to be railing against the monitizing of society, and yet moans about the lack of money for carers? This caring argument seems to include housework, a lot of which is done by women, though why or who would pay for this type of caring is always unexplained. I'd have thought that just being human demands a certain level domestic care from everyone ? Then there's the community energy idea. It sounds lovely and cosey, if a bit Royston Vasey, but doesn't he wonder why the old local authority power generators stopped working, and a National Grid was developed? What's called the After Diversity Maximum Demand, on an electrical system might give him a clue as to why big generators and a transmission system beats lots of little generators hands down.
, KatieL richard213 , 12 Apr 2017 18:41
It's the irony of the modern left. On the one hand, bemoaning the rich for always wanting more money and on the other, demanding more money.... Reply Share
, Gegenbeispiel KatieL , 12 Apr 2017 19:23
The example you give, the National Grid, was a socialist creation, stolen from the UK people by the vile, despicable and fortunately very dead Margaret Thatcher, the worst thing to have happened to Britain since Adolf Hitler. Reply Share
, Els Bells , 12 Apr 2017 17:36
This:

The aim of economic activity, she argues, should be "meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet".

is a paraphrase of the most likely criminal and bankster gofer Maurice Strong's "definition" of sustainability.


"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

as filtered through the openly Communist UN Bruntland Commission.

It is a Technocratic, UN- corporatist- global governance-based ideology that -- to nobody's surprise -- Monbiot thinks is newly-baked and right out of the oven.

And the radical new doughnut way of looking at global development is straight out of UN Agenda 21/30.

i.e. variations of these:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Sustainable+Development+Venn+Diagram&id=4C02342CBA5AE76BC4C08F4985B05FCB242D500C&FORM=IDBQDM

and this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Circles_of_Sustainability_image_(assessment_-_Melbourne_2011).jpg

The undercooked intellectual pudding Monbiot is slopping about in and describing as the finest chocolate mousse since sliced bread, is just an old and rejected 1930's version of Technocracy, which was revised in the 1970s, and then, again in the 1990s, and which, at its heart, is nothing but the call for the institution of a fascistic world government that will, we are assured, give us more social justice than we could ever need.

If the author of the reviewed book hasn't made these attributions, and is passing this global governance schematic and MO off as her own, then she's plagiarizing.

, PATRICKNEWMAN Els Bells , 12 Apr 2017 17:56
Oh what a relief. I can choose the do nothing option! Reply Share
, Els Bells PATRICKNEWMAN , 12 Apr 2017 18:54

Oh what a relief. I can choose the do nothing option!

If you like what you see, sure.

[Mar 10, 2017] The Case a Return to a New Deal Ethos

Mar 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Peter K. : March 09, 2017 at 01:45 AM

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/politics/charles-peters-washington-monthly.html

A Lefty Legend Pleads for a Return to a New Deal Ethos

By JONATHAN MARTIN

MARCH 7, 2017

WASHINGTON - Charles Peters, the renowned Washington Monthly editor, is going on 91, does not get around very easily and was disgusted enough by President Trump's address to Congress to let loose a few profanities in his gentle West Virginia drawl.

But Mr. Peters remains an optimist, believing that salvation is still possible if the country returns to the true faith of his New Deal youth.

"Maybe I'm old," he said in an interview in his living room here last week, "but I'm forever hopeful about the Democratic Party."

Mr. Peters has spent much of his life in and around politics. He was once a young state legislator who thought he wanted to be governor. Then he felt the tug to the nation's capital, where he was one of the first executives of the Peace Corps.

Eventually he founded and ran a feisty, liberal-leaning policy magazine perhaps best known for launching the careers of dozens of prominent journalists, including James Fallows, Jon Meacham, David Ignatius and Katherine Boo. Now he has written a book that some of those old charges think amounts to a last testament.

To hear Mr. Peters himself tell it, though, the book, "We Do Our Part," is a desperate plea to his country and party to resist the temptations of greed, materialism and elitism - vices he believes have corroded the civic culture and led to the Democrats' failure last year.

"I'm trying to grab people by the lapels and say, 'We've got to change,'" he said. "And I feel that there is a realism to that hope because of the shock of this election."

Mr. Peters's book - the title is taken from the motto of the New Deal's National Recovery Administration - is not a memoir. But his own formative experiences are at the core of his cri de coeur.

Democrats, Washington and too much of the country, he argues, have drifted from the sense of shared purpose that lifted America out of the Depression, created the will to win World War II and fostered the rise of a more egalitarian, if still inequitable, society.

Mr. Peters saw it firsthand. As a child, he witnessed his parents hand food to hungry strangers who came to the back door of their Charleston, W.Va., home.

Later, as a young lawyer, he oversaw the local presidential campaign of a Catholic senator hoping to win over a largely Protestant state. The success of John F. Kennedy in the 1960 Democratic primary there helped forge a conviction that Mr. Peters feels his party must not lose sight of today, even as more working-class whites drift from what was the party of their class.

"The better angels of the state's voters had won out, engraving on me the lesson that prejudice can be overcome," he writes.

Mr. Peters's idealism is undiminished: He thinks that the sort of blue-collar white voters who just rejected Hillary Clinton in his native state, where she lost by 42 percentage points, can be won back if Democrats are again seen as the party of the common man rather than the liberal professional class. But he spends much of 274 pages outlining why that may prove so difficult.

Through a series of anecdotes, statistics and other plucked-from-the-news items that will be familiar to anyone who read his "Tilting at Windmills" column in Washington Monthly, Mr. Peters recounts how liberals were once invigorated with the public-spirited fervor of the New Deal and New Frontier, but sold out. Race-baiting conservatives then swooped in, he says, and the country was left the worse for it.

"Our national problem is that too many of our cultural winds are blowing us in the direction of self-absorption, self-promotion, and making a barrel of money," he writes.

He piles up the evidence, reserving most of his scorn for the liberal meritocratic class that he believes has allowed Democrats to be depicted as out of touch.

...

[Feb 27, 2017] February 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

For those of you who are interested in a brief, but quite penetrating introduction to Marx's overall project (I realize this may seem like an acquired taste), as understood and elaborated upon by Harvey, might I suggest watching this lecture? It includes a (newly developed) visualization of how capital circulates through its various moments (resources, labor power, commodities that then have to be sold, etc.), analogous to how water goes through the various stages listed in the water cycle: David Harvey, Visualizing Capital .
Main problem with it: 'taxes funds govt spending' - he should really talk to Michael Hudson about this.

[Feb 21, 2017] Our situation with neoliberalism reminds me lines from the Hotel California

Feb 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova -> libezkova... February 20, 2017 at 08:36 PM , 2017 at 08:36 PM
Our situation with neoliberalism reminds me lines from the "Hotel California " ;-)

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html
== quote ==
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

[Feb 21, 2017] Will neoliberalism outlast Bolshevism which lasted 74 years

Feb 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc -> libezkova... , February 20, 2017 at 07:16 PM
We can agree that all politico-economic systems tried thus far by man have fatal flaws. Ours just works better, or has, for longer than any other, so far that is.
libezkova -> im1dc... , February 20, 2017 at 07:18 PM
Very true.
libezkova -> libezkova... , February 20, 2017 at 08:36 PM
Out situation with neoliberalism reminds me lines from "Hotel California ;-)

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html
== quote ==
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

cm -> im1dc... , February 20, 2017 at 08:56 PM
It has worked for longer than its contemporary contenders. E.g. the Roman empire could point to more centuries of existence. When would you say "this system" started? E.g. is the current US a smooth continuation of the late 1700's version, or were there "reboots" in between? How about a continuation of British capitalism (also 1700s or earlier)?
libezkova -> cm... , February 21, 2017 at 07:23 AM
I think his point was that the USA (1776 - current)=="USA capitalism" which is around 200 years old outlasted Bolshevism which lasted for only 74 years.

Of course, British capitalism is as long existing as the US capitalism (probably slightly longer, as we can view period of slave ownership as "imperfect" or mixed capitalism).

In other words capitalism in its various forms is a relatively long term social system. Which experienced several, often dramatic, transformations along the way. Probably all post Napoleonic years can be viewed as years of existence of capitalism. So the USA is as old as capitalism itself.

Of course various forms of capitalism are short lived:

In this sense Bolshevism (which Chinese viewed as a form of imperialism ;-) which lasted 74 years or so outlasted them.

[Feb 12, 2017] T he british welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the scandinavian social model are not replacements for capitalism. They are forms of capitalism

Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
yuan -> Jim Harrison ... , February 10, 2017 at 12:34 PM
"Does anybody around here have anything useful to suggest"
both demonstration and general strikes are powerful ways to express popular outrage. one is planned on for the 17th (too soon) and another more organized one is being planned for march.

http://f17strike.com/

"but you have no more of an idea of a global replacement for capitalism"


so the british welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the scandinavian social model are unpossible pipe dreams because...

Jim Harrison -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 01:46 PM
"the british welfare state, the war on poverty/great society policy era, and the scandinavian social model are" not replacements for capitalism. They are forms of capitalism. And the sorts of policies that go with these versions of conventional social democracy are...pretty much the platform articles that Clinton ran on. Which is the serious reason the American right despised Hillary. They, at least, didn't have any trouble telling the candidates apart.

There are two problems with storming the Winter Palace. First, you won't have a decisive majority of Americans behind you. Second, you have no idea what you'd do if somehow did seize the Winter Palace. You could conceivably solve the first problem by going balls out demagogue a la Hugo Chavez; but, like Chavez, you'd have to dispense with democracy to keep power because you have no solution to the second problem. For my money, a decent social democracy-universal healthy care, more progressive taxes, a higher minimum wage, more affordable college education, etc.- is plenty hard enough to secure.

yuan -> Jim Harrison ... , February 10, 2017 at 04:50 PM
"They are forms of capitalism."

Before the long-decline began in the 70s, a large fraction of the UK's economic activity was chartered, regulated, and/or managed for the people. That's not capitalism, by definition. (Socialism was a market/trade-based system at its inception. The tendencies with alternative economic models came later.)

Some history:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clause_IV

And Corbyn has returned labor to its socialist roots: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-to-bring-back-clause-four-contender-pledges-to-bury-new-labour-with-commitment-to-10446982.html


"And the sorts of policies that go with these versions of conventional social democracy are...pretty much the platform articles that Clinton ran on."


I guess I missed Clinton advocating for the nationalization of health care, education, energy production, and transportation.

And the "welfare state" has little to do with "social democracy" (whatever that recent nonsense phrase means), all of them were developed by socialist movements.

[Feb 11, 2017] The Paradox of Financialized Industrialization

Notable quotes:
"... More than any other economist of his century, Marx tied together the three major kinds of crisis that were occurring. His Theories of Surplus Value explained the two main forms of crises his classical predecessors had pointed to, and which the bourgeois revolutions of 1848 were fought over. These crises were the result of survivals from Europe's feudal epoch of landed aristocracy and banking fortunes. ..."
"... Financially, Marx pointed to the tendency of debts to grow exponentially, independently of the economy's ability to pay, and indeed faster than the economy itself. The rise in debt and accrual of interest was autonomous from the industrial capital and wage labor dynamics on which Volume I of Capital focused. Debts are self-expanding by purely mathematical rules – the "magic of compound interest." ..."
"... Industrial companies profit from labor not only by employing it, but by lending to customers. General Motors made most of its profits for many years by its credit arm, GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corp.), as did General Electric through its financial arm. Profits made by Macy's and other retailers on their credit card lending sometimes accounted for their entire earnings. ..."
"... This privatization of rents and their transformation into a flow of interest payments (shifting the tax burden onto wage income and corporate profits) represents a failure of industrial capitalism to free society from the legacies of feudalism. ..."
"... Marx expected economies to act in their long-term interest to increase the means of production and avoid unproductive rentier income, underconsumption and debt deflation. Believing that every mode of production was shaped by the technological, political and social needs of economies to advance, he expected banking and finance to become subordinate to these dynamics. ..."
"... It seemed that the banking system's role as allocator of credit would pave the way for a socialist organization of economies. Marx endorsed free trade on the ground that industrial capitalism would transform and modernize the world's backward countries. Instead, it has brought Western rentier finance and privatization of the land and natural resources, and even brought the right to use these country's currencies and financial systems as casinos. And in the advanced creditor nations, failure of the U.S. and European economies to recover from their 2008 financial crisis stems from leaving in place the reckless "junk mortgage" debts, whose carrying charges are absorbing income. Banks were saved instead of industrial economies, whose debts were left in place. ..."
"... No observer of Marx's epoch was so pessimistic as to expect finance capital to overpower industrial capitalism, engulfing economies as the world is seeing today. Discussing the 1857 financial crisis, Marx showed how unthinkable anything like the 2008-09 Bush-Obama bailout of financial speculators seemed to be in his day. "The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the reproduction process cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the Bank of England, give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values." [6] ..."
"... Marx wrote this reductio ad absurdum not dreaming that it would become the Federal Reserve's policy in autumn 2008. The U.S. Treasury paid off all of A.I.G.'s gambles and other counterparty "casino capitalist" losses at taxpayer expense, followed by the Federal Reserve buying junk mortgage packages at par. ..."
"... The failure to socialize banking (or even to complete its industrialization) has become the most glaring economic tragedy of Western industrial capitalism. It became the tragedy of post-Soviet Russia after 1991, letting its natural resources and industrial economy be financialized while failing to tax land and natural resource rent. The commanding heights were sold to domestic oligarchs and Western investors buying on credit with their own banks or in association with Western banks. This bank credit was simply created on computer keyboards. Such credit creation should be a public utility, but it has broken free from public regulation in the West. That credit is now reaching out to China and the post-Soviet economies as a means of appropriating their resources. ..."
"... Note: Marx described productive capital investment by the formula M–C–M´, signifying money (M) invested to produce commodities (C) that sell for yet more money (M´). But the growth of "usury capital" – government bond financing for war deficits, and consumer lending (mortgages, personal loans and credit card debt) – consist of the disembodied M–M´, making money simply from money in a sterile operation. ..."
Jan 26, 2017 | newscontent.cctv.com
RGC -> RGC... January 26, 2017 at 05:44 AM

The Paradox of Financialized Industrialization
By Michael Friday, October 16, 2015

These remarks were made at the World Congress on Marxism, 2015, at the School of Marxism, Peking University, October 10, 2015. The presentation was part of a debate with Bertell Ollman (NYU). I was honored to be made a permanent Guest Professor at China's most prestigious university.

When I lectured here at the Marxist School six years ago, someone asked me whether Marx was right or wrong. I didn't know how to answer this question at the time, because the answer is so complex. But at least today I can focus on his view of crises.

More than any other economist of his century, Marx tied together the three major kinds of crisis that were occurring. His Theories of Surplus Value explained the two main forms of crises his classical predecessors had pointed to, and which the bourgeois revolutions of 1848 were fought over. These crises were the result of survivals from Europe's feudal epoch of landed aristocracy and banking fortunes.

Financially, Marx pointed to the tendency of debts to grow exponentially, independently of the economy's ability to pay, and indeed faster than the economy itself. The rise in debt and accrual of interest was autonomous from the industrial capital and wage labor dynamics on which Volume I of Capital focused. Debts are self-expanding by purely mathematical rules – the "magic of compound interest."

We can see in America and Europe how interest charges, stock buybacks, debt leveraging and other financial maneuverings eat into profits, deterring investment in plant and equipment by diverting revenue to economically empty financial operations. Marx called finance capital "imaginary" or "fictitious" to the extent that it does not stem from within the industrial economy, and because – in the end – its demands for payment cannot be met. Calling this financial accrual a "void form of capital." [1] It was fictitious because it consisted of bonds, mortgages, bank loans and other rentier claims on the means of production and the flow of wages, profit and tangible capital investment.

The second factor leading to economic crisis was more long-term: Ricardian land rent. Landlords and monopolists levied an "ownership tax" on the economy by extracting rent as a result of privileges that (like interest) were independent of the mode of production. Land rent would rise as economies became larger and more prosperous. More and more of the economic surplus (profits and surplus value) would be diverted to owners of land, natural resources and monopolies. These forms of economic rent were the result of privileges that had no intrinsic value or cost of production. Ultimately, they would push up wage levels and leave no room for profit. Marx described this as Ricardo's Armageddon.

These two contributing forces to crisis, Marx pointed out, were legacies of Europe's feudal origins: landlords conquering the land and appropriating natural resources and infrastructure; and banks, which remained largely usurious and predatory, making war loans to governments and exploiting consumers in petty usury. Rent and interest were in large part the products of wars. As such, they were external to the means of production and its direct cost (that is, the value of products).

Most of all, of course, Marx pointed to the form of exploitation of wage labor by its employers. That did indeed stem from the capitalist production process. Bertell Ollman has just explained that dynamic so well that I need not repeat it here.

Today's economic crisis in the West: financial and rent extraction, leading to debt deflation Bertell Ollman has described how Marx analyzed economic crisis stemming from the inability of wage labor to buy what it produces. That is the inner contradiction specific to industrial capitalism. As described in Volume I of Capital, employers seek to maximize profits by paying workers as little as possible. This leads to excessive exploitation of wage labor, causing underconsumption and a market glut.

I will focus here on the extent to which today's financial crisis is largely independent of the industrial mode of production. As Marx noted in Volumes II and III of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value, banking and rent extraction are in many ways adverse to industrial capitalism.

Our debate is over how to analyze the crisis the Western economies are in today. To me, it is first and foremost a financial crisis. The banking crisis and indebtedness stems mainly from real estate mortgage loans – and also from the kind of massive fraud that Marx found characteristic of the high finance of his day, especially in canal and railroad financing.

So to answer the question that I was asked about whether Marx was right or wrong, Marx certainly provided the tools needed to analyze the crises that the industrial capitalist economies have been suffering for the past two hundred years.

But history has not worked out the way Marx expected. He expected every class to act in its own class interest. That is the only way to reasonably project the future. The historical task and destiny of industrial capitalism, Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto, was to free society from the "excrescences" of interest and rent (mainly land and natural resource rent, along with monopoly rent) that industrial capitalism had inherited from medieval and even ancient society. These useless rentier charges on production are faux frais, costs that slow the accumulation of industrial capital. They do not stem from the production process, but are a legacy of the feudal warlords who conquered England and other European realms to found hereditary landed aristocracies. Financial overhead in the form of usury-capital is, to Marx, a legacy of the banking families that built up fortunes by war lending and usury.

Marx's concept of national income differs radically from today's National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA). Every Western economy measures "output" as Gross National Product (GNP). This accounting format includes the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector as part of the economy's output. It does this because it treats rent and interest as "earnings," on the same plane as wages and industrial profits – as if privatized finance, insurance and real estate are part of the production process. Marx treated them as external to it. Their income was not "earned," but was "unearned." This concept was shared by the Physiocrats, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other major classical economists. Marx was simply pressing classical economics to its logical conclusion.

The interest of the rising class of industrial capitalists was to free economies from this legacy of feudalism, from the unnecessary faux frais of production – prices in excess of real cost-value. The destiny of industrial capitalism, Marx believed, was to rationalize economies by getting rid of the idle landlord and banking class – by socializing land, nationalizing natural resources and basic infrastructure, and industrializing the banking system – to fund industrial expansion instead of unproductive usury.

If capitalism had achieved this destiny, it would have been left primarily with the crisis between industrial employers and workers discussed in Volume I of Capital: exploiting wage labor to a point where labor could not buy its products. But at the same time, industrial capitalism would be preparing the way for socialism, because industrialists needed to conquer the political stranglehold of the landed aristocracy and the financial power of banking. It needed to promote democratic political reform to overcome the vested interests in control of Parliaments and hence the tax system. Labor's organization and voting power would press its own self-interest and turn capitalism into socialism.

China has indeed exemplified this path. But it has not occurred in the West.
All three kinds of crisis that Marx described are occurring. But the West is now in a chronic depression – what has been called Debt Deflation. Instead of banking being industrialized as Marx expected, industry is being financialized. Instead of democracy freeing economies from land rent, natural resource rent and monopoly rent, the rentiers have fought back and taken control of Western governments, legal systems and tax policy. The result is that we are seeing a lapse back to the pre-capitalist problems that Marx described in Volumes II and III of Capital and Theories of Surplus Value.

This is where the debate between Bertell Ollman and myself centers. My focus is on finance and rent overwhelming industrial capitalism to impose a depression stemming from debt deflation. This over-indebtedness is making the labor/capital problem worse, by weakening labor's political and economic position. To make matters worse, labor parties in the West no longer are fighting over economic issues, as they were prior to World War I.

My differences with Ollman and Roemer: I focus on non-production costs
Bertell follows Marx in focusing on the production sector: hiring labor to produce products, but trying to get as much markup as possible – while underselling rivals. This is Marx's great contribution to the analysis of capitalism and its mode of production – employing wage labor at a profit. I agree with this analysis.

However, my focus is on the causes of today's crisis that are independent and autonomous from production: rentier claims for economic rent, for income without work – "empty" pricing without value. This focus on rent and interest is where I differ from that of Ollman, and also of course from that of Roemer. Any model of the crisis must tie together finance, real estate (and other rent-seeking) as well as industry and employment.

The rising debt overhead can be traced mathematically, as can the symbiosis of the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE) sector. But the interactions are too complex to be made into a single economic "model." I am especially worried that Roemer's model might be followed here in China, because it overlooks the most dangerous tendencies threatening China today: Western financial practice and its pro-rentier tax policy.

China has spent the last half-century solving Marx's "Volume I" problem: the relations between labor and its employers, recycling the economic surplus into new means of production to provide more output, higher living standards, and most obviously, more infrastructure (roads, railways, airlines) and housing.

But right now, it is experiencing financial problems from credit creation going into the stock market instead of into tangible capital formation and rising consumption standards. And of course, China has experienced a large real estate boom. Land prices are rising in China, much as they are in the West.

What would Marx have said about this? I think that he would have warned China not to relapse into the pre-capitalist problems of finance funding real estate – turning the rising land rent into interest – and into permitting housing prices to rise without taxing them away.

Soviet planning failed to take the rent-of-location into account when planning where to build housing and factories. But at least the Soviet era did not force labor or industry to pay interest or for rising housing prices. Government banks simply created credit where it was needed to expand the means of production, to build factories, machinery and equipment, homes and office buildings.

What worries me about the political consequences of Roemer's model is that it focuses only on what Marx said about the production sector and employer-labor relations. It does not ask how "endowments" come into being – or how China has changed so radically in the past generation. It therefore neglects the danger of industrial capitalism lapsing back into a rent-and-interest economy. And by the same token, it underplays the threat to China and other socialist economies of adopting the West's surviving pre-feudal practices of predatory Bubble Finance (debt leveraging to raise prices) and wealth in the form of land-rent charges.

These two dynamics – interest and rent – represent a privatization of banking and land that rightly are public utilities. Marx expected industrial capitalism to achieve this transition. Certainly socialist economies must achieve it!

China has no need of foreign bank credit – except to cover the cost of imports and the foreign-exchange cost of investment in other countries. But China's foreign exchange reserves already are large enough to be basically independent of the U.S. dollar and euro. Meanwhile, the American and European economies are suffering from chronic debt deflation and depression that will reduce their ability to serve as markets – for their own producers as well as for China.

Today's debt-wracked economies throw into question just what kind of crisis the capitalist countries are experiencing. Marx's analysis provides the tools to analyze its financial, banking and rent-extraction problems. However, most Marxists still view the 2008 financial and junk mortgage crash as resulting ultimately from industrial employers squeezing wage labor. Finance capital is viewed as a derivative of this exploitation, not as the autonomous dynamic Marx described.

The costs of carrying the rising debt burden (interest, amortization and penalties) deflate the market for commodities by absorbing a growing wedge of disposable business and personal income. This leaves less to be spent on goods and services, causing gluts that lead to crises in which businesses scramble for money. Banks fail as bankruptcy spreads. By depleting markets, finance capital is antithetical to the expansion of profits and tangible physical capital investment.

Despite this sterility, finance capital has achieved dominance over industrial capital. Transfers of property from debtors to creditors – even privatizations of public assets and enterprises – are inevitable as the growth of financial claims surpasses the ability of productive power and earnings to keep pace. Foreclosures follow in the wake of crashes, enabling finance to take over industrial companies and even governments.

China has largely solved the "Volume I" problem – that of expanding its internal market for labor, investing the economic surplus in capital formation and rising living standards. It is confronted by Western economies that have failed to solve this problem, and also have failed to solve the "Volumes II and III" problem: finance and land rent. Yet few Western Marxists have applied his theories to the present downturn and its rentier problem. Following Marx, they view the task of solving this problem to be solved by industrial capitalism, starting with the bourgeois revolutions of 1848.

Already in 1847, Marx's Poverty of Philosophy described the hatred that capitalists felt for landlords, whose hereditary rents siphoned off income to an idle class. Upon being sent copies of Henry George's Progress and Poverty a generation later, in 1881, he wrote to John Swinton that taxing land rent was "a last attempt to save the capitalist regime." He dismissed the book as falling under his 1847 critique of Proudhon: "We understand such economists as Mill, Cherbuliez, Hilditch and others demanding that rent should be handed over to the state to serve in place of taxes. That is a frank expression of the hatred the industrial capitalist bears towards the landed proprietor, who seems to him a useless thing, an excrescence upon the general body of bourgeois production." [2]

As the program of industrial capital, the land tax movement stopped short of advocating labor's rights and living standards. Marx criticized Proudhon and other critics of landlords by saying that once you get rid of rent (and usurious interest by banks), you will still have the problem of industrialists exploiting wage labor and trying to minimize their wages, drying up the market for the goods they produce. This is to be the "final" economic problem to be solved – presumably long after industrial capitalism has solved the rent and interest problems.

Industrial capitalism has failed to free economies from rentier interest and rent extraction
In retrospect, Marx was too optimistic about the future of industrial capitalism. As noted above, he viewed its historical mission as being to free society from rent and usurious interest. Today's financial system has generated an overgrowth of credit, while high rents are pricing American labor out of world markets. Wages are stagnating, while the One Percent have monopolized the growth in wealth and income since 1980 – and are not investing in new means of production. So we still have the Volume II and III problems, not just a Volume I problem.

We are dealing with multiple organ failure.

Instead of funding new industrial capital formation, the stock and bond markets to transfer ownership of companies, real estate and infrastructure already in place. About 80 percent of bank credit is lent to buyers of real estate, inflating a mortgage bubble. Instead of taxing away the land's rising rental and site value that John Stuart Mill described as what landlords make "in their sleep," today's economies leave rental income "free" to be pledged to banks. The result is that banks now play the role that landlords did in Marx's day: obtaining for themselves the land's rising rental value. This reverses the central thrust of classical political economy by keeping such rent away from government, along with natural resource and monopoly rents.

Industrial economies are being stifled by financial and other rentier dynamics. Rising mortgage debt, student loans, credit card debt, automobile debt and payday loans have made workers afraid to go on strike or even to protest working conditions. To the extent that wages do rise, they must be paid increasingly to creditors (and now to privatized health insurance and drug monopolies), not to buy the consumer goods they produce. Labor's debt dependency thus aggravates the "Volume I" problem of labor's inability to purchase the products it produces. To top matters, when workers seek to join the middle class "homeowner society" by purchasing their homes on mortgage instead of paying rent, the price entails locking themselves into debt serfdom.

Industrial companies profit from labor not only by employing it, but by lending to customers. General Motors made most of its profits for many years by its credit arm, GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corp.), as did General Electric through its financial arm. Profits made by Macy's and other retailers on their credit card lending sometimes accounted for their entire earnings.

This privatization of rents and their transformation into a flow of interest payments (shifting the tax burden onto wage income and corporate profits) represents a failure of industrial capitalism to free society from the legacies of feudalism.

Marx expected industrial capitalism to act in its own self-interest by industrializing banking, as Germany was doing along the lines that the French reformer Saint-Simon had urged. However, industrial capitalism has failed to break free of pre-industrial usurious banking practice. And in the sphere of tax policy, it has not shifted taxes away from land and natural resource rent. It has inverted the classical reformers' idea of "free markets" as being free from economic rent and predatory moneylending. The slogan now means economies free for the rentier class to extract interest and rent.

Mode of production or mode of parasitism?

Instead of serving industrial capitalism, today's financial sector is bleeding it to death. Instead of seeking profits by employing labor to produce goods at a markup, it doesn't even want to hire labor or engage in the process of production and develop new markets. The epitome of this postindustrial economics is Enron: its' managers wanted no capital at all – no employment, only traders at a desk (and crooked accountants).

Today's characteristic mode of accumulating wealth is more by financial than industrial means: riding the wave of debt-financed asset-price inflation to reap "capital" gains. This seemed unlikely in Marx's era of the gold standard. Yet today, most academic Marxists still concentrate on his "Volume I" crisis, neglecting finance capitalism's failure to free economies from the rentier dynamics surviving from European feudalism and the colonial lands conquered by Europe.

Marxists who went into Wall Street have learned their lessons from Volumes II and III. But academic Marxism has not focused on the FIRE sector – Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. It is as if interest and rent extraction are secondary problems to the dynamics of wage labor.

The great question today is whether post-feudal rentier capitalism will stifle industrial capitalism instead of serving it. The aim of finance is not merely to exploit labor, but to conquer and appropriate industry, real estate and government. The result is a financial oligarchy, neither industrial capitalism nor a tendency to evolve into socialism.

Marx's optimism that industrial capital would subordinate finance to serve its own needs

Having provided a compendium of historical citations describing how parasitic "usury capital" multiplied at compound interest, Marx announced in an optimistic Darwinian tone that the destiny of industrial capitalism was to mobilize finance capital to fund its economic expansion, rendering usury an obsolete vestige of the "ancient" mode of production. It is as if "in the course of its evolution, industrial capital must therefore subjugate these forms and transform them into derived or special functions of itself." Finance capital would be subordinated to the dynamics of industrial capital rather than growing to dominate it. "Where capitalist production has developed all its manifold forms and has become the dominant mode of production," Marx concluded his draft notes for Theories of Surplus Value, "interest-bearing capital is dominated by industrial capital, and commercial capital becomes merely a form of industrial capital, derived from the circulation process." [3]

Marx expected economies to act in their long-term interest to increase the means of production and avoid unproductive rentier income, underconsumption and debt deflation. Believing that every mode of production was shaped by the technological, political and social needs of economies to advance, he expected banking and finance to become subordinate to these dynamics. "There is no doubt," he wrote, "that the credit system will serve as a powerful lever during the transition from the capitalist mode of production to the production by means of associated labor; but only as one element in connection with other great organic revolutions of the mode of production itself." [4]

The financial problem would take care of itself as industrial capitalism mobilized savings productively, subordinating finance capital to serve its needs. This already was happening in Germany and France.

It seemed that the banking system's role as allocator of credit would pave the way for a socialist organization of economies. Marx endorsed free trade on the ground that industrial capitalism would transform and modernize the world's backward countries. Instead, it has brought Western rentier finance and privatization of the land and natural resources, and even brought the right to use these country's currencies and financial systems as casinos. And in the advanced creditor nations, failure of the U.S. and European economies to recover from their 2008 financial crisis stems from leaving in place the reckless "junk mortgage" debts, whose carrying charges are absorbing income. Banks were saved instead of industrial economies, whose debts were left in place.

Irving Fisher coined the term debt deflation in 1933. He described it as occurring when debt service (interest and amortization) to pay banks and bondholders diverts income from being spent on consumer goods and new business investment. [5] Governments use their tax revenues to pay bondholders, cutting back public spending and infrastructure investment, education, health and other social welfare.

No observer of Marx's epoch was so pessimistic as to expect finance capital to overpower industrial capitalism, engulfing economies as the world is seeing today. Discussing the 1857 financial crisis, Marx showed how unthinkable anything like the 2008-09 Bush-Obama bailout of financial speculators seemed to be in his day. "The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the reproduction process cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the Bank of England, give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values." [6]

Marx wrote this reductio ad absurdum not dreaming that it would become the Federal Reserve's policy in autumn 2008. The U.S. Treasury paid off all of A.I.G.'s gambles and other counterparty "casino capitalist" losses at taxpayer expense, followed by the Federal Reserve buying junk mortgage packages at par.

Socialist policy regarding financial and tax reform

Marx described the historical destiny of industrial capitalism as being to free economies from unproductive and predatory finance – from speculation, fraud and a diversion of income to pay interest without funding new means of production. On this logic, it should be the destiny of socialist economies to treat bank credit creation as a public function, to be used for public purposes – to increase prosperity and the means of production to give populations a better life. Socialist nations have freed their economies from the internal contradictions of industrial capitalism that stifle wage labor.

China has solved the "Volume I" problem. But it still must deal with the West's unsolved "Volume II and III" problem of privatized finance, land rent and natural resource rent. Western economies seek to extend these neoliberal practices to use finance as a lever to pry away the economic surplus, to finance the transfer of property at interest, and to turn profits, rent, wages and other income into interest.

The failure to socialize banking (or even to complete its industrialization) has become the most glaring economic tragedy of Western industrial capitalism. It became the tragedy of post-Soviet Russia after 1991, letting its natural resources and industrial economy be financialized while failing to tax land and natural resource rent. The commanding heights were sold to domestic oligarchs and Western investors buying on credit with their own banks or in association with Western banks. This bank credit was simply created on computer keyboards. Such credit creation should be a public utility, but it has broken free from public regulation in the West. That credit is now reaching out to China and the post-Soviet economies as a means of appropriating their resources.

The eurozone seems incapable of saving itself from debt deflation, and the United States and Britain likewise are limping along as they de-industrialize. That is what leads them to hope that perhaps socialist China can save them – as long as it remains free of the financial disease. asset stripping and debt deflation. Western neoliberal economists claim that this financialization of erstwhile industrial capitalism is "progress," and even the end of history. Yet having watched China grow while their economies have remained stagnant since 2008 (except for the One Percent), their hope is that socialist China's market can save their financialized economies driven too deeply into debt to recover on their own.

Note: Marx described productive capital investment by the formula M–C–M´, signifying money (M) invested to produce commodities (C) that sell for yet more money (M´). But the growth of "usury capital" – government bond financing for war deficits, and consumer lending (mortgages, personal loans and credit card debt) – consist of the disembodied M–M´, making money simply from money in a sterile operation.

Footnotes

http://michael-hudson.com/2015/10/the-paradox-of-financialized-industrialization/

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RGC... January 26, 2017 at 07:32 AM

THANKS! It was awesome, Dude and easy enough to read.

[Feb 01, 2017] Is some form of socialism now again a viable alternative to neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... The other is that the centre-left (aka 'soft" neoliberals) took economic growth largely for granted. New Labour believed that if it could provide stable macroeconomic policy and an attractive location for investment then growth would follow. That might have been the case in the 90s. But it isn't true in our new era of secular stagnation. We need supply-side socialism. ..."
"... Obama averaged 1.7 percent annual growth over 8 years after an epic financial crisis. ..."
"... As Dillow points out, economic stagnation causes politics to get meaner. ..."
Feb 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : February 01, 2017 at 04:53 AM , 2017 at 04:53 AM
Good post by Chris Dillow who comes out of the closet and names the opposition (foe?) of neoliberalism which is socialism.

"The victories of Trump and Brexit, and rise of the National Front in France and AfD in Germany all vindicate Ben Friedman's point that economic stagnation makes people meaner. It causes a rise in right-wing extremism, not leftism.

...

The other is that the centre-left (aka 'soft" neoliberals) took economic growth largely for granted. New Labour believed that if it could provide stable macroeconomic policy and an attractive location for investment then growth would follow. That might have been the case in the 90s. But it isn't true in our new era of secular stagnation. We need supply-side socialism. "

This is what Krugman is missing with his discussion of being near full employment with Trump planning fiscal expansion. This is what the Fed is missing with its determination to "normalize."

(I hate to be divisive and criticize Krugman.)

Maybe he's right and we won't have another major financial crisis in a while. We'll move off of the ZLB as a mild recession is followed by more growth and above target inflation. It's possible. I hope he's right. But the history is one of a shampoo economy: bubble, bust, repeat where growth after the bust is too slow and recoveries are too shallow. And labor gets the shaft.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , February 01, 2017 at 04:56 AM
Obama averaged 1.7 percent annual growth over 8 years after an epic financial crisis. This what we'd be talking about if not for President Insane Clown Posse and his Juggalos.

(It wasn't all Obama's fault of course, but in a way it doesn't matter whose fault it was. As Dillow points out, economic stagnation causes politics to get meaner. )

New Deal democrat -> Peter K.... , February 01, 2017 at 05:13 AM
Here is an article I think you will find of interest:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/01/29/could_someone_like_john_edwards_have_saved_the_democrats_132926.html

The white working class, even outside the south, has been moving away from the Democratic Party for 20 years. Check out the graph.

I disagree on one point: economic hard times cause a rise in *both* right wing (e.g., Trump) and left-wing (e.g., Bernie) populism.

The U.S. working class will careen back and forth between the parties until one of them actually delivers for them on the economy.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> New Deal democrat... , February 01, 2017 at 05:18 AM
Yep.
Peter K. -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 01, 2017 at 05:27 AM
See Varoufakis above:

"Bon courage, Benoît! As Ali said: "Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Peter K.... , February 01, 2017 at 05:50 AM
Sure, I always like Yanis Varoufakis. THANKS!

There is a stronger tradition of social democracy in the EU that could coalesce around a candidate such as Benoît Hamon than there is here in the US. FDR was a long time ago and still rather conservative by post WWII European standards until Thatcherism caught on there. You will note how much more support that Sanders got from millennials than from our generations. It will take more time here.

Peter K. -> New Deal democrat... , February 01, 2017 at 05:22 AM
Good point, but in recent years it has been the populist right who has really been the beneficiary in the U.S. and Europe, with their scapegoating of globalization and immigrants.

"If the national Democratic Party had more cultural appeal to working-class whites, they might have been able to stop the bleeding enough to hold states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin or North Carolina."

Yeah you won't cultural appeal but not so much that you abandon your principles. Calling them deplorable doesn't help.

I feel the Democrats need to better appeal to them more on the economic front. Instead of giving speeches at Goldman Sachs functions, campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Instead of an infrastructure proposal of $275 billion over 5 years, go big like Bernie or the Senate Democrats with $1 trillion over 10 years. Trump went big with his rhetoric. We'll see if he delivers anything.

Mike S -> New Deal democrat... , February 01, 2017 at 06:01 AM
"The white working class, even outside the south, has been moving away from the Democratic Party for 20 years. Check out the graph."

Agreed. I travel (a lot) and every hotel I stay at has Faux News in the lobby (a large percentage don't even have MSNBC as part of the cable in the room upstairs, every restaurant/bar I go to has Faux News on. There are no liberal talk radio programs (outside of Sirius), so every plumber, sales guy driving to their next client, taxi driver, et al, only hear a right wing message. Anyone who disagrees with them is part of the "lame-stream media".

Undeniably, they control the messaging.

This is why they believe the economy was still bad last qtr, that Democrats raised taxes, etc.

Of all the ways Reagan ruined our country, I'd argue the worst thing he did (besides tripling the debt) was getting rid of the "fairness doctrine" which required presenting both sides of a discussion equally. This gave rise (IMO) to the hate radio and the alt-fact universe we now live in.

New Deal democrat -> Mike S... , February 01, 2017 at 06:24 AM
Agreed re the fairness doctrine.

And agreed re Fox news too. When it is on, I always ask the desk clerk to change to something nonpolitical like the Weather Channel or ESPN. I've never had them refusse. On Inauguration Day I had to do that at a sports bar! The bartender actually thanked me.

DrDick -> New Deal democrat... , February 01, 2017 at 07:30 AM
"The white working class, even outside the south, has been moving away from the Democratic Party for 20 years."

Thanks to Bill Clinton and the Democratic shift away from class based economic programs to an exclusive focus on identity issues. This is not an either/or choice, as Dillow points out in his piece, and the Democrats did both successfully for about 20 years in the 19560s-1970s. The DLC Democrats, like the Clintons, abandoned economic justice/labor issues in the mid-70s in order to attract more wealthy donors and overcome the overwhelming fundraising advantage of the Republicans at that time.

New Deal democrat -> DrDick... , February 01, 2017 at 09:54 AM
>>a ... focus on identity issues [vs. economic issues] ... is not an either/or choice,<<

Agreed. I think the Democratic "elevator pitch" ought to be "A Fair Shake for the Average American." That encompasses both parts nicely.

libezkova -> New Deal democrat... , February 01, 2017 at 11:27 AM
I think move to the right might continue for some time. Clinton Democrats betrayal of working class give far right a huge boost, to say nothing about paving way to Caesarism and discarding the Democratic governance like used shoe box.

From comments:

"what is termed the Right is pretty much what would have been [neoliberal] centre leftism not that long ago.

In practical terms there is nothing between the governments of Cameron or May vs those of Blair.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Peter K.... , February 01, 2017 at 05:28 AM
"...And the likely failures of Brexit and Trumponomics might well cause some kind of backlash.

There is, however, a more pessimistic reading.

For one thing, we might not see the sort of backlash we want..."

[That is what we have gotten already, backlash against center left neoliberal mediocrity. Still with no other game in town and a POTUS bound and determined to motivate liberal voters any way that he can then a return to a center left voting public and the policies that it will tolerate is not so unlikely.]

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 01, 2017 at 05:29 AM
The center left will still need to do something about low wages, shitty jobs, and the high cost of higher education if it wants to hang around for very long though.

[Feb 01, 2017] Rendezvous with destiny

Notable quotes:
"... While this act was sweeping and lacked finesse, operationally clumsy to say the least, the reaction to it was just about as dramatic, including tears. Well, that's politics in the 21st century. And I am sure we will see much more of this sort of thing over the next few years. ..."
Feb 01, 2017 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

While this act was sweeping and lacked finesse, operationally clumsy to say the least, the reaction to it was just about as dramatic, including tears. Well, that's politics in the 21st century. And I am sure we will see much more of this sort of thing over the next few years.

We are going to learn more about ourselves than we may have expected. There is nothing new in this; it is the particular experience of about every other generation and their own 'rendezvous with destiny.' How can we be content when the choices are between the 'lesser of two evils.' They are both evil, and many including me are not happy about it- but it is what it is.

mulp said... January 31, 2017 at 10:20 AM Where are all the "uncertainty" Chicken Littles that were running around during the Obama administration screaming about all the job killing regulations mandating paying lots more workers causing uncertainty and no job creation?

Now we have Trump uncertainty of promising job killing deregulation in some places that will be clogged up in court or uncertain times, plus the uncertainty of random irrational new job killing regulations of obstacles to international business.

Trump campaigned on unpredictable chaos to create uncertainty.

Is it ironic that Trump is being more Obama, and Carter, than Obama or Carter, and his supporters praise that?

I note with amusement that Trump defenders cite their two worst presidents ever as providing the template and justification for Trump's executive actions. Carter and Obama were the worst at not keeping America safe, so Trump is doing immigration bans based on the failed policies of Carter and Obama, polices that failed to keep America safe. And Trump defenders point to the Bernardino shooter coming from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as the justification for banning immigrants from seven nations that are NOT Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. After all, Obama did not include Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in his failed policy, so Trump is not including them in his correction because failed Obama excluded them.

Progressives are just so dumb.

How can they let Republicans justify policies of Obama based on Trump or Republicans doing them?

They should be emphasizing how much Trump and Republicans are now advocating and doing the "failed" policies of Obama. Peter K. said in reply to mulp... They should treat Trump like a regular Republican whose trickle-down economic ideas doesn't work and has never worked. Trump promised his voters something different.

Clinton did win the popular vote. Reply Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 10:33 AM mulp said in reply to Peter K.... But she lost the Rust Belt which Obama tried to address by failed stimulus spending on infrastructure which Clinton doubled down on.

Trump alone can fix things because doubling down on Clinton's doubling down on Obama's failed infrastructure spending will work because he is a Republican, not a radical leftist socialist Democrat doing it.

Why, because Trump will spending a trillion dollars on infrastructure but it won't cost a penny because he is using tax cuts and the free market, and the free in free market means free trillion dollar infrastructure.

Progressives are not liberals because they adopted voodoo free lunch economics after the 80s. Obama was a liberal who understands TANSTAAFL and called for paying for things. Trump is the anti-Obama in that where Obama policy and action cost, Trump can do exactly the same for free, at no cost to anyone. Bernie was more like Trump in promising trillions in spending at no cost, for free.

"They should treat Trump like a regular Republican whose trickle-down economic ideas doesn't work and has never worked." Which Republicans in the "they" believe free lunch economics don't work? Which conservatives in the "they" believe voodoo economics don't work?

"They" criticize/defend policies based on the identity of the policy makers, not based on logic, fact, reason.

Republicans/conservatives justifying policies based on Obama doing them or advocating them is just so absurd, and so easy to eviscerate. "Are you saying Obama's policies and selections of nations as sources of terrorist threats were the best at keeping America safe?" "If Obama failed to keep America safe because he picked the wrong nations, why are you using Obama's wrong list of nations?" Reply Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 11:15 AM anne said... Important and finely written analysis. Judging from the politically adamant president and close advisers, the openings for Fed executives from the beginning, there is a significant danger of the independence of the Federal Reserve being compromised. Reply Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 10:43 AM


[Feb 01, 2017] Is an oppressive authoritarian state the next stop after neoliberal oligarchy with a veneer of democracy

Notable quotes:
"... In the declining years of the British empire, some of its politicians flattered themselves that they could be "Greeks to their Romans" - providing wise and experienced counsel to the new American imperium. ..."
"... But the Emperor Nero has now taken power in Washington - and the British are having to smile and clap as he sets fires and reaches for his fiddle. ..."
"... imo, the risk of the USA becoming an oppressive authoritarian state (as opposed to an oligarchy with a veneer of democracy) is being willfully ignored by the the serfs, the bourgeoisie (e.g. EV commentators), and our oligarch lords and masters. ..."
"... spectacle of obvious lies being peddled by the White House is a tragedy for US democracy. ..."
"... While Trump immigration act was sweeping and lacked finesse that just is not important. This was what people who elected him expected from him. Be prepared for more. Trump administration can allow to be operationally clumsy the first 100 days, to say the least. Breaking things is a part of politics as Bismarck once noted: "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood." ..."
"... I am still waiting for neocons purge in the State Department and departure of Victoria Nuland. And I hope we will see much more of this sort of thing over the next few years. ..."
"... So those neoliberals who shed crocodile tears about Big, Bad Trump now should better be prepared :-) About every other generation has its own 'rendezvous with destiny.' Remember Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam War... ..."
"... "We are going to learn more about ourselves than we may have expected. There is nothing new in this; it is the particular experience of about every other generation and their own 'rendezvous with destiny.' How can we be content when the choices are between the 'lesser of two evils.' They are both evil, and many including me are not happy about it- but it is what it is." ..."
Feb 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
dilbert dogbert : , January 31, 2017 at 12:09 PM
Gideon Rachman weighs in:
https://www.ft.com/content/bbd596d8-e14e-11e6-8405-9e5580d6e5fb
Peter K. -> dilbert dogbert ... , January 31, 2017 at 12:35 PM
This one?

https://www.ft.com/content/fde7616a-e6cf-11e6-967b-c88452263daf

Donald Trump is a disaster for Brexit

Britain cannot look to the US for support after its divorce from the EU

Gideon Rachman

For the most ardent supporters of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump was a mixture of vindication and salvation. The president of the US, no less, thinks it is a great idea for Britain to leave the EU. Even better, he seems to offer an exciting escape route. The UK can leap off the rotting raft of the EU and on to the gleaming battleship HMS Anglosphere.

It is an alluring vision. Unfortunately, it is precisely wrong. The election of Mr Trump has transformed Brexit from a risky decision into a straightforward disaster. For the past 40 years, Britain has had two central pillars to its foreign policy: membership of the EU and a "special relationship" with the US.

The decision to exit the EU leaves Britain much more dependent on the US, just at a time when America has elected an unstable president opposed to most of the central propositions on which UK foreign policy is based.

During the brief trip to Washington by Theresa May, the UK prime minister, this unpleasant truth was partly obscured by trivia and trade. Mr Trump's decision to return the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office was greeted with slavish delight by Brexiters. More substantively, the Trump administration made it clear that it is minded to do a trade deal with the UK just as soon as Britain's EU divorce comes through.

... ... ...

Britain could defend free-trade far more effectively with the EU's bulk behind it - and could also start to explore the possibilities for more EU defence co-operation. As it is, Britain has been thrown into the arms of an American president that the UK's foreign secretary has called a madman.

In the declining years of the British empire, some of its politicians flattered themselves that they could be "Greeks to their Romans" - providing wise and experienced counsel to the new American imperium.

But the Emperor Nero has now taken power in Washington - and the British are having to smile and clap as he sets fires and reaches for his fiddle.

yuan -> dilbert dogbert ... , January 31, 2017 at 01:10 PM
an optimistic take on things.

imo, the risk of the USA becoming an oppressive authoritarian state (as opposed to an oligarchy with a veneer of democracy) is being willfully ignored by the the serfs, the bourgeoisie (e.g. EV commentators), and our oligarch lords and masters.

Peter K. -> yuan... , January 31, 2017 at 01:28 PM
"our oligarch lords and masters."

You sound like Bernie Sanders. As Bernie said if the Republicans become increasingly successful in suppressing and limiting the vote, we could be in trouble. And/or if they continue to corrupt and strip away campaign finance rules like with Citizens United. But the demographics are against them.

Peter K. -> dilbert dogbert ... , January 31, 2017 at 01:34 PM
sorry

https://www.ft.com/content/bbd596d8-e14e-11e6-8405-9e5580d6e5fb

Truth, lies and the Trump administration

Falsehood cannot be the basis for US foreign policy

JANUARY 23, 2017 by: Gideon Rachman

The man from the BBC was laughing as he reported the White House's false claims about the size of the crowd at Donald Trump's inauguration. He should have been crying. What we are witnessing is the destruction of the credibility of the American government.

This spectacle of obvious lies being peddled by the White House is a tragedy for US democracy. But the rest of the world - and, in particular, America's allies - should also be frightened. A Trump administration that is addicted to the "big lie" has very dangerous implications for global security.

... ... ...

libezkova -> Peter K.... , January 31, 2017 at 08:16 PM
"Falsehood cannot be the basis for US foreign policy"

should probably be

Falsehood was the basis for US foreign policy for too long"

;-)

John M : , January 31, 2017 at 12:48 PM
Serious issue: true, his credibility is utterly gone in the reality-based community, but seriously, what about the general populace at large?

Remember the Reagan and Bush Jr. Administrations. The presidents themselves were as oblivious to reality as Trump appears to be, yet their credibility wasn't totally demolished to a big portion of the populace. Why should Trump fail where others have succeeded?

There's also mainstream media credibility, VSP credibility, and (yes) Clinton credibility.

After all, there's the "credibility" of the Ruskie hacking of our election.

Paul Krugman's credibility took a hit for me sometime around a year ago, and as long as he keeps writing things like the "Trump-Putin" regime, it's staying down.

Peter K. -> John M ... , January 31, 2017 at 01:30 PM
Krugman's credibility took a bid hit from me when he started attacking Bernie Sanders and his supporters during the primary (which reminded me of the way he treated Obama in 2008).

Just go through his columns and blog posts on the subject and it's amazing how brazenly awful they are.

sanjait -> Peter K.... , January 31, 2017 at 01:53 PM
I like people who tell me what I want to hear, and ones that don't make me sad. Wah.
dilbert dogbert -> John M ... , January 31, 2017 at 01:45 PM
Definitely!!! He should have written the Trump-Putin-Comey regime.
libezkova -> dilbert dogbert ... , January 31, 2017 at 08:18 PM
"Trump-Putin-Comey"

Good joke. But this is not Onion.

anne -> anne... , January 31, 2017 at 12:53 PM
Just me noticing, for myself, what bond investors collectively are thinking about inflation over the coming 5 years, and thinking that inflation will be a little above 2% or subdued.
Lee A. Arnold : , January 31, 2017 at 03:49 PM
There are two other sides to the credibility/trust issue. Domestically there is the question of business confidence in a cultural landscape which has shattered. Hatred and bigotry is up; there is increasing likelihood of unrest and violence.

Business my be loathe to expand in such an unsettled, uncertain landscape. And it may be this way for a while. Internationally there is the question of whether foreign consumers will find U.S. products to be attractive, and untainted by ugly environmental and labor concerns -- and inexpensive on world markets, if there is protectionism and retaliation.

Trump is making the cardinal mistake of believing that the U.S. is the indispensable nation, that people will be forced to deal with him, that he can throw his weight around.

libezkova : , January 31, 2017 at 07:45 PM
While Trump immigration act was sweeping and lacked finesse that just is not important. This was what people who elected him expected from him. Be prepared for more. Trump administration can allow to be operationally clumsy the first 100 days, to say the least. Breaking things is a part of politics as Bismarck once noted: "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood."

I am still waiting for neocons purge in the State Department and departure of Victoria Nuland. And I hope we will see much more of this sort of thing over the next few years.

So those neoliberals who shed crocodile tears about Big, Bad Trump now should better be prepared :-) About every other generation has its own 'rendezvous with destiny.' Remember Great Depression, WWII, Vietnam War...

== quote ==

"We are going to learn more about ourselves than we may have expected. There is nothing new in this; it is the particular experience of about every other generation and their own 'rendezvous with destiny.' How can we be content when the choices are between the 'lesser of two evils.' They are both evil, and many including me are not happy about it- but it is what it is."

libezkova -> libezkova... , January 31, 2017 at 08:00 PM
The State Department has 7,600 Foreign Service officers and 11,000 civil servants.
libezkova :
"Administration officials have drafted a new executive order aimed at overhauling, among other things, the H-1B work-visa program that technology companies have long relied on to bring top foreign engineering talent to their U.S.-based locations" [USA Today]. "The order is aimed at ensuring that "officials administer our laws in a manner that prioritizes the interests of American workers and - to the maximum degree possible - the jobs, wages and well-being of those workers," according to a copy of the document provided to USA TODAY."

[Feb 01, 2017] Global Guerillas

Feb 01, 2017 | globalguerrillas.typepad.com

"A market state, in contrast to the nation-state's focus on broad economic prosperity and cultural integration, focuses on providing opportunity to the individual. Finally, and most importantly to me, Trump isn't dismantling neoliberalism to return to the old nation-state. He's building, with the help of social networking, a new model of governance for the US.

[Sep 18, 2016] Protesting Youth in the Age of Neoliberal Cruelty by Henry A. Giroux

Notable quotes:
"... Reality always has this power to surprise. It surprises you with an answer that it gives to questions never asked - and which are most tempting. A great stimulus to life is there, in the capacity to divine possible unasked questions. ..."
"... - Eduardo Galeano ..."
"... Fred Jameson has argued that "that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism." ..."
"... One way of understanding Jameson's comment is that within the ideological and affective spaces in which the neoliberal subject is produced and market-driven ideologies are normalized, there are new waves of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is driven by a kind of mad violence and form of self-sabotage, and that if it does not come to an end, what we will experience, in all probability, is the destruction of human life and the planet itself. ..."
"... As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital ..."
"... As an ideology, it casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality, construes profit-making as the arbiter and essence of democracy ..."
"... Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one's individual needs and self-interests. ..."
"... The unemployment rate for young people in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece hovers between 40 and 50 per cent. To make matters worse, those with college degrees either cannot find work or are working at low-skill jobs that pay paltry wages. In the United States, young adjunct faculty constitute one of the fastest growing populations on food stamps. Suffering under huge debts, a jobs crisis, state violence, a growing surveillance state, and the prospect that they would inherit a standard of living far below that enjoyed by their parents, many young people have exhibited a rage that seems to deepen their resignation, despair, and withdrawal from the political arena. ..."
"... They now inhabit a neoliberal notion of temporality marked by a loss of faith in progress along with the emergence of apocalyptic narratives in which the future appears indeterminate, bleak, and insecure. Heightened expectations and progressive visions pale and are smashed next to the normalization of market-driven government policies that wipe out pensions, eliminate quality health care, raise college tuition, and produce a harsh world of joblessness, while giving millions to banks and the military. ..."
"... dispossessed youth continued to lose their dignity, bodies, and material goods to the machineries of disposability. ..."
"... Against the ravaging policies of austerity and disposability, "zones of abandonment appeared in which the domestic machinery of violence, suffering, cruelty, and punishment replaced the values of compassion, social responsibility, and civic courage" (Biehl 2005:2). ..."
"... In opposition to such conditions, a belief in the power of collective resistance and politics emerged once again in 2010, as global youth protests embraced the possibility of deepening and expanding democracy, rather than rejecting it. ..."
"... What is lacking here is any critical sense regarding the historical conditions and dismal lack of political and moral responsibility of an adult generation who shamefully bought into and reproduced, at least since the 1970s, governments and social orders wedded to war, greed, political corruption, xenophobia, and willing acceptance of the dictates of a ruthless form of neoliberal globalization. ..."
"... London Review of Books ..."
"... This is not a diary ..."
"... Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment ..."
"... Against the terror of neoliberalism ..."
"... Against the violence of organized forgetting: beyond America's disimagination machine ..."
"... Debt: The First 5,000 Years ..."
"... The democracy project: a history, a crisis, a movement ..."
"... 5th assessment report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change ..."
"... Unlearning With Hannah Arendt ..."
"... Agnonistics: thinking the world politically ..."
"... Capital in the twenty-first century ..."
www.truth-out.org

Reality always has this power to surprise. It surprises you with an answer that it gives to questions never asked - and which are most tempting. A great stimulus to life is there, in the capacity to divine possible unasked questions.

- Eduardo Galeano

Neoliberalism's Assault on Democracy

Fred Jameson has argued that "that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism." He goes on to say that "We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world" (Jameson 2003). One way of understanding Jameson's comment is that within the ideological and affective spaces in which the neoliberal subject is produced and market-driven ideologies are normalized, there are new waves of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is driven by a kind of mad violence and form of self-sabotage, and that if it does not come to an end, what we will experience, in all probability, is the destruction of human life and the planet itself. Certainly, more recent scientific reports on the threat of ecological disaster from researchers at the University of Washington, NASA, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reinforce this dystopian possibility. [1]

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

As the latest stage of predatory capitalism, neoliberalism is part of a broader economic and political project of restoring class power and consolidating the rapid concentration of capital, particularly financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014). As a political project, it includes "the deregulation of finance, privatization of public services, elimination and curtailment of social welfare programs, open attacks on unions, and routine violations of labor laws" (Yates 2013). As an ideology, it casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality, construes profit-making as the arbiter and essence of democracy, consuming as the only operable form of citizenship, and upholds the irrational belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations. As a mode of governance, it produces identities, subjects, and ways of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, possessive individual, and committed to the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power removed from matters of ethics and social costs. As a policy and political project, it is wedded to the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, the eradication of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the destruction of the welfare state and unions, and the endless marketization and commodification of society.

Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one's individual needs and self-interests. Matters of mutual caring, respect, and compassion for the other have given way to the limiting orbits of privatization and unrestrained self-interest, just as it has become increasingly difficult to translate private troubles into larger social, economic, and political considerations. As the democratic public spheres of civil society have atrophied under the onslaught of neoliberal regimes of austerity, the social contract has been either greatly weakened or replaced by savage forms of casino capitalism, a culture of fear, and the increasing use of state violence. One consequence is that it has become more difficult for people to debate and question neoliberal hegemony and the widespread misery it produces for young people, the poor, middle class, workers, and other segments of society - now considered disposable under neoliberal regimes which are governed by a survival-of-the fittest ethos, largely imposed by the ruling economic and political elite.

That they are unable to make their voices heard and lack any viable representation in the process makes clear the degree to which young people and others are suffering under a democratic deficit, producing what Chantal Mouffe calls "a profound dissatisfaction with a number of existing societies" under the reign of neoliberal capitalism (Mouffe 2013:119). This is one reason why so many youth, along with workers, the unemployed, and students, have been taking to the streets in Greece, Mexico, Egypt, the United States, and England.

The Rise of Disposable Youth

What is particularly distinctive about the current historical conjuncture is the way in which young people, particularly low-income and poor minority youth across the globe, have been increasingly denied any place in an already weakened social order and the degree to which they are no longer seen as central to how a number of countries across the globe define their future. The plight of youth as disposable populations is evident in the fact that millions of them in countries such as England, Greece, and the United States have been unemployed and denied long term benefits. The unemployment rate for young people in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece hovers between 40 and 50 per cent. To make matters worse, those with college degrees either cannot find work or are working at low-skill jobs that pay paltry wages. In the United States, young adjunct faculty constitute one of the fastest growing populations on food stamps. Suffering under huge debts, a jobs crisis, state violence, a growing surveillance state, and the prospect that they would inherit a standard of living far below that enjoyed by their parents, many young people have exhibited a rage that seems to deepen their resignation, despair, and withdrawal from the political arena.

This is the first generation, as sociologist Zygmunt Bauman argues, in which the "plight of the outcast may stretch to embrace a whole generation." (Bauman 2012a; 2012b; 2012c) He rightly insists that today's youth have been "cast in a condition of liminal drift, with no way of knowing whether it is transitory or permanent" (Bauman 2004:76). Youth no longer occupy the hope of a privileged place that was offered to previous generations. They now inhabit a neoliberal notion of temporality marked by a loss of faith in progress along with the emergence of apocalyptic narratives in which the future appears indeterminate, bleak, and insecure. Heightened expectations and progressive visions pale and are smashed next to the normalization of market-driven government policies that wipe out pensions, eliminate quality health care, raise college tuition, and produce a harsh world of joblessness, while giving millions to banks and the military.

Students, in particular, found themselves in a world in which unrealized aspirations have been replaced by dashed hopes and a world of onerous debt (Fraser 2013; On the history of debt, see Graeber 2012).

The Revival of the Radical Imagination

Within the various regimes of neoliberalism that have emerged particularly in North since the late 1970s, the ethical grammars that drew attention to the violence and suffering withered or, as in the United States, seemed to disappear altogether, while dispossessed youth continued to lose their dignity, bodies, and material goods to the machineries of disposability. The fear of losing everything, the horror of an engulfing and crippling precarity, the quest to merely survive, the rise of the punishing state and police violence, along with the impending reality of social and civil death, became a way of life for the 99 percent in the United States and other countries. Under such circumstances, youth were no longer the place where society reveals its dreams, but increasingly hid its nightmares. Against the ravaging policies of austerity and disposability, "zones of abandonment appeared in which the domestic machinery of violence, suffering, cruelty, and punishment replaced the values of compassion, social responsibility, and civic courage" (Biehl 2005:2).

In opposition to such conditions, a belief in the power of collective resistance and politics emerged once again in 2010, as global youth protests embraced the possibility of deepening and expanding democracy, rather than rejecting it. Such movements produced a new understanding of politics based on horizontal forms of collaboration and political participation. In doing so, they resurrected revitalized and much needed questions about class power, inequality, financial corruption, and the shredding of the democratic process. They also explored as well as what it meant to create new communities of mutual support, democratic modes of exchange and governance, and public spheres in which critical dialogue and exchanges could take place (For an excellent analysis on neoliberal-induced financial corruption, see Anderson 2004).

A wave of youth protests starting in 2010 in Tunisia, and spreading across the globe to the United States and Europe, eventually posed a direct challenge to neoliberal modes of domination and the corruption of politics, if not democracy itself (Hardt & Negri 2012). The legitimating, debilitating, and depoliticizing notion that politics could only be challenged within established methods of reform and existing relations of power was rejected outright by students and other young people across the globe. For a couple of years, young people transformed basic assumptions about what politics is and how the radical imagination could be mobilized to challenge the basic beliefs of neoliberalism and other modes of authoritarianism. They also challenged dominant discourses ranging from deficit reduction and taxing the poor to important issues that included poverty, joblessness, the growing unmanageable levels of student debt, and the massive spread of corporate corruption. As Jonathan Schell argued, youth across the globe were enormously successfully in unleashing "a new spirit of action", an expression of outrage fueled less by policy demands than by a cry of collective moral and political indignation whose message was

'Enough!' to a corrupt political, economic and media establishment that hijacked the world's wealth for itself… sabotaging the rule of law, waging interminable savage and futile wars, plundering the world's finite resources, and lying about all this to the public [while] threatening Earth's life forms into the bargain. (Schell 2011)

Yet, some theorists have recently argued that little has changed since 2011, in spite of this expression of collective rage and accompanying demonstrations by youth groups across the globe.

The Collapse or Reconfiguration of Youthful Protests?

Costas Lapavitsas and Alex Politaki, writing in The Guardian, argue that as the "economic and social disaster unfolded in 2012 and 2013", youth in Greece, France, Portugal, and Spain have largely been absent from "politics, social movements and even from the spontaneous social networks that have dealt with the worst of the catastrophe" (Lapavitsas & Politaki 2014). Yet, at the same time, they insist that more and more young people have been "attracted to nihilistic ends of the political spectrum, including varieties of anarchism and fascism" (Lapavitsas & Politaki 2014). This indicates that young people have hardly been absent from politics. On the contrary, those youth moving to the right are being mobilized around needs that simply promise the swindle of fulfillment. This does not suggest youth are becoming invisible. On the contrary, the move on the part of students and others to the right implies that the economic crisis has not been matched by a crisis of ideas, one that would propel young people towards left political parties or social formations that effectively articulate a critical understanding of the present economic and political crisis. Missing here is also a strategy to create and sustain a radical democratic political movement that avoids cooptation of the prevailing economic and political systems of oppression now dominating the United States, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, France, and England, among other countries.

This critique of youthful protesters as a suspect generation is repeated in greater detail by Andrew R. Myers in Student Pulse (Myers 2012). He argues that deteriorating economic and educational conditions for youth all over Europe have created not only a profound sense of political pessimism among young people, but also a dangerous, if not cynical, distrust towards established politics. Regrettably, Myers seems less concerned about the conditions that have written young people out of jobs, a decent education, imposed a massive debt on them, and offers up a future of despair and dashed hopes than the alleged unfortunate willingness of young people to turn their back on traditional parties. Myers argues rightly that globalization is the enemy of young people and is undermining democracy, but he wrongly insists that traditional social democratic parties are the only vehicles and hope left for real reform. As such, Myers argues that youth who exhibit distrust towards established governments and call for the construction of another world symbolize political defeat, if not cynicism itself. Unfortunately, with his lament about how little youth are protesting today and about their lack of engagement in the traditional forms of politics, he endorses, in the end, a defense of those left/liberal parties that embrace social democracy and the new labor policies of centrist-left coalitions. His rebuke borders on bad faith, given his criticism of young people for not engaging in electoral politics and joining with unions, both of which, for many youth, rightfully represent elements of a reformist politics they reject.

It is ironic that both of these critiques of the alleged passivity of youth and the failure of their politics have nothing to say about the generations of adults that failed these young people - that is, what disappears in these narratives is the fact that an older generation accepted the "realization that one generation no longer holds out a hand to the next" (Knott 2011:ix). What is lacking here is any critical sense regarding the historical conditions and dismal lack of political and moral responsibility of an adult generation who shamefully bought into and reproduced, at least since the 1970s, governments and social orders wedded to war, greed, political corruption, xenophobia, and willing acceptance of the dictates of a ruthless form of neoliberal globalization.

In fact, what was distinctive about the protesting youth across the globe was their rejection to the injustices of neoliberalism and their attempts to redefine the meaning of politics and democracy, while fashioning new forms of revolt (Hardt & Negri 2012; Graeber 2013). Among their many criticisms, youthful protesters argued vehemently that traditional social democratic, left, and liberal parties suffered from an "extremism of the center" that made them complicitous with the corporate and ruling political elites, resulting in their embrace of the inequities of a form of casino capitalism which assumed that the market should govern the entirety of social life, not just the economic realm (Hardt & Negri 2012:88).

... ... ...

References:

Related Stories

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books include: Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future (Paradigm 2013), America's Educational Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014), and The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America's Disimagination Machine (City Lights, 2014). The Toronto Star named Henry Giroux one of the twelve Canadians changing the way we think! Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His web site is www.henryagiroux.com.

[Sep 18, 2016] Benedict Option FAQ

Notable quotes:
"... The "Benedict Option" refers to Christians in the contemporary West who cease to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of American empire, ..."
"... Benedict wrote his famous Rule , which became the guiding constitution of most monasteries in western Europe in the Middle Ages. The monasteries were incubators of Christian and classical culture, and outposts of evangelization in the barbarian kingdoms ..."
Sep 18, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The "Benedict Option" refers to Christians in the contemporary West who cease to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of American empire, and who therefore are keen to construct local forms of community as loci of Christian resistance against what the empire represents.

Put less grandly, the Benedict Option - or "Ben Op" - is an umbrella term for Christians who accept MacIntyre's critique of modernity, and who also recognize that forming Christians who live out Christianity according to Great Tradition requires embedding within communities and institutions dedicated to that formation.

... ... ...

For one, the it awakened many small-o orthodox Christians to something that ought to have been clear to them a long, long time ago: the West is truly a post-Christian civilization, and we had better come up with new ways of living if we are going to hold on to the faith in this new dark age. The reason gay rights were so quickly embraced by the American public is because the same public had already jettisoned traditional Christian teaching on the meaning of sex, of marriage, and even a Christian anthropology. Same-sex marriage is only the fulfillment of a radical change that had already taken place in Western culture.

... ... ...

Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480-537) was an educated young Christian who left Rome, the city of the recently fallen Empire, out of disgust with its decadence. He went south, into the forest near Subiaco, to live as a hermit and to pray. Eventually, he gathered around him some like-minded men, and formed monasteries. Benedict wrote his famous Rule , which became the guiding constitution of most monasteries in western Europe in the Middle Ages. The monasteries were incubators of Christian and classical culture, and outposts of evangelization in the barbarian kingdoms. As Cardinal Newman wrote:

St Benedict found the world, physical and social, in ruins, and his mission was to restore it in the way not of science, but of nature, not as if setting about to do it [the caveat], not professing to do it by any set time, or by any rare specific, or by any series of strokes, but so quietly, patiently, gradually, that often till the work was done, it was not known to be doing. It was a restoration rather than a visitation, correction or conversion.

The new work which he helped to create was a growth rather than a structure . Silent men were observed about the country, or discovered in the forest, digging, clearing and building; and other silent men, not seen, were sitting in the cold cloister, tiring their eyes and keeping their attention on the stretch, while they painfully copied and recopied the manuscripts which they had saved.

There was no one who contended or cried out, or drew attention to what was going on, but by degrees the woody swamp became a hermitage, a religious house, a farm, an abbey, a village, a seminary, a school of learning and a city.

... ... ...

Here are some basic Benedictine principles that we might think of as tools for living the Christian life:

1. Order. Benedict described the monastery as a "school for the service of the Lord." The entire way of life of the monastic community was ordered by this telos , or end. The primary purpose of Christian community life is to form Christians. The Benedict Option must teach us to make every other goal in our lives secondary to serving God. Christianity is not simply a "worldview" or an add-on to our lives, as it is in modernity; it must be our lives, or it is something less than Christianity.

2. Prayer and work. Life as a Christian requires both contemplation and action. Both depend on the other. There is a reason Jesus retired to the desert after teaching the crowds. Work is as sacred as prayer. Ordinary life can and should be hallowed.

3. Stability. The Rule ordinarily requires monks to stay put in the monastery where they professed their vows. The idea is that moving around constantly, following our own desires, prevents us from becoming faithful to our calling. True, we must be prepared to follow God's calling, even if He leads us away from home. But the far greater challenge for us in the 21st century is learning how to stay put - literally and metaphorically - and to bind ourselves to a place, a tradition, a people. Only within the limits of stability can we find true freedom.

4. Community. It really does take a village to raise a child. That is, we learn who we are and who we are called to be in large part through our communities and their institutions. We Americans have to unlearn some of the ways of individualism that we absorb uncritically, and must relearn the craft of community living.

Not every community is equally capable of forming Christians. Communities must have boundaries, and must build these metaphorical walls because, as the New Monastic pioneer Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove writes, "we cannot become the gift to others we are called to be until we embrace the limits that are necessary to our vocation." In other words, we must withdraw behind some communal boundaries not for the sake of our own purity, but so we can first become who God wants us to be, precisely for the sake of the world. Beliefs and practices that are antithetical to achieving the community's telos must be excluded.

5. Hospitality. That said, we must be open to outsiders, and receive them "as Christ," according to the Rule. For Benedictine monks, this had a specific meaning, with regard to welcoming visitors to the monastery. For modern laypersons, this will likely have to do with their relationship to people outside the community. The Benedictines are instructed to welcome outsiders so long as they don't interrupt communal life. It should be that way with us, too. We should always be open to others, in charity, to share what we have with them, including our faith.

6. Balance. The Rule of St. Benedict is marked by a sense of balance, of common sense. As Ben Oppers experiment with building and/or reforming communities and institutions in a more intentional way, we must be vigilant against the temptations to fall intorigid legalism, cults of personality, and other distortions that have been the ruin of intentional communities. There must be workable forms of accountability for leadership, and the cultivation of an anti-utopian sensibility among the faithful. A community that is too lax will dissolve, or at least be ineffective, but one that is too strict will also produce disorder. A Benedict Option community must be joyful and confident, not dour and fearful.

Can you point to any contemporary examples of Ben Op communities?

Yes. There is a Catholic agrarian community around Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in eastern Oklahoma. The lay community gathered around St. John Orthodox cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, is another. Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia , is working towards incorporating a version of the Rule of St. Benedict within its congregational life. Rutba House, a New Monastic community in Durham, North Carolina, and its School for Conversion , is still another. I recently met a couple in Waco, Texas - Baylor philosophy professor Scott Moore and his wife Andrea - who bought a property near Crawford, Texas, and who are rehabilitating it into a family home and a Christian retreat called Benedict Farm. There is the Bruderhof.

I think schools can be a form of the Benedict Option. Consider St. Jerome's, a classical school in the Catholic tradition , in Hyattsville, Maryland, or the Scuola G.K. Chesterton in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, which is run by Catholics for Catholic children, following the vision of the late Stratford Caldecott (see his essay, "A Question of Purpose" ). Homeschool groups can be motivated by the Ben Op.

I am certain that there is no such thing as a perfect Ben Op community, and that each and every one of them will have struggled with similar problems. In working on the Benedict Option book, I intend to visit as many of these communities as I can, to find out what they are doing right, what they wish they did better, and what we can all learn from them. The Benedict Option has to be something that ordinary people can do in their own circumstances.

Do you really think you can just run away from the world and live off in a compound somewhere? Get real!

No, I don't think that at all. While I wouldn't necessarily fault people who sought geographical isolation, that will be neither possible nor desirable for most of us. The early Church lived in cities, and formed its distinct life there. Most of the Ben Op communities that come to mind today are not radically isolated, in geography or otherwise, from the broader community. It's simply nonsense to say that Ben Oppers want to hide from the world and live in some sort of fundamentalist enclave. Some do, and it's not hard to find examples of how this sort of thing has gone bad. But that is not what we should aim for. In fact, I think it's all too easy for people to paint the Benedict Option as utopian escapism so they can safely wall it off and not have to think about it.

Isn't this a violation of the Great Commission? How can we preach the Gospel to the nations when we're living in these neo-monastic communities?

Well, what is evangelizing? Is it merely dispersing information? Or is there something more to it. The Benedict Option is about discipleship , which is itself an indirect form of evangelism. Pagans converted to the early Church not simply because of the words the first Christians spoke, but because of the witness of the kinds of lives they lived. It has to be that way with us too.

Pope Benedict XVI said something important in this respect. He said that the best apologetic arguments for the truth of the Christian faith are the art that the Church has produced as a form of witness, and the lives of its saints:

Yet, the beauty of Christian life is even more effective than art and imagery in the communication of the Gospel message. In the end, love alone is worthy of faith, and proves credible. The lives of the saints and martyrs demonstrate a singular beauty which fascinates and attracts, because a Christian life lived in fullness speaks without words. We need men and women whose lives are eloquent, and who know how to proclaim the Gospel with clarity and courage, with transparency of action, and with the joyful passion of charity.

The Benedict Option is about forming communities that teach us and help us to live in such a way that our entire lives are witnesses to the transforming power of the Gospel.

It sounds like you are simply asking for the Church to be the Church. Why do you need to brand it "the Benedict Option"?

That's a great point, actually. If all the churches did what they were supposed to do, we wouldn't need the Ben Op. Thing is, they don't. The term "Benedict Option" symbolizes a historically conscious, antimodernist return to roots, an undertaking that occurs with the awareness that Christians have to cultivate a sense of separation, of living as what Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon call "resident aliens" in a "Christian colony," in order to be faithful to our calling. And, "Benedict Option" calls to mind monastic disciplines that we can appropriate in our own time.

It also draws attention to the centrality of practices in shaping our Christian lives. The Reformed theologian James K.A. Smith, in his great books Imagining the Kingdom and Desiring the Kingdom , speaks of these things. A recent secular book by Matthew B. Crawford, The World Beyond Your Head , talks about the critical importance of practice as a way of knowledge. Here is Crawford writing about tradition and organ making:

When the sovereignty of the self requires that the inheritance of the past be disqualified as a guide to action and meaning, we confine ourselves in an eternal present. If subjectivism works against the coalescing of communities and traditions in which genuine individuals can arise, does the opposite follow? Do communities that look to established forms for the meanings of things somehow cultivate individuality?

… [C]onsider that when you go deep into some particular skill or art, it trains your powers of concentration and perception. You become more discerning about the objects you are dealing with and, if all goes well, begin to care viscerally about quality, because you have been initiated into an ethic of caring about what you are doing. Usually this happens by the example of some particular person, a mentor, who exemplifies that spirit of craftsmanship. You hear disgust in his voice, or see pleasure on his face, in response to some detail that would be literally invisible to someone not initiated. In this way, judgment develops alongside emotional involvement, unified in what Polanyi calls personal knowledge. Technical training in such a setting, though narrow in its immediate application, may be understood as part of education in the broadest sense: intellectual and moral formation.

… What emerged in my conversations at Taylor and Boody [a traditional organ-making shop] is that the historical inheritance of a long tradition of organ making seems not to burden these craftspeople, but rather to energize their efforts in innovation. They intend for their organs still be be in use four hundred years from now, and this orientation toward the future requires a critical engagement with the designs and building methods of the past. They learn from past masters, interrogate their wisdom, and push the conversation further in an ongoing dialectic of reverence and rebellion. Their own progress in skill and understanding is thus a contribution to something larger; their earned independence of judgment represents a deepening of the craft itself. This is a story about the progressive possibilities of tradition, then.

The Benedict Option is about how to rightly order the practices in our Christian lives, in light of tradition, for the sake of intellectual and moral formation in the way of Christ. You might even say that it's a story about the progressive possibilities of tradition, and a return to roots in defiance of a rootless age.

[Sep 11, 2016] After Neoliberalism

The current turmoil within Republican Party is connected with shirking of middle class by neoliberalism. So peons are now less inclined to support top 0.1%.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump is a billionaire, but his base of support rests among the people once identified by the sociologist Donald Warren as "middle American radicals." Nearly 40 years ago, Warren's idea was adapted by the hard-right political thinker Sam Francis as the basis for paleoconservatism-a conservatism very unlike that of the postwar conservative movement, one that would champion the class interests and cultural attitudes of middle- and lower-income whites. ..."
"... the Democratic Leadership Council, the policy group that paved the way for Bill Clinton's nomination, was founded in 1985 precisely to move the Democratic Party toward "market-based solutions. ..."
"... That economic populism should find a foothold in both parties after the Great Recession and eight years of lagging prosperity under Barack Obama is not entirely surprising. What is more remarkable is the weakness of the bipartisan establishment, whose conventional wisdom is no longer meekly accepted by the rank and file of either party. Every Republican except Trump has tried, to one degree or another, to present himself as a champion of conservative orthodoxy. But that orthodoxy no longer commands the loyalty of a sufficient number of voters to preclude a phenomenon like Trump. Nor does DLC-style neoliberalism appear to be the consensus among Democrats any longer. ..."
"... A void is opening in American politics, and Trump and Sanders are only the first to try to fill it. Neither of them may succeed. Yet it is hard to see any source of renewal for the crumbling establishment they are fighting to replace. ..."
"... "At times like these, it is important to know what to conserve, which is not a label or ideology, but a healthy and humane republic. " ..."
"... There are several holes in the 2016 is ending the Neoliberal changes: ..."
"... Sanders road to the nomination is limited and HRC is taking 65 – 70% next week. Sanders had a good run but the Democratics winnowed down to two candidates in October. ..."
"... Finally, isn't the neoliberalism built on the changes made in the Reagan Revolution? ..."
"... I don't see as strong of a break from orthodoxy in the Democrat party. Hillary will win the nomination and will validate within the Democrat party the ideology of spreading the democracy gospel around the world through force, and the domestic policy of open borders for future Democrat voters. Its less certain that she will win the general election. ..."
"... To save the republic and constitutional government, these wars in the Middle East and elsewhere must be ended, we must get out of that region, and the government must be made to perform the basic duty of securing our own borders and finding and expelling those here illegally. ..."
"... A government perpetually at war is a danger to the republic. It has squandered our money and blood in foreign adventures half way around the world and undermined our liberties and dignity here at home while shirking its own basic duty. ..."
"... The source of all of this republic's woes is an absence of competent, responsible leadership. Neither of the 2 government parties has come close to providing this at the national level. ..."
"... One difference between Trump an Sanders is that The Democrat Washington Establishment is beginning to show Sanders and his supporters the door, where The GOP Washington Establishment is beginning to be shown the door by Trump and his supporters. ..."
"... The Cubano Twins, Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear to be a pair of Neoconservative Big Money Donor Financed Bookends. ..."
"... Occupy is dead, Sanders is dying, and the Democrats will soon be a wholly owned subsidiary of Clinton Inc. ..."
"... I'm sorry folks. Reaganomics is the era we may see coming to an end – perhaps. And what did Bush Senior call it?: 'Voodoo Economics.' ..."
"... But Reagan succeeded in creating massive deficits and building up a military that was then primed for war. He was absolutely counter to Dwight Eisenhower in almost every respect (who was arguably the last Great Republican President). ..."
"... The rise of Wall Street and unregulated finance also took place under Reagan's watch. Declining investment in infrastructure. The power of lobbyists became massive in the 80s after being relatively tame prior. This all set the stage. ..."
"... That economic populism should find a foothold in both parties after the Great Recession and eight years of lagging prosperity under Barack Obama is not entirely surprising. ..."
"... "Every Republican except Trump has tried, to one degree or another, to present himself as a champion of conservative orthodoxy." ..."
"... I am not inclined to give the "Tea Party much credit. They have been part of the very problem. ..."
"... Sadly, I think it is accurate that blacks have come to the rescue of Sec. Clinton. It is sad, but it is understandable. ..."
"... Pres. Reagan has been saddled with the term "Reaganonmics". When in fact, it never existed as designed and as result was never fully implemented. Reality got in the way and as such subverted a good deal of the intent. It is incorrect to posit the model as top down. The model is as old as the country – keep money in people's hands and it will flow and redistribute throughout the country. There's just no incentives created for those with the most to reinvest in their community the US. ..."
"... I think the observations concerning how the financial industry have been totally unaccountable to the law, best practices and basic math are spot on. I embrace WS, but they cannot become so unmoored from the country that has bestowed luxurious benefits (loopholes) as to operate outside that frame without consequence. I am unsure of the monetary efficacy that investing in investing. If one is going bandy about "law and order" then to have any genuine legs – it's an across the board application. ..."
Feb 26, 2016 | The American Conservative
This year is shaping up to be the most unconventional moment in American politics in a generation.

A race that mere months ago seemed to promise yet another Bush vs. another Clinton has so far given us instead the populist insurgencies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Whether or not either of them gets his party's nomination, the neoliberal consensus of the past two decades seems about to shatter. Free trade, immigration, waging war for democracy, and even the relative merits of capitalism and "democratic socialism" have all come into question. Perhaps more fundamentally, so has the right of Clintons and Bushes-and those like them-to rule.

Trump is a billionaire, but his base of support rests among the people once identified by the sociologist Donald Warren as "middle American radicals." Nearly 40 years ago, Warren's idea was adapted by the hard-right political thinker Sam Francis as the basis for paleoconservatism-a conservatism very unlike that of the postwar conservative movement, one that would champion the class interests and cultural attitudes of middle- and lower-income whites. The Pat Buchanan presidential campaigns of 1992 and 1996 put Francis's ideas to the test. They fell short of propelling Buchanan to the GOP nomination, and by the end of the 1990s there was nary a trace of paleo ideology to be found among conservatives or Republicans. The return of the Bush family to power in 2000 seemed to confirm that nothing had changed after a decade of skirmishes.

Now suddenly there's Trump. And on the left, there's Sanders, a throwback to a time when progressives embraced the socialist label. That had fallen out of fashion even before the end of the Cold War-indeed, the Democratic Leadership Council, the policy group that paved the way for Bill Clinton's nomination, was founded in 1985 precisely to move the Democratic Party toward "market-based solutions."

That economic populism should find a foothold in both parties after the Great Recession and eight years of lagging prosperity under Barack Obama is not entirely surprising. What is more remarkable is the weakness of the bipartisan establishment, whose conventional wisdom is no longer meekly accepted by the rank and file of either party. Every Republican except Trump has tried, to one degree or another, to present himself as a champion of conservative orthodoxy. But that orthodoxy no longer commands the loyalty of a sufficient number of voters to preclude a phenomenon like Trump. Nor does DLC-style neoliberalism appear to be the consensus among Democrats any longer.

A void is opening in American politics, and Trump and Sanders are only the first to try to fill it. Neither of them may succeed. Yet it is hard to see any source of renewal for the crumbling establishment they are fighting to replace. Just as the end of the Cold War marked the passing of an era, and partially or wholly transformed the left and right alike, so another era is drawing to a close now, with further political mutations to come. Trump and Sanders need not be the future, but what Bush and Clinton represent is already past-no matter who wins in November.

Conservatives of Burkean temperament view all of this warily. There is an opportunity here to replace stale ideologies with a prudence that is ultimately more principled than any mere formula can be. But there is also the risk that the devil we know is only making way for another we don't. At times like these, it is important to know what to conserve, which is not a label or ideology, but a healthy and humane republic.


May It Be So, February 26, 2016 at 1:05 am

"At times like these, it is important to know what to conserve, which is not a label or ideology, but a healthy and humane republic. "

Amen.

My people have been here for hundreds of years, and I love my country with a depth of feeling that is difficult to convey. Our hard-pressed republic is our most precious possession, and it must be defended and shepherded through the coming peril. That will require wisdom, strength, and courage, and all the little platoons.

will require wisdom, strength, and courage, and all the little platoons.

delia ruhe, February 26, 2016 at 2:17 am

"At times like these, it is important to know what to conserve …."

I think a lot of thoughtful Americans know what to conserve: the constitution. With the possible exception of the Second Amendment, the constitution has been virtually torched in its entirety. I just have to shake my head when I listen to the debate over whether or not Apple should be required by law to write a program to destroy the feature on its multi-million dollar product, the iPhone, for which consumers buy it - security in their private information and communication. And the Fourth Amendment, be damned.

How comes it that America - of all countries - is having that debate? Were all those American security agencies always that amoral and I just didn't notice?

The American constitution is not an instruction manual, it's a statement of principles - fundamental principles upon which the massive superstructure of law rests. Torch the constitution and it suddenly becomes easy not to call to account those leaders who authorize and order torture, those bankers who bring the world economy to its knees through fraud, those presidents who commit war crimes through the practice of drone-murdering people because they are merely suspected of terrorism. And it's just as easy to disenfranchise voters with impunity by arguing on the basis of a rash of voter fraud that everyone knows does not exist.

If the country no longer recognizes a constitution upon which laws prohibiting on pain of punishment these and other crimes against democracy, then what you've got is a nation of men - barbarians living in a state of nature - not a nation of laws.

Blas Piñar February 26, 2016 at 8:12 am

I agree with this editorial, but, as delia ruhe points out, this republic has not been "healthy and humane" for quite some time. It's time for a national renewal. I never thought Trump would be the agent of this renewal. There's plenty to dislike about him, but if he's what it takes to right the ship and either restore a "healthy and humane" republic or create the conditions for someone else to do so afterwards, then so be it.

collin, February 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

There are several holes in the 2016 is ending the Neoliberal changes:

1) Sanders road to the nomination is limited and HRC is taking 65 – 70% next week. Sanders had a good run but the Democratics winnowed down to two candidates in October.

2) Why is Trump that much different that Perot? The Perot movement was minimized by a strong economy and the unemployment rate is getting low in 2016.

3) What if there isn't another Trump? To whip the radical middle took Trump to pull additional voters, there might not be another in 2020.

4) Is the number of radical middle voters slightly decreasing every election cycle?

5) Finally, isn't the neoliberalism built on the changes made in the Reagan Revolution?

pitchfork, February 26, 2016 at 9:32 am

At times like these, it is important to know what to conserve, which is not a label or ideology, but a healthy and humane republic.

Amen to that.

Johann, February 26, 2016 at 10:18 am

I don't see as strong of a break from orthodoxy in the Democrat party. Hillary will win the nomination and will validate within the Democrat party the ideology of spreading the democracy gospel around the world through force, and the domestic policy of open borders for future Democrat voters. Its less certain that she will win the general election.

JR Chloupek, February 26, 2016 at 10:19 am

Want to solve the political-economy differences between citizens of collectivist and individualist temperament? Eliminate all tax exemptions secretly written into the tax code for individuals and organizations (they are identified by language that applies only to that individual or organization), then invest the proceeds for five years into a sovereign wealth trust fund that pays $25,000 per year, adjusted for inflation, to all legal citizens beginning at age 21 (or pass legislation directing the Federal Reserve to deposit $10 Trillion dollars directly into the fund-quantitative easing for the people, if you will).

This money would be used by citizens to cover life-cycle risk to income from any source: job loss, divorce, illness, transportation and home repairs, macroeconomic chaos, or anything else life throws as a person. The funds would be retrievable as a person chooses: yearly, monthly, weekly, or in a $50,000 lump sum once every three years. In addition, replace all income-based taxes for individuals and organizations with a .005% tax on all transactions cleared through the banking system, similar to the automated payments transaction tax advocated by Wisconsin professor Edgar Feige. This would allow the supply of products and services to roughly match the increased demand generated by the basic income guarantee, thereby avoiding or mitigating the business cycle and inflationary source of current economic problems.

The precise mechanism for this proposal is based on the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend program, which takes monies from state-owned oil fields and invests prudently in a diverse portfolio world-wide. In turn, this concept is based on the "topsy-turvy nationalization" idea proposed by English economist James E. Meade, who suggested governments purchase a 50% share of all publicly-traded stocks, then pay a "social dividend" (Social Security for All) out of the earnings from these investments to all citizens. Professor James A. Yunker proposed a similar idea in his book Pragmatic Market Socialism, finding under a general equilibrium analysis that output and equity, as measured by a utilitarian social welfare function, both increased when income smoothing was financed by pre-distributed social dividends rather than by increased taxes.

Under this proposal, both conservatives and liberals would achieve what they say they desire: non-paternalistic held for people's income fluctuations for liberals, and real incentives to invest and work for conservatives. Some might say this mechanism for socializing both risk and reward cannot be implemented, as human nature suggests that people might not accept a policy that also benefits rivals. Nonetheless, if we want a political-economic modus vivendi, here is a solution.

Of course, there would still be problems faced by out society, and "solving" the economic aspect of our malaise will not by itself generate nirvana. But give people and organizations real security that does not also support apathy (i.e., both equity and efficiency, as the economist call it), and you would go a long way towards making the culture war less harsh (it is mostly based on economic fears projected onto the "other"). In the socio-political complex, one must honor humanity as it is , not as we wish, or are comfortable with in our own lives. Replace neoliberalism with a respect for both tradition and change.

a free people, February 26, 2016 at 10:57 am

@delia ruhe & may it be so – I fervently agree with you and the editors.

To save the republic and constitutional government, these wars in the Middle East and elsewhere must be ended, we must get out of that region, and the government must be made to perform the basic duty of securing our own borders and finding and expelling those here illegally.

A government perpetually at war is a danger to the republic. It has squandered our money and blood in foreign adventures half way around the world and undermined our liberties and dignity here at home while shirking its own basic duty.

Rossbach, February 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

The source of all of this republic's woes is an absence of competent, responsible leadership. Neither of the 2 government parties has come close to providing this at the national level. Everyone knows this, but now – for the first time in at least 5 decades – people are starting to discuss it openly. It really is a breath of fresh air.

Clint, February 26, 2016 at 12:26 pm

One difference between Trump an Sanders is that The Democrat Washington Establishment is beginning to show Sanders and his supporters the door, where The GOP Washington Establishment is beginning to be shown the door by Trump and his supporters.

The Cubano Twins, Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear to be a pair of Neoconservative Big Money Donor Financed Bookends.

Trump / No Trump, February 26, 2016 at 4:05 pm

"The Democrat Washington Establishment is beginning to show Sanders and his supporters the door, where The GOP Washington Establishment is beginning to be shown the door by Trump and his supporters."

That's a problem with which the Democrat base must must come to grips. Across the great political and cultural gulf that separates us, I salute those honorable and decent Democrats and liberals who make the attempt.

But it is instructive to consider the very different trajectories of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. Occupy Wall Street, having ebbed from front pages and headlines long since, has now virtually disappeared into Sanders' wickering campaign.

But the Tea Party kept at it. It has been stirring the pot for over six years now, menacing the establishment, chronically kicking out incumbents (including disappointing or coopted Tea Party incumbents), and continuing to drive broad political developments.

Occupy is dead, Sanders is dying, and the Democrats will soon be a wholly owned subsidiary of Clinton Inc. Rather, it is the widely ridiculed and derided Tea Party tendency (not to be confused with the various attempts at cooptation by groups using the name) that proved to be adults with staying power, real agents of change. The pacts born of deep concern for the republic made years ago in hearts, homes, conversations among friends and coworkers, over the Web on sites like this one, is alive and well.

Trump or no Trump, that is cause for hope.

Reagan, February 26, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I'm sorry folks. Reaganomics is the era we may see coming to an end – perhaps. And what did Bush Senior call it?: 'Voodoo Economics.'

The Soviets were not defeated by our military build-up – the fact that their factories were turning out unusable junk and exploding TVs was what defeated them. China saw the writing on the wall earlier in 1979.

But Reagan succeeded in creating massive deficits and building up a military that was then primed for war. He was absolutely counter to Dwight Eisenhower in almost every respect (who was arguably the last Great Republican President).

The rise of Wall Street and unregulated finance also took place under Reagan's watch. Declining investment in infrastructure. The power of lobbyists became massive in the 80s after being relatively tame prior. This all set the stage.

We all have confirmation biases (fueled by a personal history) in how we choose to interpret history and how we bookend things.

The concluding paragraph is excellent. I pray we are not entering even darker times and that there can be renewal for the American Republic.

sps, February 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm

"Occupy is dead, Sanders is dying, and the Democrats will soon be a wholly owned subsidiary of Clinton Inc."

Only because older voters, particularly older black voters keep propping it up. Not exactly a firm foundation. Sanders margins among young voters along with the successful political work done by actual political groups (rather than disruptive groups) like the Working Families Party show who is going to inherit the Democratic Party.

Clint, February 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm

But the Tea Party kept at it.

Yes we did.

Chris 1, February 26, 2016 at 6:37 pm

That economic populism should find a foothold in both parties after the Great Recession and eight years of lagging prosperity under Barack Obama is not entirely surprising.

Understatement of the year.

Andrew, February 26, 2016 at 11:44 pm

I've long wanted to read the Donald Warren book but it has been out of print and unavailable at Amazon. If anyone knows of any online bookseller that has used copies, please tell.

Mike Schuder, February 27, 2016 at 10:40 am

My Daddy used to say, "You'll never be conservative until you have something to conserve"…..

AndyG, February 27, 2016 at 10:48 am

Thanks to @Blas another first on the pages of TAC: the words "Trump" and "Humane" used in relation to one another.
And thanks to the Tea Party, a Congress that won't pass any sort of populist reform simply because it might mean shaking hands across the aisle.

Punch and Judy, February 27, 2016 at 2:10 pm

@AndyG "And thanks to the Tea Party, a Congress that won't pass any sort of populist reform simply because it might mean shaking hands across the aisle."

What a laugh.

"Across the aisle" from the Tea Party congressmen are Democrats who say "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable. You must not only tolerate what is repugnant to you, you must accept it or I'll have you arrested. The Federal judiciary is the engine of democracy. I only enforce laws I like. Only a fanatic would try to balance or reduce the federal budget. It's as impossible and absurd as controlling immigration. Wall Street is just fine as long as it hires lots of Diversity Officers, and the only people who oppose globalism and the corporations who fill my campaign coffers are racists and bigots."

As to populist reforms that TP Republicans and Democrat dissidents might have cooperated on, like reimposition of Glass-Steagel, or laws requiring vigorous prosecution of Wall Street criminals and Wall Street-owned government officials, or reining in the NSA, or ending the Middle East wars, the establishments of both parties have collaborated to crush their efforts. Just ask Rand Paul (R) and Ron Wyden (D).

Of course the Tea Party base is still fighting back hard. It's engaged in mortal combat with the GOP establishment. God willing and with perseverence it may prevail.

And what are those "across the aisle", the congressional Democrats, doing? Other than politely watching Sanders sputter into oblivion as they prepare for HRC's coronation? And what is the Democrat base doing other than making that possible? Most of them aren't even going to the polls

Clint, February 27, 2016 at 7:06 pm

And thanks to the Tea Party, a Congress that won't pass any sort of populist reform simply because it might mean shaking hands across the aisle

You're welcome. And do expect The Tea Party to continue to work with Trump to follow a different form of Populism from that of Socialistic Democrats.

the unworthy craftsman, February 28, 2016 at 6:57 am

Trump/No Trump said:

"Occupy is dead, Sanders is dying, and the Democrats will soon be a wholly owned subsidiary of Clinton Inc. Rather, it is the widely ridiculed and derided Tea Party tendency (not to be confused with the various attempts at cooptation by groups using the name) that proved to be adults with staying power, real agents of change."

I was heavily involved with the original Zucotti Park Occupy encampment, doing outreach to unions and the working class. There was quite a bit of hope for this in the early heady days of Occupy; but in the end, the priorities of a movement run by and for impoverished and entitled graduate students won out. Around this time I started to understand that the center of gravity of real radicalism in this country was on the "right".

EliteCommInc., February 28, 2016 at 11:07 am

The problem for me is several fold.

"Every Republican except Trump has tried, to one degree or another, to present himself as a champion of conservative orthodoxy."

If you are having to measure it in degrees of this or ht, then there's a good chance you don't represent what it is that you partially represent. In my view conservative is not hodge podge, it's a mechanism or an a priori vie point by which one approaches most or all of their life.

My guess is that people are not responding o a conservative orthodoxy because they just don't see one. In my view Sen Cruz and Dr. Caron and even (CEO) Mrs. Fiorina have the closest ties to a conservative view. Where i seems to come undone is on the issue of (needlessly) aggressive foreign policy. Mr. Trump is a conservative now, but his life has not fully reflected as much.

The traditional conservative

  1. very pro the "common man" Does not oppose wealth, but that is not a goal in of itself.
  2. does not pretend that that there is not objective realities - there are facts that matter – Truth is not relative even if opinions, ideas and tastes are.
  3. prudence to change, why and what it's consequences.
  4. fairness, fair play and undying desire or justice
  5. economic efficiency (not just frugality)
  6. a definitive sense of country and kinsmen – even if he or she thinks they are less their cup of tea and morality –
  7. a belief in a divine being with whom one is dynamically involved with – while Christianity is my own preference it need not be the sole belief that a conservative adhere's to.
  8. I have to comprehend the community benefit for killing children in the womb, much it's complete undermining of what innocents means. It makes little practical sense for a community that pushes the choice of homosexual expression a some kind norm when it adds nothing of community value beyond individual satisfaction. That a dynamic which is retrograde to community flourishing should be a national agenda is also incomprehensible

___________________

I am not inclined to give the "Tea Party much credit. They have been part of the very problem. Though I guess, the shift to another direction is a positive sign. As I recall the Tea Party was the last to give up the ghost that the invasion of Iraq was worthwhile and certainly a leap from conservative thought and practice, in almost every respect.

It dawned them rather belated that the PA and HMS was going to come back to haunt them. And yet for those who are Christian , what they should have known is that in the end, it is just such programs that will be used to round them and send them packing - yet, they have been all for extreme forms of government when it suited them. Now that democrats are using those against their interests, they are suddenly awake - suddenly they are about the Constitution. Yet they have been all to happy to abandon the same when it comes those who come into contact with police. When Republicans should have embraced civil protections, they shunned it as though such concerns were unconstitutional the powers that began turned their sights on them. Hard to claim some populist mandate unless the so called populism benefits your interests alone. I am dubious that this is some kind middle and lower class uprising in the Republican party - the support for Mr. Trump appears to be much broader.
_________________

Sadly, I think it is accurate that blacks have come to the rescue of Sec. Clinton. It is sad, but it is understandable. I was walking on campus yesterday. And having lived in these community for some time, it struck me as deeply depressing that there were large groups of Asians and Hispanics groups and it was starkly distressing to realize that that for all of this country's embrace of diversity, blacks remain non existent on campus. Considering that education is the now the bastion of democratic and liberal life, blacks seem very ill served by the people they support. I doubt the Rose Law firm is going to abandon overseeing contracts to support cheap labor which will most impact negatively the lives of no few blacks. But if you don't have th gumption to fight, the democratic broad rode is a sensible choice. Fear of losing what you don't have is a liberal/democratic tote bag.

I remain hopeful that one day, blacks will wake up and reject the liberal bait and switch spoon fed them.
_________________________

Unfortunately,

Pres. Reagan has been saddled with the term "Reaganonmics". When in fact, it never existed as designed and as result was never fully implemented. Reality got in the way and as such subverted a good deal of the intent. It is incorrect to posit the model as top down. The model is as old as the country – keep money in people's hands and it will flow and redistribute throughout the country. There's just no incentives created for those with the most to reinvest in their community the US.
_____________

I think the observations concerning how the financial industry have been totally unaccountable to the law, best practices and basic math are spot on. I embrace WS, but they cannot become so unmoored from the country that has bestowed luxurious benefits (loopholes) as to operate outside that frame without consequence. I am unsure of the monetary efficacy that investing in investing. If one is going bandy about "law and order" then to have any genuine legs – it's an across the board application.

[Sep 02, 2016] After neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... The era of unchallenged neoliberal dominance is clearly over. Hopefully, it will prove to have been a relatively brief interruption in a long term trend towards a more humane and egalitarian society. Whether that is true depends on the success of the left in putting forward a positive alternative. ..."
"... Third, the "individualist" thingies work as long as people believe that they are on the winning side; but there is evidence enough today that most people are on the losing side of increasing inequality, so most people have reason to be pro leftish policies both in "moralistic" terms and in "crude self interest" terms. In the past this wasn't obvious, but today it is, and this drum should be banged more. ..."
"... Bob Zanelli @ 10, your comment perfectly embodies an ideological trap to be avoided at all costs. What Quiggin calls tribalism is precisely not ..."
"... I can't speak for other industrialized democracies, but in the US, there is essentially no ability for the left to engage in structural change. Every avenue has been either blocked by the 18th century political structures of the US (sometimes exploited in extraordinary ways by the monied powers that those structures enable) or subsumed by the neoliberal individualist marketification of everything. ..."
"... To just discount the reality of our evolutionary baggage by calling it sociobiology is an example of classic Marxist ideology which seems to require the perfectibility of human nature. ..."
"... I just think we should call what he calls "tribalism" by its proper name - fascism - instead of deliberately tainting our theories with overtones of an "enlightened civilized wisdom versus backwards tribal savages" narrative that itself is central to fascist/"tribalist" ideology and therefore belongs in the dustbin of history. Surely flouting Godwin's Law is a lesser sin than knowingly perpetuating the discourses of racism. ..."
"... Marxism isn't evil and Nazism is evil. So political ideology can be evil or just wrong and accomplish evil. We are indebted to Marx for describing the nature of class warfare and the natural trends of accumulation based economics , but we now know his solution is a failure. So either we learn from this or we cling on to outmoded ideas and remain irrelevant. ..."
"... It seems pretty hardwired, at least enough that not planning around it would be foolish. ..."
"... It turns out that you can't say things like "globalism is great for the UK GDP" and expect citizens of the 'UK' to be excited about it if they feel too alienated from the people who are making all of the money. ..."
"... Punching "globalism" into Google returns the following definition from Merriam-Webster: "a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence - compare imperialism, internationalism." ..."
"... I agree with bob mcm that Trumpism isn't fascism. It's not a serious analysis to say that it is. ..."
"... I take note of the Florida primary results, just in: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did just fine, as did her hand-picked Democratic Senate candidate, the horrible Patrick Murphy. ..."
"... Oh, and Rubio is back. Notice of the death of neoliberalism might be premature. ..."
"... I mean Judas Iscariot, I mean Bill Clinton, you can make a case that he did his best to salvage something from the wreckage. To repeat what I've said here before, when he was elected the Democrats had lost five of the last six elections, most by landslides. The one exception was the most conservative of the Democratic candidates, who was despised by the left. The American people had decisively rejected what the Democrats were selling. False consciousness, no doubt. ..."
"... The obscurity and complexity of, say, Obamacare or the Greek bailout is a cover story for the looting. ..."
"... The problem is not that the experts do not understand consequences. The problem is that a broken system pays the top better, so the system has to be broken, but not so broken that the top falls off in collapse. ..."
"... Very well said. Resource limits shadow the falling apart of the global order that the American Interest link Peter T points to. If the billionaires are looting from the top and the response is a criminal scramble at the bottom, the unnecessariat will be spit out uncomprehending into the void between. ..."
"... So much concern about the term tribalism. Well what is fascism? The use of tribalism to grasp political power and establish a totalitarian political order. Sound reasonable? Pick any fascism you like, the Nazis ( master race) the theocratic fascists in the US ( Christian rule ) Catholic Fascism ( Franco's Spain) , you name it. It walks and talks like tribalism. Trump-ism is the not so new face of American fascism. It's race based, it xenophobic, it's embraces violence, has a disdain for civil liberties and human rights, and it features the great leader. Doesn't seem to difficult to make the connection. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is the politics of controlled dismantling of the institutions of a society that formerly worked for a larger portion of its participants. Like a landlord realizing increased cash flow from a decision to forego maintenance and hire gangsters to handle rent collection, neoliberalism seeks to divert the dividends from disinvestment to the top ..."
"... The cadre managing this technically and politically difficult task - it is not easy to take things apart without critical failures exemplified by system collapse prompting insurrection or revolution - are rewarded as are society's owners, the 1/10th of 1%. Everybody else is screwed - either directly, or by the consequences of the social disintegration used to feed a parasitic elite. ..."
"... "Lesser evil" is a story told to herd the masses. If there are two neoliberal politicians, both are corrupt. Neither intends to deliver anything to you on net; they are competing to deliver you. ..."
"... I am not enthusiastic about this proposed distinction between "hard" and "soft" neoliberalism. Ideologically, conservative libertarians have been locked in a dialectic with the Clintonite / Blairite neoliberals - that's an old story, maybe an obsolete story, but apparently not one those insist on seeing neoliberalism as a monolithic lump fixed in time can quite grasp, but never mind. ..."
"... Good cop, bad cop. Only, the electorate is carefully divided so that one side's good cop is the other side's bad cop, and vice versa. ..."
"... In fact, there was a powerful fascist movement in many Allied states as well. Vichy France had deep, strong domestic roots in particular, but the South African Broederbond and Jim Crow USA with its lynchings show how fascism and democracy (as understood by anti-Communists) are not separate things, but conjunctural developments of the capitalist states, which are not organized as business firms. ..."
"... "an obligation to vote in a democracy" ..."
"... orders you to consent ..."
"... if the US government was ever thrown it would be by the far right ..."
"... Not voting is routinely interpreted as tacit consent. ..."
Sep 02, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
The failure of neoliberalism poses both challenges and opportunities for the left. The greatest challenge is the need to confront rightwing tribalism as a powerful political force in itself, rather than as a source of political support for hard neoliberalism. Given the dangers posed by tribalism this is an urgent task. One part of this task is that of articulating an explanation of the failure of neoliberalism and explaining why the simplistic policy responses of tribalist politicians will do nothing to resolve the problems. The other is to appeal to the positive elements of the appeal of tribalism, such as solidarity and affection for long-standing institutions and to counterpose them to the self-seeking individualism central to neoliberalism, particularly in the hard version with which political tribalism has long been aligned.

The great opportunity is to present a progressive alternative to the accommodations of soft neoliberalism. The core of such an alternative must be a revival of the egalitarian and activist politics of the postwar social democratic moment, updated to take account of the radically different technological and social structures of the 21st century. In technological terms, the most important development is undoubtedly the rise of the Internet. Thinking about the relationship between the Internet economy and public policy remains embryonic at best. But as a massive public good created, in very large measure, by the public sector, the Internet ought to present opportunities for a radically remodeled progressive policy agenda.

In political terms, the breakdown of neoliberalism implies the need for a political realignment. This is now taking place on the right, as tribalists assert their dominance over hard neoliberals. The most promising strategy for the left is to achieve a similar shift in power within the centre-left coalition of leftists and soft neoliberals.

This might seem a hopeless task, but there are positive signs, notably in the United States. Although Hillary Clinton, an archetypal soft neoliberal, has won the Democratic nomination for the Presidency and seems likely to win, her policy proposals have been driven, in large measure by the need to compete with the progressive left. There is reason to hope that, whereas the first Clinton presidency symbolised the capture of the Democratic Party by soft neoliberalism, the second will symbolise the resurgence of social liberalism.

The era of unchallenged neoliberal dominance is clearly over. Hopefully, it will prove to have been a relatively brief interruption in a long term trend towards a more humane and egalitarian society. Whether that is true depends on the success of the left in putting forward a positive alternative.

Brett 08.30.16 at 5:49 am

I don't know. I think for a true triumph over the existing order, we'd need true international institutions designed to enhance other kinds of protections, like environmental and labor standards world-wide. That doesn't seem to be in the wings right now, versus a light version of protectionism coupled with perhaps some restoration of the welfare state (outside of the US – inside the US we're going to get deadlock mildly alleviated by the Supreme Court and whatever types of executive orders Clinton comes up with for the next eight years).
Andrew Bartlett 08.30.16 at 6:15 am
"The other is to appeal to the positive elements of the appeal of tribalism, such as solidarity and affection for long-standing institutions"

My only worry with that is the strong overlap between tribalism and racism, at least in it's political forms. Harking to the myth of a monocultural past could be seen by some as 'affection for long-standing institutions'. (I know that's not what the author is thinking, but left has had it's racism and pro-discrimination elements, and I am wary of giving too much opportunity for those to align with that of the right)

bruce wilder 08.30.16 at 7:29 am
I wonder, how do you envision this failure of neoliberalism?

It seems like an effective response would depend somewhat on how you think this anticipated political failure of neoliberalism plays out over the next few years. And, it is an anticipated failure, yes? or do you see an actual political failure as an accomplished fact?

And, if it is still an anticipated failure, do you see it as a political failure - the inability to marshall electoral support or a legislative coalition? Or, an ideological style that's worn out its credibility?

Or, do you anticipate manifest policy failure to play a role in the dynamics?

MisterMr 08.30.16 at 9:31 am
"The other is to appeal to the positive elements of the appeal of tribalism, such as solidarity and affection for long-standing institutions and to counterpose them to the self-seeking individualism central to neoliberalism"

I don't agree with this. First, appealing to tribalism without actually believing in it is a dick move. Second, actually existing tribalists are arseholes, or rather everyone when is taken by the tribalist demon becomes an arsehole.

Third, the "individualist" thingie work as long as people believe that they are on the winning side; but there is evidence enough today that most people are on the losing side of increasing inequality, so most people have reason to be pro lftish policies both in "moralistic" terms and in "crude self interest" terms. In the past this wasn't obvious, but today it is, and this drum should be banged more.

PS: about increasing inequality, there are two different trends that usually are mixed up:

1) When we look at inequality at an international level, the main determinant is differential "productivity" among nations. The productivity of developing nations (mostly China) went up a lot, and this causes a fall in international inequality.

2) When we look at inequalityinside a nation, it depends mostly on how exploitative the economic system is, and I think that the main indicator of this is the wage share of total income; as the wage share fell, income inequality increased. This happened both in developed and developing countries.

These two determinants of inequality are mixed up and this creates the impression that, say, the fall in wages of American workers is caused by the ascent of Chinese workers, whereas instead both American and Chinese workes lost in proportion, but the increase in productivity more than compensated the fall in relative wages.

Mixing up these two determinants causes the rise in nationalism, as workers in developed nations believe that they have been sacrificed to help workers in developing nations (which isn't true). This is my argument against nationalism and the reason I'm skeptic of stuff like brexit, and this makes me sort of allergic to tribalism.

Bob Zannelli 08.30.16 at 11:43 am
This analysis by Quiggin is spot on. Clearly the way forward holds both promise and great peril, especially in the nuclear age. The notion that Trump is just more of the same from the GOP is deluded. He represents a dangerous insurgency of radical rightists , who can be quite fairly be called racist and religious extremist based fascists. A Trump win could well close the curtain on democracy in America. Neo liberalism is being repudiated , will the elite now turn to the fascists to hold their ground, as happened in Germany? It's a troubling question.
casmilus 08.30.16 at 11:46 am
"The great opportunity is to present a progressive alternative to the accommodations of soft neoliberalism. The core of such an alternative must be a revival of the egalitarian and activist politics of the postwar social democratic moment, updated to take account of the radically different technological and social structures of the 21st century. In technological terms, the most important development is undoubtedly the rise of the Internet."

Why is that any more important than the invention of digital computers, starting from the 1940s? Just a further evolution. The real challenge is from robotics, 3D printing and AI drivers for such processes. That really will liquidate a lot of skilled labour; computing created a new industry of jobs and manufacturing.

bob mcmanus 08.30.16 at 11:59 am
4: From my point of view, neoliberalism…long supply chains and logistics; downward pressure on wages and the social wage; the growth of finance to supply consumer credit to prop up effective demand; the culture of self-improvement and self-management to reduce overhead and reproduction costs…no longer supports accumulation of capital or reproduction of political legitimacy. IOW, an economic failure.

(Anwar Shaikh's new book is definitive)

Martin 08.30.16 at 1:21 pm
Is there any knowledge of who supports tribalism? The analysis so far seems to be in terms of tribalist policies, emotions etc, but not of who the tribalists are, and why they support tribalist 'solutions' rather than say socialism.
Bob Zannelli 08.30.16 at 1:36 pm
Is there any knowledge of who supports tribalism? The analysis so far seems to be in terms of tribalist policies, emotions etc, but not of who the tribalists are, and why they support tribalist 'solutions' rather than say socialism.

Tribalism is hard wired in our genes. It can be over come with education but too few voters ever get beyond an emotional response to what they perceive. It's no accident that conservatives do anything they can to undermine education and promote religious based ignorance. That's how they win elections. But this is a dangerous game, sometimes a Hitler or a Trump shows up and steals the show.

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 2:00 pm
MisterMr @ 5: Third, the "individualist" thingies work as long as people believe that they are on the winning side; but there is evidence enough today that most people are on the losing side of increasing inequality, so most people have reason to be pro leftish policies both in "moralistic" terms and in "crude self interest" terms. In the past this wasn't obvious, but today it is, and this drum should be banged more.

This is where it becomes problematic that so much of this conversation happens within individual First-World nation-states, because the inequalities "tribalists" are interested in maintaining are precisely the inequalities between nations on a global scale. If the "most people" you're talking about includes the masses of recently-proletarianized working people in the Third World, then sure "most people" have reason to be pro-left. But when we have this conversation in a setting like this, we all implicitly know that "most people" refers at best to the working classes of countries like Australia and the US, and these people still perceive a decided interest in maintaining the global economic hierarchies for which "tribalism" serves this conversation as a signifier.

For the working classes of the First World wrapped up in their "tribalist" defense of a global aristocracy of nations, to truly believe they're on the losing side would mean to accept that the defense of national sovereignty from neoliberal globalization is an inherently lost cause. If they're to defect from the cause of "tribalism" and join the Left, this would mean accepting a critique of the "long-standing institutions" of First-World social democracy that appears to go much farther left even than John Quiggin appears willing to go. (As in, the implementation of social-democratic institutions in First-World capitalist societies is inherently a tool for enabling the economic domination of the First World over the Third World, by empowering a racialized labor aristocracy to serve as foot soldiers of global imperialism, and so on and so on à la Lenin.)

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 2:09 pm
Bob Zanelli @ 10, your comment perfectly embodies an ideological trap to be avoided at all costs. What Quiggin calls tribalism is precisely not "hard-wired in our genes", it's an inherently modern creation of the inherently modern political and economic forces that first created the "imagined community" of the modern nation-state and continue to put incredible amounts of energy into indoctrinating various populations in its various national mythologies.

Far from being an inherent solution to this problem, education - within the context of a national education system, educating its pupils as Americans/Australians/etc. - is an utterly indispensable mechanism by which this process is accomplished.

Z 08.30.16 at 2:09 pm
Interestingly, I share all the premises, and yet none of the optimistic conclusions. Because soft neoliberalism (and in fact even hard neoliberalism) is much closer sociologically, politically and ideologically to the left than tribalism is, I see the end of the hegemonic neoliberal ideology and the correlative rise of tribalism as (somewhat paradoxically) the guarantee for perpetual neoliberal power in the short and middle term, at least for two reasons.

First of all, left-inclined citizens will most likely always vote for neoliberal candidates if the alternative is a tribalist candidate (case in point: in 9 months or so, I will in all likelihood be offered a choice between a hard neoliberal and Marine Le Pen; what then?).

Moreover, even if/when tribalist parties gain power, their relative sociological estrangement from the elite sand correlative relative lack of political power all but guarantees in my mind that they will govern along the path of least resistance for them; that is to say hard neoliberalism (with a sprinkle of tribalist cultural moves). This is how the FPO ruled Carinthia, for instance, and how I would expect Trump to govern in the (unlikely) eventuality he reached power.

Finally, mass migration are bound to intensify because of climate change (if for no other reason) and the trend internationally in advanced democratic countries seems to be towards national divergence and hence national reversion.

I don't see how an ideologically coherent left-oriented force can emerge in this context, but of course I would love to be proved wrong on all counts.

Lupita 08.30.16 at 2:22 pm
Bravo, Will G-R!
Bob Zannelli 08.30.16 at 2:37 pm
Will G-R 08.30.16 at 2:09 pm
Bob Zanelli @ 10, your comment perfectly embodies an ideological trap to be avoided at all costs. What Quiggin calls tribalism is precisely not "hard-wired in our genes", it's an inherently modern creation of the inherently modern political and economic forces that first created the "imagined community" of the modern nation-state and continue to put incredible amounts of energy into indoctrinating various populations in its various national mythologies. Far from being an inherent solution to this problem, education - within the context of a national education system, educating its pupils as Americans/Australians/etc. - is an utterly indispensable mechanism by which this process is accomplished.

)))))))))))))))

I don't agree. It's true that tribalism has morphed into what you call national mythologies , but the basis for this is our evolutionary heritage which divides the world into them and us. This no doubt had survival benefits for hunter gatherer social units but it's dangerous baggage in today's world. I find your comments about education curious. Are you advocating ignorance? I think you confuse education with indoctrination , they are not the same thing.

Rich Puchalsky 08.30.16 at 2:45 pm
The question of what ideology an ideologically coherent left-oriented force would come together around is indeed an important question, but I'll try not to dwell on my hobbyhorses too much.

For now I'll add a slightly different area to consider this through: current First World "left" populations (especially in the U.S.) want to turn everything into individual moral questions through which a false solidarity can be expressed and through which opposing people can be shamed. For instance, I've thought a good deal about how environmental problems are the most important problems in general at the moment, and how it's clear that they require a redesign of our infrastructure. This is not an individual problem - no amount of volunteer action will work. Yet people on the left continually exert pressure to turn this into a conflict of morally good renouncers vs wasters, something that the right is quite ready to enhance with their own ridiculous tribal boundary markers (google "rolling coal").

You see this with appeals to racism. Racism is a real problem and destroys real people's lives. But treating it as an individual moral problem rather than a social, structural one is a way of setting boundaries around an elite. The challenge for the left is going to be developing a left that, no matter what it's based around, doesn't fall back into this individualist new-class status preservation.

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 3:15 pm
@ Bob Zannelli, you're continuing to draw on the language of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology without the social-scientific rigor to justify it. (Of course, to many if not most social scientists, the very fields of sociobiology and evopsych are largely premised on a lack of such rigor to begin with, but that's another story.) In particular, the term doing the heavy lifting to provide your get-out-of-rigor-free card is "morphed". What has been the historical trajectory of this "morphing"? What social and political institutions have been involved? With what political interests, and what economic ones? If you think about those kinds of questions, you might make some headway toward understanding why social scientists generally interpret the sociocultural aspects of racism and fascism as essential, and the biological aspects as essentially arbitrary.

To be fair, a large part of the fault here is John Quiggin's for using a word with as much fraught ideological baggage as "tribalism" to do so much of his own heavy lifting. The ironic thing is, the polemical power that probably motivated Quiggin to use that word in the first place comes from the very same set of ideological associations (e.g. "barbaric", "savage", "uncivilized", etc.) whose application to modern political issues of race and nationality he would probably characterize as "tribalist" in the first place!

Holden Pattern 08.30.16 at 3:20 pm
@ comment 16:

I can't speak for other industrialized democracies, but in the US, there is essentially no ability for the left to engage in structural change. Every avenue has been either blocked by the 18th century political structures of the US (sometimes exploited in extraordinary ways by the monied powers that those structures enable) or subsumed by the neoliberal individualist marketification of everything.

So what remains, especially given the latter, is marketing and individual action - persuasion, shame, public expressions of virtue. That's all that is available to the left in the United States, especially on issues like racism and environmental problems.

So while it's good fun to bash the lefty elites in their tony coastal enclaves and recount their clueless dinner party conversations, it's shooting fish in a barrel. Easy for you and probably satisfying in a cheap way, but the fish probably didn't put themselves in the barrel, and blaming them for swimming in circles is… problematic.

Bob Zannelli 08.30.16 at 3:26 pm
@ Bob Zannelli, you're continuing to draw on the language of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology without the social-scientific rigor to justify it. (Of course, to many if not most social scientists, the very fields of sociobiology and evopsych are largely premised on a lack of such rigor to begin with, but that's another story.) In particular, the term doing the heavy lifting to provide your get-out-of-rigor-free card is "morphed". What has been the historical trajectory of this "morphing"? What social and political institutions have been involved? With what political interests, and what economic ones? If you think about those kinds of questions, you might make some headway toward understanding why social scientists generally interpret the sociocultural aspects of racism and fascism as essential, and the biological aspects as essentially arbitrary.

)))))))))))

I hope it's clear that I do not discount the assertion that nationalism and racism are part of social constructs that favor class interest. My point is that political agendas have to work with the clay they start with. To just discount the reality of our evolutionary baggage by calling it sociobiology is an example of classic Marxist ideology which seems to require the perfectibility of human nature. This is a dangerous illusion, it leads right to the gulags.

))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

To be fair, a large part of the fault here is John Quiggin's for using a word with as much fraught ideological baggage as "tribalism" to do so much of his own heavy lifting. The ironic thing is, the polemical power that probably motivated Quiggin to use that word in the first place comes from the very same set of ideological associations (e.g. "barbaric", "savage", "uncivilized", etc.) whose application to modern political issues of race and nationality he would probably characterize as "tribalist" in the first place!

)))))))))

I think Quiggen's analysis is not to be scorned

Rich Puchalsky 08.30.16 at 3:33 pm
"Easy for you and probably satisfying in a cheap way, but the fish probably didn't put themselves in the barrel, and blaming them for swimming in circles is… problematic."

I come out of the same milieu, so I don't see why it's problematic to call attention to this. I
helped to change JQ's opinion on part of it (as he wrote later, the facts were the largest influence on his change of opinion, but apparently what I wrote helped) and he's an actual public intellectual in Australia. As intellectuals our personal actions don't matter but sometimes our ideas might.

Activism and social movements can help, even in the U.S. (I think that 350.org has had a measurable effect) so I wouldn't say that a structural approach means that nothing is possible.

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 4:06 pm

@ Bob Zannelli: To just discount the reality of our evolutionary baggage by calling it sociobiology is an example of classic Marxist ideology which seems to require the perfectibility of human nature.

As hesitant as I am to play the "Fallacy Man" game, this is a common strawman about Marxism. In the words of Mao Tse-Tung, as quoted by the eminent evolutionary biologist and Marxist Richard Lewontin: "In a suitable temperature an egg changes into a chicken, but no temperature can change a stone into a chicken, because each has a different basis." As far as human biological capacities, it's perfectly clear from any number of everyday examples that we're able to ignore all sorts of outward phenotypic differences in determining which sorts of people to consider more and less worthy of our ethical consideration, as long as the ideological structure of our culture and society permits it - so the problem is how to build the sort of culture and society we want to see, and telling wildly speculative "Just-So stories" about how the hairless ape got its concentration camps doesn't necessarily help in solving this problem.

On the contrary, the desire to root social phenomena like what Quiggin calls "tribalism" in our genes is itself an ideological fetish object of our own particular culture, utilizing our modern reverence for science to characterize social phenomena allegedly dictated by "biology" as therefore natural, inevitable, or even desirable. Here, have a reading / listening recommendation.

RobinM 08.30.16 at 4:20 pm
Like Will G-R at 17 and Bob Zannelli at 19, I, too, found the use of the term "tribalism" in the original post a bit disturbing. It's almost always used as a pejorative. And it suggests that the "tribalists" require no deeper analysis. I'm sure it's been around for much longer, but I think I first took note of it when the Scottish National Party was shallowly dismissed as a mere expression of tribalism. That the SNP (which, by the way, I do not support) was raising questions about the deep failures of the British system of politics and government long before these failures became widely acknowledged was thus disregarded. Currently, an aspect of that deep failure, the British Labour Party seems to be in the process of destroying itself, again in part, in my estimation, because one side, among whom the 'experts' must be numbered, seem to think that those who are challenging them can be dismissed as "tribalists." There are surely a lot more examples.

More generally, the resort to "tribalism" as an explanation of what is now transpiring is also, perhaps, neoliberalism's misunderstanding of its own present predicaments even while it is part of the arsenal of weapons neoliberals direct against their critics?

But in short, the evocation of "tribalism" is not only disturbing, it's dangerously misleading. Those seeking to understand what may now be unfolding should avoid using it, not least because there are also almost certainly a whole lot of different "tribes."

awy 08.30.16 at 5:06 pm
so what's the neoliberal strategy for preserving good governance in the face of insurgencies on the left and right?
Yankee 08.30.16 at 5:08 pm
This just in , about good tribalism (locality-based) vs bad tribalism ("race"-based, ie perceived or assumed common ancestry). It's about cultural recognition; nationalism, based on shared allegiance to a power structure, is different, although related (sadly)
James Wimberley 08.30.16 at 5:14 pm
"But as a massive public good created, in very large measure, by the public sector .." With a large assist from non-profit-making community movements, as with Wikipedia and Linux. (IIRC the majority of Internet servers run on variants of the noncommercial Linux operating system, as do almost all smartphones and tablets.) CT, with unpaid bloggers and commenters, is part of a much bigger trend. Maybe one lesson for the state-oriented left is to take communitarianism more seriously.

The Internet, with minimal state regulation after the vital initial pump-priming, technical self-government by a meritocratic cooptative technocracy, an oligopolistic commercial physical substructure, and large volumes of non-commercial as well as commercial content, is an interesting paradigm of coexistence for the future. Of course there are three-way tensions and ongoing battles, but it's still working.

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 5:42 pm
RobinM, to clarify, I do think that what Quiggin calls tribalism is worth opposing in pretty absolute terms, and I even largely agree with the meat of his broader "three-party system" analysis. I just think we should call what he calls "tribalism" by its proper name - fascism - instead of deliberately tainting our theories with overtones of an "enlightened civilized wisdom versus backwards tribal savages" narrative that itself is central to fascist/"tribalist" ideology and therefore belongs in the dustbin of history. Surely flouting Godwin's Law is a lesser sin than knowingly perpetuating the discourses of racism.
Bob Zannelli 08.30.16 at 6:18 pm
In the words of Mao Tse-Tung, as quoted by the eminent evolutionary biologist and Marxist Richard Lewontin:

Now Mao Tse-Tung, there's role model to be quoted. The thing about science is that's it true whether you believe it not, the thing about Marxism is that it's pseudo science and
it gave us Stalin , the failed Soviet Union, Pol Pot,, Mao Tse Tung and the dear leader in North Korea to name the most obvious. I know, I know , maybe someone will get it right some day.

A realist politics doesn't ignore science , this doesn't mean that socialism is somehow precluded, in fact the exact opposite. We have to extend democracy into the economic sphere, until we do this, we don't have a democratically based society. It's because of human nature we need to democratize every center of power, no elite or vanguard if you prefer can be ever be trusted. But democracy isn't easy, you have to defeat ignorance , a useful trait to game the system , by the elite, and create a political structure that takes account of human nature , not try to perfect it. One would hope leftists would learn something from history, but dogmas die hard.

Igor Belanov 08.30.16 at 6:50 pm
Bob Zannelli @27

"about Marxism is that it's pseudo science and it gave us Stalin , the failed Soviet Union, Pol Pot,, Mao Tse Tung and the dear leader in North Korea to name the most obvious."

To claim that Marxism 'gave us' all those wicked people must be one of the least Marxist statements ever written! No doubt if Stalin and Pol Pot hadn't come across the works of a 19th century German émigré then they would have had jobs working in a florists and spending all the rest of their time helping old ladies over the road.

Good to see Bob being consistent though. A few comments back he was suggesting that humans are biologically 'tribalist', but now he's blaming all evil on political ideology.

Raven Onthill 08.30.16 at 7:06 pm
"I conceive, therefore, that a somewhat comprehensive socialisation of investment will prove the only means of securing an approximation to full employment; though this need not exclude all manner of compromises and of devices by which public authority will co-operate with private initiative."
Sebastian_H 08.30.16 at 7:26 pm
'Tribalism' is giving members of what you perceive as your tribe more leeway than you give others. (Or negatively being much more critical of others than you would be of your tribe). It seems pretty hardwired, at least enough that not planning around it would be foolish. Lots of 'civilization' is about lubricating the rough spots created by tribalism while trying to leverage the good sides.

One of the failures of neo-liberalism is in assuming that it can count on the good side of tribalism while ignoring the perceived responsibilities to one's own tribe. It turns out that you can't say things like "globalism is great for the UK GDP" and expect citizens of the 'UK' to be excited about it if they feel too alienated from the people who are making all of the money. So then when it comes time to say "for the good of the UK we need you to do X" lots of people won't listen to you. John asks a good question in exploring what comes next, but it isn't clear.

Bob Zannelli 08.30.16 at 7:30 pm
about Marxism is that it's pseudo science and
it gave us Stalin , the failed Soviet Union, Pol Pot,, Mao Tse Tung and the dear leader in North Korea to name the most obvious."

To claim that Marxism 'gave us' all those wicked people must be one of the least Marxist statements ever written! No doubt if Stalin and Pol Pot hadn't come across the works of a 19th century German émigré then they would have had jobs working in a florists and spending all the rest of their time helping old ladies over the road.

Good to see Bob being consistent though. A few comments back he was suggesting that humans are biologically 'tribalist', but now he's blaming all evil on political ideology.

)))))))))))))

Marxism isn't evil and Nazism is evil. So political ideology can be evil or just wrong and accomplish evil. We are indebted to Marx for describing the nature of class warfare and the natural trends of accumulation based economics , but we now know his solution is a failure. So either we learn from this or we cling on to outmoded ideas and remain irrelevant.

In the Soviet Union , science, art and literature were under assault, with scientists, artist and writers sent to the gulag or murdered for not conforming to strict Marxist Leninist ideology. Evolution, quantum mechanics, and relativity were all attacked as bourgeois science. ( The need for nuclear weapons forced Stalin later to allow this science to be sanctioned) These days, like the Catholic Church which can no longer burn people at the stake , old Marxists can just castigate opinions that don't meet Marxist orthodoxy.

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 8:53 pm
@ Sebastian_H: It seems pretty hardwired, at least enough that not planning around it would be foolish.

But again, when we're talking about "tribalism" not in terms of some vague quasi-sociobiological force of eternal undying human nature, but in terms of the very modern historical phenomena of racism and nationalism, we have to consider the way any well-functioning modern nation-state has a whole host of institutions devoted to indoctrinating citizens in whatever ideological mythology is supposed to underpin a shared sense of national and/or racial identity. It should go without saying that whatever we think about general ingroup/outgroup tendencies innately hardwired into human nature or whatever, this way of relating our identities to historically contingent social institutions and their symbols is only as innate or hardwired as the institutions themselves.

It turns out that you can't say things like "globalism is great for the UK GDP" and expect citizens of the 'UK' to be excited about it if they feel too alienated from the people who are making all of the money.

At least in my view, economists are usually slipperier than that. The arguments I've seen for neoliberal free trade (I'm not quite sure what to make of the term "globalism") generally involve it being good for "the economy" in a much more abstract sense, carefully worded to avoid specifying whether the growth and prosperity takes place in Manchester or Mumbai. And there's even something worth preserving in this tendency, in the sense that ideally the workers of the world would have no less international/interracial solidarity than global capital already seems to achieved.

To me the possibility that neoliberal free trade and its degradation of national sovereignty might ultimately undermine the effectiveness of all nationalist myths, forging a sense of global solidarity among the collective masses of humanity ground under capital's boot, is the greatest hope or maybe even the only real hope we have in the face of the neoliberal onslaught. Certainly if there's any lesson from the fact that the hardest-neoliberal political leaders are often simultaneously the greatest supporters or enablers of chauvinistic ethnonationalism, it's that this kind of solidarity is also one of global capital's greatest nightmares.

Will G-R 08.30.16 at 9:05 pm
Punching "globalism" into Google returns the following definition from Merriam-Webster: "a national policy of treating the whole world as a proper sphere for political influence - compare imperialism, internationalism." I find it fascinating, and indicative of the ideological tension immanent in fascist reactionaries' use of the term, that the two terms listed as comparable to it are traditionally understood in modern political theory as diametrically opposed to each other.
bob mcmanus 08.30.16 at 9:17 pm
Recommending Joshua Clover's new book. Riot -Strike – Riot Prime

The strike, the organized disruption at the point of production, is no longer really available. Late capitalism, neoliberalism is now extracting surplus from distribution, as it did before industrialism, and is at the transport and communication streams that disruption will occur. And this will be riot, and there won't be much organization, centralization, hierarchy or solidarity. I am ok with "tribalism" although still looking for a better expression, and recognizing that a tribe is 15-50 people, and absolutely not scalable. Tribes can network, and people can have multiple and transient affiliations.

Clover's model is the Paris Commune.

(PS: If you don't like "tribe" come up with a word or expression that usefully describes the sociality of Black Lives Matter (movement, maybe) or even better Crooked Timber.)

Lee A. Arnold 08.30.16 at 9:21 pm
The left scarcely knows how to respond.

Almost all people are primarily led by emotions and use reason only secondarily, to justify the emotions.

There is a rude set of socio-economic "principles" which they call upon to buttress these arguments. You can hear these principles at any blue-collar job site, and you can hear them in a college lecture on economics, too:

–nature is selfish
–resources are scarce
–money measures real value
–wants are infinite
–there ain't no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL)
–you have to work for your daily bread
–incentives matter
–people want to keep up with the Joneses
–labor should be geographically mobile
–government is inefficient
–welfare destroys families
–printing money causes inflation
–the economy is a Darwinian mechanism

These are either false, or else secondary and ephemeral, and/or becoming inopportune and obsolete. None of them survives inspection by pure reason.

Yet this is an aggregate that buzzes around in almost everyone's head, is INTERNALIZED as true, for expectations both personal and social. And which causes most of our problems.

Consider TANSTAAFL: "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Yet obviously there is such a thing as a cheaper lunch, or else there would be no such thing as the improvement in the standard of living. …Okay, you say, but "resources are scarce." …Well no, we are quickly proceeding to the point where technological change and substitution will end real scarcity, and without ecological degradation. Therefore: can cheaper lunches proceed to the point where they are effectively free for the purposes of meeting human need, "your daily bread"? …Well no, you say, because people are greedy, and beyond their needs, they have wants: "wants are infinite." …But wait, wants really cannot be infinite, because a "want" takes mental time to have, and you only have so many hours in every day, and so many days in your life. In fact your wants are finite, and quite boring, and the Joneses' wants are finite sand boring too. (Though why you want to keep up with those boneheads the Joneses is a bit beyond me.) …Okay, you say, but "incentives matter": if you give people stuff, they will just slack off: "welfare destroys families." …But wait a minute. If we have insisted that people must work to feel self-worth, yet capitalism puts people out of work until there are no jobs available, and there are no business opportunities to provide ever-cheaper lunches, isn't welfare the least of our problems, isn't welfare a problem that gets solved when we solve the real problem?

But what is the real problem? Is the real problem that we don't know how to interact with strangers without the use of money, and so we think that money is a real thing? Is the real problem your certain feeling that we need to work for our self-worth? Is the real problem that capitalism is putting itself out of business, and showing that these so-called principles are just a bunch of bad excuses? Is the real problem that we are all caught in a huge emotional loop of bad thinking, now becoming an evident disaster?

bob mcmanus 08.30.16 at 9:26 pm
And also of course, people looking at Trump and his followers (or their enemies and opponents in the Democratic Party) and seeing "tribalism" are simply modernists engaging in nostalgia and reactionary analysis.

Trumpism is not fascism, and a Trump Rally is not Nuremberg. Much closer to Carnival

Wiki: "Interpretations of Carnival present it as a social institution that degrades or "uncrowns" the higher functions of thought, speech, and the soul by translating them into the grotesque body, which serves to renew society and the world,[37] as a release for impulses that threaten the social order that ultimately reinforces social norms ,[38] as a social transformation[39] or as a tool for different groups to focus attention on conflicts and incongruities by embodying them in "senseless" acts."

…or riot.

Rich Puchalsky 08.30.16 at 10:50 pm
I agree with bob mcm that Trumpism isn't fascism. It's not a serious analysis to say that it is.

"Tribalism" was coined as a kind of shorthand for what Michael Berube used to refer to "I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I'm outraged by Chappaquiddick." It's the wholesale adoption of what at first looks like a value or belief system but is actually a social signaling system that one belongs to a group. People on the left refer to this signaling package as "tribal" primarily out of envy (I write somewhat jokingly) because the left no longer has a similarly strong package on its side.

Greg McKenzie 08.30.16 at 11:47 pm
"Tribalism" feeds into the factionalism of parties. The left has a strong faction both inside the ALP and the Liberal Party. The Right faction, in the NLP, is currently in ascendancy but this will not last. Just as the Right faction (in the ALP) was sidelined by clever ALP faction battles, the current members of the NLP's Right faction are on borrowed time. But all politicians are "mugs" as Henry Lawson pointed out over a hundred years ago. Politicians can be talked into anything, if it gives them an illusion of power. So "tribalism" is more powerful than "factionalism" simply because it has more staying power. Left faction and Right faction merely obey the demands of their tribal masters.
bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 1:47 am
. . . the left no longer has a similarly strong package on its side

honestly, I do not think "tribalism" is a "strong package" on Right or Left. Part of the point of tribalism in politics is just how superficial and media driven it is. The "signaling package" is put together and distributed like cigarette or perfume samples: everybody gets their talking points.

Pretending to care dominates actually caring. On the right - as Rich points out with the reference to "rolling coal", some people on the Right who have donned their tribal sweatshirts get their kicks out of supposing that somebody on the Left actually cares and they can tweak those foolishly caring Lefties.

bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 1:57 am
I take note of the Florida primary results, just in: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did just fine, as did her hand-picked Democratic Senate candidate, the horrible Patrick Murphy.

Oh, and Rubio is back. Notice of the death of neoliberalism might be premature.

Martin 08.31.16 at 2:11 am
@ Bob Zannelli 10: To describe something as "hard wired" is to give up: what course of action could we take? But, then, why isn't everyone a member of the tribalist party? Has everyone, always, been of the tribalist party? (I know someone could argue, 'everyone is racist' or 'all these white liberals are just as racist really', but even if that is somehow true, most are members of the socialist party or the neoliberal party).

Rather than deciding it is all too hard, we can at least find out who supports tribalism, why it makes sense to them, whether it benefits them, how it benefits them, if it does, and why they support it anyway, if it does not benefit them.

I suppose (I am guessing here), some tribalists are benefiting from differential government support, such as immigration policies that keep out rival potential employees, or tariff policies that keep out competitors; or at least, that they used to benefit like that. But Crooked Timber should have readers who can answer this kind of question from their expertise.

Collect the evidence, then understand, then act.

Howard Frant 08.31.16 at 6:39 am
I suppose it's too late to try to convince people here that the term "neoliberalism" is a virus that devastates the analytic functions of the brain, but I'll try. The term is based on a European use of the word "liberal" that has never had any currency in the US. It's a wholly pejorative term based on a misunderstanding of Hayek (who did *not* believe in laissez-faire), but may be a reasonable approximation of the beliefs of , say, Thatcher. Then that term was confounded with a totally unconnected term invented by Peters, who was using the word "liberal" in the American sense. And presto, we have a seamless worlwide philosophy with "hard" and "soft" variants.

As far as, say, H. Clinton is concerned, I can see no respect in which it would be wrong to describe her as just a "liberal" in the American sense. American liberalism has always been internationalist and mildly pro-free-trade. It's also been pro-union– so we can just say that's *soft* neoliberalism and preserve our sense that we are part of a world-wide struggle. Or not.

Bernie Sanders was celebrated by the left for supporting a tax on carbon (without mentioning, of course, what price of gasoline he was contemplating), but this is an excellent illustration of what Peters would have considered a neoliberal policy. The term now just seems to mean anything I don't like.

As for Benedict Arnold, I mean Judas Iscariot, I mean Bill Clinton, you can make a case that he did his best to salvage something from the wreckage. To repeat what I've said here before, when he was elected the Democrats had lost five of the last six elections, most by landslides. The one exception was the most conservative of the Democratic candidates, who was despised by the left. The American people had decisively rejected what the Democrats were selling. False consciousness, no doubt.

So rather than spending a lot of time celebrating victory over this hegemonic ideology, perhaps people should be talking about liberalism and whatever we're calling the left alternative to it.

Peter T 08.31.16 at 10:54 am
"Tribalism" is unhelpful here, because it obscures the contribution "tribalism" has made and can make to effective social democracy. It was on the basis of class and national tribalisms (solidarities is a better word) that social democracy was built, and its those solidarities that give it what strength it still has. That others preferred, and still prefer, other forms of solidarity – built around region or religion or language – should neither come as a surprise nor be seen as basis for opposition. It's the content, not the form, that matters.

Self-interest is too vague and shifting, international links too weak, to make an effective politics. Our single most pressing problem – climate change – can clearly only be dealt with internationally. Yet the environmental and social problems that loom almost as large are clearly ones that can best be dealt with on national or sub-national scales. As this becomes clearer I expect the pressure to downsize and de-link from the global economy will intensify (there are already signs in this direction). The social democrat challenge is then to guide local solidarities towards democracy, not decry them.

Rich Puchalsky 08.31.16 at 10:56 am
If we're really looking for a general word that works across national boundaries, it's a well-used one: conservatism. People sometimes object that conservatives in one country are not the same as conservatives in another country, but really the differences are not much greater than in liberalism across countries, socialism, etc. Conservatism includes the characteristics of authoritarianism and nationalism. U.S. "tribalism" is its local manifestation: the use of "tribalism" to denote a global style of conservatism denotes a particular, contemporary type of conservatism, just as neoliberalism is a type of liberalism. You could divide JQ's three groups into left, liberal, conservative but since you're using neoliberal as the middle one (e.g. a contemporary mode) then "tribalism" or something like it seems appropriate for the last.

Note that there is no word for a contemporary mode of leftism, because there isn't one. The closest is the acephalous or consensus style of many recent movements and groups, but that mode hasn't won elections or taken power.

Peter T 08.31.16 at 11:43 am
The post focuses essentially on the challenge from above – the plutocracy – but the challenge from below is also relevant:
http://www.the-american-interest.com/2014/06/15/the-twin-insurgency/
reason 08.31.16 at 12:48 pm
John Quiggin,
What I see as the missing point here, and perhaps we disagree upon it's significance, is resource limitations. We can't avoid the violent reversion to zero sum games unless we address the problem (exactly when it has or will reach crisis point is perhaps a point of disagreement) of expanding population meets finite resources (or even meets already fully owned resources).

I don't buy the argument that there a technological solution, or the argument that population will stabilize before it gets too bad (I don't see what will drive it – because Malthus was partly right).

If people are unable to survive where they are, they will try to move, and people already living where they are moving to won't like it. Perhaps we are already seeing some of this, perhaps not. But it will drive tribalism (joining together to keep the "invaders" out) and won't drive the left. I have a feeling that the "left" should be replaced by a "green" view of the world, but for one thing, that will need a new economics – perhaps on the lines sketched out by Herman Daly. Maybe the term "left" is too associated with a Marxist view of the world to be useful any more.

Will G-R 08.31.16 at 2:00 pm
Apart from the obvious advantages "fascism" brings to the table - the sense of describing "Trumpism" in terms of what it seeks to develop into and not in terms of its current and clearly underdeveloped form, as well as the sense of tying our current state of poorly grasped ideological confusion back to WWII as the last clear three-way "battlefield of ideologies" pitting liberalism against fascism against socialism - the term is broadly symbolically appropriate for the same reasons it was originally adopted by Mussolini. The sense of national solidarity and "strength through unity" (i.e. the socialist element of National Socialism) is exactly what John Quiggin is characterizing as "the positive elements of the appeal of tribalism", and the direct invocation of the Roman fasces as a symbol of pure authority is exactly what Z is getting at with the term "archism". Sure our latter-day manifestation of fascism hasn't (yet) led to an honest-to-God fascist regime in any Western country, but to kid ourselves that this isn't what it seeks or that it couldn't potentially get there would be, well, a bit too uncomfortably Weimar-ish of us.

Besides which, I get that pooh-poohing about Godwin's Law and "everybody I don't like is Hitler" and so on is a nearly irresistible tic in today's liberal discourse, but c'mon people… we're all comfortable using the term "neoliberalism", which means we're all willing to risk having the same Poli Sci 101 conversations over and over again in the mainstream ("yes, Virginia, Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan are both liberals!") for the sake of our own theoretical clarity. At the very least "fascism" would have fewer problematic discursive connotations than "tribalism", which I absolutely refuse to use in this conversation without putting it in sneer quotes.

bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 2:17 pm
The problem with neoliberalism is that it isn't really compatible with a modern free market economy. Simply because that system isn't well enough understood to allow experts, let alone informed amateurs, to reach a consensus on what a particular change will actually do. . . . It is the inability of the neoliberal communication style to credibly promise control that lost it.

You seem to be dancing around the elite corruption that is motivating the rationales provided by neoliberalism. We are going to improve efficiency by privatizing education, health care, pensions, prisons, transport. Innovation is the goal of deregulating finance, electricity. That is what they say.

The obscurity and complexity of, say, Obamacare or the Greek bailout is a cover story for the looting.

The problem is not that the experts do not understand consequences. The problem is that a broken system pays the top better, so the system has to be broken, but not so broken that the top falls off in collapse.

bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 2:35 pm
Will G-R @ 55

So you know what Trumpism wants to become, so we should call it that, rather than describe what it is, because the ideological conflicts of 80 years ago were so much clearer.

We live in the age of inverted totalitarianism. Trump isn't Mussolini, he's an American version of Berlusconi, a farcical rhyme in echo of a dead past. We probably are on the verge of an unprecedented authoritarian surveillance state, but Hillary Clinton doesn't need an army of blackshirts. The historical fascism demanded everything in the state. Our time wants everything in an iPhone app.

bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 2:54 pm
reason @ 54

Very well said. Resource limits shadow the falling apart of the global order that the American Interest link Peter T points to. If the billionaires are looting from the top and the response is a criminal scramble at the bottom, the unnecessariat will be spit out uncomprehending into the void between.

It is hard to see optimism as a growth stock. But, an effective left would need something to reintroduce mass action into politics against an elite that is groping toward a solution that entails replacing the masses with robots.

Will G-R 08.31.16 at 3:38 pm
"Trumpism" may be the term du jour in the US, but let's try to kick our stiflingly banal American habit of framing everything around our little quadrennial electoral freak shows. After all, the US and our rigid two-party system have always been an outlier in the vigor with which real political currents have been forced to conform to the narrow partisan vocabulary of either a left-liberal or a right-liberal major party. If hewing religiously to a patriotic sense of US institutionalism is supposed to ultimately save the liberal political sphere from the underlying political-economic forces that threaten it, we might as well take a page from the Tea Party and start marching around in powdered wigs and tricorn hats for all the good it'll do us.

In the rest of the Western world, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, the "fascist" parties (Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, Ataka in Bulgaria, etc.) are generally less euphemistic about their role as fascist parties, and what forced sense of euphemism does exist seems to provide little more than a rhetorical opportunity for mockingly transparent coyness . To be fair, the predominant far-right parties in richer Western European countries (the FN, AfD, UKIP, etc.) are a bit more earnestly vague about their ambitions, so maybe a good compromise would be to call them (along with Trump) "soft fascists" in contrast to the "hard fascists" of Golden Dawn or Ataka. But fascism still makes much more sense than any other existing "-ism" I've seen, unless we want to just make one up.

Marc 08.31.16 at 3:48 pm
Analogies can obscure more than they illuminate.
RichardM 08.31.16 at 4:11 pm
> You seem to be dancing around the elite corruption that is motivating the rationales provided by neoliberalism.

Fair point. On the other hand, if neoliberalism rule, then neoliberals will be the rulers. And if not, not. Whatever the nature of the rulers, they rarely starve. Worldwide, average corruption is almost certainly lower in mostly-neoliberal countries than in less-neoliberal places like China, Zimbabwe, North Korea, …

The key thing is, take two neoliberal politicians, only one of whom is (unusually) corrupt. One entirely intends to deliver what you ask for, admittedly while ensuring they personally have a nice life being well-fed, warm and listened-to. The other plans to take it all and deliver nothing.

Given that nobody trustworthy knows anything, at least in a form they can explain, you can't get useful information as to which is which. 300 hours of reading reports of their rhetoric in newspapers, blogs, etc. leaves you none the wiser. And by the time you have a professional-level of knowledge of what's going on, you are part of the problem.

Might as well just stick to looking at who has which label next to their name, or who has good hair.

Will G-R 08.31.16 at 4:16 pm
Marc, the discourse of Godwin's Law has done a wonderful job solidifying the delusion that what '20s-through-'40s-era fascists once represented is categorically dead and buried, which is why it seems like the word can't be used as anything other than an obtuse historical analogy. But it's not an analogy - it's a direct insinuation that what these people currently represent is a clear descendant of what those people once represented, however mystified by its conditioned aversion to the word "fascism" itself. On the contrary, if we surrender to the Godwin's Law discourse and accept that fascism can never mean anything in contemporary discourse except as an all-purpose "everything I don't like is Hitler" analogy or whatever, it means we've forgotten what it means to actually be anti-fascist.

BTW, the link from the last comment isn't working for whatever reason, so here's Take 2 .

Bob Zannelli 08.31.16 at 5:27 pm
So much concern about the term tribalism. Well what is fascism? The use of tribalism to grasp political power and establish a totalitarian political order. Sound reasonable? Pick any fascism you like, the Nazis ( master race) the theocratic fascists in the US ( Christian rule ) Catholic Fascism ( Franco's Spain) , you name it. It walks and talks like tribalism. Trump-ism is the not so new face of American fascism. It's race based, it xenophobic, it's embraces violence, has a disdain for civil liberties and human rights, and it features the great leader. Doesn't seem to difficult to make the connection.
bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 6:14 pm
RichardM: Whatever the nature of the rulers, they rarely starve.

Still not getting it. The operative question is whether the rulers feast because the society works or because the society fails.

Neoliberalism is the politics of controlled dismantling of the institutions of a society that formerly worked for a larger portion of its participants. Like a landlord realizing increased cash flow from a decision to forego maintenance and hire gangsters to handle rent collection, neoliberalism seeks to divert the dividends from disinvestment to the top

The cadre managing this technically and politically difficult task - it is not easy to take things apart without critical failures exemplified by system collapse prompting insurrection or revolution - are rewarded as are society's owners, the 1/10th of 1%. Everybody else is screwed - either directly, or by the consequences of the social disintegration used to feed a parasitic elite.

The key thing is, take two neoliberal politicians, only one of whom is (unusually) corrupt. One entirely intends to deliver what you ask for, admittedly while ensuring they personally have a nice life being well-fed, warm and listened-to. The other plans to take it all and deliver nothing.

Again, you are not getting it. This isn't about lesser evil. "Lesser evil" is a story told to herd the masses. If there are two neoliberal politicians, both are corrupt. Neither intends to deliver anything to you on net; they are competing to deliver you.

Any apparent choice offered to you is just part of the b.s. The "300 hours of reading" is available if you need a hobby or the equivalent of a frontal lobotomy.

I am not enthusiastic about this proposed distinction between "hard" and "soft" neoliberalism. Ideologically, conservative libertarians have been locked in a dialectic with the Clintonite / Blairite neoliberals - that's an old story, maybe an obsolete story, but apparently not one those insist on seeing neoliberalism as a monolithic lump fixed in time can quite grasp, but never mind.

Good cop, bad cop. Only, the electorate is carefully divided so that one side's good cop is the other side's bad cop, and vice versa.

Hillary Clinton is running the Democratic Party in such a way that she wins the Presidency, but the Party continues to be excluded from power in Congress and in most of the States. This is by design. This is the neoliberal design. She cannot deliver on her corrupt promises to the Big Donors if she cannot play the game Obama has played so superbly of being hapless in the face of Republican intransigence.

In the meantime, those aspiring to be part of the credentialed managerial classes that conduct this controlled demolition while elaborating the surveillance state that is expected to hold things together in the neo-feudal future are instructed in claiming and nurturing their individual political identity against the day of transformation of consciousness, when feminism will triumph even in a world where we never got around to regulating banks.

bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 6:33 pm
Will G-R, Bob Zannelli

Actual, historical fascism required the would-be fascists to get busy, en masse . Trump (and Clinton) will be streamed on demand so you can stay home and check Facebook. Hitler giving a two-hour 15000 word speech and Trump, Master of the Twitterverse, belong to completely different political categories, if not universes.

There are so many differences and those differences are so deep and pervasive that the conversation hardly seems worth having.

stevenjohnson 08.31.16 at 7:54 pm
Historical fascism included not just Hitler's Germany, but Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar/Caetano's Portugal, Ionescu's Romania, the Ustase in Croatia, Tiso's Slovakia, Petliura's movement in Ukraine, and, arguably, Dollfuss' Austria, Horthy's Hungary, Imperial Japan, Peronist Argentina, the Poland of the post Pilsudski junta (read Beck on the diplomatics of a Jewish state in Uganda, which is I think symptomatic wishful thinking.)

There is a strong correlation between the nations whose rulers accepted fascists into the government and losing WWI. The rest were new, insecure states that could profit their masters by expansion. At the time, the so-called Allies, except for the USSR, were essentially the official "winners" of WWI and therefore united against the would be revisionists like Germany. Therefore it was desirable to propagandize against the Axis as uniquely fascist.

In fact, there was a powerful fascist movement in many Allied states as well. Vichy France had deep, strong domestic roots in particular, but the South African Broederbond and Jim Crow USA with its lynchings show how fascism and democracy (as understood by anti-Communists) are not separate things, but conjunctural developments of the capitalist states, which are not organized as business firms.

Democracy is associated even with genocide, enslavement of peoples and mass population transfers to colonists. It began with democracy itself, with the Spartans turning Messenians into Helots and Athenians expropriating Euboeans and massacring Melians. Russian Cossacks on the Caucasian steppes or Paxton Boys in the US continued the process. When democracy came to the Ottoman empire, making Turkey required the horrific expulsion of the Armenians. (Their Trail of Tears was better publicized than the Cherokee's.) But the structural need to unify a nation by excluding Others led to the bloody expulsion of Greeks as well. The confirmation of national identity by a mix of ethnic, religious and racial markers required mass violence and war, as seen in the emergence of the international system of mercantilist capitalist states.

The wide variations in historical fascism conclusively demonstrate every notion of fascism is somehow something essentially, metaphysically, antithetical is wrong. Fascism and democracy are not an antinomy. Particular doctrines that assert this, like the non-concept of "totalitarianism," serve as a kind of skeleton for political movements and parties. Since the triumph of what we in the US call McCarthyism all mainstream and all acceptable alternative politics share this same skeleton. It is unsurprising that such a beast is somehow not organically equipped to be an effective left. It's SYRIZA in Greece defining itself by the rejection of the KKE. There is no such thing as repudiation of revolution that doesn't imply accepting counter-revolution.

Evan Neely 08.31.16 at 8:03 pm
The problem I have with attempts to appeal to the supposedly "positive" aspects of tribalism, solidarity and the affection for longstanding institutions, is that it's presuming these aren't just our abstractions of something that's felt at a much more primal level. Tribalists don't love solidarity for the sake of the principle of solidarity: they feel solidarity because they love the specific people like them that they love and hate others.

One set of tribalists doesn't look at another and say "hey, we respect the same principles." It says "they're not our tribe!!!" Point being, you're never going to get them on your side with appeals to abstractions. You're almost certainly never going to get them on your side no matter what you do.

bruce wilder 08.31.16 at 9:07 pm
There is no vast neoliberal conspiracy . . .

There obviously is a vast political movement, coordinated in ideology and the social processes of partisan politics and propaganda. Creating a strawperson "conspiracy" does not erase actual Clinton fundraising practices and campaign tactics, which exist independent of whatever narrative I weave them into.

There are no corrupt promises from Clinton to big donors . . .

!!! And, you are accusing me of being delusional.

Rich Puchalsky 08.31.16 at 9:11 pm
Calling our present-day GOP as led by Trump "fascism" is calling it a break with the past GOP. Corey Robin has been over this quite a bit here, but in many important respects there is no break. GWB, for instance, sometimes required attendees at his rallies to take a personal loyalty oath. And GWB is hailed by some people here as being the good conservative because he said that not all Muslims were bad, while, of course, killing a million Muslims. The contemporary GOP is an outgrowth of GOP tradition, and while some leftists may find calling all conservatism fascism convincing, I think that it's only convincing for the tiny number of people who adhere to their ideology.

But conservatism and fascism are both right-wing and people can argue indefinitely about where the boundary is. So rather than talk about ideal types, let's look at how the rhetoric of calling it fascism works. Calling Trumpism fascism is primarily the rhetoric of HRC supporters, because functionally, what everyone pretty much agrees on is that when fascists appear, people on the left through moderate right are supposed to drop everything and unite in a Popular Front to oppose them.

I don't think that people should drop everything. I think that HRC is going to win and that forming the mental habit of supporting the Democratic Party is easy to do and hard to break, and I think that the people who become Democratic Party supporters because of the threat of Trump / "fascism" are going to spend the next four years working directly against actual left interests.

Will G-R 08.31.16 at 10:06 pm
Rich, I think it would be a mistake to consider this as a question of "our present-day GOP as led by Trump". First because Trump isn't "leading" the GOP in any meaningful sense; as Jay Rosen's recent Tweet-storm encapsulates nicely , the GOP's institutional leadership is still liberal through and through, even if its ideological organs pander in some ideally implicit sense to what might otherwise be a fascist constituency. And second because Trump isn't really "leading" his own constituents either; if he were to make a high-profile about-face on the issues his voters care about, they'd likely be just as eager to dump him as Bernie Sanders' most passionate leftist supporters were to ignore his pro-Clinton appeals at the DNC.

What's interesting about Trump isn't really anything to do with Trump per se, so much as what Trump's constituency would do if the normal functioning of the liberal institutions constraining it were to be disrupted in a serious way. Europe in the 1910s through 1940s was full of such disruptions, and should such an era return, the ideological currents we're now viewing through a heavily tinted institutional window would become much clearer.

Ragweed 08.31.16 at 10:23 pm
Val etc.

I think that John's use of the word "tribalist" here means a world-view that explicitly values members of an in-group more than members not of the in-group. It is different from racism because it may be over other factors than race – religion, citizenship, nationalism, or even region. And the key word is explicitly. The big difference between tribalist and both neoliberal and left positions is that the other two are generally universalist.

Neoliberals profess that everyone will be better off with deregulation, free markets, and technocratic solutions, and often explicitly reject the idea of something benefitting one racial, religious, or national group over another (though not the educated or wealthy, because these are allegedly meritocratic outcomes of the neoliberal order).

The left likewise generally argues for an increase in equality and equal distribution of resources for all, whether that be class-based or based on some sort of gender, race, or sexual equality.

So on an issue like a free trade deal, a neoliberal argument would support it, because gains of trade and various other reasons why it would make everyone better off; a leftist argument would oppose it on the grounds that it would make everyone worse off; and a tribalist argument would oppose it on the grounds that it took jobs away from American citizens, but wouldn't worry too much about the other guys.

Of course, the lines are not always clear and distinct, they often overlap, mix, and borrow arguments from each other, and there are often hypocrisies' and inconsistencies (and John's point anyway is that the neoliberals tend to draw on coalitions with the other two factions), but I think it is a good general description of the distinction.

And it is different from the more sociological use of tribal to mean any in-group/out-group distinction and social solidarity formation. Everyone is tribal in the sociological sense, but the tribalist that John is referring explicitly approves of that tribalism. A left intellectual may look down on "ignorant, racist, blue-collar Trump supporters", with as much bias as any tribalist, but would generally want them to have better education and a guarantee income so they were no longer ignorant and racist, whereas the tribalist generally thinks the other guy is less deserving.

Sam Bradford 09.01.16 at 9:20 am

What I wonder/worry about is whether tribalism, nationalism, call it what you will, is a necessity.

It's very difficult for me to imagine an internationalist order that provides the kind of benefits to citizens that I'd want a state to provide. It's much easier to imagine nation states operating as enclaves of solidarity and mutual aid in an amorphous, anarchic and ruthless globalised environment. Yet the creation of a nation requires the creation of an in-group and an out-group, citizens and non-citizens.

To put it more concretely: in my own country, New Zealand, the traditional Maori form of social organisation – a kind of communitarianism – currently appeals to me as offering more social solidarity and opportunity for human flourishing than our limp lesser-of-three-evils democracy. It is a society in which there is genuine solidarity and common purpose. Yet it is, literally, tribal; it admits no more than a few thousand people to each circle of mutual aid. I am sometimes tempted to believe that it is the correct way for human beings to live, despite my general dislike for biological determinism. I think I would rather abandon my obligations to the greater mass of humanity (not act against them, of course, just accept an inability to influence events) and be a member of a small society than be a helpless and hopeless atom in a sea of similar, utterly disenfranchised atoms.

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 4:32 pm

Bob Zannelli: Gee what a concept, an obligation to vote in a democracy. As flawed as the US political process is, voting still matters and can affect change. It's not easy , but then it's never easy to reform anything.

Just to give voice to the contrary perspective , voter turnout appears to play at least some role in the ideological process by which the US electoral system claims legitimacy: even though in purely procedural terms an election could work just fine if the total number of ballots was an infinitesimal fraction of the number of eligible voters ("Bill Clinton casts ballot, Hillary defeats Trump by 2 votes to 1!") low voter turnout is nonetheless depicted as a crisis not just for any particular candidate or party but for the entire electoral process. Accordingly, if I decide not to vote and thereby to decrease voter turnout by a small-but-nonzero amount, I'm adding a small-but-nonzero contribution to the public argument that the electoral process as presently institutionalized is illegitimate, so unless we propose to add a "none of the above" option to every single race and question on the ballot, to argue that citizens have an obligation to vote is to argue that they are obliged not to "vote" for the illegitimacy of the system as such. And plenty of ethical and political stances could be consistent with such a "vote", not the least of which is a certain historical stance whose proponents argued that "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…"

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 5:05 pm

I mean that just as people who believe the US government is legitimate should have the right to express their political preference at the ballot box, people who believe the US government is illegitimate should have the right to express their political preference at (the abstention from) the ballot box, and that it's at least possible for this to be a consistent political and ethical stance. Do you disagree? Is the legitimacy of your government a first premise for you? If so, Thomas Jefferson would like a word.

(Not to imply that I hold any particular fealty to the US nationalist mythology of the "Founding Fathers" and so on, but hey, they articulated a certain liberal political philosophy whose present-day adherents should at least be consistent about it.)

Bob Zannelli 09.01.16 at 5:14 pm
I mean that just as people who believe the US government is legitimate should have the right to express their political preference at the ballot box, people who believe the US government is illegitimate should have the right to express their political preference at (the abstention from) the ballot box, and that it's at least possible for this to be a consistent political and ethical stance. Do you disagree? Is the legitimacy of your government a first premise for you? If so, Thomas Jefferson would like a word.

(Not to imply that I hold any particular fealty to the US nationalist mythology of the "Founding Fathers" and so on, but hey, they articulated a certain liberal political philosophy whose present-day adherents should at least be consistent about it.) {}

Jefferson has never impressed me very much ( except for his church state separation advocacy) His ideal of a democratic agrarian slave society I find not too appealing. He talked about the blood of tyrants but he spent his time drinking fine wines and being waiting on by his slaves during the revolutionary war. You're entitled to any views you want, but you're not entitled to be respected if you're views are nonsensical. Good luck on the revolution, I hope that works out for you.

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 5:15 pm

Also, not to get personal, but the smarm here is so thick you could cut it with a knife…

"Did I get you right? Is your response to an argument you find uncomfortable to simply intone 'holy shit'? Holy shit…"

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 5:20 pm

So wait, did you not recognize the quote from the Declaration of Independence, or what? Your argument invoked "an obligation to vote in a democracy" . My counterargument is that if government is supposed to be premised on the consent of the governed, there can never be "an obligation to vote in a democracy", because not voting is a way of expressing one's lack of consent. As Žižek might put it, your ideal appears to be a democratic system that orders you to consent .
Bob Zannelli 09.01.16 at 5:37 pm

So wait, did you not recognize the quote from the Declaration of Independence, or what? Your argument invoked "an obligation to vote in a democracy". My counterargument is that if government is supposed to be premised on the consent of the governed, there can never be "an obligation to vote in a democracy", because not voting is a way of expressing one's lack of consent. As Žižek might put it, your ideal appears to be a democratic system that orders you to consent.{}

I think anyone who expects to move the country away from Neo Liberalism to a more progressive direction without voting is a fool. What's the alternative , over throwing the government? If this is the plan we better not discuss it on social media. Of course it's all nonsense, if the US government was ever thrown it would be by the far right as almost happened under FDR during the hey day of fascism around the world. I think too many here are still living in a Marxist fantasy world , no one here is going to establish the dictatorship of the proletarians. Let's get real.

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 6:09 pm

if the US government was ever thrown it would be by the far right

So let's get this straight… the only choice we have is between the center and the far right, yet it's far leftists' fault for not being centrists that the politics of centrism itself keeps drifting farther and farther to the right. Screw eating from the trashcan, it's like you're mainlining pure grade-A Colombian ideology.

stevenjohnson 09.01.16 at 6:24 pm

Will G-R@86 "… because not voting is a way of expressing one's lack of consent." Incorrect. Not voting is routinely interpreted as tacit consent. Not voting is meaningless, and will be interpreted as suited.

Bob Zannelli@87 "Let's get real."

Okay. What's real is, the game is rigged but you insist on making everyone ante up and play by the rules anyhow. What's real, is you have nothing to do with the left, except by defining the Democratic Party as the left. What's real is that the parties could just as well be labeled the "Ins" and the "Outs," and that would have just as much to do with the left, which is to repeat, nothing.

bruce wilder 09.01.16 at 6:59 pm
Bob Zannelli: What's the alternative?

There is no alternative.

Bob Zannelli 09.01.16 at 7:01 pm
So let's get this straight… the only choice we have is between the center and the far right, yet it's far leftists' fault for not being centrists that the politics of centrism itself keeps drifting farther and farther to the right. Screw eating from the trashcan, it's like you're mainlining pure grade-A Colombian ideology{}

Right because the left is too busy plotting the revolution to engage in politics.

bruce wilder 09.01.16 at 7:09 pm
Hillary Clinton is engaging in politics and she's teh most librul librul evah! Why isn't that enough? It is not her fault, surely, that the devil makes her do unlibrul things - you have to be practical and practically, there is no alternative. We have to clap louder. That's the ticket!
Will G-R 09.01.16 at 7:25 pm

stevenjohnson: Not voting is routinely interpreted as tacit consent.

So why then is low voter turnout interpreted as a problem for democracy? Why wouldn't it be a cause for celebration if a large majority of the population was so happy with the system that they'd be happy with whoever won? On the contrary, a helpless person's tacit refusal to respond to a provocation can be the exact opposite of consent if whoever has them at their mercy actually needs a reaction: think of a torture victim who sits in silence instead of pleading for mercy or giving up the information the torturer is after. Whether or not it truly does need it, the ideology of liberal democracy at least acts as if it needs the legitimating idea that its leaders are freely and actively chosen by those they govern, and refusing to participate in this choice can be interpreted as an effort to deprive this ideology of its legitimating idea.

bruce wilder 09.01.16 at 7:45 pm

Will G-R @ 94

Low voter turnout is interpreted as a problem by some people on some occasions. Why generalize to official "ideology" from their idiosyncratic and opportunistic pieties?

Why are the concerns of, say, North Carolina's legislature that only the right people vote not official ideology? Or, the election officials in my own Los Angeles County, where we regularly have nearly secret elections with hard-to-find-polling-places - we got down to 8.6% in one election in 2015.

Obama's DHS wants to designate the state election apparatus, critical infrastructure. Won't that be great? I guess Putin may not be able to vote, after all!

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 8:12 pm
Bob, my impression is that CT is supposed to be a philosophy-oriented discussion space (or it wouldn't be named after a line from Kant for chrissake) and in philosophy one is supposed to subject one's premises to ruthless and unsparing criticism, or at least be able to fathom the possibility of doing so - including in this case premises like the legitimacy of the US government or the desirability of capitalism. Especially in today's neoliberal society there are precious few spaces where a truly philosophical outlook is supposed to be the norm, and honestly I'm offended that you seem to want to turn CT into yet another space where it isn't.
stevenjohnson 09.01.16 at 8:27 pm
Bob Zannelli@95 Don't worry, your left credentials are quite in order. I'm not a regular, I post here occasionally for the same reason I occasionally post at BHL, sheer amazement at the insanity of it all. My views are quite beyond the pale.

Nonetheless your views, even though they pass for left at CT, are nonsense. Corey Robin's project to amalgamate all conservatism into a single psychopathology of individual minds (characters? souls?) is not useful for real politics. His shilling for Jacobinrag.com, etc., acquits SYRIZA for its total failure in real politics because it accomplished the most important task…making sure KKE couldn't use a major state crisis. Similarly OWS and the Battle of Seattle are acceptable because they are pure, untainted by anything save failure.

As for your dismissal of Marxist fantasies, I take it you do not believe economic crisis is endemic to the capitalist world economy, nor that imperialism leads to war to redivide the world. And despite your alleged interest in the location of proletarian hordes you can't see any in other countries, unlike this country where everybody is middle class.

Delusions like that are killing us all. This country doesn't need reform, it needs regime change. That's happening. Nixon failed, Trump might fail, but the long slow march of the owners through the institutions of power, gentrifying as they go, continues.

Will G-R 09.01.16 at 8:46 pm
Bruce @ 95, correct me if I'm wrong but I feel that state and (especially) local governments in the US typically are viewed as highly prone to borderline-illegitimizing levels of corruption - imagine how we'd characterize the legitimacy of a City-State of Ferguson, or a Republic of Illinois under President Blagojevich - and part of what maintains the impression of legitimacy is the possibility of federal intervention on the people's behalf if things at the lower levels get out of hand. Where the federal government hasn't done so, notably in the case of African-American communities before the mid to late 20th century, is precisely where arguments for the illegitimacy of the entire system have gained serious traction. So IMO there could actually be quite a bit of subversive potential if the population at large were to openly reject the elected officials in Washington, DC as no more inherently legitimate than those in Raleigh, NC or Los Angeles County. (I briefly tried to look up the location within LA of its county seat and found that Wikipedia's article "Politics of Los Angeles County" was entirely about its citizens' voting record in federal politics, which itself illustrates the point.)

[Aug 27, 2016] The Commons As The Response To The Structural Crises Of The Global System Countercurrents

Notable quotes:
"... Capital in the Twenty-First Century ..."
www.countercurrents.org

The Connecting the Dots series has convincingly shown a number of interconnected reasons why the global system is in crisis, and why there is no way out without a structural transformation of the dominant neoliberal system. In our contribution, we want to stress the key importance of what we call a "value regime," or simply put, the rules that determine what society and the economy consider to be of value. We must first look at the underlying modes of production - i.e. how value is created and distributed - and then construct solutions must that help create these changes in societal values. The emerging answer for a new mode of value creation is the re-emergence of the Commons.

With the growing awareness of the vulnerability of the planet and its people in the face of the systemic crises created by late-stage capitalism, we need to ready the alternatives and begin creating the next system now. To do so, we need a full understanding of the current context and its characteristics. In our view, the dominant political economy has three fatal flaws.

Pseudo-Abundance

The first is the characteristic need for the capitalist system to engage in continuous capital accumulation and growth. We could call this pseudo-abundance, i.e. the fundamental article of faith, or unconscious assumption, that the natural world's resources are infinite. Capitalism creates a systemic ecological crisis marked by the overuse and depletion of natural resources, endangering the balance of the environment (biodiversity extinction, climate change, etc).

Scarcity Engineering

The second characteristic of capitalism is that it requires scarce commodities that are subject to a tension between supply and demand. Scarcity engineering is what we call this continuous attempt to undo natural abundance where it occurs. Capitalism creates markets by the systemic re-engineering of potentially or naturally abundant resources into scarce resources. We see this happening with natural resources in the development of "terminator seeds" that undo the seeds' natural regeneration process. Crucially, we also see this in the creation of artificial scarcity mechanisms for human culture and knowledge. "Intellectual property" is imposed in more and more areas, privatizing common knowledge in order to create artificial commodities and rents that create profits for a privileged "creator class."

These first two characteristics are related and reinforce each other, as the problems created by pseudo-abundance are made quite difficult to solve due to the privatization of the very knowledge required to solve them. This makes solving major ecological problems dependent on the ability of this privatized knowledge to create profits. It has been shown that the patenting of technologies results in a systemic slowdown of technical and scientific innovation, while un-patenting technologies accelerates innovation. A good recent example of this "patent lag" effect is the extraordinary growth of 3D printing, once the technology lost its patents.

Perpetually Increasing Social Injustice

The third major characteristic is the increased inequality in the distribution of value, i.e. perpetually increasing social injustice.

As Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century shows us, the logic of capital is to concentrate more and more wealth into fewer hands through compound interest, rent seeking, purchasing legislation, etc. Our current set of rules are hardwired to increase inequality and injustice.

[Jul 31, 2016] The Forthcoming Changes in Capitalism?

Notable quotes:
"... In essence, this is a confession that "civilizing" capitalism cannot be done only "externally" by relying on the "harmony of private interests" but that the state has a bigger role that goes beyond ensuring the protection of property rights, taxation and redistribution. ..."
"... The past 35 years have shown that the neo-liberal conception of capitalism, combined with its global reach, has increased inequality to often unsustainable levels, left large segments of the population in the rich world without significant increase in real income and with heightened insecurity, and brought populist policies with a vengeance. ... ..."
"... Importing foreign labor with heavily curtailed rights has been a mainstay in many societies. Initially it was war prisoners and slaves, then with the capitalist mode of production and abolition of slavery, economic refugees from economically depressed regions. ..."
"... "Nothing wrong with Christianity except that no one ever tried it." ~George Bernard Shaw ..."
"... "Once the globalization genie got out of the bottle, there's no putting the genie back in." Oft said, but this may be a full employment statement, one that does not hold in a low equilibrium, especially for a country with a large economy that could do much more internal trade, to the detriment of many other smaller countries not so fortunately endowed. ..."
"... It may be possible to tariff away globalization for such an economy to the great benefit of those who bore its costs. ..."
"... Before abandoning neo-liberalism I'd like to see the "redistribution" part tried. ..."
"... Redistribution is best done by forcing people with money to pay workers. ..."
"... What the "neoliberal" invention is the free lunch. Lend money to the poor so the business can sell stuff without paying workers enough to buy what they want to sell. ..."
"... There has been a resurgence in leftwing movements which have coalesced around figures like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. There has been a rise of demagogues like Trump who blame immigrants and foreigners. ..."
economistsview.typepad.com

Branko Milanovic:

The forthcoming changes in capitalism?: Sometimes it's useful to put symbolic dates on when a different era begins. The end of Thatcherism, it could be argued, came on July 10 in the then PM-candidate speech by Theresa May. It was perhaps appropriate that another woman, a Tory Prime Minister, would be credited with the ending of Thatcherism. The key words, which immediately attracted attention (see also Philip Stevens in today's "Financial Times") were not those about inequality (which has become a common place these days) but about the changes in the internal structure of capitalism: reintroduction of workers' and consumers' representatives on management boards, limits on the executive pay, reduction of job insecurity for the young people and much greater access to top jobs for those coming from less privileged backgrounds.

For the first time since the late 1970s (at the top level of policy-making), we are back to the issues of reforms in the way capitalism functions rather than discussing the ways in which the external environment would be made more market friendly. In essence, this is a confession that "civilizing" capitalism cannot be done only "externally" by relying on the "harmony of private interests" but that the state has a bigger role that goes beyond ensuring the protection of property rights, taxation and redistribution.

The past 35 years have shown that the neo-liberal conception of capitalism, combined with its global reach, has increased inequality to often unsustainable levels, left large segments of the population in the rich world without significant increase in real income and with heightened insecurity, and brought populist policies with a vengeance. ...

He goes on to identify three areas where he can imagine change.

cm -> am...

Importing foreign labor with heavily curtailed rights has been a mainstay in many societies. Initially it was war prisoners and slaves, then with the capitalist mode of production and abolition of slavery, economic refugees from economically depressed regions.

Business overall doesn't want free agents. One major point of work visa program abuse is that it is (still?) socially unacceptable to curtail the rights of working citizens to e.g. take the option to "not work", or not for a specific employer, at their own choosing (provided ability to survive without a wage or finding another job).

For example, one provision of the H1-B program is that one cannot stay in the country without being officially employed (and within the skill set for which one was brought in).

Thi$ World'$ Banker$ -> DeDude...

"revise capitalism than just burning it"

Perhaps we should also revise the holder within which capitalism spins. The Milieu encapsulating present day capitalism is inflation. This inflationary holder nearly requires folks to invest, to buy shares in capitalization, shares with risk. By transplanting capitalism into a deflationary holder, capitalism could continue to perform its many functions without requiring nearly everyone to buy shares, to buy risk.

Within deflation, savings are rewarded with a ROI by way of the expanding buying power of each dollar saved, an automatic ROI that frees savings from the risk of capitalism. Sure!

The experts would continue to take calculated risks, Bill. The rank and file would no longer need to buy shares in preparation for their retirement. And yes, bailouts for fat bankers should be allowed to die a gruesome death. Hey!

Our bankruptcy lawyers have been cheated out of their fun for far too long.

Deflation is also healthy for the GTF, global Triffin fiat that we print for profit. At present we print bonds also, but with deflation there would be no need to print bonds, just more fiat that would give poor folk the same ROI that is now enjoyed only by wealthy bond holders.

Deflation is also healthier for nations that operate with religious restrictions against charging interest for bank loans. During the middle ages Christians were not allowed to charge interest. Do we still have Christians today?

"Nothing wrong with Christianity except that no one ever tried it." ~George Bernard Shaw

rayward

Why would the beneficiaries of globalization want to invest in public goods in America? They wouldn't, and they don't. I suspect that many of the beneficiaries already know it, but in the emerging phase of globalization, American firms will be competing with China rather than collaborating with China.

Once the globalization genie got out of the bottle, there's no putting the genie back in. American firms shifting alliances to Vietnam from China won't solve the problems in America and will ratchet up the potential problems in the far east, including trade wars and real wars that are often triggered by trade wars.

Turning inward (as the populists would do) won't make goods produced in America more competitive in global markets; it will make them less competitive.

point -> rayward...

"Once the globalization genie got out of the bottle, there's no putting the genie back in." Oft said, but this may be a full employment statement, one that does not hold in a low equilibrium, especially for a country with a large economy that could do much more internal trade, to the detriment of many other smaller countries not so fortunately endowed.

It may be possible to tariff away globalization for such an economy to the great benefit of those who bore its costs.

I won't hold my breath waiting...

ThaomasH

Before abandoning neo-liberalism I'd like to see the "redistribution" part tried.

mulp -> ThaomasH...

Redistribution is best done by forcing people with money to pay workers.

Few people are totally unable to be productive, but the investment cost (labor) might be higher than the income. Some people with lots of money will pay workers to invest in the disabled for a small productive return instead of paying taxes out of concern or for a sense of duty to charity, and that should be encouraged by not taxing money paid to labor.

For all labor income, social insurance should be taken by tax so workers are paying to care for themselves and families collectively at a baseline.

Basically, returning to the "tax and spend" of the 60s, with every faction getting to find groups of workers to pay. The conservatives likely love to pay workers to make guns and bombs and pay men to act like an army - that trained lots of idle young men with no direct, and a lot of airline pilots. For liberals, pay workers to teach and do research. For the common man, pay workers to build roads, railroads, schools, water and sewer, anything to put people to work to make sure everyone gets paid a good income.

mrrunangun

Making top jobs more accessible to those from less privileged backgrounds will require more affordable higher education and graduate professional education for those from less privileged backgrounds. Experience has shown that making large loans available for education does not actually make education more affordable to those from modest backgrounds.

Progressives have discussed price controls on the health sector and indeed Medicare has gone a long way in that direction already. Price controls in the higher ed and especially professional schools should be considered if we are to make these opportunities realistically available to those of modest means.

Free Juco has been proposed by Chicago mayor Emmanuel and Tennessee governor Haslem. That means tax increases for the rest of the citizens to replace the money tuition provides now. That seems to me to be a reasonable proposal, provided the tax increase actually replaced the tuition and was not subject to the usual 50% rake-off for the political system that most taxes in Illinois are subject to.

Back in the 1955-75 era, well-paid jobs were plentiful enough and university education inexpensive enough that young men and women from modest backgrounds could and did supply their own money for their own educations when parents could not provide it. People could and did work their ways thru law school tending bar and waiting tables then. It wasn't easy but it was doable for ambitious bootstrappers. I doubt that could be done today. Education has become so expensive in the contemporary world that few jobs available to students can support the tuition + the personal expenses entailed in getting a university education.

To recreate that kind of opportunity for today's young people, either jobs that can support tuition and expenses have to be made available to them or the cost of tuition and expenses need to be brought into line with what the jobs available will support. Or a little of both. Tough challenges either way.

John San Vant -> mrrunangun...

55-75 was about the only time in American history "well paid" Jobs were plentiful. It also created a mess with how capitalism functions.

mulp -> John San Vant...

How so? Profits were low. Share prices tracked the labor cost of the productive capital assets. The tax structure and demand for goods and services from government ensured production required paying workers to the degree that wages were bid up even for the unskilled worker. And you hired the unskilled and trained them because you had no choice to meet demand for your production.

Banks were tightly regulated so they couldn't rent seeking. Thus they would lend only to people with income so lower incomes forced reduced consumption lower profits leading to widespread support for government spending building stuff businesses wanted so workers had more money to spend.

What the "neoliberal" invention is the free lunch. Lend money to the poor so the business can sell stuff without paying workers enough to buy what they want to sell.

Peter K.

"The past 35 years have shown that the neo-liberal conception of capitalism, combined with its global reach, has increased inequality to often unsustainable levels, left large segments of the population in the rich world without significant increase in real income and with heightened insecurity, and brought populist policies with a vengeance."

Again the term "populist." I don't like it.

There has been a resurgence in leftwing movements which have coalesced around figures like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. There has been a rise of demagogues like Trump who blame immigrants and foreigners.

What will the center-left do? Will Hillary and May actually put in place policies that work? Will they try?

Or will they continue to make excuses and engage in diversions?

I liked how Obama nodded to Bernie Sanders in his speech where if you cared about inequality or money in politics you rallied to Bernie. What was left unsaid there?

David

He makes three (kind of vague) proposals :

  1. The middle class needs to be encouraged or facilitated to acquire capital as a means of reducing inequality.
  2. Development NGOs should focus on "hard"' infrastructure development such as roads and schools.
  3. Europe cannot, due to demographics, become "fortress Europe" and needs to implement immigrant worker policies that don't necessarily grant citizenship, just the right to work and then return home (many countries currently do this - South Korea has thousands of American and Canadian and Australian English teachers who will never be citizens of SK).


1. I think this is interesting. First you need a minimum wage that allows people to save a portion of their income and invest it - 15 bucks an hour say.

Then, remember those classes like home economics in high school? They need to try a finance class in which kids learn how to get an online account, and basic investment strategies like investing in index funds or mutual funds.

I say this as someone who has a portfolio that is currently 6x my yearly salary. I got lucky b/c I got in 2010. But long term index funds will kill treasury bonds if secular stagnation has any truth to it.

I would had another thing: strengthen social security by a lot.

2. Infrastructure investment is vital. NGOs should be held accountable for their budgets and should in fact be well regulated.

3. Euhhhhh, immigration. A temporary foreign worker policy would be economically useful. But if there's more terrorist attacks in France...

[Apr 24, 2016] What Can Replace Neoliberalism

addisfortune.net
In a popular piece that recently appeared in Foreign Affairs magazine, headlined, "The Future of History", Francis Fukuyama pointed out that, despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of support for left-wing political parties. Fukuyama attributed this – rightly, I believe – to a failure of ideas.

The 2008 financial crash revealed major flaws in the neoliberal view of capitalism, and an objective view of the last 35 years shows that the neoliberal model has not performed well relative to the previous 30 years. This is in terms of economic growth, financial stability and social justice. But a credible progressive alternative has yet to take shape.

What should be the main outlines of such an alternative?

A progressive political economy must be based on a firm belief in capitalism – that is, on an economic system in which most of the assets are privately owned and markets largely guide production and distribute income. But it must also incorporate three defining progressive beliefs: the crucial role of institutions; the need for state involvement in their design in order to resolve conflicting interests and provide public goods; and social justice, defined as fairness, as an important measure of a country's economic performance.

It was a great mistake of neoclassical economists not to see that capitalism is a socioeconomic system and that institutions are an essential part of it. The recent financial crisis was made far worse by profound institutional failures, such as the high level of leverage that banks were permitted to have.

Empirical research has shown that four sets of institutions have a major impact on the performance of firms and, therefore, on a country's economic growth. These include the institutions underpinning its financial and labour markets, its corporate governance arrangements, its education and training system and its national system of innovation (the network of public and private institutions that initiate and diffuse new technologies).

Another defining belief of progressive thinking is that institutions do not evolve spontaneously, as neoliberals believe. The state must be involved in their design and reform.

In the case of institutions underpinning labour and financial markets, as well as corporate governance, the state must mediate conflicting interests. Likewise, a country's education and training system, and its national system of innovation, are largely public goods, which have to be provided by the state.

It should be clear that the role for the state that I have been describing is an enabling or market-supporting one. It is not the command and control role promoted by traditional socialists or the minimalist role beloved by neoliberals.

The other defining belief of progressive thinking rejects the neoliberal view that a country's economic performance should be assessed solely in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) growth and freedom. If one is concerned with a society's wellbeing, it is not possible to argue that a rich country in which the top one percent holds most of the wealth is performing better than a slightly less wealthy country in which prosperity is more widely shared.

Moreover, fairness is a better measure of social justice than equality. This is because it is difficult to devise practical and effective policies to achieve equality in a market economy.

In addition, there is a real tradeoff between equality and economic growth, and egalitarianism is not a popular policy even for many low-income people. In my experience, trade unions are much more interested in wage differentials than in a simple policy of equal pay for all.

These are the core principles that I believe a new progressive political economy should embrace. I also believe that Western countries that do not adopt this framework and instead cling to a neoliberal political economy, will find it increasingly difficult to innovate and grow.

In the new global economy, which is awash with cheap labour, Western economies will not be able to compete in a "race to the bottom", with firms seeking ever-cheaper labour, land and capital, with governments seeking to attract them by deregulating and shrinking social benefits.

The only way Western economies will be able to compete and improve their standard of living is by seeing themselves as being involved in a race to the top. That is, firms must improve their value added through innovation in existing industries and by developing the capability to compete in new and more sophisticated industries, where value added is generally higher.

Companies will be able to do this only if governments abandon the belief that they have no role to play in the economy. In fact, the state has a key role to play in providing the conditions that enable dynamic companies to innovate and grow.

[Apr 22, 2016] Does alternative to neoliberalism exists?

Notable quotes:
"... Monbiot and the quick crossword. ..."
"... Monbiot is the best journalist the Guardian has, he can actually make a logical fact based argument unlike the majority of Guardian journalist. ..."
"... Monbiot suggests that a coherent alternative to the current situation needs to be developed but disappointingly fails to give any clues as to what it might look like except, of course, that it must have some type of environmental context. ..."
"... A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century ..."
"... The trade union package, gave us meal breaks, holidays, sickness benefits, working hours restrictions, as opposed to the right wing media agenda ..."
"... Yes, a high priest of neo-liberalism, Lord Freud, was given only 13 weeks to investigate and reform key elements of the the UK's welfare system, it hasn't worked and Freud is now invisible. ..."
"... Failed neoliberalism and not restricting markets that do not benefit the majority are the cause and we stand on the brink of falling further should the Brexiter's have their way. If there's one thing the EU excels at it's legislating against the excesses of business and extremism. ..."
www.theguardian.com
amberjack Osager , 2016-04-15 14:56:41

this is why I read the guardian

This is pretty much the only reason why I still read the Guardian.

Monbiot and the quick crossword.

Shanajackson Osager , 2016-04-15 15:07:42
Monbiot is the best journalist the Guardian has, he can actually make a logical fact based argument unlike the majority of Guardian journalist.
TOOmanyWilsons Shanajackson , 2016-04-15 16:36:01
John Harris is wonderful too. The only guy on the staff who can write about the working class with clarity, respect and understanding. But Monbiot is also the biscuit.
qzpmwxonecib , 2016-04-15 14:40:53
Any ideology will cause problems. Right wing and left wing. Pragmatism and compassion are required.
Tad Blarney qzpmwxonecib , 2016-04-15 15:17:22
'The Invisible Hand' is not an ideology or dogma. It's just a metaphor to describe those with problems grasping abstract concepts: when there are a large number of buyers and suppliers for a good, the 'market finds a price' which is effectively the sum of all the intelligence of the participants, their suppliers, customers etc..

The Socialists, who have difficulty grasping this reality, want to 'fix' the price, which abnegates the collective intelligence of the market participants, and causes severe problems.

Capitalism is freedom, Socialism is someone's ideology.

brovis Tad Blarney , 2016-04-15 18:38:35

'The Invisible Hand' is... a metaphor to describe those with problems grasping abstract concepts: when there are a large number of buyers and suppliers for a good, the 'market finds a price' which is effectively the sum of all the intelligence of the participants

You clearly haven't read Wealth of Nations. The only mention of an invisible hand is actually a warning against what we now call neoliberalism. Smith said that the wealthy wouldn't seek to enrich themselves to the detriment of their home communities, because of an innate home bias. Thus, as if by an invisible hand, England would be spared the ravages of economic rationality.

Your understanding of the 'invisible hand' is a falsehood perpetuated by neoliberal think tanks like the Adam Smith institute (no endorsement or connection to the author, despite using his name).

'The Invisible Hand' is not dogma.

You definitely know a lot about dogma (and false dichotomies):

Capitalism is freedom, Socialism is someone's ideology.

Ricochet , 2016-04-15 14:41:16
This is an interesting academic piece but the reality is that we don't have anything like neo-liberalism in this country as defined by Hayek and it has become a term of abuse by people who really ought to know better. The strongest abuse of course is linked to the Blair Government, a period, of course, when, with substantial success, the size and reach of the state increased quite substantially, ie the complete opposite of neo-liberalism.

In fact, suggesting that the UK is neo liberal is not that much different for suggesting that Russia had communism as defined by Marx.

Whether it is a good or bad thing that we don't have neo-liberalism is open to academic debate but is not of much use in real life.

Monbiot suggests that a coherent alternative to the current situation needs to be developed but disappointingly fails to give any clues as to what it might look like except, of course, that it must have some type of environmental context.

Aleocrat Ricochet , 2016-04-15 23:36:22
Maybe it takes more than one man to map out a path to the future.
unheilig , 2016-04-15 14:41:23

A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century

All very well, but how? Did anyone hear the screams of rage when Sanders started threatening Hillary, or when Corbyn trounced the Blairites? The dead hand of Bernays and Goebbels controls everything.
Greg_Samsa , 2016-04-15 14:42:35
"Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?"

Yes it is what the G has been purveying wholesale for the last few years.

Luminaire Greg_Samsa , 2016-04-15 14:57:34
Wow, you read the WHOLE title. Well done.
zolotoy Luminaire , 2016-04-15 15:03:52
And yet Greg_Samsa's comment is entirely correct, and yours entirely worthless.
Luminaire zolotoy , 2016-04-15 15:26:59

And yet Greg_Samsa's comment is entirely correct, and yours entirely worthless.

So smug and yet so wrong. Infinite Wisdom is exactly already IN the article. He's not added anything. Which is what I was pointing out.

EricBallinger , 2016-04-15 14:42:51
There is no alternative on offer by the left.

The socialist/trade union package is outmoded.

The failure to describe reality in a way that concurs with what ordinary people experience has driven off much support and reduced credibility.

There is no credible model for investment and wealth creation.

The focus on social mobility upwards rather than on those who do not move has given UK leftism a middle-class snobby air to it.

Those entering leftist politics have a very narrow range of life experience. The opposition to rightist politics is cliched and outmoded.

There is a complete failure to challenge the emerging multi-polar plutocratic oligarchy which runs the planet - the European left just seeks a comfy accommodation.

There is no attempt to develop a post-socialist, holistic worldview and ideology.

oreilly62 -> EricBallinger , 2016-04-15 14:52:26
The trade union package, gave us meal breaks, holidays, sickness benefits, working hours restrictions, as opposed to the right wing media agenda, that if you aint getting it nobody should, pour poison on the unions, pour poison on the public sector, a fucking media led race to the bottom for workers, and there were enough gullible (poor )mugs around to accept it. You can curse the middle class socialists all you like, but without their support the labour movement would never have got off the ground.
Paidenoughalready -> oreilly62 , 2016-04-15 14:59:02
Okay, so you've described the 1950's through to the 1980's. So what have the unions done for us isn the last two decades ? Why is it all the successful, profitable and productive industries in the Uk have little or no union involvement ?

Why is it that the least effective, highest costs and poorest performing structures are in the public sector and held back by the unions ?

Here's a clue - the unions are operating in the 21st century with a 1950's mentality.

oreilly62 -> Paidenoughalready, 2016-04-15 15:18:26
During the industrial revolution, profitability and productivity were off the scale because the workforce were just commodities, Unionisation instigated the idea that without the workforce, your entrepreneurs can't do anything on their own, Henry Ford wouldn't have become a millionaire without the help of his workforce. 'Poorest performing structures' Guess what! some of us are human beings not auto- matrons. I hope you dine well on sterling and dollars, cause they're not the most important things in life.
countyboy , 2016-04-15 14:43:30
It's the only way. It's not perfect but it achieves the best ( not ideal ) possible result. What if in the end there's no where left to go ? What if the highest possible taxes, zero avoidance / evasion and high employment still equals deficits and increasing national debt ?

What then ?

fumbduck -> countyboy, 2016-04-15 14:54:56

What if the highest possible taxes, zero avoidance / evasion and high employment still equals deficits and increasing national debt ?

The paragraph written above neatly describes the post WW2 years, where the UK was pretty much in perpetual surplus. High employment does not equate to national debt/deficit. Quite the opposite, the more people in gainful employment the better. Increasing unemployment, driving wages down while simultaneously increasing the cost of living is a recipe for complete economic failure.

This whole economics gig is piss easy, when the general mass of people have cash to spare they spend it, economy thrives. Hoard the cash into the hands of a minority and starve the masses of cash, economy dies. It really is that simple.

makirby -> countyboy, 2016-04-15 15:23:23
Public deficits exist to match the private surplus created by the rich enriching themselves. To get rid of the deficit therefore we need to get rid of the private wealth of the rich through financial repression and taxation
Aleocrat countyboy, 2016-04-15 23:41:11
Then you're spending it wrong and should be replaced.
CoobyTavern , 2016-04-15 14:43:38
I read, cannot remember where, that with neo liberalism the implementation is all that matters, you do not need to see the results. I suppose because the followers believe when implemented it will work perfectly.
I think it's supporters think it is magic and must work because they believe it does.
dreamer06 -> CoobyTavern , 2016-04-15 15:20:42
Yes, a high priest of neo-liberalism, Lord Freud, was given only 13 weeks to investigate and reform key elements of the the UK's welfare system, it hasn't worked and Freud is now invisible.
tonyeff , 2016-04-15 14:43:45
Hopeful this is the start for change through identifying issues and avoiding pitfalls. Failed neoliberalism and not restricting markets that do not benefit the majority are the cause and we stand on the brink of falling further should the Brexiter's have their way. If there's one thing the EU excels at it's legislating against the excesses of business and extremism.
Let's make a start by staying in the EU.

[Nov 30, 2015] Is Balanced Growth Really the Answer

Notable quotes:
"... I can only add, that our economic system already redistributes income upward to capital and management, whose contribution to productivity is far below what they are paid. ..."
"... That's the idea of neoliberal transformation of society that happened since 80th or even earlier. Like John Kenneth Galbraith noted "Trickle-down theory is the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows" ..."
"... "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 ..."
"... Just as was the case with his work on financial instability, Hyman Minsky's analysis of the problems of poverty and inequality in a capitalist economy, as well as his understanding of the political dysfunctions that would result from treating these problems in the wrong way, were prophetic. See this piece by Minksy's student L. Randall Wray, especially Section 2: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_515.pdf ..."
"... it is unjust to tell the poor that they must change before they will be entitled to work-whether it is their skills set or their character that is the barrier to work... Minsky always argued that it is preferable to "take workers as they are," providing jobs tailored to the characteristics of workers, rather than trying to tailor workers to the jobs available before they are allowed to work ..."
"... Further, NIT (and other welfare programs) would create a dependent class, which is not conducive to social cohesion (Minsky 1968). Most importantly, Minsky argued that any antipoverty program must be consistent with the underlying behavioral rules of a capitalist economy (Minsky no date, 1968, 1975a). One of those rules is that earned income is in some sense deserved. ..."
"... This misreads the politics. People who are disconnected from the job market very easily get disconnected from the political process. They don't vote. ..."
"... The problem in thinking here is the equilibrium paradigm. Equilibrium NEVER exists. If there is a glut the price falls below the marginal cost/revenue point, if the seller is desperate enough it falls to zero! Ignoring disequilibrium dynamics means this obvious (it should be obvious) point is simply ignored. The assumption of general equilibrium leads to the assumption of marginal productivity driving wages. You are not worth what you produce, you are worth precisely what somewhat else would accept to do your job. ..."
"... Never say never. There some stationary points at which equilibrium probably exists for a short period of time. But as the whole system has positive feedback loop built-in and is unstable by definition. So you are right in a sense that disequilibrium is the "normal" state of such a system and equilibrium is an exception. ..."
"... And the problem is more growth, is more growth is a trick we cannot always do in a finite resource technologically sophisticated world. (At least not growth as it is currently seen.) We need to start thinking in much longer term time scales. Saying that we have enough oil for 30 years, is not optimistic - it is an imminent crisis - or do we want our grandchildren to see the end of the world? ..."
Nov 30, 2015 | Economist's View

DrDick said...

"then more growth will simply lead to even more inequality."

Which is exactly what we have seen for the past 40 years, Great analysis here. I can only add, that our economic system already redistributes income upward to capital and management, whose contribution to productivity is far below what they are paid.

ikbez -> DrDick...

"then more growth will simply lead to even more inequality."

That's the idea of neoliberal transformation of society that happened since 80th or even earlier. Like John Kenneth Galbraith noted "Trickle-down theory is the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows"

And another relevant quote:

"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

anne -> likbez...

"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

[ Perfect. ]

Dan Kervick, November 30, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Just as was the case with his work on financial instability, Hyman Minsky's analysis of the problems of poverty and inequality in a capitalist economy, as well as his understanding of the political dysfunctions that would result from treating these problems in the wrong way, were prophetic. See this piece by Minksy's student L. Randall Wray, especially Section 2: http://www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_515.pdf

The centerpiece of Minsky's preferred approach was based on a government commitment to "tight full employment". He believed that neither human capital investment, economic growth, nor redistribution would be sufficient on their own to address the problem.

As part of the critique of the human capital approach, Minsky argued that:

"it is unjust to tell the poor that they must change before they will be entitled to work-whether it is their skills set or their character that is the barrier to work... Minsky always argued that it is preferable to "take workers as they are," providing jobs tailored to the characteristics of workers, rather than trying to tailor workers to the jobs available before they are allowed to work (Minsky 1965, 1968, 1973)."

Minsky accurately foresaw the way in which a welfare approach to poverty, as opposed to a full employment approach, would politically divide working people among themselves:

"Further, NIT (and other welfare programs) would create a dependent class, which is not conducive to social cohesion (Minsky 1968). Most importantly, Minsky argued that any antipoverty program must be consistent with the underlying behavioral rules of a capitalist economy (Minsky no date, 1968, 1975a). One of those rules is that earned income is in some sense deserved."

"With the perspective of the 1980s and 1990s now behind us, it is hard to deny Minsky's arguments-President Reagan successfully turned most Americans against welfare programs and President Clinton finally "eliminated welfare as we know it." According to Minsky, a successful antipoverty program will need to provide visible benefits to the average taxpayer."

We can note that this political problem has only gotten worse, as can be seen from the deepening ugliness of our domestic politics, and the poll results that MacGillis cites.

Minsky also understood the unhealthy political and economic dynamics of an undirected aggregate demand approach to poverty, and promoted, following ideas of Keynes, a measure of socialized investment and direct job creation:

"Minsky feared that using demand stimulus to reduce poverty would necessarily lead to "stop-go" policy. Expansion would fuel inflation, causing policy makers to reverse course to slow growth in order to fight inflation (Minsky 1965, 1968). Because wages (and prices) in leading sectors would rise in expansion, but could resist deflationary pressures in recession, there would be an upward bias to rising wages in those sectors. However, in the lagging sectors, wage increases would come slowly-only with adequate tightening of labor markets -- and could be reversed in recession. Hence, Minsky argued that a directed demand policy would be required-to raise demand in the lagging sectors and for low wage and unemployed workers. For this reason, he concluded that a direct job creation program would be required."

All this adds up to a more activist role for the government sector.

likbez -> Dan Kervick...

My impression is that "human capital" is one of the most fundamental neoliberal myths. See, for example What Exactly Is Neoliberalism by Wendy Brown https://www.dissentmagazine.org/blog/booked-3-what-exactly-is-neoliberalism-wendy-brown-undoing-the-demos

As for people betraying their own economic interests, this phenomenon was aptly described in "What's the matter with Kansas" which can actually be reformulated as "What's the matter with the USA?". And the answer he gave is that neoliberalism converted the USA into a bizarre high demand cult. There are several characteristics of a high demand cult that are applicable. Among them:

It is very difficult to get rid of this neoliberal sect mentality like is the case with other high demand cults.

cm -> likbez...

What has any of this to do with human capital? "Capital" is basically a synonym for productive capacity, with regard to what "productive" means in the socioeconomic system or otherwise the context that is being discussed.

E.g. social or political capital designates the ability (i.e. capacity) to exert influence in social networks or societal decision making at the respective scales (organization, city, regional, national etc.), where "productive" means "achieving desired or favored outcomes for the person(s) possessing the capital or for those on whose behalf it is used".

Human capital, in the economic domain, is then the combined capacity of the human population in the domain under consideration that is available for productive endeavors of any kind. This includes BTW e.g. housewives and other household workers whose work is generally not paid, but you better believe it is socially productive.

likbez -> cm...

"Human capital, in the economic domain, is then the combined capacity of the human population in the domain under consideration that is available for productive endeavors of any kind. This includes BTW e.g. housewives and other household workers whose work is generally not paid, but you better believe it is socially productive."

This is not true. The term "human capital" under neoliberalism has different semantic meaning: it presuppose viewing a person as a market actor.

See the discussion of the term in http://www.jceps.com/wp-content/uploads/PDFs/10-1-07.pdf

kthomas

"...it's driven be resentment..."

No, its driven by racism. White trash will take with one hand, then walk right into a voting both and screw themselves because they think they sticking it to blacks, mexicans, gays, etc.

Syaloch -> kthomas...

Racism is certainly part of it, but it's really more fundamental than that.

"This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. That wealth and greatness are often regarded with the respect and admiration which are due only to wisdom and virtue; and that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages."

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

http://knarf.english.upenn.edu/Smith/tms133.html

cm -> kthomas...

What is racism if not an expression of resentment?

bakho said...

This misreads the politics. People who are disconnected from the job market very easily get disconnected from the political process. They don't vote. The people who do have jobs and are worried about keeping them and being paid too little are voting against the "losers" who they see as parasites. Never mind that the Malefactors of Great Wealth are the true parasites. Elections in the US are won or lost on voter turnout.

The Rage said...

I guess it depends on what kind of economy you want.

Growth of all kinds is not good. The 2001-2007 "growth" was badly constructed. I think America itself is in a bad rut....and has been since 1974. That itself will not be popular. The consensus belief was everything was rosy up until 2001. That is lie. They used to have a saying "nothing really happens on the X-files anymore". It really applies to America since 1974. It goes beyond "inequality".

I mean, we could have 3% wage growth in 2016 and 4% wage growth in 2017. That doesn't mean a damn thing for a economy's health. The infrastructure is bad. It shows up in pop culture apathy.

pgl -> The Rage...

"The 2001-2007 "growth" was badly constructed."

Glenn Hubbard might quarrel with this. He was well constructed for George W. Bush's base - rich people.

On the whole - great comment!!!

cm -> The Rage...

The Y2K/dotcom boom unraveled in 2000, but not all at once. It is difficult to impossible to disentagle the boundary between dotcom bust, 9/11 and the prolonged reaction to it, and the start of the Bush presidency (and the top policymaking figures that came with that, I don't want to necessarily tie it to Bush himself).

At the same time, the global rollout of the internet, telecommunication, (start of) commodity videoconferencing, broadband and realtime data exchange, etc. enabled the outsourcing and offshoring of large and growing segments of blue and white collar jobs, and much increased fungibility of variously skilled labor altogether.

On that foundation, a lot of things will appear as badly constructed. Or from a different angle, given that foundation, how would you arrange for things to be well constructed?

likbez -> cm...

I would view 9/11 as a perfect cure for dot-com bust. Soon after invasion of Iraq stock market returned to almost precrash levels. War is the health of stock market. And since probably 1998 nobody cared about real economy anyway.

Also housing boom started around this period as conscious, deliberate effort of Fed to blow the bubble to cure the consequences of the crash at all costs and face the day of reckoning later (without Mr. Greenspan at the helm)

reason said...

The problem in thinking here is the equilibrium paradigm. Equilibrium NEVER exists. If there is a glut the price falls below the marginal cost/revenue point, if the seller is desperate enough it falls to zero! Ignoring disequilibrium dynamics means this obvious (it should be obvious) point is simply ignored. The assumption of general equilibrium leads to the assumption of marginal productivity driving wages. You are not worth what you produce, you are worth precisely what somewhat else would accept to do your job.

Lafayette -> reason...

I could not agree more. A Market-Economy is a dynamic in constant disequilibrium, changing positively and negatively around a mean. The mean is very rarely an "equilibrium".

likbez -> reason...

Never say never. There some stationary points at which equilibrium probably exists for a short period of time. But as the whole system has positive feedback loop built-in and is unstable by definition. So you are right in a sense that disequilibrium is the "normal" state of such a system and equilibrium is an exception.

reason said...

And the problem is more growth, is more growth is a trick we cannot always do in a finite resource technologically sophisticated world. (At least not growth as it is currently seen.) We need to start thinking in much longer term time scales. Saying that we have enough oil for 30 years, is not optimistic - it is an imminent crisis - or do we want our grandchildren to see the end of the world?

[Aug 22, 2015] Why Is Market Fundamentalism So Tenacious

The analogy with Trotskyism, which is also a secular religion here are so evident, that they can't be missed. And that explains why it is so tenacious: all cults are extremely tenacious and very difficult to eradiate.
Notable quotes:
"... As the neoliberal revolution instigated by Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980 has spread, however, Polanyi has been rediscovered. His great book – now republished with a foreword by Joseph Stiglitz – has attracted a new generation of readers. ..."
"... The cult of free market fundamentalism has become so normative in our times, and economics as a discipline so hidebound and insular, that reading Polanyi today is akin to walking into a stiff gust of fresh air. We can suddenly see clear, sweeping vistas of social reality. Instead of the mandarin, quantitative and faux-scientific presumptions of standard economics – an orthodoxy of complex illusions about "autonomous" markets – Polanyi explains how markets are in fact embedded in a complex web of social, cultural and historical realities. ..."
"... Markets can only work, for example, if political and legal institutions contrive to transform people, land and money into assets that can be bought and sold. Polanyi calls these "fictional commodities" because people, land and money are not in fact commodities. People and land have their own existence and purposes apart from the market – and money is a social institution, even if many pretend that gold is a self-evident medium of value. ..."
"... Block and Somers point to a closed and coherent ideational scheme that knits together several key belief systems. The first is the idea that the laws of nature govern human society, and thus the workings of the economy are seen as a biological and evolutionary inevitability. A second theme is the idea of "theoretical realism," a belief that the theoretical schema is more true and enduring than any single piece of empirical evidence, and thus one can argue from the claims of theory and not from facts. ..."
"... Finally, a "conversion narrative" enables free marketeers tell to neutralize and delegitimate any contrary arguments, and enabling them to introduce its alternative story. This approach is routinely used to re-cast the reasons (and blame) for poverty. ..."
"... What makes The Power of Market Fundamentalism so illuminating is its patient, careful reconstruction of these recurring and deceptive polemical patterns. The wealthy invoke the same rhetorical strategies again and again over the course of hundreds of years in extremely different contexts. With their mastery of an enormous contemporary literature, Block and Somers document the remarkable parallels and show just how deep and durable Polanyi's analysis truly is ..."
www.resilience.org

One of the great economists of the twentieth century had the misfortune of publishing his magnum opus, The Great Transformation, in 1944, months before the inauguration of a new era of postwar economic growth and consumer culture. Few people in the 1940s or 1950s wanted to hear piercing criticisms of "free markets," let alone consider the devastating impacts that markets tend to have on social solidarity and the foundational institutions of civil society. And so for decades Polanyi remained something of a curiosity, not least because he was an unconventional academic with a keen interest in the historical and anthropological dimensions of economics.

As the neoliberal revolution instigated by Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980 has spread, however, Polanyi has been rediscovered. His great book – now republished with a foreword by Joseph Stiglitz – has attracted a new generation of readers.

But how to make sense of Polanyi's work with all that has happened in the past 70 years? Why does he still speak so eloquently to our contemporary problems? For answers, we can be grateful that we have The Power of Market Fundamentalism: Karl Polanyi's Critique, written by Fred Block and Margaret R. Somers, and published last year. The book is a first-rate reinterpretation of Polanyi's work, giving it a rich context and commentary. Polanyi focused on the deep fallacies of economistic thinking and its failures to understand society and people as they really are. What could be more timely?

The cult of free market fundamentalism has become so normative in our times, and economics as a discipline so hidebound and insular, that reading Polanyi today is akin to walking into a stiff gust of fresh air. We can suddenly see clear, sweeping vistas of social reality. Instead of the mandarin, quantitative and faux-scientific presumptions of standard economics – an orthodoxy of complex illusions about "autonomous" markets – Polanyi explains how markets are in fact embedded in a complex web of social, cultural and historical realities.

Markets can only work, for example, if political and legal institutions contrive to transform people, land and money into assets that can be bought and sold. Polanyi calls these "fictional commodities" because people, land and money are not in fact commodities. People and land have their own existence and purposes apart from the market – and money is a social institution, even if many pretend that gold is a self-evident medium of value.

Notwithstanding these realities, capitalist societies ahve created these fictional commodities. People have in effect been transformed into units of "labor" that can be bought and sold in the market, and discarded when their value is depleted. Land, too, is treated as a market asset that has no connection to a larger, living ecosystem or human community. Inevitably, people and users of land (and ecosystems themselves) rebel against their treatment as raw commodities. The result is a permanent counter-movement against those who insist upon treating people and land as commodities.

Unlike Keynes, who was willing to accept some of these economic illusions in order to have political impact, Polanyi rejected them as a recipe for a dangerous and unachievable utopianism. That is in fact what has emerged over the past several generations as business ideologues have advanced quasi-religious visions of free market fundamentalism. The planet's natural systems and our communities simply cannot fulfill these utopian dreams of endless economic growth, vast consumption of resources and the massive social engineering. And yet it continues.

Polanyi was courageous enough to strip away the pretenses that the economy is a "force of nature" that cannot be stopped. The economy, he said, is an "instituted process," not a natural one, and it can only survive through massive governmental interventions and cultural regimentation. The free market system is hardly autonomous and self-executing. It requires enormous amounts of government purchasing, research subsidies, legal privileges, regulatory agencies to enhance fairness and public trust, military interventions to secure access to resources and markets, and the sabotage of democratic processes that might threaten investments and market growth. The 2008 financial crisis revealed in outrageous detail how financial markets are anything but autonomous.

So what accounts for the insidious power of market fundamentalism and its illusions? Why do its premises remain intact and influential in the face of so much contrary evidence?

Block and Somers point to a closed and coherent ideational scheme that knits together several key belief systems. The first is the idea that the laws of nature govern human society, and thus the workings of the economy are seen as a biological and evolutionary inevitability. A second theme is the idea of "theoretical realism," a belief that the theoretical schema is more true and enduring than any single piece of empirical evidence, and thus one can argue from the claims of theory and not from facts. Free market narratives assert their own self-validating claims to what is true; epistemological categories trump all empirical challenges.

Finally, a "conversion narrative" enables free marketeers tell to neutralize and delegitimate any contrary arguments, and enabling them to introduce its alternative story. This approach is routinely used to re-cast the reasons (and blame) for poverty. Instead of acknowledging institutional or structural explanations for why many people are poor, the free market narrative boldly attacks government for making people poor through aid programs. Government programs supposedly have a perverse effect, aggravating, not aleviating poverty. The poor are cast as morally responsible – along with government – for their own sorry circumstances. Thus, a higher minimum wage is perverse, say free market champions, because it will hurt the poor rather than help them.

What makes The Power of Market Fundamentalism so illuminating is its patient, careful reconstruction of these recurring and deceptive polemical patterns. The wealthy invoke the same rhetorical strategies again and again over the course of hundreds of years in extremely different contexts. With their mastery of an enormous contemporary literature, Block and Somers document the remarkable parallels and show just how deep and durable Polanyi's analysis truly is .

[Jan 22, 2011] Neoliberalism's Future By Dennis Loo

January 22, 2011 | stateofnature.org

"Neoliberalism relies upon the relentless shredding of the social fabric, that mutual interdependence and reliance that people have on each other as members of that entity that Margaret Thatcher called non-existent: society."

Before I consider the question here of neoliberalism's future, let me first clarify what I mean by neoliberalism. As Gary Teeple has succinctly put it, neoliberalism is the political expression of globalization. It is, in other words, the ideology and politics of furthering market forces' dominance domestically and internationally and in all public and private matters. When I say "public", in all fairness I should clarify that the public realm doesn't actually exist for neoliberals – they scoff at such a thing and proudly claim that everyone is only out for himself or herself.

This, then, is the philosophical basis for neoliberalism: Adam Smith's invisible hand. Everyone acting selfishly will produce the best possible world. Both major U.S. political parties are believers in neoliberalism and the differences they have between them regarding economic policy is over how and to what extent market forces should openly drive matters, with the Democrats making mostly rhetorical passes to the need to protect middle class people. (Evidently, the working class does not exist in the U.S., judging by the Democratic Party's rhetoric.)

Neoliberals' answer to all ills and concerns is privatization. When calamities ensue, whether financial, medical, political, environmental, or otherwise (e.g., Katrina, the BP Oil catastrophe, the scandal at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the corruption of Bernie Madoff and Tom DeLay…), their instantaneous response is that this disaster only proves the need for more privatization, less regulation, and more market forces. In other words, we need more of the very things that in actuality brought on the crisis or at least exacerbated the crisis in the first place. We can see this, for example, in the measures taken to resolve the 2008 financial crisis, the crisis that Treasury Secretary – and former Goldman Sachs head – Hank Paulsen secretly told some U.S. congressmen and women would cause martial law to be declared if they didn't alter their first vote of saying no to the massive bailout, a vote these representatives registered because of the massive outcry of opposition from their constituents to the bailout. Because the banks and financial institutions who were responsible for this crisis were "too big to fail", they must be shored up with massive, historic loans and giveaways which these giants of finance have turned around to make themselves even bigger with and therefore even more necessary to be saved when their profligate ways bring on the next financial crisis.

Market forces are animated by and driven by the pursuit of profit. And since profit comes about through driving down wages and reducing or eliminating benefits for those outside the very top ranks, and through greater job and income insecurity and volatility, and by increasing indebtedness for those who are not one of the neoliberal elect, then the logic of neoliberalism rests upon the logic of dispossession. In the U.S. the credit card debt load is famously large, $828 billion as of July 2010. What is less well-known is that student loan debt is now even higher: over $850 billion in student loan debt is being saddled upon the backs of working class and middle-class students who have dwindling prospects of getting a decent job or even a job at all after graduation. Take away decent jobs, send those jobs abroad and downsize the workforce here at home, but promise them if they stay in school and get a college degree or graduate degree they will surely make back their loans. Meanwhile, take full advantage of their troubles.

The logic of profit dictates exactly this. Neoliberalism relies upon the relentless shredding of the social fabric, that mutual interdependence and reliance that people have on each other as members of that entity that Margaret Thatcher called non-existent: society. Is it true, in fact, as the Iron Lady liked to say: TINA (There is No Alternative)?

Which brings us to the question of neoliberalism's future. How long can neoliberalism prevail in face of the damage it does by its very logic and operation? These are not incidental or accidental problems – they are the fundamental rationale of the system itself. Judging by the U.S., where neoliberalism reigns supreme, unchallenged and indeed endorsed by the two major political parties, it looks as secure as ever, with the GOP and the Tea Parties and its Pied Piper, angry Glenn Beck, its cutting edge. The Democrats, for their part, under the man of "hope and change", Obama, are notable for how much further they have carried forward the ignoble and egregious departures from the rule of law that marked the Bush regime, institutionalizing these lawless actions of indefinite detention, openly ordering citizens' assassinations, calling openly for Julian Assange's death, and asserting their right to spy on everyone all of the time – all these and more are part and parcel of the political dimension of their unholy holy war of terrorism.

Here is the problem put into as small a nutshell as I can. Neoliberalism brings on disasters, sometimes by deliberate design (as Naomi Klein has pointed out), and sometimes without conscious intent, through the workings of the very system and the dynamics of its logic. These disasters are on the micro and macro-levels. On the micro-level individuals fall through the increasingly gaping holes in the social safety net. On the macro-level we have local, regional, and global calamities such as global warming. The logic of the war of terror is such that terrorist incidents, whether abortive or not, reinforce the war of terror itself. Thus, without needing anyone to consciously instigate a false flag attack, the institutional and ideological purposes of the war of terror are served by anti-state terrorist incidents.

How long will this continue? It is impossible to say with any precision. It is certainly possible that the neoliberals will cause disasters on a scale that could make the planet oppressive to live in – physically as well as psychologically. They have succeeded in creating a very large and extremely powerful right-wing echo chamber through their rightwing media empire. Those who are not happy with the reactionary politics of the Right and those of the Democrats are therefore outgunned, surrounded in some respects by the armies of fear, ignorance, and the cynically misled.

A real alternative to this is hard to imagine for those who have not been around long enough to see a real alternative to capitalism, and those who are old enough to remember this are mostly unconvinced at this point that an alternative to capitalism can be brought into being.

This much I can say with certainty based on a reading of history: the conditions that create the awful things that we now see around us and growing more menacing practically by the day – the assassination and attempted assassination of public officials in Tucson, Arizona this month, the abrogation of core civil liberties such as habeas corpus, the express departure from the rule of law, the pre-emptive arrests of demonstrators and charging people who are whistleblowers as terrorists and open calls for their murder, the continued detention of 173 people at Gitmo, etc. – are also the conditions that create the possibility for revolutionary changes in a positive direction.

The election of Obama, a black, first term U.S. Senator, occurred because millions despised Bush and Cheney and mistakenly believed that the solution was as simple as pulling a lever for Obama. The system had to reach out further than ever to pull people back in who were in danger of spinning out of the political control of the powers that be. Many of those who were so misled are now re-examining their mistakes. If enough of them wake up to what lessons this makes possible for them to see, that elections do not a solution offer, and if enough of them do what they need to do, then the whole political atmosphere could change dramatically.

It doesn't take a whole lot of people to start this process of popular protest (which can and should occur in diverse and numerous forms) in earnest. It takes some very courageous people and larger numbers of people who are willing to do something in the right direction, to support and come to the defense of those who are standing up forthrightly, with their words, actions, and resources. We have that core, but that core of people needs to be joined by more, many more.

The question is which values will take the fore and which values will set the terms. This is a fight that has to occur on many different levels, including in the realm of theory and in political battles. Raising people's sights and their fighting spirit must happen.

Our adversaries must lie shamelessly and use coercion and outright murderous violence to get their way. They are extremely vulnerable to exposure of their schemes. This is and will be a very hard and perilous struggle.

Even if we do nothing, the deluge will still engulf us, except then if we have done nothing, we can only drown. In the alternative, we can have a fighting chance to wrest a radically different future from this awful mess.

As Molly Ivins, bless her dearly departed soul, wrote on September 1, 2005:

This is a column for everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina who ever said, "I'm sorry, I'm just not interested in politics," or, "There's nothing I can do about it," or, "Eh, they're all crooks anyway."

Nothing to do with me, nothing to do with my life, nothing I can do about any of it. Look around you this morning. I suppose the National Rifle Association would argue, "Government policies don't kill people, hurricanes kill people." Actually, hurricanes plus government policies kill people.

- See more at: http://www.stateofnature.org/?p=5508#sthash.Nhnzw0lC.dpuf

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